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I 



1 



DC 



y 



THE 



WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER 

1870 



^O'i T t 



THE 



WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER 

1870 



ITS POLITICAL AND HILITABY HI8T0BT 



BT 

W. RirSTOW 



coLOim. m THx swbbs abut; vorxbrlt gaftaih in thi phvosiax Ktatr; rowokaiit 

mOIBSB OF THX SWSDIBH BOTAL ACAODfT OV WAR 

Airthor of * T1i« BuUer (>uiipolgiw of Napoleon Botu^Mrte ;** The Oennaii MUltMT 
DletlonuT :' • Hie Stntegy of the Nlnrtee n tti Century.' etc etc. 



TRAN8LATBD FROM THE GERMAN BT 

JOHN LAYLAND NEEDHAM 

LICUTEirAlIT ROYAL MARIKB ARTILLERY 



IN THREE VOLUMES 

VOLUME 11. 



WILLIAM ^LACKWOOD AND SONS 

SDINBUKGH AND LONDON 
MDGCGLXXII 



CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME. 



CHAP. PAOK 

XVII. THE COUNTRT FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF 

THE MEUSB TO PARIS, 1-12 

Boundaries of the district— The hill-country of Lorraine 
— The Argonnes and the Ardennes— The Meuse— <The 
Aisne— The Aire— The Seine— The Aube — Fortresses on 
the Meuse — Verdun— Sedan— M^eres— Givet — Rocroy 
— Fortresses on the Chiers — Carignan — Montm^y — 
liongwy— Fortresses on the Aisne — Soissons — ^La F^ 
— Laon — On the Mame — Vitry — Chalons — Camp of Chal- 
ons — ^Railways in the district. 

XYIII. CONCENTRATION OF THE ARMY OF PARIS UNDER 
MARSHAL M'MAHON IN THE CAMP OF CHALONS 
— ^MAROH OF M'mAHON NORTHWARDS TO RE- 
LIEVE BAZAINE, 13-24 

Mobiles assembled in the Camp— Troops of the 6th 
Corps remaining there— Fonnation of a 12ih Army Corps 
— Its composition— Retreat of the 7th Corps after W5rth 
— Of the 6th Corps— Tilliard's brigade of cavalry— Sava- 
res8e*8— State of MHiiahon's army— M'Mahon marches 
northwards — His change of intention when he hears 
that the Germans have turned north — Faults of the ex- 
ecution of the original project 

XIX. ADVANCE OF THE THIRD AND FOURTH ARMIES 
(QERMAN) AGAINST THE CAMP OF CHALONS — 
CHANGE OF THE DIRECTION OF THEIR LINE OF 
OPERATIONS ON INTELLIGENCE BEING RECEIVED 
OF THE DEPARTURE OF M'MAHON, . . 26-32 

Formation of the Fourth Army (German) — Its advance 
upon Chalons — Attempt upon Verdun — Capitulation of 
Vitry— Affair at Epeuse— Proclamation of the King of 



VI CONTENTS. 

Prussia— Advance of the Third Army—Chalons occupied 
— The Gennan Armies change front to the north. 

XX. THE BKIRMIBHES OF BUZANCT OK THE 27TH OF 
AUGUST AND OF NOUART ON THE 20TH OF 
AUGUST, AND THE ENCOUNTER AT BEAUMONT 
ON THE 80TH OF AUGUST, .... 33-42 

Movements of the Saxon Corps on the 26th of August 
—On the 27th— Of the French Corps on the 2»th— Posi- 
tions of the Germans on the 29th — Orders for the SOth^ 
Encounter at Beaumont— Retreat of De Failly. 

XXI. THE BATTLE OF SEDAN ON THE 1ST OF SEP- 

TEMBER, 43-76 

M'Mahon concentrates round Sedan — Orders of the 
King of Prussia on the evening of the 80th of August- 
Positions of the Fourth Army on the evening of the Slst 
—Advance of the Third Army on the Slst— Attack on 
Bazeilles— Orders of the Croim-Prince for the 1st of Sep- 
tember — Orders of the King of Prussia for the night from 
the Slst to the Ist— Position of M'Mahon — Commence- 
ment of the battle of the 1st of September — Struggle for 
Bazeilles — Bazeilles taken by 10a.u. — M'Mahon wounded 
— Is succeeded by Ducrot — General von Wimpffen — 
Movements of the Sazon Corps— Of the Prussian Guard 
—Action on the Gennan left wing up to 11 a.m. — ^Ways 
of escape open to WimplTen — Order to retreat upon Sedan 
given at 4 km.— Wimpffen attempts to force a way for 
the Emperor— Is repulsed by the Bavarians and 8th 
Corps — Movements of Prussian Guard after 11 A.M. — 
Movements of the German left wing after 11 ▲.![. — Napo- 
leon capitulates at 5 p.m. — Napoleon's letter to the 
King of Prussia — Capitulation concluded — Terms of the 
capitulation — French losses — German losses — Import- 
ance of the surrender of Napoleon — Interview of Napo- 
leon with Bismark — and with the King of Prussia. 

XXII. PARIS AT THE END OF AUGUST AND IN THE 

BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER THE REPUBLIC 

DECLARED, 77-127 

Tone of the Paris journals— General Trochn— The Com- 
mittee of Defence— Works initiated by Trochn— State of 
the fortifications and armaments of Paris — Gairison of 
Paris — Means taken to provision the capital — Difficulties 
of the task — ^Raid on the demi-numcU on the 28th of Au- 
gust—Expulsion of Germans — Sitting of the Corps Legis- 



CONTENTS. 



VU 



Utif on the afternoon of the 8d of September— How the 
news of Sedan was reeeiyed in Paris— Midnight meeting 
of the Chamben— Jnlee FaTre's motion— Palikao's pro- 
clamation — ^Meeting of the Chambers on the 4th of Sep- 
tember — Palikao*8 motion— Thiers's proposition — Mob 
enters the Palais Bonibon— Republic proclaimed at the 
Hdtel de Yille— Dissolution of the Corps Legislatif and 
of the Senate— National Guard and mob take possession 
of the Tnileries— Flight of the Empress — Composition of 
the Qoremment of National Defence— Antecedents of 
Fourichon— Of Le Flo— Of Gambetta— Of K€ratry— Of 
Steenackers— Of Cr€mieux — ^How would the revolution 
affect the prospects of peace f — Change of feeling in Ger- 
many — Institution of the Govemments-General of Alsace 
and Lorraine— Arguments against the annexation of these 
proYinces by Germany— Circular of Jides FaYTfr— Jour- 
ney of M. Thiers to visit the Great Powers. 

THB MARCH OF THE GERMANS UPON PARIS — 
THE INVESTMENT OF PARIS — ^THB CONFERENCE 
OF FEREOERBS, 128-159 

Advance of the Third and Fourth Armies upon Paris— 
Capitulation of Laon— Explosion in the Citadel— Plan 
for the investment of Paris— Resistance offered to the 
Third Army— Reconnaissance of General Ducrot on the 
19th September— Germans occupy the intrenchment at 
Villejuif— Sortie of the 80th of September— Description 
of Paris — Its population — Daily consumption of the 
capital — Course of the Seine— Rulways leaving Paris- 
Fortifications of Psris- Heights round Paris— Detached 
forts round Paris — Conference between Jules Favre and 
Bismark — Conditions demanded by the latter— Failure 
of the negotiations— Delegation of the Government sent 
to Tours— Proclamation by the Delegation— Answer of 
Count Bismark. 



XXIV. TAKING OF THE FORTRESS OF TOUL, 

Formation of the Idth North German Army Corps — 
(Harrison of the Fortress of Toul— Institution of the 
Government-General of Rheims— Bombardment of Toul 
—Preparation of siege-batteries— Surrender of TouL 



160-164 



XXV. THE SIEGE AND TAKING OF STRASBURO, • 

History of Strasburg— Its population — Its situation — 
Si«ge of the town — ^Railways leaving the town— Military 



165-195 



VIU 



CONTENTS. 



establishments in Strasbnrg — Its fortifications — Want 
of detached works — (rarrison of Strasbuig — Antecedents 
of Qeneral Uhrich — Composition of the besieging force — 
Antecedents of General von Werder — Aigmnents .in 
favonr of a bombardment — Its inexpediency in the case 
of Strasbuig— Commencement of the bombardment — ^The 
regular siege undertaken — Its progress — ^Taking of the 
lunettes Nos. 52 and 58— Surrender of Strasbuig on the 
27th of September— Number of rounds fired during the 
siege — ^Terms of the capitulation — Destination given to 
the 14th North German Army Corps. 

XXVI. 8TATB OF THE WAR AT THE END OF THE 

MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, .... 196-204 

Destination given to the forces employed in the si^e 
of Strasbuig— State of affairs before Metz — and before 
Paris— The valley of the Rhone— Of the Loire— Char- 
acter of the newly-to-be-fgrmed French forces — Cheerless 
prospects for both parties. 



XXVII. THE BATTLE OF NOISSEVILLE ON THE 81ST OF 
AUGUST AND THE 1ST OF SEPTEMBER, . 

Forces before Metz reinforced by Kummer^s landwehr 
division— Probable direction of any attempt of Bazaine 
to escape — Positions of the German Coips round Metz — 
Construction of a railway from RemiUy to Pont k Mous- 
son — Prei>arations for the sortie of the 81st of August — 
Position of Kummer*s division and the 1st Corps on the 
evening of the 80th — Colombey taken at 9 A.M. on the 
Slst— Kummer^s division attacked— Measures taken by 
Manteuifel — Lyll of the fighting about noon — Its re- 
sumption in the afternoon — Noisseville taken — Battle 
subsides at 9 p.m. — Offensive again assumed by the 
French at 10 p.iL — ^Recommencement of the battle on 
the 1st of September — ^Attack on Noisseville — French 
retire into Metz — Loss of the Prussians. 



205-227 



XXVIII. THE ENOOUNTERS AT WOIPPT ON THE 2D AND 
7TH OF OCTOBER, ..... 

Position of Bazaine after the 1st of September — 
Reasons for his inactivity — Germans expect him to break 
out in the direction of Strasburg— Steinmetz resigns his 
command — Small sorties made by the garrison of Metz 
—Sortie on the 2d of October— On the 7th— Losses of 
the Germans. 



228-238 



CONTENTS. IX 

XXUL THE OAFITULATION OF BAZAINE, . . 239-260 

State of affoin in Metz after the sortie on the 7th of 
October— Total loes of the Army of Metz np to that 
date — ^Amount of Bupplies remaining — Number of sick 
— Council of war assembled on the 10th of October- 
Its resolutions— Beyer's mission to Versailles— Inhabi- 
tants of Metz placed upon a daily allowance of bread — 
Failure of Boyer's negotiations — Second council of war 
in Met^— Journey of Boyer to Chiselhurst — General 
Changarnier — His mission to Prince Frederic Charles — 
Final negotiations on the 26th — ^Terms of the capitula- 
tion-Excitement on the announcement of it to the 
army — ^Number of prisoners— Value of matSrid of war 
— The two Prussian Princes made Marshals— How the 
news of the surrender of Bazaine was receiyed in France. 

XXX. PBOOEEDINOS OF THB OOYERNMENT OF NATIONAL 

DEFENCE UP TO THB MIDDLE OF NOYEMBEB, . 261-281 

Gtembetta sent from Paris to Tours — ^Employment of 
balloons in France, and especially in Paris— Subteiranean 
telegraphs — Messengers — Carrier - pigeons — Ingenious 
coniaivance to enable them to carry long despatches — 
Despatches by the water-courses — Gambetta undertakes 
the Ministry of War— and of the Interior— Result of 
Thiers's visit to the Great Powers — Conference between 
Thiers and Bismark — Socialistic demonstration in Paris 
on the 81st of October — Questi<m of reproTisioning Paris 
— Failure of the negotiations. 

XXXI. THE KECONSTBUOTION OF THE FRENCH ABMY, . 282-308 

Measures adopted by Palikao's Ministry— And by the 
(Government of National Defence— Decree of the 2d of • 
November— Later decree — Division of levies into classes 
— Number of men of various ages in France — Numbers 
available in each class— Difficulties of collecting men 
—Number of old soldiers forthcoming — Admission of 
foreigners into the French service— Oaribaldi — Improvis- 
ing of the various arms of the service— Infantry— Cavalry 
— Artillery — Engineers — Four general governorships 
established in France — Composition of the new Army 
Corps — Formation of eleven camps — Their object — ^Want 
of officers. 

XXXIL MILITART EVENTS IN AND ABOUT PABIS FROM THE 

1ST OF OCTOBER TO THB MIDDLE OF NOYBMBEB, 309-328 

State of feeling in Paris after the failure of the con- 
ference at Feiri^res— Means of reducing Paris— Circular 



ZZXIIL 



CONTENTS. 

of Bismark — ^AveTsion felt throughout Bnrope to the idea 
of a bombardment of Paris — Difficulties of attempting it 
^Oomparative advantages of a regular siege — Sortie 
from Paris on the 18th of October— Sortie on the 2l8t of 
October— Le Bourget taken by the French on the 28th — 
Betaken by the Prussians on the 80th — Paris in the 
beginning of November— Three annies formed in Paris 
— Task assigned to each, and their composition and 
numbers. 

KXTERPBISE8 OF THE OBBMAN CAYALBT IK THE 
BNVIBONS OF FABIS, 

Cavalry divisions detached on special expeditions — 
direction given to the 5th division of cavalry — ^to the 6th 
— ^Afiiair at Ablis — ^Ablis burnt down — ^Inexpediency of 
such acts — ^Direction given to the 4th division of cavalry 
— Country about the Loire — Toiin of Orleans — The 
Sologne. 



329-336 



XXXIV. THE BNCOUNTEB AT ABTENAT — THE OOGUPATION 
OF ORLEANS BT THE GBBMANSy AND ITS BEGON- 
QUEST BY THE BATTLE OF COULMIEB, . 

The French Army of the Loire — General de la Mot- 
terouge— Von der Tann detached to the Loire ^Bn- 
connter at Artenay on the 10th of October— Advance on 
Orleans on the 11th, and its occupation— Be la Mot- 
terouge superseded— General d'Aurelles de Paladine ap- 
pointed to succeed him — ^Increase of the Army of the Loire 
—Battle of Coulmier on the 9th of November— Retreat 
of the Bavai'ians upon Artenay and Toury. 



337-346 



ZXXV. THE OPERATIONS IN THE EAST — ^ADVANOB OF THE 
14TH QERMAN ABMT CORPS UPON THE OIONON, 
AND THE BATTLE OF OIGNON ON THE 22D OF 

OCTOBER, 347-363 

Welder sends a column into the V osges — Difficulties 
experienced— Formation of a 14th German Army Corps 
— Instructions given to it— Engagement at Btival— Ad- 
vance ui)on Epinal — Besanfon— Advance upon the Oig- 
non— Battle of Oignon— Werder purposes advancing 
upouDyon. 

ZXXVL THE OCCUPATION OF DUON ON THE UST OF 

OCTOBEB, 354-367 

Advance of the Badensers upon Dyon— Defence of the 
town organised— Death of Colonel I^uoonnet— Straggle 



CONTENTS. 



XI 



for St ApoUinaiie— Snirender of Dyon— Conditions of 
the capitulation— Xioss of the Germans. 

XXXVII. THB OPERATIONS OF THE 4TH RESEBVE DIVISION 
— THB OAPTURB OF SOHLETTSTADT AND NEU 
BBEISAGH, 358-361 

The 4th landwehr diyision crosses the Bhine— Task 
assigned to it— Schlettstadt — Siege commenced on the 
22d of October— Schlettstadt surrenders on the 24th— 
Neu Breisach and Fort Mortier bombarded on the 2d of 
November — Fort Mortier surrenders on the 8th — Nen 
Breisach on the 10th. 

XXXVIU. THB OPERATIONS OF THB 14TH NOBTH GERMAN 

ARMY CORPS DURING THB MONTH OF NOVBHBEB, 362-371 

Belfort — Its intrenched camp— Its detached works— 
The Fort Des Barres — Projected works on the Perche— 
Treskow's troops appear before Belfort— Dijon reoecu- 
pied by the French— General Bourdon— Werder sends 
two columns southwards— Surprise at Chatillon. 



XXXIX. THB EMPLOYMENT OF THB FIRST AND SECOND 
GERMAN ARMIES AFTER THE FALL OF METZ — 
THE CAPITULATION OF SOISSONS AND THIONVILLE, 

Picture of the state of things in Noyember^The First 
Army sent against the Army of the North — The Second 
towards the Loire — ^The 2d Corps sent to Paris — Thion- 
ville besieged by Kameke— Antecedents of Kameke — 
Thionyille surrenders on the 24th of November— Verdun 
bombarded and capitulates on the 8th of November— 
Soissons on the 16th of October— Ham — La F^ and 
Amiens occupied by the Germans. 



372-388 



P L A 1^ S. 

I. THE BATTLE OF SEDAN, tO foce page 
II. THB SIEGB OF STRASBURG, tO foce page 



43 
165 



THE WAE 



FOB 



THE RHINE FRONTIER. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THB COUSXBT VBOH THE NEIQHBOrBHOOD OF THE 

MEUSE TO FABIS. 

The district into which the events of the war now 
lead us is roughly bounded thus : on the east by the 
watershed between the Moselle and the Meuse; on 
the north by the Belgium frontier ; on the west by 
the Oise ; and on the south by the middle course of 
the Seine. 

K a man were to journey from the eaat towards the 
Mense, he would remark that the hill-country of 
Lorraine rises up towards the west. This uprising 
forms a chain-lie edge on the right ba^k of id 
Moselle, and similar eVevations corLpond to it on 
the left of the river. 

From Le Ch^ne le Populeux, as far as Bar le Due, 

VOL. II. A 



2 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

these heights are called the Argonnes, and to the 
north of Le Ch6ne le Populeux, where they branch 
away to the north-west to the Oise, the Ardennes ; 
while sometimes these names are understood to 
include also the corresponding ranges of heights on 
the right bank of the Meuse. The elevated land, 
again, which at some small distance from the Meuse 
spreads itself out between the Aisne and its tributary 
on the right, the Aire, is specially called the Wood of 
Argonne ; whilst the heights between the Aire and 
the Meuse, even past Bar le Due, as far as the points 
where they branch off from the plateau of Langres 
and the Faucilles, are named the Meuse Moimtains. 

All these lime and chalk hills assume the form of 
much-indented and wooded plateaux; and although 
they only rise up to a height of about 1000 to 1200 
feet above the level of the sea, they nevertheless,' 
when seen from the monotonous plains of Champagne, 
which have only an altitude of 400 to 500 feet, make 
a very considerable impression on the observer. 

Lately, agriculture, as well as cattle-farming and 
industry, has made great progress in these districts^ 
Woods have been cleared away, and where, even at 
the beginning of this century, only barely practicable 
paths existed, good carriage-roads now run. Among 
other places, this is the case also in the defiles of 
Grandpr^, La Croix aux Bois, and Le ChSne le Popu- 
leux, which Dumouriez, as late as 1792, called "the 
ThermopylfiB of France." 



COU]!n?RY BETWEEN THE MOSELLE AND PARIS. 3 

The Meuse rises neax Doinmartin in the eastern 
angle of the plateau of I^angres, where the FauciUes 
branch off to the eastward from it Dnring its course 
in France, which country it leaves at Givet, it runs 
mainly in a direction from south to north in a narrow 
and tortuous valley, shut in by steep and wooded banks. 

The Aisne and the Aire, which run into it, flow 
both from the Argonnes. The Aisne, which has been 
formed into a canal for the greater part of its course, 
and is connected with the Meuse by the Ardennes 
Canal, runs into the Oise at Compi^gne, which river 
again flows into the Seine. 

The Seine, and its tributaries on the right, the 
Aube and the Mame, all rise in the plateau of Langres, 
and, foUowing at first the north-westerly slopes, 
flow in broad valleys between its hills. At Troyes, 
Brienne, and Vitry le Francais, they enter the arid 
chalk-plains of Champagne in which their waters 
have worn deep-cut beds, and of which Chalons on 
the Mame may be considered the central point. The 
aspect of these districts is very mournful, there being 
but few villages and only a stunted vegetation. 

The Aube, which empties itself at St Just into the 
Seine, does not emerge again from- this plain ; but 
the Seine and the Mame, issuing from it, soon enter a 
hill-country, which, weU cultivated, attractive, smHing 
with signs of plenty, and offering most varied land- 
scapes, stretches away over Paris and around the 
French capital, and aided in some parts by art, pre- 



4 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

sents a peculiaxly chaxming appearance. As the 
ea^ Waary of thU dMc(L may taic . line 
drawn somewhere from Nogent on the Seine, by 
Sezanne, Vertus, Mareuil, to the east of Epemay, 
Sillery to the south-east of Rheims, Bery au Bac on 
the^ Aisne, -and Laon to La Fhve on the Oise. In this 
part of their course, also, the Seine and the Mame, and 
the tributaries joining them, flow all in deeply-cut 
channels. 

In this whole district there is no lack of strongholds. 
For the present we will leave the giant fortress of 
Paris, which is worthy of a more minute description, 
and occupy ourselves with the smaller places. 

On the Meuse we have in the first place Verdun, 
Sedan, M^zieres, and Givet. 

Verdun, a town of 13,000 inhabitants, is included 
in the Ust of fortresses of the first claBS. It lies on 
both banks of the Meuse, which here divides itself into 
five arms, by which the town is surrounded and tra- 
versed, like as is Metz by the branches of the Moselle. 
The citadel, a bastioned pentagon, lies altogether 
upon the left bank of the Meuse, upon a slight rise in 
the ground, and is connected by a retrenchment with 
the fortifications of the town. Verdun has no de- 
tached forts ; and as the valley, the sides of which 
are high, closes in rather near to the town, it does not 
now in any way fulfil the conditions required in a 
fortxess of the fiL class. 

Sedan, with 16,000 inhabitants, famous for its 



TOWNS ON THE MEUSE. 5 

cloth and machiiie manufactories, ranks as a fortress 
of the second class. The town proper, with its forti- 
fications, lies on the right bank of the Meuse ; and a 
few advanced works secure the nearest heights. The 
suburb Torcy, inhabited by operatives, stands upon 
the left bank, surrounded by a long line of works. 
Turenne was bom in Sedan. 

M^zieres, with about 6000 inhabitants, is a fortress 
of the second class, and has a citadel. 

Givet, with 6500 inhabitants, is called a fortress of 
the first class. It lies on both banks of the Meuse, 
and was fortified by Vauban. The citadel, Charle- 
mont, on an isolated hill 720 feet high, on the left 
bank of the Meuse, was built by Charles V. 

Rocroy, with 3000 inhabitants, is considered to 
belong to the second class. It does not lie on the 
Meuse, but about 4^ miles from it, upon a table-land 
which is surrounded on aU sides by swamps and the 
Wood of Ardennes. It is renowned in history as the 
site of the victorious battle which the French fought 
against the Spaniards on the 19th of May 1643. 

On the Chiers, a tributary on the right of the 
Meuse, stand Montm^dy, Carignan, and Longwy. 

Carignan, with old fortifications and 2000 inhabi- 
tants, belongs to the fourth class of fortresses. 

Montmddy, 2200 inhabitants, and a fortress of the 
second class, is composed of the lower town (Nieder- 
stadt) in the valley of the Chiers, and of the upper 
town (Oberstadt) upon a height above it, both on the 



6 THE WAR FOR THE RHD^ FRONTIER. 

right bank, and both surrounded with a continued 
line which is strengthened by bastions. 

Longwy, a fortress of the second class, with 3500 
inhabitants, is a regular hexagon, on the right bank 
of the upper Chiers, 23^ miles from ThionviUe. 

On the Aisne we find Soissons, on the Oise La Ffere, 
and between them Laon. 

Soissons, the old Roman Noviodunum, with 11,000 
inhabitants, has, as a passage across the Aisne, fre- 
quently played a part both in ancient and in modem 
military history. As a fortress it is in the present 
day absolutely worthless, although it is kept in the 
third class, and destined to receive a war garrison of 
1700 men. 

La Ffere, with 5000 inhabitants, a fortress of the 
second class, is of some impoitance because of its school 
of artillery and arsenal. 

Even if La F^re can be called a fortress — certainly 
a very insignificant one — ^the word can scarcely be 
employed in speaking of the town of Laon, with its 
10,300 inhabitants, although traces are still visible 
of an old enclosing wall, and it is provided with an 
ancient citadel, which was somewhat repaired by 
Louis Philippe, and although it is numbered among 
the places of the third class. The town itself, stand- 
ing upon a detached height, is certainly admirably 
Bilt^i for defeBoe. 

Following now the course of the Mamc, we come to 
yitry and Chalons. 



CHALONS. 7 

Vitry le Franjais has by old traditions always been 
kept up as a fortress of the third or fourth class. After 
the ancient town of Vitry en Perthois, at the junction 
of the Omain and Vifere, was burnt down by Charles 
V. in the year 1544, the community of Vitry le Brul^, 
the present Vitry le Franjais, was founded by Francis 
I. The town, which has now 8000 inhabitants, and 
is favourably situated, being at the point where the 
Rhine-Marne Canal branches from the river, has pre- 
served its old fortifications, which have from time to 
time been strengthened by the addition of earthworks; 
still, even with these, it could not offer the slightest 
resistance to the artillery of the present day. 

The town of Chalons on the Mame, with nearly 
20,000 inhabitants, a great manufactory of champagne, 
although it grows none, and rich in everything con- 
nected with the champagne trade, is not fortified. 
When, in the year 1867, the French system of fort- 
resses was subjected to a revision, which, however, 
was by no means thorough enough, the idea was 
originated of giving France a strong place in the 
chrpagae ZiJior tte pu^V cheeking a 
German invasion. For this Chalons and Rhemis were 
especially deemed to be suitable; but the Govern- 
ment wavered in its choice between the two, and in 
the year 1870 there had been nothing more said of 
its execution. Still Chalons must be here mentioned 
as a military point, because of its nearness to the 
great Camp which is called after it. 



8 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The terrain of this Camp, which is situated about 
seven miles to the north of the town of Chalons, between 
the villages of Mourmelon, Gross St Hilaire, Suippe, 
and La Cheppe, comprises about 12,000 hectares, or 
about 46,000 Prussian ^norgens, or more than forty- 
six square miles.* 

The ground was bought by the French Grovemment 
in 1867, at a price of 80 francs the hectare.t When 
the price of a morgen or juchxirt^ in the average dis- 
tricts of Germany or Switzerland, is thought of, it is 
easy to imderstand what is meant by the epithet in 
La Champagne PouiUeuse. 

It has been calculated by some lovers of arithmetic, 
that the area of the Camp of Chalons is 300 times as 
great as that of the Champ de Mars in Pans ; and 
that if it were cut up into strips three yards wide, 
it would suffice to compose a girdle which would 
encircle the earth. 

The first troops quartered in the Camp of Chalons 
were the Imperial Guard, under Regnault de St Jean 
d'Angely, in 1 85 7. In the same year the railway which 
connects it with the town was commenced, and in little 
more than two months the line was completed. 

From that time two or three series of French troops 
have been encamped and exercised in the Camp every 
year, each of them consisting of an Army Corps of 
about three divisions of infantry and one of cavalry, 
with the artillery appertaining thereto. 

* About 29,640 English aczes. f About 26b. an acie. 



THE CAMP OF CHALONS- 9 

The mass of the troops were always under canvas, 
and the horses stood, in the open ; but, naturally, a 
number of permanent or half-permanent establish- 
ments sprung up. 

Depots for the forces and magazines were built^ 
bakeries and hospitals were established^ and the of&cials 
of the administration were obliged to remain through 
the winter. Quarters were erected on an elevated 
spot for the Emperor and the General Staff; then 
barracks were built which could receive a division of 
infantry in the summer, and which in winter gave 
sufficient acconmiodation for tiie brigade left to guard 
the Camp and all pertaining to it during that season. 

The village of Mourmelon consisted, prior to 1837, 
of twelve miserable stone huts, which, if one takes 
the trouble to search for them, are still to be found. 
It has since developed into a species of town. En^ 
terprismg men established there shops and drink- 
ing-bars of all kinds, to supply the various wants 
of the soldiers in the summer and winter. They 
built houses also, in which the officers who were 
constrained to pass the inclement season there could 
find some degree of comfort. An imperial theatre 
was opened for the amusement of the soldiers, and 
the Emperor caused his own actors to perform there. 
The great brewer, Frau Dreher, sent there the 
Vienna beer-booth which had been used in the 
Exhibition of 1867. In short, an intelligent man» 
who knew how to look about properly, could finally 



10 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

find in Monrmelon aU he sought m weU aa in 
Paris. 

In countries where the civil and military element 
stand in close connection, as is the case in Swit- 
zerland and in Germany, men find it difficult to 
comprehend to the full the value of the Camp of 
Chalons to the French army. The Swiss and the 
Germans manoeuvre everywhere where they wish. 
The damage occasioned is afterwards very moderately 
assessed* The owner of the land does not make 
exorbitant demands ; and the troops carefully avoid 
doing any useless or avoidable injury. Up to the 
present time aU this has been very difierent in 
France; aaid therefore extensive Ixacte of land for 
purely military purposes are of greater importance. 
Latterly, too, the value of the Camp of Chalons has 
been increased by the circumstance that in most of the 
garrisons there were no shooting-grounds long enough 
for practice at the full range of the Chassepot. All 
that the French army required for^its great exercises 
could only be properly met with on the Catalaunian 
fields. 

The terrain, broadly considered, is a vast plain; 
but still, slight elevations and waves of the ground 
are not wanting to give concealment and cover to 
troops, and there are heights also which afibrd good 
positions for artillery. To make a little break in the 
monotonous uniformity of the chalk - steppe, small 
square groves of fir-trees have been planted here and 



THB CAMP OF CHALONS. 11 

there : these are numbered, and allow some variety 
and change to be introduced into the manoeuvres. 

The Camp of Chalons is also not fortified ; and, as 
far as we know, this has never been intended, although 
we have frequently heard from German sources that 
such was the case. The only work on the ground 
was the small fortification thrown up in 1870 near 
the farm of St Hilaire, for the purpose of exercising in 
siege operations. 

As is well known, the site of the present Camp was 
the theatre of the decisive battle which, in the year 
451, the Neo Eomans under Aetius fought with the 
Huns under Attila. The latter chief is said to have 
had his right wing in the village of Suippe, and his 
left in that of La Cheppe, near which, in the time of 
the Romans, stood a small temple of Minerva, which 
was converted by the Christians into a chapel of the 
holy St Moritz, and was only pulled down in 1820. 
Close to this runs the old Roman road from Rheims 
to Bar le Due, now a good highway; To the south 
of this road, and to the west of La Cheppe, the ruins 
of the old circimivallation may still be seen, called 
Attila's Camp, into which it is said the king of the 
Huns retreated after his defeat. Aetius had his 
right wing at Cuperly, the left towards St Remy; 
and the hill on which the battle first began was the 
elevation now called Piemont, which rises up about 
90 feet above the plain, to the east of the road from 
the town of Chalons to Suippe. 



12 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

These notes may not be uninteresting, as, after 
the first reverses in 1870, men of a poetical nature 
asserted that, as in the year 451, so in the year 1870, 
the invasion of the barbarians of the East would 
succumb here to the civilisation of the West. 

The principal lines of railway which we have to 
consider in this district are, besides the Paris- 
Strasburg line— 

1. The railway from Paris by Creil, La Ffere, Laon, 
to Rheims ; 

2. From Paris by Crepy, Soissons, and Fismes^ to 
Bheims ; 

3. From Bheims to Epemay ; 

4. From Eheims by Mourmelon, St Hilaire au 
Temple, to Chalons on the Mame, — ^the last two, 
tiierefore, join the Paris-Straaburg line; 

5. From St Hilaire au Temple by St M^n^ould to 
Verdun ; 

6. From Eheims by Rethel to M^zieres, with con- 
tinuations thence north-westwards by Avesnes to 
Valenciennes, northwards by Givet into Belgium, 
south-eastwards by Sedan and Montmedy to Thion- 
ville; 

7. From Soissons by Laon and Vervins into 
Belgium; and 

8. The line from Blesmes to the east of Vitry le 
Fran9ais by St Dizier and JoinviUe to Chaumont, 
joiniujg the Strasburg-Paris and the Basle-Paris 
lines. 



13 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

COKCENTRATION O? THE ARMT 0^ PABIS UNDEB MABSHAL 
STMAHON m THE GAMP OF CHALONS — ^MABCH OF M'MAHON 
NOBTHWABDS TO BELXEVE BAZAINB. 

We have seen how ori^olly only the 6th Corps, 
Canrobert, was assembled in the Camp of Chalons, 
whei^B Le Vassor SorvaFs division of infantry, and Bd- 
viUe's brigade of cavahy, which had in the first place 
remained in Paris, joined it on the 1st of August 

Shortly afterwards a number of the Mobile Guard 
were also concentrated in the Camp of Chalons. The 
main body of these was formed by the/18 battalions 
of the department of the Seine. These Mobiles were 
to be drilled and instructed in the Camp ; but the 
carrying out of this intention was attended with 
difficulties, as there was a lack of instructors and 
of arms. 

It has also been already related how Canrobert 
hurried with three of his divisions of infantry to the 
assistance of Bazaine. There remained then of the 
6th Corps in the Camp of Chalons only the greater 
part of Bisson's division, which had been obliged to 



14 THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

turn back at Frouard ; and of the cavalry of the Corps, 
the two brigades of Tilliard and Savaresse under 
General F^n^lon, for B^ville's brigade was still in 
Paris. 

When Palikao's Ministry came into office, it imme- 
diately caused a new Corps to be completed, the for- 
mation of which had been only in some slight man- 
ner commenced before. This was called the 12th ; 
and after this, all fresh embodiments were numbered 
from this one — and thus there were formed, later on, 
the 13th, 14th, &c., Corps. 

The original field army had, as we have seen, but 
seven Corps, besides the Guard; so that the 9th, 10th, 
and 11th Corps were wanting. These never existed ; 
and the only explanation that can be given of the 
method of enumeration adopted is, that the Ministry of 
Palikao wished to deceive the Germans, and perhaps 
the French themselves. In this they did not at first 
altogether fail ; but naturally, as soon as it came to real 
work, the hollowness of the stratagem showed itself. 

The command of the 12th Corps was given first 
to General Trochu. After he was, on the 17th of 
August, appointed Governor of Paris, it devolved on 
General Lebrun, who had left Bazaine's army when 
Marshal Leboeiif gave up his post a^ major-general. 

The Corps was composed of three divisions of in- 
fantry, Granchamp, Yassoigne, and Lacretelle, and of 
Lichtlin's division of cavaby, which was strength- 
ened by the two brigades, Vendeuvre and B^ville, 



CONCENTRATION OF FRENCH FORCES IN CHALONS. 15 

the latter of which, belonging originally to the 6th 
Corps, has been frequently mentioned by us. 

Granchamp's division consisted of two brigades of 
together four provisional or inarching regiments, each 
of three of the fourth battalions of the line regi- 
ments. 

Vassoigne's division was composed of two brigades 
of together four regiments of marine infantry, which 
had been originally destined for the expedition to the 
Baltic and North Sea. 

After the battle of Worth, M^Mahon retired with 
his own Corps, the troops of the 7th Corps, and the 
great reserve of cavalry which had joined him, by 
Saveme (Zabem), first along the railway by Nancy, 
upon Bar le Due. On the way he received the order 
to take command of the Army of Paris, which was to 
assemble in the Camp of Chalons, and which was to 
consist of the 1st, 5th, 7th, and 12th Corps, and of 
the part of the 6th Corps remaining there, which was 
to be used to complete the other Corps. 

M^Mahon now retired at first upon St Dizier and 
Joinville, towards the railway from Blesmes to Chau- 
mont, to draw in the part of the 7th Corps (Felix 
Douay) which still stood in the neighbourhood of 
Belfort, and to cover its movements. 

By the 16 th of August, the 1st Corps, the command 
of which had been given to Ceneral Ducrot in the 
place of M'Mahon, and the 7th Corps were in the 
Camp near the town of Chalons. 



16 THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The 6th Corps, De FaiUy, followed M*Mahon along 
the railway by Nancy, and then retired southwards 
by Mirecourt to La Marche and Montigny, towards 
Chaumont It received on the way divers orders 
from the headquarters in Metz : first it was directed 
to march upon Toul ; then to move by any route it 
pleased upon Paris ; and afterwards, when in the 
vicinity of Chaumont, it was called into the Camp of 
Chalons. Its main body was on the 1 8th of August 
at Vitry le Franjais, about to march into the Camp 
of Chalons. 

On the 15th of August, TiUiard's brigade of cavalry 
was sent to St M^n^hould. It was there placed under 
the orders of General Margueritte, who commanded 
the 1st brigade of Du Barrail's division (Chasseurs 
d'Afrique) of the great Cavalry Reserve, and was 
afterwards mortally wounded at Sedan. When the 
brigade of Tilliard came into the vicinity of Metz, 
it found the fortress already surrounded by the Ger- 
mans, and thereupon retreated towards M^Mahon's 
army again. 

Savaresse's brigade, which alone had remained with 
General F^n^lon in the Camp of Chalons^ was rein- 
forced on the 1 7th of August by the 4th regiment 
of Chasseurs d'Afrique, which had just arrived from 
Algeria. General F^n^lon had thus, after this day, 
three regiments of his division present, and with these 
he, later on, followed the 12th Corps. 

M'Mahon, or his present successor, General Ducrot, 



CONCENTRATION OF FRENCH FORCES IN CHALONS, 17 

had only about 22,000 men of the 1st Corps in the 
Camp of Chalons : these had in a great measure lost 
their knapsacks and a large part of their equipment 
and baggage. The division of Conseil Dumesml was 
in a similar plight. 

The whole army which M^Mahon could concentrate 
in those days in the Camp of Chalons may have 
numbered about 120,000 men, infantry and cavalry. 
We have often, in previous works, explained why we 
adhere to this way of reckoning. It must be remem- 
bered that by it we are always below the numbers 
given by those who count in all, gunners instead of 
^ eimeers. ta«n. all thelSeB of the ad- 
ministrative services, and also, where possible, men 
of the Sedentary National Guards, and other similar 
formations, with our way of calculating, errors will 
also unavoidably creep in, but in every case they will 
be less important and less considerable than when 
counting by the ration list, or when the numbers of 
two opposing armies are given on different principles 
—the one by the list of combatants, the other by the 
ration list. 

The comparatively numerous cavalry of M^Mahon 
—about 12,000 horses— was good, and in a great 
measure intact; but, in general, his army was not 
worth as much as that originaUy placed in the field, or 
as that which was now under Bazaine's orders in Metz. 

The 1st Corps had been greatly weakened, both 
materially and morally, by the battle of W&rth, and 

VOL. IL B 



18 THE WAR FOB THE BHINE FRONTIEB. 

thd subsequent tiying marches. The same was trae 
of Conseil Dumesnil's division. It was therefore re- 
solved that the Mobiles who were then at Chalons 
should make over their articles of equipment, espe^ 
cially their packs^ to these troops, and should be sent 
back to Paris ; and accordingly they left the Camp of 
Chalons on the 19th of August, and were concen- 
trated for the time being in the Camp of St Maur, 
near Paris. 

The 5th Corps had entirely lost confidence in its 
chief, General de Failly ; he was to be superseded by 
General Wimpffen, recaUed from Afidca : but although 
this general was in Paris by the 25th of August, he 
only joined the army very late, and, as we shall see, 
in the decisive hour of misfortune. 

The 12th Corps had been somewhat hurriedly 
gathered together, and could not possibly, however 
good the individuals of whom it was composed might 
be, have the same discipline that an older Corps would 
have. 

On the 17th of August the Emperor Napoleon 
arrived in the Camp of Chalons from Verdun. He 
greatly wished to repair to Paris ; but the Empress 
Eugenie, as well as the Count of Palikao, counselled 
him in a mannen so earnest that it amounted to 
rudeness not to take this step. In Paris men spoke 
no longer of the Emperor Napoleon, or of the Em- 
pire; no one troubled Mmself any more about the 
man or Ms concerns ; even the adherents of Imperial- 



' 



DOUBTS OP M'MAHON. 19 

ism mentioned them with shame. Stilly spite of this^ 
and although Palikao had, with a loud voice, publicly 
declared from the tribune that Bazaine alone, and 
none other, commanded the armies of Fnmce, Napo* 
leon III. was Emperor still, and still commanded. 
If the Mobiles of Paris expressed their opinion of him 
very candidly, and by their behaviour rendered his 
sojourn in the Camp unpleasant, yet the marahals of 
France still bowed down before him. 

The great question now was. What was to be un- 
dertaken with M'Mahon's army ? 

The Duke of Magenta himself was agitated by 
inward doubt. Without distrusting Bazaine, he was 
still doubtful as to the actual state of affairs about 
Metz; and it seemed to him unquestionably moro 
reasonable to employ his army to cover Paris, and 
rt the «une time to a.gm«.t L fo,<« by reWorc^ 
ments from the interior — ^for the formation of which^ 
the troops he still had would be an excellent nucleus 
•"-— than to risk an attempt upon Metz, an ei^terprise 
which could only have a promise of success if Bazaine 
was really able to free himself from the iron embrace 
of the Prussians. 

Could he do that ? At one time M^ahon beUeved 
he could, and then the matter appeared to him again 
extremely doubtful. The Count of Palikao mean- 
while urged continually by telegrams from Paris that 
M^Mahon should march upon Metz to relieve Bazaine. 
A retreat of M^Mahon upon Paris, he said, would 



20 THE WAB FOB tHE RHINE FROKTIEB. 

ineyitably be tlie signal for a revolution agsdnst the 
Empire. At the same time he sought, upon the foun* 
dation of imcertain reports, and by concealing and 
veiling what he knew of the truth, to strengthen any 
hope M'Mahon might have that Bazaine could break 
out of Metz by way of Briey. 

The Emperor Napoleon, as soon as he knew that 
he could not venture to return to Paris, supported 
Palikao's arguments, and M'Mahon made up his mind 
to undertake the enterprise; but still he was only half 
resolved. 

On the 21st of August he set the 1st and 12th 
Corps in motion northwards— in the first place, upon 
Rheims. A day's march in rear, followed the 7th and 
and 5th Corps. 

Fdn^lon's division of cavalry had been sent, on the 
20th of August, in the direction of Bar le Due, to ob- 
tain news of the enemy. Returning, it rejoined the 
army on the 23d at Betheniville, to the eastward of 
Rheims, which was as far as M^Mahon had by that 
date arrived. 

On the 20th of August the Emperor had held a 
review in the Camp, at which he had been very coldly 
received. 

On the 21st he repaired to Rheims, and established 
his headquarters at Courcelles, to the north-west of 
the town, near which he remained until the 25th, 
when he moved to R^thel. 

On the 24th of August, M^Mahon began to move 






MARCH OF M^MAHOK TO RELIEVE METZ. 21 

towardB E^thel ; thence, on the 26£h, he bent to the 
eastward towards the Argonnes. His march lay at 
first by ToTirteron to Le Ch6ne le Popideux. 

Here M'Mahon received, on the 27th of August, 
sure intelligence that the German armies had turned 
away northwards from the Strasburg-Faris railway to 
follow him— a movement which we shaU describe in 
the following chapter. Upon hearing this, M'Mahon 
wished to retire along the valley of the Aisne by 
Bethel and Soissons upon Paris, and thus to return to 
his former idea. 

Orders to this effect were actually issued, and at 
the same time M'Mahon informed Palikao of his in- 
tention. In reply, he immediately received directions 
from him to march to the relief of Bazaine, let what 
might happen, as such was the decision of a Council of 
Minis^rs ; and it was again reiterated that the retreat 
of M'Mahon upon Paris would be the signal for the 
instantaneous outbreak of a revolution there. The 
Emperor, who came on the morning of the 28th .of 
August to Le ChSne le Populeux, supported the; 
opinion of the Minister. A stormy scene ensued ; but 
^'Mahon yielded finally, and once more, on the 28th, 
set his army in motion in the direction of Mouzon 
on the Meuse. 

We will now leave for the present M'Mahon's army ; 
but a few remarks about its movements up to this 
time win be in their place here. 

When M^Mahon had once determined to march to 



22 THB WAR FOB THE RHIKE FRONTIER. 

the relief of Bazaine, every hope of success himg upon 
thiSy that the Crown-Prince should know nothing of 
the movement. 

With one part of his cavahy M^ahon could have 
formed a screen round the Camp of Chalons, while 
with the mass of his troops he should have maxched 
as rapidly as possible, to render it probable that he, 
in concert with Bazaine, would have to deal with the 
First and Second Armies alone, and not with the 
Third and Fourth also. Under such circumstances 
the troops might have been called upon for extra- 
ordinary exertions in marching. But this did not 
happen ; barely ordinary performances were required 
of them. 

From the direction of the march from B^hel upon Le 
Ch6ne le Fopuleux, it must be concluded that M'Mahon 
wished in the first place to march by Stenay upon 
Montmedy. From the Camp of Chalons, by Bethel 
and Stenay, this distance is 100 kilometres — 70 to 75 
miles. To assign 20 kilometres to the da/s march 
was certainly not to require too much under the cir- 
cumstances. Then the head of M'Mahon's army could 
have arrived on the 25th of August at Montmedy, 
and the last troops on the 26th. On the 29th, or at 
the latest on the 30th, he could have united with 
Bazaine before Metz — that is, if the latter broke 
through the investing lines — ^and have fought a battle 
with Prince Frederic Charles, who would then have 
ib^n no longer able to oppose him with equal forces. 



MARCH OF M^MAHON TO BELIEVE B£ETZ. 23 

Instead of such an operation, we see the head of 
M^Mahon's army only arriving at Mouzon on the 
28th of August 

It has ahready been related, at the end of the former 
volume, how the dispositions of the troops on the 
German side after the 19th of August extraordinarily 
favoured such a movement as that of M'Mahon's. 
We shall, later on, find these favourable opportunities 
recurring on other occasions and in other matters. 
Time was in this case more than ever golden. The 
slow advance of M'Mahon can only be explained by 
the inward doubts about the whole situation which 
he brought over with him from Africa, and which 
always clung to him-^doubts which, as the event 
proved, were only too well founded, and which the 
whole course of the war hitherto would certainly 
have strengthened. 

Looking at the general state of affairs brought 
about by the bad calculations, or rather by the com- 
mencement without any calculation at all, of the war 
on the part of the French, it can scarcely be assumed 
that a victory of M'Mahon at Metz would have had 
any vital influence upon the ultimate result of the 
campaign ; but it would certainly have caused delay 
in the German operations, and thus have revived the 
courage of the French people. 

In 1866 the Prussians sustaiued at least two, even 
if insignificant, defeats, at Langensalza and at Trau- 
tenau; in the campaign of 1870, they had hitherto 



24 THE WAR FOR !rHE RHINE FRONTIER* 

not experienced a single reverse — so many encounters 
and battles, so many victories. 

When M^Mahon evacuated the Camp of Chalons, 
he set on fire all its military establishments. Paris 
newspapers asserted that the conflagration was to be 
a signal to Bazaine that the Duke of Magenta was 
now speeding to his rescue. But as the distance from 
Metz to the Camp of Chalons is about 85 miles in 
a straight line, the conflagration could hardly have 
answered such a purpose, especially with the chains 
of heights which rise up between the two places, and 
the prevalence at that time of thick weather. Much 
more likely would it be a most unwisely-given signal 
to the nearer troops of the Third Army ; still even 
these did not remark it. 



25 



CHAPTER XIX. 

ADVANCE OF THB THIBD AlH) FOURTH ARMIES (GEBHAN) 
AGAIKST THE GAMP OF CHALONS— CHANGE OF THE DIBEC- 

. TION OF THEIB LINB OF OPERATIONS ON INTELLIGENCE 
BEING RECEIVED OF THE DEPARTURE OF M'MAHON. 

As the anny of the Crown-Prince of Prussia was 
advancing along the Strasburg-Paris line of railway, 
a new army, the Fourth or Meuse Army, was, as we 
passingly remarked, formed before Metz, and placed 
under the command of the Crown-Prince of Saxony, 
to advance on the right of the Crown -Prince of 
Prussia against M^ahon and the Camp of Chalons. 
At the same time, this army was directed to en* 
deavour to seize, in passing, the fortress of Verdun ; 
but it was not, if a ^rise was impossible, to delay 
its march before that place. 

This Fourth Army was composed of the Prussian 
Guard, of the 12th and 4th Corps, of the 5th division 
of cavalry (Rheinbaben), and of the 6 th division of 
cavalry (Duke William of Mecklenburg). 

The command of the 12th Corps was assumed by 
Prince George of Saxony in place of the Crown-Prince, 



26 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER* 

and that of Prince George's division, the 23d, by 
Major-General von Months. 

The 4th Coips stood already on the Strasburg-Paris 
railway in connection with the Army of the Crown- 
Prince of Prussia ; it naturally, therefore, became the 
left of the Army of the Meuse. 

The remaining troops of this new army left the 
neighbourhood of Metz on the 22d of August, the 
cavalry in advance, the 12th Corps on the right wing, 
with the Prussian Guard between it and the 4th Corps. 

The line of march of the 12th Corps was by Jeau- 
delize, Haudiomont, Dieue on the Meuse, upon Jub^ 
court. 

On the 23d of August the attempt upon Verdun 
was made : the 23d division of infanjay marched 
along the Estaui road, the 24th division of infantry 
along the Fr^sne road, upon the town. Whilst the 
advanced -guard of the 23d division occupied the 
north-east suburb, Pav4 the artillery ascended the 
heights, and thence bombarded the fortress, which 
was at once summoned to surrender. This was re- 
fused, and the Saxons having now fully oonvinoed 
themselves that there was no urgent necessity for the 
commandant to capitulate, continued their march. 
The 48th brigade remained on the 24th of August to 
observe the fortress, and was then on the 25th, on 
which day the headquarters of the Corps arrived at 
Jub^court, also withdrawn to the left bank of the 
Meuse to Lempire. 



ADVAKGE OF THE GERMANS ON CHALONS. 27 

Meanwhile the 6tih, and on its right the 5th divi- 
sions of cavahy, pushed forward towards Chalons 
on the Mame, and across the Meuse into the Ar* 
gonnes. 

The head of the 4th division of cavalry of the 
army of the Crown -Prince of Prussia appeared by 
the evening of the 24tiL before Yitry. On the 25th, 
when the greater part of the division had come up, the 
town was summoned to surrender. It capitulated 
at 1 1 A.M., and was then occupied by a squadron of 
the 5th regiment of dragoons of the 1 1th Corps, First 
Army. 

In the fortress were found only 300 unequipped 
Mobiles. Besides these, however, there were 5000 
stands of arms, 3000 side-arms, and 17 guns. 

The main body of the garrison, also consisting of 
Mobiles, had withdrawn, as the Germans advanced, 
to return to their homes. A part of the 6th division 
of cavalry came upon a crowd of them, numbering 
about 1000, on the 25th August, nineteen miles to 
the eastward of Chalons, at Epense. After a &w 
shells had been thrown among them, the Mobiles 
were attacked by t^e 15 th regiment of Uhlans, were 
routed, and a great number made prisoners. Many, 
besides, were killed by the sabre and the lance. From 
the Gkrman side it is related that these Mobiles were 
minded to surrender themselves, but not knowing 
what conventional sign would express their wish, had 
halted and formed square as well as they could, and 



28 THE WAB FOB THE RHINE FRONTIEB. 

that in this manner the superfluous attack of the 
German cavalry was occasioned. 

Is it not possible that the universal hatred of an 
invader for irregular formations of troops, of an arming 
of the people, also played a certain part here ? 

As a matter of fact, if such an arming of the people 
were prepared long beforehand by an energetic nation 
determined to resist to the last extreme — ^which was 
by no means the case in France — every war of inva- 
sioy would be rendered impossible. 

ITapoleon I. was just as enraged with the Prussian 
landwehr and landsturm, and with the Prussian 
Volunteer Corps of 1813, as with the Spanish guer- 
illas. 

On the 28th of August — ^that is, a few days after 
the affair at Epense — ^the King of Prussia issued the 
following proclamation from his headquarters at 
Clermont en Argonne: — 

" The Commander-in-Chief makes known to the 
inhabitants of the arrondissement, that every prisoner 
whowiahea to be seated as a prisoner ofVar must 
prove his quality of French soldier by an order 
addressed to himself personally by the legitimate au- 
thorities, showing that he is duly entered on the list 
of a corps militarily organised by the French Govern- 
ment. At the same time, the military position which 
he holds in the army must be made recognisable by 
military and uniform marks which are inseparable 
from his equipment, and visible to the naked eye at 



ADVANCE OF THE OESMAITS ON CHALONS. 2d 

rifle-range. Individuals who have taken up arms 
without complying with these conditions wiU not be 
treated as prisoners of war. They wiU be tried by a 
conrt-maxtial, and if not found guilty of any crime 
which entails a severer punishment, will be sentenced 
to ten years' penal servitude, and detained in Germany 
until after the execution of such punishment/' 

The French Government could certainly easily 
supply to their Mobiles a ticket as demanded in this 
proclamation, though there would alwa3rs be a risk of 
its being lost But it woidd indubitably have been 
more pleasant to the men, and it would have been 
better in all other respects, to have received, instead 
of the miserable clothing of which we have before 
spoken, cloth clothes — ^in short, the imiform which had 
been prescribed for the Mobile Guard at the time of 
its institution. But just in this respect an unpar- 
donable and incredible negligence and slowness were 
evinced, of which, even at the end of October, we have 
numerous examples. 

The army of the Crown-Prince of Prussia advanced 
along the Strasburg-Paris railway, and the head of 
its columns of infantry reached the neighbourhood 
of Vitry le Fran9ais on the 25th of August. The 
Crown-Prince had left Toul on one side, and it was 
for the present watched by a detachment of the 4th 
Corps, which shortly afterwards was relieved. The 
attack on the fortress we shall consider later on. 

The Prussian cavalry, hastening on before the 



80 . THE WAB FOB THE RHINE FBONTIEB. 

fumy, occupied the town of Chalons without any 
resistance on the 24th of August^ to the great dismay 
of the Parisians^ who would gladly have seen the 
open town defend itself. On the following day a 
slight skirmish took place at the railway station at 
Epemay between a patrol of Prussian cavalry and 
some French engineer soldiers and Turcos who 
chanced to be there, and whose conduct was most 
highly extolled in the Paris journals. But the towns^ 
people in Epemay did not take up arms. 

The King of Prussia wished to be present- in person 
at the operations of the two Crown-Princes agarost 
Chalons, and, as was now assumed, against Paris. 
He moved his headquarters, therefore, on the 23d 
of August, to Commercy, on the Strasburg-Paris line, 
the town which is fioted for its confectionery, espe- 
cially for its " Madeleines." 

On the 24th of August the King advanced more 
northwards to Bar le Due, the place where are made 
the sweetest gooseberry and raspberry preserves. 

He was still there, wh^n, on the evening of the 25th, 
reliable intelligence was received that M'Mahon had 
evacuated the Camp of Chalons^ and was marching 
off towards the north. 

M^Mahon had therefore four days' start, an abnost 
inestimable stroke of good fortune; but we know 
already how little use was madie of it. 

It was instantly resolved in the headquarters of the 
King of Prussia to follow the Marshal, to stop his 



WBEJEJj OF THE GEK&CANS KORTHWABDS. 31 

march upon Metz if possible, and, if this could no 
longer be effected, to at least arrive there close upon 
his heels. 

To be able to accomplish this, the two armies of the 
Crown-Princes of Saxony and Prussia, which were at 
that moment marching upon Paris— that is, were 
fronting to the west — must change front to the 
north. 

On the 25th they were, broadly speaking, deployed 
upon one line, having their right wing, the Saxon 
Corps, at Clermont en Argonne, and their left, the 
11th North German Corps, at Vitry le Frangais. 

The change of front, therefore, required a great 
wheel to the right, in which the 12th Corps was the 
pivot, and which would bring the two armies, from 
the front, Clermont en Argonne, Vitry le Fran9ais, 
upon a front, Clermont-Suippe. 

It would undoubtedly have been an error to have 
allowed the right wing to remain stationary until the 
wheel to the right should be completed. For this 
flank was nearest to the French ; and even if it could 
not trust itself to fight a decisive battle alone, it was 
at least desirable that it should annoy the enemy mov- 
ing northwards, and thus retard his march, whilst the 
Corps of the German centre and left (wheeling) wing 
hurried up with all speed, and by the shortest roads, 
to take up their positions on the newly-defined front. 

In accordance with this view, new instructions 
were given to the two Crown - Princes during the 



32 . THE WAB FOB THE RHINE rRONTIER, 

night firom the 25th to the 26th of August, and ou 
the 26th of August the King moved his headquarters 
to Clermont en Argonne, to be as near as possible to 
the events which were about to take place. 

Paris, which had expected to see the German 
cavahy at its gates by the 1st of September, gained 
by this change of operations a respite of at least 
fourteen days. 



J 



33 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE SKIRMISHES OF BUZANCY ON THE 27TH OF AUGUST AND 
OF NOUART ON THE 29TH OF AUGUST, AND THE ENCOUNTER 
AT BEAUMONT ON THE 30TH OF AUGUST. 

In consequence of the fresh orders issued, the 12th 
(Saxon) Corps marched on the 26th of August from 
its position at Clermont and Jub^court northwards to 
Varennes, whence it was to gain the line of the Meuse, 
and by moving down the river retard the French in 
their probable passage of it. Accordingly, on the 
27th, the 24th (Saxon) division was at Dun, on the 
right bank of the Meuse, having the 48 th brigade 
and the 2d regiment of cavalry pushed forward to 
Stenay. These troops remained there until the 29 th. 
Orders were also given for the whole of the 24th 
division ix) follow; but before the movement was com- 
menced, counter-orders were received, and the division 
was directed to march upon Nouart, on the left bank 
of the Meuse. 

During this advance, the 24th brigade of cavalry 
made a reconnaissance in a north-westerly direction 
towards Youziers and Buzancy. In executing it, it 

VOL. II. 



34 THE WAB FOR TH]S RHINE FRONTIER. 

came upon the 12th French regiment of Chasseurs 
belonging to the 5th Corps (De Failly); sent for- 
ward against it a battery of horse-artillery, and then 
attacked with the greater part of the 3d regiment of 
cavalry. 

The French were routed. From the prisoners 
brought in it was ascertained that a great part of 
M^Mahon^s army was still in the vicinity of Vouziers 
on the right bank of the Aisne. And such was 
actually the case; for on the 27th the 7th French 
Corps was directed upon Vouziers, the 5th upon Ger- 
mont and Belleville, the 12th upon Le Ch^ne, the 
1st from Yoncq upon Terrou (but it received after- 
wards counter-orders), whUe Bonnemain's division was 
moved to the left flank towards R^theL 

Accordingly, while the 12th North German Corps 
marched upon Nouart, the other Corps of the Army of 
the Meuse and of the Third Army were directed upon 
Buzaucy and Vouaiers. 

' On the 29th, the 12th French Corps crossed the 
Meuse at Mouzon, the 1st marched upon Ra^ucourt, 
the 5th upon Beaumont, the 7th received orders to 
move to La Besace, but only reached Oches, Mar- 
gueritte's division arrived at Mouzon and Carignan, 
and Bonnemain's at Sommauthe, 

On the same day the King of Prussio. established 
his headquarters at Grandpr^ ; the Emperor Napoleon 
in Stonne, an unimportant village on the road from 
Le Chdne le Populeux by Beaumont to Mouzon ; 



SEIBMISH AT KQUART. 35 

and the Crown-Prince of Prussia at Sennc on the 
Aisne, 3^ miles to the south-west of Grandprd. 

Meanwhile the Saxons, marching from Dun to 
Nouart, came upon De Faillj at the latter place. 
An advanced-guard aflFair ensued, which wm carried 
on on the German side by the 46th brigade of in- 
fantry. The French retreated, covered by their rear- 
guard, northwards through the Bois des Dames to- 
wards Beaumont. 

The day before, on the 28th of August, the 4th 
division of cavalry, on the left wing of the Germans, 
had encountered at Vouziers the French, who were 
marching off, but the latter declined to give battle. 

After the events of the last days, and after hearing 
the intelligence which had been obtained, the German 
headquarters deemed it to be not impossible that 
M^Mahon, when he found that he would not be able 
to succeed in marching upon Metz, would seek refuge 
in the neutral territory of Belgium. To prevent this, 
it was resolved to foUow him vigorously, and force 
him to turn and fight once again in the angle between 
the Meuse and the Ardennes Canal. 

To this end dispositions for the 30th of August 
were issued on the evening of the 29th ; but before 
giving them, we must narrate briefly the positions of 
the several Corps of the two German armies on the 
last-named day. Taking them from right to left, 
they stood as follows : — 

1. The Army of the Meuse : 



36 THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBONTIEB. 

The 12th Corps to the east of Nouart^ towards La 
Neuville ; 

The 4th Corps to the north of Landres, 7 miles to 
the west of Dun ; 

The Guard in the second line, behind the two for- 
mer Corps, at Dun on the Meuse. 

2. The Third Army, Crown-Prince of Prussia : 

The 1st Bavarian Corps, Von der Tann, with the 
2d division at Sommerance, behind the left wing of 
the 4th North German Corps, and the 1st division 
more to the west at St Juvin, on the road from Var- 
ennes to Grandpr6 ; 

The 2d Bavarian Corps, Hartmann^ at Fl^ville, 
behind the 1st ; 

The 5th North German Corps, Kirchbach, at Bri- 
quenai, and to the north thereof, at Authes ; 

The WUrtemberg division, Obemitz, at Boult au 
Bois, to the west of Briquenai ; 

The 11th North German Corps, G^rsdorflf, at Vou- 
ziers; 

The 6th North German Corps, Tumpling, which 
had only very recently been drawn from Germany 
and attached to the Third Army, stood a day's march 
to the south of Vouziers, on the roads from St M^n^ 
hould and Suippe : 

The four divisions of cavalry.-namely, the 2d— 
which, like the 6th Corps, had only just been called up 
into the first line — ^the 4th, the 5th, and the 6th, all 



MOVEMENTS ON THE 30TH OP AUGUST. 37 

stood together on the extreme left, about Vouziers and 
towards the Aisne, between Semuy and Bethel. 

To these troops, then, thus situated, the following 
orders were given for the 30th of August : — 

The 12th Saxon Corps was directed upon Beau- 
mont — ^the 23d division by way of La Neuville, the 
24 th by Beaufort through the wood of Dieulet 

The 4th, from Landres through the wood of Dieulet 
upon Beaumont ; 

The Prussian Guard was to follow these two in 
reserve along the Mouse ; 

The 1st Bavarian Corps upon Beaumont, the 2d 
Bavarian to follow it ; 

The 5 th North German Corps to the left of the 1st 
Bavarian, upon Pierremont and Oches ; 

The 2d division of cavalry upon Buzancy, to sup- 
port the centre ; 

The Wtirtemberg division upon Le ChSne le Popu- 
leux; 

The 11th North German Corps by Vouziers and 
Quatre Champs, also upon Le ChSne le Populeux ; 

The 4th division of cavalry was to follow the 11th 
Corps to Quatre Champs, and to bend thence to the 
north-eastward by Chatillon upon Oches ; 

The 6th division of cavalry was to move upon Semuy, 
and push forward its outposts as far as Bouvellemont 
(Boullemont) to the north, and observe from that 
place in the direction of M^zieres ; 



38 THE WA£ FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The 5th division of cavahy, advancing to Tour- 
teron, was to wateh the highway towards Le Ch^ne le 
Populeux ; 

The 6th North German Corps was to march upon 
Vooziers, and go into cantonments about that place 
towards the south and south-west, in the direction 
of Eheims and the Camp of Chalons. 

The King of Prussia removed his headquarters to 
Varennes, famous through the flight and capture of 
Louis XVI.; and the two Crown-Princes repaired in 
the morning to the site of the expected battle. 

With the knowledge which we have of the actual 
marches of the French, and of the existing intentions 
of M'Mahon, the direction given to the left wing of 
the Germans may appear to be somewhat too diver- 
gent towards the west. But the Germans on the 
29th of August could not know all that we know 
to-day. Had not M'Mahon, as late as the 27th» 
still intended to commence a retreat firom Paris I 
Was it not possible that, when he arrived at a know* 
ledge of the true state of affairs, he might return to 
his original idea, and attempt to carry it out in some 
way or other ? It is not a good thing to have to say 
in war, " I did not think of that.'' Therefore the em- 
ployment of the 6th Corps in its post of observation of 
Eheims and Chalons was not without good grounds. 

Immediately after the commencement of the forma- 
tion of the 12th Corps (Trochu, afterwards Lebrun), 
a 13th Corps also was begun in Paris under General 



POSITIONS OF THE FRENCH ON THE 30TH OF AUG. 39 

Vinoy. This was to consist of three divisions of in- 
fantry and one di^'isio^l of cavalry. By about the 
23d of August, at least two of its divisions of infantry, 
composed of fourth battalions, were gathered together, 
under Gelierals d^Ex^ and Polhes, and a cavalry 
division under Rdyau. 

On the 23d of August the Emperor Napoleon tele- 
graphed from Courcelles, near Rheims, to the Coxmt 
of Falikao : — 

" It is very important that strong forces should be 
directed upon Bheims, which is the junction and main 
point of the railways, to prevent hostile patrols cutting 
oflF our communications 1 '' 

Palikao thereupon immediately sent thither, by way 
of Laon, a detachment of Vinoy 's Corps — D^Exda 
division. This, it is true, arrived too late to take 
any share in the decisive operations ; but the move- 
ment shows that the Grermans did well to provide 
against the possible arrival of supports from Paris to 
the aid of M^Mahon. 

On the French side, on the 30th of August, the 
12th Corps, Lebrun, with its own division of cavalry, 
Lichtlin, and also that of F^n^lon, stood at Mouzon 
on the right bank of the Meuse, Lichtlin's horse being 
placed under the command of F^n^lon. Marshal 
M'Mahon was also in Mouxon, and the Emperor 
Napoleon on the same day moved thither his head- 
quarters from Stonne. 

The 7th French Corps was at 1 1 a.m. on the march 



40 THE WAR FOB THE RHIKE FRONTIER. 

northwards towards Villers devant Pont below Mou- 
zon^ and had only a weak rear-guard between Oches 
and La Berli^re. 

The 1st French Corps was at the same time moving 
towards Kemilly, while the 5th Corps, De Failly, was 
engaged in cooking close to Beaumont, and having 
only airived there that morning after a long nighO 
march, was not keeping a very vigilant look-out 

The head of the 1st Bavarian Corps, the 4th 
brigade, of the 2d diyision, marching by way of Som- 
mauthe, arrived at about 11 a.m. in the vista be* 
tween the woods of Dieulet and Beaumont. Thence 
they saw the camp of De Failly's troops. Von der 
Tann at once brought forward a few batteries, and 
opened fire upon it The shells aroused the French 
from their quiet repose (this time they were surprised 
by artillery), and De Failly at once ordered a retreat 
to be commenced as speedily as possible, leaving be- 
hind the whole of his baggage and camp equipage. 

Hereupon Von der Tann at once sent the 4ih 
brigade forward in pursuit, and on its left the 3d, 
as soon as it came up ; while at the same time the 
head of the 4th North German Corps, advancing to the 
east of Beaumont, appeared on the right of the 4th 
Bavarian brigade. 

De Failly retreated fighting upon Toncq, where 
the Bavarians captured two guns. 

Von der Tann, meanwhile, as soon as his 1st division 
came up, sent it forward upon La Besace to attack 



ENCOUNTER AT BEAUMONT, 41 

thence the right flank of the French ; but this move- 
ment was executed a little too late. More decisive 
was that of the 4th North German Corps, which 
threatened to cut oflF De Fallly from the Meuse, and 
was supported by four battalions and two batteries 
from the 2d division of the Bavarians ; for, pushing 
forward against De Failly's left flank, it compelled 
him to change the direction of his retreat, and 
to fall back by Pouron and Brouhan upon Villers 
devant Mouzon, instead of retiring direct upon Mou- 
zon, where he would have found his nearest support. 

From the 7th Corps De Failly had not received 
any support, for it had continued its retreat upon 
the Meuse without halting. 

When the fight between De Failly and the 4th 
North German Corps neared the neighbourhood of 
Mouzon, General Lebrun desired to support the former 
from the right bank by passing over his whole Corps 
to the left of the Meuse; and Lichtlin's division 
of cavalry, and Grandchamp's of infantry, were already 
across, when Marshal M'Mahon caused the movement 
to be stopped. 

Lichtlin's division attacked the Prussians, but 
encountered infantry in good order, and, sufiering 
much from its fire and from that of the artillery, was 
obliged to withdraw. But still its attack, and the 
French artillery fire from the right bank of the 
Meuse, which did not cease until 8 P.M., gained some 
time for De Failly, so that he was able to reach Villers 



42 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

devant Mouzon and cross to the right bank of the 
Meuse comparatively unmolested. 

To the left of the Bavarians, the advanced-guard, 
and some of the artillery of the 5th North German 
Corps, advancing from Buzancy agsiinst Oches, had 
come under fire about noon. But the French detach- 
ment at Oches was not willing to continue the action, 
and as soon as it heard the cannonade on its left 
flank, and almost in its rear, commenced a hurried 
retreat through Storme, to which place the Prussian 
advanced-guard pushed forward. 

The 1st French Corps (Ducrot) reached Carignan 
on the 30th of August between 3 and 4 p.m. 



BA 



43 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE BATTLE OF SEDAN OK THE 1ST OF SEPTEMBEB. 

MaksfaTi M'Mahon ordered the concentration of all 
his Corps upon the heights around the fortress of Sedan 
and upon the right bank of the Meuse to be effected 
upon the 31st of August 

The Emperor Napoleon, oppressed probably with 
evil forebodings, had sent his young son into secu- 
rity in Belgium, not wishing to expose him to the 
real work of a battle. He himself left Mouzon on 
the evening of the 30th of August, and, joumepng 
through the night to Carignan, and thence to Sedan, 
reached the latter place about 10 A.M. 

The King of Prussia, after receiving the report 
of the proceedings of the 30th, despatched, on the 
evening of that day, the following order from his 
headquarters in Varennes : — 

" The Army of the Meuse (Crown - Prince of 
Saxony) will prevent the French left wing from 
escaping to the east between the Meuse and the 
Belgian frontier. The Third Army (Crown-Prince 
of Prussia) wiU continue its march northwards and 



44 THE WAE FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

attack the French wherever they may make a stand 
on the left bank of the Mense ; for the rest^ it will 
operate against their front and right flank in such a 
manner as to hem them in between the Meuse and 
the Belgian frontier/' 

In compliance with these instructions, the Crown- 
Prince of Saxony caused the Prussian Guard, and 
afterwards the Saxon horsemen, to cross to the right 
bank of the Meuse at Prouilly; the 12th Corps was 
to effect the passage by a bridge of boats at L^tanne ; 
and the 4th Corps, which was far in advance, was to 
move from the neighbourhood of Mouzon down the 
left bank of the Meuse. 

On the evening of the 31st of August, the Guard 
stood at Carignan on the right bank of the Chiers, with 
its outposts at Pouru aux Bois and Pouru St Remy ; 

The 12th Corps at Douzy (24th division of in- 
fantry) and Mairy, with its outposts from Pouru St 
JRemy to the mouth of the Rullebach in advance of 
Douzy ; 

The 4th Corps on the left bank of the Meuse 
opposite Torcy, a fortified suburb of Sedan. 

The Prussian cavalry of the Guard and the Saxon 
horsemen rendered the railway from Carignan to 
Sedan unsafe. The Prussians crossed to the right 
bank of the Chiers at Sailly and Carignan. The 
Saxon division of cavalry, after it had crossed the 
Meuse on the 31st of August at Prouilly, remarked 
from the Bois de Yaux a quantity of trains standing 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEFTEMBEB. 46 

in the railway station at Carignan ready to be 
despatchecL Its batteries at once opened fire upon 
them, and then descended the left bank of the Chiers 
towards Douay. When in the neighbourhood of 
Brevilly, French waggon - trains were seen on the 
highway on the right bank of the Chiera The 
cavaby regiment of the Saxon Guard at once crossed 
the river and went in pursuit, but could not overtake 
the convoys, as it met with a fire of musketry from 
the French infantry and fix)m the inhabitants of 
Poun. St Een^y. 

The 1st Saxon regiment of Uhlans, No. 17, on the 
other hand, succeeded in penetrating into Douzy, after 
the horse-artillery battery had shelled the place, and 
captured 40 waggons, the railway trains, and a num- 
ber of prisoners. The French escort, vigorously pur- 
sued aa f ar as Francheval, retired upon Douzy. 

Of the army of the Crown-Prince of Prussia, the 
1st Bavarian Corps was also, in pursuance of the 
above order, to march on the 31st of August upon 
Semilly on the Meuse, and the 2d Bavarian Corps 
was to follow it to Boncourt 

The 1st Bavarian Corps had the 1st brigade and 
two batteries at its head; then followed the 2d 
brigade, the reserve artillery of the Corps, and, lastly^ 
the 2d division (3d and 4th brigades). 

At 9.30 A.M., the advanced - guard of the Corps 
arrived on the left bank of the Meuse near Bemilly^ 
and thence saw the French columns of the 12th Corps 



i$ .THE WAR FOB THB ,BHINE FRONTIER. 

and the cavalry moving along the other bank towards 
Sedan by way of Mairy, Douzy, and Bazeilles. The 
jtwo batteries, which were joined by the artiUery from 
the reserve as soon as intelligence was received of 
what was going on, came speedUy into action, and 
opened fire upon the French. These answered with 
their artillery, but without eflfect, for the Bavarian 
guns proved to be far superior in ax^curacy and 
range. 

At Bazeilles the railway crosses from the right to 
the left; bank of the river, and only returns to its 
original side above Donchery. The 4th and 9th 
battalions of the Bavarian Rifles, inclining to their 
left at Remilly, had succeeded in obtaining possession 
of the railway bridge of Bazeilles, but could not 
penetrate further into the town, owing to the heavy 
fire from Chassepots and mitrailleuses— a fire. which, 
it appears, was delivered in paxt by the inhabitants 
of the houses. 

Yon der Tann therefore drew back these battalions 
to the left bank, resolving to defer the attack in 
earnest upon Bazeilles until the Crown -Prince of 
Saxony should descend the right bank of the Meuse ; 
and to this end he caused two pontoon-bridges to be 
Ijhrown across the river near Remilly. 

In the interim the French made an attempt to blow 
>ip the railway bridge of Bazeilles, but this was frus- 
Ijrated by the Bavarian Rifles. 
, After a while Von der Tann received the news. 



BATTLB OF 8EDAK, 1ST OF SEPTEMBER. 47 

that the Crown-Prince of Saxony would not be able 
to attack in force on the 31st of August. Thereupon 
he ordered the greater part of the Ist division to 
remain in the position which it had taken up^ caused 
the raUway bridge to be barricaded, and bivouacked 
towards evening with the remainder of his Corps 
between Bemilly and Angecourt. The 2d Bavarian 
Corps encamped near Roncourt 
; The 5th North German Corps stood on the same 
evening (the 3 Ist of August) at Ch^hery; the 11th 
between Fr^nois and Yillers sur Bar, opposite Don- 
chery; the Wtirtemberg division at Boutancourt, to 
the south-west of Dom le MesniL 

The 6th North German Corps was to move forward 
to Attigny and Semuy, on the Aisne and Ardennes 
Canal, whence it could be easily pushed forward in 
a north-westerly direction shotdd M'Mahon by any 
chance be again seized with the idea of attempting 
to gain Paris ; and in this case it would be supported 
by the divisions of cavalry which were patrolling in 
the neighbourhood 

For the 1st of September, the Crown-Prince of 
Prussia gave the following directions to the Third 
Army : The 1st Bavarian Corps was to cross the 
Meuse at Bemilly and attack Bazeilles ; the 2d Bava- 
rian Corps was to post itself below BazeiUes at Wade- 
Hncourt and Fr^nois — either to support the 1st 
Bavarians or to keep up the connection between it 
and the lllh North German Corps, at the same tijne 



48 THE WAR FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

observing the fortified suburb of Torcy before Sedan ; 
the 1 Ith North German Corps was to cross the Meuse 
at Donchery, to advance northwards upon Vrigne aux 
Bois^ and to wheel there to its right (eastwards) 
against St Menges; the 5th Corps and the 4th 
division of cavalry were to follow the movement of 
the 11th Corps; the Wiirtemberg division was to 
remain at Donchery, partly to act as a general re- 
serve^ partly to be in readiness to resist a possible 
sortie of the French from M^zieres. 

In compliance with these instructions^ the 11th 
Corps, in the course of the 31st of August, threw two 
bridges* across the Meuse at Donchery, and commenc- 
ing at once the passage of the river, stood by day- 
break of the 1 st of September in full strength on the 
right bank of the Meuse. 

The advices which were received of the extremely 
lively retreat of the French during the 31st of August, 
awakened much anxiety in the headquarters of the 
King, lest M'Mahon should be purposing to avoid the 
decisive battle by retreating in some one or other 
fitting direction. 

This care was certainly, as a matter of fact, with- 
out any cause. On the evening of the 31st, M^Mahon 
did not in any way believe that there was a consider- 
able force of Germans in his vicinity, and the French 
troops therefore eik^mped around Sedan : the 7th 
Corps on the right, towards St Menges and Floing, 
having the cavalry reserve in rear of its left wing ; 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEPTEMBER. 49 

the 12th Corps towards Bazeilles; the 1st Corps to- 
wards Daigny and Francheval ; and the 5th Corps on 
the heights to the north of Sedan, it not even being 
deemed necessary to communicate to them orders for 
the following day. 

Nevertheless the German headquarters did right to 
assume that if M^Mahon really recognised his posi- 
tion on the 31st of August, he would make every 
effort to escape from it by some means or other. The 
means might be badly chosen, but the desire must be 
supposed to be present. 

The King of Prussia, therefore, commanded that 
even during the night, from the 31st of August to the 
1st of September, three divisions of the left wing 
(Army of the Crown-Prince of Prussia) should pass 
over the Meuse, to be able to deploy at daybreak in 
readiness to advance northwards to an attack upon 
the road from Sedan to M^zieres. This order was 
communicated to the Crown-Prince of Saxony, and 
was already more than half executed ; for, as we have 
seen, the 11th Corps was occupied during the night 
in question in crossing the river. It only remained, 
then, to transport across one more division, and for 
this the Wiirtemberg was chosen. It was directed 
to pass over the river between Dom le Mesnil and 
Nouvion, and to take up a position to the north of 
the latter place at Viviers au Court, awaiting there fur- 
ther orders for its employment in either an easterly or 
westerly direction. At daybreak the Wiirtembergers 

VOL, II. D 



50 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

threw a pontoon-bridge across at the point indicated, 
and at 6 A.M. began to cross over by it At 9 A.M. 
the head of the division entered Viviers au Court 

The Crown-Prince of Saxony, for his part, as soon 
as he received intelligence of this movement from the 
royal headquarters, at once ordered the troops of the 
Army of the Meuse to be alarmed By 5 a.m. on the 
Ist of September the Prussian Guard and the 12 th 
(Saxon) Corps were to be upon the line Pouru aux 
Bois-Pouru St Kemy-Douzy, ready to advance 
against the French front Givonne-MonceUe, Of the 
4th Corps, the 7th division was to post itself in 
reserve at Mairy, but the 8th and the reserve of 
artillery were to move towards Bazeilles to support 
the 1st Bavarian Corps. 

From the positions of the French, and firom the 
dispositions of the Germans, it followed that the 
former had a clear front of about six miles, and that 
on this they must, during the forenoon hours of the 
1st of September, be driven together by seven and a 
half German Corps — ^by a collective force of from 
170,000 to 180,000 men, to which they could at the 
most oppose a body of 120,000 men. 

That the whole of M'Mahon's army could cut its 
way through the Germans was impossible. It must 
in any case have left behmd considerable portions to 
retard the pursuit of the Germans at some points^ 
while the main body, following in some degree the 
example set by Blucher in 1814 at Champeaubeit- 



BATTLE OP SEDAN, IST OP SEPTEMBER. 51 

Etoges, forced a passage through the line elsewhere 
and won its retreat sword in hand. But let the 
march of this portion be then directed whither it 
might be, the Germans would, after they had once 
come up, have remained constantly by M^Mahon's 
side; and if they had simply contented themselves 
with molesting him with their cavahy and artillery, 
which no longer permits Xenophontian retreats, he 
would yet have suffered enormous losses, and on the 
third or fourth day German leadership would cer- 
tainly have attained anything it might have failed to 
accomplish on the first 

And whither was M*Mahon to retreat ? With the 
forces which, in the existing state of things, he could 
convey away, and with these closely followed by 
a German army, he could, instead of being free to 
attack the blockading troops, under the most favour- 
able circumstances only have thrown 40,000 to 50,000 
men into the lines of Metz, and thereby would have 
brought rather a burden than relief to Bazaine. 

Or could he have fallen back upon any other free 
fortress to draw breath for a while, and then again 
seek farther safety in flight ? 

There is, as we know, no lack of fortresses in this 
neighbourhood ; but these small nests are not adapted 
to afford a harbour of refuge to a large army. The 
nearest stronghold which could in any way be made 
to serve as such was Lille. But Lille is 108 miles 
from Sedan. 



. I 



62 THE WAB FOR THE BHINE FBONTDSR. 

A comparatiyely easier expedient remained. The 
Belgian firontier is only five miles distant from the rear 
of the position at Sedan on the road to Bouillon. It 
cannot be doubted that, if the French had come to 
the determination early on the morning of the 1st 
of September, they could have succeeded in reaching 
Belgian territory, and that, too, without very severe 
fighting. But then they must have permitted them- 
selves to be disarmed and interned by the Belgians ; 
and French pride revolted against this. A few French 
detachments might adopt this plan, but not a whole 
French army. In short, M*Mahon's troops were 
doomed. 

The fatal battle was begun by the 1st Bavarian Corps. 
General von der Tann had certainly received general 
instructions not to advance to a decisive attack untU 
he was sure of support from the Aimy of the MeuBe, 
especially from the 12th (Saxon) Corps; but it was, 
nevertheless, to be permitted to him to capture 
Bazeilles, even during the night before the 1st of 
September, if it should seem to him to be feasible to 
do so; and in that case he was to be free to manoeuvre 
further from that place when the fitting moment 
should arrive. 

The large village of Bazeilles, built entirely of 
stone, contains the old castle in which Turenne spent 
his youth, and also another one of more recent date. 

At 4 A.M. a thick fog hung over the scene, and 
Von der Tann set his troops in motion to attack 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEPTEMBER. 53 

BazeiUes, in and behind which Vassoigne's division 
of marine infantay of Lebnin's Corps were posted. 

At the head of the Bavarians marched the 1st 
brigade (Dietl) ; the 2d brigade (OrflF) followed ; and 
then came the 2d division (3d and 4th brigades). 

Very soon afterwards the struggle for BazeiUes 
began. The Bavarians penetrated into the village 
and were driven out again by the French ; then the 
former received reinforcements, and in their turn re- 
pulsed the temporary victors. Soon the fight raged 
furiously in the streets, and in the gardens and parks 
enclosed by stone walls. Desperate fighting took 
place for single houses. In these contests, it is said, 
the inhabitante took part, and this is very possibly 
true. The French deny it, and in revenge accuse 
the Bavarians of many atrocious cruelties on women, 
children, and grey-headed men. Without placing too 
high a value on these recriminations, it ^may never- 
theless be imagined that in such a bitter house-to- 
house combat some ill-fated individuals were not too 
leniently treated. 

The artillery on either side could not take any part 
in the fighting at this stage, neither could it directly 
support its own party until the other had complete 
possession of the town ; and therefore, in the move- 
ments in which both sides were mingled confusedly 
together, it was obliged to confine itself to firing at 
the enemy's reserves and at the hostile batteries. 

The Bavarian artillery was posted upon the heights 



54 THE WAE FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

to the north-east of the town, and the French, com- 
prising the mitrailleuse batteries of Lebrun's Corps> to 
the west of La Moncelle. 

It was 10 A.M. before Bazeilles was definitely in 
the hands of the Bavarians. During the struggle for 
the viUage, Marshal M^Mahon had been dangerously 
wounded by a splinter from a shell, and at 7.30 A.M. 
was obliged to give over the command-in-chief to 
General Ducrot, and allow himself to be carried to 
the rear. 

Ducrot now formed the idea of taking up a position 
behind Sedan on the plateau of Illy — ^an intention 
which can only be understood to signify that he wished, 
in any case, to keep open the road of retreat on to 
Belgian territory. He had already given instructions 
for this movement, and it had been commenced by 
several detachments, when he also was compdled to 
resign the command. 

We have before mentioned General von Wimpffen, 
who, recalled from Africa, was to take command of 
the 5th Corps in place of De Failly. He had arrived 
in Sedan on the 31st of August, and directly he 
heard that M'Mahon was wounded, he, as the senior 
general of division present next to De Failly — ^whose 
claims, after what had gone before, could no longer 
be considered — at once demanded the commander- 
ship-in-chief of the army, and this Ducrot gave over 
to him at 9 A.M. 

General von Wimpffen, bom 1811, after leaving 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OP SEPTEMBEB. 55 



the School of St Cyr, passed the greater part of his 
time of service in Algeria. He became a brigadier- 
general in the Crimea in 1855. In Italy, he com- 
manded, during the first part of the campaign of 
1859, a brigade of the Guard ; and in the same year, 
after the battle of Magenta, was appointed general of 
division. Soon after the war, he was again sent out 
to Africa. There he commanded, in 1870, the pro- 
vince of Oran, and conducted the operations against 
the tribes on the Morocco frontier. These operations 
have been very variously criticised ; but, in any case, 
they were of a very different nature to those of a 
campaign against Germany. 

Wimpffen, who had the renown of possessing great 
bravery joined to cool-blooded calculation, made him- 
self acquainted with the state of affairs from the 
heights of Balan, and matters did not seem to him to 
be desperate. He therefore caused the movement 
which had been begun by Ducrot to be stopped, and 
ordered Ae tooopa ^re Jn to fteir f„mer^4oi«. 

A» fortune was reaUy setting very much against 
the French, this double change of commanders within 
a few hours certainly could not improve their chance 
of success. The last recalls vividly to the recollec- 
tion the transformation of the Austrian General Staff 
at Koniggratz on the morning of the 3d of July 1866. 

On the German side, the Crown-Prince of Saxony 
directed the 12th Corps to move from Douzy through 
Lamecourt upon La Moncelle ; and on its right the 



56 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

Prussian Guard, which was further in rear, upon 
Villers-Cemay. 

The 48 th brigade of the Saxons — the advanced- 
guard of the 24th division — came into action near La 
Moncelle at 6.30 a.m. The batteries of the advanced- 
guard, and soon afterwards the whole of the artillery 
of the division, moved up to the east of La Moncelle, to 
the north of the Bavarian batteries; and after the vil- 
lage was taken, two more batteries from the reserve 
artillery of the Corps joined them. Posted there, the 
Saxon artillery suffered at times not only from the 
French guns, but also from the fire of infantry pro- 
ceeding from the bottom of the valley of La Moncdla 

To the right of the 48th, the 47th brigade of in- 
fantry pushed forward in the direction of Daigny, and 
captured there three mitrailleuses. 

Towards 9.30 A.M., the 46th brigade, belonging to 
the 23d division of infantry, came up, and from La 
Moncelle completed the communication with the Bava- 
rians; the 45th brigade was also sent to La Moncelle; 
and the batteries which gradually arrived formed at 
length a single line with those of the 1st Bavarian Corps. 

At 8 A.M. the head of the Prussian Guard arrived 
at Villers-Cemay, and towards 9 a.m. several of its 
batteries came into action on the heights between 
that place and Givonne. Li general, the Guard was 
directed to ascend the Givonne brook towards Fleig- 
neux, as soon as the position between Daigny and 
Givonne was won; the 12th (Saxon) Corps was then^ 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEPTEMBER. 57 

turning to its right, to follow this movement. To 
cany out these orders, therefore, the 1st division of 
the Guard advanced in the first place against Givonne, 
while the reserve artillery of the Corps took up a por- 
tion to the north of the batteries which had abeady 
opened fire, to support this movement. 

We turn now to the left of the German army, to 
see how the battle progressed on that wing. 

The 11th Corps had crossed the Meuse at 6 A.M., 
and its head reached Vrigne auz Bois an hour 
later. On its left the Wurtemberg division com- 
menced to pass over the river at the same time at 
Nouvion. 

To the right of the 11th Corps stood the 2d Bava- 
rian Corps (Hartmann) opposite Torcy; having the 
4th division (Count Bothmer) at Fr^nois, and the 
reserve artillery with the 3d division (Walther) at 
Wadelincourt. 

The 5th North German Corps was, at 6 a.m., on 
the march through Cheveuges going towards Don- 
chery ; the 4th division of cavalry followed it. 

The 6th Corps had, as we have already seen, a 
special destination, as had also the greater number of 
the divisions of cavahy. 

The Crown-Prince of Prussia had quitted his head- 
quarters, Ch^mery on the Barbach, at 4.30 A.M., and 
arrived towards 6 a.m. on the battle-field, to the west 
of Fr^nois ; and thither the King of Prussia also re- 
paired from his headquarters at Yendresse. 



58 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The detachments of cavalry which had been Bent 
forward brought in news that the road to the west, 
to M^zieres, was quite free from French. The 11th 
Corps could therefore now be turned without hesi- 
tation against the army of M'Mahon in position at 
Sedan, especially as the 5th Corps was to follow it 
immediately on to the right bank of the Meuse^ and 
as, moreover, the Wiirtemberg division was ready to 
observe the before-mentioned highway. 

The Crown-Prince of Prussia therefore, towards 
7 A.M., gave the order that the 11th Corps should turn 
to its right against St Menges. General Gersdorff, 
who at that time was chief of the Corps, received the 
command about 7.30 a.h. at Briancourt, to the south- 
east of Vrigne aux Bois, and at once gave directions 
for its execution. Towards 9 a.m. the advanced-guard 
showed itself to the west of St Menges, attacked the 
village, and after a stubborn contest, obtained posses- 
sion of it, the French garrison (belonging to the 5tli 
Corps) retreating upon the main position of their 
Corps on the heights between Illy and Moing. The 
commandant of the 11th Corps at once caused his 
artillery, which was up with him, to move to the 
south of St Menges, and the infantry to deploy be- 
hind it. 

The 5th Corps, which immediately followed the 
1 1th, marched behind it with the reserve artillery in 
advance, and then deployed to the left of it at Fleig- 
neux. By 11 a.m. the greater number of the batteries 






BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEPTEMBER. 59 

of the 5th and 11th Corps were engaged there and at 
St Menges in a heavy fire against the extreme right 
of the French. 

As the road to M^zieres was found to be clear, the 
Wurtemberg division received orders, which reached it 
at 1 0.30 A.!! at Viviers au Court, to return to Donchery 
and place itself in reserve there, whUe the 2d division 
of cavalry was also drawn into the same place. The 
Wtirtembergers therefore took up with the bulk of 
their forces a position at Donchery; but nevertheless 
Hiigers brigade was posted on the left bank of the 
Meuse at Dom le Mesnil towards M^zieres. 

The 4th division of cavaby, which had foUowed 
the 5th North German Corps on to the right bank 
of the Meuse, placed itself at Troifontaine, to the 
south of the 11th Corps, and to the west of the 
peninsula of Iges formed by the Meuse; and its 
horse-artillery batteries opened fire from the eastern 
edge of the woods there, at a range of 4000 paces, 
against the French position at Floing. 

"When the Crown -Prince of Prussia appeared at 
Fr^nois, the battle was, as we know, raging somewhat 
furiously upon the right wing, where the Army of the 
Meuse and the 1st Bavarian Corps were engaged. 
He therefore, at 7 a.m., ordered Walther's division of 
the 2d Bavarian Corps to move towards Eemilly, to 
support thence the 1st Bavarian Corps at Bazeilles ; 
and to this end Bothmer's division was also to march 
from Fr^nois to Wadelincourt. Two of its batteries, 



60 THE WAK FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

together with the reserve artillery of the Corps, were 
advanced upon the peninsula of Iges, to concentrate 
their fire upon Floing, as the batteries of the 4th 
division of cavalry and a great number of those of 
the 11th Corps were already doing. 

We have hitherto only followed the battle on the 
right wing of the Germans — the Army of the Meuse 
and the 1st Bavarian Corps — ^up to 10 A.M.; pointing 
out, at the same time, the course which could and 
would most likely be followed : the fight on the left 
— the main mass of the army of the Crown-Prince of 
Prussia — which only commenced later on, we have 
considered up to 11 a.m. 

It is manifest now that at the latter hour Wim- 
pflFen's army was so ensnared that only two, and they 
barely practicable, ways of escape remained. It might 
possibly still break through to the north or to the 
south ; to escape to the west or to the east was, accord- 
ing to aU human calculation, impossible. 

On the north, the gorge between Fleigneux and 
Givonne, and through the woods of Daigny and 
Terme, a passage barely 4000 paces wide was opeu 
by which to retreat on to Belgian territory. The 
highway in the same direction to Bouillon was 
already no longer practicable for the French army. 

On the south, there was still a possibility of 
issuing through the fortified suburb of Torcy in 
the direction of Vouziers and Rheinis. And this 
movement would be in the beginning the least ex- 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OP SEPTEMBEIL 61 

posed to danger. What the ultiinate result would 
be, no one can say: but in war it is always 
neeese^y in . deqlte situation to venture some- 
thing. To entertain the idea of escaping by this 
way would certainly have required much resolution. 
The success of the enterprise, if undertaken, would 
depend upon extreme simplicity and clearness in 
the dispositions, and upon the unconditional obe- 
dience and self-sacrifice of aU the individual Corps 
commanders. From information which we have re- 
ceived fix)m various quarters, it appears to be very 
doubtful whether — especially as the Emperor was 
present in Sedan — General Wimpffen woidd have 
had the authority necessary to carry out successfully 
the plan indicated by us. But independently of this, 
it would seem that no one in the army even thought 
of this road of retreat. As is generally the case after 
a misfortune, numerous controversial writings have 
been published as to who is to bear the burden of the 
catastrophe of Sedan, but in none of these has the 
idea of breaking through to the south been discussed. 
As regards General von Wimpfien, he seems to have 
cherished for a very long time the hope of being able 
to succeed in repulsing the Germans, and to have 
held that then would be the moment to think of 
marching off. And it was in accordance with this 
idea that until 4 p.m. no general orders were given. 
Every Corps commandant, even every divisional com- 
mander and brigadier, acted almost independently, 



62 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

striving to maintain himself in his particidar position, 
or to drive back his own especial adversary. The 
chief of the army appears rather to have observed, 
first here and then there, these detached efforts, than 
to have attempted to direct them to a common end, 
or arrange them with a general object. 

When at last General von Wimpffen was con- 
strained to abandon his first hope, he turned to the 
idea of escaping in the direction of Carignan. But it 
was then, as we shall see, much too late to entertain 
the project of a general breaking through. 

We return now for the present to the right wing 
of the Grermans — ^to the Army of the Meuse and the 
1st Bavarian Corps. 

After the latter had at 10 a.m. obtained pos- 
session of the village of Bazeilles, it was not able 
at once to debouch from it, for the troops, mingled 
confusedly together in the local fighting, had to be 
collected together and re-ordered, and had to estab- 
lish themselves in the place. 

Towards 11 A.M. Walther's division of the 2d 
Bavarian Corps, which division had been sent by the 
Crown -Prince of Prussia to aid the 1st Bavarian 
Corps, came up across the railway bridge. Von der 
Tann at once caused it to advance along the right 
bank of the Meuse against Balan, and afterwards 
supported it in this movement by a part of the 8th 
division of the 4th North German Corps, a battalion 
of which had already taken part in the struggle for 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEPTEMBER. 63 

Bazeilles. At the same time he concentrated the 1st 
and 4th brigades and the reserve artillery of the 1st 
Bavarian Corps upon the heights to. the north-east of 
Bazeilles, in readiness to resist any by chance success- 
ful offensive blow which Lebrun might attempt to 
the east through Balan. 

After a severe engagement, the Bavarians, and the 
Prussians of the 4th Corps, who were supporting 
them, took the village, and maintained themselves 
in it, although it was heavily shelled by the French 
artillery in Sedan. 

About 4 P.M. the French troops in this neighbour- 
hood were directed to retreat upon Sedan, but many 
large detachments of troops had already retired 
without orders in that direction. This command 
did not proceed from General von Wimpffen, but from 
the headquarters of the Emperor. At this same time 
General von Wimpffen proposed to Napoleon to at- 
tempt to break through the enemy towards Carignan 
in order to rescue his person. Before he received 
the answer of the Emperor declining the offer, he had 
communicated his intention to General Lebrun. The 
latter answered, " You will sacrifice 3000 more lives, 
and it will do no good ; but if you like to attempt it, 
I go with you." And forthwith Wimpffen and Lebrun, 
with the men they had with them, be^kn to advance. 
Walther's Bavarian division was driven out of one 
part of Balan, but it was at once supported by the 
1st Bavarian brigade. At the same time the reserve 



64 THE WAR FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

artilleiy of the 1st Bavarian Corps opened a murder* 
ons fire. Wimpffen, who saw on the one hand that 
the enemy was perfectly prepared to receive him, and 
on the other hand was overwhelmed with astonishment 
when he began to count, and discovered the smallness 
of the force which was at his disposal, recognised 
that his attempt was a vain one, and stopped the 
movement, retiring into Sedan, pursued to its very 
gates by detachments of Prussians and Bavarians. 

To the right of the Bavarians and of the 8th divi- 
sion of the 4th North German Corps, the whole of the 
23d division of infantry of the 12th (Saxon) Corps 
had concentrated behind La Moncelle. Towards mid- 
day it received the order to march northwards along 
the valley upon Daigny, and thence to mount the 
heights which lie to the west towards La Garenne. 

The division pushed forward up the valley, sus- 
taining numerous encounters with various French 
detachmeuts of the 1st and 7th Corps, and towards 
3 P.M. its advanced - guard ascended the heights to 
the west of Daigny. Ducrot oflfered a most stubborn 
resistance, but was finally overpowered. The Saxons 
took two mitrailleuses, and made more than a thou- 
sand prisoners ; and at 4 p.m. Ducrot began his re- 
treat upon Sedan. 

In the combat which, as we have before related, 
took place between the Bavarians and the 8th North 
German Corps on the one side, and Wimpffen on the 
other, the Saxons partook to this extent, that they 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SBPTEMBEE. 66 

detached a regiment in its direction, which, however, 
did not come into action. 

Of the Prussian Guard, the 2d division marched, at 
1 1 A.M., against Daigny and Hoybes ; but as the 12th 
Corps shortly afterwards gained possession of the 
former village, the Guard could now turn more to the 
north against Givonne, and thence against Illy. Here 
it brought the whole of its artillery into action, and 
by 3 P.M. it came, at lUy, into communication with 
the 5th Corps — ^that is, with the extreme left of the 
German army. It may be said that in this hour the 
net was closed: the expression may be somewhat 
trivial, but it tells the truth ; a glance at the map 
wiU prove that. 

By this time the fate of the French army was 
sealed. Separate detachments, especially of cavalry, 
might by good luck have broken out ; but the army 
could do so no longer. But it was precisely the best 
troops that did not wish to separate their lot from 
that of the others ; they made most honourable and 
gallant efforts, but only to oblige the adversary ta 
pay dearly for his victory, and to cover the retreat of 
their friends— not to win an advantage for themselves^ 
which they would not value unless it could be gained 
for all. 

On the left wing of the Germans, after an artillery 
battle had r^ L soMe tbne. the ix^try of th^ 
llth Corps advanced, soon after 11 A.M., from St 
Menges to the attack of Floing, the 19 th brigade of 

VOL. n. B 



66 THE WAR FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

infantry from the 5th Corps joining on to its left. 
The fighting there was very stubborn, especiaUy with 
the 7th French Corps. The French infantry and 
cavaby vied with one another in bravery, but. acted 
without unity, working by regiments and by brigades. 
At 11.30 A.M., four French regiments of horse made 
the last attempt of importance at this point. Thrown 
back by the steady fire of the German infantry, they 
were obliged to seek refuge in the woods to the north 
of Sedan, and by 2 p.m. the French here were in full 
retreat upon the town. 

The 5th North German Corps marched to the left 
of the 11th, upon Illy, to complete the enclosure, 
which was accomplished at 3 p.m. by the junction 
of the former Corps with the Army of the Meuse, as 
we have before related. Several gallant rallies were 
made by the French here also, but, as everywhere else 
on the field, without any general leading idea or any 
guiding authority. 

Following the advance of the infantry of the 11th 
and 5th Corps, tiie 4th division of cavalry had 
marched, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, from Troi- 
fontaine up the heights to the north of Illy, and had 
been directed thence by the Crown-Prince of Prussia 
towards the road from ^Sedan to Bouillon, to embar- 
rass the retreat of the French along it into Belgium, 
should they attempt such a movement. 

From the WUrtembergers a detachment had to be 
sent along the left bank of the Meuse against a sortie 



BATTLE OP SEDAN, 1ST OP SEPTEMBEB. 67 

of the garrison of M^zieres, which, however, was re- 
pulsed without any great trouble. 

At 5 P.M. the heads of all the German columns 
pushed forwards towards Sedan; the fortress was 
bombarded by the field-guns, and the town was soon 
in flames, as were also the adjacent villages. 

In the town of Sedan, where the whole army of 
M'Mahon was crowded together in narrow streets, 
a confusion reigned which mocks any attempt to 
describe it Napoleon HI. resolved to capitulate; 
but he did not regard himself as commander-in-chie£ 
General von Wimpffen, who had commanded during 
the day, was to arrange the capitulation of the army. 
Napoleon surrendering his person only. 

General von Wimpfien found the matter very dis- 
tasteful, as can easily be understood. He now de- 
manded his dismission from the Emperor Napoleon, 
but the latter refused to grant this, and with reason. 
Wimpffen had, on the morning of that same day, 
claimed the commanderdiip-in-chief because of his 
seniority, when he might very well, under the cir- 
cumstances, and without in any way prejudicing his 
o™ righ„, have left it i. tte LdTof Da««>t, who 
had taken it over from M'Mahon. 

Wimpffen therefore was obliged to submit to the 
refusal of the Emperor. For the rest. Napoleon had 
not waited for the consent of the commandant of the 
army, but had already hoisted the flag of truce over 
the gates of Sedan. 



68 THE WAR FOR THB RHINE FRONTIER. 

When the King of Prussia remarked from the 
heights of Fr^nois that Sedan was ahready in flames, 
he ordered the bombardment of the town to cease, 
and sent forward an officer of the General Staff, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Bronsart von Schellendorf, with a 
flag of truce towards the fortress. On the road, 
Eronsart met with a Bavarian officer, who informed 
him that the white flag was waving over the gate of 
Sedan. He therefore continued his way, was admit- 
ted into the town, and at once conducted before the 
Emperor. When he communicated his commission 
to the latter, which was to summon the army and the 
fortress to surrender. Napoleon remarked that Bron- 
sart must enter into negotiations to that end with 
Wimpffen, the commander-in-chief of the army. 

The Emperor had wished to give to Bronsart a 
letter for the King of Prussia ; but now he bethought 
himself of another messenger, and despatched the 
writing by one of his adjutants. General Reille, who, 
with Bronsart, reached the King about 7 p.m. 

Napoleon's letter began : " As I have not been 
able to meet death at the head of my troopcf, I lay 
down my sword in the hands of your Majesty.'' 
For the rest, the Emperor surrendered only for his 
person, as he had not conducted the command-in- 
chief. From various circumstances which we have 
had occasion to relate, it may be concluded how 
doubtful this assertion really was. 

The King of Prussia returned late in the evening 



BATTLE OP SEDAK, 1ST OP SEPTEMBER, 69 

to his headquarters at Vendresse, where he arrived 
about 1 1 P.M. Before this he had commissioned Gen- 
eral von Moltke to arrange the conduct of the trans- 
actions relative to the capitulation, and had directed 
Bismark also to assist in the same. 

These transactions were conducted in Donchery, on 
the French side by General Wimpffen himself, who 
hoped at first to secure more favourable conditions 
than were really arranged. Towards midnight, 
Moltke declared that on the German side the only 
terms which would be accepted were that the French 
army should lay down their arms ; and then added, 
that if the capitulation was not concluded by 9 a.m. 
on the 2d of September, the bombardment of Sedan 
would recommence. Wimpffen requested an adjourn- 
ment until 1 A.M. to consider the matter. After this 
interval, the negotiations took a more rapid course, 
so that soon after 6 a.m. the terms of the surrender 
were drawn up, and only required the ratification of 
the King of Prussia. This consent Moltke obtained 
from him at 8 a.m. on the battle-field, whither the 
King had again repaired from Vendresse. 

By the capitulation, the French army became 
prisoners of war; the officers were permitted to 
retain their freedom, their arms, and their personal 
property, on giving their word of honour not to fight 
again in this war against Germany. All arms and 
mat&rid of war were to be handed over by a French 
to a Germau commission, and the fortress of Sedan 



70 THE WAR FOR TH£ RHINE FRONTIER. 

was to be delivered oyer to the King of Prussia at 
the latest on the 2d of September. The disarming 
and stirrender of the troops was to follow on the 2d 
or 3d of September. 

Moltke at once issued dispositions for carrying out 
these conditions. By them the surrender of the 
French troops was to take place upon the terrain in 
the elbow of the Meuse, from Villette to Iges, before 
the 1st Bavarian and the 11th North German Corps. 
The sending off of the French prisoners of war was 
to be carried on along two lines : 1. By Stenay^ Estain, 
and Gorze, to Bemilly on the Metz-Saarbrticken rail- 
way ; 2. By Clermont en Argonne and St Mihiel, to 
Pont h. Mousson. 

The number of French who became prisoners of 
war by the capitulation of Sedan amounted to 83,000 
men, including 4000 officers ; to these must be added 
25,000 men who were taken prisoners during the 
battle, 14,000 wounded, and 3000 who had escaped 
to Belgium. All these give a total strength of 
125,000 men to M^Mahon's army, naturaUy coimted 
by the ration list, and including the garrison of Sedan ; 
or of 130,000 men, if the losses at Buzancy, Nouart, 
and Beaumont are reckoned also.^ 

* A French author, an officer in the Bhine Army, gives the foUow- 
ing numbers :— 

Losses in the battles of Nouart— 
Beaumont, BazeiUes, up to 31st of August inclusiTe, 9,000 
At Sedan, including prisoners made during the battle, 46,000 
Capitulated (officers included), .... 70,000 
Escaped to Belgium, 16,000 

Total strength of M'Mahon's aimj, . . 140,000 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEPTEMBER. 71 

Over 400 field-guns, 70 of which were mitrailleuses, 
150 fortress-guns, 10,000 horses, and an abundant 
war matSiiel of every description, fell into the hands 
of the Germans. 

The losses of the Germans at Sedan are calculated 
at 13,000 men, kUled and wounded. 

Although Sedan is a fortress, the capitulation of 
the army of M'Mahon or of Wimpffen must be de- 
sigaated, as it everywhere has been, as a capit^ation 
in the open field; for Sedan, destitute of detached 
works, is far too small to receive such a mass of de« 
fenders as the army consisted of. And as a capitu* 
lation in the open field, that of Sedan is, in regard 
to the magnitude of the host which surrendered, an 
event which stands without a parallel in history. A 
superficial comparison of it with Prenzlau, Ratkau, 
Baylen, Villagos, wiU suffice to prove this. 

But in our opinion the occurrence acquires a much 
greater political importance by the capture of the 
Emperor Napoleon. His assertion that he could not 
find his death on the field has been much ridiculed ; 
but we believe that he really sought it there. It has 
been said he only did not go near enough to the 
enemy. But, in the first place, a too close approach 
would be prevented by his followers ; and, secondly, 
it is by no means certain that such an act would 
necessarily have insured his death. There was an 
equal chance of its leading to his being made prisoner 
on the field of battle. There remained, certainly, the 




79 THE WAB FOR THE BHINE FBONTIEK. 

perfectly sure expedient of suicide. But it has very 
mucli astonished and troubled us, that perfectly pious 
people, who elsewhere condemn this act most unspar* 
ingly, should demand it here from the most faithful 
son and firmest support of the ChurcL 

But, apart from this, we are convinced that the 
death of the Emperor would have had no other politi- 
cal result than his surrender; while, if he had escaped 
with life and liberty from the bloody field of Sedan, 
many things would have turned out differently to 
what they have dona 

At 6 A.M. on the morning of the 2d of September, 
Bismark received word in Donchery, by General 
Eeille, that Napoleon wished to speak with him, and 
was on the way to Donchery. Upon this Bismark at 
once rode out and met the Emperor near Fr^nois. 

The Emperor expressed a wish to converse with the 
King of Prussia ; and when the Chancellor of the 
Confederation informed him that the latter was at 
that moment very far off, in Vendresse, Napoleon 
demanded whether the Ring had yet determined upon 
the place for his present imprisonment, and what were 
Bismark's views on the matter. The latter offered 
him, for the time being, his own quarters in Donchery, 
which he would at once prepare for him. The proces- 
sion set itself in motion towards Donchery; but 
before it arrived at the bridge over the Meuse there^ 
Napoleon saw on the roadside a lonely workman's 
house. He halted and asked Bismark if he could 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEPTEMBEIL 73 

dismount, and the two men had there, in a poorly- 
furnished room, an hour^s conversation. 

The Emperor was, in the first place, especially 
troubled by the severe terms of the capitulation which 
the army of M'Mahon must submit to. Bismark 
wotdd not enter upon this subject, as it had been 
settled between Moltke and Wimpffen, and when 
Napoleon returned to it, simply declined to discuss it. 
On his side, he asked the Emperor what he thought 
about peace negotiations. Napoleon answered, that 
as a prisoner it was impossible for him at present to 
commence treating, and that only the existing regular 
Government in Paris, with the Empress-regent at 
its head, was competent to do so. 

It would be interesting to know whether Bismark 
or Napoleon himself, after the events of the 1st of 
September, in any way believed in the continuance of 
the Government of the Empress. That Bismark did, 
seems to us to be doubtful in the extreme; as he him- 
self says, in his report to the King, that after the 
utterances of the Emperor it appeared to him to be 
doubly true that, beyond its military advantages, the 
present situation offered nothing of practical moment. 

After a long conversation in the room, the Emperor 
went out in front of the house, and sat down there 
in the open air with Bismark It was here that 
Napoleon made the statement that he himself had 
never wished for war, but had been forced into it by 
the pressure of the public opinion in France. 



74 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

We for our paxt have throughout expressed our 
conviction that the Emperor Napoleon never particu- 
larly desired this war; but in honour of truth it must 
be said that that public opinion which forced him to 
make war was created by his own party — ^by the press 

tinuous prosecutions against untimely manifestations 
of a free opinion — ^by the official candidates — ^and by 
other like institutions, — ^and that the Emperor him- 
self was not quite innocent of all these elements and 
foundations of the Csesaric-Bonapartic public opinion. 
This public opinion, which certainly greatly influenced 
the Emperor, was in no way that of Franca 

While the Emperor and Bismaxk were conversing, 
the latter received notice that on the south of the 
village there was a small and comfortably-furnished 
house called Castle Bellevue, which was not occupied 
by the wounded. Bismark iuformed Napoleon of this, 
and added that he would propose it to King William 
for the place of meeting, if the Emperor would agree 
to it, and if he would repair thither at once, as he 
must at all events need some repose. 

Napoleon proceeded, then, with Bismark to Bellevue, 
where also were now assembled General von Wim- 
pffen, his Chief of the Staff, the Prussian General 
Podbielski, and Lieutenant-Colonel V. Verdy, await- 
ing the ratification of the capitulation. On the French 
side some of the conditions were again referred to, and 
an attempt was made to introduce alterations in thenu 



BATTLE OF SEDAN, 1ST OF SEPTEMBER. 75 

But while this controversy was taking place, an 
adjutant of Moltke's brought Bisiloark a communica- 
tion from the former, saying that he had met the King 
upon the battle-field, and that King WUliam would 
not grant the Emperor an interview until the military 
capitulation was completely settled. 

Bismark now, in order to inform the King of the 
state of things, rode towards him, but on the way 
met Moltke with the text of the capitulation as it had 
been sanctioned by the King. Both now turned back 
together to Bellevue, and the definite signing followed 
wiLu. any tether delay. "^ 

About noon Bismark and Moltke brought to the 
King the signed capitulation, and the latter, accom- 
panied by the Crown-Prince, then repaired to Bellevue, 
where he had a quarter of an hour's interview with 
Napoleon. 

As a temporary residence, the Castle of Wil- 
helmshohe near Cassel was apportioned to the Em- 
peror — the place where once his jovial uncle, Jdr6me, 
had lived as King of Westphalia, and where the 
Electorate-Prince of Hesse has left so many of his 
historical footsteps. 

Napoleon quitted the Castle of Bellevue on the 
morning of the 3d of September, and, much impeded 
by trains of troops and of waggons, and also by 
French guns which the Germans had captured, arrived 
at Bouillon only on the morning of the 4th. Proceed- 
ing then through Belgium by Verviers and Cologne, 



76 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

he reached Wilhelmshohe on the evemng of the 5tli, 
where preparations for his reception had been aheadj 
made. 

For some days after these events the Prussian news- 
papers talked as though they were really convinced 
that the German armies arriving before Paris would 
have to deal with a regular Government — ^they meant 
the Regency of the Empress Eugenie — and concluded 
that after the repeated^ and in many cases signal, 
defeats of the French regular army, there was every 
probability of a speedy peace. Circumstances very 
soon rendered it impossible to continue such language. 



77 



CHAPTER XXIL 

PABIS AT THB END OF AUGUST AKD IK THE BEGIKlOKa 
OF SEFTEMBEB — ^THE BEPUBLIC PECLABED. 

Afteb the communication which the Count of Palikao 
made to the Corps Legislatif on the 22d of August, 
and of which we have made mention, the Minister of 
War appeared as seldom as possible in the Chamber. 
He excused his absence on the groimd of his labours 
in organising fresh forces, which must not be inter- 
rupted for secondary reasons. In reality he must 
have found it tedious ever to repeat that all was 
going on well, that the deep " plan '* was being exe- 
cuted — ^that he had the best possible news, but that 
he, as they would understand, could not communicate 
it, because success depended upon secrecy, because 
all might be ruined if the Prussians, who were spy- 
ing about everywhere, heard anything of " the plan." 
In time these general forms of speech might become 
suspicious even to the Chamber, if it compared them 
with the statements contained in the Prussian tele- 
grams^ which certainly only came into Paris in very 
small numbers. Palikao himself had not that trust in 



78 THE WAB FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the course of events with which he so easily inspired 
the majority of the Chambers, and he, more than any 
one else, was filled with a feeling of the necessity of 
keeping the Emperor and the army of M'Mahon away 
from Paris. We have before seen the steps he took 
to effect this. 

The business which the Minister of War resigned, 
the official and semi-official journals took up. Ac- 
cording to these papers the doom of the Grerman 
armies was signed and sealed — *^ the plan " was being 
executed. As regards *' the plan " itself there were 
many contradictions. Some of the newspapers held 
stubbornly to the victory of Bazaine on the 18th of 
August^ on which day three Prussian Corps had been 
thrown into the quarries of Jaumont, the site of 
which still remained an unsolved enigma. According 
to them, Bazaine was master of all the roads, and had 
abeady left Metz to unite with M'Mahon upon the 
fields of Champagne, where now, instead of the crosa- 
bows and catapults of the Romans, Chassepots and 
mitrailleuses would do their work, and annihilate the 
red-haired barbarians of the East^ Other journals, to 
whom, as time went by, the march of Bazaine from 
Metz seemed to become doubtful, asserted that he 
wished to remain in and about Metz. That was ex- 
actly " the plan.'* The Germans, advancing incau- 
tiously and arrogantly, would find themselves between 
two fires, &c. Fluently dilated upon, this strategical 
imbecility was to be read even as late as two days after 



PARIS AT THB END OP AUGUST. 79 

the battle of Sedan. There was not a single sensible 
word in all these sensation articles, but the masses 
were imposed upon by the confused, high-toned, and 
fine-sounding military expressions, as we have seen to 
be similarly the case often enough in Germany (1859 
Guilay, 1866 Benedek). 

And together with " the plan," the situation of the 
Germans especially occupied the above-named Paris 
journals. 

He who read believingly the things there said, 
would certainly not have given a centime for the Ger- 
man armies, and would be unable to comprehend 
why they did not very speedily retire £rom France. 
According to the ' Yolontaire,' the Germans had, by 
the end of the 16th of August, lost 144,000 men, 
killed and wounded — ^the dead being in an enormous 
proportion ; the remainder were dying of starvation ; 
the last reserves were being called up from Germany, 
"La landwehr'' and "La landsturm'^ — old men of 
sixty years of age, with flint-muskets, canying an 
enormous tobacco-pouch on the right side, a still 
larger spirit-flask on the left, and a long clay-pipe in 
the mouth, panting under the burden of a knapsack, in 
which they carried their coflee-mill and elder-tea, and 
who moved, coughing and spitting, from the right to 
the left bank of the Ehine, cursing those who had 
torn them from the embraces of their grandchildren 
and great-grandchildren, to lead them into the arms 
of death. 



80 THE WAA FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

Between the Crown-Prince of Prussia and Prince 
Frederic Charles, again, serious quarrels were said to 
have arisen, so that the one would no longer support 
the other. The news from the German side, which 
could not be altogether ignored, was simply dealt with 
as ^* the notorious Prussian lies.'' Lastly, it was spread 
abroad as a certain fact that the King of Prussia had 
become insane (fou). The genesis of this last news, 
which could only be traced by watchful observers, was 
highly interesting. The * Libert^,' namely, one day 
stated in an article, the contents of which can easily 
be condensed, that the King of Prussia must have 
become insane; because he had ventured to penetrate 
between two French armies and march upon Paris. 
On the following day a second journal brought out an 
article with the title, " The King of Prussia is mad," 
and gave in it, in fuller detail, the explanations of 
the ' Libert^.' On the third day, a third journal an- 
nounced : " On the best authority, we hear that the 
King of Prussia has gone beside himself about the 
state of his army, and has become mad. This is 
naturally kept secret, but it is necessary to watch 
him very closely." To every impartial observer, it 
was manifest that then, less than any other time, had 
the King of Prussia occasion to go mad. 

With suchlike tales, then, were the intellectual 
Parisians, and Frenchmen generally, fed by the per- 
sons whom the Empire had brought up to educate 
the people through journalism. 



PAKIS AT THE END OP AUGUST. 81 

We await here the question. But why, then, did 
the intellectual Parisians and Frenchmen generally 
believe such things 1 But such credulity was only 
natural Imagine people who heard and read literally 
nothing else whatsoever ! Could they be expected to 
believe that everything that was told them was a 
pure lie? Was so much to be expected of them 
when that which they necessarily wished for was 
told them day by day in comforting lies ? Let the 
trial be made under like circumstances on the right 
bank of the Ehine, and we shall see whether the 
result would not be precisely the same; perhaps 
only the people there would be more disposed to 
depression, and therefore to doubt. 

The very few independent and truthful journals 
in Paris lost courage, as can easily be understood. 
They disclosed such facts as they were obliged to, 
but they did not trouble themselves any longer to 
point attention to the disclosures by writing leading 
articles on them. 

When the army of the Crown-Prince began its march 
upon Paris, and before the departure of M'Mahon 
from Chalons to the north was determined on, which 
must necessarily alter the dispositions for it, General 
Trochu was appointed, on the 1 7th of August, Gover- 
nor of Paris, and commander-in-chief of the collective 
forces assembled for the defence of the capital. 

Trochu, bom 1815, passed through the School of 
St Cyr, and then the School of Application for the 

VOL. II. p 



82 THE WAR FOB THE BHIKE FBONTIER. 

General Staff, and left the latter early in 1840 as 
lieutenant on the Sta£ - In 1843 he became a cap* 
tain. In Africa, where he had served since 1841^ he 
drew upon himself, by his prudence and bravery, the 
attention of Marshal Bugeaud, whose adjutant he was 
from 1845 to the death of the Marshal in 1849 ; and 
aa the Marshal fiiUj recognised the merits of his 
adjutant, so did the latter also love and respect the 
memory of the former, whom he ever regarded as his 
real teacher in the art of war. In 1 853 Trochu became 
colonel, and at the outbreak of the war in the East^ 
St Amaud chose him to be his adjutant. Promoted 
to the rank of general at the end of 1854, he remained 
as adjutant to Canrobert until this latter resigned the 
chief command, when he undertook the command of 
a brigade of infantry, which he led with brilliant 
bravery. On the 8th of September 1855 he was se- 
verely wounded by a shelL In the begiiming of the 
campaign of 1859 in Italy, he again led a brigade, but 
was appointed general of division on the 4th of May, 
being at the time only forty-four years old. With 
his division, which was hurried up to support Niel, 
he played a peculiarly brilliant part in the battle of 
Solferino. After the Italian campaign, the General 
fell most markedly into the background ; most likely 
because his connection with Marshal Bugeaud, whom 
he remembered with just pride, had gained for him at 
the Court the unpleasing name of Orleanist More- 
over, to Trochu, a man of soldier-like simplicity and 



GENERAL TROCHU. 83 

of the highest honour, the reckless desire of gain and 
enjoyment which, under the influence of the Second 
Empire, pervaded all society, and spread even into the 
army, was very repulsive. He feared that such things 
would be fatal to it ; and not being able to respect 
the persons who then enjoyed the highest outward 
consideration, he kept himself personally far away 
from the circles of the Court 

In the year 1867, on the occasion of the Army 

Reform Question, he published his book ^L'Arm^ 

Fran9aise/ Filled with love for the French army, and 

with respect for its excellent qualities, he yet could 

not overlook its shortcomings in organisation, and 

brought these clearly to view. The truth was here, 

as elsewhere, not listened to with pleasure ; and even 

those officers who justly appreciated the penetration 

and love of truth displayed in the work, found, for 

the most part, that the book was inopportune, and 

that it was not just then the time to unveil to all the 

world the faults of the French system. The hidden 

adversaries of the Greneral became more and more 

hostile to him, and the Government passed him by on 

every occasion. When the war of 1870 broke out, 

General Trochu was only a member of the Committee 

of the General Staff*, a post which gave him but little 

to do. Trochu, when he saw the war conjured up in 

such a frivolous manner, and saw, moreover, how the 

troops, barely formed or equipped, were marched with 

all haste to the frontier through the streets of Paris 



84 THE WAE FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

with the cry, " A Berlin ! h, Berlin ! " was much 
d^ressed, and foreseeing a disastrous issue to this 
manner of proceeding, did not in any way hide his 
opinions from Marshal Leboeu£ Trochu, therefor^ 
remained at first altogether unemployed Only when 
the 12 th Army Corps was being formed did this man, 
acknowledged to be one of France's most distinguished 
generals, receive a command, and was finally, as we 
have seen, called by the Ministry of Palikao to be 
Grovemor of Paris — to a post which manifestly in 
the course of the war must become a most important 
and decisive position. 

This appointment of Trochu could only be regarded 
as a token of a breaking off from the purely Imperial- 
istic Bonapartic performances of the last lustre^ 
and as a sign that the Ministry of National Defence 
wished to employ every good Frenchman in his fit- 
ting place, without regard to his peculiar opinions 
— ^without heeding whether he was an unconditional 
supporter of the Empire or not 

That s]ich a signification was to be attached to the 
nomination of Trochu was shown by Palikao also, in 
the speech in which he informed the Corps Legialatif 
of it. 

Trochu announced his acceptance of the office in a 
proclamation, which was posted up at every street- 
comer, and which was received with universal accla- 
mation. It concluded thus : '' And to complete my 
task, which done, I shall, I assure you, retire again 



PAMS AT THE END OF AUGUST. 85 

into the daxkness &om whicli I have emerged, I take 
one of the old devices of the province of Brittany, 
where I was bom ; ' With the help of God for our 
country/ " No word in the proclamation made men- 
tion of the Emperor or of the Empire, and this omis- 
sion was evilly spoken of by some of the Mamelukes 
of the Chamber ; but to the Parisians it was very 
pleasing. In Paris but few men spoke any more 
of the Emperor, of the Imperial Prince and Court, 
or of the Empress, and when they did, it was with 
expressions of the deepest contempt The Empire 
had been buried since the 7th of August. Even they 
who had basked in its brilliancy turned from it as 
did the others — they could not pardon it that it had 
been unfortunate, and that it now threatened by its 
misfortune to injure them also ; and thus they who 
still had in some comer of their hearts any sympathy 
for fallen greatness, did not dare to speak of it. 

With General Trochu was associated a Committee 
of Defence. Over its composition much strife arose, 
which was not completely soothed before the catas- 
trophe of Sedan. The Corps Legislatif wished to 
strengthen the Coiomittee with a number of Deputies to 
be chosen by the Chamber. The Govemment, on the 
contrary, declared that if members of the Chambers 
were in any case to form part of the Committee, they 
must be nominated by the Govemment itself. 

Until the appointment of Trochu but little had 
been done to place Paris in a state of defence. The 



86 THE WAB FOB THE RHTNB FBONTIEB. 

General now began the task with the greatest zeal. 
The works which he introduced were : — 

1. The arming of the fortifications ; 

2. The arming of the artillery ; 

3. Providing Uving forces ; 

4. Provisioning; 

5. Instituting measures for internal safety. 

Paris, which had become in 1841 a giant fortress, 
the like of which does not now exist elsewhere, nor 
has been seen since the days of Babylon and Nineveh, 
required immense labour to render it presentable as 
such to the enemy; for modem Europe and the 
Parisians themselves have seldom in later years 
thought at all of Paris as a fortress, or considered that 
it might at some time be required to play the part 
of one. 

The ramparts in the detached forts, as well as in 
the principal enceinte, required to be levelled for the 
reception of guns and men, banquettes had to be 
marked out, embrasures cut, and the thickness of 
the parapets regulated. Ditches had to be excavated 
before the various gates, drawbridges constructed, 
and cover provided. The entrances of the eight 
railways into the town had also to be secured. The 
exits of the canals of St Denis and of De I'Ourcq were 
strongly bridged over, and parapets raised upon this 
bridging ; the ditches of the main enceinte were filled 
with water ; the entrance and the exit of the Seine 






PARIS AT THE END OF AUGUST. 87 

were secured by new works; a flotilla of gunboats 
was formed upon the river ; and then the construc- 
tion of well-covered powder-magazines in the enceinte^ 
which were altogether wanting, was taken in hand ; 
and^ lastiy, the system of detached forts was to be 
completed by the erection of new works. These 
tasks required time for their execution; but they 
were all at least begun by the first days of Septem- 
ber; and, as we shall see, time was gained for the 
completion of the most important 

As regards the artillery armament, the detached 
forts had already, since 1867 — since the Luxemburg 
aflfaii-that which was necessary for security against 
an attack de vive force or by surprise. This was now 
completed ; and, at the same time, steps were taken 
to give to the main enceinte the guns necessary for 
its safety. 

Of regular troops there were in Paris the 13th 
Corps (Vinoy), of which we have abeady q)oken, and 
the depots of the Guard and of various regiments of 
the line. By drawing in the marching regiments and 
the remaining depots of the line, and by completing 
them with men of the reserve, with men who had 
served and were recalled to the colours, and with 
recruits, it was thought that it would be possible to 
form another Army Corps ; so that then the regular 
troops would amount to some 60,000 men. 

Further, 12,000 sailors, among whom also were 
some marine infantry, were drawn into Paris and 



98 THS WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

united in a marine division^ under the command of 
Vice-Admiral la Eoncifere le Noury. Under him, 
Kear-Admirak de Saisset and Pothuau were ap- 
pointed brigadiers. This division was destined to 
defend the principal detached forts on the north and 
east sides of Paris. In each of the forts assigned to 
it a captain of the fleet had the special command. 
The sailors were particularly intended to work the 
heavy guns with which the forts were armed, and in 
the service of which they were practised. 

9000 custom-house men were formed into a 
division to watch the ramparts. 6000 wood-rangers 
made a brigade of Rifles of two regiments. 

In addition to these troops, which collectively must 
be regarded as more or less regular and accustomed 
to discipline, there were the Municipal Guard of 
Paris, infantry and cavalry, and various formations 
of the gendarTnerie of the departments. 

The total of the above-enumerated forces would 
amount to at least 90,000 men. 

To them 100,000 men of the Mobile Quard &om 
the provinces were next to be drawn in ; ami, lastly, 
the Sedentary National Guard of Paris, which was to 
be brought up to a strength of 266 battalions, with 
at least 200,000 men. Of the latter, a portion, con- 
sisting of the young or unmarried and stronger men, 
could be mobilised, and be used then for service out- 
side the ramparts. Finally, with all these were 



PABIS AT THE £XD OF AUGUST. 89 

sociated volunteer formations of various kinds, under 
the names of Franc-tireurs, Eclaireurs, and so on. 

The total number amounted to 400,000. The 
arming, clothing, and equipment of the Corps, which 
had to be absolutely improvised, only progressed 
slowly; and as long as Palikao's Ministry and the 
Empire existed, this was no doubt owing to the 
unwillingness of the Government to place arms in 
the hands of the whole male population of Paris. 

And speaking of these things, we must not omit 
to mention the affair of the firemen (pompiers) of 
France. 

After Palikao's Ministry had succeeded to power, 
owing to the impression made by the totally unex- 
pected, and therefore astounding, events of the be- 
ginning of August, and after the feeling then 
aroused had been strengthened by the pitiable 
despatches of the Emperor firom Metz, the new 
Minister of the Interior, M. Chevreau, issued an. 
order to all the prefects to send to Paris as speedily 
as possible all firemen under forty years of age. The 
capital seemed to the Ministry to be at that time 
threatened firom day to day. To call out the citizens 
appeared to it to be a hazardous proceeding ; and so it 
wished at first to base the defence of Paris upon the 
firemen firom the provinces, who were in some degree 
disciplined, and who had very little in common with 
the Parisians. 



90 TH£ WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

From the 15th of August^ then, these men streamed 
into Paris. Everywhere were to be seen the most 
wonderful uniforms, surmounted hj hehnets of das- 
sieal design. There came in the crowds not only 
young men below forty years of age, but many 
decided antediluvians, with the most beautiful white 
beards, and with the thinnest legs, the spareness of 
which was rendered yet more conspicuous by the 
tightness of their pantaloons. No preparation had 
been made for their reception. Most of them had no 
idea wherefore they were called to Paris, but rather 
imagined that a great conflagration was going on, 
which they were to extinguish. The pr^ence of 
these brave, devoted men could only occasion em-* 
barrassment; for by the I7th of August, 60,000 of 
them had arrived. On that day the Minister of the 
Interior instructed the prefects to stop forwaiding 
any more, and began to try to get rid as soon as 
possible of those who were already come. This was 
effected after a time; but a great number of pro- 
vincial firemen had at all events had the pleasure 
of admiring the wonders of the capital, which but 
few of them had seen before — and tiiis in itself 
was some satisfaction. 

The Committee of Defence wished to provision 
Paris for six months, and thus render it independent 
for that period ; but for so large a town this was an 
immense undertaJdng. It was, it is true, rendered 
somewhat easier by the amount of money amassed 



PAEIS AT THE END OF AUGUST. 91 

in Paris, by the trade and business connections of 
the capital with the whole of France, and by the 
space which there was within its walls for the accum- 
nlation of great quantities of supplies, Abeady in 
the third and fourth weeks of August numerous 
trains arrived from Nantes, Havre, and Rouen with 
com, rice, forage, and salt meat. A cattle-park was 
established in the Bois de Boulogne. New mills 
were erected ; so that very shortly two and a half 
times as much com could be ground in the town 
as in ordinary times. But still the gathering in of 
stores sufficient to furnish with rations a town like 
Paris — ^a town of 1,800,000 of population — ^was a 
work of great difficulty, even if the supply was limited 
to the most necessary food, as on board ship. And it 
must be remembered that the inhabitants of Paris are 
somewhat spoiled; and although certainly not such 
large eaters as are to be found elsewhere, they still 
all of them in every grade know how to appreciate 
the good things of this world. It was almost impos- 
sible to guarantee fresh meat for six months, if only on 
account of the quantily of forage which the requisite 
number of live cattle would consume in such a length 
of time; and, in addition to this, the year 1870 had 
been throughout France an exceptionally bad one for 
crops, on account of the drought which had pre- 
vailed* Salt, one of the most indispensable neces- 
saries of life, generally falls short first in invested 
towns, because, as a rule, people have no idea of 



92 THE WAR FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the enormous quantities usually consumed in modem 
life. Whence, too, were to be procured eggs, butter^ 
and fowls for six months'? Whence were to come 
fresh vegetables, which can generally be bought in 
Paris at such moderate prices, and of such an ex- 
cellent quality 1 Of fish we will not speak. The 
Seine certainly suppUes a few, but they are very 
indifferent; and the fish from the sea, and other 
maritime products, would naturally be shut out 
when once the investment had taken place. 

It might, then, perhaps be possible to provision 
Vm> fo? i m<LL ma comestibles sui » a« 
supplied to ships, although even that, spite of all 
zeal which might be expended upon it, would be no 
light task; but to provide for it food, such as all 
classes had long been accustomed to, was clearly 
impossible. 

On the 25th of August, General Trochu caused 
a great raid to be made upon the quarters of the 
town in which the higher demi-nionde and its Mends 
resided. Many of these were seized, and among 
them were found an enormous number of foreigners 
— a fact which is worthy of notice, as a certain party 
in Germany are always discoursing with virtuous 
indignation on the immorality of the French. These 
ladies, together with their intimately were speedily 
expelled from Paris. This measure met with uni- 
versal approbation — among other reasons, because 
this society, thus summarily disposed of, was ready 



PARIS AT THE END OF AUGUST. 93 

for anything, even to the extent of assisting intrigues 
against the defence of Paris. 

Another measure which followed very shortly was 
not so generally approved of. On the 28 th of 
August^ placards on the street - comers announced 
that all foreigners who were subjects of the States 
with which France was at war must leave Paris and 
its neighbourhood within three days, and must either 
return to their homes or retire into the Departments 
to the west of the Loire. Any who claimed to be 
exempted must obtain a special licence from the 
Governor of Paris. Gleneral Trochu remarked that 
this banishing appeared to be also necessary for the 
sake of those expelled. 

A similar expulsion has scarcely occurred since the 
days of antiquity, for there were 80,000 Germans in 
Paris. Much hardship was caused; for the decree 
affected, among others, many men who had been resi- 
dents in Paris fifteen and twenty years — ^who had 
founded families and businesses there — whose wives 
were Frenchwomen, and whose children had been 
bom in France. Now at three days' notice they were 
driven from the country which they had made their 
own, and obliged to return to a home which had 
long become foreign to them. There was even dis- 
covered a chief of battalion of the National Guard, 
who, German by birth, had never been naturalised. 
Much misery was consequently seen everywhere. 
Considering the generous and humane character of 



94 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the French in general, and of the Parisians in par- 
ticular, one involuntarily asks one's self' on what 
grounds such a measure could appear to be necessary. 

It is true that there were Germans, guests of France, 
who had sought and found there a livelihood which 
their own country denied them, who now manifested 
in public places their joy over the German victoria 
in a manner which amounted to brutality, and which 
must have deeply wounded every Frenchman ; there 
were also people who loudly proclaimed their approval 
of the most severe behaviour of the German armies 
towards France. Among the uneducated classes of 
German workmen, also, threats were made of conspir* 
acies and deeds of violence on their part when once 
the German hosts should appear before Paria But 
such cases were exceptional, although here and l^ere 
rough treatment ensued, which supported the state- 
ment of General Trochu that the banishing was for 
the good of those banished. People also whom the 
decree of the General did not^iffect, such as German-* 
speaking Swiss, and Austrians, began to depart One 
of these^ on being questioned, replied, *^ What does it 
avail me that I am Swiss ? I speak perhaps a word 
of German to a countryman ; a gamin calls out, Un 
Prussien! un espion Prussien! I am surrounded, 
arrested, perhaps mobbed to death on the way to the 
Commissioner of Police. All the reclamations of our 
ambassador would not then restore me to life.'' 

Let us look at things as we may, at the bottom of 



PARIS IN THE BEGINKIKG OF 8EFTEMBBB, 95 

this banishment of the Germans lies the awakening 
of national hate. 

And this awakening of national hate — its awa- 
kening on both sides, not on the French alone — ^is 
for Europe the greatest curse of this war, compared 
with which aU material sufferings, aU material losses, 
great and pitiable though they may be, are as no- 
thing. It was the anxiety to ward off this misfor- 
tune, which they saw was inevitable if war broke 
out, that caused a number of single-minded men of 
both nations to strive for years with all their power 
to postpone its advent 

The expulsion of the Germans was not confined 
to Paris or the fortresses, but even tiiose who lived in 
the open towns were hunted away. One of the men 
who first incited the measure was M. Gambetta, who 
was shortly aAierwards called upon to play a great 
part in the history of his country. 

On the forenoon of Saturday, the 3d of September, 
the first news of the cat^ustrophe of Sedan reached 
Fans, and though it was not at all complete or de^ 
finite, great excitement had arisen on the Boulevards 
by noon* 

The session of the Corps Legislatrf was opened 
at 3 P.M., when Falikao announced important events. 
He commenced with describing a sortie of Bazaine from 
Metz, which had been repidsed. This, he acknowledged, 
was not good news. Then first he began to talk of a 
battle fought between M^zieres and Sedan, in which 



96 THB WAB FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

first success, then misfortune, had been on the French 
side ; then he stated that M'Mahon was wounded, — 
and all this he told in confused and obscure language, 
that still left grounds for hope, dwelling especially on 
the fact that the intelligence was not official But he 
repeatedly declared that the news was most important, 
and that by it the Grovemment was compelled to 
appeal to the living power of the people. 

After Palikao's explanation, a lively diBcussion at 
once ensued. Jules Favre first brought some order 
into it, in a speech which, far superior to his usual 
declamations, demanded : " What is the truth 1 The 
truth is, that the French army has, under all circum- 
stances, whenever it has met the enemy, behaved with 
heroic courage. You know the miracle of bravery 
which Marshal Bazaine wrought when he sought to 
rupture the circle of the far superior forces which sur- 
rounded him. Without counting the enemy, in spite 
of all obstacles, knowing that France required his 
sword, he sought to set himself free. On the other 
hand, a general not less brave set out to support 
him in this enterprise. He has succumbed. There 
was no want of bravery. What was wanting was 
freedom of command. It is notorious that troops 
were demanded from him to protect the Emperor. 
He refused to send them, and then the Council of 
Ministers despatched some of those which were 
destined to defend Paris. That is well known, and 
such a state of things ought not to continue. We 



PARIS IN THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER. 97 

must know how we stand with the Government. 
Is the Emperor in communication with his Ministers? 
Does he give them orders 1 ^' 

To this question Falikao answered distinctly, 
"No." 

" Then/* continued Jules Favre, " the Government 
has practically ceased to exist ; and if you are not in- 
credibly blind, if you have not an obstinacy which is 
no longer patriotic, you must admit that it is your 
duty to demand from the country those resources by 
which deliverance can be effected. I will not examine 
the question more deeply. The answer of the Minister 
has cleared up the main point — the Government has 
ceased to exist'' 

Hereupon arose furious interruptions by the Mame- 
lukes. The President, Schneider, stood up and spoke : 
" On every occasion it would be my duty to protest 
against such words. Under the present circumstances 
especially, I must protest against everything that may 
cause a weakening of the countey." 

Jules Favre — "A weakening! What I seek is 
moral power; and it Ues in a Uberated country, which 
must only rely upon itself and upon its representa- 
tives, no longer trusting to those who have plunged 
it into destruction. (Great noise from the Mame- 
lukes.) In this extreme crisis I have but two words 
to add — France and Paris, both equally threatened, 
both united in resisting by a close solidity, are re- 
solved not to lay down arms imtil the enemy is 

VOL. ir. Q 



98 THE WAR FOB THE RHINE FBONTIER. 

driven back. The country knows that in it. and in it 
alone, lies the remedy. (Applause on the Left.) It is 
necessaiy that, to avoid confusion, aU parties step back 
in fav^ of a nulitary man, who will teke upon him- 
self the defence of the nation. His name is well 
known and dear to the country. He must take the 
place of all others ; before him all the phantoms of 
Government must disappear. That is the remedy : I 
say it in the sight of the country — may the country 
hear me 1 (Very good ! on the Left, and correspond- 
ing cries on the Right.) " 

This distinct recommendation of making Trochu a 
sort of dictator was very displeasing to the Count of 
Palikao, and he reminded the Chamber that a con- 
stituted Government existed, and that it was their 
duty to rally round it 

During the subsequent part of the sitting, tiie 
Corps Legislatif waa principaUy occupied in discussing 
the urgency of calling in the collective male population 
of all ages between twenty-five and thirty-five years^ 
instead of, as up to the present, only soldiers of the 
higher age who had already served ; and afterwards 
with the question of the election of officers for the 
National Guard of Paris, which had been already 
postponed for a long tima 

The Chamber finally adjourned until 3 p.m. on the 
4th of September. 

But it was destined to meet again ere that. When 
the sitting closed it was 4.30 p.m.; and only at a 






• ^. 



PARIS IN THE BEGINNING OF SBPTEMBEIl. 9ft 

later hour was intelligence brought by telegrams from 
Belgium and Switzerland which showed the catas- 
trophe of Sedan in its true light. 

Groups immediately formed on the Boulevards, 
and paraded them singing the Marseillaise. One of 
these mobs proceeded to the Luxemburg, at that time 
the headquarters of the Governor of Paris, and there 
demanded that the deposition of the Emperor and of 
the dynasty should be proclaimed. 

Palikao himself could not as yet credit the whole 
extent of the misfortune ; and in the evening tele- 
graphed to the French consul in Basle to inquire if 
L Germaa news of the ct«ta,phe of Sedan ™ to 
be believed. He received for answer, that by all 
accounts there could be no doubt of the truth of what 
was stated. 

Meanwhile several of the deputies had hurried to 
the President, Schneider, and communicating to him 
what they had heard, had importuned him to assemble 
the Chamber as quickly as possibla This he con- 
sented to do, and, sending toLprivate dwellings of 
the members, summoned them to meet at midnight 
between the 3d and 4th of September. 

At 1 A.M. on the 4th, the sitting was opened. The 
Count of Palikao was present also. In spite of the 
telegram from Basle, he had lain himself down to 
sleep peacefully, without consulting the Ministry, and 
was first awakened and caused to arise by the messen- 
ger from Schneider. 



■* 



^a 



«• • 



100 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The Count was the first speaker, and now confessed 
the truth. 

" Our army," he said, " has, after heroic efforts, 
been thrown back by overwhebning forces on Sedan. 
Resistance was no longer possible. The army has 
capitulated, and the Emperor has been made pris- 



oner." 



After communicating this serious intelligence, 
Palikao demanded an adjournment until the morrow. 
Properly speaking, this would be until the 5th of 
September, but he meant only until some later hour 
in the day of the 4th. 

The President, Schneider, supported the motion, 
and Jules Favre, speaking in the name of the Left, 
did not oppose it ; but he at the time laid before the 
Chamber a motion with the following contents : — 

1. ^^ It is declared that Louis Napoleon Bonaparte 
and his dynasty are deposed from the power which 
the constitution bestowed on them. 

2. ^* The Corps Legislatif nominate a commission J 
of government, composed of . . . The same is in- 
vested with the full authority of a government, and 
has the special task of resisting the invasion to the 
utmost, and of driving the enemy from the territory 
of the nation. 

3. ^'General Trochu is confirmed in his post of 
Grovemor-General of the town of Paris.'' 

The ex-Minister Pinard alone ventured to remark, 
" We have not the right to proclaim the deposition ;" 



PAKIS IN THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER. 101 

and the Chamber then adjourned until noon on the 
4th, the whole sitting having lasted but twenty 
minutes. 

In the morning hours of the 4th, a proclamation of 
Palikao's Ministry was found on all the street-comers : 
" Frenchmen 1 a great disaster has happened to the 
country. After three days of heroic battles deliv- 
ered by the army of M'Mahon against 300,000 of 
the enemy, 40,000 men have been made prisoners. 
General Wimpflfen, who assumed the command in 
place of Marshal M'Mahon, severely wounded, has 
signed a capitulation. But this cruel blow does not 
shake our courage. Paris is to-day in a situation to 
defend herself. The military forces of the land axe 
being organised. In a few days a new army will 
stand under the walls of the capital. Another army 
will be formed on the banks of the Loire. Tour 
patriotism, your unity, your energy will rescue France. 
The Emperor has been taken prisoner in the battle. 
The Government, in harmony with the public force, 
wiU adopt all the measures required by the importance 
of the events." 

At 1 P.M. on the 4th of September, the President, 
Schneider, opened the sitting of the Corps Legislatif. 
The Count of Palikao had surrounded the place of 
meeting, the Palais Bourbon, with numerous troops^ 
and occupied the Place de la Concorde. 

Against this Count K^ratry protested ; and in the 
course of a debate, in which it was demanded that 



102 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the Corps Legislatif should be guarded only by the 
National Guard, Palikao adopted a very high tone, 
and spoke at times in most unmeasured terms. Then, 
in opposition to the motion which M. Favre had 
brought forward in the midnight sitting, he moved 
the following governmental one, and demanded that 
the debate on it should be declared urgent: — 

1. "A council of government and of national de- 
fence is hereby formed. The same to consist of five 
members — each to be chosen by an absolute majority 
of the Corps Legislatif. 

2. " The nomination of Ministers shall be subject 
to the approval of this council. 

3. "General the Count of Palikao is nominated 
Governor-General of this council 

"Given in the Council of Ministers, the 4th of 
September 1870. 

"For the Emperor, and by virtue of the power 
which he has intrusted to us. 

(Signed) " Eugenie." 

Hereupon Jules Favre demanded that his proposal 
also be declared urgent. 

M. Thiers moved a conciliatory proposition. He 
inclined to the view of Favre, but he held that, for 
the sake of unity, a sacrifice should be made. His 
motion, which was supported by forty-seven members, 
ran: — 

" In view of the existing state of afiairs, the Cham- 



PARIS IN THE BEGINNING OP SEPTEMBER. 103 

ber nominates a commission of government and of 
national defence. A Constituting Assembly will be 
convened as soon as circumstances wiU permit." 

By a decision of the Chamber all three of these 
motions — of Favre, of Falikao, and of Thiers — were 
recognised as urgent They were to be examined 
by a committee of nine members, to be named by 
the Bureau ; and during the consultation of this, the 
President adjourned the sitting at 1.40 p.m. until 
2.30 P.M. 

But before that time the state of affairs was greatly 
changed. 

In the course of the forenoon a number of battalions 
of the National Guard had assembled in their arron- 
dissements. In the afternoon they traversed the 
Boulevards, and were greeted everywhere with the 
cry, ** The deposition 1 the deposition ! " " Long live 
the National Guard 1 long live the Nation ! " And 
between these arose every now and again the shout, 
" Long live the Republic ! ** 

After parading the streets, these men finally posted 
themselves in crowds by the palisades which shut off 
the court of the Palais Bourbon from the Quai d'Orsay. 
A gate in this was at first partly opened, but a ques- 
tor of the Corps Legislatif shut it. Thereupon the 
National Guard and people both demanded that it 
should be reopened. A deputy from the Left, M. 
Steenackers, came then from the Palais Bourbon, and 
promised the mob that this should be done if they 



104 THE WAE FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

would enter without arms. A number of the National 
Guard then took the bayonets from their muskets, 
and announced themselves as a deputation; where- 
upon, by an order from Steenackers, the gate was 
thrown open. The National Guard entered, the 
people thronged in behind it, and soon a confused 
multitude overran not only the tribunes, but also the 
floor of the Chamber. 

When the deputies wished to return from the 
Bureau to resume the sitting, most of them shrank 
back affrighted. By 3 p.m. the whole palace was 
filled with people who did not belong to it, but who 
made themselves perfectly at home there. After the 
nominal reopening of the sitting no one could make 
himself heard, and therefore, at 3 p.m., the President 
adjourned the Chamber, a great number of deputies 
belonging to the majority and to the Centre retiring 
to a room in the H6tel du President to consult as to 
what further steps should be taken. 

While the nature of a new government was being 
deliberated upon there, the members of the extreme 
Left, the Irreconcilables, accompanied by a mob of 
the National Guard and of citizens, proceeded to the 
Hdtel de Ville, and being there nominated by the 
latter to be members of government, a Bepublic was 
forthwith proclaimed. 

Upon information of this being received by the 
deputies assembled in the President's house, three of 
them were deputed to repair to the H6tel de Ville, 



PABIS IN THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER. 105 

and there enter into negotiations with the Provisional 
Government. 

The deputation found that this government con- 
sisted of all the deputies for Paris, excepting only M. 
Thiers. M. Jules Favre, one of its members, after- 
wards returned to the Palais Bourbon and thanked 
the members who were still there for the offer of their 
co-operation, but regretted that the Government must 
decline accepting it, as no good could result from it ; 
and stated, further, that the dissolution of the Corps 
Legislatif had been therefore decreed. 

Simultaneously with this the Senate was also pro- 
rogued. It had been opened at 12.30 p.m. by the 
President, M. Eouher. At first there had been a suc- 
cession of violent declarations of adherence to the 
Empire and the dynasty; and when news of the 
proceedings in the Corps Legislatif arrived, the sena- 
tors had protested against this anarchy, and expressed 
their deepest disgust at it. But when the question 
was discussed whether, under the existing circum- 
stances, the Senate should not sit en permanence, to 
be able to act at once vigorously, as events might 
require. Messieurs les Senateurs lost courage, and 
separated with the resolve of meeting again at the 
customary hour on the 5th, without regarding what 
might happen outside, to consider any proposals which 
the Legislature might bring forward. 

But this sitting was never to take place. The Pro- 
visional Government declared the Senate to be not 



106 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

only dissolved, but abolished. The senators dispersed 
to all quarters of the compass, as the members of the 
Eight and Centre had done, and none dared to oppose 
the revolution. Their place of sitting, as well as that 
of tlie Corps Legislatif, was .then sealed up and 
watched by the new authorities. 

While thus the sitting of the Chambers closed 
amid tumult, and the Republic was proclaimed firom 
the H6tel de Ville, a crowd of people, and of the 
National and Mobile Guards, broke, at 3 P.M., from 
the Place de la Concorde into the gardens of the 
Tuileries, and advanced towards the reserved garden 
of the palace, which was occupied by troops of the 
depot of the Imperial Guard, under General Mellinet. 
A man of the Mobile Guard was sent forward with a 
white flag to open negotiations on the part of the 
mob. General Mellinet pointed out that the tricolor 
flag no longer waved over the building, a sign that no 
member of the Imperial family was within it, and 
declared himself ready to withdraw his men if the 
National Guard would at once occupy the palace. 
The troops raised the butts of their rifles in the air, 
and the gates were opened. The National Guard 
took possession, and the people streamed in, not only 
from the west, but also from the east side, from the 
Place du Carrousel, without being guilty of the slight- 
est disorder, save only that they removed the nu- 
merous golden N's, the emblems of the fallen power. 



FLIGHT OF THE EMPBBSS. 107 

The Empress Eugenie had left the Tuileries at 1 
P.M., accompanied only by a subordinate servitor of 
the palace, and crossed on the evening of the same 
day the Belgian frontier at Maubeuge, whence she 
shortly afterwards repaired to England, whither her 
son was also sent. The whole of the Court servants, 
high and low, had dispersed, and had left to her fate 
the lady whom, but the day before, they had wor- 
shipped on their kneea There remained behind only 
the kitchen domestics, who perhaps felt themselves 
tied to the place by the certainty of good cheer, and 
a faithful subaltern employS, the secretary of General 
Lepic, Marshal of the Palace. This official was the 
only one who pitied the Empress in her abandon- 
ment and felt for her solitude in the last hours of 
her sojourn in the Tuileries. 

The last member of the Imperial family to leave 
Paris was the Princess Clothilde, wife of Prince Napo- 
leon. After hearing mass, she quitted the Palais Eoyal 
at 3 P.M., and journeyed to Prangins in the Canton 
Wadt, a possession of her husband, where her children 
had been already sent. The husband himself had, 
after the first misfortunes which the French army 
experienced, left the camp, the air of which was al-^ 
ways disagreeable to him, and under pretence of a 
diplomatic miflsion, had found tiie opport^ty of 
breathing more freely in Italy, in the vicinity of his 
royal father-in-law. 



108 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The Provisional Govermnent of the Republic and 
of National Defence was composed of M. Emanuel 
Arago, Cremieux, Jules Favre, Ferry, Grambetta^ Gar- 
nier-Pagfes, Glais-Bizoin, Pelletan, Picard, Rochefort, 
Jules Simon, and General Trochu, who was confirmed 
in his post of Governor of Paris, and appointed at the 
same time President of the Government. 

The Ministerial posts were distributed thus: — 
Foreign Affairs, Jules Favre; Interior, Gambetta; 
War, General Le Flo ; Marine, Admiral Fourichon ; 
Justice, Cremieux ; Finance, Picard ; Public Instruc- 
tion and Art, Jules Simon; Agriculture and Com- 
merce, Magnin : as Mayor of Paris, a title which was 
now revived, Etienne Arago ; as Prefect of Police, 
Count K^ratry ; and as Director of the Post-Office 
and Telegraphs, M. Steenackers, were appointed. 

Most of these men are sufficiently well known. The 
Mayor of Paris, an old Republican, brother of the 
celebrated astronomer Francis Arago, was bom in 
1802, his nephew Emanuel in 1812. 

Vice- Admiral Fourichon, bom 1809, entered the 
Naval School in 1826, and became "captain of line- 
of-battle ship '' in 1848. As such he was, after the 
coup d'Stat, Governor of Cayenne ; and the political 
prisoners who were sent there by the decrees of Presi- 
dent Prince Louis Bonaparte, assert that he carried 
out to the utmost the sentences of deportation — ^a 
somewhat remarkable recommendation for a Minister 
of the present Republic, which was founded upon the 



MINISTERS OF THE REPUBLIC. 109 

ruins of the Empire and Bonapartism * Fourichon 
was promoted to Vice- Admiral in 1859 ; and at the 
outbreak of the war in 1 8 70, he received the command 
of the North Sea Squadron; and the decree which 
appointed him Minister of Marine under the Eepublic 
reached him on board the ironclad ship Magnanime, 
before Wilhelmshafen (Bay of Jahde). 

Le Flo, bom 1804, became brigadier in 1848, and 
in the same year was elected for the Assembly. 
There he sat on the Right, and was a promoter of the 
Bonapartic policy until the Prince President fell out 
with that side also, when Le Flo took part against 
him. He was therefore arrested on the 2d of Decem- 
ber 1851 and exiled from France, whither he first 
returned in 1859. From that time until 1870 he took 
no part in State affairs. 

Leon Gambetta, bom in Cahors in 1838, springs 
from a Genoese family. In his youth he displayed 
many traits of great energy, which may also be ex- 
plained by the nervous excitability of the Southern 
character. In the year 1859 he became an advocate 
in Paris, where, towards the end of 1868 and in the 
beginning of 1869, he made himself especially cele- 
brated by his defence of the men accused in the Bau- 
din affair, and also on the occasion of the " emancipa- 

* It was Fourichon who ezpreefily ordered the EepublicaiiB trans- 
ported to Algeria, after the success of the coup (THcUy to be fastened 
to the "spit" during their passage. The "spit" is a long iron bar 
which is run through the chains of fifteen or twenty of the galley- 
slayes. 



n 



110 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

tion " of Toulouse. In the latter year he was retnmed 
to the Corps Legislatif for Paris and for Marseilles^ 
and decided to sit for the latter place. As a deputy, 
he, in spite of protracted sickness, became the ac- 
knowledged leader of the extreme Left — ^the Irrecon- 
cilables. 

Count K^ratry, of an old Brittany family, was bom 
in the year 1832, entered the French cavalry as a 
volunteer in 1854, went through the campaigns in 
the Crimea and in Italy, and after the last, towards 
the end of 1859, became a sub-lieutenant. In 1861 
he went with the 3d regiment of Chasseurs d'Afrique 
to Mexico. In 1864 he served for a time in the contre 
guerilla force of Colonel Dupin, became then orderly 
officer to Marshal Bazaine, and in 1865 took his dis- 
charge. He then devoted himself to literary occupa- 
tions, and wrote those articles in the ' Eevue Contem- 
poraine' which essentially placed weapons in liie 
hands of the Opposition to attack the Government 
and Bazaine concerning their behaviour in the Mexi- 
can war, and which involved the author in a verbal 
and written controversy with M. Rouher. In 1869, 
K^ratry was elected for the Corps Legislatif ; and he 
it was who, after the prorogation of July, made the 
proposal that the Chamber should, if not summoned 
before, reassemble on the 26th of October by its own 
authority. We have already related the fate of this 
proposition. 

Bochefort, as a member of the new Govenmient, 



MINISTEBS OF TH£ BEPUBLIO. Ill 

had in the first place to be released from the prison of 
Ste Pelagie, where he was still confined. With him 
numerous other Eepublicans were set free who had tried 
to raise the flag of their cause on the 14 th of August. 
The attempt failed, principally because by an error the 
simultaneous uprising of the difierent sections of the 
conspiracy did not take place. The ringleaders who 
were captured were tried by martial law and sentenced 
to death, as Paris was already in a state of siege ; 
but luckily the sentence had not yet been carried 
into effect, and the Eepublicans of the 4th of Sep- 
tember could not consistently cause it to be executed 
upon the Eepublicans of the 14th of August. 

M. Steenackers, bom in Lisbon in 1830, was only 
naturalised as a Frenchman in 1866. His parents 
were Belgians. He originally intended to be a sculp- 
tor ; but soon giving up that idea, he devoted him- 
self to politics and to historical researches. In 1869 
he was, after he had been for some time member of 
the council of the Upper Mame, returned to the 
Corps Legislati£ 

M. Isaac Adolf Cremieuz was bom in Nimes in 
1796, and has been an advocate since 1817. As such 
he has been engaged in political processes of every 
nature, and conducted them with great cleverness, 
both for men of liberty and for the tyrants of the 
world. During the Oriental question of 1840 he 
entered zealously into the cause of his eviUy-entreated 
co-believers, and secured the acquittal of the Jews of 



112 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

Damascus. In the year 1848 lie pronounced for the 
declaration of the Republic, and entered the Govern- 
ment as Minister of Justice, although he had never 
before been estranged from the House of Orleans, and 
although he had even in the last hours promoted the 
regency of the Duchess of Orleans. He, however, 
soon resigned his post, as he would not consent to the 
prosecution of Louis Blanc. He was then returned 
to the Assembly. There he did not show himself at 
all pleased with the Grovemment of Cavaignac, and 
favoured the election of Prince Louis Napoleon to be 
President. But when the latter was so chosen, he 
opposed him in the Legislatif, and had the honour of 
being arrested during the coup d'Stat. When he was 
liberated, he retired altogether from politics, and 
devoted himself to advocacy. Throughout he showed 
no hostility to the Bonapartic rule, neither had he 
any antipathy to the family. In the year 1869 he 
was elected by the 3d district of Paris in the after- 
elections for the Corps Legislatif. 

It certainly cannot be said that there was much 
homogeneity in the constitution of the Provisional 
Government, but it can be asserted that all its mem- 
bers entered it with the firm conviction that after the 
catastrophe of Sedan nothing remained for France 
but a Eepublic — that a government of some kind 
must be given to it, and that this took upon itself a 
heavy burden. In truth, it required much ill-feeling 
to assume or to give out that the new Ministers ex- 



MnnSTERS OF THE REPUBLIC. 113 

pected to derive much pleasure from their tenure of 
office. 

They all knew well that their Government was 
not a regular one — that it was only a makeshift, 
which had, however, to be accepted. All understood 
thoroughly that by the political law of France the 
general voice of the people was required to confirm it 
in power, or to form from it another. But divers 
opinions prevailed a^ to the moment in which the 
French nation should be called upon to give its vote ; 
and tins, under the existing state of affairs, is easUy 
to be comprehended, without accusing the members 
of the Government of fearing that an immediate 
appeal to the people would cost them their places. 

The next question, of the greatest interest to the 
whole civilised world, was, How would the revolution 
in France affect the continuation of hostilities 1 Could 
it lead to a speedy peace 1 

Most of the men who now formed the Provisional 
Government had, before the commencement of the 
war, protested most decidedly against it. It might 
therefore be assumed that they would strive to bring 
about its cessation. But then they indubitably could 
not conclude a peace. Only a regular government 
could do that. Even supposing that the Provisional 
Government had the whole of France on its side, it 
was nevertheless not regular. The government of a 
great country can neither be chosen nor confirmed 
in office by acclamation. In order that it may be 

VOL. n. H 



114 THE WAB FOE THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

regarded as regular, it requires formal sureties, which 
in this case could only be obtained by means of a 
general vote. 

The Provisional Government, therefore, created in 
the H6tel de Ville in Paris, could not seek to conclude 
peace with the Germans, and the Germans could not 
be expected to accept from such a Government that 
which itself it dared not venture to seek. 

But this Government could take one step towardB 
bringing the war to a close. It could at all events 
conclude an armistice which would not formally bind 
France to accept peace. The Germans also could 
arrange such a temporary cessation of hostilities with 
it; and the essential object of such an agreement 
must be to enable France to recognise by her generd 
vote the Government already formed, or to create a 
new and regular one. 

But with all this it is clear that the German inter- 
est would not allow such an armistice, unless it would 
presumably lead to a peace — to a peace which would 
answer her demands ; and therefore the Provisional 
Government must not only itself recognise these, but 
must be nearly convinced that France also would 
agree to them. 

But when the Provisional Government entered into 
office, the state of a£fairs between the two nations had 
assumed a very different aspect to that which they 
wore when Napoleon III. sent his declaration of war 
to Paris ; for now a great gulf yawned between the 



ALSACE AND LORRAINE. 115 

two nations which it seemed impossible to bridge 
over. 

We have seen how nobly and moderately the Ger- 
man rulers and press expressed themselves before and 
at the commencement of the war. Germany accepted 
the challenge which was thrown down before it, but 
it desired only to defend its territory and its inde- 
pendence — ^it accused the French Government of wil- 
ful offence, but not the French nation. 

But of this feeling there was soon nothing more to 
be seen. 

On the 1 3th of August the King of Prussia ordered 
that the conscription should cease in the districts of 
France occupied by German troops. This measure 
was perfectly in order ; for manifestly in war it can- 
not be required of any one that he place weapons in 
the hands of his adversary, or leave him those which 
he can take away. Moreover, it was self-evident that 
the order was only provisional, and would cease to 
have effect as soon as through any circumstances the 
Germans ceased to hold the territory to which it 
applied. 

On the 14th of August, two governments-general, 
Alsace and Lorraine, were instituted. To the former, 
General Count Bismark-Bohlen was appointed, who 
at first, until the capture of Strasburg, established 
his headquarters in Hagenau ; and with him was 
associated, as civil commissioner and president of 
the government, Herr Ktihlewetter. The governor- 



116 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

general of Lorraine was General von Bonin, with his 
seat in Nancy, and with Count Villers as civil com- 
missioner and president of the government 

These appointments also aroused no suspicion. The 
German governments could not leave the provinces 
they occupied without any administration; neither 
could they allow this to remain in the hands of their 
adversaries. 

But it was somewhat diflFerent with an order of the 
30th of August, by which a new department of the 
Moselle was formed, composed otherwise than the 
hitherto existing French one had been, and united 
vrith the government-general of Alsace. 

This new department was to include the arrondisse- 
ments of Metz, Thionville, and Saarguemines of the 
old French department of the Moselle, and the anon- 
dissements of Chateau Salins and Sarrebourg of the 
old French department of the Meurthe. 

By this opportunity it was intimated, in a very 
plain manner, that Germany intended to separate 
from France, and definitely to gain as a new province 
for the German Empire, the newly-formed govern- 
ment-general of Alsace, now augmented by the re- 
cently-created department of the Moselle (the so- 
called German Lorraine), which further included the 
French departments of the Upper and Lower Bhine. 

The tone of the greater part of the German papers 
had also become very significant after the first victo- 
ries of the German soldiers ; and these journals now 



ALSACE AND LORRAINE. Il7 

demanded that " the old provinces of the German 
Empire, Alsace and Lorraine, which had been con- 
tumeliously torn away from Germany, should be 
again united to it/' 

The men who first from their comfortable easy- 
ohata ^t forth thi. cry were old men of Uttei 
whose views and doctrines had been long deemed to 
be defunct. But, alas 1 they began now to gain more 
followers than could have been expected. 

In reply to the arguments which they published, 
we wish briefly to oppose the following facts : — 

1. Alsace and Lorraine were not taken from the 
German nation, but from the Holy Roman Empire of 
the German nation, which notoriously troubled itself 
very little about the nationalities of those whom it 
took to its bosom, but, when possible, would have 
embraced, as ruler, all the world — Germans, French, 
Italians, Croats, Poles, and others. Alsace and Lor- 
raine were torn from this Holy Roman Empire at a 
time when no German nation whatsoever existed, but 
only dynasties of a German name, which seized any 
territory that yielded anything without regard to its 
nationality — which daily conspired with foreign 
princes "against Emperor and Empire" to enrich 
themselves and forward their djmastic interests. 

2. Alsace and Lorraine were ceded to France little 
by little, by treaties which were perfectly regular 
and universally recognised by the public law of 
Europe, and can therefore only be separated from it 



118 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

and given to another state by similar treaties, as long 
as the present international law of Europe has a spark 
of validity. 

3. Alsace and Lorraine only arrived, and could obIj 
arrive, at a feeling of nationality through the great 
French Revolution — and the feeling which they then 
gained was French. They attached themselves, with 
body and soul, to the great French nation. Language 
does much, but certainly not everything; for there 
are sympathies and interests which unite and bind 
without the aid of a common speech. 

We believe that these three statements are indis- 
putable, and that only a self-conscious partiality can 
deny their justice. 

The historical arguments for the recovery of the 
"purely German" countries, Alsace and Lorraine, 
are of just as doubtful nature, and tend just as much 
to annihilate all historical truths as those of certain 
Poles for the restoration of Poland in her old bound- 
aries as a middle-age, feudal state. 

It is some satisfaction to us to be able to state that 
the leading German statesmen have not made use of 
the ** historical" argument to justify the "recovery" 
of these provinces. They employed another, that of 
the public weal, against which in itself we, fix)m oui 
point of view, have nothing to say. 

Count Bismark declared — may we be excused for 
anticipating events a little — ** We demand the cession 
of the government-general of Alsace (including the 



ALSACE AND LOBRAINK 119 

new department of the Moselle, Gennan Lorraine) 
in the interest of Germany, in order to be able to 
combat France under circumstances favourable for us 
should the war break out again, as we presume 
it must." 

Here manifestly the so-called strategical questions 
come into consideration. From the "higher strate- 
gical " point of view, however, nearly everything can 
be proved — the necessity for France of the " natural " 
Rhine frontier just as clearly as the necessity for 
Germany of the new Germanic -Lorraine -Alsatian 
boundary. These points are open to discussion ; but 
we believe it is better to leave them to the young 
officers of both nations who wish to enter the general 
staff of their armies, and are desirous of showing 
themselves worthy of them, and who are permitted 
to bring prominently forward such elements of dis- 
cussion as they may require for the one side, and 
take no heed of them for the other. 

According to our belief, the best frontier, even from 
a strategical point of view, is that which encloses a 
nation which regards itself as solidly imited. 

Since, then, the Alsatians and the people of Lorraine 
have regarded themselves as completely French since 
the great Revolution, and as this feeling has con- 
tinually grown stronger as time has gone by, we 
cannot deem the acquirement of Alsace and German 
Lorraine to be a gain for Germany. 

Count Bismark has acknowledged this : he has 



120 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

spoken of a heavy burden which Germany has taken 
upon herself with this annexation, but which she was 
obliged to assume. Wherefore 1 

Certain learned men in Germany undertook to 
make the load light. If the people of Alsace and 
Lorraine are not wiUing to be Germans, said they, 
they must be treated as Helots until they get under- 
standing ; if the French will not consent to separate 
from themselves the German Alsatians and inhabi- 
tants of Lorraine, the Germans must rack them till 
the blood squirts out from their naHs. It is compre- 
hensible how soldiers become imbittered in the heat 
of battle, even unto cruelty ; but the endeavours of 
men who are safely sheltered themselves, and who 
pretend to be the advocates of liberty, to incite others 
to deeds of cruelty, and to give to war, which neces- 
sarily brings enough sufferiug in its train, a yet more 
barbarous character, can only make a most repulsive 
impression upon the impartial observer. 

We have examined the one side of the abyss, let us 
now look to the other. 

As early as the 6th of September, Jules Favre 
addressed a circular to the diplomatic agents of 
France abroad, in which he related the declaration 
of the Republic, and pointed out the position of the 
Government. In this writing he announced that 
both it and the country desired peace, and that this 
was possible now that the man who had conjured up 
this war to further his dynastic interests had been 



ALSACE AND LOBRAINE. 121 

displaced ; for had not the King of Prussia himself 
in his earlier proclamations declared that he did not 
fight against France but against Napoleon? 

•* Will the King of Prussia continue a godless war," 
asked M. Favre, "which will be at least as ruinous to 
himself as to us ? Will he exhibit to the world of 
the nineteenth century the cruel spectacle of two na- 
tions annihilating one another, and heaping up ruins 
and corpses — heedless of humanity, of reason, and of 
science ? He can do it ; but if he does, he must take 
upon himself the responsibility of answering for it 
before the world and in history. If he throws us a 
challenge, we shall accept it. We will not give up 
an inch of our territory nor a stone of our fortresses. 
From a shameful (honteiise) peace a war of extirpation 
would speedily arise, but we wish to treat for a last- 
ing peace. Our interest is here that of all Europe ; 
and we have grounds for hoping that the question will 
be so viewed without any dynastic prepossessions in 
the councils of the Governments. But even if we 
remain alone, we shall not be weak.'' 

The Government had at first determined to allow 
the elections for a Constituting Assembly according 
to the election law of 1848, to take place on the 16th 
of October, but it afterwards reconsidered the matter, 
and named the 2d October as the day. To justify 
this measure, M. Favre issued another circular. In 
this he treated the question of peace as he had done 
in the former one, and denied the assertion which 



122 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

was now made on the German side that the French 
nation had desired the war. 

In fact, in the abandoned chambers of the ImpOTal 
house, in those of M. Ronher and of other dignitaries 
of the Second Empire, a correspondence had been 
found which was printed at the instance of the Pro- 
visional Government, and which gives the clearest 
explanation on this point. From it it is manifest 
that the French nation was just as astonished as the 
German by the commencement of this war ; from it 
is seen also what disreputable personages, of various, 
especially of secondary nations, the French warlike 
Court party made use of, to gain information and to 
set the war in motion. It certainly requires an expert 
brain to discover from these writings that the French 
nation wished for the war of 1870, but some of the 
German papers possessed such necessary inteUects. 

But Jules Favre, while defending the French nation 
against such accusations, acknowledged, nevertheless, 
that it could not free itself from all responsibility, 
since it had for so long endured the Imperial Govern- 
ment, and that it must make sacrifices and recom- 
pense the victor — only not by cession of territory, as 
that would be shameful to France, and she must 
prefer destruction to dishonour. 

Thus, while on the German side a resignment of 
land was, partly on historical grounds and pardy 
from reasons of utility, most decidedly demanded, it 
was refused with equal decision by the French ; and 



ALSACE AND LORRAINE. 123 

hereby was formed the great gulf which separated 
the two nations. 

It will be worth while to consider this stumbling- 
block — this question of the cession of territory — 
more minutely. 

In the first place, it is established that the inter- 
national law of the present day recognises fuUy the 
right of acquiring land by conquest. We will not ex- 
amine whether this is good or not ; it is suflScient for 
our purpose to state the fact. It can therefore be no 
disgrace to a nation conquered in war to cede to the 
victor some of its territory. 

Notoriously Napoleon III. would, had he been 
victorious, have demanded from Germany the left 
bank of the Rhine ; thereof there can certainly be no 
doubt. Germany, or the German governments, would 
scarcely have refused the required concession because 
it was shameful ; they would rather have asked them- 
selves whether they might yet hope for success in 
arms, and would have formed their resolve according 
to the answer which they must give. 

Eussia after the Crimean war was compelled by 
the terms of the Peace of Paris to give up territory, 
and one of the victorious Powers which forced this 
condition upon her was France. 

France allowed Savoy and Nice to be ceded to her 
by Italy in 1860, in requital for aid rendered to the 
latter. It is true that this transfer was justified by a 
pUbiscite in the territories in question, but the agree- 



124 - THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBONTIEB. 

ment had been long before concluded between the 
Emperor Napoleon and King Victor Emanuel; and 
the pUhiscite was as admirably arranged as possible. 

After aU this, why do the French maintain that it 
is shameful or disgraceful for thei^ to be compelled to 
give up territory to the victor ? 

The answer is very simple. While in Germany the 
principle of legitimacy in respect to the relations be- 
tween the Government and the people still completely 
dominates, in France, since the great Revolution, the 
idea of the right of the people to vote has permeated 
everywhere, and no Government has succeeded in 
driving it out The French say, therefore, We are 
to give up Alsace and Lorraine; but they are no 
naked lands — ^upon them dwell people who are alto- 
gether French in sentiment, who desire to remain 
French. How can we cede them to another nation ? 
Such an act would be nothing more than leaving our 
friends in the lurch, and therefore cowardly and dis- 
graceful. 

In their ideas of conquest, the French also take a 
very different view from the Germans. They cannot 
understand how any one can be so stupid as not to 
wish to be a Frenchman. We cannot find any other 
expression to describe the feeling. Now this may seem 
to many to be very ludicrous, but it has certainly not 
always been so laughable. At the time of the great 
Eevolution, millions of Germans became Frenchmen 
not unwillingly ; and who can say whether, if that 



JOUKNEY OF M. THIERS. 125 

Revolution and the war consequent on it had not 
arisen, Germany would not to-day have been a great 
fallen state? Under any circumstances, we must 
confess that the naive French assumption pleases 
us better than the ideas of some of the "learned 
men" and statesmen of Germany, who would will- 
ingly, though we believe wrongly, identify the Ger- 
man nation with themselves, and who would, with 
brutal humour, make the resisting people of Alsace 
and Lorraine into their Helots. 

M. Jules Favre had allowed a sort of appeal to the 
European Powers to be manifest in his circular des- 
patch of the 6th of September ; and soon afterwards 
M. Thiers, the celebrated historian of the ' Consulate 
and the Empire/ commenced a journey to visit the 
European Courts, London, St Petersburg, Vienna, and 
Florence, to represent to them the situation of France, 
and invoke their mediation. The grey-headed states- 
man — he was then 73 years of age — moved by a 
touching love of his country, subjected himself with- 
out hesitation to the physical fatigues and the pre- 
sumably moral unpleasantness of this long tour. In 
Germany the news of this appeal to the European 
Powers was very badly received, and, as though by 
command, a whirlwind of addresses signed by com- 
munities and corporations arose, all adjuring the King 
of Prussia not to allow the intervention of European 
nations in the quarrel between Germany and France. 
These Powers had not done anything eamestiy to pre- 



126 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

vent the outbreak of the war, or to deter Napoleon 
III., or, as was now ever more constantly said, France, 
from the attack ; why should they then now arrogate 
to themselves the right to interfere ? 

We are inclined to doubt whether the Chancellor 
of the North German Confederation was well served 
by this language, which really demanded that Gee- 
many should stand alone in Europe. 

The pride with which the French spoke was abo 
displeasing to the Germans. They would willingly 
have seen the French nation bow down humbly and 
cover their faces before the brilliancy of the victories 
won by the German soldiery. It is, nevertheless, very 
easy to be kind, when successful, to those followed by 
misfortune— very easy, when victorious, to be lenient 
to the defeated. But in the tone of a great part of 
the daily press there was no clemency. After eveiy 
victory gained by the German army, certain jonr- 
nalists became only more rudely and unreasonably 
abusive towards the French nation. But when one 
regarded them liiore attentively, it was found these 
" real Grerman men '' very often bore about them un- 
mistakable signs of an Oriental origin. 

It can be easily seen that, under these circnm- 
stances, the prospect of a speedy restoration of peace 
was in the month of September extremely small But 
how noble would have been the position of the Ger- 
mans had they now, even with pretended sacrifices, 
held out the right hand of fellowship to their foes ! 



INFLUENCE OP THE REPUBLIC UPON THE WAR. 127 

But the events which really took place oblige us to 
ask again, how the declaration of the Kepublic would 
influence the further conduct of the war 1 

We have before remarked that, up to the time of 
the battle of Sedan, there were no symptoms of a 
revolutionary uprising of the French nation. Spite 
of the shutting up of Bazaine in Metz, spite of all 
past and prospective defeats, Palikao's Ministry had 
adhered in all its preparations as much as possible to 
the already existing — ^it had indeed talked of extra- 
ordinary efibrts, but had not in reality taken any 
sufficient steps towards realising its promises. 

Would the whole of France now be inspired with 
the revolutionary spirit ? Would she, if peace as she 
desired it was unattainable, rise up as one man ? 
Would she find leaders to organise her material forces, 
and to retrieve the long neglect of the past 1 Would 
the Germans allow her time for these things ? 

We only suggest these questions ; the answer we 
leave to be found in the narrative of what followed. 

But one thing was certain, if hostilities were con- 
tinued, it would, precisely because of the imperfection 
of the French formations, and of the desperate strug- 
gle which would be thereby engendered, lead to the 
poisoning of the war, and to the increase of that 
national hate which has never yet served the ends of 
a nation, but only the dominion of some. 



128 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE MARCH OF THE GERMANS UPON PARIS— THE INVBSTICEIT 
OF PARIS — THE CONFERENCE OF FERRIERES. 

Immediately after the capitulation of Sedan, the 
Army of the Meuse (Fourth Army, Crown-Prince 
of Saxony) and the Third Army (Crown-Prince of 
Prussia) commenced anew their march on Paris. 

The Army of the Meuse, on the right, moved along 
three roads — ^by Creil and Ecouen, by Compiegne and 
Senlis, by Soissons and Dommartin. Its advanced 
troops reached the neighbourhood of Pontoise on the 
16 th of September. 

The Third Army turned at first southwards to- 
wards the Mame, crossed it at Epemay and Chateau 
Thierry, and advanced then along the left bank of 
the river, between it and the Seine, towards Parii 
Its foremost troops arrived on the 15th of Septemte 
at Nogent sur Mame and Creteil. The headquarters 
of the Crown-Prince of Prussia, which had remained 
on the 2d and 3d of September in Donchery, were 
moved on the 4th to Attigny, on the 5th to War- 
mereville, on the 6th to Rheims, on the 9th to Bour- 



MARCH OF THE G£RMANS UPON PARIS. 129 

sault near Epemay, on the 12th to Montmirail, and 
on the 15th to Conlommiers. 

The headquarters of the King of Prussia were at 
Varennes on the 4th of September, moved thence on 
the 5th b^^t M^n^hould to Bheims, on the 14th to 
Chateau Tlneny, and on the 15th to Meaux. 

The Prussians encountered no opposition on their 
march to Paris until they were under the walls of 
the capital. The 13th Corps (Vinoy) had certainly, 
upon the repeated representations of M^Mahon and of 
the Emperor Napoleon, been sent from Paris by Sois- 
sons and Laon in the direction of M^zieres and Sedan, 
to the support of the army of M'Mahon ; but when 
he arrived at Laon, Vinoy received the news of the 
catastrophe of Sedan. He therefore only remained 
long enough in that neighbourhood to draw in the 
uselessly small garrisons from the fortresses in his 
vicinity, and a number of fugitives from the captured 
army, and then returned to Paris by the railway, his 
troops reaching the capital on the 6th and 7th of 
September. 

Soissons, which refused to surrender, was obUged 
to be invested, and afterwards regularly besieged. 

On the 8th of September the 6th division of 
cavalry, Duke of Mecklenburg, approached the neigh- 
bourhood of Laon, which was occupied by half a 
company of soldiers of the line and 2000 men of the 
Mobile Guard. Half a squadron of the 1 5th North 
German regiment of Uhlans was sent forward to 

VOL. TT. 1 



n 



130 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FROmiEB. 

reconnoitre the town, and its leader gave liunself the 
pleasure of summoning the town and citadel, which 
were under the command of General Theremin 
d'Hame, to surrender. The General requested a few 
hours for consideration, until 4 p.m. Upon being 
informed what had happened, the Duke of Mecklen- 
burg sent forward Colonel von Alvensleben with the 
15 th brigade of cavalry, the divisional horse-artillery 
battery, and the terms of capitulation. At the same 
time a horse-artillery battery from the reserve of the 
4th Corps was pushed forward to St Quentin, and 
the 4th battalion of Rifles to Eppes, to the east of 
Laon. On the morning of the 9th of Septenoiber, the 
1 4th brigade of cavalry and the horse-artillery batteiy 
of the 4th Corps also moved forward to Eppes. 

Colonel von Alvensleben, on arriving at the town 
with the terms of the capitulation, had found fresh 
difficulties had arisen with General Theremin, and 
had granted him another respite until 9 a.m. of the 
morrow ; but when, later on, the Duke of Mecklen- 
burg arrived at Eppes, the capitulation was already 
signed, by which the citadel, with its troops and 
matiriel of war, was to be delivered up to the Prus- 
sians at 11.30 A.M. 

The Duke at once caused one company of Bifles to 
occupy the suburbs^ two more the market-place, and 
the fourth the citadel, into which he and his escort 
entered to witness the surrender. When this and the 
disarming was completed in the court of the fortarcss, 



\ 



EXPLOSION AT LAON. 131 

the French infantiy of the line were led out as 
prisoners of war, and the men of the Mobile Guard 
released under condition that they should not bear 
arms again against Germany. 

As the last men of the Mobile Guard marched 
through the gate of the citadel, a terrible explosion 
took place. Nearly all the German and French 
officers who remained in the courtyard were killed or 
woimded ; of the 4th company of the 4th battalion 
of Rifles 50 men were killed and 45 wounded; and 
of the French Mobiles nearly 300 were more or less 
injured. The Duke of Mecklenburg himself received 
a contusion on the upper part of the thigh, and Gen- 
eral Theremin was so wounded in the head that he 
died from his injuries some time afterwards. 

On the Gennan side a suspicion was at first ex- 
pressed that the explosion, which was caused by the 
blowing up of the powder-magazine, had been in- 
stigated by General Theremin ; but a strict inquiry 
showed that this was unfounded, and that the maga- 
zine had presumably been ignited by a guard of the 
armoury {garde d'artillerie). 

According to the general plan for the investment 
of Paris, the army of the Crown-Prince of Saxony 
was to surround it on the right bank of the Seine and 
lower Mame, somewhere on the line from Argenteuil 
by Montmagny, Le Blanc Menil, through the wood of 
Bondy to Goumay on the Mame. For the army of 
the Crown-Prince of Prussia there remained then the 



132 THE WAB FOB THE BHIKE FBOITriEB. 

line on the left bank of the river from Goumay 
through Bonneuil (on the Mame), Choisy le Boy (on 
the Seine), Thiais, Chevilly, Sceaux, Meudon, S&vres, 
to Bougival (on the Seine). The two armies weie to 
join hands on the peninsula of ArgenteuiL 

From various signs it is apparent that immediately 
after the battle of Sedan the Germans did not calcu- 
late on any prolonged resistance from Paris. They 
foimded expectations upon the want of a firm stand- 
ing by the Provisional Government, and upon inter- 
nal discord, expecting also, very possibly, the imme- 
diate fall of some of the forts. 

The Fourth Army was allowed to take up its 
appointed positions without resistance, and was not 
much molested during the month of September. The 
Crown-Prince of Saxony established his headquarters 
at Grand Tremblay. 

The army of the Crown-Prince of Prussia, on the 
other hand, could not complete the investment with- 
out some fighting, and was also, later on, disturbed by 
sorties from Paris. 

In advance of it, Prussian Uhlans showed themselves 
on the 1 7th of September on the height of Clamart 

On the same day, the 5th North German Coips 
had thrown a pontoon -bridge across the Seine be- 
tween Villeneuve St Georges and Ablon. To pro- 
tect its formation, General Ejrchbach had posted the 
17th brigade of infantry (Bothmer), reinforced by 
two squadrons and two batteries, on the right bank 



INVESTMENT OF PAMS. 133 

of the river, on the heights between Limeil and 
Boissy St Leger. These troops were at 2 p.m. at- 
tacked at the wood of Brevannes by a French de- 
tachment from Creteil, but they repulsed the on- 
slaught with small cost; and afterwards the 2d 
division of cavahy, followed by the 5th Army Corps, 
passed over the Seine. 

On the 18th of September this last-named Corps, 
marching on Versailles, reached with the 9th division 
(right wing) Bifevre, and with the 10th division (left 
wing) Palaiseau — ^the former having to sustain a small 
skirmish with French detachments which pushed 
forward from Plessis-Picquet. A patrol of Hussars 
from the 2d division of cavalry reached Versailles on 
the same day. 

On the 19th of September the 10th division started 
early in the morning from Palaiseau through Jouy 
en Josas for VersaiUes, the 9th division leaving 
Bifevre in the same direction, while the 1st Bavarian 
Corps followed the 5th North German. 

The 9th division was attacked immediately after it 
set out, and was obliged to form front; and the way 
they encountered the enemy was this : — 

On the 18th of September General Ducrot had 
taken up a position on the heights to the south of 
Paris, between Meudon and Villejuif, with four divi- 
sions of very varied composition, selected from the gar- 
rison of Paris. We have already frequently before 
made mention of this General. After M'Mahpn was 



\ 



134 THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBOKTIEB. 

wounded at Sedan, he succeeded to the conunand-in- 
chiefy and when superseded in this by Wimpffen, 
again led the 1st Corps. He was included in the 
capitulation of Sedan, but escaped fix>m his imprison- 
ment at Pont-k-Mousson. On the German side it is 
most positively asserted that General Ducrot had 
then (on the 12th of September) already given his 
word of honour not to serve again against Germany 
in this war. On the French side, this is as ene^ 
getically denied* But, in short, General Ducrot had 
taken the shortest road to Paris, and had there placed 
himself at the disposal of General Trochu, who had 
long been his £riend, and who placed the greatest 
reliance in him. 

On the 19th of September Ducrot andertx)ok a 
great reconnaissance southwards, and they were his 
troops thus engaged on the plateau of Yillaooabhiy 
that the 9th division met, and by whom its maidi 
was, as we have seen, retarded. The Germans re- 
pulsed them at first, and were continuing their 
advance, when large bodies of French troops appeared, 
and forced them again to form front. 

The first support which the 9th division received 
was brought by the 1st Bavarian brigade of infantiy 
(Dietl), which fell upon the left flank of the French; 
and, moreover, General Kirchbach ordered the 10th di- 
vision to march to the rescue as soon as its head arrived 
at Jouy en Josas, to the north-east of Villaconblay. 

The 2d Bavarian Corps was, on the 1 9th, on the 



INVESTMENT OF PAfilS. 135 

march from Longjxuneau to Chatenay. The 3d 
division, which was at its head, reached the latter 
place at 10 A.M., and sent a brigade towards Petit 
Bicestre to the direct support of the 5th North 
German Corps, while the others advanced through 
Sceaux* 

Of the 4th Bavarian division the 7th brigade 
moved upon Bourg la Reine, to the north-east of 
Sceaux, while the 8th brigade remained halted in a 
reserve position at Croix de Bemi, to the east of 
Chatenay. 

By 11.30 A.M. the 5th German Corps had thrown 
back the right wing of the French at Villacoublay 
and Petit Bicestre. The retreat of the French troops 
of the line engaged there degenerated into a disorderly 

very severe measures. General von Kirchbach there- 
upon, complying with his instructions, marched with 
the 5th Corps to his left towards Versailles, to occupy 
the parts of the investing line assigned to him there, 
leaving the Bavarians to accomplish anything that 
might be further necessary on the field of battle. 

At the same time General Ducrot was preparing an 
offe.«ivc ad™nce with to left wing, whiS. ™ppoLd 
itsdf upon a newly-constructed intrenchment armed 
with eight guns, near Moulin de la Tour, upon the 
north-eastern spur of the heights of Plessis-Picquet. 

General von Hartmann directed the 7th brigade 
and the one which was in Sceaux to confine them- 



136 -THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

selves to the defence of Bourg la Heine and Sceaux, 
and pushed on the 8th brigade to Chatenay. A com- 
bat of firearms ensued, and towards 3 o'clock General 
Ducrot caused the guns in the earthwork to be spiked, 
and retired behind the detached forts, some of the 
troops of the 3d Bavarian division following him 
through Sceaux and Plessis-Picquet, and taking pos- 
session of the deserted intrenchment. 

The 6th North German Army Corps had followed 
the 5th across the Seine on the 19th, partly by tie 
bridge at Villeneuve St Georges, partly by another 
which had been thrown across for its use, and followed 
through Villeneuve le Roi towards the line Choisy le 
Roi-Chevilly. It was met with a fire from another 
newly-built advanced work at ViUejuif, and con- 
tented itself with placing outposts on the front Choisy 
le Roi-Chevilly. These were repeatedly attacked by 
French detachments, but the latter failed to force 
a way through them. 

The Crown-Prince of Prussia's headquarters were, 
on the 1 8th of September, at CorbeiL On the forenoon 
of the 19th he was present on the heights of Sceanx 
at the fight of the Bavarians, and established his 
headquarters on the same day at Palaiseau. 

During the night from the 22d to the 23d of Sep- 
tember, the Germans remarked that the French had 
evacuated the still unfinished intrenchments at ViUe- 
juif, and forthwith they occupied them themselves. On 
the morning of the 23d, the French from Forts Bicfitrc 



SOBTIE OF TH£ 30TH OF 8EPTEMBEB. 137 

and Ivry commenced a heavy cannonade upon these 
works. The Germans were unable to maintain them- 
selves in them under this fire, and so retired. Whilst 
they were thus withdrawing, the division of General 
Maud'huy emerged from the above-named detached 
forts and pursuexl them, but were checked at the Ger- 
man line of outposts, and afterwards compelled to turn 
hack again. 

On the same day Rear- Admiral Saisset on the north 
side undertook a yet greater reconnaissance towards 
Le Bourget and* Drancy, and another was directed 
from St Denis against Pierrefitte. 

On the 24th of September several of the French 
ironclad gunboats on the Seine cannonaded from 
SurSnes the German outposts at St Cloud and Sevres. 

On the 30th the French made again a great sortie 
on the south side with the 13th Army Corps (Vinoy), 
when a main attack by the centre was prepared for 
arid supported by two false attacks on the wings. 

The demonstration on the right was directed from 
Fort Issy against the positions of the 5th North Ger- 
man Corps, that on the left from Fort Charenton 
against the 11th North German Corps. 

The main attack from Montrouge and Bic6tre aimed 
at the 6th North German Corps, and especially at the 
12th division (Hoffinan). The fighting took place 
principally about Villejuif, Chevilly, Thiais, and Choisy 
le Roi, and by 11 A.M. the French had been driven back 
with considerable losses upon the detached forts. In 



138 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

this encounter General Guilliem was killed, the officer 
who had commanded the French garrison brigade in 
the States of the Church. 

The Crown-Prince of Prussia on the 20th of Sep- 
tember removed his headquarters to Versailles ; thofie 
of the King of Prussia were established on the 19th 
partly at Lagny on the Mame, partly at Rothschild's 
castle of Ferri^reSy famous for the many pleasant 
hours which Napoleon passed there when at die 
summit of his power. 

We conclude here for the present the narrative of 
the mUitaxy evente about Paris, but append, before 
we pass on to the interesting diplomatic negotiatioDB 
of Ferri^res, some description of the great capital of 
France, especially in its aspect as a fortress. 

If with the Louvre as centre, and with a radius of 
7000 paces, a circle be described, it will give, veiy 
roughly certainly, the present circumference of Pam 
The town is traversed by the Seine^ which, in its courae 
through it, forms a bow open towards the south, and 
divides the city into two very unequal parts, the 
larger on its right bank, and the much smaUer one 
on its left. 

The existing boundaries of Paris are fonned by the 
main enceinte of its fortifications and by the new 
exterior Boulevards, and those of the town of Paris 
as it existed up to the year 1861, by the old exterior 
Boulevards, which follow the course of the ancient 
city toll- (octroi-) walL These excluded from the town 



PABIS. 139 

a number of populous communities, who were, never- 
theless, within the fortifications built in 1 84 1 . Lastly, 
the boundaries of Paris as they existed up to the time 
of the great Revolution are still marked by the in- 
terior Boulevards. 

The town inside the old exterior Boulevards was 
divided into twelve arrondissements, to which eight 
more were added on the abolition of the old octroi- 
walL 

Of the fourteen arrondissements on the right bank 
of the Seine, four lie between the river and the in- 
terior Boulevards — ^namely, the Ist, UArrondissement 
du Louvre; the 2d, De la Bourse; the 3d, Du 
Temple ; the 4th, De THdtel de Ville : five between 
the interior Boulevards and the old octroi-walls — 
namely, the 8th, De I'Elys^e ; the 9th, De FOp^ra ; 
the 10th, De TEnclos St Laurent; the 11th, De 
Popincourt; the 12th, De ReuiUy: five between 
the old octroi-walls and the main enceinte — ^namely, 
the 1 6th, De Passy ; the 1 7th, De Batignolles ; the 
18th, Des Buttes Montmartre; the 19th, Des Buttes 
Chaumont ; the 20th, De Menilmontant. 

Of the six arrondissements on the left bank, three lie 
between the Seine and the old octroi-wall — ^namely, 
the 5th, Du Pantheon; the 6th, Du Luxembourg; 
and the 7th, Du Palais Bourbon : three between the 
octroi-wall and the main enceinte — namely, the 13th, 
Des Gobelins ; the 14 th, De TObservatoire ; and the 
15th, De Vaugirard. 



140 THE WAR FOE THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

In the year 1801 Paris had 552,686 inhabitants in- 
side the line of the inner Boulevards; in 1856 there 
were 1,174,346 of population within the octroi-wall; 
and in 1861 there were within the main enceinte, 
therefore, inclusive of the eight new arrondissements, 
1,696,141 inhabitants. At the last census in 1866, 
1,825,274 human beings were returned. This num- 
ber had imdoubtedly increased up to 1870, but it 
was diminished shortly before the investment by the 
compulsory and voluntary departures from the city ; 
though, on the other hand, it was again increased by 
arrivals. The regular garrison was not reinforced; 
for, besides the Imperial Guard, another Corps — ^the 
Army of Paris — ^had always been quartered in the 
town and in its immediate vicinity ; but the Mobile 
Guard, the sailors, the custom-house people, the wood- 
rangers, &c., who were called into Paris from the pro- 
vinces, were aU additions to its ordinary population. 
Further, when the investment became imminent, Gen- 
eral Trochu ordered the demolition of the numerous 
buildings without the ramparts, but within the zone 
of defence of the main enceinte, or of the detached 
forts; and the greater part of their inhabitants en- 
tered Paris in the last days of August and the 
first of September, with their furniture and house- 
hold gods. During the time of this migration 
from without to within the walls, a confused crush 
of wonderful and wonderfully-packed conveyances 
choked up many of the gates of the fortifications 



DAILY CONSUMPTION OF PARIS. 141 

from early morning to late evening, and. dragging 
their weary way along the Boulevards with long 
foUowings of men, women, children, dogs, domestic 
pets, and cattle, imparted a new and unwonted as- 
pect to these resorts of the gay idlers of Paris, 

Taking aU these additions into account, the popu- 
lation of Paris at the beginning of the investment 
must be estimated at the least at 2,000,000. 

The daily consumption of the capital before the 
investment is given from credible sources in the fol- 
lowing numbers:. 19,725 hundredweight of bread, 
and, moreover, 4990 sacks of flour; 490 oxen, 130 
cows, 430 calves, 2963 sheep, 2150 hundredweight 
of salted and smoked meat, 1150 hundredweight of 
poultry and game, 1490 hundredweight of fish (two- 
thirds of which sea-fish), 2950 hundredweight of pota- 
toes, 5000 hundredweight of other vegetables, 1120 
hundredweight of butter, and 280 hundredweight of 
cheese. Of the quantity of groceries^ the consumption 
of which in Paris is proportionately very great — of 
milk, eggs, and drinks of all kinds used daily — we 
have no reliable accounts; but stiU an estimate of 
them, taken at the average number of the population, 
and considering the average state of prosperity of the 
inhabitants^ would be an enormous one. 

The Seine above Paris flows mainly from south to 
north; shortly before its entrance into the town it 
receives the Mame at Charenton. The whole of the 
lower Qourse of this latter river is very tortuous ; and 



142 THE WAR FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

just before it joins the Seine, it fonns by a bold curve 
the pemnsula of St Manr, which turns its contracted 
neck towards Fort Yincennes. 

The Seine, on quitting Paris, flows in a south- 
westerly directiop, but at Billancourt it makes a 
sharp bend, and runs to the north-east as &r as 
St Denis, where, with another sharp turn, it again 
resumes its south-westerly direction, only to bend 
again to the north-east at Bougival. These wind- 
ings form three peninsulas dose below Paris. Upon 
the first, that of Boulogne, lies a part of the town 
(Auteuil and Passy) and the Bois de Boulogne, which 
extends up to the main enceinte ; the second penin- 
sula may be named after the principal poiut on it, the 
Mount of Valerien or of Nanterre (the favourite home 
of the queen of the roses) ; and so also may the third, 
the peninsula of Argenteuil. 

The height of the level of the Seine at Paris above 
that of the sea is generally taken to be in round nnm- 
bers 30 metres ; more exactly, it is, with the average 
depth of the water, 27.4 metres where it enters the 
walls, and 25.9 metres where it leaves thenL The 
width of the river at its exit from the city is about 
600 feet 

The main enceiute of the town is formed by a 
simple bastioned line with revetted escarps, without 
ravelins or similar outworks. There are no peiman- 
ently-casemated spaces in the bastions. Of these last 
there are ninety-four in the whole circumference of 



PARIS AS A FORTRESS. 143 

the enclosing rampart ; they do not bear names, but 
are distingaished by numbera Bastion No. 1 lies on 
the right bank, and at the entrance of the Seine into 
the towiL From that point the numbers run in suc- 
cession along the right bank to the exit of the river, 
and then from the same point along those on the left 
bank to the entrance again, so that bastion No. 94 is 
exactly opposite to bastion No. 1. 

The Lyons railway leaves the circumvallation be- 
tween bastions Nos. 2 and 3 ; the Eastern railway (to 
Mulhausen and Strasburg), between bastions No& 27 
and 28 ; the Northern railway, between bastions Nos. 
34 and 35 ; the railway to Bouen, between bastions 
No& 44 and 45 ; the Western railway, by Versailles 
(left bank), between bastions Nos. 75 and 76 ; the 
railway to Orleans, between bastions Nos. 92 and 93. 

These data offer an easy means of identifying indi- 
vidual bastions. 

The bastions are not all alike in form, but the pre- 
vailing type is flat, the faces containing a very obtuse 
angle ; they are very long, and the flanks are propor- 
tionately short. Owing to the great extent of the 
circumference, it is manifest that a considerable num- 
ber of bastioned fronts must lie very nearly in one 
straight line. This is always advantageous to the 
defence, especially in the modem days of rifled ord- 

great in the enceinte of Paris as it would have been 
if the bastions themselves had been built with more 



144 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

salient and acute angles. In the construction of the 
fortifications it was not so much intended that this 
main enceinte should withstand a regular siege, as 
that it should secure the town against a surprise or an 
attack de vive force. The real defence against a foimal 
attack was intrusted to the detached forts, a giidle of 
which surrounds the circumvallation of the town. 

Paris lies in a basin. It is surrounded on all sides 
by heights, the basis of which is a chalk formation, 
and the crests of which are at one time close to the 
town, at another time more removed from it — at odc 
time towering up steep and sharply defined, at an- 
other time rising softly and imperceptibly — so that 
they appear to be almost depressions when compared 
with the neighbouring landscape. These heights 
could not be utilised everywhere as positions for the 
detached forts, especially at a time when the present 
range of guns was not dreamt of ; but they all stand 
in close connection with the works, and therefore we 
must consider them somewhat more minutely. 

The heights of Pierrefitte, to the north of St Denis, 
rise up to an altitude of 265 feet* above the level d 
the Seine ; those of the Wood of Bondy, to the south- 
east of it, to an average height of 280 feet Between 
these two there is a depression of about 80 feet, in 
which several brooks, especially the Sausset and the 
Molette, run down by St Denis to the Seine. 

* The heights given in this description are above the level of tbc 
Seine, unless it is specially otherwise mentioned. 



HEIGHTS AROUND PARIS. 145 

To the west of the heights of the Wood of Bondy, 
divided from it by the narrow and in some parte 
defile-like col through which the railway to Miil- 
hausen and Basle reaches the Mame, are the two 
nearly equally high groups of .hills of Montreuil and 
of Romainville. These fall to the north with rather 
steep slopes to .the Ourcq Canal, and to the east to- 
wards the before-mentioned railway, but decline gently 
to the south towards the Seine and Marne, forming 
thus the almost flat plateau of Yincennes. To the 
westward the main enceinte continues along Belleville 
and the Buttes de Chaumont. 

To the west of the heights of Belleville, separated 
from them by La Villette, and also within the main 
enceinte, rise the Buttes Montmartre, 330 feet high 
at their most elevated point 

In the south and south-west , the pleasant chain of 
hiUs is to be remarked which, much broken, runs 
from Bourg la Eeine towards Bougival, and separates 
St Cloud and Sevres on the Seine from Versailles. 
The summits of this same chain at Clamart and 
Chatillon have an altitude of 440 feet. Spurs from 
them jut out also into the main enceinte at Yaugirard. 
In the hiU of Vaugirard Napoleon III. has discovered 
the theatre of the battle which Labienus, after he had 
beaten Camolugenus between Sevres and Meudon, 
fought with the Gallic reserves, which, originally des- 
tined to observe the right bank of the Seine, had hur- 
ried up when they heard the noise of battle at Meudon. 

VOL. II. K 



146 THE WAE FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The chain of hills Bourg la Reine-Bougival throws 
o»t a ,ur on to Ae p^nill. of Naote^. «id to 
ridge terminates in the Mount of Valerien, which 
rises up conically to a height of 300 feet. 

To the eaat of Bourg la Reine, and on the right 
bank of the Bifevre brook, the chain of heights gradu- 
ally subsides. Ascending to the west of ViUejuif in 
a solitary elevation of 310 feet, it has to the south of 
Vitry sur Seine an altitude of only 240 feet, and then 
falls rather steeply to the valley of the Seine, which, 
to the east of Vitry, is 104 feet above the level of 
the sea. 

The detached forts of Paris are, in plan, bastioned 
squares or pentagons. They are amply provided with 
casemated quarters, are well defiladed, and altogether 
are well arranged. 

Smaller enclosed works exist here and there, separ- 
ated from the forts, and placed to command points 
which cannot be seen from the latter. These are 
called redoubta They are of various forms — some 
have a tenaille trace, others are merely salient 
angles, and others again have small bastions at the 
comers. 

To get a clear idea of the whole system, the de- 
tached forts of Paris are divided into four groups, 
called after the four cardinal points of the compass. 

The greater part of the works of the eastern group 
crown the outer edge of the heights of Bagnolet- 
Montreuil. Their extent is v^ry approximately de- 



DETACHED FORTS BOUND PARIS. 147 

termined by describing a semicircle with the Mon- 
treuil gate, between bastions Nos. 11 and 12, as 
centre, and with a radius of 6500 paces. 
The works which form this group are :— 

1. The Fort of Romainville, a square with an 
irregular homwork, and an annexed work advanced to 
the north, which two outworks connect it with the 
Canal De TOurcq, and along it with the enceinte of 
the town towards bastion No. 27. Fort Romainville 
lies 1700 paces distant from bastion No. 19 of the 
main enceinte ; 

2. The Redoubt of Noisy ; 

3. The Fort of Noisy — a square with a homwork 
pushed out in a north-easterly direction ; 

4. The Redoubt of Montreuil ; 

5. The Redoubt De la Boissiere, a tenaiUed work ; 

6. The Fort of Rosny — a square with a homwork 
advanced to the eastward, 6000 paces from bastion 
No. 16 of the main enceinte ; 

7. The Redoubt of Fontenay, in the form of a small 
homwork closed at the gorge ; 

8. The Fort of Nogent — a square with a homwork 
thrown out to the eastward ; 

9. The Redoubt De la Faisanderie ; and, 

10. The Redpubt De Gravelle. 

The two last-named works are joined by an in- 
trenched line, and close the neck of the peninsula of 
the Marne from St Maur; and all the works from 
Fort Romainville to the Redoubt De la Faisanderie 



148 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

were connected in September by intrenched lines, 
which followed the crest of the heights, so that a sort 
of second enceinte arose there. 

11. The Fort of Charenton — a pentagon in the 
angle between the Seine and the Mame. This work 
is 4000 paces distant from bastion No. 5 of the main 
enceinte, and answers the purpose of a tSte-dvrpont 
for the bridges thrown across the Seine and Mame 
near their junction. 

Most of the works of the eastern group lie very far 
removed from the main ramparts ; but a sort of rSdiiit 
to the whole is formed by 

12. The Fort of Vincennes, which is situated 2200 
paces from bastion No. 8. This work, to the south of 
the town of Vincennes, is composed of the old castle, 
and of the new fort to the eastward of this latter. 
The former, whose origin can scarcely be traced, was 
built in 1183 essentially on its present plan, but has 
been continually improved up to the present day; 
and in 1832 especially, its fortifications were better 
^ranged, and it was provided with miUtary estab- 
lishments. The centre tower, the donjon, which has 
walls 10 feet thick, and has frequently been used as 
a state prison, has a height of 183 feet; and from its 
roof an extensive panoramic view is obtained. The 
new fort, a long rectangle, with its longer faces run- 
ning east and west, contains immense depots of all 
sorts for the artillery. 

Within the eastern group stands the Wood of Vin- 



DETACHED FORTS ROUND PARIS. 149 

cennes Burrounded by a wall. In this park there are 
commodious ranges for infantry and artHlery^ and the 
manoeuvring ground for the troops in the Camp of 
St Maur. 

The southern group of forts extends from bastion 
No. 94 to No. 68 of the main enceinte. It consists of 
the five forts of D'lvry, De Bic^tre, De Montrouge, 
De Vanves, and Dlssy. The forts of Montrouge and 
Vanves are bastioned squares, the other three bastioned 
pentagons. Of this group, Fort Bicetre lies nearest 
to the main enceinte, only 1500 paces from the bas- 
tion No. 87 ; and Fort Issy, the most remote, being 
3000 yards from bastion No 91. 

As is apparent from our description of the country 
in the neighbourhood, there are comparatively im- 
portant heights from 1500 to 2000 yards in front of 
this group, and these General Trochu, when he imder- 
took the defence of Paris, determined to occupy with 
strong field intrenchments. Such a work was thrown 
up on the height of Motdin de la Tour, before Chatil- 
lon, and this was the one which the Bavarians ob- 
tained possession of on the 19th of September. A 
second intrenchment was constructed on the right 
bank of the Bifevre, between it and the village of 
ViUejuif ; a third to the east of Villejuif, near the 
Moulin Saquet ; and, moreover, the villages of Ville- 
juif and of Vitry sur Seine were fortified. 

Behind this advanced line the five forts of the 
southern group were connected by lines of earthworks ; 



150 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

80 that on this side also there existed a continuous 
exterior enceinte. 

The labour on all these fortifications was continu- 
ously carried on, even after the investment had been 
completed by the besiegers. 

The western group consists of only one, but that 
one a most important work — ^the fortress (forteresse) 
of Mont Valerien on the left bank of the Seine, on 
the peninsula of Nanterre. The work itself is a large 
bastioned pentagon, with exterior sides of 1200 feet 
long, with powerful batteries, and an ample supply of 
casemated spaces for all military requirements. But 
in spite of its size, it nevertheless, by reason of its 
solitude, leaves the west front apparently somewhat 
exposed. It is 5000 paces distant from the main 
enceinte, nearly 15,000 paces from the works of St 
Denis, and 9000 paces from Fort Issy. The designer 
of the fortifications of Paris must have calculated 
chiefly upon the reach of the Seine from BiUancourt 
to St Denis for the covering of the west front. "When 
General Trochu commenced his task, he held it to be 
expedient to strengthen somewhat the outer works of 
this front, and accordingly a tSte-du-pont was con- 
structed to protect the bridge of Neuilly; another 
work was thrown up on the hiU of St Ouen; and yet 
another was projected for the heights of Montretout, 
near St Cloud, but this last was never executed. 
On the other hand, later on, an intrenchment was 
formed at Villeneuve la Garenne, opposite St Denis, 



DETACHED FORTS BOUND PARIS. 161 

in connection with the fortifications of the last- 
named place. 

The northern group is formed by Fort Auber- 
villiers and the fortifications of St Denia 

Fort Aubervilliers, on the road to Lille, 2300 paces 
distant from bastion No. 28 of the main enceinte, is 
a bastioned pentagon. 

St Denis, a town of 27,000 inhabitants, is sur- 
rounded by a simple enceinte, rendered stronger by 
inundations and swamps, and by three forts. These 
are the Fort de la Briche, a bastioned rectangle open 
at the gorge, close to the right bank of the Seine ; 
the Northern Double Crownwork {Double Couronne 
du Nord), with three whole and two half bastions, 
open towards the town ; and the Eastern Fort {Fort 
de VEsC)y a closed bastioned square in the south-east 
of the town. And to these must be added the re- 
cently-constructed intrenchment on the left bank of 
the Seine, before Villeneuve la Garenne, of which we 
before made mention. 

The main communications of Paris were, as in 
these days they are for all the world, the railways, 
which radiate in every direction from the eight sta- 
tions of the town. We have already named the 
points at which the principal ones quit the lines. 

It was necessarily of paramount importance for the 
success of the German investment that these lines 
should be cut, and this was forthwith eflFected; so that 
Paris was now obliged to have recourse to other and 



152 THE WAE FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

unwonted means of communication, which, however, 
could not supply all its requirements. 

Very important for the defence of the capital was 
the girdle line {chemin defer de ceinture), which ran 
round the town inside the main enceinte, and for the 
most part not very far distant from it. 

To close this chapter, we have yet to speak of the 
interview of Ferrikes, which was destined to widen 
the gulf which already yawned between France and 

By the mediation of England a conference was 
brought about between Jules Favre, the French 
Minister of Foreign Aflfairs, and the Chancellor of the 
North German Confederation. More than a week 
was lost in discussing matters of form which perhaps 
ought not to have been regarded as such. At last, on 
the 18th of September, when the Germans actually 
stood before the gates of Paris, Jules Favre resolved, 
being assured of the agreement of Bismark, to seek 
out the latter, and on the same day succeeded in 
arriving at ViUeneuve St Georges, where the head- 
quarters of General von Tiimpling (6th Army Corps) 
were established. There he learnt that the head- 
quarters of the King of Prussia were at Meaux, and 
he therefore sent a message to Bismark to inquire 
where he could speak with him. On the 1 9th, at six 
o'clock in the morning, an officer, who was to accom- 
pany him back, brought M. Favre the answer that 
Bismark awaited him in Meaux. He therefore at 



CONFERENCE BETWEEN FAVBE AND BISMARK. 153 

once set out ; but on arriving neax that place, Jules 
Favre heard from an adjutant that the King's head- 
quarters had been removed to Ferriferes. 

The- first meeting of Favre with Bismark actuaUy 
took place in the chateau of Haute Maison at Montry. 
During it the two men did not arrive beyond a 
theoretical discussion about the principles for the 
conclusion of a peace ; and we know what an abyss 
separated France from Germany in respect to these. 
In the interval which had elapsed between the battle 
of Sedan and the interview at the Haute Maison, the 
latter country had become yet more excited, espe- 
cially by two circulars of the German Chancellor to his 
diplomatic agents abroad. In the first, dated Bheims, 
the 13th of September, Bismark spoke, contrarily to 
the earlier proclamation on the German side, no longer 
of a war against the French Government, but of a 
war against the French people. According to his 
view, the latter would, as soon as they could, even 
if a peace were now arranged, again take up arms ; 
and to ward ojff this expected new attack, Germany 
required sureties, which could be found only in an 
advance of her western frontier. Cession of territory 
by France was therefore, from this time forth, offi- 
cially demanded as a condition for the conclusion of 
peace. In the second circular from Meaux, on the 
16th of September, Bismark expressed his fear that 
peace would only be still further postponed if the 
neutral European Powers should in any way strengthen 



154 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FROKTIER- 

4 

the hope of France of obtainiDg their diplomatic or 
material intervention, and that this might be occa- 
sioned by the journey of M. Thiers. He further most 
expressly stated that he required the fortre^ases of 
Strasburg and Metz for Germany. 

In the general conversation in the Haute Maison^ 
Count Bismark, as he says, could not succeed in con- 
vincing M. Favre that the honour of France was not 
differently constituted from that of other coimtries. 
Favre was willing to agree to any monetary recom- 
pense, but not to a cession of territory. Finally, the 
two came to discourse on the armistice, and were 
agreed that a cessation of hostilities would be desirable, 
in order to carry on the elections for a Constituting 
Assembly which could render the Government regular. 
The details were to be discussed in another conversa- 
tion on the evening of the same day in Ferriferes. 

M. Favre arrived at 9.30 A.M. in Ferri^res. There 
the armistice was again talked over, principally as to 
its duration, and in a more general way as to its con- 
ditions. Regarding the latter, Bismark desired to 
obtain military counsel; and the two statesmen 
agreed at midnight to continue their conversation 
on the 20th. 

When the day arrived, Favre was again at Fer- 
ri^res at 11 a.m. Bismark was still with the Eikg, 
but returned from him at 11.45 A.M. 

As a military equivalent for the consent to a cesisa- 
tion of hostilities, which must always be more or less 



CONFERENCE BETWEEN FAVRE AND BISMARK. 155 

to the disadvantage of the victorious army, while 
under the existing circumstances it must necessarily 
be of great use to France for the organisation of her 
forces. Count Bismark demanded the evacuation of 
the fortresses of Toul, Pfalzburg,* and Strasburg. 
The garrisons of the two former were to be free to 
depart ; but as Strasburg was already reduced to the 
utmost extremity, the soldiers within it were to 
become prisoners of war. 

The surrender of these fortresses would give the 
Germans an assured railway communication, and was 
therefore important to them. For the rest, Toul and 
Strasburg were so near their fall, that with them it 
was only a question of holding out for a few days 
longer. Pfalzburg the Germans could dispense with 
for their object. But nevertheless Jules Favre would 
hear nothing of this condition, and became especially 
violently excited when Bismark demanded that the 
garrison of Strasburg should be regarded as prisoners. 
Bismaxk, who had merely spoken as a man of business, 
and was but little prepared for outbreaks of feeling, 
strove in every way to pacify M. Favre, and even 
promised him to speak again with the King on this 
point. This he also did, but the King of Prussia held 
firmly to the demand. 

In and before Metz hostilities were to be continued 



* In Bismark's report, Bitche is named ; in that of Favre, Pfalzbnig. 
Perhaps Bismark demanded both these places ; at all events, Pfalz- 
bnrg was, by its position, the more important. 



156 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

within a certain cordon, to be afterwards more accu- 
rately determined. About this there was no con- 
troversy. 

But now came the third point — ^Paris. Favre had 
akeady on the 1 9th expressed the presupposition that 
the Constituting Assembly would meet in Paris ; and 
by this occasion the question arose whether Paris 
should be reprovisioned or not during the period of 
the armistice, the duration of which was assumed to 
be two or three weeks. K free intercourse was to be 
permitted during this time between Paris and the 
country, with a view to reprovisioning the former, 
Bismark again demanded a military equivalent — ^in 
this case the delivering over of the fortress of Mont 
Valerien to the Germans. At this M. Favre again 
lost control over himself ; he declared — and certainly 
with reason — that Bismark might just as well ask for 
Paris at once. Bismark replied — also with reason — 
that the reprovisioning of Paris for three weeks im- 
plied that the Germans must remain just so much 
the longer before it, to reduce it by famine in case 
peace should not result from the meeting of the 
Assembly. For the rest, he proposed another ex- 
pedient. He had no objection to the CJonstituting 
Assembly sitting at Tours, as Favre himself had sug- 
gested, in which case the status quo could be strictly 
maintained during the armistice, and neither Paris 
reprovisioned nor a detached fort handed over to the 
Germans. 



CONFERENCE BETWEEN PAVRE AND BISMARE. 157 

M. Favre finally parted from Count Bismark firmly 
convinced that fte German, desired to hnmiliate 
France — to drive it under the Caudine Forks, and to 
annihilate it. Count Bismark remained behind in 
Ferriferes, most fully persuaded that he had shown 
the greatest desire to meet the advances of the Pro- 
visional Government. He felt, we have not the 
slightest doubt, just as deeply as Jules Favre did, the 
endless misery which the continuation of this wax 
would entail, in that it would again evoke the feel- 
ing of national hate without there being any ori- 
ginal ground — a feeling which it is more difficult to 
exterminate when the masses are led away by it 
than when only some few highly-educated people are 
infected, and which certain journalists and writers 
incite all the more recklessly, from ignorance or 
interest, if they are able to keep themselves clear of 
its workings. 

But — ^thc Germans were the victors, and Bismark 
had already raised a storm which he could not alto- 
gether rule. Spirits had been evoked which, when 
once called up, are very difficult to lay again. 

The Provisional Government in Paris, upon re- 
ceiving the report of M. Favre, determined that 
an armistice under these conditions was not to be 
thought of, and that therefore the war must simply 
be continued. 

When the Germans were approaching Paris, the- 
Government had sent a delegation to Tours. This 



n 



158 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

was to maintain a regular correspondence with the 
departments in case Paris should be surrounded, and 
to endeavour to carry on the same with the invested 
capital. It consisted of directors and subaltern em- 
ploySs for each of the Ministerial departments. The 
members of the Government at its head were MM. 
Cremieux and Glais-Bizoin, to whom shortly after- 
wards Admiral Fourichon joined himself. 

Upon receiving information of the negotiations of 
Ferri^res and of their result, the Delegation issued 
from Tours the following proclamation to the French 
people : — 

" Before the investment of Paris, M. Jules Favre 
determined to seek out Count Bismark in order to 
learn the intentions of the enemy. The following is 
the declaration of our foe ; 

" Prussia intends to continue the war, and reduce 
France to a Power of the second rank. 

" On the grounds of the right of conquest, Prussia 
demands Alsace, and Lorraine as far as Metz. 

" For her consent to an armistice Prussia dares to 
demand the surrender of Strasburg, of Toul, and of 
Mont Valerien. 

" Rather would exasperated Paris bury herself in 
her ruins. To such arrogant demands there is no 
answer other than war to the last extremity. 

'^ France accepts this combat, and counts thereby 
upon the assistance of all her children.'^ 

Count Bismark answered this proclamation by a 



PROCLAMATION OF THE TOURS DELEGATION. 159 

circular despatch dated Ferri^res, 1st of October. In 
it he directed his reply exclusively against the asser- 
tion that Prussia wished to degrade France to a 
Power of the second rank. The territory, he said, 
which Germany demands from France, together with 
Metz and Strasburg, is of about the same superficial 
area as the- provinces of Savoy and Nice, which 
France gained in 1860 without having been before 
only a second-rate Power. In population Alsace and 
German Lorraine certainly exceeded Nice and Savoy 
by about three - fourths of a million; but in 1866 
France had, without Algeria, 38,000,000, and with 
Algeria, " which now supplied an essential part of 
the French forces " (the poor Turcos), 42,000,000 of 
inhabitants. How, then, could the loss of three-quar- 
ters of a million in any degree alter the importance of 
France with regard to foreign countries, and reduce 
her to a second-rate Power ? 

Negotiations were for the time broken off; M. 
Thiers was still on his diplomatic tour to the Courts 
of Europe ; and when Bismark issued his answer of 
the 1st of October, Toul and Strasburg were already 
in the hands of the Germans. 



160 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

TAKING OF THE FORTRESS OF TOUL. 

Towards the end of August the 1 7th North German 
division of infantry (Schimmelmann), together with 
the l7th brigade of cavalry (Ranch) and the 2d 
active (Brunswick) division of landwehr (Selchow), 
were sent into France, and there formed into an 
Army Corps (the 13th North German), under the 
command of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg- 
Schwerin. 

The 13th Corps was employed from the 4th (and 
in part also from the 1st) to the 10th of September in 
the investment of Metz, and on the latter day received 
orders to protect the rear of the armies marching on 
Paris by occupying Chalons and Rheims, and by sur- 
rounding and regularly besieging Toul. 

Since the middle of August the fortress of Toul had 
been constantly observed by small detachments — ^in 
the last days exclusively of landwehr — ^and had also 
been several times cannonaded, but only with field- 
guns, and afterwards with old French garrison artil- 
lery which had been transported thither after the fall 



TAKING OF TOUL. 161 

of Marsal, but which was not even 80 effective as the 
German field-ordnance. 

The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg directed his 
landwehr division, together with the 17th regiment 
of dragoons and two light batteries, upon Rheims ; 
with the rest of the artillery of his Corps, with the 
17th division of infantry, the ISth regiment of 
dragoons and the 11th of Uhlans, he marched upon 
Toul, before which he arrived on the evening of the 
12th of September. 

In order to undertake the siege, it was necessary to 
wait for the arrival of the siege-ordnance, which was 
to be brought up from Cologne and Magdeburg ; and 
therefore at first the Grand Duke confined himself to 
drawing the investing line closer in than heretofore, 
at the same time disquieting the place with his field- 
guns. 

The fortress was garrisoned by about 2500 men, 
mostly of the Mobile Guard, and had 197 guns, 48 of 
which were rifled. The commandant was Squadron- 
Chief * Huck, formerly of the 7th regiment of Fusi- 
liers. 

By a decree, dated Meaux, the 16th of September, 
the King of Prussia established a new govenmient- 
general of Rheims. This was to embrace all territory 
occupied by German troops not already included in 

* The sqnadron-cldef on the General S1a£f has the same rank in the 
artQlery and cavalry that the battalion-chief has in the infantiy. In 
the cavaliy the sqnadron-chief commands two squadrons. 

VOL- II. L 



162 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

those of Alsace and Lorraine. The Grand Duke of 
Mecklenburg - Schwerin was appointed to its com* 
mand, and therefore repaired to Rheims, leaving the 
troops before Toul under the orders of Lieutenant* 
General von Schimmelmann. 

Schimmelmann at once caused three rifled 6- 
pounder batteries to ascend Mont St Michel, which 
lies to the north of the town, and completely com- 
mands it, and thence he kept up an unceasing fire 
upon it. The artillery of the fortress answered 
vigorously, but without eflfect. On the afternoon of 
the 18th of September, Toul was bombarded for two 
hours by seven German field-batteries. 

On the 19th of September Schimmelmann was 
ordered to send the d3d brigade of infantry (Eott^ 
witz) and the II th regiment of Uhlans to Chalona 
He then retained before Toul the two Mecklenburg 
regiments of infantry Nos. 89 and 90, the Mecklen- 
burg battalion of Rifles No. 1 4, the 1 8th regiment of 
dragoons, four field-batteries, and two companies of 
pioneers; and to these were added on the 20th of Sep- 
tember the heavy siege-artiUery, consisting of ten 
rifled 24-pounders and sixteen rifled 12-pounders. 

On the 21st the positions for the siege-batteries 
were selected — they were to surround Toul on the 
north in a large semicircle, from Mansuy in the east 
over the slopes of Mont St Michel and the Mont de 
Barine away towards the road from Ecrouves in the 
west. On the 21st and 22d the battery depots were 



TAKING OF TOUL. 163 

« 

built ; and towards the evening of the 22d the siege- 
guns were transported to the rear of the points where 
the batteries were to be, and at dusk the construction 
of th^e was commenced without any opposition from 
the besieged. 

On the morning of the 23d the batteries w6re not 
only completed, but also armed with the artillery 
which had been placed in readiness, and the bombard- 
ment was immediately begun, the field-guns likewise 
assisting in it 

The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg had also come 
up from £heims to witness the spectacle. 

By 9 o'clock in the forenoon a part of the town 
was already in flames; an hour later three more 
fires broke out. The besieged kept up in TCply an 
incessant but measured fire — ^by 11 o'clock they had 
set in flames the suburbs of Mansuy in the east and 
of St Evre in the west, which were occupied by the 
Mecklenburgers. But as afternoon came on, the gar- 
rison itself could no longer keep under the conflagra- 
tion which the German artillery had caused, and at 
4 P.M. the commandant hoisted the white flag upon 
one of the towers of the cathedral 

The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, who had looked 
on at the bombardment from the Mont de Barine, at 
once sent his chief of the staff*. Colonel von Erensky, 
towards the Porte de France. On his way the Colonel 
was met by a flag of truce from the garrison, and the 
capitulation was arranged without diflficulty by the 



164 THE WAR FOR TH£ RHINE FRONTIER. 



\ 



commandant and Yon Erensky. The capitulation 
of Sedan served essentially as a pattern. The only 
defenders exempted from becoming prisoners of war 
were the oflficers, who were released on giving their 
word of honour, and men who had been inhabitants 
of Toul before the investment. Further, an article 
was added by which, in case of any event happening 
similar to that which had taken place at Laon, the 
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg had the right of dealing 
with the whole garrison as he thought fit This con- 
dition seemed the more necessary, as the conqueror of 
Laon was also a Duke of Mecklenburg. 

The delivering over of the maWrid^ and the march- 
ing out of the garrison, took place on the evening of 
the 23d ; and at the same time the gates and public 
buildings were occupied by German troops. 

On the 24th of September the Grand Duke» at the 
head of the whole investing force, entered the con- 
quered town. 



165 



CHAPTER XXV. 



THE 8IEGE AlH) TAKING OF STRASBUBG. 



Afteb Alsace had become French by the Peace of 
Westphalia, the old city of Strasburg stUl remained 
a Grerman imperial town. On the 30th of Septem- 
ber 1681, the French occupied the town; but long 
,' before that event, there had existed in it a consider- 

able French party, as is only too explicable by the 
position of the town on the left bank of the Rhine, 
' and by the miserable condition of the German Empire 

j at that time. The French party, which was strongly 

represented in the Council, had laboured for years to 
bring about the dismissal of the mercenary troops, 
/ and the neglect of the military concerns of the town. 

The French, therefore, in 1681 found the town de- 
fenceless, in spite of its ramparts. Lately, much has 
been said of treachery, whereby Strasburg was lost 
to the so-called German Empire. But, historically, 
it would be more correct to talk of treachery com- 
mitted by the Empire towards the town, and by 
which it delivered over the city to France. By the 
Peace of Ryswick in 1697, Strasburg was, in the most 



166 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

formal maDner, separated from '* Emperor and Em- 
pire," and made over to France. For the rest, it 
maintained its old free-town constitution and privi- 
leges until the great French Eevolution, when it lost 
these also. But then it attached itself most thoroughly 
— as did the whole of Alsace — ^to the great French 
nation; and though it is true that the lower orders of 
the tradespeople and the workmen still speak German, 
it must nevertheless be said that Strasburg, in the 
feeling of its inhabitants, is one of the most French 
towns that exist. And, in truth, what had the small 
dynastydom of the German tribes— which even to 
the present day is preserved, with all that appertains 
to it^ as a precious jewel — to oflfer in comparison to 
the fact of belonging to a sreat nation, which has 
a.w.p uader^L to ^r^. ^ oheridi. if 
not political freedom, at all events the more humane 
feeling of equality — ^a feeling priceless ip those who 
have once become acquainted with it. " 

Strasburg had, in the last census (1866), about 
85,000 inhabitants. Its extreme eastern works lie on 
the left bank of the main stream of the Rhine, about 
a short two miles removed from it The ''Small 
Ehine,'^ an arm which, separating from the river 
above the town, bends to the left and joins it again 
about two and a quarter miles below the point where 
it leaves it, forms with the Rhine the He des Epis, 
and at its most western bend flows close to the most 
eastern work, the citadel. 



STRASBURG. 167 

The 111, which above the town runs nearly parallel 
to the Rhine and about four mUes from it, divides 
iteelf in the town into two arms— the western one 
called the Canal des Faux Bemparts — ^and flows lower 
down, at Wanzenau, into the Khine. Above the 
town the 111 receives the Brttsch, which in parts is 
piade into a canal. 

Near Strasburg, on the south, the Bhine-Bhone 
canal joins the 111, and near the town on the north 
the Bhine-Maxne canal; and this latter, with an 
eastern continuation, imites the HI to the Bhine at 
the lower end of the lie des Epia 

The ramifications of all these waters form to the 
north and south a number of idands, especiaUy on 
the eastern side of the town. Of these we must 
particularly name the island of Wacken, the Bobert- 
sau, and the Sporeninsel. 

The greatest length of the town is from west to 
east, measuring, on the average, 3600 paces from the 
west to the citadel, which closes the fortifications on 
the east ; in the west, the town is 2300 paces broad 
between No. 7 bastion and No. 12 ; and in the east, 
along the esplanade which separates the town from 
the citadel, only 800 paces. 

The chief railway station lies inside the town, close 
to the west side of the fortifications. After the line 
has quitted Strasburg under arched tunnels, which in 
July 1870 were being altered and enlarged, it bifur- 
cates close to lunette No. 44. One branch runs to the 



168 THE WAR FOB THE BHINE FRONTIER. 

north, to divide again at Wendenheim, whence one 
line goes by Zabem to Paris, and the other by Hag- 
enau to Weissenburg and Saarguemiind ; the other 
branch bends at first southwards and then eastwards 
round the town, and has another station close to the 
Austerlitz gate. It then crosses the Rhine by a mag* 
nificent bridge, a monument of modem architecture, 
traverses Eehl, and joins the Baden Railway. The 
bridge has a length of 801 feet between its shore 
buttresses, and has two tracks and two footpaths. 
The centre part is solid; the two ends are turn- 
bridges, so that communication can be stopped at 
pleasure, either on the French or Grerman side ; and 
both at the Baden and French end is situated a forti- 
fied post. The building of the bridge waa begun in 
the year 1858, and finished on the 6th of April 1861. 
Of its destruction on the 22d of July 1870 we have 
already spoken. To the south of this permanent 
bridge is the older bridge of boats. 

From the last-named line — ^that is, from the line 
which joins the Baden Railway — ^a branch separates 
close to the town and runs southwards to Basle ; and 
from this other lines bifurcate to the Vosges, to Was- 
selonne, Mutzig, and Barr. 

Besides the establishments directly connected with 
the fortifications, Strasburg has barracks for 10,000 
men, a school of artiUery, a miUtary hospital with 
1800 beds, a school for military physicians, a large 
armoury, and extensive military workshops for the 



STRABBUBG. 169 

artdlleiy and for the regiment of pontoniers quar- 
tered there. The most celebrated building in Stras- 
burg is the cathedral or minster, which was begun 
as early as the year 1015, and essentially finished 
in 1439. The northern tower, the only one com- 
pleted, rises up 492 feet above the surrounding 
streets. It is the highest building in Europe, and 
only 7 feet lower than the highest pyramid in 
Egypt. From the platform, which is 235 feet 
above the pavement, there is a most extensive view 
of the plains of Alsace and Baden, and the tower is 
therefore admirably adapted for a military observa- 
tory. The Strasburg library is renowned for its large 
collection of valuable and rare manuscripts. 

The present lines of Strasburg were planned by 
Daniel Speckle, who was bom there, the same who 
wrote the first good German book on permanent forti- 
fication — * Architectura von Festungen ' — ^which was 
published in the year of his death, 1589. 

After the town had passed into the possession of 
the French, Vauban, in the years 1682-1684, built 
the citadel, a regular bastioned pentagon of limited 
space, strengthened by two homworks towards the 
north and east. From Vauban date also most of the 
outworks— -homworks and lunettea 

The main enceinte has, without the citadel, 17 
bastions — ^therefore with it, 22. Nos. 1 to 7 (Fort 
Blanc) form the south side, numbering from east to 
west ; Nos. 7 to 12 (Fort de Pierre) the west side. 



170 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

numbenng from south to ' north j , Nos, 12 to 17 the 
north side, numbering from west to east Of the 
5 bastions of the citadd, Nos. 18 and 22 faibe the 
town. 

. The principal outworks are the homworks Nos, 
40 to 42 before the front 8 and 9, and Nos. 47 to 
49 before the front 10 and 11 ; the lunettes Nos. 52 
aaid 33 before the front 11 and 12. and the horn work 
Finckmatt before the front 12 to 14. 

In more modem times very little has been done 
on a large scale for Strasburg. In 1867 hollow tra- 
verses were commenced upon the ramparts there a£i 
in all fortresses ; corredtions were undertaken where 
the revetinents were not sufficiently protected — the 
covering works were heightened and prolonged ; the 
three powder-magazines of the citadel, and also some 
elsewhere, were altered so as to be more protected 
from the devastating effects of the fire of rifled guns. 
In the homworks Nos. 40 to 42 and 47 to 49, as 
well as in No. 53 lunette, central traverses were con- 
stracted which divided each of these works into a 
right and left half, and thereby defiladed the whole 
better, besides affording, in their bomb-proof interiors, 
space for barracks and shelter for the unoccupied part 
of the garrison. Moreover, in bastions Nos. 7, 9, and 
11 OH' the west side, new powder-magazines were 
formed. 

. No. 12 bastion, which is shut off from the town 
by a wall across the gorge, is an extremely weak 



STRA8BURG. l7l 

work^ pwmg to its very small dimensioiiB and to the 
acuteness of its salient angle ; and yet exactly there, 
on the north-west comer, is the point of attack for 
an adversary. 

The ground in front of the whole of the south sid^ 
can be inundated and rendered impassable by dam- 
ming up the waters of the HI and Briisch, for which 
purpose large sluices have been built between bas- 
tions Nos. 6 and 7 ; while before the eastern part o{ 
the north side, from the Finckmatt down to the Small 
Ehine, the country is traversed in the most confused 
manner by the ramifications of the 111, and by canals 

and ditches of various widths. 

But in spite of this, no improvement on a large 
scale of bastion No. 12 was undertaken, although such 
was very feasible. It was deemed sufficient to erect 
two hollow traverses, one on each face, for shelter 
and for expense powder-magazines, and to construct 
a casemated battery for one heavy gun in the salient 
of the work. 

Considering the contracted size of the town, and 
the smallness of its lateral dimensions^ even a thorough 
rebuilding of the main enceiute alone would not have 
been sufficient It would have been much more to 
the purpose to have surrounded the town with a 
girdle of detached works at a considerable distance 
from it; but in 1870 there was not one of these, 
although projects for. them had certainly been de- 
signed. About 6000 paces to the north-west of Stras-^ 



172 TH£ WAK FOB THE RHINE FBONTIER. 

burg, a chain of heights, the Hausbeig, rises up to 
about 140 feet above the plain of the valley, and at 
their feet nestle the communities of Ober, Mittel, and 
Niederhausbergen, and of MundolsheinL This chain 
was to have been crowned with detached works^ 
which were to have joined on to the town, on the one 
side over the gentle slopes of Suffelweyersheim and 
Bischheim towards Schiltigheim, and on the other 
over the undulations of Oberhausbergen towards 
Konigshofen. The distance from the latter was cer- 
tainly rather great; but if the principal detached 
forts were made perfectly independent, and at the 
same time had a sufficient armament of heavy guns, 
no enemy would have dared to intrude within this 
magic circle without having first obtained possession 
of two or three of the works which formed it ; and a 
bombardment of the town from the left bank of the 
Rhine would be impossible for a long time. 

But the great distance of the detached works on 
the Hausberg, and perhaps more than anything else 
the question of expense, caused the execution of this 
project to be postponed; and the authorities deter- 
mined to content themselves for the present with an 
advanced line before the north-west comer, with its 
right on the 111 at Schiltigheim, its left on the Briisch 
at K5nigshofen, and lying about 1800 paces in front 
of the outworks of the enceinte. The central work of 
this line was to be built in the form of a homwork, 
closed by a wall across the gorge, and situated, in 



81EGE OF STRASBUBG. l78 

j&ont of the connectaBg portion, between the railways 
to Paris and Basle and the workshops of the Eastern 
Bailway, between the Paris line and the road to Hit- 
telhausberg. The construction of this central work 
was to have been begun in 187L 

Projects were also made for a better covering of 
the east side. Two independent works were to be 
erected in the northern and southern comers of the 
He des Epis. These would have advanced the line of 
fire of the citadel about 1800 paces to the eastward ; 
and had they existed in 1870, would certainly have 
rendered good service against the bombardment from 
the right bank of the Rhine. But in a moment of 
quietness, this scheme also was laid aside for a time, 
for the Government feared that its execution might 
unnecessarily cause a great outcry, in the spirit of 
Nicolaus Becker's melody.* 

Thus it came to pass that the attack of 1870 sur- 
prised Strasburg in naked innocence ; and certainly, 
at the outbreak of this war it did not, viewing the 
armaments of the present days, in the least merit the 
appellation of a fortress of the first class, much less of 
'' one of the strongest places in the world." 

If France had possessed a system of military service 
which would have allowed her to dispose of large garri- 
sons, and if the war had not been undertaken by the 
Government of the Emperor Napoleon with such an 

* <* Sic Bollen ihn nicht haben, 
Den freien deataehen Bhem.** 



'174 THE WAR MR :rfifi UHlS* ¥JlONTIER. 

Utter absence of political and military calculation as 
is scarcely elsewhere recorded in the history of the 
world, the weak points of Strasburg might have been 
remedied, at least to some extent ; for a few weeks 
would have been sufficient to run up strong detached 
works on the most important points outside the en- 
ceinte, and particularly before the north-west comer. 

The normal garrison of Strasburg was assumed at 
15,000 men. In 1870 it was calculated by the Ger- 
mans at about 18,000 men, but therein were included 
not only the Sedentary National Guard and the Mo- 
bile Guard, but also the numerous staff of the mili- 
tary establishments, of the engineers, of the artillery, 
jof the military medical school, and of the workshops. 
Of regular troops of the line there were only 3000 in 
Strasburg* 

When the war began. General Uhrich was named 
commandant of the place. Bom in 1802 at Ffalz- 
burg, he entered the French infantry, from the School 
of St Cyr, as sub-lieutenant in 1 820. He served in 
the campaign in Spain in the year 1823, and in many 
in A£dca after 1834. In 1852 he became brigadier- 
general, and in 1855 led a brigade of the Imperial 
Guard to the Crimea^ but, nominated to general of 
division, returned to Paris in the same year. At the 
commencement of the Italian campaign he stood at 
the head of a division of the Army of Pans, which 
then became the 2d division of the 5th Corps of the 
active army. 



SIEGE OP STRASBUBG. l7S 

: We have already seen; how, two days after the 
encounter at Worth, the Baden cavalry appeared, on 
the 8th of August, before Stiiasburg. 

The total besieging force was formed gradually by, — 

The Baden division, which was commanded at first 
by Greneral Beyer, and, he falling sick before the 
bombardment, by General Laroche afterwards ; 

By the Prussian landwehr division of the Guard 
(Loen) ; 

By the l8t Prussian Reserve aandwehr) division 
(Treskow) ; 

By 37 companies of fortress artillery, among which 
were 2 Bavarian, 2 WUrtemberg, 4 Baden, and 29 
North German companies ; and by 1 Prussian com- 
bined company, and 1 Bavarian company of Pioneera 

The command-in-chief of the collective siege 
forces was given to General von Werder, Bom in 
1 808, he entered the cavalry of the Prussian Guard, 
the regiment, of Life Guards, in 1825, end was after- 
wards, in 1826, transferred as an officer to the 1st 
foot regiment of the Guard* In the years 1842 and 
1843 he served in the Bussian army during the cam- 
paigns in the Caucasus ; and after his return he was 
in 1846 appointed as captain to the General Staff, 
but in 1848 iretumed again to the infantry. In 1863 
he became major-general, and in 1866 lieutenant- 
general, in which rank he in the same year com-? 
manded the 3d division of infantry in the army of 
Prince Frederic Charles, and by his behaviour |tt 



176 THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

Gitschiu and Eonigsgratz won the order ^^pour le 
m^rite/' 

With him were associated lieutenant-General von 
Decker as chief of the siege-artillery, and Major- 
General von Mertens as chief of the engineers — the 
latter had in 1864 conducted the siege-works against 
the DUppel intrenchments. 

General von Werder^ on his arrival at Strasburg, 
established his headquarters at Mundolsheim on the 
SnffeL 

From the 11th to the 17th of August the Baden 
division was alone before the fortress, and the invest- 
ment therefore could not be completed ; but on the 
15th Werder caused Schiltigheim, and on the 18th 
Eonigshofen, to be occupied ; and after the latter day 
the Prussian reserves, and after the 2l8t of August 
the siege-guns, began to arrive* 

On the 23d Werder determined to commence on 
the morrow to bombard the town with the 40 dispos- 
able Prussian siege-guns and with the Bavarian field- 
artilleiy, and the citadel with the 32 Baden siege- 
guns from Bastatt, which had been placed in batteries 
on the right bank of the Bhine at EehL 

Since the first shell fell into a besieged town, there 
has always been much controversy as to the admis- 
sibility and utility of a bombardment In France 
itself the question has been much argued in recent 
days by an engineer officer of great length of service, 
and by an old artillery officer. The first, Chief of 



SIEGE OF STRASBURG. 177 

BattaUon Prevost * commandant of engineers for the 
eastern forts of Paris, has come forward as the 
decided opponent of bombardment ; but BloiB,t Gen- 
eral of Artillery, has defended the practice with great 
vigour. It will not be uninteresting to give here 
a short summary of the arguments which the latter 
adduces in favour of the practice. He says : — 

1. During the bombardment the besieger will suffer 
but little loss, being protected by his breastworks, and 
sheltered in his parallels and batteries. 

2. If the bombardment does not effect its purpose, 
and the besiefi^er has to advance to the rec^ular attack, 
he eomMenoi this with unweakened forTagainst a 
garri^n which has suffered greatly, and wh^™- 
bably has been already brought into conflict with 
the citizens by the bombardment ; and therefore the 
resistance to be overcome will not be so great as it 
would have been had the besieger at once commenced 
a regular attack. 

3. If the besieger, out of pure philanthropy or from 
other reasons, spare the inhabitants of the town, these 
will not be grateful to him for his clemency, but will 
rather support the garrison, and thus increase the 
resistance, to the prejudice of the attacker. 

4. By the inevitably long duration of a regular 

* Etudes Histoziqnes snr la Foitification, T Attaque, et la Ddfense dee 
Places. 1869. 

t De la Fortification en Presence de T Artillerie noaveUe. Paiia, 1865. 

Ezamen critique des Etudes Hifitoriques but la Fortifications, I'At- 
taque, et la D^ense des Places. Par F. Prevoet. Paris, 1869. 

VOL. II. M 



178 THE WAB FOE THE RHINE FEONTIEE. 

siege, the besieging troops, and also a corps of observa- 
tion, will be rendered immovable, and prevented from 
making other useful movements in the open field. 

5. If the attacker obtains possession of the place 
after a regular siege, he will only find empty maga- 
zines, which he must at once refill, and demolished 
ramparts, which he must at once rebuild. 

In all ages the practice of bombardment has found 
more adherents in the artillery than in the engineers. 
This cannot be explained by saying that the corps of 
engineers is composed of more humane elements than 
the artillery. It rather arises from the fact that each 
arm of the service naturally strives a little pro domo. 
The engineer will hear nothing of bombardments, 
because he wishes to render of value his good choice 
of the points of attack, his saps and trenches, his 
indication of the right position for batteries ; and 
not only that, but he wishes to try how the works 
of defence will hold out, which certainly were not 
planned by himself, but yet were constructed by 
comrades of the freemasonry on the other side. The 
artiUerist, on tiie oti.er Zd, despises professionaUy 
all these cimning contrivances, and trusts much more 
to the big mouths of his large-calibre guns, and to 
the dread which their thunder inspires — ^a fear which 
he must always regard with a certain inward satis- 
faction. 

A bombardment is certainly a cruel affair ; but its 
application cannot therefore be rejected on principle 



SIEGE OF STRASBURG. 179 

— ^for war itself is essentially a barbarous proceeding, 
and it is its rule that the innocent suffer much more 
than the guilty. Compare only the prisoner of Wil- 
helmshohe and his followers with the noble French 
nation, which he and those followers excited to this 
hapless war. 

We arrive, then, necessarily at the conclusion, that 
to judge of the adnussibiUty and utility of a bombard- 
ment, we must consider the particulars of each separate 
case where it is employed. If we do this with regard 
to Strasburg, we shaU find that the appUcation of a 
bombardment there was not expedient, and we will 
give our grounds for this assertion : — 

1. If the inhabitants of Strasburg had been burn- 
ing with desire to throw themselves into the arms of 
Germany, a few shells from German ordnance would 
have suflBced to cause them to exercise pressure upon 
the commandant. Then the bombardment would 
have been neither cruel nor inexpedient. But this 
hypothesis was not true; on the contrary, the inhabi- 
tants of Strasburg were more French in their senti- 
ments than the people of the interior of France, and 
it was to be assumed that they would only be im- 
bittered against the Germans by the destruction 
wrought by German artillery. 

2. At the time that the bombardment was under- 
taken, it had abeady been expressed with sufficient 
clearness that the victorious Germans meant to retain 
Alsace as a " German Brotherland,'' to keep for them- 



180 THE WAR FOE THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

selves that " land German at heart/' and especially 
Strasburg, that " thorough German town ; '' and we 
have certainly never before heard that a bombard- 
ment was the right means to evince or to awaken 
brotherly love. 

3. Although the conduct of the Prussian field- 
artillery in 1866 was very sharply criticised, it has 
nevertheless been universally acknowledged since 
1864, the time of the attack of the Diippel intrench- 
ments^ that the Prussian siege-artUlery has attained to 
a degree of perfection in the accuracy and eflFect of each 
single shot hitherto unknown. Its destructive power 
has been established beyond all doubt. Under these 
circumstances, the bombardment of the town might 
undoubtedly have been omitted ; and it certainly ought 
not to have taken place, especially considering the 
relative incompleteness of the preparations of the de- 
fenders ; because, as we said before, such an act can 
never be a convincing proof of brotherly love. 

General von Werder, however, determined to bom- 
bard the town, because he knew that there was no 
excess of bomb-proof shelter in the town, and assumed, 
therefore, that the citizens would compel the command- 
ant to surrender. This calculation was false ; but it 
would have been thoroughly correct if the population 
of Strasburg had been composed of those men of Jew- 
ish origin who in the present day give themselves out 
to be the true Germany, and cry out for the annihila- 
tion of France, — ^who, as contractors, gain an ill-earned 



SIEGE OF STRASBURG. 181 

pelf by the continuation of a destructive war, without 
themselves incurring any danger — or, as professors, 
disgracefully degrading science by the name, himger 
after better posts, and are ready to commit any mean- 
ness, even to defaming the German nation in the 
history of the world. 

Werder informed General Uhrich beforehand of his 
intention to bombard the town, and at the same time 
summoned him to surrender, which he refused to do. 
Thereupon Werder entered into further details, and 
requested the General to remove the observatory 
established upon the minster, so that the Germans 
might not be compeUed to fire upon this monument 
of Gothic architecture ; he besought him also to change 
the position of the military hospital, which was near 
the citadel, as it stood in the line of fire from the 
German batteries, and yet could not be distinctly seen 
from them. But Uhrich declined to comply with 
either of these entreaties. 

The fate of the brave old town of Strasburg must 
touch the heart of every feeling man, to whatever 
nation he may belong, or whatever his poUtical feel- 
ings may be. But this compassion must not cause 
us to forget to be just In France, the bombardment 
of the city was regarded as an act of Gennan barbarity ; 
but when General Uhrich said that if the Germans 
succeeded in entering the town he would himself re- 
tire into the citadel and thence destroy the town, the 
speech was praised in all the French journals as heroic. 



182 THE WAR FOE THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

We must confess that we cannot reconcile these two 
views ; and we can say this the more openly, as we 
have before most decidedly declared that a bombard- 
ment in this case seemed to us on good grounds to be 
inexpedient. 

On the forenoon of the 24th of August the bombard- 
ment was begun. Fearful devastations were caused 
by it, and the venerable cathedral was shamefully 
injured; the valuable library was destroyed; many 
private dwellings were ruined ; and innocent, unarmed, 
grey-headed men, women, and children, were killed or 
crippled. The defenceless inhabitants sought refuge 
in the cellars, while those capable of bearing arms 
strove with heroic courage to keep under the flames, 
and to save as much of their father-town as could yet 
be rescued. 

The Bishop of Strasburg sought to mediate. At 
his entreaty Werder intermitted the bombardment on 
the 26 th of August from four o'clock in the morning 
until noon. But the negotiations of the Bishop led 
to no result; he could obtain no concessions from 
Uhrich, and could only make requests of Werder. 
At noon, therefore, on the 26th, the bombardment 
was recommenced, and carried on throughout that 
day and the whole of the following one; but the 
desired end was not gained, for commandant, gar- 
rison, and citizens remained unshaken, and no one 
urged General Uhrich to surrender. 

While the German batteries on the left bank of the 



SIEGE OF STEASBURG. 183 

Shine directed their fire upon the town, the Baden 
artillery on the right bank to the north of Kehl 
bombarded the citadel with great success, and re- 
duced the dwellings and magazines within it to a 
heap of ruins. 

The French guns in the citadel answered with 
vigour, and for their part set the town of Kehl on 
fire. From the German side the French are re- 
proached for having directed their fire upon this 
open place unnecessarily, as the Baden batteries were 
not situated in any way before Kehl, but by the side 
of it. This last statement is certainly true ; but it 
must be admitted that Kehl, so hard by the position, 
would have been an only too comfortable shelter for 
the men of Baden had it been perfectly tabooed to the 
fire of the French. 

We must here further relate that General von 
Werder, during his negotiations with the Bishop, had 
expressed his willingness to allow the women, chil- 
dren, and old men to leave Strasburg. But this ofier 
was declined by General Uhrich, as it would be diffi- 
cult to make a selection out of 85,000 human beings. 

When it became evident that the bombardment 
would not gain quickly the end in view. General von 
Werder resolved, on the 27th of August, to begin a 
regular siege with the abundant materials at hand ; 
and the establishment of engineer depots, the prepa- 
ration of fascines, gabions, Ac, were at once taken 
in hand. 



184 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The artillery matSriel which was on the spot was 
both plentiful in quantity and excellent in quality. 
There were altogether 241 siege-pieces, 44 of which 
were from Baden, and the total was composed as 
follows : — 

58 rifled 24-pounders (16 of which were from 
Baden — 12 short pieces particularly adapted 
for pitching-firing) ; 
80 rifled 12-pounders (among them 16 from 

Baden) ; 
20 rifled 6-pounders ; 

2 rifled mortars of 21 centimetres (8 inch) ; 
8 smooth - bore 60 - pounder mortars (from 

Baden) ; 
19 smooth-bore 50-pounder mortars ; 
24 smooth-bore 25-pounder mortars (4 from 

Baden) ; 
30 smooth-bore 7-pounder mortars. 
In the night from the 29th to the 30th of August, 
the first parallel was opened by flying sap, about 700 
to 800 paces from the north-west comer of the for- 
tress, with its left on Schiltigheim, and its right 
extending towards the Paris railway. At the same 
time, 10 batteries for rifled guns were constructed 
about 200 to 300 paces in rear of it. These were 
armed with 44 guns, and were ready to commence 
work on the morning of the 30th. When they 
opened fire on the works of the north-west comer, 
they were supported by the German batteries which 



SIEGE OF STRASBUEG. 185 

had been thrown up for the bombardment and were ^ 
not yet disarmed. 

The artillery of the defenders was surprised by the 
fire of the besiegers, which commenced on the morn- 
ing of the 30th. The armament which they had on 
the works for security against an attack de vive force 
was not sufficient to answer with effect, and the 
armament to withstand a regular siege had not yet 
been completed. By the Germans it is supposed that 
the French expected the attack to be made on some 
point other than the one chosen. But this is scarcely 
possible, for Strasburg offers but one easily assailable 
front, and that is the one which was selected by the 
Germans. We must therefore assume that the French 
did not anticipate that the regular siege would be 
commenced so soon as the morning of the 30th of 
August ; but be that as it may, the fire from the 
point attacked was completely silenced in two hours, 
and was only able to reopen in the afternoon. 

During the whole time of the siege, and even 
throughout the nights, a constant fire of shrapnel 
and of mortar shells rendered it very difficult for the 
besieged to repair their injured batteries, or to con- 
struct new ones even for mortars ; but nevertheless 
they did their utmost, and placed their works again 
and again in a condition to answer. 

In the night from the 31st of August to the 1st of 
September, the besiegers formed the approaches from 
the first to the second parallel, and opened this latter 



186 THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

on the night from the 1st to the 2d of September in 
the churchyard of St Helene, by common sap, at a 
distance of 400 paces from the fortifications of the 
town. 

At four o'clock on the morning of the 2d September, 
the defenders made the first sortie of any importance. 
One column issued northwards upon ^e iLds of 
Wacken and Jars^ to attack the leffc flank of the siege- 
works of the Germans, while another debouched 
southwards against the railway station before the gate 
of Austerlitz. Both were repeUed after a short com- 
bat ; but the Badensers, pursuing too hotly, suflered 
considerable losses. Sorties on a large scale by the 
garrison of Strasburg w^e in general very difficult to 
carry out, owing partly to the total want of detached 
works, partly and principally to the smallness of the 
number of troops of the line which General Uhrich 
had at his disposal 

As the siege progressed, and as the approaches were 
pushed forward, so did the artillery increase the num- 
ber of its batteries, and remove them constantly nearer 
to the front. Thus, on the 9th of September the 
Germans had, including the Baden guns on the right 
bank of the Rhine, 178 pieces actively at work, of 
which 48 were mortars. 

In the nights from the 9th to the 10th and from 
the 10th to the 11th of September, the approaches 
from the second to the third parallel were made ; and 
during the night from the 11th to the 12th, the 



SIEGE OF STRASBUBG. 187 

greater part of the third parallel itself, which ran 
along the foot of the glacis of Nos. 53 and 52 lunettes, 
was opened. 

But these labours in the trenches were not executed 
without sacrifices. By the 5th of September, the 
Germans had lost 57 killed, 327 wounded, and 30 
missing. Of the engineer officers employed, 2 were 
killed, and 2 wounded. 

By the 11th of September the artillery had armed 
a breaching-battery, battery No. 25, with four short 24- 
pounders against the lunette No. 53. This breaching- 
battery was on the highroad to Weissenburg, behind 
the first parallel, and about 1100 paces removed fix>m 
its object, which it could strike by a pitching-fire 
across a moderately wide ditch. It fulfilled its object 
in an unexampled manner. 

As soon as the catastrophe of Sedan was heard of 
in the German camp, General Werder had communi- 
cated the news to General Uhrich ; but it was barely 
credited in the garrison, and produced no effect what- 
ever. Meanwhile imions for the assistance of Stras- 
burg had been everywhere formed in Switzerland, 
which sought to do its best in every way for a town 
which had been in such brotherly connection with it 
in former centuries. The centre of these unions was 
naturally Basle ; and a delegation went thence to the 
German headquarters to do any good it might be able 
to. By order of the German commander it was ad- 
mitted into the city, and then the inhabitants readily 



188 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

believed from the Swiss that which they had refused 
to give credence to when it came from their besiegers, 
and the messengers were fortunate enough to be able 
to take back with them to Switzerland 800 of the 
defenceless citizens. 

While the Germans were, as we have seen, continu- 
ally drawing nearer to the north-west comer of the 
fortifications of the town of Strasburg, they did not 
at all neglect to approach towards the eastern side 
also — towards the citadel ; and with a view to draw- 
ing nearer to this, the Badensers crossed from the 
right bank of the Great Bhine to the lie des Epis, 
while Prussian battalions passed over the Small Hhine 
to the same island from the Eobertsau. 

On the 15th of September, the besieged, who were 
also molested by German field-batteries from the 
south side, made a sortie upon the He des Epis, but 
were repulsed by the Badensers. On this occasion 
Colonel Fiev^, the commandant of the French regi- 
ment of pontoniers, fell — a man of extraordinary 
corporeal dimensions, who was known throughout 
France for his unnatural erectness, which would have 
been remarkable even in Prussia. 

On the 12th of September the Germans armed the 
breaching-battery No. 42 with six short 24-pounders, 
with intent to domolish the escarp of the right face 
of bastion No. 11. The battery was 1000 paces re- 
moved from its object, lying to the south of the road 
which branches off at the churchyard of St Helene 



SIEGE OF STRASBUBG. 180 

from the Weiflsenburg highway, and runfl to Schiltig- 
heim. Afterwards battery No. 58 was constructed, 
between the Oberweg and the Unterweg, 900 paces 
from its object, and armed with four short 24-pounders, 
to breach the left flank of bastion No. 12. 

As the guns in most of the batteries had to fire 
over intervening objects, and therefore with rather 
considerable elevations, the German artiUery employed 
perfectly level trough-shaped embrasures instead of 
the ordinary revetted ones. Owing to this, and to 
the cover they derived from their position behind and 
in the parallels and approaches, the batteries offered 
to the besieged a very unfavourable target. Pitching- 
fire, to breach masonry which could not be seen from 
the batteries, was employed before Strasburg for the 
first time, with how great success we shall see later 
on. It is almost superfluous to remark, that the 
difficulty of breaching at great distances when the 
masonry is visible from afar — as, for example, was the 
case in the artillery attacks of the English on the 
fortresses in Spain — cannot be compared with that of 
breaching by a pitching-fire. The gun chiefly used 
for this pitching-fire was the short rifled 24-pounder 
(15 centimetres). 

On the 17th of September the Prussian sappers 
effected by sap the crowning of the covered-ways of 
lunettes Nos. 53 and 52, the system of mines before 
the former having been luckily discovered and un- 
loaded. It was found to be unnecessary to construct 



190 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

breaching and counter batteries on the crest of the 
glacis^ as the pitching-fire had already done its work 
on lunette No. 53. When the breach was ready, the 
sappers descended by a blinded-gallery to the level of 
the water in the wet ditches of both lunettecf, blew 
down by means of two mines the revetted counter- 
scarp of lunette No. 53 opposite the breach, and began 
to form a dam, 20 feet wide, across the 60 feet wide 
wet ditch. 

But before the dam was finished, it was discovered 
on the 20th of September that the work was aban- 
doned by the French. The breach was at once occu- 
pied, and on the evening of the 20th the interior of 
the lunette also. The sappers forthwith commenced 
to establish themselves there ; but this having to be 
accomplished under the fire of the works in rear, could 
not be effected without loss. The lunette was found 
to be in a state of utter ruin, and even the bomb-proof 
barrack-traverses on the capital of the work had not 
been able to withstand the effects of the Grerman 
artillery. And as lunette No. 53 was destroyed and 
forsaken, so also was lunette No. 52 ; and a bridge of 
barrels having been thrown across the 1 80 feet wide 
wet ditch on the evening of the 21st of September, 
the latter work also was occupied. 

The German artillery had, on the 24th of Septem- 
ber, 229 pieces of ordnance in their batteries, among 
which were 83 mortars. The last battery which was 
built was called No. 60, and was constructed in lunette 



SIEGE OF STRASBTJBG. 191 

No. 53 for three rifled 6-pouiiders. On the whole, 
the Germans made 68 batteries during the siege ; and 
the reason that the last one thrown up nevertheless 
only received the designation No. 60 was this, that 
when, in the course of events, a battery had to be 
moved forward, it retained its old number with an a, 
and, if necessaiy, a b also, appended. 

By the 2dth of September the works on the front 
attacked were no longer tenable. In bastion No. 11, 
a breach 80 feet wide, and perfectly practicable, had 
been formed. The interior was a heap of ruins, and 
communication with the town was nearly impossible. 
In bastion No. 12 the breach was also cut, and it only 
remained to batter down the masses of earth which 
remained standing. This was to be done shortly 
before the .tonJ^. The ceemated Utte^ in Z 
salient, and the wall which closed the gorge, were 
reduced to shapeless masses. The advanced lunette 
No. 44, before the front 9-10, and the barracks and 
parts of the town abutting on the front attacked, were 
in the same condition. The arch of the Stone Gate 
(Porte de Pierres) in the curtain 11-12 was on the 
point of falling in, and, to prevent this, it became 
necessary for the besieged to fill it up with sand-bags. 
The works lying next to the front attacked, the 
homwork Finckmatt (58-60 and 47-49), were not 
so utterly battered down as the front itself, but were 
nevertheless very materially damaged. 

On the 27th of September, at 5 o'clock in the 



1 



192 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

afternoon. General Uhrich caused tlie white flag to be 
hoisted on the minster and on bastions No. 11 and 12. 

The German artillery at once ceased their fire. 
They had, since the commencement of the attack, 
thrown 193,722 shot and shell into the town and 
fortress — 6249 for each day, 260 for each hour, 4 to 
5 for every minute. 

Among these were 28,000 common sheU and 5000 
shrapnel - shell from the long rifled 24 -pounders; 
45,000 common shell and 11,000 shrapnel £rom the 
rifled 12-pounders; 8000 common shell and 4000 
shrapnel from the rifled 6-pounders; 3000 common 
shell from the short rifled 24-pounders (guns of 15 
centimetres) ; 600 shell from the 21-centimetre (8-inch) 
rifled mortars; 58,000 shell from the smooth-bore 
mortars — namely, 15,000 from the 50-pounders, 
20,000 from the 25-pounders, and 23,000 from the 
7-pounders. 

The capitulation ensued without delay. The terms, 
especially as regards the officers, were similar to those 
of the surrender at Sedan ; the troops of the line be- 
came prisoners of war, the National Guard and Franc- 
tireurs were disarmed and set free upon giving a bond. 
At 8 A.M. on the 28th of September, the citadel, and 
the Austerlitz, Fischer, and National gates, were to be 
given over to the Germans. At 11 a.m. the garrison 
was to march out to the square in the Gallgass, be- 
tween redoubt No. 37 and lunette No. 44; and at noon 
the giving over of the mat&riel was to commence. 



SIEGE OF STBASBURG. 193 

Much disorder took place during the marching out: 
many of the soldiers destroyed their arms, and some 
of them could not be removed from the town until 
3 P.M.; but the transfer of the stores was more 
speedily effected, and 1070 cannons were given over 
to the Germans on the first day. 

Lieutenant - General von OUech was appointed 
Grerman governor of the fortress, and Major-General 
von Mertens commandant. (General von Werder, 
now nominated to the command of the newly-formed 
14th Army Corps, was to operate southwards on both 
sides of the Vosges into the valley of the Saone, 
to prevent the formation of troops there, and to cut 
the railway communication from Miilhausen to Paris, ^ 
and from Pontarlier by Dijon to Paris. 

Even during the siege of Strasburg various detach- 
ment. .{^p. l»>d beea sent bL th. mveetmg 
forces into the Vosges to break up and scatter the 
bodies of Franc-tireurs who were beginning to coUect 
there in ever-increaqing numbers ; but they had, as can 
be easily understood, but very imperfectly effected 
their object 

After the taking of the town, the inhabitants of 
Strasburg, although they did not openly rebel, never- 
theless showed by their whole behaviour that they 
were but little disposed to accept the '^ brotherly 
love " of the Germans. 

Certainly this " brotherly love " did not show itself 
in a very captivating form. An unfeeling curiosity 

VOL. IL N 



194 THE WAB POE THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

rather than a sympathising compassion for the unfor- 
tunate brought crowds of people to the ruined city. 
It seemed abnost as though many were charmed 
thither by the pictures of desolation which were to be 
seen everywhere. The ruins were photographed ; 
sketches of them adorned the various illustrated 
periodicals, and were even collected together in 
albums, which were recommended as suitable Christ- 
mas gifts. Literary would-be warriors wrote with 
brutal imbecility the text for these pictures in the 
papers which pretended to represent German civili- 
sation. It was not a bad thought which prompted 
the authorities to set aside the citadel as reserved. 
Whoever wished to inspect closely the devastations 
wrought there, had to pay three shillings entrance ; 
and the sum thus collected, which was to be spent 
in restoring the cathedral, amounted in a very few 
weeks to £7600. 

An inteUigent man of Leipsic formed the ingeni- 
ous idea of collecting the splinters of the shells which 
had laid the town in ruins, and casting them into 
"patriotic medals/' which were sold at a shilling 
each. To the advertisement of this tender memo- 
rial he added an authenticating certificate from the 
mayor, to the effect that on the 9th of November 
he had bought 50 hundredweight of the fragments 
of shell. 

Whoever enters into the spirit of the words^ 



SIEGE OF STRASBURG. 195 

"silent sympathy is asked for/' * can scarcely find 
pleasure in such manifestations, which, however, were 
not here apparent for the first time. 

The people of Strasburg, at least those whose 
position and occupation allowed them to, retired 
silently into their dwellings while the town was 
thus crowded with sight-seers — even those whose 
mother-tongue was German avoided speaking it when 
conversing with the conquerors. Many, hoping for 
better times, sought an asylum in Switzerland ; and 
from Strasburg, as from the whole of Alsace, many 
young men went into the south of France to join 
the Mobile Guard and partisan corps which were 
forming there. 

* 

* The words which usually accompany the notice of a death in a 
Gtennan newspaper. 



196 



CHAPTER XXVL 

STATE OF THE WAB AT THE END OF THE MONTH OF 

SEPTEMBER. 

At the end of September the military activity of the 
Germans was confined to three main centres — Strasr 
bm^g, Metz, and Paris. 

Strasburg felL The troops which had been neces- 
sarily employed in the attack were for the most part 
set firee, and could be used for other purposes ; and 
as Germany had declared that she intended to retain 
Alsace after the conclusion of peace, their chief work 
must next be to subdue Upper Alsace, and especially 
the fortresses of Schlettstadt,Neu Breisach, and Belfort» 
which were still in the hands of the French. But it 
was to be assumed, also, that new formations would 
be organised in the south and' west of Alsace, and 
therefore the additional task must be undertaken of 
destroying these in the bud where possible. This 
might very likely, at that time, be effected with 
smaU forces, and therefore flying-columns were sent 
out in the above-named directions into the valleys of 
the Rhone and Saone. 



THE WAR AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER. 197 

Metz was, and had been since the 18th of August^ 
surrounded by two German annies — ^the First Army 
and the Second Army — but it had not been regularly 
attacked, neither had any attempt been made to bom- 
bard it. The Germans were waiting to subdue the 
fortress by famine, an end which they foresaw that 
they must sooner or later attain. For even if the 
fortress had been fully provisioned, and its future 
requirements provided for, at the commencement of 
the war, there had been a field-army using its sup- 
plies during the latter days of July and the earlier 
part of August ; and since then the army of Bazaine 
had been daily consuming at least as much as the 
inhabitants and the regular garrison together. Since 
the arrival of the news of the catastrophe of Sedan, 
and of the declaration of the Republic in Paris, the 
offensive defence of Bazaine had become very languid, 
as we shall see later on in our narrative. But the 
Germans could not calcidate upon the continuation of 
this lethargy ; it was, on the contrary, only prudent 
to assume that Bazaine might rouse himself for a 
desperate stroke. Considerable forces were therefore 
tied down before Metz, and having to be always in 
readiness in case of need, they dared not undertake 
any secondary enterprises which would remove them 
for any length of time from the investing lines. On 
the other hand, such collateral undertakings were not 
required from the besiegers, as there was no impor- 
tant point in the neighbourhood where the French 



198 THE WAK FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

BepubUc could endeavour to organise any formations 
worth mentioning. 

Paris had been invested since the 19 th of Septem- 
ber, but a speedy surrender was no longer to be hoped 
for. After the first bewildered surprise caused by the 
news of the catastrophe of Sedan had passed away, 
and a new order of things had been formed; after 
this had been a^ccepted by the masses — ^we will not 
say more ; after the conference of Ferrik'es, instead 
of awakening hopes of a speedy peace, had rather 
shown the gulf which now yawned between France 
and Germany, — ^the Germans were compelled to ac* 
knowledge that they would have to encounter an 
earnest resistouce if they advanced to any more or 
less regular siege of Paris. To bring up the mate- 
rial necessary to overcome this would require much 
time. On the other hand, if they wished to allow 
hunger to do the work of battle, they must be pre- 
pared to allow months to pass away before it would 
begin to make its terrors felt 

If the French could no longer hope for peace, they 
muBt apply themaelvea to forming new armiea-na- 
tional armies; for of the Imperial army but little 
remained, and that little was either imprisoned or 
split up into useless fractions. The objective of these 
newly-to-be-formed armies must be, in the first place, 
the relief of Pans — of that town which, taking into 
account only the number of its inhabitants, and dis- 



THE WAB AT THE END OF 8EPTEMHEB. ' 19ft 

regaiding all else, completely outweighs many a Ger- 
man kingdom or grand duchy. 

Where, then, must these armies be formed — ^and 
how? 

The parts of France really overrun by the Germans, 
and which could be easily dominated from their cen- 
tres of operations, scarcely amounted to a seventh of 
the whole country. But in the north the district 
unoccupied by the Germans formed but narrow strips, 
because of the nearness of the Belgian frontier and 
of the sea. This portion was therefore unsafe, and 
the points of concentration in it had too little terri- 
tory around them to allow of their being used for the 
formation of new armies. 

These, therefore, must necessarily be collected and 
organised in the south of France. 

And in the south of France, again, two divisions 
are sharply defined — the one to the east of the 
Sevennes, the Bhone district; and the other to the 
west of the Sevennes, comprising the district of the 
Loire, the mountains of Limousin, and the basin of 
the Gironde. 

Of these two divisions, again, the eastern has never 
been in such intimate connection with the capital of 
France as the western. 

Lx the valley of the Bhone, we, even to the present 
day, still feel ourselves in the world of Greek colonies 
and of Boman provinces. A large town, Lyons, has 



200 THE WAK FOB THE RHINE FBOKTIEB. 

sprung up there^ which, although far inferior in the 
number of inhabitants and in all other respects^ still 
stands next to Paris in France. A second great town 
*has arisen also, Marseilles, the third in France; but 
Lyons and Marseilles together have but little more 
than a third of the population of the capital, although 
they leave all other towns of France far behind. Still, 
with these large and important cities in it, the fate of 
the basin of the Bhone has never been so intimately 
bound up with that of the centre of France as that of 
the west has been. 

There, on both sides of the Loire, that Camuten 
land spreads out which the Druids declared to be tbe 
navel of Celtic GauL Thence, from Orleans, went 
forth the deliverance of France from the Engb'sh in- 
vasion, wrought by Joan of Arc. Behind the Loire 
the wreck of the French army retreated . after the 
defeats of 1815 ; and the nickname of Brigands of 
the Loire, which was given them by the followers of 
the Bourbons, became a name of honour for them 
among the people of France. More to the south, in 
the mountains of Auvergne, arose Vercingetonx, the 
hero who made such manful, although unsuccessful, 
attempts to free his countiy from the dominion of 
the Bomans. 

The south-western land cannot boast of such large 
towns as exist in the basin of the Bhone, but still 
there are not wanting many, such as Nantes, Bordeaux, 
and Toidouse, which, important by their population. 



THE WAR AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER. 201 

offer by their commerce and industry centres where 
the clothing, equipment, and arming of considerable 
forces would be facilitated. 

And in the then existing state of affairs, the district 
of the Loire possessed a special importance, owing to 
its nearness to Paris. 

If it be asked what character the new French for- 
mations would assume, it will be found that it must 
by necessity be a revolutionary one. Even the new 
formations of the line, which were to be gathered 
together round the nucleus of the still existing or 
hurriedly-collected depots, would consist partly of old 
soldiers, partly and mostly of the young conscripts 
of the year 1870. - To these would be joined the 
Mobile Guards, and other corps of troops gained 
in some way or other, since every means must 
be adopted to obtain men. The mat^el, articles of 
equipment, horses, and suchlike, would be procured 
by requiaition. As tiere was a want of experienced 
officers, such would have to be improvised; and as 
the opinion was ever gaining ground that the old 
generals who had been soldiers from their early 
youth had been the cause of all the misfortunes, it 
was very likely to happen that the rulers of France 
would fall into the error of making generals and 
officers of men who were utterly ignorant of military 
matters. 

As the great end was to obtain masses and large 
numbers of soldiers, the armament could not be uni- 



202 TOE WAB FOR THE BHINE FBONTIER. 

form — arms would be taken wherever they were foimd^ 
wherever they could be obtained. 

The matter was urgent. The relief of Paris was the 
first objective; for however favourable the condition 
of Paris might be painted, it could not be denied that 
the sooner the time of relief came, so much the more 
chance would there be that Paris would hold out until 
its arrival. 

The Grovemment, therefore, made desperate efforts 
in mUitery affairs. The paaeion for war penetrated 
into the masses, who were purposely excited by every 
means. The more the theatre of war became ex- 
tended, and the more the communications of the Ger- 
mans were lengthened, so much the greater field 
would there be for the working of national passions. 
The Germans would be obliged to make many small 
detachments, and these could be attacked again by 
small French detachments and partisan corps, espe- 
cially if the rural population supported them actively 
and secretly, at the same time opposing a stubborn 
passive resistance to the Germans. Every success 
of such a partisan enterprise would lead to reprisals^ 
and these again would call for vengeance. Thus it 
can be said that the more success seemed to vanish 
from the cause of the now highly -excited French 
people, so much the more cruelly, and with so much 
the more bitterness, would the war be carried on. 

And at that time, also, superstition began to play 
its part Inspired men came forward and began to 



THE WAB AT THE END OF SEFTEMBEK. 203 

prophesy great disasters, which were, however, finaUy 
to be followed by so much the more glorious successes. 
The masses listened willingly; the journalists^ who were 
not credulous, also spread abroad these prophecies^ 
and took care not to allow their scepticism to appear. 

The Germans before Paris, at the same time that 
they kept up the investment of the town, must also 
send out expeditions, from this centre in all direc- 
tions, partly to acquire information of what was going 
on in their vicinity, partly to prevent new formations 
arising, or to nip them in the bud, if it were possible 
to do so without too great an expenditure of force. 
But they must ever keep their gaze principally directed 
towards the line of the Loire; and if it were possible, 
they must establish themselves on that river in order 
to earnestly oppose any serious attempt to relieve 
Paris which might be made from the south-western 
district of France. 

Such was the military situation of the belligerents 
at the end of September, and such were the cheerless 
prospects of both parties after the shipwreck of any 
hopes of peace which the catastrophe of Sedan may 
have awakened — ^prospects cheerless for the French, 
who could now barely hope any longer for a victory 
in the open field, and cheerless also for the Germans, 
who could no longer hope for a speedy peace, but 
could only look sorrowfully forward to the kindling 
of the most bitter national hate, and to fresh wars in 
the future, which perhaps, spite of or because of 



204 THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBOKTIER. 

Alsace and Loirame, would not be commenced under 
such favourable auspices as that of 1870. 

Many a Gennan looked back already from the 
theatre of war to his own home, and asked himself 
whether anything useful would be gained by so many 
and great exertions either for it or for the German 
nation, or whether the fruits of this war might not 
fall short of what was expected, as those of the wars 
of 1813 and 1815 did. 



205 



CHAPTER XXVIL 

THE BATTLE OF NOISBEYILLE ON THE 31 ST OF AUGUST 
AND THE 1ST OF SEFTEMBEB. 

When the troops which were destined to form the 
army of the Crown -Prince of Saxony quitted the 
neighbourhood of Metz, the forces remaining behind 
to oppose Bazaine were at once reinforced by the 
strong division of General Kummer, which was only 
then called up from Germany, and consisted of a bri- 
gade of infantry of the line and Schuler von Senden's 
division of landwehr. 

Prince Frederic Charles, to whom the command of 
the German *^ Army of Metz '' was intrusted, did not 
expect to subdue the fortress by a regular siege ; and 
a bombardment of the town was rendered impossible 
by the strong detached works so long as the French 
held possession of them. But, on the other hand, the 
Germans could calculate with great certainly upon 
the effects of hunger. They therefore kept the place 
completely shut in, and watched it closely, throwing 
up intrenchments, so that they could guard the long 
investing lines with comparatively few men, and keep 



206 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

strong reserves in rear, ready to follow Bazaine in- 
stantaneously in any direction in which he might 
succeed in breaking out 

Moreover, to the bridges which already existed 
above Metz, they added another below the town at 
Hauconcourt, where at other times there was only a 
ferry, to complete the communication between the 
investing troops on both banks of the Moselle. 

It was to be assumed as most probable that any 
attempt which Bazaine might make to escape, during 
the time of the operations of the armies of M'Mahon 
and of the Crown-Princes in the Argonne and on the 
banks of the Meuse, would be to the west or north- 
west. If the French, imder the then existing circum- 
stances, made any effort to break through the lines 
in any other direction, it could only be regarded aa 
essentially a demonstration, intended to draw some 
of the German forces across to the right bank of the 
Moselle; and so render it easier for M'Mahon, on 
arriving before Metz, to decisively defeat such of 
the. Germans as remained on the left bank. Conse- 
quentiy the number of G-erman troops on the left 
bank during the last days of August was much 
greater than on the right. 

The 8th Army Corps^ supported by the 3d divisioii 
of cavahy, stood on both sides of tiie MoseUe above 
the town. Their vedettes extended on the right to 
the Seille, and on the left northwards as far as the 
wood of Pl^nois. There the outposts of the 10th 



BATTLE OP NOISSEVILLE, AUG. 31 AND SEPT. 1. 20Y 

Corps joined on to them, whilst its left rested on the 
river below Metz. 

Behind this screen three Army Corps were concen- 
trated — ^namely, the 3d Corps, on the road through 
Doncourt and Conflans ; the 2d Corps, on the road 
to Aubou^Briey ; and the 9th, between this laat road 
and the one to Thionville, — all equally prepared to 
form firont, either to oppose Bazaine or to meet the 
advance of M'Mahon. 

On the right bank of the Moselle the 7th Corps 
joined on to the right of the 8th, being posted on 
both sides of the highway to Strasburg. On its right, 
again, stood the 1st Corps, on the roads to SaarbrUck 
and Saarlouis ; and lastly, on the right of this, was 
Rummer's division, on the road to Bouzonville and 
resting on the Moselle below^ Metz, being in com- 
munication with the 10th Corps by the bridge at 
Hauconcourt 

Thus there were about 70,000 men, infantry and 
cavalry, on the right bank, and 120,000 on the left. 

The headquarters of Prince Frederic Charles, who 
commanded not only his own anny, the First, but also 
the Second, Steinmetz's, were at Malancourt, on the 
left bank, in the district of the 9th Army Corps. 

An investment such as was now intended must 
necessarily be somewhat wearying. The men must 
always be in readiness to move or to fight, but 
have not the variety which a march brings with it, 
and, if the adversary remains quiet, are but seldom 



208 THE WAR FOR THE RHmE FRONTIER. 

roused by the excitement of a battle. And in addi- 
tion to tbifl, they have to remain for a lengthened 
period in a neighbourhood which is soon laid waste 
by such a massing of troops ; they must consequently 
submit to many privations, and this does not tend to 
keep the troops fresh and in good spirits. 

At first, certainly, the Germans found enough to 
do : they had to intrench themselves in order to ob- 
tain in some degree security from attack; and as they 
did not carry tents, they had to build huts to pro- 
tect themselves as much as possible from the rain and 
from the chilliness of weather, which was just then 
becoming unpleasantly autumnal. 

And besides all this, a great work had been under- 
taken, which, although it certainly did not directly 
concern the soldiers, still gave them some occupation. 

Even at the commencement of the wax, the Prus- 
sian General Staff had assumed that Metz would be 
able to hold out for a protracted space of time, and 
that it Would be necessary to keep considerable forces 
before it while others were operating in advance in 
the direction of Paris. In that case Metz would 
break the railway communication between these latter 
troops and the frontier of Germany. It was therefore 
resolved to restore this by a field-railway ; and in the 
beginning of August the line for it was sought for, 
and it was determined to construct it from Remilly 
on the Saarbriick railway to Pont k Mousson on the 
Metz-Frouard line — a distance of about 18 miles in a 



BATTLE OP NOISSEVILLE, AUG. 31 AND SEPT. 1. 209 

straight line, or nearly 22 if the windings are taken 
into account. On the 14th of August, the day of the 
battle of Bomy, the survey of the ground and the 
levelling were commenced by the officials of two rail- 
way detachments ; and on the 1 7th the execution of 
the work was taken in hand. The construction was 
begun, as far as the advance of the special prepara- 
tory works allowed, in many places at the same time, 
and not merely carried on from the two enda 

In this task there were employed two field-railway 
companies (450 men), four fortress pioneer companies 
(800 men) ; 3000 miners from the coal-districts of 
Saarbrttcken, who were thrown out of work by the 
war ; a park of 250 vehicles, to which were shortly 
afterwards added the waggons, 84 in number, of the 
two pontoon-trains of the 7th and 8th Army Corps ; 
and a squadron of cavalry, which was apportioned to 
the building corps to perform patrol and requisition 
duties. 

The workmen, as they arrived at the various points 
of the work, erected barracks and depots — ^the wag- 
gon-park bringing up the implements and building 
materials to the different portions of the line. The 
weights to be transported amounted to 175,000 
hundredweight, in which are included the materials 
necessary for making two bridges — ^across the Seille 
and the Moselle — and two viaducts between Remilly 
and Bechy. 

Although gradients of 1 in 40, and curves of only 
VOL. n. o 



210 THE WAE FOB THE RHINE FRONTIBE. 

250 paces radius were allowed, still the irregularities 
of the ground, as may be seen from our former de- 
scription of it, were so great, that in some places it 
was necessary to make very considerable cuttings and 
embankments. On the 23d of September, however, 
although five days had been lost owing to heavy 
rains, the railway was completed, and traversed by a 
locomotive ; and on the 26 th regular traffic along it 
was commenced. 

From the 19th of August to the last day of the 
month, Bazaine remained quiet. His troops impera- 
tively required repose, and lay encamped under the 
protection of the detached forts, but separated from 
the garrison of the fortress. Although the communi- 
cation of Bazaine with the outer world was not com- 
pletely cut oflf — ^for some of the brave and loyal people 
of the neighbourhood still contrived to slip through 
the Prussian lines, both from without into the fortress, 
and from the town to the exterior — ^it was nevertheless 
very imperfect. But still, from such information as 
he did receive, and from the conclusions which he 
could draw therefrom, Bazaine must assume that the 
relieving army of M'Mahon would be in the vicinity 
of Metz towards the end of August, if indeed it should 
ever succeed in arriving there. 

He resolved, therefore, on the 31st of August, to 
make a great sortie, and that on the right bank of 
the Moselle. The object of it could be nothing more 
than to draw German troops across to that side of the 



BATTLE OP NOISSEVILLE, AUO. 31 AND SEPT, 1. 211 

river, and thus facilitate M'Mahon's victory on the 
other. For this enterprise along the right bank the 
Corps of Canrobert and Leboenf were destined, and 
they consequently deployed behind Fort St Julien 
and near Fort Bellecroix. The Guard and the 4th 
Corps (Ladmirault) remained on the left bank, to reach 
the hand to M*Mahon should he come up, while the 2d 
Corps (Frossard) formed the reserve on the right bank. 
The French attack was directed in the first place 
upon Kummer's division and the Ist Army Corps 
(Manteuffel), On the evening of the 30th of August 
these troops stood thus : the brigade of the line belong- 
ing to Kunmier's division was posted along the line 
Mah-oy - Charly, with a detachment in the chateau 
of Eupigny ; the landwehr division was in reserve 
behind it, and the headquarters of General Rummer 
were at Olgy, on the road to Thionville. Of the 1st 
Corps, the 1st brigade of infantry stood on the front 
Failly - Servigny - Noisseville ; the 2d brigade in re- 
serve in rear, to the east of Fremy, where were 
also the headquarters of General Bentheim, chief of 
the 1st division of infantry; the 4th brigade of 
infantry was on the front Colombey-Aubigny-Ars 
Laquenexy-Mercy le Haut; the 3d brigade behind 
it, at CourceUes on the Nied, where were also the 
headquarters of General Pritzelwitz, chief of the 2d 
division of infantry. The space between the Ist and 
2d divisions on the Saarbriick road, on the front 
NoissevUle-Montoy-Colombey, was covered by the two 



212 THE WAB FOR THE BHINE FRONTIER. 

divisional regiments of cavalry of the 1st Corps, the 
1st and 10 th regiments of dragoons. The reserve 
artillery of the 1st Corps was at St Barbe. 

From half-past seven on the morning of the 31st of 
August the Prussian observation-posts on the com- 
paratively high ground of St Barbe remarked the 
deployment of the French ; and in the forenoon the 
advanced - guards of the latter attacked on the one 
side the front of Rummer's division, and on the other 
that of Pritzelwitz's division, in the following way: — 

At 9 A.M. French troops appeared before Colombey, 
and compelled the Prussian detachment posted there 
to evacuate the village ; but, on the other hand, the 
Germans maintained themselves in Aubigny and 
Mercy le Haut, which were also attacked. At noon 
the French relinquished their efforts there also, and 
consequently for many hours stillness prevailed on 
that part of the battle-field. 

Meanwhile, at 10 a.m.. Rummer's division was 
assailed by French cavalry and by a French battery. 
These were quickly repulsed by the artillery of the 
Prussians ; and afterwards the landwehr troops were 
only molested by the fire of Fort St Julien. 

From the commencement of these attacks, a mass- 
ing of considerable numbers of French troops had 
been observed on the road firom Fort BeUecroix to 
the farm of the same name, at the point where the 
highways to Saarlouis and Saarbrilck separate fi*om 
one another. This caused General Manteuffel to sub- 



BATTLE OP NOISSEVILLE, AUG. 31 AKD SEPT. 1. 213 

pect that the main attack would presently be devel- 
oped in that direction, and therefore, immediately 
that the news arrived of the dispositions of his adver- 
sary, he gave orders which would place yet greater 
forces in readiness on these roads. His directions 
were that the 3d brigade of infantry (Memerty) was 
to march from Courcelles on the Nied to the Saar- 
briick highroad at Puche, accompanied by two of the 
divisional batteries; the 3d division of cavalry was 
to despatch its 6th brigade from Pouilly to Eetonfay, 
between the roads to Saarbrilck and Saarlouis ; and 
General Rummer was directed to detach one regiment 
of cavalry and one battery to St Barbe. 
' At the same time Manteuffel sent information to 
Prince Frederic Charles and to General Steinmetz of 
what was going on, and of the measures which he had 
taken. 

Upon hearing these things, General Steinmetz at 
once ordered that the whole of the 3d division of 
cavalry should march upon Eetonfay, and also sent 
the 28th brigade of the 7th Army Corps from Pouilly 
to Courcelles on the Nied, where it arrived at 3 p.m., 
when for a time all was tranquil. 

Events, as they went on, confirmed General Man- 
teuflFel in his first assumption ; and as the 1st division 
of infantry was now no longer molested, he caused its 
troops to cook their dinner in succession, believing 
that the attacks in the forenoon upon the fronts of 
Kummer and Pritzelwitz were merely demonstrations 



214 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

which would probably, later on, be followed by a cen- 
tral thrufit ; and as the numbers of the French con- 
centrated at the farm of Bellecroix was continually 
increased, he caused the 3d brigade of infantiy to 
move from Puche to Retonfay, and the division of 
Schuler von Senden to St Barbe, to form a reserve 
for Bentheim's division. 

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon the French advanced, 
as had been anticipated, from St Julien and Bellecroix 
against the front which Manteuffel had prepared to 
oppose them on the line Failly - Servigny - Montoy. 
The battle was commenced by the guns of Fort St 
Julien, and of a few field-batteries to the south of it^ 
opening fire upon the 1st Prussian division at Ser- 
vigny-Failly. The Germans answered at first with 
the four divisional batteries, and these were soon 
reinforced by one horse and two field batteries from 
the reserve of the 1st Army Corps. The last two 
came up on the west of Servigny, posting themselves 
on the flank of the French artillery ; the horse-battety 
took up a position more to the north* at Poiz ; and 
after the seven batteries thus placed had kept up a 
steady fire until 5 p.m., they advanced, and obliged 
the French guns to withdraw. 

Meanwhile, soon after 3 p.m., Leboeuf moved for- 
ward through the farm of Bellecroix upon Montoy, 
tiireatening with his right wing Colombey and Au- 
bigny; while, on his left flank, detachments of Canro- 
bert's Corps moved up the valley of the stream of 



BATTLE OF KOISSEVILLE, AUG. 31 AND S£FT. 1. 21S 

YaUi^s against Notdlly and Noisseville. When this 
movement was developed, and Aubigny attacked by 
LeboBuf s right, the 28th brigade of infantry, which 
since 3.30 p.m. had been employed in cooking at 
Conrcelles on the Nied, was called up to support 
the 4th. It at once marched by way of Laquenexy, 
but airived too late to join in the contest, as the 
French speedily relinquished their attack on the vil- 
lage to throw their whole force upon Noisseville and 
Servigny. 

The head of Lebceuf 's main column aa it advanced 
came at Montoy upon the troops of the 3d Prussian 
brigade (Memerty), and was soon engaged in a heavy 
musketry combat with it. Whilst this was going on^ 
the French, shortly after 5 p.m., developed their attack 
from the valley of Yalli^res, and made an onslaught 
upon Noisseville, which was only defended by one 
Prussian battalion from the 1st brigade. After a 
prolonged resistance this single battalion was obliged 
to withdraw, and retired upon Servigny. Upon this 
the French skirmishers at once occupied the vine- 
clad hilk to the north of Noisseville, and kept up 
thence a spirited and well-directed fire upon the 
Prussian batteries, which had advanced at 5 p.m. 
from Servigny in the direction of St Julien as far as 
the heights to the north of NouiUy. The fire from the 
Chassepots obliged the Prussian artillery to retire upon 
Servigny, where it again took up a position to cover 
the retreat of the battalion driven out of Noisseville, 



216 THE WAB FOE THE RHINE FBONTIEB. 

Under cover of the garrison of Noisseville and of 
the increasing darkness, French batteries now moved 
up to Mey and Nouilly, and coming into action against 
Servigny and the batteries there, literally showered 
shrapnel upon them ; but the Prussian artillery main- 
tained its position, and directed a portion of its fire 
upon Noisseville, 

At this time — that is, at about 8 p.m. — the musketry 
combat in which Memerty's brigade was still engaged 
began to abate along the front, and thereby Memerty 
became free to move towards his flank. Of this he at 
once availed himself, and proceeded to attack Noisse- 
ville and drive the French out of that village. 

Towards nine o'clock in the evening the battle 
subsided, the French appearing to have withdrawn 
at every point. Manteufiel, however, in order to be 
prepared for any emergency, caused the whole of the 
troops of his first line to remain under arms. The 
2d brigade of infantry and the reserve artillery of the 
1st Corps were sent back to their bivouacs ; and, on 
the other hand, Schuler von Senden's landwehr divi- 
sion, which had not come into action, was directed to 
move from St Barbe nearer to the front upon Failly 
and Poix. 

At ten o'clock in the evening the French again 
assumed the ofiensive, and advanced to an attack by 
surprise. Their right wing pushed forward through 
Montoy to Flanville and Puche, wheeled then to its 
left, and attacked simultaneously Retonfay and Noisse- 



BATTLE OF NOISSEVILLB, AUG. 31 AND SEPT. 1. 2lT 

ville, Memerty's brigade was compelled to evacuate 
very hurriedly its position in those villages, and to 
retreat northwards upon Chateau Gras. 

At the same time the French left wing had thrown 
itself upon Servigny, Poix, and Failly. The struggle 
for these villages was carried on with varying results, 
Servigny especially being several times lost and won, 
while the West Prussian brigade of the landwehr 
division had to be called up to support the garrison 
of Failly. When the fighting ceased, shortly after 
11 P.M., Servigny, Poix, and Failly remained in the 
hands of the Prussians ; while, on the other side, 
NoisseviUe, FlanvUle, Montoy, and Eetonfay were 
occupied by the French. 

Prince Frederic Charles, in his headquarters at 
Malancourt, had received information firom the out- 
posts on the early morning of the 31st of August, of 
extraordinary movements in the French camps, and 
the reports soon left no doubt that the enemy was 
watching for an opportimity to attack on the right 
bank of the Moselle. 

The commandant of the 10th Corps, General Voigts- 
Rhetz, had been before directed that in case this should 

■ 

happen he was to cause such of his troops as were not 
in the investing line, and were therefore disposable, 
to cross to the right bank by the bridge of Haucon- 
court; and he had at once, without waiting for further 
orders, acted in accordance with these instructions. 
Between half-past eight and half-past nine o'clock in 



218 THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBONTIEB. 

the forenoon, the Prince gave more detailed commands. 
General von Manstein was to concentrate the 25th 
(Hessian) division of his Corps, the 9th, at Pierre- 
villers, and the 1 8th (Wrangel) at Roncourt, while the 
reserve artillery of the Corps was to be also assembled 
at the latter place. The 2d Corps (Fransecky) was to 
be collected between Briey and Anbou^ ; and the 3d 
Corps (Alvensleben) was to march from Doncourt and 
Conflans upon St Privat la Montagne. 

Prince Frederic Charles was at 11 A.M. upon the 
Horimont, an eminence to the north of F^ves, and 
570 feet above the valley of the Moselle. As from 
that place French forces were observed to be contina- 
ally passing over ta the right bank of the Moselle, he 
sent a direct order at 11.35 p.m. to the 25th division 
to cross by the bridge of Hauconcourt to Antilly, on 
the right bank, and there place itself at the disposal 
of Generals Kummer and ManteuffeL Accordingly, 
at 2.30 P.M. the head of the Hessian division reached 
Antilly, and deployed to the south of the village. 
There it remained until 5 p.m., when Schuler von Sen- 
den's division having marched away to St Barbe to 
support the 1st Prussian division. General Kummer 
requested the Hessians to advance against Charly and 
Rupigny. Upon this Prince Louis of Hesse caused 
the 50th brigade to occupy the comer of the wood of 
Failly, to the east of Charly ; while the 49th brigade 
placed itself in reserve between Charly and Antilly. 
An attack, however, at this point did not take place, 



BATTLE OP NOISSEVILLE, AUG. 31 AKD SEPT. 1. 219 

aa we have already seen. The 50tli brigade remained 
in ito position during the night preceding the 1st of 
September, while the 49th brigade was withdrawn to 
its bivouacs to the south of Antilly. 

In the afternoon, General Voigts-Ehetz received 
orders to withdraw again to the left bank the troops 
he had sent across the Moselle. The Hessian divi- 
sion was directed to remain under any circum- 
stances on the right bank ; and, moreover. Prince 
Frederic Charles resolved, at 1.30 p.m. on the 31st of 
August, at all events to place reserves on the left 
bank, in readiness to cross over to the right should 
the battle which had subsided about noon be again 
recommenced. For this the 18th division, with the 
reserve artillery of the 9th Corps, and the 3d Corps 
were chosen, the former being directed to cook at 
Boncourt, and the latter at St Privat la Montague. 

The 2d Corps, on the other hand, was ordered at 
1.30 P.M. to stop the concentration before directed, 
and to push forward detachments again to Longuion 
and Aumetz, on the road to Montmedy and Longwy. 

From the Horimont a better idea of the general 
state of the battle could be obtained than from the 
right bank itself. The staff of Prince Frederic 
Charles observed that the French did not employ 
nearly all the troops concentrated at St Julien and 
Bellecroix in the fight in the afternoon, and it was 
therefore to be concluded that Bazaine wished to 
defer his main attack until the 1st of September. 



220 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTTEB. 

In order, then, that the forces necessary to ward it 
off might be ready on the right bank of the Moselle 
by the early morning of the 1st, Prince Frederic 
Charles sent an order at 7.35 p.m. to Manstein at 
Roncourt, directing him to set out with the 18th 
division and his reserve artillery by Marange and 
Hauconcourt to St Barbe. This order reached Man- 
stein at 9.15 P.M., and he at once set out, being him- 
self with the 6th regiment of dragoons at the head 
of the column. He had to make a night-march of 
fourteen nules, and that, too, along roads which were 
in parts extraordinarily bad. It was therefore a 
remarkable achievement to reach St Barbe, as he 
did, with the 6th regiment of dragoons, at 4 am. on 
the 1st of September, barely seven hours after receipt 
of the order to march. The infantry and artillery 
were, it is true, still behind, and they rested for some 
time at Hauconcourt. 

General von Alvensleben XL had the mass of his 
Corps in the evening at St Privat and St Ail, with 
the 5th division pushed forward to Marange. 

The morning of the 1st of September was very 
foggy ; but, standing on a height, the summits of the 
hills could be seen. Early in the day the dull thun- 
der of cannon was heard in the headquarters of Prince 
Frederic Charles, in a north-westerly direction. It 
was that of the battle of Sedan, which was being 
fought about sixty-five mUes away from Malancourt ; 
but shortly afterwards the fighting began again close 



BATTLE OF NOISSEVILLE, AUG. 31 AND SEPT. 1. 221 

at hand, on the right bank of the Moselle, and diverted 
attention from this distant cannonade. 

Only in the morning did the Prince receive infor- 
mation from Manteuffel of the night attack of the 
French, and shortly afterwards further intelligence 
arrived of the recommencement of the battle. The 
Prince, therefore, before he lefb Malancourt, sent 
orders to General Voigts-Rhetz to move again with 
his disposable troops to the right bank of the Mo- 
selle to support Kummer and Manteuffel ; while Gen- 
eral Alvensleben was to send the 5th division of 
the 3d Corps from Marange, and the reserve artillery 
from St Ail, to M^zieres, to oppose the sortie on the 
left bank. These troops commenced their march at 

•7 A.M. 

After 8 a.m. the Prince had again repaired to the 
Horimont ; thence at 9.15 a.m. he instructed General 
Zastrow, by telegraph, to keep only a brigade of his 
Corps, the 7th, in the line of the investment, and to 
move all the remainder to the support of Manteuffel's 
left wing. Goeben was to push forward the reserves 
of the 8th Corps close up to the left bank of the 
Moselle, in order, in case of need, to undertake the 
guarding of the whole length of Zastrow's line, and 
thus set the 7th Corps entirely free. 

Kummer was to be ready to support ManteuffeFs 
right wing 83 soon as the disposable troops of the 10th 
Corps should have arrived behind his line. 

At 4 A.M* Manteuffel gave the order to attack^ — ^the 



222 THE WAR FOB THE BHINE FRONTIER. 

immediate objective being the reconquest of the vil- 
lages occupied by the French during the night, espe- 
cially that of Noisseville. Advancing against this 
latter place, Memert/s division came first into action^ 
but it could not make any progress, and was obliged 
to be contented with repulsing a forward movement 
of the adversary beyond the village. 

When, then, General Manstein arrived at St Barbe, 
he and General Manteu£fel agreed that the 49 th 
brigade of infantry and the 25th brigade of cavalry 
(Hessian), as weU as the reserve artillery of the 9th 
Corps, should at once march to St Barbe ; while the 
50th brigade, which stood in the Bois de Failly, 
should also move to the same place as soon as it 
should be relieved by the arrival of the 18th divi- 
sion (Wrangel) in rear of Kummer s line. This move- 
ment was carried out ; and at 8 A.M. the 49th brigade 
with five batteries came up to St Barbe, followed soon 
afterwards by the 25th brigade of cavalry with its 
battery of horse-artillery, and at 9.30 A.M. by the 
reserve artillery of the 9th Corps. 

At 6 A.M. the 1 8th division appeared upon the left 
wing of Kummer's position. The leading brigade, 
the 36th (Below), was at once sent to the Bois de 
Failly, and relieved the 50 th brigade there, where- 
upon this latter was collected and despatched to St 
Barbe, where, however, it only arrived at 11 a.m. The 
other brigade of the 18th division, the 36th (Blumen- 
thal), was placed in reserve to the north of Charly. 



BATTLE OF NOISSEVILLE, AUG. 31 AND SEPT. 1. 223 

We must alBO remark here, that the 6th regiment 
of dragoons^ which had arrived with Manstein, and 
afterwards the 25th brigade of cavaby, were sent in 
the course of the morning to Betonfay to support, in 
concert with the 1st regiment of dragoons, Memert/s 
brigade. 

As soon as Manteuffel received information that 
his orders were being carried out, and that the 49th 
brigade was marching upon St Barbe, he directed the 
2d brigade of infantry (Falkenstein) of Bentheim's 
division to attack Noisseville. The 43d regiment, 
which was leading, penetrated into the village at 
about eight o'clock, but was soon driven out again, 
losing many men by the French mitraiUeuse fire. 
The attack was supported by the 3d regiment, and 
afterwards by Posen's brigade of Schuler von Sen-^ 
den's landwehr division. Thrice the Prussians par- 
tially forced their way into Noisseville, and thrice 
they were again driven out. 

Manteuffel now saw that the attack had not been 
sufficiently prepared for by artillery fire. He therer 
fore at once brought nine batteries into action on the 
line from Poix to Chateau le Gras; among them, 
on the left wing, were five Hessian, before St Barbe 
and near Gras. 

While these guns played upon Noisseville, the 28th 
brigade of infantry was set in motion against Flan- 
ville. It had marched at 6 A.M. from Laquenezy 
upon Puche, had posted two batteries there, and had 



224 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

cannonaded Manville with thenL At 9 a.m. the French 
began to evacuate the latter village ; the 53d regi- 
ment advanced to the attack, and drove them out 
completely ; the brigade then turned against Coincy, 
drove the French thence, and took up a position 
diagonally across the Saarbriick road. At 9.30 a^. 
it received the order to march to its right, to support 
Memerty ; but as it was about to comply with these 
directions, it was itself again attacked from Montoy, 
was obliged to form front, and had to confine its 
endeavours to repelling the new assault 

Soon after 10 a.m. Noisseville was on fire in several 
places ; the French began to evacuate it; and at half- 
past ten the Prussian infantry, penetrating into it^ 
found but little opposition — the village was aban- 
doned to them. 

But to compensate for this, the French had now 
begun to develop greater forces against the right 
wing of the Germans. 

Shortly after the 36th brigade (Below) had relieved 
the Hessians at the Bois de Failly, the French pushed 
forward through Failly, Vany, and ChieuUes. Gene- 
ral Wrangel opposed them at the Bois de Failly with 
his artniery, brought forward a regiment of BeloVs 
brigade against the right flank of his adversary, and 
caused the 35th brigade (Blumenthal), which stood in 
reserve, to make a movement upon Rupigny. At this 
last place, and at Failly, violent local encounters en- 
sued ; and finally, towards ten o'clock, these points 



BATTLE OF KOISSEVILLE, AUG. 31 AND SEPT. 1. 225 

remained in the hands of the Germans. The French 
withdrew at first upon Vany-ChieuUes, then, threat- 
ened simultaneously by Blumenthal's brigade and by 
the line brigade of Blankensee, which General Kum- 
mer had directed to advance from Charly, they con- 
tinued their retreat upon Grimont. 

Now, for the first time, the reserves posted by Fort 
St Julien advanced to the attack, manifestly only to 
receive the retiring left wing. Their onslaught was 
feeble, and was repulsed at Poix by the German ar- 
tiller,, while at sivi^y an i^4 combat enaued. 
Afterwards, between eleven and twelve o'clock, when 
the Prussians on this side were pursuing the retreat- 
ing French line, a heavy fire was opened firom Fort 
St Julien, and was kept up until 1 p.m., when it sub- 
sided, as the Prussians did not continue their pursuit 
into its sphere. 

Quite unconnected with the fighting on the right 
and centre of the Germans was an attack which the 
French made with a detachment on their right wing 
upon Mercy le Haut. The village was taken by 
them in the forenoon, reconquered by the Prussians 
at 11 A.M., but had to be again yielded to the French 
at noon, and was only given up again by them when 
they were ordered to withdraw from it in consequence 
of the retreat of the centre and left. 

As, on the 31st of August, the fighting had ceased 
at noon, and had yet been renewed during the later 
hours of the day, the German leaders did not know 

VOL, II. p 



^ 



226 THE WAR FOB THE BHINE FBOKTIEB. 

whether the same game might not be again played on 
the afternoon of the 1st of September. 

The 3d division of cavahy had been abeady, on the 
morning of the Ist^ sent back to Poiiilly and towards 
the right bank of the Moselle, because the formation 
of the ground, and the position of the battle-field 
upon the roads to Saarbrttck and Saarlouis, did not 
promise a field for its successful action. On the other 
hand, at 1 p.m. Prince Frederic Charles sent orders to 
General Zastrow to march with his whole Corps upon 
Mercy le Haut to the support of Manteuffel. His 
posts on the right bank of the river were to be occu- 
pied by three brigades of the 8th Corps, Goeben, one 
brigade only of the same Corps being left on the leffc 
bank, between Chatel St Germain and Jusqr. The 
posts which Goeben quitted between Chatel St Grer- 
main and Saulny were to be occupied by General 
Alvensleben with the 6th division of infantry, while 
Fransecky was to send a division of the 2d Coips in 
the course of the afternoon to Amanvilliers to form a 
reserve for the position. 

At 2.30 P.M. the staff of Prince Frederic Charles 
observed, from the left bank, before it was possible to 
discover it on the right bank, that the French had 
given up the battle for the day, as they had already 
commenced to withdraw troops from the right to the 
left bank of the Moselle. Accordingly, at 2.45 P.M., 
General Voigts-Rhetz was directed to remain on the 
right bank, with such troops of tiie 10th Corps as he 



J 



BATTLE OF NOISSEVILLB, AUG. 31 AND SEPT. 1. 22*7 

had there^ until 5 p.m., and then, if the fighting was 
not seriously renewed, to return to the left bank. At 
the same time General Alvensleben was commanded 
to withdraw the reserve artillery of his Corps at 4,30 
P.M. from M^zieres to Marange and St Ail. 

When, in the first hours of the afternoon, every- 
thing was quiet, Manteuffel had first retired Mem- 
erty's brigade, which for two days had had no leisure 
to cook, from the line, and replaced it by a Hessian 
brigade ; the 28th brigade, Woyna^ of the 7th Corps 
was relieved in the afternoon of the lat of September 
by the head of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg- 
Schwerin's Corps — ^5 battalions of Selchow's landwehr 
division— wHch, coming up from Germany, reached 
Gras le Chateau at noon. 

The French did not undertake anything more on 
the 1st of September, and remained quiet also during 
the 2d* On the latter day the Hessian division 
marched to the left bank of the Moselle to Pierre- 
villers, and the division of the 2d Corps, which had 
been called up to Amanvilliers, to Aubou^. Bazaine 
also, after the failure of his attempt, sent the 4th, 6th, 
and Guard Corps again to the left bank, and the 
French commenced to intrench themselves in their 
more advanced positions. 

The loss of the Prussians (1st Corps, Rummer's divi- 
sion, WrangeFs division, and Woyna's brigade) amount- 
ed to 123 officers and 2870 men in killed, wounded, 
and missing. Of the French losses nothing is known. 



228 



CHAPTER XXVIIL 

THE ENCOUNTEBS AT WOIPPY ON THE 2D AND 7TH OF OCTOBER. 

After the 1st of September a long and almost perfect 
quietness reigned around Metz. 

On the 1st, Sd, and 7th of September, Bazaine sent 
Uke-worded despatches to Napoleon III., informing 
him of the unsuccessful issue of the events of the Ist, 
of his desperate condition by reason of want of sup- 
plies, and promising to continue his efforts to break 
out. Naturally he received no answer ; and, mean- 
while, the restdt of the day of Sedan, and the events 
of the 4th of September, became known both to the 
investing army and to the invested. Bazaine could 
now no longer hope to be relieved, at all events for the 
present ; and every attempt to break through, what- 
ever direction might be chosen, must be frustrated. 
He now calculated upon a speedy peace, and, during 
the first days of September, upon one which might be 
concluded by the Imperial Regency. Even when he 
received intelligence of the declaration of the Be- 
public, he did not abandon his hope. Whether the 
Provisional Gtovemment concluded the peace, or whe- 



J 



METZ IN SEPTEMBER. 229 

ther, 83 was very probable, it was soon overthrown, 
and either some old or new power succeeded in ob- 
taining peace, was very indifferent to him. Under 
any circumstances he woidd have a brilliant part to 
play if he succeeded in preserving Metz and his 
troops until peace was arranged. His army was now 
the only real army of France. With it he could, 
according to circumstances, either restore order for 
the Regency, or, if France would not hear anything 
more of this latter, step himself to the head of affairs, 
supported by an easily -bought press, which would 
applaud to the skies his mlHtary genius and his 
French feeling. 

The better the condition of the army of Metz when 
peace should be concluded, and the less it had' suf- 
fered, so much the greater weight would it place 
in the balance. The former " Chief of the Govern- 
ment'' had himself confided to Bazaine, before 
taking the last step to the fatal abyss, the fate of 
the main part of the French army, and, as he ex- 
pressed it, of France herself. The inactivity of the 
Marshal during the first weeks of September is there- 
fore perfectly explicable, without having recourse to 
any elaborate expositions, or without waiting for 
enHghtenment from a side which, later on, will have 
no interest in stating the truth. Bazaine, without 
expressly declaring his position with regard to the 
Republic and the Provisional Government, avoided 
entering into any connection with them, or arousing 



230 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

any prejudice against himself, and prevented his sol- 
diers being engaged in any way with the subject 

On taking stock of the provisions in Metz and in 
the adjacent territory commanded by the French army, 
it was found that there was sufficient stored up for 
about four weeks more ; and by making use of horse^ 
flesh, limiting the rations, and foraging by small 
sorties, the supplies might be made to suffice for twice 
as long. 

Eight weeks! In calculations such as must be 
made in this case that was an eternity. The theory 
of short wars, decided by a few powell blows, whi A 
in reality was based solely upon the modem wars of 
Austria, had taken firm root in Europe, especially in 
military circles ; so much so, that if a man asserted 
that this theory was only true so long as a people did 
not exist upon both sides, or at least upon one side, 
he might be well content if he escaped with the 
appellation of a decided blockhead. 

The real war of 1866 had only lasted four weeks ; 
that of 1870 had already, on the 1st of September, 
continued for that length of time ; and now another 
eight weeks 1 was not that truly an eternity 1 And 
if the idea of obtaining Alsace and Lorraine had not 
sprung up in the German headquarters, would not 
Bazaine have probably been right, — ^would not, at all 
events, a preliminary peace have been concluded by 
the end of September ? 

On the (German side it was presumed, after the 



MfiTZ IN SEFTEMBEB. 231 

catastrophe of Sedan, that Bazaine would still endea- 
vour to break through, and now in the direction of 
Strasburg. Everything may certainly be attempted, 
but it is not easy to see what Bazaine would gain in 
Strasburg, or how he could accomplish the hundred 
miles thither with any considerable portion of his 
troops, when pursued by the Germans. And if he 
succeeded in reaching and relieving Strasburg, what 
could he undertake next ? To remain stationary and 
to manoeuvre was still less practicable at Strasburg, 
which has no detached forts, than at Metz. But 
be that as it may, the Grermans now observed with 
special attention the direction from Metz to Stras- 
burg ; and on the 9th of September Prince Frederic 
Charles removed his headquarters to Corny, on the 
right bank of the Moselle above Metz. At the same 
time, General Steinmetz prayed the King of Prussia 
to relieve him, " for the benefit of his health,'' from 
the command of the First Army. It is said that 
Steinmetz had latterly become discontented with his 
position as commander of an independent army, which 
yet was not one, and could not agree either with the 
Prince his superior, or with General Manteuffel his 
subordinate. The King complied with the wish of 
the old general by nominating him, on the 12th of 
September, Governor-General of Posen for the dis- 
tricts of the 5th and 6th Army Corps. Steinmetz 
took leave of his troops in an order of the day, dated 
Jouy aux Arches, the 15th of September. His post 



232 THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

was not for the present filled up, but the First Army 
was preserved intact as an independent body, with a 
view to future operations. 

The Germans utilised the repose which Bazaine 
gave them to draw their investing line closer in, and 
to strengthen it by intrenchments ; and thus the 
communication of the French in Metz with the outer 
world became extremely limited. A few messengers 
whom Bazaine sent forth managed to slip through 
the Prussian lines, but were unable to return into the 
fortress ; perhaps they did not make any great efforts 
to succeed. After the middle of September, the 
French again, in and about Metz, made use of balloons 
to forward letters. We shall see later on how this 
medium of communication was made use of on the 
largest scale by the Parisians. The balloons sent up 
from Metz were unoccupied ones, without cars, carry- 
ing only a small basket, in which were the packets of 
letters. It was calculated that the greater number at 
least would fall outside the districts occupied by the 
German troops ; and the honest finder was entreated 
to deliver the letters to the nearest post-oflSce that 
they might be forwarded to their destinations. Un- 
fortunately, letters could not be brought into Metz by 
the same means. 

After the 22d of September, Bazaine again com- 
menced a series of sorties, at first against the positions 
of the 1st and 7th Corps on the right bank of the 
Moselle. These sallies were made with small bodies 



SMALL SORTIES IN SEPTEMBER, 233 

of troops, purely for foraging purposes, and to destroy 
the German supplies where they could not be taken 
away. Ba^ JL ca«d theLlway, leadiBg fc,« 
Metz to be repaired as far as he commanded them, 
and he now made use of them to push forward the 
troops which were to carry out the surprises. The 
trains had then to bring back into Metz the supplies 
seized in the enterprise. 

On the 22d and 23d of September, the French 
undertook such sorties upon Peltre; on the 27th, 
upon Mercy le Haut ; and on the same day, along the 
leffc bank of the Moselle, against the troops of the 10th 
North German Corps at La Maze, which, on this 
occasion, was burnt down. 

On the 28th of September Strasburg fell. Bazaine 
was at once informed of the fact by Prince Frederic 
Charles. In the German headquarters it was now 
assumed that Bazaine, if indeed he still purposed to 
undertake anything at all, could only attempt. to break 
through in the direction. of Thionville. In reality, 
Bazaine could no longer hope, under any circum- 
stances, to be relieved for a very long time. If he 
could not defeat the Prussians before Metz, all larger 
military undertakings were only so much lost trouble 
to him. At Thionville he would find even fewer re- 
sources of all kinds than in Metz ; if he took that 
direction it could only be with the idea of gaining 
the neutral territory of Luxemburg by Thionville and 
Frisange, which is barely 28 miles from Metz. 



234 THE WA& FOB THE BHIKE FRONTIEB. 

On the 1st of October Prince Frederic Charles 
moved over Kummer's division from the right to the 
left bank of the Moselle, and the 10th Corps from the 
leffc to the right. 

Kummer's division took up ite main positiou along 
the front F^ves-Sem^conrt-Amelange. Two land- 
wehr battalions were pushed forward to the line of 
the woods at BeUevue, St Remy, and the two farms 
of Les Tapes ; in their front they occupied St Agathe 
and Ladonchamps with weak field-posts, and in their 
rear again towards Sem^court and Agathe stood two 
more battalions of landwehr as their nearest support 

On the right the outpost line of the 3d Army 
Corps joined that of Kummer's division at Yillers les 
Plenois ; while on the right, between the 1st and 2d 
of October, two companies of the 10th battalion of 
Rifles from the 10th Corps still remained widi the 
outposts of Kummer's division, not having as yet 
been drawn across to the right bank. 

At midnight between the 1st and 2d of October, 
detachments of the French Guard advanced to attack 
the position held by Kummer's division. The field- 
watch at Ladonchamps was thrown back upon St 
Remy; that of St Agathe, which was thus left 
isolated, withdrew of its own accord. The French 
next proceeded to the attack of St Remy, which was 
occupied by a company of the 3d Posen landwehr 
regiment (No, 68); to reinforce it two other com- 
panies of the same regiment were pushed forward. 



80KTIE ON THE 2D OF OCTOBER. 235 

These three companies offered some resistance; and 
the French not being able to find their way properly, 
owing to the darkness of the night, gave up the attack 
for the time being. 

On the Prussian side four companies were now sent 
to St Bemy, and one battalion (Freistadt's) of the 
1st Lower Silesian landwehr regiment, No. 46, to 
Bellevue. 

At 5 A.M. the French infantry renewed their at- 
tack, supported closely by a mitrailleuse battery, and 
at a greater distance by other batteries which took 
post at St Eloy. The position of the Prussians, who 
were graduaUy remforeed, was in the beginning only 
supported by a battery to the north of Sem^ourt ; but 
soon after nine o'clock this was joined by two others, — 
the one on the right, to the south of Sem^court — ^the 
other on the left, at Les Tapes. This last one was, 
however, very soon compelled to retreat, by the fire 
of the French batteries at St Bloy. 

Meanwhile the infantry combat had been carried 
on with varying success, but, on the whole, its course 
was in favour of the Prussians. The landwehr bat- 
talion which held possession of Bellevue, retook St 
Agathe from the enemy ; and the well-aimed fire of 
a company of the 10th battalion of Bifles also wrought 
much damage among theuL 

At 1 1 A.M. the French still maintained themselves 
in Ladonchamps and St Agathe, which they had again 
occupied. With this success they contented them- 



236 THE WAR FOB THE BHINE FBONTIEH« 

selves for the 2d of October. The infantry ceased to 
fight, and the artilleiy alone continued to fire until 
dusk fironi St EI07, and set St Remj and Frando- 
champs in flames. 

The losses on both sides were inconsiderable. The 
Prussians give theirs at 115, including 5 officers. 

On the 3d of October the Germans set fire to the 
village of St Suffine, to destroy the enemy^s supplies 
collected there, and the French fired from Fort St 
Quentin upon the Prussian depots at Ars la Moselle 
at a range of nearly 8000 paces. 

On the 7th of October the French undertook an- 
other attack upon the positions of Kummer's division 
at Bellevue, St Remy, and Les Tapes. The onslaught 
commenced at 1.30 P.M., and at three o'clock the 
Prussian landwehr were obliged to yield the above- 
named points after a stubborn resistance. 

Meanwhile General Kummer had developed his 
reserves and his artillery. Voigts-Ehetz, too, posted 
batteries of Kraatz-Koschlau's division and of the re- 
serve artillery of the 10th Corps on the right bank of 
the Moselle at Argancy, Olgy, and Malroy, and sent 
the 38th brigade of infantry (Wedell) of his Corps on 
to the left bank of the river, to support Kummer at 
the farmhouse of Amelange; while, on Kummer's 
right, Alvensleben concentrated the 9th brigade of 
infantry (now Conta's) and two batteries of the 3d 
Army Corps at Norroy le Veneur. 

As soon as Kummer knew that he was supported, 



SORTIE ON THE 7TH OP OCTOBEE. 23*7 

he at once took measures to regain the lost positions. 
In the first line he deployed Schuler von Senden's 
landwehr division and two battalions of his line 
brigade (Blankensee). In the second line he placed 
two battalions of Wedell's brigade of the 10th Corps 
in support on the right, and the remainder of Wedell's 
and filankensee's brigades on the left 

And whilst he advanced with these troops against 
the front Bellevue-St Remy-Les Tapes - Franclo- 
champs, he attacked simultaneously, at 4.30 p.m., 
the woods of Bellevue and Woippy with Conta's 
brigade 

In consequence of these combined manoeuvres, the 
line Bellevue-Franclochamps was at 6 p.m. again in 
the hands of the Germans, who now repulsed seve- 
ral attacks made upon it by the French. On the other 
hand, an attempt which the Germans made soon after 
seven o'clock to gain the Chateau of Ladonchamps was 
unsuccessful, for the French had strongly fortified it 
since they had obtained possession of it on the 2d of 
October. 

Simultaneously with their advance on the left of 
the Moselle, the French had also developed troops on 
the right bank. Against Charly they had moved for- 
ward artillery, which was successfully answered by 
batteries of the 10th Corps. Detachments of French 
which showed themselves at Villers TOrme, caused 
General Manteuffel to alarm the 1st Corps. Nothing 
more ensued there than an artillery and musketry com- 



238 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

bat, and even this died out at half-past six o'clock, 
after 10 batteries had come up on to the line of the 
1st Corps from Failly to Montoy, and had been 
shortly afterwards further reinforced by 4 batteries 
from the 7th Corps. 

The losses were by no means inconsiderable. That 
of the Germans on the 7th amounted altogether to 
1730, among whom were 65 officers. 



239 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE CAfrrULATIOK 07 BAZiOME. 

The sortde of the 7th of October was the last militaiy 
eflFort of the amy imprisoned in Metz ; and the con- 
dition of the troops, and also that of the town gener- 
ally, certainly bectune most deplorable and hopeless 
after that day. The total loss of the army of Metz 
«ncetheu/ofA^amountedatthi.tim.,««rf. 
ing to Bazaine's account, to 25 generak, 2099 officers 
of all ranks, and 40,339 non-commissioned officers and 
men. The most diffictdt point now was that of sup* 
plies ; for the sorties for foraging purposes, the one of 
the 7th October also included, for which numerous 
trains of waggons had been prepared, had resulted in 
very little profit It was calculated that if every means 
of supply were used — ^if the daUy allowance to each 
soldier was reduced to 300 grammes^ — ^if the in- 
habitants of the town were also put on fixed rations 
— if the reserve two days' allowance of biscuit, which 
the soldiers carried in their knapsacks, was also reck- 
oned in — and if only one sort of bread was baked, with 

* 300 grammes is equal to about lOi oz. 



240 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

as much bian mixed with it as was in any way ad- 
mis8ible,-then, with all these precautions, it was esti- 
mated that the bread might last until about the 20th 
of October. 

Dry forage had long ago failed, and the horses were 
driven out to keep themselves alive by grazing in the 
meadows on the territory which the French still com- 
manded, the extent of which> at the utmost, was about 
20 square miles. Naturally they became lean, and it 
was the interest of the army to lessen their number. 
They were therefore freely slaughtered; and there 
was so little lack of horse-fleshy both for the garrison 
and for the inhabitants of the town> that the rations of 
meat could be increased without hesitation, although, 
after the end of September, horses ran over in large 
numbers from their pasturage to the Prussian camp. 
But if meat was plentiful, there was by this time an 
utter want of salt and fresh vegetables, and the de- 
privation of these necessaries was very keenly felt 

On the 8th of October there were about 19,000 
sick in the hospitals and partly also in private houses, 
for the infirmaries could not contain alL Necessaries 
for them — ^bedding, drugs, and doctors — began already 
to fail. The smaUpox, which had been raging in France 
since the autumn of 1869, had also broken out in 
Metz; and in addition to this, typhus fever, diarrhoea, 
and dysentery, now appeared, being brought on by 
the poorness of the nourishment ; and these diseases 
threatened to spread more and more as their preven- 



CAPITULATION OP BAZAINE. 241 

tion and the proper treatment of those attacked be- 
came ever more difficult. 

Great losses of horses were to be also expected in 
the next following days ; and those which escaped 
the shambles or a natural death, at least lost their 
strength. By this a great portion of the really good 
artillery and cavalry which had been origuiaUy shut 
up within the works of Metz was rendered ineffective. 
The number of men, also, who could be counted cap- 
able of bearing arms, became ever smaller, through 
bad food and despondency; so that it may be estimated 
that the total strength of the army which was dis- 
posable for any enterprise without the walls — ^there- 
L. al». for bLki^thrcgh the 0«m«. lin,^ 
would be, at the most, 70,000 men. 

StUl, many may reproach Marshal Bazaine for not 
having used the time before the 8th of October for an 
earnest, desperate endeavour to escape ; and such a 
reproach would be just in speaking of the first weeks 
which elapsed after the 18th of August Defenders 
of the Marshal have asserted that his sortie on the 
31st of August and the 1st of September was under- 
taken with a view to escaping to Thionville ; and to 
strengthen this statement they pretend that his ignor- 
ance of events outside was much greater than it really 
was. But, at all events, if such was his design on the 
31st of August, his actual proceedings woidd prove 
a want of capacity to lead, both in himself and his 
advisers, which we should hesitate to believe to exist 

VOL. II. Q 



242 THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

even in the most subordinate of educated officer& 
But we have related the events of the day in detail, 
and every one can judge for himself. 

But, be that as it may, after the 8th of October the 
army of Marshal Bazaine was indubitably not in a 
state to undertake a serious attempt to break out ; it 
lacked physical force, and there was also a want of 
halting-places outside Metz which could be easily 
reached. It might stiU make sorties, to aUow itself 
to be slain and to sell its life dearly, but for no other 
object : if that was not desired, nothing remained but 
to consider by what means it might obtain the most 
favourable terms of capitulation. 

On the 8th of October the commanders of the 
Army Corps assembled their divisional generak by 
order of Bazaine, explained to them the situation, 
and pointed out the necessity of seeking a capita- 
lation. The minds of most certainly revolted at ihe 
idea, but they were at the same time compelled to 
admit that nothing else remained ; and they now be- 
came possessed with the hope that the army would 
receive in the capitulation liberty to depart with arms 
and baggage to the south of France, only imder 
the obligation not to serve again against Grermany 
during the remainder of the campaign; and they 
trusted that the fate of the army could be separated 
from that of the fortress and of its garrison, to the 
advantage of the latter. If these conditions were not 
acceded to by the leaders of the Germans, it was 



CAPITULATION OP BAZAINE. 243 

assumed by most of the divisional generals, and also 
by the mass of the officers subordinate to them, that 
a desperate eflfort must yet be made to cut a way, 
sword in hand, through the investing forces. 

In a moment such as had now arrived for the army 
of Bazaine, it cannot be expected that every one 
should reason Idgically ; but the calm observer must 
instinctively ask himself what was really meant by 
the separation of the fate of the army from that of 
the fortress and its garrison. Even if negotiations 
were at once set on foot with the German chief com- 
mand, and even if they ended well, yet some days 
must at all events pass away before they could be 
concluded, and more days again would elapse before 
the departure of Bazaine's troops ; so that, in the hap- 
piest course of events, some day about the 16th of 
October would have arrived. But we have seen that 
the provisions would only hold out to the 20th of 
that same month, so that the garrison of Metz cer- 
tainly would only be able to make the supplies left 
with them last some five to eight days more, especially 
as they must necessarily retain the sick. Was such 
a gain worth much parley ? 

After the divisional generals had been thus pre- 
pared beforehand by the commanders of the Corps, 
Bazaine, on the 10th of October, assembled a great 
council of war. This was composed of the Corps com- 
manders — ^General Desvaux (Guard), General Fros- 
sord (2d Corps), Marshal Leboeuf (3d Corps), General 



244 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

Ladmirault (4th Corps), Marshal Canrobert (6th 
Corps) ; and, in addition, SoleiUe, General of artillery, 
the General of engineers, and commandant of the 
fortress of Metz; Coffini^res de Nordeck, and the 
Intendant-general of the army, Lebrun. 

General Desvaux, who at the beginning of the war 
commanded the cavalry division of the Guard, was at 
this time chief of the Guard in place of General Bour- 
baki, who, acting with the agreement of Bazaine, had 
shortly before secretly left the fortress, to endeavour 
to originate some new poUtical combinations which 
might give fresh hope to the army of Metz. 

The divisional generals were not included in this 
council, neither had' thev been summoned to any 
former ones, nor we« 4^ to »ay fotore onee; si 
tiu. eonrideri.^ the diffi^tie, rf ti.e position in 
which the army and fortress stood, was certainly a 
mistake. Discontent with the behaviour of Bazaine 
had already manifested itself here and there among 
the officers of the army, and the feeling threatened to 
spread. Many of them had no great confidence under 
the present changed circumstances, either in Bazaine, 
or in the Marshals, or in the Corps commanders, who 
all stood in too close connection with the Empire. 
The pursuit of their own personal interests was 
attributed to them, and to this was ascribed the 
inactivity of their behaviour since the 19th of August 
If, then, Bazaine had collected the divisional generals 
aroimd him — ^had listened to their opinions^ and com- 



CAPITULATION OF BAZAINE. 245 

municated to them his own — ^ho would so have best 
combated the evil spirit, and woidd either have gained 
courage for, and a justification o^ a last desperate 
efibrt, to the reckless execution of which the divi- 
sional generals would stand collectively pledged, or 
he would have obliged them to acknowledge their 
conviction that such an attempt would be useless and 
impossible. 

After the miUtary situation had been explained to 
the council of war which actually met, three ^estions 
were proposed — ^namely: 1. Shall the army remain in 
Metz until all the supplies are consumed ? This was 
answered with " Yes ;" and thereby much was said of 
the good service which the army of Bazaine was ren- 

before it the army of Prince Frederic Charles, and 
gave time to the country to undertake new military 
organisations in the interior. 2. Shall sorties be 
made into the environs to procure provisions 1 This 
question was answered with a negative, it being con- 
sidered as very improbable that the success of such 
enterprises would be in any way commensurate with 
the certain loss which they would involve. 3. Shall 
negotiations be entered into with the enemy, with a 
view to obtaining such a military convention as could 
be accepted ? The reply to this was in the aflfirmative. 
It was also urged that the necessary steps should be 
taken within the next forty -eight hours, and not 
postponed to the hour of the utmost need; and it 



246 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

was further resolved, that if honourable conditions 
such as might be accepted could not be obtained, the 
attempt must yet be made to seek a retreat sword in 
hand. 

Very much in these proceedings is remarkable, but 
it is chiefly noticeable that the word " capitulation'' 
was not employed, but in its place the term " military 
convention" was introduced, from which it is suffi- 
ciently manifest that an especial part was claimed for 
the army of Metz. It is further apparent that, with 
the acknowledged state of the means of subsistence, 
the commencement of negotiations had been already 
too long delayed, if it were reaUy seriously intended 
to force a passage by hard fighting. No man in the 
French camp could imagine that within a few hours 
the extraordinary conditions which were claimed 
could be obtained from the Germans after their 
previous successes — conditions such as have scarcely 
ever been conceded to an army in the position of 
Bazaine's. 

With the consent of Prince Frederic Charles, Ba- 
zaine now sent his first adjutant. General Napoleon 
Boyer, to the great headquarters of the German 
armies in Versailles, so that he might obtain infor- 
mation of the true situation of France, and ascertain 
what concessions the German leaders might be dis- 
posed to make in the interest of the army of Metz 
and of a general peace. 

From this last it is apparent that the mission of 



CAPITULATION OP BA2AINE. 247 

General Boyer was by no means purely military, but 
that, on the contrary, it was eminently political. This 
must be remarked here, as the defenders of Bazaine 
have repeatedly asserted the contrary. 

After Boyer had set out on his journey. General 
CofiQniferes announced to the town of Metz, on the 
13th of October, that thenceforward only one sort of 
bread — ^with bran — would be baked ; that every adult 
inhabitant would receive daily 400 grammes* of this 
bread — every child between four and twelve years of 
age, 200 — and every child under four, 100 grammes — 
and that at the price of 45 centimes the kilogramme.! 
This announcement, in connection with the uncertain 
and mysterious intelligence of the mission of Boyer, 
excited great consternation among the inhabitants of 
Metz. The citizens did not complain of the privation 
which they were to submit to, but they murmured 
much about the obscurity which shrouded every 
proceeding, and about the state of dependence upon 
mysterious powers into which they had been gradu- 
ally brought ; and they began to be filled with an 
uneasy fear lest they should be treacherously betrayed 
in the night to Prussia at the caprice of some few 
individuala 

The municipal council of the town gave expression 
to these feelings in an address to General Coflmi^res. 
The latter answered it in a manner which said abso- 

* 400 grammes is equal to about 14 oz. 
t About twopence a pound. 



248 THE WAB FOE THE HHINE FRONTIER. 

lutely nothing. He counselled the people of Metz to 
abstain before all from meddling in politics, ** as pol- 
itics exercise a very disturbing influence.'* Still he 
advised them to unite in the cry, " Vive la France I" 
which was certainly a political expression ; for when 
the men of Metz shouted ** Vive la France ! " they 
thereby acknowledged their adherence to the policy 
of national resistance to the Germans. They there- 
fore only foUowed different politics to what they 
would have done had they cried aloud, **Vive Na- 
poleon III. 1 " or even " Vive le Roi de Prusse ! " But 
there are unfortunately a great mass of men who 
understand by " politics " solely all that is disagreeable 
to them, and designate by the name any expression of 
feeling which is unpleasant to them. 

Boyer arrived at Versailles, and began to negotiate 
there with Bismark and Moltke. He naturally first ex- 
pressed a wish that the army of Bazaine — ^no mention 
was to be made of the fortress of Metz or of its garrison 
— should be allowed to depart unhindered, with arms 
and baggage, to the south of France, under the condi- 
tion that it should not again serve against Germany 
during the war. Hereupon he was answered by the 
question. Who was to guarantee such a treaty ? Mar- 
shal Bazaine was simply a general. Which Govern- 
ment did he obey? Since the Emperor Napoleon 
had surrendered himself a prisoner, the only Govern- 
ment of France which Germany could recognise was 
the Regency of the Empress Eugenie. The Allied 



CAPITULATION OF BAZAINK 249 

Governments of Germany could not possibly treat 
with the "Government of National Defence'' — at 
all events, not nntil a Constituting Assembly had been 
convened. But they could deal with the Ilmpress 
Eugenie, and if she accepted the conditions proposed 
to her, they could also consent to the free departure 
of the army of Metz, under the further conditions 
that it — ^the army — should proclaim the Regency, and 
as an " Army of Order," with Bazaine as " Monk " at 
the head of the Government, make an end of the 
" Reds," 

Boyer was just as little adverse to this conception 
of the state of affairs as Bazaine was, as facts will soon 
show. It may indeed be asserted with great positive- 
ness, without having been present at the most confi- 
dential interviews, that he entertained this view of 
matters much more seriously than the leaders of Ger- 
man politics did themselves. For was it really to be 
supposed that Bismark reposed an imconditional con- 
fidence in the authority of Bazaine over his troops 
when once these were free and without the precincts 
of Metz, or that he regarded as su£Scient surety the 
declarations of the Empress Eugenie ? Certainly not. 
He must necessarily say to himself that the army of 
Bazaine, once free, would renounce its obedience to its 
leader, even if he himself wished to keep his word, 
and would place itself, with bag and baggage, at the 
disposal of the Provisional Government. 

General Boyer returned from his journey to Ver- 



250 THE WAR FOE THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

sallies on the night from the 17th to the 18th of 
October, and announced the failure of his mission to 
the council of war, which was composed as on the 
former occasion. The generals assembled now deter- 
mined, with seven voices against two, that General 
Boyer should return to Versailles, and repair thence 
to Chiselhurst to the Empress Eugenie, in order that 
by her intervention favourable terms might yet be 
obtained for the army of Metz ; and it was afterwards 
unanimously resolved that Bazaine could not sign any 
treaty which did not refer solely to the army, as this 
last must be kept free from any connection with polit- 
ical questions. 

It is very apparent that these two resolutions were 
directly contradictory ; either the latter was not seri- 
oudy meant, bat was only designed to pacify the 
masses, should it become necessary to make them 
acquainted with the determinations of the council, or 
else an alarming confusion prevailed in the ideas of 
its membera That the majority certainly had not 
absolutely clear consciences may, however, be deduced 
from the involved and obscure manner in which the 
Corps commanders made known these decisions to 
their divisional generals. 

Boyer then journeyed a second time to Versailles^ 
and thence proceeded to Chiselhurst. The Empress 
Eugenie, after much wavering and hesitation, declared 
finally that she would not engage herself to anything. 
She mislrusted Bazaine ; she would not give herself 



CAPITULATION OP BAZAIKE. 251 

blindly into his power in a way which would allow 
him in the end to do solely what was his interest and 
pleasure; and she would not compromise the future of 
her son, in which she stiU believed, by declaring her 
consent to a peace which would appear to the mass of 
the French to be shameful. 

On the 23d of October, King William was informed 
by General Boyer that his negotiations had led to no 
result ; and as, according to all the information that 
the German headquarters had received, the means of 
subsistence for the French army in and about Metz 
must now be reduced to the lowest ebb, Prince Fre- 
deric Charles was ordered to commimicate to Marshal 
Bazaine that the royal headquarters had given up all 
hope of arriving at any result by " political " nego- 
tiations. 

It is interesting to see how this expression " politi- 
cal negotiations" here appears in Bazaine's pamphlet 
of justification itself, while elsewhere it is through- 
out a88erted-in every possible turn and twist of 
language — that the mission of Boyer had no polit- 
ical end in view. 

During the time of Boyer^s journey to England, 
preparations were made in and about Metz as though 
the departoe of ihe army of Bazaine with axms and 
mcUSriel of war was assured ; and it was announced 
to the superior officers that the army would now have 
the task of proclaiming and supporting the Eegency 
in France. This intelligence was received by most of 



252 THE WAB FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

them with a silent, inward reservation to do what 
they thought fit when they were once outside the 
fortreaa and free again. 

On the 24th of October, Prince Frederic Charles 
executed the commission intrusted to him, and 
Bazaine forthwith summoned another council of 
war for the 25th. 

In Metz, and with the army of Bazaine, was old 
General Changamier, who, bom in 1793, and there- 
fore now 77 years old, had entered the army in 
1815, and had made a brilliant military career, espe- 
cially under Louis Philippe. At the outbreak of the 
February Revolution in 1848, Changamier was com- 
mandant of the military division of Algeria. When 
a junior general of division, Cavaignac, was nomin- 
ated govemor-general of the province, Changamier 
returned to France, and although one of the most 
declared opponents of repubUcan institutions, never- 
theless offered his services to the republic Lamar- 
tine desired to send him as ambassador to Berlin, 
but this he declined ; and shortly afterwards^ when 
Cavaignac was returned for the Constituting Assem- 
bly, Changamier was again sent to Algeria to supply 
his place there ; but, elected himself soon afterwards 
for the same Assembly, he was obliged to return 
SLStaia — and when Cavaifi[nac became the head of the 
SvLnent, received fom him the comM«,d of tt,e 
National Guard. This he retained when Prince 
Louis became President, and, in addition, was made 



CAPITULATION OF BAZAINE. 253 

chief of the Army of Paris ; but the latter command 
was taken away from Ixim again in the beginning of 
1851. No one really trusted General Changamier, 
who had always shown himself in the chaxacter of a 
miles glariosus and of a future Monk; and even 
those whom, as such, he might have served, had no 
confidence in him. After he was relieved firom the 
chief command of the Army of Paris, he stiU con- 
tinned to talk very loudly, but without, however, in 
any way giving proof of possessing either miUtaxy 
or political penetration. On the occasion of the 
coup d'Stat he was arrested, imprisoned at first in 
Mazas, and afterwards exiled from the coimtry. 
Thenceforward he resided at Malines, in Belgium, in 
the enjoyment, after 1859, of the revenues of his pro- 
perty in France. When, in 1870, the majority of the 
Princes of the House of Orleans tendered their ser- 
vices to the French Government, General Changar- 
nier also did the same. The ofier of the Princes was 
not accepted ; but Changamier was received at the 
headquarters of Napoleon III. at Met2s, and accom- 
panied them as ^piritus familiarisy without, however, 
the good results of his advice being anywhere per- 
ceptible. 

In the council of war of the 25th of October, it 
was now resolved that General Changamier should 
repair to the headquarters of Prince Frederic Charles 
to obtain a firee departure for the army of Bazaine 
to Algeria, or an armistice, with liberty to reprovision 



254 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the fortress. During this, the old Corps Legislatif 
(the majority of which consisted of the Mamelukes of 
the Empire) was to be reassembled to elect a new 
Government, which the army of Metz should then, 
as an "army of order," cause to be acknowledged 
throughout France. 

Of this mission of Changamier's the divisional 
generals were also informed by the Corps com- 
manders, and to them the whole affair seemed, as it 
necessarily must do, only laughable. General Bisson 
declared openly to Marshal Canrobert that Bazaine 
and the Corps commanders, let them say what they 
might, had no other thought than that of delivering 
themselves up as prisoners of war. They knew right 
well that they dared not show themselves again in 
France, and they only wished to rescue at least their 
" savings " by a compact with the enemy. 

Changamier went to Prince Frederic Charles. The 
latter had already received instructions — ^and besides, 
he knew fuU well that now, two weeks after the 10th 
of October, the army of Metz was no longer in a con- 
dition to propose terms ; and in truth, if there was, 
as was certainly the case, any talk now of a great 
attempt to sally out, such would, in the present state 
of affairs, be simply insane. An effort which could 
not be attempted eight weeks before with the army 
of Bazaine when it was still comparatively superb, 
certainly could not be made with the miserable re- 



CAPITULATION OF BAZAINE. 255 

mains to which hunger and suffering had reduced it. 
The Prince, therefore, demanded simply the surrender 
of the army and fortress, and Changamier was obliged 
to return with this answer. 

Later on, on the same evening, the 25th, another 
meeting took place in the chateau of Frescaty, to the 
south of Fort St Privat, between the Chief of the Staff 
of Prince Frederic Charles and General Cissey of Lad- 
mirault's Corps. In this conference, as in the others, 
the main subject of conversation was the separation of 
the fate of the field-army of Bazaine from that of the 
fortress. Bazaine had now sent a divisional general, 
in order that no one might find occasion to say that 
anything was kept secret from the army. As we 
have before remarked, this separation of the fate of 
the field-army from that of the fortress meant practi- 
cally nothing; and moreover, on the other hand, it 
was alleged on the German side that if the army of 
Bazaine had not been present before Metz, it would 
have been impossible to place the very incomplete 
new forts in a state of defence. 

On the evening of the 26th, the final negotiations 
took place between Generals Stiehle and Jarras in 
the chateau of Frescaty, when the only delay arose 
in discussing whether the officers should be released 
on parole or not. As it had come to pass that French 
officers who had given their word of honour not to 
serve again against Germany in this war had never- 



256 THE WAR FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

theless accepted commands in the French army, 
Prince Frederic Charles was unwilling again to con- 
cede the favour, and therefore telegraphed to the 
King of Prussia to learn his decision. The answer, 
however, was favourable to the French demand. 

On the 27th of October the terms were ratified by 
the commanders-in-chief on both sides, and the 
capitulation could finally be signed. The conditions 
were in principle the same as those granted and 
accepted at Sedan ; but special clauses provided for 
the protection of the inhabitants of Metz, and regu- 
lated the marching out of the troops. 

When, on the 27th, Bazaine and CofiSni^res com- 
municated to the army and to the town the conclusion 
of the capitulation, great excitement and scenes of 
disorder ensued, although such an ending must for a 
long time have been foreseen to be inevitable ; and 
Bazaine, the Corps commanders, and Coffini^res, were 
accused of treachery, and even threatened with vio- 
lence. By Bazaine's own wish, only the Guard was to 
march out with arms and colours; the other Corps 
were to give up their weapons in the town. The 
eagles were deposited in the armoury on the evening 
of the 28th, and it was given out that they were to 
be burnt there ; but in reality they were all, 53 in 
number, handed over to the Prussians. 

On the forenoon of the 29th, after a detachment 
of sappers had made diligent search for any mines 
which might perchance still exist, the Germans occu- 






CAPITULATION OP BAZAINB. 257 

pied the detached forts and the gates of the fortress. 
At noon the French troops began to march out : the 
6th Corps and Forton's division of cavahy along the 
road to Thionville on the left bank of the Moselle to 
Ladonchamps ; the 4th Corps between Forts Plappe- 
ville and St Quentin along the road to Amanvillers to 
the Prussian lines ; the Guard, the great reserve of 
artillery, the equipage train of the great headquarters, 
on the right bank of the Moselle along the highway 
to Nancy, as far as Toumebride, near Frescaty ; the 
2d Corps, with Laveaucoupct's division and Lepasset's 
brigade, along the road to Nomdny, through Magny 
sur Seille, as far as the farm of St Thidbault ; the 
3d Corps along the Saarbrtick road, as far as the farm 
of Bellecroix ; the Mobile Guard and all the other 
troops composing the garrison along the Strasburg 
highroad to Grigy. 

As the troops arrived in their bivouacks the oflBcers 
returned to the town, and the French soldiers jjj^ed 
under the command of German officers and non- 
commissioned officers. Provisions were ready on the 
spot, having been provided by the German com- 
manders. The sending off of the prisoners of war 
along the lines by Saarbrtick and Saarlouis was super- 
vised by General von Zastrow, whose Corps, the 7th, 
was to remain in the neighbourhood of Metz; and 
General von Kummer was appointed commandant of 
Metz, his division, at least so much of it as waa not 

VOL. n. B 



1 



258 THE WAR FOB THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

employed in escorting the prisoners of war, being 
annexed to the 7th Army Corps. 

The Germans give the number of the prisoners of 
war taken in Metz at 1 73,000 men, but this must be 
regarded as a very " round " number, even if in it 
were included the 20,000 sick in the hospitals, the 
Sedentary National Guard, the Mobile National 
Guard, all the local officials, and every one connected 
in even the most remote way with the army. It 
would in reality appear to have been taken solely 
from a writing which General Coffini&res addressed 
on the 15th of October to the Municipal Council of 
Metz to justify the capitulation which was impend- 
ing. In it he naturaUy gave the highest estimate 
possible of the number of people to be fed in and 
about Metz, and reckoned them at 230,000. If from 
this the ordinary civilian population of 57,000 souls be 
subtracted, there remained, certainly, exactly 1 73,000 
for the military forces. But it is very possible that 
Coffini^res allowed himself to exaggerate: in the first 
place, because such an exaggeration was useful to 
him ; and, secondly, because he probably counted in 
all who could be, or ought to have been, in and 
around Metz ; and, moreover, it must be noticed that 
the civil population had been increased to far above 
60,000 by the influx of the peasantry and of the 
inhabitants of the environs into Metz, and that 
Bazaine himself gives the number of serviceable men 



CAPITULATION OF BAZAINE. 259 

whom he had at the time of the capitulation at 
65,000 men, which coincides with other credible 
information which we have received. 

The value of the matSriel of war which, by the fall 
of Metz, passed into the hands of the Germans, is 
estimated by them at 80 millions of francs — a sum 
which may be considered to be rather too small than 
too great. 

King William celebrated this new success of the 
German arms by nominating the Crown-Prince of 
Prussia and Prince Frederic Charles field-marshals. 
Heretofore this title had purposely and by tradition 
never been given to a prince of the Prussian royal 
house. For a long time Field-Marshal Wrangel had 
alone attained, in Prussia^ to this highest military 
rank ; but he could only regard himseK as honoured 
by being associated with such princely colleagues — a 
feeling which the old man expressed in a characteris- 
tic way. General von Moltke also received the title 
of Count. 

In France the fall of Metz aroused such a storm of 
excitement and rage as might have been expected if 
it had never before happened that a fortress, even 
when defended by an army, had been compelled to 
surrender. And yet, but fifteen years before, Sebas- 
topol had faUen, although the Eussian army was 
never so completely shut in and thrown upon the 
resources of the place as Bazaine's was. 



260 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The delegation of the Government at Tours, to 
which now, as will be more fully described afterwards^ 
M. Gambetta also belonged, proclaimed without 
more ado that Bazaine was a traitor ; and M. Gram- 
betta instructed the prefects and state officials to 
pursue and arrest him and his officers wheresoever 
they might find them, and deliver them over to the 
proper authorities. 



261 



CHAPTER XXX. 

PBOCEEDINGS OF THE GOYEBNMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE 
UP TO THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER. 

In the period between the beginning of October and the 
middle of November, the capitxdation of Bazaine was 
the greatest, and by far the most striking, military 
event. For whatever else took place in the operations 
of the campaign during that time led to no decisive 
result, but, on the contrary, all the circumstances bore 
about them more or less a character of uncertainty. 
In order, however, to make the narrative of them as 
connected ba possible, it is necessary now to relate 
shortly the political occurrences which took place in 
the interim. 

The Government of National Defence had ori- 
ginally, on the 8th of September, fixed the 1 6th of 
October aa the day for the elections for the Consti- 
tuting Assembly ; afterwards, during the negotiations 
which preceded the Conference of Ferri^res, they ad- 
vanced the time to the 2d of October, in order to put 
an end to the reports that they desired to delay 
or hinder the elections in order to retain office. 



262 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

But when the eonversations at Ferri^res failed to 
bring about any result, the Government in Paris 
again postponed the elections, and this time inde- 
finitely, or until such a day as they could take place 
freely in the whole territory of the Eepublic. 

It is not easy to perceive why the delegation of the 
Government in Tours departed again from this resolve 
on the 29th of September, and once more appointed the 
16th of October as the day. As soon as the members 
of the Government remaining in Paris heard, on ike 
1st of October, of this, they resolved to declare the 
decree of the delegation nuU and void, and also to 
send one from among themselves to Tours, where, 
being from longer co-operation better acquainted 
with the whole policy of the Government, he would 
be able to represent it without a constant corre- 
spondence being necessary. For this office M. Gam- 
betta came forward; and his colleagues were the 
more willing to send him, as they believed that his 
fire and ardour would animate the endeavours of the 
provinces to continue the war. 

Accordingly, on the 6th of October, Gambetta 
quitted Paris in a balloon. The balloon has for a 
long time been employed for military objects, but 
never before to so great an extent as in this war. 
When first used they were employed to reconnoitre 
the enemy, and for this they were employed by the 
French in the wars of the Revolution, especially at 
Maubeuge in 1 793, and at Fleurus in 1 794. A special 



EMPLOYMENT OF BALLOONS IN FRANCE. 263 

corps of aeronauts was founded, which Moreau took 
into the. field for the last time in 1796. The balloons 
then used were held down by ropes {hallons captifs), 
to which horses were harnessed. This arrangement 
prevented them from mounting higher than was 
wished, and also from drifting into regions whither 
they were not intended to go. Such captive balloons 
were again employed for like purposes in Paris in 
1870. But before this campaign free balloons {bal- 
Ions libres) had also been occasionally employed : in 
such a one, for instance, M. Godard went up from 
Castiglione on the 23d of June, the day before the 
battle of Solferino, but, as is well, known, saw nothing. 
A reconnoitring balloon must naturally always be an 
occupied one {ballon montS) — that is, provided with 
a car in which men can be carried. Balloons also 
were used for yet other purposes by the Austrians 
before Venice in 1849. There they made fast shells 
to them, which, the balloons having been blown over 
the town by favourable winds, were to detach them- 
selves and fall into it This contrivance was, how- 
ever, not very successful, but still it was not con- 
demned as altogether impracticable. 

In the year 1870, balloons were especially used as 
a means to enable besieged towns to communicate 
with the outer world, and for this they were used on 
the largest scale by the Parisians. Begular workshops 
were very soon constructed, under the superintend- 
ence of M. Godard, in the station of the Orleans Bail- 



264 THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBOKTIEB. 

way ; and in these, many hundreds of workmen and 
workwomen were constantly employed, A model 
was constructed after which the balloons were to be 
essentially formed, and simple patterns were provided 
for the rapid and uniform cutting out of the separate 
sectors. These balloons had a diameter of about 50 
feet^ so that they could carry in their cars a net 
weight of 1000 kilogrammes* for a long journey, and 
therefore could easily convey a considerable number 
of letters and papers, besides two or three men and the 
necessary ballast. Each one had in the upper cap a 
valve which could be opened by means of a string by 
the aeronaut in the car, and thus the descent could be 
regulated. The strips were of the national colours of 
the Republic — ^red, white, and blue ; and each balloon 
received a name, as a ship does before leaving the 
slips. The aeronauts received a practical and theoreti- 
cal instruction — ^the former in captive balloons — and 
were chosen in preference from among the numerous 
sailors who had been called in to Paris. 

Every aerial voyage is in itself attended with many 
d«ge«!wHeh iLLe espeoiaUy great during ti.' 
descent. A perfectly free selection of the place 
where he shall touch the earth is impossible to the 
aeronaut, owing to the rapidity with which the bal- 
loon travels — a speed which depends upon the force 
of the wind, but which, on the average, exceeds that 
of an express railway train, and cannot suddenly be 

* 2200 Knglwh ponndB avoiidupois. 



EMPLOYMENT OF BALLOONS IN FRANCE. 265 

checked ; so that it is rarely that aerial voyagers land 
without sustaining some bodily injuries. But now, 
during the war of 1870, the perils were manifoldly 
increased for the Parisian aeronauts. The Prussians 
fired with rifles and cannon at the balloons as soon as 
they quitted Paris ; and at last it even came to this, 
that Herr Krupp constructed, in the arsenal in Essen, a 
special balloon-gun,which, of small calibreand mounted 
on a stand as a telescope is, could be readily turned in 
any direction and fired with any elevation. These 
pis and inventions, however, Jnld only lead to a 
comparatively small number of successful shots, owing 
to the rapid motion of the object, and to the great 
height which a balloon coming from Paris had already 
attained before crossing the line of detached forts. 

But in order that the aerial post might fulfil its 
end, it was further necessary that the balloons should 
descend outside the district' of the Germans, so that 
the voyagers might place the mails they carried safely 
in a post-oflfice, or on the railway, to be forwarded to 
their destination ; and necessarily the more the inva- 
sion of France extended, so much the more difficult 
was it to comply with this condition. Many balloons, 
which, for the sake of safety, fixed upon a distant 
point of descent, fell in Germany. Often the men in 
them were for hours uncertain of the direction they 
were travelling in, and of the speed of their movement, 
as by order of General Trochu they generally set out 
in the dark, between midnight and two o^clock in the 



266 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

morning, in order to escape the Prussian bullets^ and 
to prevent their arrival being unpleasantly announced 
beforehand. They were, it is true, supplied with 
apparatus for generating electric light, but these did 
not always act properly, and, moreover, they by no 
means supplied the place of the light of day in de- 
termining a position in space. 

The Prussians increased the military codex by a 
paragraph in which they announced that all aero- 
nauts who fell into their hands would be treated as 
priBoners of war and sent to Germany. 

And although, spite of all dangers and hindrances, 
the balloons which ascended almost daily from the 
capital carried much news firom it into the provinces^ 
still they could not be employed for the opposite pur- 
pose of conveying intelligence from the country into 
the town. To do this it would be necessary to be 
able to steer them, and that is still an unsolved pro- 
blem. France, and especially Paris, is rich in thought- 
ful and studious aeronauts. Besides MM. Godard and 
Nadar, who have acquired a professional celebrity 
throughout Europe, we must here mention the mathe- 
matician, Wilfrid de Fonvielle, who has made many 
aerial voyages for the purpose of physical observa- 
tions, and who quitted Paris during the blockade in 
a private balloon of his own construction. These, 
and many others, among whom was the celebrated 
marine engineer, Dupuy de L6me, have given much 
study to the question of the possibility of steering 



EMPLOYMENT OF BALLOONS IN FRANCE. 267 

balloons. It has also been repeatedly asserted that 
the problem was solved, and very recently M. Valine 
claimed to have invented a steerable balloon capa- 
ble of carrying 60,000 kilogrammes (54 tons). Cer- 
tainly no one can venture to affirm in these days 
that anything is impossible; but until something en- 
tirely new is discovered, of which hitherto, no man 
has thought, it is certain that the great difficulty con- 
sists in constructing a balloon which shall have a 
sufficient lifting capability to carry a steering-appa- 
ratus of the strength requisite to overcome the resist- 
ances to be encountered ; so that up to this time no 
aerial machine has come into use which can be steered, 
and, what is equally important, can be easily stopped. 
We must therefore wait patiently. 

The attempts, then, of bold aeronauts who endea- 
voured to reach Paris from the provinces in ordinary 
balloons, without steering - apparatus, by skilfully 
utilising the currents of winds in di£ferent atmos- 
pheric strata, all failed, and it was necessary to con- 
trive other means to prociire the desired intelligence. 
These ways were : 1, subterranean telegraphs ; 2, 
messengers ; 3,. carrier-pigeons ; 4, despatches by the 
water-courses. 

Subterranean telegraphs existed in the environs of 
Paris, but as they were only underground for short 
distances and then came to the surface, they were 
soon cut by the German cavaby. 

Messengers were frequently sent with concealed 



268 THE WAR FOB THE BHINE FEONTIEE. 

despatches from the provinces, especiaUy from Tours 
to Paris. At first many succeeded in passing the 
German investing lines; but the more t^e bes^gers 
established themselves, reconnoitred the neighbour- 
hood, and intrenched themselves, so much the more 
rarely did these successful journeys occur, and not a 
few of these brave and self-sacrificing men were either 
seized in the execution of their enterprise or shot^ 
the last not always by the Germans. 

Pigeons have been used since the days of antiquity, 
and especially in the East, to carry news. The Turk- 
ish pigeon {Colurnha Turcica) was for a long time the 
favourite carrier-bird; but the ordinary field-pigeon 
(Columba livia), and our domestic pigeon, which 
springs from it, render the same services. They 
fly at the rate of about thirty miles in the hour, 
and therefore would travel from London to Paris in 
from five to six hours. Before the existence of the 
electric telegraph, they were bankers who mostly 
employed carrier-pigeons to convey important ex- 
change despatches. But these aerial messengers must 
not be heavily or uncomfortably loaded, if they are 
to execute their task properly. The simple banking 
messages were very short, and could be written on 
the smallest fragment of silk-paper. To preserve 
these documents from destruction by moisture or 
similar causes, they were enclosed in a small quill, 
hermetically closed at both ends, and this was then 
carefully and securely fastened to one of the tail- 



USE OF CAKRIER-PIGEONS IN FBANCE. 269 

feathers of the letter-pigeon (pigeon vayageur). In 
1870 the French made use of the same expedient, but 
it then became desirable to forward by one pigeon 
much more comprehensive intelligence than had been 
hitherto sent M. Steenackers, who administered the 
postal and telegraphic departments at Tours, dis- 
covered a simple means, which had certainly only 
been rendered practicable by the advances resulting 
from modem industry, of fulfilling this requirement 
without distressing the pigeon. He caused, namely, 
a great number of despatches to be copied on to one 
sheet, and then photographed this on such a reduced 
scale, that about 70,000 words could be contained 
on a very small scrap of silk-paper. By this device 
a single bird could carry as much as stands 
upon about 300 pages of the book which the reader 
has now before his eyes. The officials at the receiv- 
ing office in Paris could naturally only read the 
messages by means of a strong magnifying-glass, and 
the messages had to be written out again and for- 
warded to the respective destinies. But, spite of its 
ingenuity, the institution did not render all the 
services that might perhaps have been expected from 
it. The pigeons had to be in the first place conveyed 
out of Paris in balloons, and then forwarded by the 
railway to the places whence they were to cany the 
despatches. When the wind was very strong the 
birds would not fly, but sought shelter from the 
weather, and on such occasions were liable to b^ cap- 



270 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

tured or killed. The Prussians in the neighbourhood 
of Paris procured birds of prey (falcons) to swoop 
down on the letter-pigeons, and there is no doubt 
that many were thus prevented from reaching the 
capital^ while others, which succeeded in arrivmg, 
came without their burdens. It is possible that the 
Prussians may have taken away the despatchesf, and 
then set the carriers free again ; but often the letter- 
holders (quills) were unskilfully attached, and the 
birds themselves being incommoded, freed themselves 
from their loads by their beaks. Many j)igeons, again, 
were delayed by bad weather in a most unaccountable 
way, and to such an extent that they sometimes 
arrived many weeks late. 

Letters enclosed in sealed bottles were also in- 
trusted to the waters of the Seine and other streams 
above Paris^ and carried by them into the capital. 
But this medium was also very uncertain, and its suc- 
cessful employment for any long distance required at 
least the attentive watchfulness of trustworthy people 
at fixed points, not too far distant from one another. 

We have here described the several ways of com- 
munication to which it is well known that recourse 
was had : many others have been talked of — as, for 
example, vessels or boats propelled imder water — ^but 
we have not yet succeeded in penetrating the mystery 
in which they are involved. 

Gambetta then, as we said, left Paris in a balloon 
on the 6th of October, and descended in the neigh- 



GAMBBTTA LEAVES PARIS. 271 

botirhood of Bouen, whence he proceeded by railway, 
arriving in Tours at nine o'clock in the morning. 
Thence he on the same day issued a proclamation to 
the French, in which he described the situation of 
Paris, the condition of the fortifications, the number 
of combatants, and the abundance of resources of all 
kinds. Paris, he said, could hold out for many 
months, and thus the provinces would have time to 
organise their miUtary forces and come to tlie aid of 
the capitaL In addition to this, the partisan war 
must be carried on with energy, to cut off the enemy's 
resources and render his employment of them difficult 
The task which the French had before them was 
difficult, but by no means impracticable : hitherto its 
execution had only failed through default of deter- 
mination and consistency. 

The Ministry of War had been undertaken by Ad- 
miral Fourichon as soon as he arrived in Tours about 
the middle of September, in addition to the Ministry 
of Marine which he already held ; but in the first 
days of October he again resigned the first-named 
office to Cremieux. It can easily be imagined how 
ludicrous it must have appeared to the Prussians that 
this ancient advocate, whose anjrthing but pleasing 
exterior was a picture of the Oriental type in its most 
unlovely form, should be a Minister of War. But he 
did not long fill the office, for Gambetta now under- 
took it as well as the Ministry of the Interior, which 
had fallen to him in the beginning — a plurality of 



272 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

offices which is especially important, as by it Gam- 
betta had all the land forces of France at his disposal, 
including the Sedentary National Guard, which is 
dependent upon the Minister of the Interior. We 
shall presently consider Gambetta's work of recon- 
structing the French forces ; but first we must make 
a few remarks on other matters." 

At the end of October, M. Thiers returned to France 
jErom his journey of visits to the Courts of the Great 
Powers, and proceeded to Tours. The four Powers 
he had visited — ^Austria, England, Russia, and Italy 
— ^had all expressed a wish that there should be an 
end to the shedding of blood, and that meanwhile, 
at least, an armistice should be concluded that would 
give France an opportunity of electing a Constituting 
Assembly, and thereby of acquiring a recognised 
Government with which the Germans could treat 
without hesitation. But in view of the addresses 
which were being signed in great numbers through- 
out Germany, protesting against any interference of 
other States in the strife between their country and 
France, the Great Powers were naturally reluctant to 
act, although, by the intervention of England and 
Russia, Thiers received a safe-conduct from the Ger- 
man headquarters to enter Paris in order to obtain 
instructions from the Government, with the view of 
afterwards conferring with the Chancellor of the 
North German Confederation in Versailles. 

Thiers quitted Tours on the 28th, and journeyed 



CONFERENCE BETWEEN THIERS AND BISMARK. 273 

by Orleans and Arpaion to Versailles, where he only 
rLined . d.«rtTc wia.o,t ha^g «.y interview 
with Bismark. On the same day he crossed the 
Seine at Billancourt, entered Paris, and at once placed 
himself in communication with the Government tiiere. 
After receiving instructions as to the conditions of 
the proposed armistice, he returned on the 1st of 
November to Versailles, and at noon commenced 
negotiations with Bismark. 

The matter to be arranged was now much more 
limited and more precisely defined than it was when 
Jules Favre took part in the conferences of Ferriferes, 
The conclusion of an armistice was the sole affair to 
be arranged ; but notwithstanding this, the course of 
these second negotiations was exactly similar to that 
of the former ones. 

At the conamencement of the conversation Bismark 
remarked, merely as an historical fact, and without lay- 
ing any special stress upon it, that there still existed 
in Wilhelmshohe the ruins of a French Government, 
which alone was recognised by the Great Powers of 
Europe, and which was still thinking of re-establish- 
ing itself. And this statement was perfectly true; 
for in those days the Empress Eugenie made a short 
visit to her imprisoned consort, and the Bonapartists 
were beginning to agitate violently. To these agita- 
tions two new journals owed their birth — * La Situa- 
tion ' (the name of a former French Guelphic paper) 
and * Le Drapeau.' The latter journal was published 

VOL. II. s 



274 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

in Brussels by Granier de Cassagnac, and distribnted 
gratis, especially to the French oflficers who were 
prisoners of war in Germany. But to every right- 
thinking Frenchman these audacious efforts must 
have appeared to be infamous. The majority believed, 
though we are convinced wrongly, that they were 
made with the connivance of the Chancellor. They 
originated solely from Wilhelmshohe, as did the 
movement to convoke the General Councils of the 
Departments to constitute a government — ^that is, to 
call together for that purpose the bodies from which 
the official candidates for the Corps Legislatif were 
usually nominated under the Empire. 

Bismark and Thiers were soon in accord as to the 
assertion of the latter, that the prisoner of Wilhehns- 
hohe and his followers could no longer represent 
France ; and they then commenced to discuss the 
conditions of the armistice, which Bismark consented 
should continue for twenty-five or twenty-eight days, 
the period which Thiers declared to be necessary for 
the orderly and regular conduct of the elections for 
the Constituting Assembly. In regard to these elec- 
tions themselves, Bismark only made reservations in 
respect to Alsace and German Lorraine, and even 
there he was willing to concede that those provinces 
should be represented by notables. He declared, also, 
that he was content that neither the future position 
of these districts nor their separation from France^ 
both of which points could only be determined by 



OONFEBENGE BETWEEN THIEBS AND BIS1£ABK. 275 

the treaty of peace, shotdd be mentioned in the terms 
of the armistice. For the positions of the belligerent 
forces, the statvs quo on the day of the signing of 
the treaty for the cessation of hostilities was to re- 
main unaltered ; and accordingly a line of demarca-. 
tion was to be marked out, though Bismark remarked 
that this condition was very disadvantageous for the 

composing which were set free by the capitulation of 
Bazaine, would be prevented from making any move* 
ment towards its future sphere of action. Still, on 
the 2d of November the two negotiators believed that 
all these difficulties were arranged, and that now 
only the question of reprovisioning the fortresses, 
and especiaUy Paris, remained to be discussed. Here 
Bismark pointed out the material difficulties of the 
undertaking; and this remark was not wholly an- 
swered by the reply of Thiers that the procuring of 
supplies was the affair of the French. For the pro- 
vision-trains certainly could not be allowed to enter 
Paris altogether uncontrolled by the Germans. The 
destruction of the railways around Paris would un- 
doubtedly render the transport very difficult and 
tedious, and this would bring with it many incon- 
venien;. for the investog Lj ; ond, iJy. what 
measures were to be taken to prevent the provision- 
ing of Paris from affecting very prejudicially that of 
the German armies in France? Viewing all this, 
therefore, Bismark determined to consult once again. 



276 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

the German military authorities, after which^ on the 
3d of November, a definite conclusion was to be 
arrived at 

While Thiers was in Paris, a socialistic demonstra- 
tion had taken place there against the Government 
of National Defence. When intelligence arrived of 
the capitulation of Metz, and the news spread of the 
negotiations which were about to take place for an 
armistice, armed bands proceeded from Belleville to 
the H6tel de YiUe, took possession of it, and made 
prisoners of the members of the Government who 
were assembled thera The leaders of the movement 
— ^Flourens, Pyat, Joly, Blanqui, and others — desired 
to institute a so-called " Commune,'' and naturally to 
undertake themselves its government. On this pro- 
ject they commenced to deliberate amid great con- 
fusion, some of the members of the Government of 
National Defence being more or less ill-treated. But 
the Minister of Finance, M. E. Picard, had contrived 
to escape, and he at once took measures to free the 
prisoners. In consequence of his activity, the 106th 
battalion of the Mobile Guard (from Brittany) suc- 
ceeded at 8 P.M. in rescuing General Trochu ; and at 
the same time MM. Jules Ferry and Pelletan made 
good their flight The Ministers who were now free 
assembled in the Luxembourg to take counsel as to 
what measures must be adopted ; and soon after mid- 
night General Trochu placed himself at the head of 
the Mobile and National Guards, who were collected 



DEMONSTRATION IN PARIS. 277 

in great numbers, and at 3 A.M., on the 1st of Novem- 
ber, cleared the H6tel de Ville, and set free the 
captives, the insurrectionists flying in all directions. 

On the 3d of November the Grovemment demanded 
from the citizens of Paris, from the troops, and from 
the National Guard, a vote on the question, whether 
it still enjoyed the confidence of the inhabitants or 
not. It obtained an enormous majority, and could 
now regard itself as doubly established. Nine chiefs- 
of-battalion of the National Guard who were im- 
plicated in the revolt were dismissed from their posts. 
Among them was M. Gustav Flourens, chief-of-bat- 
talion of the Volunteer Rifles of Belleville. This very 
eccentric man, who is notorious throughout Euro^ 
chiefly as an inciter of brawls, although he can fairly 
claim the title of scholar, had acquired his military 
education during the Cretan insurrection, in which he 
played a very prominent part. In the meetings which 
took place before the elections of 1869, he made him- 
seK noticeable by his furious hatred of the Empire ; 
and in the beginning of 1870 he was, being at the 
time a fugitive, accused of complicity in Beaury's 
attempt. 

General Tamisier, Commandant of the National 
Guard of Paris, was reproached with having at the 
least acted very feebly. The rebels had, without his 
consent, placed his name on the list of the members 
who were to compose the proposed Provisional Govern- 
ment, and he now tendered his resignation ; which^ 



278 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

being accepted, he was superseded by General Clement 
Thomas, an old Bepublican, who had once before, after 
the February Revolution of 1848, held for a time the 
same command. 

Bochefort, who on the 31st of October had made 
promises to the insurrectionists which the Govern- 
ment of National Defence in no way intended to 
ratify, resigned office, and thenceforth devoted his 
services to the defence of Paris as a gunner in the 
National Guard. 

Thiers naturally was cognisant of the events of the 
3l8t, but did not deem it expedient to inform Bis- 
mark of them. The latter heard of them fix>m other 
sources on the morning of the 3d of November, and 
at the meeting on that day interrogated Thiers as 
to the extent of his knowledge. But the French 
representative evaded the question by expressing his 
conviction that, even if disturbances had arisen, they 
must have been quelled in a very short time. 

On renewing the discussion of the question of 
reprovisioning Paris for the period of the armistice, 
Bismark at once returned to his original statement, 
that the matter was one which aflFected militaiy 
interests, and must be considered and settled from a 
miUtarypomtofview. For the Germans the arrange- 
ment would be in itself disadvantageous ; they there- 
fore could not agree to it without obtaining "a 
military equivalent" which would in some degree 
icompensate them, and Bismark demanded that this 



CONFERENCE BETWEEN THIERS AND BISMABK. 279 

should be the surrender to the Germans of one or two 
of the forts of Fans. With this the negotiations of 
Versailles were shipwrecked on the same point as 
those of Ferri^res. Thiers strove to prove to the 
Chancellor of the North German Confederation that, 
although France would certainly derive military ad- 
vantages by a cessation of hostilities, still, on the 
other hand, Germany would gain politically ; for to 
her profit would be the calming of the passions of the 
two nations, who, during the armistice, would have 
time to reflect, and would be thus preparing for 
peace ; and moreover, the whole of Europe would be 
compelled to acknowledge the readiness of Prussia 
to concede terms, and would no longer be able to 
deny her genuine and proved love of peace. But the 
attempt was vain; and Thiers in his report allows 
it to be understood that Bismark, being altogether 
dependent upon the military authorities, could no 
longer allow his own political ideas to govern him. 

Thiers, who thus saw his efforts frustrated, now 
expressed the wish to be allowed to proceed again 
into the French lines with a view to a conference. 
Bismark willingly assented to this, and moreover 
desired him to inform the Government th^t if they 
wished the elections to proceed without an armis- 
tice, no difficulties should be laid in the way of 
their being carried on in the districts occupied by the 
Germans, and that every faciUty should be given to 
the fcactioi. of the QoZ^t I Parta aud Toma to 



280 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

correspond freely on the subject Accordingly, on the 
5th of November, Thiers had an interview with M. 
Favre inside the French lines, and a long conversation 
ensued about the state of affairs as they then existed ; 
but on the 6th he received an official notice from the 
Government in Paris to break off all negotiations; 
and the proposition of continuing the elections for the 
Constituting Assembly without a temporary cessation 
of hostilities was also rejected. 

Thus, then, another hope was firustrated, and the 
war assumed ever more and more the character of 
an inevitable calamity which was destined to run 
its course in Europe. Political and strategical com- 
binations lose their value under such circumstances, 
and men begin to ask themselves whether the much- 
lauded military organisations, which make use of a 
principle, to a certain extent, without fully recognis- 
ing it, deserve the prize which they have won. The 
world becomes thoughtful, and asks itself whether 
the hour can have struck when it must be decided 
whether Europe shall be republican or C!ossack. Sym- 
pathies, which were hotly enlisted on one side or the 
other, become cool, or even turn to the other party. 
Much that was lately held to be wonderful ceases to 
be marvelled at, already seeming too insignificant to 
be regarded in view of the more recent phenomena 
which are origiimted by the significant greatness of 
general situation. But ever more and more it becomes 
manifest that those men were right who held that this 



FAILURE OF THE CONFEBENCE. 281 

war, under any circumstances, and whatever might be 
its issue, would be a great European disaster. Ever- 
more in the land of the victor the cry arises that, how- 
ever hapless may be the situation, so much the more 
necessary is it to fight out this time the strife between 
France and Germany to the very end ; and, never- 
theless, the fear evermore arises whether the vcb 
victoribus which was uttered at the outbreak of the 
war will not cause its truth to be acknowledged. 
War is always a political means; but is the policy 
on either side the same in the beginning of November 
that it was in the middle of July ? A peace may now 
be concluded in one, two, or three months. Various 
causes may bring it about ; but no one now believes 
that it can be a lasting one, even to the extent of 
securing ten years of peace, or that it can lead to a 
thorough settlement of the strife ; and this uncertainty 
of what will happen next prevails everywhere. 

But this very uncertainty, again, gives room for 
hope that affairs may finally turn out better than 
man may venture to predict. 



282 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE REC0N8TRUCTI0N OF THE FRENCH A&MY. 

We have seen how, after the first misfortunes hap- 
pened to the Imperial army, the fact was accepted 
that great things must be done to reinforce it Pali- 
kao's Ministry occupied itself principally with the 
multiplying and augmentation of the marching bat- 
talions and regiments, some of which we have abeady 
found embodied in M'Mahon's army. It laid particu- 
lar stress upon obtaining old soldiers. With these and 
the conscripts it endeavoured to re-establish the differ- 
ent Corps' depots, which had been almost altogether 
absorbed into the old field -army. Moreover, the 
Mobile Guard of the northern and eastern depart- 
ments was to a great extent assembled, and a small 
beginning at least was made towards the concentra- 
tion of that of the western and southern provinces, 
where heretofore even a paper organisation had not 
existed. For it was true of the whole of France that^ 
up to the time of the fall of the Empire, the Mobile 
Guard remained in a very bad state, insufficiently 



REGONSTBUCTION OF THE FRENCH ABMY. 283 

exercised and armed^ unless hj chance they had 
been called into a fortress^ and there trained by 
some prudent commandant to assist in its defence. 

The reorganisation of the Sedentary National Guard, 
also, remained in a very backward state, spite of all 
fte promises and decl of Paffiao-, uL^. and 
partly, indeed, because this Ministry did not believe 
that a universal arming would be for the good of the 
Empire. 

After the fall of the Regency, the Government of 
National Defence continued the labours of Palikao's 
Ministry, but at the same time they gave greater 
heed to the organisation of the Mobile Guard, seeking 
to press it rapidly forward; and at the same time 
they endeavoured also to reorganise the Sedentary 
National Guard, so that it might take part in the 
service of public security in large towns, and assist in 
the defence of the fortresses. But hereby the want 
of an adequate supply of well-constructed weapons — 
a want which had been hitherto denied, but which 
really existed — made itself felt The Government 
therefore took measures for the manufacture of greater 
numbers of breech-loaders in France itself, by employ- 
ing private industry ; and at the same time it made 
arrangements for purchasing abroad, especially in 
England and America, "whence weapons were naturally 
obtained constructed on different systems. Similarly 
the rearming of tiie artillery was tZn in hand; for. 
independently of the fact that many of the French 



284 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

field-guns had been lost, the German artilleiy had, by 
its accuracy and length of range, made itself much 
respected by the French ; and the opinion ever gained 
ground among them that their artillery also must be 
provided with breech-loading ordnance to be able to 
cope with that of the adversary. 

But in spite of the multiplicity of the endeavours 
of the Government of National Defence, we cannot 
recognise any revolutionary character in them untfl 
after the fall of Metz. Up to that time only cus- 
tomary means had been employed, and only ordi- 
nary processes applied. Only with that event did 
this change, and then only did the Government b^in 
to adopt revolutionary measures. 

On the 2d of November the delegation in Tours 
issued a decree by which aU men between 20 and 
40 years of age were mobilised, unless, indeed, they 
had ahready been called out by former statutes. The 
men thus obtained were to be organised by the pre- 
fects of the departments until the 1 9th of November, 
and then placed at the disposal of the Minister of 
War. All exemptions on social grounds, such as 
being the sole support of a family, were abolished. 
Only bodily incapacity, and the holding of certain 
public offices, were now admitted as grounds for a 
dispensation. The Eepublic was to provide for the 
families of the Mobiles, and to adopt the children of 
those who fell. By the same decree the Minister of 
War was empowered to employ all workshops and 



RECONSTRUCTION OF THE FRENCH ARMY. 285 

manufactories for the making of arms and other 
necessaries of war. 

This ordinance, which was described by many as a 
call to the masses to rise {levSe en rnasse), although it 
was properly only a considerable extension of the con- 
scription, was much assailed. It was said : *^ There is 
no lack of men, but of what use are they when every- 
thing is wanting to prepare and equip them for war, 
especially when winter is close upon us ? What end 
can be served by such a general calling out of the 
masses, when as yet the Mobile Guard is neither 
armed nor exercised, and when there are neither 
weapons nor leaders even for it; when such of its 
men as are summoned are destroyed by idleness ; and 
when, up to the present, it has been impossible to 
gather round the colours even those men who have 
been called out by former decrees ? " 

The Government in Tours was not deaf to these 
and similar objections raised by the press, and shortly 
afterwards elucidated its decree of the 2d of Novem- 
ber by another. By this latter one the men already 
called out were to constitute a first levy, while those 
affected by the decree of the 2d of November were to 
form a second. This second levy was to be divided 
into three classes — ^the first to include men from 21 
to 30 years of age ; the second, those from 31 to 35 ; 
and the third, those from 35 to 40, — and these three 
classes were to be called up in succession; for the 
present only the first. 



286 THE WAR FOB THE EHINE FROKTESB. 

We will now consider the numbers which Fiance 
could place in the field through this most compie- 
hensive decree of the 2d of November. Altogether, 
France possessed 38 millions of inhabitants, without 
including those of her foreign possessions. In eyery 
20,000 inhabitants there were 832 men between 20 
and 25 years of age, 802 between 25 and 30, and 
1475 between 30 and 40. In the whole of France, 
therefore, there would be before the war began — 

1,580,800 men between 20 and 25 years of age. 
1,523,800 „ „ 25 „ 30 „ 

2,802,500 „ „ 30 „ 40 „ 

But from the first class (20 to 25 years of age) at 
least 200,000 must be subtracted to allow for the 
killed in battle, the wounded, and the prisoners, up 
to the 1st of November. 

From this class again must be taken the men of it 
stiU serving in the active army, perhaps 50,000 in 
number; also the contingents for the year 1869 and 
1870 — ^the first of 60,000 men, the latter, where no 
freedom by lot or on account of social position was 
allowed, of at the most 160,000 men ; and lastly, in 
this class must be included the whole mass of the 
Mobile Guard. 

The prescribed battalions and batteries of the 
Mobile Guard were by this time all called out, even if 
they were not in any way completely equipped and 
armed. The strength of the battalions on a field- 



RECONSTRUCTION OP THE FRENCH ARMT. 28T 

footing was most v^ed. The strong battaHons were, 
owing to the want of good leaders, of no more value 
than the weak, for there was a greater lack of con- 
sistency in the former than in the latter. The battal- 
ions were arranged in regimente of three each, and 
the surplus ones in the different departments were 
similarly disposed. The formation of depot-battalions 
of the Mobile Guard was also commenced in the pro- 
portion of one to every three or four field-battalions. 
The idea of now placing these depot-battalions in a 
fit state to take the field, and replacing them by newly- 
raised ones from the yet disposable masses of this 
annual class, was first made mention of in the decree 
of the 2d of November ; and its execution was now 
taken in hand. 

We may assume that in round numbers about 
400,000 men were taken, up to the 1st of November, 
from the class of men between 20 and 25 years 
of age, for the Mobile Guard. The fact that these 
had suffered losses — ^for example, in the capitulation 
of fortresses— does not concern us here ; and just as 
little do we inquire in this place whether all these men 
were capable of rendering real service in the field. 

H now we add together all these different deduc- 
tions, we obtain the number of 870,000 men (of whom 
about 600,000 were still forthcoming). As now the 
whole class only included 1,580,800 men, and as, 
according to the usual calculation, only half of these 
could be estimated to be capable of bearing arms; and 



288 T^E WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

as^ moreover, owing to the occupation of so many 
provinces by the Germans, it may be reckoned that 
the Government in Tours could only dispose of at the 
most three-quarters of the population, — it is manifest 
that in this first class which we are now considering, 
notMng more remained to be mobilised 

In the second class — ^men from 25 to 30 years of 
age— we are first interested in the old soldiers. To 
these belong the men of the reserve up to the age of 
29, who were called in in the beginning of the war. 
Altogether, there were 260,000 such men in this cate- 
gory, and of these 150,000 were killed, wounded, or 
prisoners. There remained, then, at the most, 1 1 0,000, 
and these were in part abeady serving in, or were to 
be drafted into, the depots of the active army, to 
leaven the masses of Mobile Guards and Mobilised 
National Guard, and to restore the special arms of the 
service, the cavalry, axtiUery, and engineers. 

Deducting the old soldiers, there still remain of the 
second class (25 to 30 years of age) 1,264,000 men. 
Assuming, as before, the half of these to be fit for 
service, we have 632,000 men, and taking the three- 
fourths of them obtainable from the uninvaded 
territory of France, we have 474,000 men ; and these 
really formed the main part of the male population 
which remained to be mobilised by the decree of the 
2d of November. 

These men were to be, in the first place, mobilised 
by the prefects, as picked troops of the Sedentary 



RECONSTBUCTION OF THE FBENCH ABMT. 289 

National Guard. They were formed into battalions, 
and these were to be assembled as a rule by threes 
into marching legions. This work progressed but 
very slowly, and was by no means completed by the 
19th of November: in some departments it was 
scarcely regularly begun even so late as the end of 
December; and in others, again, the scarcity of service- 
able weapons was much felt, as the Mobile Guard 
had to be first armed. The most backward were cer- 
tainly the southern departments, along the coasts of 
the Mediterranean and in the Pyrenees ; but there, as 
elsewhere, much depended upon the zeal and energy 
of the individual prefects. 

Of the third class — men between the ages of 30 and 
40 — at least 50,000, who had been employed with the 
army in various positions, were killed or wounded or 
made prisoners of war. The remainder of this class, 
then, numbered 2,750,000. Of these, 300,000 old 
soldiers may be taken as disposable, although perhaps 
the number is estimated rather too high, if it be 
remembered that in France many men who have 
served always pass from the army into various civil 
offices, from that of mayor to that of field-guard, and 
that the whole French territory was not free. But 
let us accept this number, and there remain then 
2,450,000 men of whom we assume the half to be fit 
for service — ^that is, 1,225,000 ; from these we must 
subtract a quarter for men in the occupied provinces ; 

VOL. II. T 



1 



290 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

SO that of tilis third class — that is^ of the second and 
third divisions of the second levy — ^there remain 
918,000 men, of whom 500,000 may be estimated to 
belong to the second division (from 31 to 35 years of 
age), and 418,000 to the third (from 36 to 40). These 
men, when mobilised, would also be embodied as 
selections from the Sedentary National Guard, there- 
fore as marching legions for the Mobilised National 
Guard. 

The total number of disposable men in Prance, 
without falling back upon those corporeally wa&t, 
amounted to 2,302,000 men ; and if of those between 
30 and 40 years we only coxmt in the old soldiers 
(300,000), it still amounts to 1,384,000. 

We have already remarked that the work of mobi- 
li«.tion. bemg dependent upon varies conditions 
wHoh .;.nnotl, uLntoneo4 "aliped. m«Bt d»»j, 
progress gradually ; but here, in addition to this in- 
evitable retardation, many of the men bound to serve 
became deserters. 

In the larger towns it is comparatively easy to 
collect the men called out, but in the coimtry it is very 
different, especially in remote districts and in moun- 
taruous territories, where news barely penetrates, where 
but few people can read, where reluctant authorities 
display but little zeal, and where perhaps even those 
officials who strive to do their duty have not the 
means necessary to enforce the law, especially since 
the later French Governments have been often obliged 



fiECONSTRUCnON OF THE FRENCH ARMY. 291 

to employ detachments of the gendarmerie on active 
service. When, therefore, in such districts the men 
called upon were not possessed with any great desire 
to serve, the contingents were very meagre. Many 
young men of the better classes left the country. Such 
behaviour has been branded, and rightly so, as dis- 
graceful ; for certainly all of these absentees could not 
urge in justification that they or their paxente were 
Bonapartists, and that scruples of conscience prevented 
them from serving under the Republic. Still the 
number of these fugitives was, after all, but small, 
not only because the rich and wealthy are but rela- 
tively few in all modem European States, but also 
because a Frenchman is more unwilling than any other 
European to leave his native country. Much more 
considerable was the number of young men of the 
better classes who procured freedom from active 
service by obtaining, through interest, civilian posts 
which exempted them from being called upon to bear 
arms, or who entered the numerous, strong, and use- 
less staff of the National Guard, either as clerks of the 
contractors, or in some other capacity. But still all 
these means of escape could not very materially re- 
duce the numerical strength, for at the most they who 
were able to do these things would only amount to 
some tens of thousands ; and therefore, if a great out- 
cry arose about these evasions, it was because excep- 
tional cases are often the most striking, and offend 
most greatly the sense of justice in the masses. And 



^ 



292 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER- 

it must further be remembered that when an entire 
nation takes up arms under such circumstances as 
the French people did, it is not merely the active 
soldiers who have to be considered, but the adminis- 
tration, the manufacture and procuring of arms 
and articles of equipment absorb much labour, and 
workmen of every kind cannot be included in the 
category of those physically unfit for service. Lastly, 
it must also be borne in mind that the really disposa- 
ble forces must necessarily be much disseminated, 
that strong bodies are required for local purposea^ 
such as the defence of Paris, Lyons, Lille, and the 
great sea-port towns, and thereby the numbers avail- 
able for the composition of the real operating annies 
become much reduced It is not therefore a matter 
for surprise that these should be relatively weak, and 
only increase in strength very gradually. 

After all these necessary preliminary remarks, we 
will return to the consideration of the separate forma- 
tions — ^the Active Army, the Mobile Guard, the Mobi- 
lised National Guard (marching legions), and the 
Volunteer Corps — and will then add a few notes 
about the several armaments of the different forma- 
tions, about their organisation in Army Gorps» and 
about their camps. 

First of all, however, we must turn our attention to 
the old soldiers who were forthcoming. We have 
seen thjt of these there were — 



KECONSTRUCTION OF THB FRENCH ARMY. 293 

50^000 in the class between 20 and 25 years of age. 
110,000 „ „ 25 and 30 

300,000 „ „ 30 and 40 



» 



or 460,000 altogether. 

To these numbers we may add 20,000 men from 
the older classes, over 40 years of age, who were em- 
ployed in various positions. We obtain thus 480,000 
men in this category ; but however much importance 
we may be inclined to attach to this supply, we must 
remember that the greater number — ^namely, those 
from the age of 30 upwards — had left the army after 
the Italian and Crimean wars, and were utterly 
ignorant of the use of modem arms ; and, moreover, 
the majority had given themselves up to family life, 
from which they would sever themselves with regret. 
The value of their assistance in actual warfare would 
therefore be very doubtful. 

From these 480,000 we must deduct at least 
80,000 for the formation of the staff of the several 
administrative branches, including so much 
gendarmerie as was imperatively necessary ; 
40,000 for the training of the Mobile Guard ; 
50,000 for the training of the Mobilised National 

Guard ; 
80,000 indispensable for the Sedentary National 
Guard, the later mobilisation of a greater part 
of which was anticipated. There remained. 



294 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FROimSB. 

then, 220^000 old soldiers to be distributed 
among the troops of the active army. 
In addition to these, there would be 220,000 con- 
scripts of the two classes of 1869 and 1870, and these 
440,000 men would form for the present the active 
army. All other troops — ^Mobile Guard, Mobilised 
National Guard, and Volunteers — must be designated 
as the auxiliary army. Of the active army, again, a 
part was localised, for example, in the defence of Paris 
and in the depots. If we estimate the troops thus 
detained at but 120,000, there remain only 320,000 
men of the active army to form the operating armies. 
To these we must add the Mobile Guard, who, indud- 
ing the old soldiers employed to form the cadres, 
would amount to 350,000 men. But of these, again, 
at least 100,000, including the defenders of Paris, 
were localised by various circumstances ; so that alto- 
gether 570,000 men would be able gradually to take 
the field before the end of 1870. And we must here 
passingly remark that the conscripts of 1869 and 
1870 were, in regard to their military education, in 
no way better than the Mobile Guard, and that, more- 
over, the above-named mass could not be collected at 
one point. 

The first division of the second levy (men from 21 
to 30 years of age), 530,000 men, including the old 
soldiers employed in forming them, must be regarded 
as being during the whole of 1870 essentially in a 
state of formation. It is true that before the expira- 



J 



EECONSTRUCTION OP THE FRENCH ARMY. 295 

tion of the year, individual marching legions of the 
Mobilised National Guard were actually called up to 
the battle-field ; but these were quite exceptional and 
chance occurrences, and may be neglected in consider- 
ing the general state of a£fairs. As a rule, these men 
of the first division were assembled together in forti- 
fied camps as soon as they were in any degree organ- 
ised. They were destined to defend for the present 
these positions, which were not immediately threat- 
ened, while their training and armament could be 
completed there; and, therefore, these Mobilised 
National Guard cannot be considered when calculat- 
ing the strength of the operating army in 1870. 

Included in the before - mentioned formations, 
and composed for the most part of men of the same 
ages as were those who formed the mass of them, 
various bodies of more or less irregular troops 
sprung up under the names of Franc-tireurs, Eclair- 
eurs, and Volunteers. Such bodies had existed 
almost since the beginning of the war ; and although 
on the one hand it must be admitted that they in 
some places rendered good service by disturbing the 
communications of the Germans, still on the other it 
cannot be concealed that many individuals willingly 
joined these corps in order to evade the obligation to 
serve in the regular army by performing merely a 
nominal duty in them ; that the discipline in these 
small formations, which were often dressed and 
decorated in a most strange manner, and bore most 



296 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

ridiculous titles, left much to be desired ; and that^ 
moreover, they often, owing to their more than loose 
proceedings, rather hindered than aided the regular 
troops. The interference, therefore, of the Government 
to regulate these various corps, and to assign to each 
one its specific post, soon became necessary, but still 
even this could not effect all that was to be wished. 

The Government of National Defence also allowed 
foreigners to enter the service of France. The most 
distinguished of those who offered their swords to the 
Republic was Garibaldi. Those who knew him were 
more than a little astonished at this, for they remem- 
bered how often and how fiercely he had expressed 
his hatred of the French, not merely of the Emperor 
Napoleon, and how this animosity had become doubly 
violent since his native town, Nice, had been united 
to France. But Garibaldi arrived in Tours a few 
days affcer the advent of M. Gambetta there, and 
received the command over the collective irregular 
troops in the Vosges, and also of a brigade of the 
Mobile Guard. Under his leadership many corps of 
foreigners sprung up, of Italians, Poles, and Spani- 
ards, but they were certainly of very inconsiderable 
strength, not at all corresponding to the high-sound- 
ing titles which they generally assumed. We shall 
later on see Garibaldi active in the east ; but we may 
here remark that, from the very outset of his career 
in France, he encountered much opposition. The 
chief adversaries of this declared enemy of Papacy 



RECONSTRUCTION OP THE FRENCH ARMY. 297 

were among the clergy; and the followers of Garibaldi, 
by interfering in matters which in reality concerned 
the French alone, instead of devoting their whole 
attention to combating the Germans, put many wea- 
pons into the hands of their clerical adversaries, 
estranging thereby the masses, who on the whole are 
in France very faithful children of the Church. 

Infantry is in case of need the easiest arm to im- 
provise. but wili. the special axms the caae is different. 
Frenchmen, like other civilised people generally, are 
not a nation of horsemen. The improvisation of 
mounted volunteers which was undertaken produced 
therefore very meagre results, and the Government of 
National Defence was practically obliged to fall back 
for cavalry upon the reconstruction of the old regi- 
ments, which, however, were now only forthcoming in 
the depots and in a few rescued ruins. In this work, 
the old soldiers who had served in the cavalry rendered 
good aid. But not only was there a want of trained 
horses, which could not be procured in a moment by 
requisition, but there was also a scarcity of saddlery ; 
and this it was impossible to remedy by means of 
French labour alone, owing to the cessation of business 
which resulted from the hurried calling-out of the 
whole male population. It was, therefore, necessary 
to procure the requisite saddlery and horse-furniture 
elsewhere, and it was consequently bought abroad, 
especially in England, even in small quantities of a 
hundred pieces. This horse equipment was, moreover. 



298 THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBONTISB. 

often of very bad workmanship^ so that it was neces- 
sary to alter and repair much of it in Franca It must 
therefore be regarded as a great achievement that, be- 
fore the end of 1870, sixty of the old regiments, each 
consisting of two weak field squadrons, or of 200 men, 
were again in a state to take the field. It natnrally 
follows that the same number of horsemen could not be 
apportioned to each of the newly-instituted Corps that 
was assigned to a like formation in its normal state un- 
der the Empira But the Government had yet another 
means of supply. This existed in Algeria^ whence con- 
siderable reinforcements were drawn for the regiments 
of Spahis, troops which in the cavalry hold the same 
place with regard to the Chasseur d'Afrique that the 
Turcos do to the Zouaves in the infantry. Moreover, 
free Bedouin hordes (Gums) were enlisted for cavalry 
service on French soil — a measure which perhaps for 
the interest of European civilisation it would have 
been better not to have adopted, and which we be- 
lieve, seeing how badly it had fared with the Turcos 
employed by the Empire, could have been omitted 
without loss, if a so much the greater activity had 
been developed in France itself. But who can call 
desperation to account, especially when the con- 
duct of war by Europeans assumes ever more and 
more the character of that of savages ? 

Artillery is in general easier to obtain than cavalry; 
men are required as drivers who understand horses 
without it being necessary that they should be per- 



KBCONSTRUCnON OF THE FEENCH AKMY. 299 

feet masters of the art of riding ; and gunners may 
readily be obtained from among mechanics, if a proper 
selection be made, and too high scientific attainments 
are not demanded. In all ages it has been proved 
that a good artillery, especially in insurrectionary 
armies, is more easily obtained than good infantry ; 
the great difficulty is in providing the TmUriel 

In the new formation of the French artillery, the 
Government had to rely for its first line upon the 
depots which were still existing, and upon the ruins of 
the old Imperial batteries. The old soldiers who had 
formerly served in them aflforded a good nucleus. 
But as the opinion had become general in France, 
and by no means wrongly, that the Germans owed 
their victories in a very great degree to their numer- 
ous artillery and to its good employment, and as the 
new army was by no means to be composed solely of 
troops belonging to the former active forces, it became 
necessary to make an appeal to the living forces of 
the nation, which would bring about that decen- 
tralisation in the departments which the existing cir- 
cumstances required. Consequently, as early as the 
5th of November the institution of departmental 
batteries was decreed. By the edict then promulgated, 
each department was to supply a battery of 6 guns 
for every 100,000 men of its population, and as the 
Government still ruled over some 30,000,000 of 
Frenchmen, this would give 300 batteries, or 1800 
guns, a number sufficient for an army of 600,000 



300 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

men. The supply of guns, which were by preference 
to be of the English 7-pounder Beffjre system, although 
other models were not excluded, was to be obtained 
from all available sources by the interposition of the 
State, both by employing the State foundries of land 
and sea service ordnance, by enlisting private indus- 
try, and by purchasing abroad. The gun-caniageai, 
limbers, harness, and horse-furniture were to be simi- 
larly procured, and it was not to be considered neces- 
sary to adhere rigidly to any one pattern for all these 
things. The harness especially was to be obtained 
where any could be found, and in the state in which 
it was used in the district where it was procured, and 
afterwards improved by repairing any glaring defi- 
ciencies, and at the same time rendered if practicable 
in some degree uniform. 

These somewhat desperate endeavours were the 
more justifiable, as young infantry who had yet to be 
accustomed to fire, and that in the face of modern 
arms of precision, would certainly require a numerous 
artillery to support them and prepare the way for 
their action. As a matter of fact, the results in this 
case also did not immediately follow the order ; still 
much was achieved — ^more even than any one could 
have expected who considered the difficulties of the 
undertaking, although he might have had the greatest 
confidence in the love of country, the readiness to 
make sacrifices, and the energy of the French people. 

Engineers are also easily improvised in a national 



DIVISION OP THE COUNTRY INTO FOUR DISTRICTS. 301 

war. They are obtained by simply placing every 
skilled mechanic and labourer in his proper place. 
In every department a committee of defence was 
formed under the presidency of the prefect and 
of the general commanding, and this had essentially 
the task of finding out and of applying every means 
by which the advance of the Germans in this or that 
direction could be hindered. They had to arrange all 
the works of demolition and of intrenchment, and at 
the same time to discover and arrange means of com- 
munication for the detachments of the French forces, 
using as instruments the newly-created bodies of 
engineers. 

The distribution of the country into territorial mili- 
tary divisions and subdivisions was retained intact. 
The generals commanding these were intrusted with 
everything relating to the organisation and command 
of the bodies of troops in their districts. Moreover, 
in the middle of October, the whole of France, with 
the exception of Paris, was divided into four general 
governments which essentially corresponded with the 
four marshalships or chief commands of the army of 
the Empire. The four governorships were established 
for the regions : 1, of the north, with the headquar- 
ters at Lille ; 2, of the west, with the headquarters at 
Mans; 3, of the centre, with the headquarters at 
Bourges; 4, of the east, with the headquarters at 
6esan9on. The command of the north was given to 
General Bom-baki, who, having left Metz originally 



' 



302 THE WAR FOR THB RHINE FRONTIER. 

with the intention or wish of negotiating with the 
Empress Eugenie, had found, as soon as lie had 
arrived at the enjoyment of liberty, that this was 
impossible or useless, and had placed himself at the 
disposal of the delegation of the Government in Tours. 
He could not, however, succeed in making himself 
popular in his new office, and was soon relieved, and 
employed in a more suiteble maimer. 

The west was to be commanded by General Fi^rek 
of the artillery ; the centre by General de Polhes, the 
same who commanded the brigade in the action of 
Mentana ; and the east by General Cambriels. This 
last officer had been wounded at Sedan before the 
capitulation, and that so severely that he was obliged 
to be afterwards trepanned. He had then, when 
somewhat recovered, repaired to Tours, certainly 
never suspecting that he, in his case, would be de- 
clared by the Germans to have broken the conditions 
of the capitulation. In his command he soon became 
involved in questions of precedence with Garibaldi, 
and troubled by these, and also by the state of his 
health, tendered his resignation. He was at first suc- 
ceeded by General Michel, but he also could not re- 
main long in the command of Besan9on, and had to 
be elsewhere employed, whereupon the governorship 
of the east died out. The generals commanding these 
several regions were to collect the war forces of their 
territories as much as possible and organise them, 
without it being expected that such troops should im- 



COMPOSITION OP THE NEW ARMY CORPS. 303 

mediately be converted into field armies, the Govern- 
ment rather reserving to itself the power of calling 
them out as requisite, and of specially appointing 
their commanders. 

The Army Corps which were gradually formed out- 
side Paris numbered from th,e 15th upwards. The 
12th Corps we saw disappear at Sedan; the 13th, 
failing to arrive in time to take part in the battle, had 
returned to Paris after the catastrophe. Meanwhile 
the formation of another Corps, the 14th, had been 
commenced in Paris, and although affairs soon became 
so changed in the capital that there could no longer 
be anything said of a 13th or 14th Corps, this explains 
how it came to pass that the Departmental Corps 
began with the number 15. 

The Army Corps in the departments were composed 
essentially on the same principle as those of the Em- 
pire had been — ^that is, a Corps was, as a rule, to be 
formed of three divisions of infantry and one divi- 
sion of cavahy, and to these were to be added as many 
batteries as circumstances might permit; and this last 
condition was doubly and trebly necessary, as all the 
Corps would be composed of young troops. The 
divisions of infantry were composed of the marching 
regiments formed since the end of July, and not yet 
destroyed ; of regiments of infantry newly raised at 
the depots, numbered from 101 upwards; of marching 
battalions of Rifles, Zouaves, and Turcos ; and then 
of regiments of the Mobile Guard. As a rule, a 



304 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

regiment of the active army, gathered together in 
some way or other, was joined with one of the 
Mobile Guard to form a brigade of infantry. 

However high the numbers on the ration list of one 
of these new Army Corps may have been, its service- 
able strength cannot be estimated at more than 30,000 
men, of whom, on the average, 2000 were horsemen. 
The number of guns in such a Corps, including mit- 
raiUeuses, may sometimes have amounted to 100; 
but this cannot be taken as true for all of them. 
Sometimes also, in the days which immediately fol- 
lowed, the strength of a Corps may have increased to 
something greater than the numbers we have given, 
through chance reinforcements of a local nature^ but 
no permanent or lasting alteration was effected by 
these additions. 

On the 25th of November, Oambetta ordered the 
formation of eleven camps of instruction and defence, 
though some of these had practically been already 
called into existence. The eleven were : 1, at Hel- 
faut (St Omer) ; 2, Cherbourg ; 3, La Rochelle ; 4, 
Bordeaux (St Medard) ; 5, Toulouse ; 6, Montpelli^ ; 
7, Pas des Lanciers, near Marseilles; 8, Sathonay, 
near Lyons; 9, Clermont-Ferrand (Gergovia); 10, 
Nevers; 11, Conlie, near Le M^ns. In these camps 
the Mobilised National Guard were to be assembled ; 
and first, the 1st division of the second levy — 530,000 
men, according to our calculation — ^and then the Mo- 
bile Guard, and such troops of the active army as 



CAMPS OF INSTRUCTION. 305 

were not yet ready to take the field, together with 
the necessary complements of the special anns. More- 
over, these camps, although in the beginning only 
destined for the defence of important points and for 
instruction, were also to be employed as places for 
the organisation of divisions and Corps capable of 
taking the field. Each camp was, as a rule, to be 
constructed for 60,000 men ; but the four which were 
adjacent to the seaboard — ^namely, those of St Omer, 
Cherbourg, La RocheUe, and Pas des Lanciers — ^were 
to be capable of containing 250,000 men each. 

If, then, this strength of troops was brought simul- 
taneously into the respective camps, there would be a 
force of 1,420,000 men assembled in them. These 
numbers have been much ridiculed, but it was not in 
reality the idea of the Minister of War that all the in- 
dicated camps should at one and the same time receive 
the forces assigned to them, but only that they should 
be so arranged as to be able to accommodate them in 
case the necessity should arise. And this idea was cer- 
tainly not irrational. The camps which rested on the 
sea would be comparatively easily provisioned from 
abroad, even under the most difficult circumstances. 
Army Corps, or even an army itself, might, when 
hardly pressed, be compelled to take refuge in one or 
other of them ; and as regards the camps not situated 
near the coast, it might very possibly become neces- 
sary, by the calling up of the second and third classes 
of the second levy, to shelter in any individual one — 

VOL. II. u 



306 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

not in all simultaneously — at least 60,000 men. The 
arrangement must therefore be judged from this point 
of view. 

The camp of Toulouse, or the camp of the south- 
west army, was formed as early as the 12th of No- 
vember : General Demay, an old artillery officer, was 
appointed commandant. With him were associated 
as commissaries, with the rank of generals of division, 
MM. Lissagary and Perrin, men who, up to that time, 
had only made themselves known as club orators, and 
were perfectly innocent of the slightest military educa- 
tion. This camp was also intended to arouse some- 
what the organising activity of those parts, which 
was certainly by no means so conspicuous as was 
desirable. 

Soon after Gambetta left Paris, he was followed, 
also in a balloon, by M. K^ratry, who, having resigned 
the office of Prefect of Police, was now intrusted with 
the formation of the camp of Conlie, in which the 
Mobile Guard and the Mobilised National Guard of 
Brittany were to be assembled. The population of 
Brittany has remained even to the present day some- 
what isolated. Among other characteristics it has still 
retained its devotedness to the Church ; and it was in 
some degree a comical sight to see men who were in 
no way religious, demeaning themselves like saints 
of the calendar in order to gain influence over the 
people. Even M. Cr^mieux behaved like a Christian. 
K^ratry, without altogether thus adapting himself 



WANT OP OFFICERS. 307 

to circumstances, displayed great zeal, and by his 
activity and good sense succeeded, by the end of 
November, in collecting about 40,000 men — 47 bat- 
talions and 9 batteries, — ^but shortly afterwards he 
gave in his resignation, owing to conflicts which arose 
between Gambetta and himaelf, and was succeeded in 
his command by General de Marivault 

The want of educated officers in this mass of new 
organisations soon made itself keenly felt To remedy, 
then, this evil, and also to acquire the power to 
place fit mea in the higher posts, unhindered by 
former regulations, the Government in the latter 
part of October suspended by a decr-ee tihe customary 
laws of promotion for llie duration of the war. Ex- 
traordinary promotions could now be made, either for 
services rendered or for proved capabiUty, and mili- 
tary rank oould also be given to persons who did not 
belong to the army, but this only provisionally and 
for the period of the war, the definite confirmation in 
such cases depending upon the after-rservices rendered. 
This measure was necessary, but it is quite another 
question, and one which cannot be answered alto- 
gether in the affirmative, whether the Government 
ever made a sufficient use of the power thus accorded 
it. A very welcome supply, especially for the higher 
posts of the new land army, was afibrded by the 
many able marine t^fficers, who, owing to the course 
the war had taken, could no longer be employed 
upon their proper element. 



308 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The notices we have here given wiU suffice to ei 
plain the organisations adopted up to the year 1871, 
excepting always the special ones arranged in Paris, 
which require special consideration ; so that we can 
now follow the operations for a long time without 
any considerable interruptions. In the rektion of 
these, it will probably become apparent that the 
French did not achieve with their organisatioDS all 
that people who did not care to regard minutely the 
numbers and actual circumstances, might have ex- 
pected from them. But he who gives heed to these 
things will be constrained to confess that the French, 
under the guidance of the Eepublie, far exceeded 
his expectations, however great may have been his 
opinion of their patriotism and energy. It maybe 
that certain German doctors and journalists may still 
dare to talk of the French as a people rotten to the 
core, but we are convinced that German soldiers at 
least do not hold such language. 



309 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

MILITARY EVENTS IN AND ABOUT PARIS FROM THE 1ST OP 
OCTOBER TO THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER. 

The first half of October passed away very tran- 
quilly around Paris, Both parties were deliberating, 
and preparing themselves for coming events. 

We have already pointed out that the Germans 
at first calculated upon obtaining possession of the 
French capital in a very short time. They counted 
upon internal dissent, and upon the unstable footing 
of the existing Government. Was it not to be fore- 
seen that parties would rise up against it, and that in 
anticipation of the horrors and privations of the siege, 
to which this Government wished to expoge the in- 
habitants of Paris, these factions would overthrow the 
authorities and surrender the town to the Germans ? 
And in truth the Government of National Defence 
had many enemies; from its very birth demonstra- 
tions had been made against it. But on all such 
occasions the patriotism of the Parisians manifested 
itself gloriously; and thousands of men, who were 
anything but friends of the Government, supported 



310 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

and maintained it, in order not to present to the 
world abroad the spectacle of internal dissension in 
the hour of danger. 

When M. Favre returned to Paris after the inter- 
view of Ferri^res, and announced that nothing re- 
mained for France but to continue the combat and 
prepare to do battle, and when the whole population, 
hearing these things, instead of shrinking back, joined 
joyfully in the cry, the Germans were compelled to 
confess to themselves that they could no longer cal- 
culate upon a speedy triumphal entry into Paris in 
consequence of internal discord. They therefore, 
after the beginning of October, determined to employ 
other means ; and on the 6th of October the King of 
Prussia removed his headquarters from Ferriferes to 
Versailles, to be nearer to the German lines. 

It had now become apparent that Paris could only 
be reduced by one of three means : either by a simple 
blockade, by a bombardment^ or by a regular siege ; 
and the adoption of one or other of these must depend 
upon the length of time for which the town was pro- 
visioned. This was not accurately known by any 
one, but it was certain that there could not be a 
suflBcient supply for any lengthened period, especially 
of fresh meat, and of milk, butter, eggs, &c. It was 
calculated, and, as it was afterwards proved, rightly, 
that these would fall short before the 15th of Nov- 
ember. After that date, then, the Parisians, if they 
held out longer, would have to submit to great and 



PARIS FKOM OCT. 1 TO THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER. 311 

unwonted privations. If they could endure these, 
they might certainly maintain themselves for a much 
longer time. But no one in Europe believed that 
they possessed such patient endurance in that way 
as they afterwards showed. Correspondents in Paris 
described the situation in rosy tints, although even 
before the end of October much misery began to be 
experienced. At that time, it is true, there were still 
provisions of aU kinds ; but prices had risen to the 
highest rates, and but few people were able to procure 
any culinary luxuries, or anything beyond the barest 
necessaries of life. The men under arms still received 
regular though scanty rations, and could not complain 
of want; but it is well known how much female 
labour is employed in every way in Paris, and now 
that all business was stopped, the occupation of women 
was suspended also, They could no longer earn any- 
thing ; and want began to press heavily on them and 
their children, even before the supply of any of the 
necessaries of life was at all e^austed — before a single 
horse had been slaughtered, or before it had become 
necessary to fall bacl^ upon donkeys, dogs, cats, rats, 

and the wild animals of the Jardin des Plantes. The 

« 

authorities of Paris did very much to secure the in- 
dispensable means of subsistence to the needy classes; 
but, as can easUy be understood, the most earnest 
endeavours were insufficient to accomplish all that 
was requisite in so large a town. 

After the investment by the Germans was com- 



312 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

pleted, the fundamental idea in all the militaiy opera- 
tions of France could be nothing else than the relief of 
Paris. The longer the town held out, so much the more 
time would the departments gain to create armies for 
that purpose. But these must not delay their arriyal 
too long. The great danger was that they might come 
to the rescue just an hour too late ; another, although 
a lesser danger, was that they might only arrive in 
the supreme hour, — for it was desirable that the 
Parisian army should co-operate from mthin with the 
relieving forces ; and if hunger had already exercised 
its dejecting effects upon the former, it could hardly 
be hoped that it would be able to act with any great 
energy. The policy of the Paris correspondents, then, 
in giving such favourable descriptions of the state of 
Paris, even to the extent of stating at times that the 
town could hold out for years, was undoubtedly bad ; 
for in many of the departments men believed only 
too readily that there was no need for great haste in 
preparing the forces to relieve Paris, and it certainly 
was not necessary or expedient to confirm them in 
their error. Had not the whole of France entertained 
most illusory ideas as to the time that Metz would be 
able to hold out ? and was not the bewildered sm- 
prise with which the news of its fall was received 
greatly owing to the way in which these illusions had 
been nourished ? 

Paris was certainly much more favourably circum- 
stanced than Metz had been. It was not burdened 



PARIS FROM OCT. 1 TO THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER. 313 

with an army entirely disproportionate to its popu- 
lation, and it had much more time to make prepara- 
tions. But in any ease it was more prudent to 
endeavour to bring about the relief of Paris as 
speedily as possible than to calmly defer the attempt 
for an uncertain time. 

In the beginning of October, Count Bismark ad- 
dressed a circular to the North German representa- 
tives at the Courts of the Great Powers, in which 
he pointed out the terrible consequences which might 
ensue if Paris did not surrender until compelled to 
do so by the bitter pangs of hunger. If the town 
fell under such circumstances, there could be no 
doubt that famine would ere then have slain its 
tens of thousands ; and even if after the capitulation 
the German leaders were minded to do their utmost 
to pour provisions into the French capital, still — 
because they must first think of the requirements 
of their own armies, and because of the great diffi- 
culty of communications — obstacles would arise 
which would postpone for a long time any efiectual 
reprovisioning of the town. 

It was, however, impossible for the Germans to 
fix any definite term within which Paris must sur- 
render through want of provisions. In such a 
calculation, errors, which might amount to months, 
could not be avoided, and thus it was impossible 
for the investing force not to bethink itself of other 
means by which to force the French capital to yield 



314 THE WAK FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

itself or which at the least would strengthen the 
effect of a simple blockade. 

The prolongation of the resistance of Paris would 
not merely in itself prolong the resistance of France 
also, but it would likewise give time to the depart- 
ments to form new organisations ; and therefore the 
sooner Paris was compelled to surrender, so much 
the better for the Germans. Moreover, winter was 
at hand, and would inevitably demand great sacri- 
fices. The German leaders gained some comfort from 
the reflection that they would be able to more easily 
protect the troops from its ravages by warm clothing, 
and by employing the accommodation at hand, be- 
cause the majority of the men came from colder cli- 
mates, and would probably find the winter before Paris 
milder than they were accustomed to at home. This 
assumption, however, proved to be incorrect, as the 
winter from 1870 to 1871 was unusually severe, and 
the inclement weather began very early. Moreover, 
the troops upon outpost duty could only be very incom- 
pletely sheltered from the rigours of the season, how- 
ever carefully measures to that end might be under- 
taken ; and the extent to which guard must be kept, 
and consequently the amount of work the Germans 
must necessarily do, depended solely upon the activ- 
ity of the defenders of Paris. 

The means of which we have spoken for forcing 
Paris to surrender were, besides a blockade, a bom- 
bardment and a regular siege. 



PARIS FROM OCT. 1 TO THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER. 315 

It cannot be denied that a great aversion was 
manifested throughout Europe to the idea of a bom- 
bardment of Paris. Paris, it is true, was a fortress, 
and must therefore be prepared for the employment 
against itself of the violent means of which an 
enemy customarily avails himself to subdue a fortified 
place ; but still Paris is by no means only a fortress. 
The pride of the Germans might resist the idea of 
acknowledging that Paris meant more for Europe 
than other capitals — than Berlin, for example; but 
stiU they did acknowledge it, let them jeer as they 
might at Victor Hugo when he called Paris the 
" Holy Town." But disregarding this, and assuming 
that neither sentimentality nor regard for the public 
opinion of Europe had any influences upon the deci- 
sions of the German headquarters, and that, on the 
contrary, it based its resolutions solely upon military 
grounds, still the enormous dimensions of Paris, and 
the extent of the girdle which its detached forts 
formed, rendered a bombardment extremely difficult ; 
and if it had failed when employed against Strasburg 
— a town surrounded by a simple enceinte — ^how 
could any good result be expected jfrom it, in and by 
itself, against Paris ? In any case, it certainly could 
not be carried on from field-guns alone. A numerous 
park of the heaviest siege-ordnance must be brought 
up, which must at the least be more powerful than 
was necessary against Strasburg These heavy guns, 
together with a large supply of ammunition, must be 



316 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

transported from the interior of Germany, for the 
most part along roads which were anything but safe, 
and which could only be traversed by day with the 
employment of every possible precautionary measure. 
Such a work, carried on partly along railroads, and 
partly along country roads, which had not been con- 
structed for such heavy trafl&c, would under the most 
favourable circumstances occupy much time. More- 
over, unless the Germans previously obtained posses- 
sion of some of the detached forts, or at all events 
could by some means contrive to render it impossible 
for them to keep up a fire worth naming, it would be 
barely possible to approach sufficiently near to the 
town itself to damage it seriously by their cannonade, 
and so promote any disposition to surrender which 
might exist among the inhabitants. 

Such being the state of things, we find it difficult 
to conceive why the German leaders did not from 
the outset resolve to besiege the town regularly, and 
why they did not make the necessary preparations 
from the first moments of the investment. The 
regular attack must in the first case be directed 
against some of the detached forts, for the siege of 
the main enceinte could only be undertaken after 
several of these had fallen. Now, it is indubitable 
that a regular attack against two or more of these 
detached works could be commenced with a much 
less artillery mat&riel than a bombardment of Paris 
itself ; for in order that the latter might gain its end, 



PARIS FROM OCT. 1 TO THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER. 317 

it would be indispensable to open fire upon the 
town simultaneously on all sides. It would not be 
sufficient to strive to make an impression upon any 
one fixed point> and therefore it would be necessary 
to have an enormous supply of ammunition at hand 
before commencing the cannonade, lest it should 
come to pass that, after two or three days' work, the 
lack of stores might compel a cessation of the firing, 
which would expose the Germans to ridicule, and 
redouble the courage of the besieged* 

But the case would be quite difierent were a 
regular siege undertaken* This must be commenced 
against the detached forts — ^against perhaps three of 
them ; or if the siege matSriel sufficed, it might be 
set about as it was at Strasburg. The operation could 
certainly be begun by the middle of October; and 
the fall of some of the detached forts would in any 
case be a gain, even should it afterwards become 
apparent that a regular attack on the main enceinte 
was no longer necessary or expedient. The previous 
capture of some of the works also would, under any 
circumstances, facilitate a bombardment; and even 
should this not seem desirable, their feJl would ren- 
der the taking of other adjacent forts easier, and 
would a... Jin bringing aLt . closer inve,tn,ene 
of the capital, and a more complete command of it 
from without, which would tend to increase the moral 
depression of the inhabitants. 

Whoever studies the matter carefully and impar- 



318 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

tially will be obliged to confess that the Germans 
were not in any way so well prepared to cany on war 
against fortresses as to execute field operations ; and 
that, moreover, in their calculations they came upon 
unexpected factors which had been created by the con- 
version of the K"apoleonic war into the French. 

In the beginning of October, Trochu occupied him- 
self chiefly with the interior military organisation of 
the forces assembled in Paris, and with the formation of 
troops capable of fighting without the walls in order to 
enlarge the extent of territory held by the defenders, or 
to be prepared for a sortie m ma^ when a reUeving 
army should draw near. About the 10th of October 
news arrived in Paris of considerable movements in 
the blockading force, and of the departure of some 
of its troops to the soutk From general appearances 
and from special information, it could be concluded 
that these had marched away to reinforce the army 
of observation which the Germans had been obliged to 
detach to watch the formation of the relieving forces ; 
and if this was the case, it might with justice be 
further concluded that the organisation of such armies 
had already made some advance: whether this was 
considerable or not would become apparent if it were 
ascertained whether the Germans had detached so 
many troops as to materially weaken the investments 
To obtain more information on this point, General 
Trochu ordered a great sortie to be undertaken on 
1 3th of October, under the leadership of General Vinoy, 



SORTIE ON THE 13TH OF OCTOBER. 319 

who placed the troops which were to be principally 
and reaUy employed in the enterprise under the com- 
mand of General Blanchard. 

On the morning of the 13th, then> Vinoy caused a 
heavy fire to be opened from the three forts, Issy, 
Vanvres, and Montrouge, behind which the main re- 
serve was posted, against th^ heights of Clamart After 
this had been continued for some time, the sortie troops 
were pushed forward — a marchii^ battalion on the 
right wiQg against Clamart, a brigade under General 
Susbielle in the centre against Cbatillon, and two bat- 
talions of the Mobile Guard, under Lieutenant-Colonel 
de Grancey, on the left from Montrouge against Bag- 
neux. At first the French met with but slight resist- 
ance, and penetrated without much diflSculty into 
Bagneux and Chatillon, taking possession also of the 
stone-quarries (De Calvents) between the last village 
and Clamart ; but General von Hartmann, commander 
of the 2d Bavarian Corps, having succeeded after awhile 
in deploying many of his troops and in posting his 
batteries, compelled them again to retire. The losses 
of the Bavarians in killed^ wounded, and missing 
after this aflfair, amounted to 388, of whom 10 were 
officers, while the French give theirs as " inconsider- 
able ; " but as it had been reported in Paris that the 
Bavarians had marched away, and as, nevertheless, 
the sortie was resisted by them. General Trochu was 
thereby led to form a false conclusion, as we shall 
hereafter see. 



320 THE WAK FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

On the same day on which this sortie was made, 
the French from Mont Valerien set fire to the Palace 
of St Cloud ; and during the following days the 
advanced troops of the 6 th North Grerman Corps 
posted between Chevilly and Choisy le Roi were 
frequently alarmed by movements from Villejuif 

On the 21st of October a yet larger sortie was 
undertaken, and this time upon the peninsula of 
Nanterre, being directed mainly against Malmaiaon, 
La Jonchfere, and Bougival. The first line of the 
attacking force was composed of three columns : the 
right one, under General Berthaut, between the Seine 
and the Cherbourg highway ; the centre, under Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Cholleton, to the east of Sueil ; while 
the third on the left, under General Noel, issued 
from the south of Mont Valerien. The three columns 
together contained 6400 men and forty-eight guns, 
and were supported by two reserves of together 4600 
men and forty-six guns, the one in rear of the right 
at Nanterre, under General Paturel, and the other in 
rear of the left at La Fouilleuse, under General 
Martenot The cannon of Fort Mont Valerien, and 
the gun -boats on the Seine from their station at 
SurSnes, were to open fire at noon ; the artillery of 
the first line was then to attack, and after it had 
played for some time the infantry was to advance, 
but the latter was expressly forbidden to push for- 
ward beyond the heights of La Jonch^re. An ex- 
tensive system of signalling, such as is usually only 



SORTIE ON THE 2 1ST OF OCTOBER. 321 

employed in exercising manoeuvres, was also arranged 
in the dispositions; but it is difficult to conceive 
what was the real object of this sortie, unless indeed 
it was merely and solely intended to accustom the 
young troops to being under fire. The men who 
were engaged in it belonged to the newly-formed 
14th Army Corps, under General Ducrot, who him- 
self conducted the manoeuvre* 

The cannonade from Mont Valerien and from the 
gun-boats on the Seine rendered the Prussians on the 
alert betimes, and the French, in their advance over 
the descent which slopes down from St Cucufa to 
Malmaison, encountered an organised resistance from 
the 10th division of the 5th North German Corps. 
These troops were immediately supported by several 
battalions of the landwehr of the Guard, the division 
of which had been occupied at the siege of Strasburg, 
and after its fall had been called up into the neigh- 
bourhood of Versailles, to St Germain en Laye and 
Port Marly. Moreover, the artillery of the 4th Corps 
also took part in the combat, firing from the peninsula 
of Argenteuil, and the 9th division of the 5th Corps 
posted itself as a reserve for the 10th division. As 
a decided advance of the French was not prescribed 
in the dispositions for the sortie, the battle was 
limited to a useless, but by no^ means bloodless, 
musketry engagement along the line from La Jon- 
ch^re to the Porte du Longboyau. The real combat 
was finished by about five o'clock in the afternoon, 

VOL. IL X 



322 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

but a cannonade was kept up from Fort Mont Vale- 
lien until 6.30 p.m. 

On the 28 th of October General de Bellemare at- 
tacked the village of Le Bourget on the Molette brook 
from La Coumeuve and AuberviUiers, and obtained 
possession of it by surprise. The Prussians, who had 
only occupied it with a small force, were compelled to 
evacuate it; and the French established themselves 
in it, and placed it in a state of defence. The affair 
was in itself of no great importance, but apparently 
the Prussians were vexed that they had allowed 
themselves to be attacked unawares, and therefore 
even on the 29th they made various eflForts with 
small detachments to retake the village, and they 
also opened fire upon it with their artillery. These 
detached endeavours not having succeeded, on the 
following morning — the 30th — ^the whole of the 2d 
division of infantry of the Guard, and several other 
detachments of troops, were concentrated for the re- 
conquest of Le Bourget. The force was drawn up in 
three columns : in the first line — on the right wing 
two battalions of the Emperor Francis' Grenadier 
Regiment, under Major von Derenthal, at Dugny; in 
rear of them at Bonneuil the 2d regiment of Uhlans 
of the Guard, and at Amouville all the artillery of 
the 2d division of the Guard that was not employed 
elsewhere ; in the centre at Pont Iblon on the Mor^ 
stream, Colonel Count Kanitz with four battalions of 
Queen Augusta's and Queen Elizabeth's Regiments, a 



FIGHT FOR LE BOURGET ON THE 30TH OF OCT. 323 

company of pioneers of the Guard, and three horse- 
artillery batteries of the Guard; on the left wing, 
under Colonel von Zeuner, at Le Blanc Mesnil, 
two battalions of the Emperor Alexander's Grenadier 
Eegiment, three companies of the battalion of Rifles 
of the Guard, and two batteries of the 2d division of 
the Guard. All troops of the 2d division of the 
Guard not mentioned here held the outposts along 
the line 8tains-Dugny-Pont-Iblon-Le Blanc Mesnil, 
while a few battalions of the Ist division of the 
Guard were brought up and formed into a reserve for 
the 2d division. 

At 8 A.M. the three horse-artillery batteries at Pont 
Iblon gave the signal for the commencement of the 
battle by opening fire directly upon Le Bourget (3000 
paces). Simultaneously with this, Colonel Zeuner 
crossed the Mor^e with his two battalions, having the 
two batteries on his right covered by the three com- 
panies of the Kifles of the Guard, and moved against 
Drancy, in order to advance thence against the south 
side of Le Bourget. As soon as they had crossed the 
Mor^e they opened fire upon Le Bourget, and Drancy, 
being but weakly occupied by the French, was evacu- 
ated without resistance, so that Zeuner was able to 
turn at once against Le Bourget. The columns com- 
manded by Derenthal and Kanitz advanced at 8.30 
A.M. in the direction of Le Bourget, the three batteries 
of the horse-artillery of the Guard firing uninterrupt- 
edly over the latter one. These two bodies of troops. 



824 THE WAR FOR THE RHtKE FRONTIER. 

together with the column under Zeuner, entered Le 
Bourget almost simultaneously, soon after 9 a.)L 
The struggle for the village was extremely stubbomlj 
fought out ; house by house was contested ; and the 
combat lasted for four hours — that is, until nearly 1 
P.M. The losses on both sides were very great. The 
Prussians, according to their own account^ lost 500 
men, among whom were the colonels of the Elizabeth 
and Augusta Regiments, Herr Zaluskowski and Count 
Waldersee. The French on their side lost many 
prisoners, as must always be the case in an obstinate 
local defence where no reserves are at hand. 

No great importance can be attached to the gain or 
loss of such a point as Le Bourget in itself, for the 
possession of the village might firequently be contested 
in the course of events. That its loss on the present 
occasion created a very bad impression in Paris, must 
be mainly attributed to the fact that the authorities 
and journals in the capital had loudly proclaimed that 
its gain was an immense advantage. To this feeling 
also was added the excitement caused by the an- 
nouncement of the negotiations of Thiers with Bis- 
mark ; and thus the loss of Le Bourget contributed to 
cause the manifestation of the tSlst of October, the 
particulars of which we have before related. 

During the early days of November a certain still- 
ness again reigned around Paris. No more sorties of 
any importance were attempted ; for the Government 
.of National Defence was fully occupied, partly in de- 



PARIS IN THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMBER. 325 

termining its position with regard to the inhabitants 
of Paris, partly in reorganising the forces of the capital. 
But long before, as early as the beginning of October, 
Greneral Trochu had been more than a little attacked 
because of his inactivity. He had already answered 
these charges on the 15th of October in a letter to 
the mayors of the twenty arrondissements of Paris, in 
which he explained that it was impossible to under^ 
take, unpunished, large sorties with the first crowds 
which could be collected, without proper arms, and 
without sufficient artillery; and that he was, even at 
that moment, striving to procure troops fit in their 
armament to attempt great enterprises, and also in 
some degree disciplined and unconditionally subject 
to military law. In his organisation he always fol- 
lowed the principle of taking volunteers for service 
outside the ramparts from the battalions of the Seden- 
tary National Guard, and of reinforcing the active 
army and the Mobile Guard by such mobilised Na- 
tional Guardsmen. It was calculated that from every 
battalion of the Sedentary National Guard about a 
company of mobilised men might be obtained, and 
four of such companies were to form a marching bat- 
talion, to the men of which the best arms would be 
given, especially the breech-loaders, which were up to 
that time distributed without any rule throughout the 
Sedentary battalions. 

By the end of the first week of November the new 
organisation of the forces of Paris was completed, and 



326 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

we must here give some information respecting it 
The collective forces of the capital were divided into 
three armies. Of these, the First Army, nnd^ Grene- 
ral Thomas, was composed of the National Guard of 
the Department of the Seine, 266 battalions; of a 
weak " legion " of cavalry, and of a legion of artil- 
lery. It was destined for service within the walls^ and 
to man the main eticeinte, being distributed along 
separate portions of it. Of these portions or sectors 
there were nine, corresponding to the exterior arron- 
dissements. Each sector contained on the average 
ten bastions, six of the sectors being on the light, and 
four on the left bank of the Seine. We give here 
these sectors in succession, with their names and com- 
manders, only remarking that the 1st sector com- 
menced at bastion No. 1, that the 6th sector ended 
with bastion No. 68, the 7th began with bastion No. 
69, and the 9th ended with bastion No. 94. 
The sectors then were : — 

1. Bercy, General Baroilhet 

2. Belleville, General Callier. 

3. La Villette, Vice^ Admiral Bosse. 

4. Montmartre, Rear-Admiral Cosnier. 

5. Les Temes, Rear-Admiral du Quilia 

6. Passy, Rear-Admiral Fleuriot de Langle. 

7. Vaugirard, Rear-Admiral de Montaignac 

8. Montpamasse, Rear-Admiral M^uet 

9. Des Gobelins, Rear-Admiral de Challier. 

The command of the artillery on the right bank of 



THE THREE ARMIES OF PARIS. 327 

the Seine was given to General P^lissier, on the left 
to General de Bentzmann. 

The Second Army of Paris, destined for great oper- 
ations in the open field, was placed under the com- 
mand of General Ducrot, who had as Chief of the Staff' 
General Appert It was composed of such of the old 
regiments as still existed, of marching regiments, and 
of Mobile Guards, and was divided into three Army 
Corps and one division of cavalry. The appellation 
of 1 3th aijd X 4th Corps, which the Corps of Vinoy 
and Ducrot bore up to October, now died out ; and 
the Second Army of Paris had now its 1st, 2d, and 
3d Army Corps. The 1st Corps (Blanchard) con- 
sisted of the three divisions of MaJroy, De Maud'huy, 
and Faron; the 2d Corps (Kenault) of the three 
divisions of Susbielle, Berthaut, and De Maussion; 
the 3d Corps (D'Ex^a) of the two divisions of Belle- 
mare and Mattet. Finally, the division of cavahy 
(Champ^ron) had but three regiments. 

The Third Army of Paris, the command of which 
was originally retained by General Trochu, but was 
soon afterwards delegated to General Vinoy, with 
Lieutenant-Colonel Pechin as chief of the staff', was 
intended to defend the detached forts, and also to 
undertake local sorties. It was made up of marching 
regiments. Mobile Guard, sailors, marines, custom- 
house men, wood-rangers, and, lastly, of Mobilised 
National Guard. The whole of these were divided 
into seven local divisions — ^namely, the 1st division. 



328 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

General Soumain ; the 2d, Yice-Admiral de la Bon- 
eifere le Noury ; the 3d, General de Liniers ; the 4th, 
General de Beaufort ; the 5th, General Corr^ard ; the 
6th, General d'Hugues; the 7th, Kear- Admiral Po- 
thuau ; and, in addition, a weak division of cavahy 
under General de Bemis. The 2d division of this 
Third Army was soon afterwards constituted as an in- 
dependent Corps for the defence of St Denis. 

The numbers of these armies in the early part of 
November may be estimated as follows : — 

The First Army at 160,000 men. 
The Second „ 90,000 „ 

The Third „ 100,000 „ 

the Mobilised National Guard not being included in 
these estimates. 



329 



CHAPTER XXXIIL 

ENTEBPRISES OF THE GEBMAN CAVALBT IN THE ENYIBOKS 

OF PABia 

Immediatel7 after the investment of Paris was com- 
pleted, the four divisions of cavalry which were 
attached to the Third and Fourth Armies were 
detached on special expeditions. They were to ex- 
plore the country on the left bank of the Seine as far 
as the Loire, and exact requisitions in order to re- 
plenish and keep full the great magazines of the 
investing army at Corbeil; and each of them was 
reinforced by a detachment of infantry of one or two 
battalions of the 1st Bavarian Corps, to render them 
more independent in their movements. 

The 5tii division of cavalry, Eheinbaben, had ite 
headquarters at St Eom. Thence it sent forward, on 
the 30th of September, a great part of the 12th 
brigade of cavalry (Bredow), with six companies of 
infantry, against Les Alluets and Maulle. For the 
possession of these villages, and for that of Herbeville, 
fighting ensued, the Germans being opposed by French 
partisans ; but the artillery of the former, after a time, 



330 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

set the places on fire. On the Ist of October, Bredow 
destroyed the railway along the left bank of the Seine 
to Bouen, close to Giverney, and occupied Mantes. 
Advancing still in the direction of Evreux, Bredow 
learnt, on the 4th of October, that the French troops 
with which he had before had to deal had concen- 
trated at Pacy. On the 5th, therefore, he attacked 
that place and Aigleville, drove out the enemy, and 
sent forward a detachment, which met with no op- 
position, as far as Evreux. On the Eure he collected 
large supplies of forage and of cattle, which were for- 
warded to the German magazines before Paris. 

While these enterprises were being carried out by 
Eheinbaben, the 6th division of cavalry moved on his 
left along the railway from Versailles, through Bam- 
bouillet as far as Chartres. On the 2d of October it 
sustained a first skirmish with some men of the 
Mobile Guar^ at Rambouillet. On the 4 th, Colonel 
von Alvensleben was detached with the 1 5th brigade 
of cavalry, one battery, and two companies of Bava- 
rians, to reconnoitre the town of Chartres. In the 
wood of St Hilarion he came upon the advanced-guard 
of a detachment of troops of the French National and 
Mobile Guards assembled at Epemon, but speedily 
driving them in, he on the same evening gained pos- 
session also of the town of Epemon. On the 5th, 
Alvensleben occupied himself in levying requisitions, 
and returned on the 6th with the greater part of his 
brigade to Rambouillet, laden with rich booty, having 



BURNING OP ABLIS. 331 

left a few detachments pushed forward in advance. 
One of these, a squadron of the 16th regiment of 
Hussars, was quartered in Ablis, a prosperous village 
near the railway through Vend6me to Tours. These 
horsemen were attacked unawares by Franc-tireurs 
during the night from the 7th to the 8th of October, 
and were either slain or dispersed, but few only suc- 
ceeding in escaping. On the 9th of October, AbHs, 
the inhabitants of which were accused of being privy 
to the surprise, and of rendering service as guides, 
was scientifically burnt to the ground. 

This was the first act which clearly announced the 
commencement of the " war of terror,'^ although accusa- 
tions had been long before made by each party against 
the other of not observing the recognised usages of war. 
We must confess that, after a careful observation, we 
do not attach much importance to such charges, for 
war is certainly in itself a cruel afiair, and the savage- 
ness with which during a battle every man, even the 
most humane, becomes fiUed, is a natural phenomenon 
the effects of which cannot be restrained ; and, more- 
over, such accusations have of late become a kind of 
fashion. In the war of 1870 the Geneva Convention 
gave rise to many such recriminations. But whoever 
regards the matter impartially must admit that not a 
few of the determinations of the Conventions could only 
be carried out by abolishing war altogether. As, for 
example, how can one party prevent its shells, which 
now range two miles or more, from sometimes striking 



332 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the enemy's ambulances, engaged maybe in coUectiiig 
the wounded? But many of the French charges 
soon fell through. Thus it was asserted by them 
that the Germans/ notwithstanding the St Feteia- 
burg Convention, made use of explosive projectiles 
for their small arms. For field-guns, bb is weU known, 
such are the only projectiles now in use — a circum- 
stance which exemplifies the confusion which prevails 
as to humanising war. But French doctors have 
themselves explained how it stood with regard to this 
alleged use of explosive bullets, and from their state- 
ments it appears that the French troops mistook small 
fragments of the thin coating of lead which coveis 
the projectiles fired from the German breech-loadiiig 
ordnance for fragments of explosive projectiles from 
small-arms. 

The cruelties, again, which may have been com- 
mitted by the German troops in Bazeilles on the day 
of Sedan may well be overlooked, for they at aB 
events were committed in the heat and fury of battle ; 
and it cannot be expected that soldiers, when their 
blood is up, and they are hot with furious fighting, 
shall always listen to the counsels of humanity ; and 
the same may be said also of the events which took 
place at Epense. 

But the burning of Ablis was altogether another 
matter; and this cold-blooded destruction, calmly 
ordered and deliberately executed, stands in a very 
difierent category of deeds. And such acts happen now 



BURNING OF ABLIS. 333 

ever more frequently; and to-day, in the nineteenth 
century, they are announced with all the candour and 
self-sufficiency that characterised the " great " Cajsar 
when he informed the Senatus Fopulusque Romanus 
that he had caused the right hands to be cut off some 
thousands of Gallic men who had dared to rebel 
against the same Senatus Fopulusque Romanus, and 
especially against him, the Imperator. 

We have given ourselves much trouble to find out 
a case where such a manner of conducting war on a 
system of terror has led to any good result, but we 
have been unable to discover any. Even the much- 
extoUed Manhds, fighting on a confined theatre of 
war, and simply against bands of brigands, were unable 
to effect anything with it. Napoleon I. lost much in 
Spain by waging war in such a manner. Moreover, 
we are most fully persuaded that the German soldiers 
who were ordered to carry out the cold-blooded de- 
struction of this peaceful and prosperous village went 
to the work with heavy hearts ; for must they not 
have thought of their own houses ? And still more, 
we are convinced that the higher German officers who 
gave such commands gave them sadly also, and gave 
them only because they believed, in good faith, that 
good would arise from them. In our conception, that 
is precisely a delusion. For, in the first place, such- 
like experiments demoralise the best army ; men soon 
grow accustomed to anything, and why may not 
German soldiers do hereafter in their Fatherland, from 



334 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

pure love of them, those things which they did in 
France by compulsion. The indifference to acts of 
horror which characterised condemned murderers 
in the second decennary of our century, accompanied 
them from the times when, a^ soldiers of the first 
Napoleon, they were participators in, or witnesses of, 
similar deeds in Spain. In the second place, again, 
such means will never lead to a peace, but only to a 
compulsory cessation of hostilities ; and it is certainly 
no advantage for us in civilised central Europe to 
retrograde two thousand years in such a manner. Can 
the annihilation of a civilised nation be advantageous 
to another civilised people ? No I and this we can 
say without judging this matter from a higher and 
really civilised point of view, by merely applying to 
this particular case the laws of political economy, 
which have been so long and generally preached. 

On the left, again, of the 6th division of cavaby, the 
4th, Prince Albrecht of Prussia, operated along the 
railroad from Patis by Arpajon, Etampes, Angerville, 
Toury, and Artenay, to Orleans. On the left bank of 
the upper Seine, the heights of the C6te d'Or branch 
off to the south from the plateau of Langres, while 
the Morvan mountains trend away to the south-west 
towards the Loire between Nevers and Decize. From 
these latter, again, a chain of hills branches off, which, 
approaching the Loire at Cosne, runs along with it 
into the neighbourhood of Orleans, where it turns 
again to the north-west, to terminate finally in the 



ORLEANS. 335 

hills of Perche upon the peninsula of Cherbourg ; and 
it is this chain of but low elevation which separates 
the basin of the Seine from that of the Loire. The 
only water-courses of any importance flowing from 
this water-shed are the Essonne and the Eure, which 
run into the Seine, and the Mayenne, the Sarthe^ and 
the Loire, all of which join the Loire. The highest 
point of the chain is between Gien and Orleans, where 
it rises up to about 600 feet above the level of the 
sea, or 100 feet above that of the valley of the Loire. 
In the Perches, towards the peninsula of Cherbourg, 
it attains at some points an elevation of 900,* and 
even of 1300, feet; and from them branches run off 
into the peninsula of Bretagne» 

The chain of heights which we could only charac- 
terise as the water-shed between the Seine and the 
Loire, and which has in reality no general name, is 
covered on the right bank of the Loire from Gien to 
Orleans by the extensive forest of Orleans, and on this 
abuts on the north, between the Eure and the canal 
of Briare, the extremely fertile plateau of Beauce. 
Coming from Paris on the Orleans railway, Beauce is 
reached by Etampes, and the forest of Orleans by 
Chevilly ; and on the more eastern line, through Males- 
herbes and Pithiviers> the forest of Orleans is reached 
at Neuville aux Bois. 

The town of Orleans, with 50,000 inhabitants, lies 
on the right bank of the Loire, and is at the main 
junction of the railways which unite the east, and the 



336 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

west with the south of France. The principal com- 
munications from Bordeaux and Toulouse to Paris 
also run through Orleans, aud the town, although cer- 
tainly unfortified, forms a natural tSte-du-pont for the 
enterprises of the French troops assembled on the left 
bank of the Loire for the relief of Paris. To the 
fiouth of the Loire, adjoining Orleans, the barren un- 
fertile plains of the Sologne extend between the Dhui 
and the Sauldre westward towards Blois ; on them, 
under the Second Empire, large plantings of fir-trees 
had been carried out, which at present cover about 
1000 square miles. 

The 4th division of North German cavalry stood 
on the 4th of October in Toury. On the 5th a French 
detachment, which was estimated too highly at a 
division, advanced from Orleans northwards. The 
4th division, threatened on its flank, retired into tiie 
northern boundary of the Beauce to Etampes, and to 
Authon to the west of it, and sent information of 
what had occurred to the Crown-Prince of Prussia. 



337 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

THE ENCOUNTEB A'T ARTKNAT — THE OOCUPATION OF OBLEANS 
BT THE OBRMAKS, AND ITS BEGONQUBST BY THE BATTLE 
or OOITLMISB. 

The French troops which had penetrated on the 5th 
of October northwards through Toury, belonged to 
the germa of the Army of the Loire, composed at that 
time of ther 15 th Army Corps alone. The Corps num- 
bered in serviceable combatants 30,000 men, infantry 
and cavahyv and wa& under the command of Qeneral 
De la Motterouge. This General was bom in 1802, 
and received his military education in the School of 
St Cyr. In 1852 he became brigadier-general, and in 
1855 in the Crimea general c^ division. In the year 
1859 he commanded in Italy the 1st division of 
M'Mahon's Corps. In 1867 he retired into the re- 
serve, and in 1869 was returned to the Corps Legis- 
latif as an official candidate with a large majority over 
his opponent, Glais-Bizoin. General De la Motterouge 
had a well-merited fame as a good soldier, but he 
never made the slightest pretensions to the character 
of a military "genius.'' He knew full well that he 

VOL. II. Y 



338 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

could not relieve Paris with the 30,000 men whom 
he had at his disposal, and he therefore confined him- 
self to reconnoitring in the direction of the capital. 
Probably he would have done better if he had still 
further limited his movements. Evil-minded people 
assert that his parliamentary opponent drove him on 
beyond the proper mihtary boundary. How far this 

When the Crown-Prince of Prussia received in- 
formation of the occurrence at Toury, he at once 
formed a detachment under the command of General 
Von der Tann to oppose the advance of the French 
Army of the Loire, the real strength of which was 
unknown, but which it was wiser to estimate at a too 
high rather than at a too low rate. The headquarters 
of Yon der Tann were at that time in Longjumeau, 
the home of the gay postillion whom the celebrated 
singer Wachtel, himself a postboy once, represented so 
welL Under the command of the General were placed 
the greater part of his own Corps, the 1st Bavarian, 
the 22d division of the 11th North German Army 
Corps, the 4th and 2d (Stolberg) divisions of cavalry. 

Yon der Tann was first to advance to Arpajon 
to take up the 4th division of cavalry. On the 7th 
of October he arrived there, and on the 8th pushed 
forward his advanced-guard through Estrechy upon 
Etampes. The French, however, made no attempt 
to push forward, but on the contrary retired be- 
fore the Germans^ whereupon Yon der Tann was 



FIGHT AT ART£NAY. 339 

ordered to undertake himself an offenBive move- 
ment against the line of the Loire. Complying with 
these directions, he on the 10th of October encountered 
at Artenay Longerue's brigade of cavalry, which had 
been strengthened by a few companies of rifles. A 
battle ensued, in the course of which Longerue was 
remforced by General Reyau's division, and thus in- 
creased in numbers, the French maintained themselves 
in Artenay until 2.30 p.m. ; but the Germans then 
bringing into action superior forces, their adversaries 
were compelled to commence a retreat^ which was con- 
tinued as far as the western part of the forest of Orleans. 
At 6 A.M. on the next day, the 1 1th of October, Von 
der Tann began to advance again upon Orleans. On 
his extreme right was the 4th division of cavalry, 
which sought to penetrate to the Loire itself ; on the 
left of this the 22d division (Wittich) was to march 
by Sougy, Hudtre, Briey, and Boulay, upon Ormes ; 
in the centre was the 1st Bavarian Corps ; and on 
the left the 2d division of cavalry, to observe the 
forest of Orleans and to explore and take possession 
of as much of it as possible. Of the centre — ^that is, 
of the 1st Bavarian Corps — ^the 4 th brigade advanced 
upon Orleans along the road through Chevilly, on its 
left the 3d brigade moved upon St Li^, while the 1st 
brigade followed the 4th as a reserve. As they ad- 
vanced, the 3d brigade met with a somewhat stubborn 
resistance. During the combat which consequently 
followed, the advanced-guard of the 22d division, the 



340 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

32d regiment, remained in support to the south of 
Boulay. The artillery of the division, supported by 
a few Bavarian batteries, deployed between Briey and 
Gidy, and after fighting for some hours, the French 
were obliged to yield, although they had received 
considerable reinforcements, especially at Ormes, fix)in 
the leffc bank of the Loire. General De la Motterouge 
had, in fact, ordered all his troops to withdraw into 
the 1^ bank of the Loire and into the Sologne, a 
movem^QLt which naturally could not be effected with- 
out a certain amount of disorder. It was therefore 
not really necessary for the Prussian batteries to bom- 
bard the open town of Orleans, as they afterwards did, 
at 5 P.M., frwn Ingre ; for, under any circumstances. 
General Yon der Tann could have made his triumphal 
entry into the city on the evening of the 11th of 
October, 

M. Gambetta was deeply imbued with the revolu- 
tionary principles of 1793. He therefore at once 
superseded General De la Motterouge, because this 
latter had not been able to gain a brilliant victory 
with 25,000 young and barely-organised troops op- 
posed to 40,000 well-disciplined Germans. But to 
be consistent, ought not Gambetta to have caused 
the guillotine to be prepared for every defeated 
leader? Ought he not to have sent to the army 
civil commissioners with unlimited plenipotence, and 
with orders to place themselves always at the head of 
the troops engaged ? Ought he not indeed to have 



OCCUPATION OF ORLEANS BY THE GERMANS. 341 

himself assumed the command of the main army to 
make it invincible ? 

It is in general true that one man alone can never 
achieve very great things in any matter ; he must be 
supported. In war it often happens that a leader 
acquires great military renown without in the least 
meriting it, simply because the elements of the army 
which he chances to command are good and excellent 
But if the God of War himself stood at the head of a 
host whose components were nothing worthy he would 
not be able to prevail. This is an indisputable tlniism. 
A good leader may arrive at some results with very 
moderate tools, but too much must not be demanded 
from him. General De la Motterouge might have 
manoeuvred so as to render it difficult for General Von 
der Tann to gain possession of Orleans, and he might 
also have made the position of the latter afterwards 
in and about the town very uncomfortable ; but it is 
difficult to understand how he could have prevented 
the capture of the open city, considering the quantity 
and quality of the forces at his disposal Experienced 
generals called upon to op^*ate with very young troops, 
may make mistakes through expecting too much fix)m 
them, and regarding them as old soldiers ; but M. Gam- 
betta, who required that General De la Motterouge 
should hold Orleans at any cost, had certainly not 
the slightest comprehension of the relative value of 
military forces. 

De la Motterouge was superseded in t^ command 



342 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

of the Army of the Loire by General D'Aurelles de Pala- 
dines. This General, who was bom in 1803, and had 
been in the reserve forces since 1869, had been edu- 
cated in the Military School of St Cyr ; and haying 
spent the greater part of his time of service in Africa, 
had afterwards distinguished himself in the Crimea, 
at first as brigadier-general, and then as general of 
division. He was not actively employed in the cam- 
paign of 1859 in Italy, but nevertheless rendered 
important services in his post as commander of the 
9th Military Division (Marseilles), by promptly for- 
warding men and mat&riel to the field army« 

After he succeeded to his new command, Greneral 
D'Aurelles gradually received considerable reinforce- 
ments — ^to the 15th Army Corps a 16 th was added, 
and then the nucleus of a l7th. Thus strengthened, 
he determined, towards the end of October, to make 
an attack upon Von der Tann's Corps, and, if possible, 
to surround and cut it off. To this end the main body 
of his forces was to cross the Loire to the westward 
of Orleans at Mer, Beaugency, and, if practicable, at 
Meung, and then advance upon the line - Ormes-St 
P&re h, By ; while a strong detachment watched and 
disquieted Orleans from the Sologne, and the right 
wing, under General Palli^res, composed chiefly of 
cavalry, passed over the Loire to the west of Orleans 
at St Benoit, and completed the surrounding move- 
ment from that side. 
Such an operation, to be successful, must be executed 



BEGONQUEST OF ORLEANS BY THE FRENCH. 343 

with the greatest precision and rapidity. But these 
two elements of success were scarcely to be expected 
from young troops with the existing insufficiency of 
their leaders and the inadequateness of their equip- 
ment — ^there being, among other things, a great lack of 
means of transport. With improvised troops, such as 
those of General D'Aurelles, only the most simple opera- 
tions should be imdertaken. The men may possess great 
bravery, but none of the other qualities essential to the 
success of complicated movements can be looked for. 
On the French side there was much nonsense talked 
after the first misfortunes about the so-called ** secrecy 
of operations." For our part, we believe that when exe- 
cution follows rapidly upon conception, it is scarcely 
necessary to attempt to keep the affair secret from the 
enemy ; and that when, on the other hand, long weeks 
elapse between the time when the plan is formed and 
the day when it is carried out, then even the most 
perfect preservation of the secret by the inspired 
journals will not avail anything — ^unless, indeed, a 
most unexampled degree of carelessness and ignorance 
may be attributed to the hostile general and his staff, 
who would naturally not merely seek for information 
in the newspapers, but would presumably bethink 
themselves of, and provide for, every contingency. 

As early as the first days of November, General 
Von der Tann received intelligence that French de- 
tachments, coming partly from the west and partly 
from the left bank of the Loire, had strongly occupied 



344 THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the line on his right flank, from Mer on the Loire 
to Morde on the Loire, and especially the forest of 
Marchenoir. At that time he had present in Orleans 
one division of his Bavarian Ciorps ; the other was 
pushed forward into the Sologne, while the 22d divi- 
sion had been detached to Chartres. Of cavalry, only 
the 2d division was completely at his disposal With 
it, therefore, he made reconnaissances; and from 
the information collected, and from the reports of 
spies, he became assured by the 7th of November 
that the main body of the French Army of the Loire 
intended to attack him on the right flank. Li order, 
therefore, to be able to await the arrival of the 22d 
division, ai^d of any further reinforcements which 
might be sent to him from the blockading army 
around Paris, Von der Tann, on the 8th of November, 
evacuated Orleans, leaving behind in the town only 
the sick and a regiment of his Corpi^ and took up a 
position on the highroad from Orleans to Chateau- 
dun, between St Pfere k By and Onnes, having his 
advanced troops pushed forward to Coulmier and 
Huisseau. It will perhaps not be superfluous to call 
to mind here that during the last days of October and 
the first of November M. Thiers was in Paris and 
Versailles attempting to negotiate an armistice. 

On the morning of liie 9th the detachment of Grer- 
man cavalry which was moving westwards through 
Coulmier came very early, at about 7 A.M., upon 
French troops, which moved forward to oppose them. 



RECONQUEST OF ORLBANS BY THE FRENCH. 345 

and a very obstinate fight ensued along the front 
Coulmier-Huisseau, and especially on the right wing 
of the Germans at Coulmier. The French had 
brought up all the artillery which they had ready, 
and on that day were very superior in that arm to 
their adversaries. The young French infantry be- 
haved very well, particularly as an active advance was 
not demanded from them; and therefore, as it liecame 
dusk. Von der Tann withdrew slowly upon St P^re k 
By, in the direction of Artenay ; and from the latter 
place again on the following day^ the 10th, upon 
Toury, where on the succeeding night the 22d divi- 
sion joined communication with hinu 

There is no doubt that the surrender of Orleans 
created a great impression in the German head- 
quarters at Versailles, and was considered to be of 
more importance than in our opinion it really was. 
Orders were at once issued to despatch more troops to 
reinforce Von der Tann, and large forces had just 
become available for this purpose through the capitu- 
lation of Metz. Later on we shall see the use which 
was made of these and other troops. 

On the French side. General D'Aurelles de Paladine 
spoke very modestly of the victory of Coidmier, both 
in his report to the Govenunent of National Defence 
and also in the order of the day addressed to his 
troops. Very different was the tone of M. Gambetta, 
who saw in this success the beginning of the relief of 
Paris — as if this could be effected by a young army 



346 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

which at a very high estimate numbered but 60,000 
men, against 200,000 Gennans accustomed to war. 
Moreover, he on this occasion so exaggerated the 
services of the brave and gallant D'Aurelles, that any 
wise man could foretell the certainty, not merely the 
probability, of his speedy dismission* 



I 



347 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

THE OPERATIONS IN THE EAST — ADVANCE OF THE 14TH GER- 
MAN ARMY CORPS UPON THE OIGKON, AND THE BATTLE OF 
OIGNON ON THE 22D OF OCTOBER. 

During the last days of the siege of Strasburg, 
the Franc-tireurs aod the men of the Mobile Guard 
gathered together in the southern Yosges had greatly 
molested the communications of the Germans. As 
soon^ therefore, as Strasburg fell, General von Werder 
sent a column under General von Degenfeld into the 
Yosges to reconnoitre, to scatter any bands of parti- 
sans it might encounter, and to instil dread into the 
inhabitants. This colimm was composed of 6 bat- 
talions, 2^ squadrons, and 12 gun& It was sub- 
divided into three minor columns of 2 battalions 
each, with a proportion of artillery and cavalry. Of 
these smaller divisions one, the northern one, was 
to cross the Yosges, moving from Mutzig by way 
of Schirmeck ; and the other two, the central and 
southern ones, were to traverse the mountains by 
various routes, and unite finally at Raon I'Etape and 
Etival in the valley of the Meurthe. 



348 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

The departure of these troops from the neighbour- 
hood of Strasburg took place on the 1st of October — 
the northern column leaving a battalion behind at 
Schirmeck to keep up the connection between Degen- 
feld. in the Vosges and Werder at Strasburg. In 
crossing the mountains great difficulties were experi- 
enced, as the French had everywhere destroyed the 
roads or thrown barricades across them, although it 
is true that these obstacles were only partially and 
but very weakly defended. The first encounter was 
a very unimportant one on the 5th of October at 
Raon TEtape, at the confluence of the Plaine and the 
Meurthe. 

Meanwhile, by a decree from the headquarters at 
Ferri^res, dated the 30th of September, the formation 
of a 14th Army Corps under General Werder was 
ordered. This was to consist of the troops which had 
taken part in the siege of Strasburg, with the exception 
of the landwehr division of the Guard, which was sent 
to join the troops before Paris, but was replaced by a 
new landwehr division, and of the 4th reserve divi- 
sion, Schmeling, which had been assembled in the 
beginning of October at Freiburg in the Breisgau. 
Simultaneously with this order, Werder received on 
the 4th of October his promotion to general of infantry, 
and on the same day further instructions to cross the 
Vosges with his Corps to attack and disperse the French 
troops which were being collected and organised 
there. For this operation he had just then only the 



OPERATIONS IN THE EAST. 349 

Baden field division and the 30th Prussian regiment 
of infantry, as it was necessaiy to employ the land- 
wehr division of Treskow and Schmeling partly in 
garrison duties and partly in subduing the smaller 
fortresses in Upper Alsace. To Degenfeld he sent 
directions instructing him to regard thenceforth his 
detachment as the advanced-guard of that part of the 
1 4th Army Corps abeady in movement towards Epinal. 

On the 5th and 6th of October the troops of Werder 
which were to be employed in these operations left 
the neighbourhood of Strasburg for the Vosges. On 
the 6th, Degenfeld, in compliance with special orders 
appended to the general instructions, determined to 
occupy St Di^, and commenced to ascend the Melirthe. 
But as he marched, he was attacked at Etival on his 
right flank by strong detachments of French coming 
from the direction of Kemberviller and Bruy^res. 
This obliged him to halt, and a violent engagement 
followed, which concluded finally with the repulse of 
the French attack, but still the onslaught had rendered 
it impossible for the Germans to reach St Di^ on that 
day. Degenfeld therefore remained during the 7th 
with his main body to the south of Etival, to secure 
the descent of Werder into the valleys of the Plaine 
and Babodot, but sent forward detachments to St 
Di^, La Bourgonce, and St B^noit, which places they 
reached without encountering further resistance. 

On the morning of the 8th of October, Werder's 
columns, under Generals Laroche du Jarrys and Keller, 



350 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER, 

desceDded into the valley of the Meurthe at Etival 
and St Di& On the 9th, Werder, having now con- 
centrated all his available troops, established his head- 
quarters at Eaon TEtape, and on the same day set 
his advanced-guard in motion from the Meurthe to- 
wards the Moselle upon Epinal, following it on the 
10th and 11th with his remaining forces in four 
columns. During the advance small skirmishes took 
place at Bemberviller, Bronveulieres, and Amould, 
and on the 12th at Epinal. On the same day Werder 
removed his headquarters to this last-named town, 
and thence ordered various reconnaissances towards 
the west and south. On the 15th he departed, mov- 
ing along the Basle-Paris Railway, through Xertigny 
and St Loup to Besoul. This town was occupied 
on the 18th, .the Germans meeting with no serious 
opposition to their advance ; but still, whenever the 
faintest attempt at resistance was made, they shot 
down unmercifully and levied heavy contributiona 

During their march upon Besoul, the Germans re- 
cognised that the centre of the French resistance in 
this district was the important town of Besanjon. 
The town is situated upon a peninsula formed by the 
Doubs, has 47,000 inhabitants, and is surrounded with 
modem fortifications, which cause it to be ranked as 
a fortress of the first class. In the campaign of Caesar 
against Ariovistus, the town, the old Besontio, served 
as a main point of support to the former. Between 
it and Besoul runs the Oignon. Close to the point 



ADVANCE UPON THE OIQNON. 351 

where it flows into the Saone, antiquarians have dis- 
covered at Moigte de Broye the battle-field of Mageto- 
briga, upon which the proud king Ariovistus defeated 
the Gauls so decisively that his haughtiness thence- 
forth knew no bounds. 

Werder could scarcely think of attempting to take 
Besangon with the forces which he had ; but by push- 
ing forward in that direction he might nevertheless 
succeed in enticing forth and defeating in the open 
field considerable portions of the young French army 
forming in those parts. By this, many advantages 
woidd be gained. The Germans, no longer imme- 
diately threatened by French field forces, would be 
able to operate with greater freedom in Alsace, and 
to undertake, besides, expeditions in any direction 
with their otherwise disposable troops. Moved by 
these reasons, therefore, Werder resolved to pursue 
the French in the direction of Besan9on, and to this 
end caused his forces to move on the 22d of October 
in three columns upon the Oignon : upon the right 
wing, against Le Pin, Prince William of Baden ; in 
the centre, against Etuz, Degenfeld; on the left^ 
against Voray, General von Keller ; while the reserve, 
under General von Krug, was to advance behind the 
centre upon Oizelay, smaller detachments covering 
and clearing up the flanks. 

Degenfeld and KeUer soon met with considerable 
resistance, especially the former, after he had gained 
the passage of the Oignon at Cussey. Throughout 



352 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the day he sustained the battle nearly alone, only 
receiving support from the Prussian reserve brigade 
of Von Exug, — Keller and Prince William coming up 
somewhat too late. But spite of this the Germans 
were again successful, and that against a considerable 
numeri^superiority: 

Werder, however, dared not venture to think of 
taking Besan^on. As he had operated on the Oig- 
non, so must he proceed likewise more to the west- 
ward, and therefore he now directed his troops 
upon Gray on the Saone, a thriving town of 8000 
inhabitants. By the 24th of October he had concen- 
trated there the main body of his troops, and sent de- 
tachments to the west and north-west towards the 
southern slopes of the plateau of Langres. These de- 
tachments had to sustain various sUght skirmishes, 
making in them many pnscmers from among the rural 
population, and shooting down by martial law, 
without troubling their consciences much about con- 
ventional rules, those who defended their country. 

On the 28th of October, Werder deployed his avail- 
able troops along the Yingeanne, a small affluent of 
the Saone, flowing into the latter just above the point 
where it receives the Oignon. In this neighbourhood, 
about Prauthoy on the Yingeanne, the battle between 
Csesar and Yercingetorix was most probably fought, 
whereby the latter was obliged to retire upon, and 
shut himself up in, Alesia (AUse St Beine), the siege 
of which plays such a prominent part in military his- 



ADVANCE UPON THE OIGNON. 353 

tory. Werder established his headquarters in Eeneve. 
On the 29th of October he purposed advancing upon 
the old capital of Burgundy, Dijon, intending to occupy 
that open town of 40,000 inhabitants, which was only 
a good day's march distant from the positions on the 
Vingeanne. With this intention he had already, on 
the 28th, pushed forward the brigade of Prince Wil-. 
liam of Baden to Mirebeau on the Beze ; but on the 
mormng of the 29th he received orders to establish 
himself in Gray, and from this important raUway 
junction to cleanse the environs of the plateau of 
Langres, and so secure the left flank of the advance of 
Prince Frederic Charles, who, after the capitulation of 
Metz, was to repair to Troyes on the Seine. 

Werder accordingly resolved to march with at least 
one portion of his troops upon Gray ; but as intelli- 
gence had been received from Prince William that 
Dijon had been abandoned by the French forces, he 
at the same time determined to send forward to that 
toii^Ti the two Baden brigades of Prince William and 
of Keller, giving the chief command to General von 
Beyer, who had again assumed the leadership of the 
Baden field-division. 



VOL. II. 



354 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

THB OGCUPATIOK OF DUON OK THE 3I8T OF OCTOBER. 

On the moming of the 30th of October Beyer com- 
menced his march, Prince William's brigade starting 
from Mirebeau, and that of Keller from Tabnaj on 
the Lower Vingeanne. In opposition to the earlier 
information which had been received, Prince William 
encountered opposition even when he anived at 
Magny St Medard — ^very slight, certainly, at first, but 
gradually increasing in obstinacy as the Badensers 
advanced further towards Dijon by Arc sur Tille, 
Varois, and St ApoUinaire. 

The truth was, that on the 28th of October the 
French troops in Dijon had, by the wish of the muni- 
cipal authorities, evacuated the town. It would really 
have been an act of insanity to have attempted to 
defend as a fortress the open city, although it is true 
that the scanty remains of some old fortifications still 
existed, especially on the eastern side, the quarter 
from which the Badensers would attacW. If the 
military forces of France, which up to that time 
had been assembled, had been properly concentrated 



OCCUPATION OF DIJON, 355 

in good time^ instead of being disseminated in the 
defence of separate localities^ more might have been 
effected. But now the population, especially the 
working classes, opposed the decision of the local 
authorities, and, on the 29th, crowded before the 
prefecture and forced the new prefect to promise 
the defence of Dijon. Marching battalions of the 
line came up in all haste from Beaune, Auxonne, 
and Langres, and to these Mobile Guards of the 
Departments Cdte d'Or and Loz^re, and Mobilised 
National Guards of Dijon, joined themselves. These 
collective troops placed themselves under the com- 
mand of Colonel Fauconnet, and he at once took the 
necessary measures for defence — pushed forward a 
detachment, which was the one that offered the first 
serious resistance to the Badensers, to Magny St 
Medard, occupied St ApoUinaire and the suburbs of 
Dijon, particularly those of St Nicolas and St Pierre 
to the east of the town, where the gardens are for the 
most part surrounded by walls, caused them to be 
placed in a state of defence, and then formed with 
the remaining a reserve on the south of the town. 

Colonel Fauconnet himself fell early in the forenoon 
in the fight about ApoUinaire, and the defence of that 
place became afterwards somewhat irresolute, so that 
after three o'clock the Germans were able to turn to 
the attack of the suburbs of St Pierre and St Nicolas. 
There the infantry struggle was excessively stubborn. 
The Germans suffered so considerably, that at 4 p.m. 



356 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

General Beyer judged it expedient to cause the attack 
to be more thoroughly prepared for by the artilleiy, 
and accordingly the infantry was withdrawn and col- 
lected under cover of a bombardment. The Baden 
guns continued to fire upon the town until after 
dusk; and meanwhile Prince William's brigade 
was concentrated in St Apollinaire and Varois, 
where also Beyer established his headquarters, and 
Keller's brigade on the left between Coutemon and 
Queligny. While the Baden troops were in the act 
of concentrating, a French balteHon came np from 
Langres, and, covered by the darkness^ fell upon the 
right flank of the Germans, occasioning there a short 
but violent combat, consequent on which it was com- 
pelled to retreat. 

By 7 P.M. Dijon was on fire in seven places, and 
General Beyer then ordered the cannonade to cease. 
At half-past three o'clock next morning a deputation 
of the municipality appeared before the outposts of 
Prince William's brigade, and in the name of the 
town demanded a capitulation ; but before this the 
French troops had been induced to quit Dijon, and 
had taken their departure during the night. The 
terms of the surrender were concluded at 10 A.M., 
tixe main condition imposed upon the town being 
that it should furnish supplies for 20,000 German 
troops, but only on regular requisitions through the 
authorities ; and as a surety for the fulfilment of its 
promise to keep the peace, the town was to lodge a 



OCCUPATION OF DIJON. 357 

sum of half a million of francs, which, however, would 
be repaid if it kept its word. 

At 1 P.M. Beyer entered the town with his troops. 
His losses amounted to 245 killed and wounded, those 
of the French to about double that number. Only 
Prince William's brigade of Baden troops had really 
come into action, as Keller, by reason of the long 
march which he had to make, only arrived very 
late before Dijon. The town having been thus 
gained posseasion of, was left in charge of General 
Be jer, whilst Werder, in the first two days of Novem- 
ber, moved with the remainder of his troops from Gray 
upon Besoul, in the environs of which the Franc-tireu« 
were again begixming to exhibit great activity. 



358 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

THE OPERATIONS OF THE 4TH BESERVE DIVISION — THE 
GAPTUBE OF SCHLETTSTADT AND mCU BBSISAOH. 

We have already made mention of the 4th Prussian 
reserve (landwehr) division under the command of 
General von Schmeling. After it had been concen- 
trated at Freiburg in the Breisgau, it crossed the 
Rhine in ferry-boats on the 1st and 2d of October 
at Neuenberg, into Alsace^ its immediate task being 
to take the smaller fortresses of that district Schme- 
ling sent a detachment to the left to the rich manu- 
facturing town of Mtilhausen, and turned himself to 
the north against Neu Breisach. This small town, 
which contained barely 3500 inhabitants, and had 
been fortified by Yauban as a bastioned octagon, was 
summoned to surrender, but refused; and even a bom- 
bardment from field-guns during the night from the 
7th to the 8th of October, failed to induce the com- 
mandant to change his mind. General Schmding 
therefore determined to diverge for the present against 
Schlettstadt — Cleaving only a detachment behind, be- 
fore Neu Breisach and Fort Mortier, a detached work 



CAPTUBB OP SCHLBTTSTADT. 359 

situated to the east of the fortress towards the 
Rhine. 

Schlettstadt, which has 10,000 inhabitants, is, as 
a town, of much moire importance than Neu Breisach. 
As a fortress, it is, like the latter, a bastioned octagon ; 
but its siege seemed to be more easily undertaken, 
as it lies nearer to Strasburg, and Schmeling could 
therefore the more easily procure thence his siege 
mat&rieL. As a fact, he was reinforced fix>m the latter 
place by siege-artillery, detachments of fortress artil- 
lery, and companies of fortress engineers, and also by 
a regiment of landwehr (Ostrowski) from Tree^ow's 
division. 

The commandant of Schlettstadt, Squadron Chief 
De Reinach de Foussemagne, answered a summons to 
surrender somewhat haughtily. Schmeling, therefore, 
after he had received his reinforcements and finished 
his preparations, first caused a four-gun battery to be 
constructed to the east of the fortress and of the 
ground inundated by the waters of the 111 and of the 
Blind ; and a cannonade was commenced with success 
on the 20th of October. Shortly afterwards, during 
the night from the 22d to the 23d of October, the 
first parallel was opened, at a distance of only 500 
to 700 paces from the eastern side of the fortress ; 
and at the same time six batteries, for a total number 
of 32 guns, were built in rear of it. From these a 
fire agaiDst the ramparts and the town could be com- 
menced on the morning of the 23d. The batteries. 



360 THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBONTIEB. 

and also the first parallel, were completed with an 
incredibly small loss. 

On the morning of the 24th the white flag was 
hoisted over Schlettstadt. By noon the capitulation 
was arranged, and Prussian battahons were marched 
into the town by the special wish of the commandant, 
to restore order, as the garrison, after refusing to con- 
tinue the defence, gave themselves over to every 
possible excess. By four o'clock in the afternoon, 
these men (in number about 2000, chiefly Mobiles), 
having by the terms of the surrender become prisoners 
of war, were removed from the fortress, and on the 
following day Schmeling formally entered the town. 
In it were found 120 guns. Ostrowski's regiment of 
landwehr was left behind for the present to garrison 
the fortress ; and on the 26th, Schmeling departed for 
Neu Breisach, taking with him the greater part of his 
division, and the siege-artillery concentrated before 
Schlettstadt 

On the 2d of November several Prussian batteries 
came into action against this latter place, at first on 
the north side at Wolfganzen and Biesheim ; while 
simultaneously with them three Baden batteries on 
the right bank of the Ehine at Alt Breisach opened 
fire upon Fort Mortier, which was only armed with 
seven guns. This latter work. Captain Castelli of 
tiie 74th regiment of the line commandant, capitu- 
lated early on the morning of the 8th of November. 
On the 10th the commandant of the fortress, lieu- 



CAPTUBE OF NEU BREISAGH. 361 

tenant-Colonel Lostie de Kerhor, was also obliged to 
run up the white flag. On the morning of the 11th 
the Prussians occupied the gates of Neu Breisach; 
and an hour later the French prisoners of war, about 
5000 men, marched out. In the fortress the Prussians 
found 108 girns^ as well as many supplies. 



362 



CHAPTER XXXVIIL 

THE OPERATIONS OF THE 14TH NORTH GERMAN ARMY CORPS 

DURING THE MONTH OF NOYEMBER. 

DiJON had fallen into Werder's hands on the 31st of 
October ; but at the same time he had been compelled 
to retire again upon Besoul, to keep up his connection 
throufi^h the Vosfi^es with Alsace and the troops which 
we. L™g fl. Genn«.y. Af^™cce«Lw. 
won, things appear very insignificant which in their 
toe l«>m^ ?^«^rpl»nl»»,: «><l ».w 
General von Werder was obliged to cany on war 
with all his disposable forces, much as he had learnt 
to do in the Caucasus, against ''impalpable bands/' 
as they are called in the present military phraseology, 
— ^against the people, as will be said in a future 
military nomenclature. But Werder had, moreover, 
other strategical problems to solve, which were quite 
in accordance with modem military ideas. Thus he 
had to subdue such of the fortresses of Alsace as had 
not already been taken or attacked by the Germans. It 
has just been related how the 4th landwehr division ob- 
tained possession of Schlettstadt and Neu 



BELFORT. 363 

Meanwhile a new landwehr division had been concen- 
trated on the 26th of Octob^ at Kehl, under General 
von Debfichitz ; and as this sufficed to form the garrisons 
required in Alsace, TreskoVs division was set free to 
undertake other tasks. It was therefore destined for 
the attack on Belfort, and towards the end of October 
commenced to move towards it 

Belfort, situated on the Savoureuse — ^a river which, 
uniting with the Haleine, flows into the Doubs — is a 
small town with 7500 inhabitants, most of whom do 
not dwell in the town itself, but in the suburb De 
France on the west, of Montbeliard on the south, and 
of Breisach on the north-east The original fortifica- 
tions of the town date from Vauban. They are con- 
structed on his third system, with tower riduitSf and 
would form a regular pentagon if the citadel did not 
project forward in place of one of the bastions, and if 
a second bastion was not much retired for the sake 
of obtaining mutual defence. The citadel itself. La 
Roche, is in shape a small casemated crown-work, 
with three enceintes rising terrace-like one above 
another, and with ditches hewn in the rock. It 
stands on the south-eastern corner of the town forti- 
fications, and has all the imposing effect of a strong 
old mountain-ckstle. It also was built, essentially in 
its present form, by Vauban. 

The so-called intrenched camp extends on the 
north-eastern side of the town fortifications on both 
sides of the highway to Eolmar. It consists of 



364 THE WAB FOB THE BHINE FBONTIEB. 

two main works — the forts of La Justice on the 
south, and of La Miotte on the north, of the road. 
These two are connected with one another by a con- 
tinuous fortified line, and with the main enceinte of 
the town by two more fortified lines of a very simple 
construction, and the interior of the camp lies much 
lower than the works which surround it Fort Miotte 
has a high watch-tower, visible from a great distance. 

The railway from Basle to Paris, comiug from 
Mtilhausen, runs on the south of the town from east 
to west to the village of Danjoutin on the Savour- 
euse, and then crossing the river turns nearly north, 
and passes through a deep cutting to the west of 
the suburb of De France. When the line was con- 
structed, the company was obUged to build a work 
to cover this suburb and the bridge leading from it 
over the cutting. This fortification took the form of 
a very flat homwork with a long front. It was run 
up in earth without any covered spaces, and did not 
at all fulfil the requirements of modem warfare. 
Accordingly, when in 1867 the system of fortresses in 
France was subjected to a revision, the construction 
of new detached forts at Belfort was projected, one 
of which, the Fort des Barres, was to be placed 
immediately in front of this homwork, and a second, 
and perhaps a third, on the chain of heights of the 
Perche. 

The construction of the Fort des Barres was com- 
menced in 1868, and was completed in all essential 



BBLFORT. 365 

details before the outbreak of the war of 1870, so that 
only unimportant additions were then necessary. 
The work was in the form of a large crown-work, 
having its gorge towards the old railway fort, and 
closed with a wall. It had large traverses and cava- 
liers in the bastions and on the curtains, especially 
on the northern or right half, with a view to SSlade 
it from the spurs of the Mont du Salbert, which run 
out close before the fort, or at least at a distance 
which may be called close considering the range 
of modem artillery. The work was also amply pro- 
vided with exceuTntly-arranged bomb-proof iaces. 
The chain of heights of the Perche runs along the 
left bank of the Savoureuse, in front of the citadel, 
and therefore on the south-east of the fortress, be- 
tween the villages of Danjoutin and Perouse, and 
from its hills a good view is obtained towards the 
Jura Mountains over the " Gap of Belfort." Upon 
this chain, General Lecombe in 1815 threw up 
several earthworks, which greatly contributed to 
the defence of the town against the Allies. Since 
1867 no less than six projects have been drawn 
up for the permanent fortification of the Perche. 
At first it was designed to build two detached forts 
there, but afterwards it was determined to have but 
one; and the variety of opinion which existed was 
as to the form which this solitary work was to take. 

When in 1870 war was declared against Germany, 
nothing had been settled on this point ; still less had 



366 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

the work on the Perche been commenced. After 
hostilities had been begun, two field-forts were under- 
tSpken there — one upon " La Haute Perche " to the 
eastward, another on " La Basse Perche " to the west- 
ward towards Danjoutin; a similar one was also 
placed to the south of the Fort des Barres at Belle- 
vue, and, moreover, the latter work was joined by 
an intrenched line to the fortified camp near La 
Miotte. 

The Government of the Republic named as com- 
mandant of Belfort Denfert-Eochereau, chief of bat- 
talion in the engineers, who at the same time was 
promoted to colonel. The choice thus made was an 
excellent one, which certainly cannot be said of all 
the selections made at this time. Colonel Denfert had 
for many years conducted the works about Belfort, 
knew the place and its weak points thoroughly, and 
was, moreover, a simple, quiet, thoughtful man, who 
had only concerned himself about his country, not 
about i^e Empire. 

Belfort was certainly, through its fortificationa, a 
much stronger place than Schlettstadt and Neu Brei- 
sach, and even than Strasburg itself ; but still it was 
not by any means so difficult to take as the Prussian 
newspapers described it to be. It was only necessary 
to find the weak point to attack ; but this was not 
discovered here any more than it was at Paris. It 
would seem that no^emers coming fromaflat dis- 
trict are inordinately impressed by mountains— even 



BELFORT. S67 

by eminences which in a mountainous country would 
only be called hills^--and that they are thereby led to 
take wrong steps in spite of aU their wisdom. 

On the 2d of November, TreskoVs troops began to 
appear before Belfort, and on the 3d the place was 
invested, although certainly very incompletely. On 
the 4th, General von Treskow addressed a very pe- 
cidiar letter to Denfert In it he did not directly 
demand the immediate surrender of Belfort, but he 
gave the commandant all manner of counsels as to 
how the horrors of the siege with which the place was 
threatened might be alleviated. Denfert replied in a 
very humorous manner that the surest means to spare 
the inhabitants such a trial would be for Treskow to 
depart from the neighbourhood ; but that, neverthe- 
less, he had no great expectations that this most cer- 
tain remedy would be adopted, and that, accordingly, 
he had taken other precautionary measures. Later 
on Belfort acquired a still greater importance, and we 
shall be obliged to return to it again. For the pre^ 
sent we leave it, only remarking that for many weeks 
nothing took place in its vicinity, save skirmishes be- 
tween the Germ^ investing forces, endeavouring to 
complete and maintain their blockading line, and the 
French garrison, which was striving to disquiet its 
adversaries and prevent the carrying out of their 
efforts. The investment was at first very incomplete, 
and the correspondence with the country outside was 
for a long time uninterrupted. 



368 THE WAE FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

Treskow's division being thus cpmmissioned to sur-- 
round, and, if possible, take Belfort, which it was now 
in any case important to obtain possession of, as the 
German Government had declared that it intended 
to keep Alsace after the conclusion of peace, the 4th 
landwehr division (Schmeling) could be called up, 
after the fall of Neu Breisach, to protect the etappen 
roads (lines of communication), and to form a reserve 
for those troops of Werder's Corps which were dispos- 
able for field operations. With these, therefore, Wer- 
der could now act more boldly, and on the 12th of 
November he concentrated them on the Saone between 
PontaiUier and Auxonne. The Baden brigades were 
also called up &om Dijon, and it was determined to 
take possession of Auxonne. This small utterly un- 
important town of 7000 inhabitants was placed in the 
old French scheme as a fortress of the third class, 
chiefly because of its citadel ; and Werder convinced 
himself by reconnaissances with his advanced troops 
that the place was occupied, that the garrison was on 
the alert, and that the fortress could not be taken by 
a coup de main. 

Meanwhile the French forces in the neighbourhood 
availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by the 
removal of the German troops from Dijon to reoccupy 
it. Werder was greatly displeased at this, and there- 
fore, on the 1 4th of November, he again inarched upon 
that town. These French troops in the environs of 
Dijon belonged to Garibaldi's Corps. The latter, who 



GARIBALDIANS REOCCUPY DUON. 369 

originally had established his headquarters in Besan- 
gon, and had there fallen out with General Cambriel, 
had moved to D61e, and afterwards, owing to the 
energetic advance of the Germans, to Autun. At 
that time his Corps numbered barely 10,000 service- 
able men. His Chief of the Staff was a General Bor- 
done — according to French accounts an apothecary 
of Avignon, who, having involved himself with the 
tribunals by an immoderate love of his art, had with- 
drawn into Italy, and there changed his French name 
of Bourdon into Bordone. How much truth there 
may be in the reports of the criminal antecedents of 
M. Bourdon we do not know, but we can certainly 
affirm that this M. Bordone was a most singularly- 
chosen Chief of the Staff for a Corps which was to be 
raised to a strength of 20,000 men, and which was, 
by its activity in la petite guerre, to exercise the 
influence of one of 50,000. As a matter of fact, this 
man seemed chiefly to have waged war against the 
priests, and against the former adherents of the Em- 
peror Napoleon IlL But if Garibaldi was badly 
enough served on his inmiediate staff, he had at the 
same time* some right good partisan officers in the 
Corps, ready for any bold and daring undertaking, 
among whom may be named his two sons, Menotti 
and Bicciotti. 

It was, then, a detachment of Garibaldians which 
occupied Dijon after the Badensers had quitted it 
Upon receiving information thereof, Werder, not hav- 

VOL. II. 2 A 



370 THE WAR FOR THE RH^nB FRONTIER. 

ing any prospect of being able to take Auxonne im- 
mediately, marched again, on the 14th of November, 
upon the capital of Burgundy, and, as he approached, 
the Garibaldian party again withdrew. Werder, 
upon this, while his main force was being concen- 
trated about Dijon, despatched two columns south- 
wards, the one upon Nuits, the other upon D61e. 
The first of these took the enviable route along the 
Cdte d'Or, through the districts where Chambertin 
and Clos de Yougeot grows, and established itself 
firmly in those parts, as is easily conceivable, enjoy- 
ing the good wine, and with its aid despising the 
dangers threatened by hostile roving parties. The 
column sent against Ddle had to sustain a more im- 
portant combat at St Jean de Losne on the Saone, 
where they found the bridge destroyed. 

Werder, holding fast to IKjon as a central point, 
confined himself to smaller undertakings against the 
volunteer corps^ which, continually attacked and dis- 
persed, ever appeared again and again at other points. 
As early as the 10th of November he had sent a 
detachment to the Seine, to seek to establish a com- 
munication with the army of Prince Frederic Charles. 
It arrived, after incessant fighting with Franc-tireurs, 
as far as Chatillon cm the Seine, but was then com- 
pelled to retreat, and succeeded in reaching Bijon 
again through the Cdte d'Or, having suffered but un- 
important losses. Shortly afterwards, Chatillon was 
occupied by a battalion (Unna's) of the 16th regiment. 



SURPRISE AT CHATILLON. 37l 

of landwehr, and two squadrons of the 5th hussar 
regiment of the reserve. These troops established 
themselves only too comfortably in the town, and in 
the night of the 19th of November were surprised by 
a detachment of Garibaldians under Bicciotti Gari- 
baldi. So successful was the attack, that the German 
troops only escaped with difficulty, losing 120 men 
and 70 horses; and reassembling on the north of 
Chatillon, commenced a retreat in a north-easterly 
direction, at first upon Chateau- Villain. 

As early as October there had been much talk in 
the leading circles of France of a great operation in 
the east. An army was to be assembled there, and 
advancing from south to north was to disturb Alsace 
and break up the Strasburg-Paris railway, the vital 
artery of the German armies before Paris. Un- 
doubtedly such an operation was rightly conceived ; 
but in October the new organisations had made but 
very small progress, and if the French forces were 
not forthcoming in excess, it must seem to be more 
natural to assemble together everjrthing that could be 
raised for the great and nearest objective of relieving 
Paris by the most direct means. And in reality the 
operations in the east were postponed, and we shall 
hereafter see how they were only earnestly under- 
taken at a much later period. 



372 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

THE EMPLOYMENT OF THE FIRST AND SECOND GERMAN ARMIES 
AFTER THE FALL OF METZ — THE CAPITULATION OF SOIS- 
SONS AND THIONYILLE. 

That simplicity of the operations of flie German 
armies which characterised the first periods of the 
war, could not continue as hostilities went on. The 
wider the theatre of war became extended, so much 
the more did the struggle assume the character of a 
national war, and so much the more numerous were 
the secondaiy objects which the German leaders had 
to pursue and cpnsider. It will therefore be well to 
recall to mind from time to time the general picture 
of the war, since the many details tend to obscure 
and confuse it 

In the middle of November, the picture, then, is 
generally this : — 

In Paris an army has been formed, numerically at 
least very strong; the capital still maintain]^ itself 
and submits, in a wonderful and unexpected manner, 
to the hard conditions which a state of siege brings 
with it, while all the resources of intellect are being 
employed to discover new means of resistance, and 



STATE OF THE WAK IN NOVEMBEIL 373 

by their application to prolong the defence. Still it 
can be foreseen that the great town must be finally 
compelled to surrender, by famine or by something 
similar, unless relief arrives in time. The German 
troops before Paris are in quality superior to the 
newly-created French forces, and the more time they 
gain to intrench themselves, the more capable will 
they become of repelling, even though they be inferior 
in numbers, the sorties of the garrison of Paris, 
however well conducted such enterprises may be. 
Everything depends upon a timely reHef from with- 
out Should such an attempt succeed in reaching 
the German Unes, a sortie by the mobile army in 
Paris will contribute greatly to the success of the 
enterprise ; but this army cannot possibly execute 
alone that which the whole of France should endea- 
vour to bring to pass. 

For the relief of Paris there is ready the Army of 
the Loire, under General D'Aurelles de Paladine. Its 
advance along the road from Orleans to Paris, and the 
battle of Coulmier, have obliged General Von der 
Tann to withdraw in the direction of Paris ; but 
reinforcements are hurrying up from all sides to the 
Bavarian commander, and it will be very difficult for 
the Government of National Defence so to strengthen 
D'Aurelles' army as to enable it to operate successfully 
against the Germans. The command of the army of 
observation, detached against the Army of the Loire, 
is intrusted for the present to the Grand Duke of 



374 THE WAB FOE THE RHINE FRONTIEB. 

Mecklenburg. D'Aurelles can seek and may find 
connection with the Anny of the West, which is 
forming in the camp of Conlie, or even with the 
Army of the North, whkh is based on Lille and 
Amiens, and he may be farther reinforced by all the 
new troops which are being organised in the south- 
west of France, and which are assembling about 
Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Neveri Will D'Aurelles de 
Paladine — will they who are to organise and bring to 
him forces for the attainment of tha great objective 
— succeed in being beforehand with Ihe Grermans 1 

In the east things are nearly equally balanced. 
Werder cannot possibly achieye my great results wiih 
the numerically small {qic^b at his disposal. But 
in this zone of operations the French are no stronger 
than he is, for although superior to him in numbers 
and in material resources, they are still divided by 
local considerations. The departments on the shores 
of the Mediterranean do not do all that they might, 
because they regard the war in itself as being stiU 
far diBtant from them. The department of the Rhone, 
and those adjacent to it, care principally to provide 
for tbd defence of Lyons ; and thus Werder is only 
opposed by a few French detachments, which trouble 
him certainly, but which he can keep in check. His 
most important task is the capture of Belfort, but 
this he seems almost to have forgotten, being busied 
with collateral enterprises, and finding it apparently, 
more agreeable to capture large undefended towns in 
the open country. 



STATE OF THE WAB IN KOVEMBBB. 375 

Meanwhile Metz and Bazaine's army have capit- 
ulated. From the first days of September until the 
end of October, the First and Second German Armies 
stood united under the command of Prince Fred- 
eric Charles before this principal place of arms of 
France; but after the surrender of Metz, the two 
hosts were now again separated. The First Army, 
placed under the command of General von Manteuffel, 
and consisting of the 1st, 8th, and 7th Corps, was to 
engage the French Army of the North, advancing 
itself in a direction from east to west, between the 
Belgian frontier and the lower Seine. It was farther 
to capture such strongholds as were stiU unsubdued 
in those parts, and to establish communication with 
the coast, so that if the supplies by land should fail, 
provisions for the army might be procured by sea 
from and through England,. 

The Second Army, upder Prince Frederic Charles, 
was to march to the south-west towards the middle 
Seine, and establish thd communication between 
Werder in the east and the Army of the Loire, imder 
the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, which, 
after the battie of Coulmier, had been concentrated 
in the west. According to the aspect that affairs 
might assume. Prince Frederic Charles could throw 
his forces either eastward or westward, and wherever 
he might direct the main body of his troops, there 
would the chief command devolve upon him, a field- 
marshal since the taking of Metz. Thus he would 
assume either the leadership of the forces of Werder 



376 THE WAR FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

or of those of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg- 
SchweriiL 

The 2d Coips, Fransecky, of the army of Prince 
Frederic Charles, was given up to the army of the 
Crown-Prince of Prussia, and arrived before Paris on 
the 12th of November, where the Wiirtemberg divi- 
sion was also united to it With his remaining Corps, 
the 9th, the 10th, and the 3d, the last on the left 
wing, Prince Frederic marched at first southwards 
towards the upper Seine and the railway from 
Paris to Mtilhausen. His headquarters moved from 
Pont k Mousson by Commercy, Ligny, Montier 
sur Saulx (5th of November), Joinville, Doulevent 
(8th of November), and Brienne, to Troyes, where he 
arrived with a part of the 9th Corps and the 1st divi- 
sion of cavalry on the 10th of November. 

On the 6th of November the advanced-guard of the 
3d Corps had an encounter with Franc - tireurs at 
Boulogne on the road which leads from Blesmes on the 
Strasburg railway to Chaumont on the Mtilhausen line, 
in the valley of the Upper Mame. The French were 
defeated, but on the following day they again made a 
stand at Berthenay, immediately below Chaumont, 
and defended themselves obstinately against the new 
attack of the Prussians, but were finally again obliged 
to retreat, whereupon they retired upon the remark- 
able fortress of Langres, and a brigade was at once 
pushed forward to observe it. On the 5th and 6tib of 
November the sappers of the Second German Army 



ADTANOE OF THE FIBST AND SECOND ABMIES. 377 

restored the many places broken up by the French on 
the railway Blesmes-Chamnont. 

In consequence of the battle of Coulmier, Prince 
Frederic Charles, with the greater portion of his troops, 
was called up to the Loire, to engage there the army 
forming for the relief of Paris. His headquarters, with 
the centre of the army, left Troyes to advance upon 
the Loire by way of Villeneuve TArchevSque and 
Sens^ along the Yonne and the Paris-Dijon-Pontarlier 
railway, and we shall soon see him again actively 
engaged. 

Of Manteuffel's army, the 7th Corps remained be- 
hind for a time on the Moselle — one division garrison- 
ing Metz, while the other was detached to besiege 
Thionville ; of the 1st Corps, one division advanced 
before M^zieres, and a brigade of the other before La 
F^re, in order to subdue also these two fortresses on 
the Meuse and Oise ; jQnally, the 8th Corps, the 3d 
brigade of infantry, and the 3d division of cavalry, 
moved upon the Somme upon Amiens, to engage there 
the so-called French Army of the NortL The ad- 
vanced-guard of the 3d division of cavalry came first 
into collision with the French at Le Quesnd, between 
Boye and Amiens, on the 23d of November ; and later 
on we ahaU Mow the operations of these txoops after 
that day. For the present, we have yet to notice the 
fall of those fortresses which capitulated before the end 
of November, and which have not yet been mentioned. 
During the time that the Germans lay encamped 



378 THE WAB FOR THE RHINE FRONTIER. 

around Metz^ the small fortress of Thionville had been 
also observed by them, and at times molested The 
troops to whom this duty was intrusted were con- 
tinually changed, and their special enumeration would 
be of no general interest But after the fEdl of Metz 
it was resolved to seriously attack Thionville, and 
Lieutenant - General Eameke, chief of the 14th 
division, was commissioned to undertake the task. 
Eameke, bom in the year 1817, entered the Prussian 
Corps of engineers in 1834, became a captain in 1850^ 
and was at the same time removed to the General 
Staff. From that date he was employed on the Staff 
in the Ministry of War and in the Prussian embassy 
in Vienna^ commanding also occasionally bodies of in- 
fantry. In 1861 he became a colonel, and in 1865 a 
general. In the campaign of 1866 he was Chief of 
the Staff of the 2d Corps ; in the following year he 
returned to the engineers, and at the end of it was 
intrusted with their leadership. In 1868 he was 
appointed lieutenant-general, and at the outbreak of 
the war of 1870 was placed at the head of the 14th 
division — although it was certainly remarkable to 
remove the chief of the engineer from his post just 
at the beginning of a struggle in which presumably 
fortress warfare would play an important part 

On the 13th of November, Eameke ordered the 
complete investment of Thionville. His headquarters 
were established at Hayange, and a post of observation 
was erected on the chateau of Serre. On the 16th 
of November the building of the batteries was com- 



TAKING OP THIONVILLK 379 

menced; on the 19th and 20th the siege-trains amved 

from Metz, and the batteries were at once armed, 

while simultaneously the investing lines were drawn 

in closer. At 7 o'clock on the morning of the 22d the 

bombardment waa commenced, when the following 

batteries opened fire on the unhappy little town : 1st, 

at Oberjtttz (Haute Yutz), 4 field-batteries— 18 6- 

pounders and 6 4-pounders; 2d, by the wood of 

Ulange, 4 24-poTmder guns, 4 12-pounders, and 4 

1 3-inch French mortars from Metz ; 3d, at Gassion, 

4 short rifled 24-pounders ; 4th, 8 long rifled 24- 

poimders from 2 batteries on the right and left of the 

chateau of Serre ; 5th, in the wood of Weymarange, 

4 short 24-pounders; 6th, before Weymarange, 8 12- 

pounders in 2 batteries ; 7th on the road from Grande 

Hettange to Thionville, near the Maison Eouge, 12 

12-pounders in 3 batteries. For service in these 

batteries, which lay between 2000 and 6000 paces 

from the fortress, 13 companies of fortress artillery 

were concentrated. 

The fire, which was opened at 7 A.M. on the 22d of 
November, and which was at first answered with 
vigour by the besieged, was continued until noon, 
and then, affcer a pause of one hour, recommenced and 
carried on with the same spirit until 4.30 p.m. After 
that hour it was continued slowly but unintermittedly 
throughout the whole night, while at the same time 
the first parallel was opened against the west front of 
the fortress at a distance of 800 paces. On the 23d 
of November the besieged hoisted the white flag at 



380 THE WAB FOB THE RHINE FBONTIEB. 

1.30 P.M. They did not, however, wish to capitulate, 
but merely demanded an armistice of twenty-four 
hours, with free permission for women and cMdren 
to depart. The request was not granted; but Kameke 
gave a respite until 6.30 p.m., to allow the determina- 
tion to capitulate to ripen. This, however, not being 
agreed to by the expiration of the given time, the 
Prussians again commenced the bombardment. 

At half-past ten o'clock on the forenoon of the 24th 
of November, the besieged again ran up the white flag 
upon the church tower, and this time the negotiations 
for the surrender were speedily concluded. On the 
morning of the 25th, the Prussians occupied the gates 
of the town ; and at two o'clock in the affcemoon, the 
French garrison — ^about 4000 men — marched out as 
prisoners of war, and laid down their arms before the 
gate of Saarlouis. The Prussians found 200 guns in 
Thionville. 

The fortress of Verdun, which, as we have seen, had 
been cannonaded as early as the end of August^ was 
more closely surrounded after the 25th of September 
by a detachment of the Third Army ; and when the 
surrender of Paris did not take place in the expected 
short time, and the security of the communications of 
the German armies in France with Grermany became of 
greater importance, a serious attack upon Verdun was 
prepared. In the night between the 11th and the 
12th of October, the Germans occupied the villages of 
Thierville on the left and of Belleville on the right 
bank of the Meuse. In the following night batteries 



TAEIKG OF VERDX7N, S0I8S0NS, HAM, LA FERE. 381 

were constructed at both these places. But although 
the necessity of a regular siege of the place was pro- 
vided for, a bombardment in reality sufficed to bring 
about the surrender of Verdun. Immediately after 
Bazaine's capitulation at Metz, considerable supplies 
of artillery became available for the besiegers, and the 
cannonade assumed a very violent character. On the 
8th of November, Verdun was compelled to surrender, 
when 4000 prisoners, 136 guns, and 23,000 stands of 
arms, fell into the hands of the Germans. 

Soissons was obliged to yield as early as the 16th 
of October, after being bombarded for fourteen days 
by landwehr belonging to the Grand Duke of Meck- 
lenburg's Corps. By its surrender 4700 Frenchmen 
became prisoners of war; and, moreover, the Ger- 
mans found 128 guns well supplied with ammunition, 
a war-chest containing 92,000 francs, a well-stored 
provision-magazine — ^sufficient for a division for five 
months — and depots of clothing and equipments. 

The Castle of Ham, famed as the prison of Napoleon 
III. after the failure of his attempt at Boulogne, was 
evacuated by its garrison, and occupied on the 21st 
of November by Prussian horsemen of the 3d division 
of eavaby. La F^re, the main claim of which to dis- 
tinction is the fact that Napoleon I. first entered as an 
artillery subaltern into the regiment bearing its name, 
capitulated with 2000 men and 70 guns after a two 
days' cannonade. The capture of Amiens is so in- 
timately connected with the operations of ManteufieFs 
army, that we pass it by for the present. All these 



382 THE WAR FOR THE BHIKE FRONTIER. 

small fortresses without detached works were of no 
real service to the defence — ^their capture simply in- 
creased in a very easy way the trophies of the Ger- 
mans ; and it may be said that their resistance would 
have been terminated even sooner than it was, if the 
fortress warfare had not been somewhat carelessly 
carried on by the Germans. 

But although small fortresses proved to be useless 
in this war, the large ones played a most important 
part in it At a future time we shall return to this 
subject, and show that if these great fortresses failed 
to prove fatal to the German invasion, it was owing 
solely to the unhappy French military organisation, 
which only allowed improvised armies to be brought 
upon the theatre of war after the events of September. 



END OP THE SECOND VOLUME. 



pmnmo by wtlliam blackwood avd soim, mnvBUiwiR. 



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