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AnthoT of ' The Bwlier Campalgni of Napoleon Bonaparte ; ' • The Gemun MiliUry 
Dlettooary;' 'The Htntngy of the Nineteenth Ontniy.' vW. etc 








Authoriied TranaUUion 

<?«? ^ yy O 



Much literature has already been published in Eng- 
land on the subject of the war of 1870; but it has 
appeared to the translator that, however much may 
have been, or however much may in future be, written 
concerning the events of the seven months' campaign, 
there must always be a place for an English version 
of their history, as written by one of the most cele- 
brated military historians of the Continent, in a work 
which is regarded throughout Germany, and even in 
France, as the most complete and authentic narrative 
of the whole war at present existing. The favour with 
which ' The War for the Rhine Frontier ' has been 
received abroad is attested by the fact that even now, 
before the concluding volume of the work has been 
published, the first parts have gone through two 
editions in the original, and a translation is being 
published in Paris. 

The author, Colonel W. Rustow, was bom in Bran- 
denburg in 1821, and entered the Prussian service at 
the age of seventeen. He there distiaguiahed himself 
by his rare military talents, and speedily rose to the 
rank of Captain in the Engineers. But the indepen- 
dent opinions which he formed, and the frankness 
with which he avowed them, especially in a pamphlet 
' On the Military Organisation of the German Army 
before and during the Revolution,' drew upon him 
the unfavourable notice of the authorities; and quitting 
the army, he retired into Switzerland. He there Boon 
became known aa a professor of military science, and 
took a leading part in the organisation of the Swiaa 
military system. In 1860 be joined Garibaldi's ex- 
pedition as Chief of the Staff; and when Garibaldi 
crossed to the mainland. Colonel Rustow commanded, 
with the rank of Major-General, the left wing of the 
Italian Southern Army. He was then detached in 
command of the Expeditionary Corps which crossed 
to the right bank of the Volturno, and in the battle 
of Volturno led in person the last decisive charge of 
the reserve on the Neapolitan centre. 

At the conclusion of the campaign, Colonel Eiistow 
returned to Switzerland, and, devoting himself to mili- 
tary pursuits, commenced the publication of a series 
of works wliich have caused hia name to become cele- 
brated throughout Europe aa one of the first, if not 


the first, of the military historians of the day. Apart 
from their literary excellences, his writings have the 
rare merit of accuracy and strict impartiaUty; and 
these qualities are especially noticeable in his last 
work, in which he has shown that, although German 
by birth, family, and education, he yet rightly discerns 
the unhappy state of feeling which this disastrous 
war has aroused in Germany, and that the brilliancy 
of their victories does not prevent him from seeing 
clearly the faults of his former fellow-countrymen ; 
and, on the other hand, while condemning the reck- 
less haste with which the French Government plunged 
into the war, he yet fully recognises the many noble 
qualities of the great French nation. 

Staff College, August 1871. 





State of the French Empire at the eud of 1859— Result of 
the Italian campaign — The Mexican war— Garibaldi's expedi- 
tion — Tlie Danisli war— Policy of the Emi)eror after 1864 — 
Concentration of French forces in France — Introduction of 
breech-loaders into tlie French army — The Emperor's letters 
of the 19th .of January 1867 — The Luxembui^ question. 



Nai>olcon desires to originate a European congress— French 
plans for acquiring; territory in the north by making over- 
tures to the Belgian railway companies— New laws for the 
press and political unions— Growth of the party oppo8e<l to 
personal rule— Tlie Republican party — Members returned to 
the ('or]>s Legislatif at the Paris elections in 1869 — Election 
disturbances and their consequences — Tlie new Ministry of 
the 17th of July— Emil Ollivier— Ollivier's Ministrj'- Ante- 
cedc-nU of Dam— Of Chevan«lier de ValdrOme -Of Buffet— Of 
Segris- Of the Maniuis of TalhouKt Roy— Of Louvet— Of 
Maurice Richanl— Victor Noir shot by Pierre Bonaparte — 
Prinre Pierre acquitted — Rochefort condemned — The jtU- 
6iV/^— Beaury's plot— Additions to the Ministry — Antece- 
dents of the Duke of Grammont— Of Mcge— Of Plicho. 


Tlie French infantry— Infantry of the Guard— Infantry of 
tholine-Niel's decree of the 27th of February 1867— Strength 
of a line regiment— Of a battalitm of Rifles— Of a regiment of 
Zouaves— Of a regiment of Turcos Of the Fon-ign Regiment 
- Totid strength of the Frviwh infantry— Fivnch cavalry — 


Cavalry of the Guard— Cavalry of the line— Strength of the 
regimenta— Total strength of the French cavalry— Deficiency of 
horses— Armament of the cavalry— Artillery of the Guard- 
Artillery of the line— Eugineers— Total strength of the French 
army — Annual contingent— The Mobile Guard— Formation of 
an Army Corps— Its strength — French fortresses — Changes 
in drill up to 1870— Marshal Leboeuf— His antecedents— The 
French fleet— The Marines— Admiral Rigault de Genouilly. 


TO THE YEAR 1870, 95-110 

Consequences of the Peace of Prague — Growth of Prussia 
— The Guelphic Legion— Position of the South German States 
— ^The Zollverein— Prussia's relations with Schleswig. 


YEAR 1866 TO THE YEAR 1870, . . . .111-133 

^ Prussian anny before the Peace of Prague — Its increase 

after the annexations — Prussian infantry — Number of bat- 
talions — Total strength — Prussian cavalry — Number of regi- 
ments — ^Total strength— Artillery — Its division and total 
strength— Engineers — Train — North German landwehr— 
Army Corps districts— Total strength of the garrison army 
— Period of service— Forces of Hesse-Darmstadt — Bavarian 
forces— WUrtemberg forces — Baden forces — Total forces of 
Germany — Comparison of German and French forces— 
Strength of a German Army Corps — Gernsan fortresses- 
North German fleet. 


DECLARATION OF WAR, ..... 134-177 

Aspect of afiairs in France in 1870— France's prospect of 
gaining allies in a struggle with Prussia— M. Clement Duver- 
nois— The Gothard Railway question— Signs of a peaceful 
feeling in France— Isabella II. of Spain— State of Spain— The 
Queen flies to France— Candidates for the throne of Spain- - 
The Hohenzollem-Sigmaringen family— Candidateship of 
Prince Frederic— Of the Hereditary Prince Leopold— How 
the news of the latter was received in France— Speech of the 
Duke of Grammont in the Corps Legislatif— Count Bene- 
detti's interviews with the King of Prussia at Ems— Tlie 12th 
of July— The 13th of July— Baron J6r6me David— Benetletti 
demands another interview with King William— This is re- 
fused—War determined on in Paris on the 14th of July — 
Doubts of the Emi>eror Napoleou— Leboeul's answer— Votiiij; 


in the Corps Legialatif— Speech of M. Thiers— Answer of 
Ollivier— French ambassador in Berlin declares war on the 
19th of July — Orders given for the mobilisation of the Ger- 
man army — Speech of the King of Prussia — Address of the 
North German Parliament — Bismark's note on Benedetti's 
project — Sensation created by it in England — New treaty 
securing the neutrality of Belgium. 



Composition of the French field army—Its total strength- 
Positions taken up by the French Corps after 12th of July— 
Faultiuess of this disposition — Contingencies which might 
arise for France— Proclamation of Napoleon to the French — 
To the army — Staff of Napoleon — Antecedents of M'Mahon 
—Of Bazaine— Of Bourbaki— Of Canrobert— Of Ladmirault 
—Of Felix Douay— Of De Failly— Of Frossard— German 
field armies— The First- The Second— The Third— Forces of 
Bavaria, Baden, and WUrtembeig— Corps remaining in Ger- 
many—Five general Governments formed— Plan of operations 
for the German armies— Proclamation of King William to the 
Germans— To the army— Order of the Iron Cross revived— 
Antecedents of General Steinmetz— Of Prince Frederic Charles 
—Of the Crown-Prince of Prussia— Of Von Zastrow- Of Von 
Goeben— Of Prince August of WUrtembeig- Of Von Alvens- 
leben— Of Von Voigt8-Rhet»-Of Von Kirchbach— Of Von 
Bose— Of Von der Tann. 


Theatre of war— Difference between French and German 
maps — The Vosges Mountains — Alsace— Lorraine— Rivers on 
the east of the Vosges— On the west— The Moselle— Its tribu- 
tarisH— Passes of the Vosges— Fortresses— Meti— Its detached 
forts— Railways which radiate from Metz. 



Pause before the commencement of hostilities— Disquietude 
in the German frontier states— Town of Saarbrtlcken— Its 
garrison— Advance of FroHsard's Corps on to the heights of 
Spicheren— l*ruhHiaiiH retire firoui SaarbrUcken- Their losses 
— Frosaanl's report 



Advance of the Third Army in four columns on the Lauter 
— Douay's division sent to hold the line of the river— Town 
of Weissenboig— Advance of the 6th Corps— Of the 11th Corps 
—Attack by the Bavarians at noon — Douay compelled to 
change front— And to retreat — Numbers engaged— Losses on 
both sides — M'lfahon receives news of the defeat of Douay 
— Concentrates on the Sauer — Crown-Prince advances against 
the Sauer— Directions given to the different Corps — Move- 
ments of the Corps until 2 p.m. — FrtJschweiler taken at 3.80 
P.M.— M^Mahon forced to retreat— Numbers engaged on both 


AUGUST, 269-270 

Advance of the First Army on the Saar— Directions g^ven 
to its Corps — And to those of the right of the Second Army 
— Frossard intends to evacuate position Spicheren-Forbach 
—Confusion at the French headquarters — Advance of the 8th 
Corps— Progress of the battle — Day decided at 7 p.m. — Num- 
bers engaged — Losses — Result of the actions on the 6th of 


MINISTRY, . 271-287 

False despatch posted up on the French Exchange — 
Ollivier's address to the mob — Its effect — True news arrives 
in Paris on the 7th of August— Dejean*s projected decree — 
Number of firearms in France — Proceedings in the Corps 
Legislatif on the 9th of August — Ollivier resigns— Palikao's 
Ministry — Antecedents of Palikao— Reception of the new 
Ministry— Measures proposed by it. 


MOSELLE, 288-303 

First intentions of the French after the battles of the 6th 
of August— Bazaine's views— Ideas of the Paris journals — 
Courses open to the French— Bazaine's army in Metz — Its 
composition and strength — Proclamation of King William to 
the French people — Advance of the First and Second Armies 
upon Metz— Troops detached to Strasbnig— March of the 
Third Army — Marsal capitulates— Spy mania in France — The 
Uhlans — Improvements in the conduct of German artillery 
and cavalry. 


THE 16TH OP AUGUST, 304-324 

Bazaine determines to evacuate Metz — Positions of the 
Oermans on the 14th of August— Steinmetz orders a recon- 
naissance — Battle of Bomy ensues— Progress of the fight — 
Its results — French movements on the 15th of August — Posi- 
tions of the Second Army on the same day — Orders for the 
15th — Movements of the 3d and 10th German Corps on the 
16th— Battle of Vionville commences— Progress of the battle 
— End of the fighting — Losses— Numbers engaged. 


Bazaine still intends to leave Metz — Routes open to him — 
French take up the position of Amauvilliers-Rozerieulles -Dis- 
position of their forces— Advantages of the position— German . 
positions after the battle of the 16th— Orders for the 17th — 
King William's onlers to the Second Army for the 18th and 
to the 8th and 7th Corps — Object of these orders— Verbal 
onlers of Frederic Cliarles to the Corps commanders on the 
18th — Movements of Corps up to 5 p.m. — State of the battle 
at 5 P.IL — Decisive attack by the Guard and Saxons— Losses 
— Numbers engaged. 



Palikao's speech on the 20th of August — Bazaine's letter of 
the 19th — Bazaine's hope of escaping very feeble— Palikao's 
speech on the 22d— Formation of the Fourth Anny— Troops 
remaining before Metz. 


II. BATTLE OF .SAARBuiJCKBN, . . to /aC€ /Mige 2b9 


OCT. rTH, to face jHxtje Z2b 






At the end of the year 1859 the Emperor Napoleon 
III. had reached the summit of his power. From 
that time the Second French Empire commenced to 

In the following year the issue of the events of 
Italy was for the most part not in accordance with 
the wishes of Napoleon, and thenceforth he strove 
in all his undertakings rather to dazzle the imagi- 
nation of the French people than to attain material 

Towards the close of 1861 he plunged into the 
^' A 


Mexican war, an enterprise which was destined to be 
most fatal to himself and to the Empire. At the 
onset he acted in concert with England and with 
Spain; but when, early in 1862, these Powers, declar- 
ing themselves satisfied with the promises of the 
Mexican Republic, withdrew from the expedition, 
Fmnce remained alone in the quarrel, and by arbi- 
trarily increasing her demands, showed her intention 
of entering at any cost into a combat with Mexico, 
and consequently with the United States of America, 
who were then themselves involved in civil war. 

The Mexican war necessitated great exertions, 
which were altogether disproportionate to any advan- 
tages which France could derive from it. Still, as long 
as the Northern States of America, instead of gaining 
a rapid victory, seemed rather to succumb to the 
military talents of the generals of the South, the 
Emperor Napoleon could still hope that the Mexi- 
can war would end favourably for himself and for 

But with the battle of Gettysburg, from the 2d 
to the 4th of July 1863, came the great change in 
the fortunes of the Southern States. By tliat time 
the French had ruled for four weeks in the city of 
Mexico ; but liow little had their sway been acknow- 
ledged throughout the territory of the Mexican Re- 
public 1 And soon it liecame apparent that the 
material resources of tlic South were exhausted, and 
that the Nnrthern States must gain the final victorj'. 


These, it was certain, would in rfo way tolerate a 
settlement of French Imperialists on the borders of 
the Union. 

And while in America threatening clouds thus 
gathered together on the heaven of the Second Em- 
pire, there was no lack of dark spots in Europe 

The expedition of Garibaldi for the liberation of 
Rome from the papal dominion had certainly been 
defeated in the latter end of August 1862 by the 
troops of the Italian Government at Aspromont^; 
but the whole affair had shown that however obedient 
the Italian Government might be to the Emperor 
Napoleon, he had in future not to deal with it alone, 
but that there existed in Italy other elements which 
could not be altogether disregarded. 

In the beginning of 1863, also, the Polish insurrec- 
tion against Russia, which up to that time had only 
existed covertly, broke out openly and violently, and 
France, England, Austria, and Italy opened concern- 
ing it a war of despatches with Russia, which, how- 
ever, could in no way lead to any result Then, 
again, in the summer of the same year the Emperor 
of Austria attempted at Frankfort-on-the-Main to 
arrange with the small princes a plan for the unity 
of Germany, and his design was frustrated by the 
opposition of Prussia. Consequently on this and on 
the interchange of ideas between Prussia and Austria, 
the Schleswig-Holstein question, which had to all 


appearances been buried in 1850, came again pro- 
minently forward. 

In short, in the year 1 863 the very air teemed with 
European questions of great importance. Such being 
the ease, Napoleon III., towards the close of the year, 
proposed a European congress, which was to sit in 
Paris. But his proposition was rejected, for England 
was not willing that in any ease war should ai-ise. 

Thua it came to pass that in the begiuning of 1864 
the war against Denmark broke out, in which Austria 
made common cause with Prussia ; and the Danish 
dwarf, faUing an easy prey to the military giants who 
had risen up against it, could not be rescued by diplo- 
matic means. 

It now became imperative for the Emperor of the 
French to resolve upon a course. Two ways were 
open to him by which he might maintain himself 
upon his throne. Either he must resolve to abandon 
the principle of Ciesarism and give to France internal 
freedom, or he must dazzle her with brilliant victo- 
ries abroad and thus rescue the principle of personal 
government. And looking to the manner in which 
his Empire was founded. Napoleon was forced to give 
the preference to the latter course ; and thus we see 
his policy after 18(j4 working mainly to two ends — 
to gain alliances abroad, and to concentrate the dis- 
seminated military force of France. 

It was in furtherance of this last object that the 
Convention of the 1 5th of September was concluded 



with Italy. By it the duty of protecting the Holy 
Father and the papal territory was substantially trans- 
ferred to the kingdom of Italy, and thus it became 
possible for the Emperor to withdraw the French 
troops from Rome and from the Pontifical States. 

Equally to the same end was the journey of Napo- 
leon in 1865 to Algiers. Its main object was to 
establish in that colony a peace policy, which would 
lessen greatly the number of troops necessarily main- 
tained there. 

To free himself from the burden of Mexico had 
already been a subject of thought with Napoleon, 
and he had succeeded in finding a new Emperor for 
the Mexican Empire in the person of the romantic 
Archduke Maximilian of Austria. The Archduke, 
after it had been easily proved to him that he was 
called by the general voice of the people to be Em- 
peror of Mexico, took upon himself the charge, and 
on the 12th of June 1864 entered the capital, Mexico, 
to begin there the unhappy war against Juarez, the 
President of the legitimate Republic. At first he 
was, it is true, to be supported in it by the French 
army, but this Napoleon calculated could soon be 
replaced by Austrians and Belgians, by men from the 
native land of the Emperor of Mexico, and from that 
of his wife the Belgian Princess Charlotte. 

But however diligently and zealously Napoleon 
might apply himself to the task of concentrating his 
forces in France, its completion must necessarily be a 


work of time ; aud whether he wished to prepare 
himself for defenBi^■e or for otfeiisive action against 
the European Powers which threatened the Empire, it 
was equally important to him that meanwhile the 
peace of Europe should be preserved, and therefore at 
this time all the acts of his Government were of a 
peaceful tendency. 

The most significant of his measures to this end 
was the reduction of the standing array of France, 
which was announced in November 1865. This 
reduction was not to be effected immediately, but 
the mere announcement of it created great discontent 
among the French officers — a discontent which was 
by no means completely allayed by the institution of 
the French Legion of Antibes for the papal service. 

The i-eduction of the French army was quickly 
followed by the Convention of Gaatein. After Prussia 
and Austria had, acting in concert, conquered the 
Danes, the old hatred between them had straightway 
broken out again, and the conquest which they had 
gained together but added new fuel to its flames. 
The Convention of Gastein only postponed the out- 
break of hostilities between the two great German 
Powers, and in 1866 the war really came to pass. 

Since 1859 Napoleon III. had foreseen the possi- 
bility of a serious conflict between Prussia and Aus- 
tria. He pictured to himself Prussia in the same 
situation with regard to Austria as Italy was in 1859. 
Prussia, ho assumed, would require his assistance; 


and just as Sardinia had repaid the assistance which 
France had rendered her by the cession of Savoy and 
Nice, so also would aid rendered to the Prussians 
purchase for the Second Empire the left bank of the 
Rhine, the much-talked-of natural frontier of France. 
To this end there was much private and confidential 
correspondence carried on, but it was impossible that 
Prussia could adopt the French views on this subject. 
Still the French Government remained very confident, 
being firmly assured that the moment must come 
when Prussia could not dispense with the aid of 
France, and when she would gladly make the required 
concession to gain the assistance which would enable 
her to overcome the opposition of Austria and of the 
independent German States. 

The Convention of Gastein therefore, which seemed 
for the moment to re-establish peace between Austria 
and Prussia, greatly irritated the Imperial Govern- 
ment of Prance, and it could scarcely find words 
bitter enough to express its condenmation of it. But 
with the threatenings of the war of 1866 the French 
hopes rose again, and in May the Imperial Govern- 
ment, which was at the same time treating with Italy, 
made Prussia an offer of a treaty of alliance. By 
this France was to assist Prussia against Austria with 
300,000 men : Austria, having been defeated in the 
war, was to cede Venice to Italy, Prussia was to 
acquire new territory in North Germany with some 
8,000,000 of population, and in return was to hand 


over to France the country between the Moselle and 
the Rhine, with the exception of the fortresses of 
Coblentz and Mayence, 

This oft'er was rejected by Prussia in June, but 
France still calculated that the events of the war 
would give her ample opportunities of attaining by 
some means or other her object; for that the Prusaians 
would be 80 brilliantly victorious, and subdue Austria 
in the way they did, was an event which before the 
war no one could have ventured to predict The war 
of 1866 took a totally unexpected course. After the 
disastrous defeat of Austria at Kdnigratz, the Emperor 
Francis Joseph offered Venice to the Emperor Napo- 
leon as a present. His wish undoubtedly was that 
Napoleon III. should now take an active part in the 
war, but this seemed to the French Emperor to be a 
too hazardous proceeding. He wished certainly to 
separate Italy from Prussia. It was to neutralise the 
treaty of Prussia with Italy, which had only been 
concluded for three months, that he had proposed a 
European congress before the outbreak of the war, 
knowing that among the Italian Government he had 
many obedient servants, although even these could 
not carry through all they wished; but still, to engage 
actively in the war in July 1866 was to run too great 
a risk of total defeat. Prussia had developed a most 
remarkable military power; and the Italians had 
acquired great confidence in her. If France now 
took up arms, she would most probably only more 


surely drive the South German States and the North 
Germans, who still opposed her sway, into the arms 
of Prussia. Napoleon knew better than any one 
else the weakness of the military organisation of his 
country, the blame for which must be laid chiefly 
upon his shoulders. The renown which the needle- 
gun had won in this war was also not to be over- 
looked, since France was still unprovided with a 
breech-loading or rapidly-firing arm. Viewing all 
these circumstances, it seemed to Napoleon to be most 
advisable to allow that which he could not prevent 
to take place quietly, and to patiently bide his time — 
displeased, certamly, with the course of events, but 
hoping still that that which Prussia had acquired 
in 1866 would bring with it many troubles, which 
might give France the opportunity later on to offer 
at some timely moment a useful intervention. In 
opposition to the doctrine, therefore, which he had 
preached before the war, the Emperor Napoleon now 
looked quietly on while Austria was, at the demand 
of Prussia, entirely separated from Germany, and was 
content that Prussia should still in some small degree 
at least respect the line of the Main. 

Less cautious than the Emperor, Drouyn de Lhuys, 
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, raised at Berlin the 
question of the compensation which France, in the 
interest of the equilibrium of power in Europe, was 
to receive for the augmentation of the influence of 
Prussia, especially as she had allowed the Prussian 


Government to cany out its views undisturbed. 
Under the existing circumstances, Count Bismark 
declined altogether to entertain these questions, and 
Drouyn de Lhuys was obliged to resign hia seat in 
the French Cabinet. Hia place was temporarily filled 
by Lavalette, who, however, merely held it until 
Marquis Moustier, who was at that time ambassador 
in Constantinople, could arrive in Paris. 

The most urgent question now appeared to the 
Emperor Napoleon to be a reorganisation of the 
French army, which should provide greater resources 
of trained soldiers than the existing institutions af- 
forded. The preparation of a new law was therefore 
at once, in 1866, taken in hand ; but the law itaelf 
did not come into force until the year 1868, and even 
then in a form which but feebly carried out the views 
of the Emperor and of his circumspect advisers. Of 
the details of this law wc shall have to speak later in 
the course of our narrative. 

The trials of bi-eech-Ioaders Iiad been diligently 
carried on in France since the year 1857. But there, 
as almost everywhere else in Europe, great doubts 
were enteitained as to the utility of such a weapon 
in actual war, and this feeling had hindered any great 
advance being made towards their adoption. After 
the Danish war in 1864, the question was taken up in 
a more determined manner; and after the Prussian 
successes of 1866, the War Jlinistry decided at once 
to adopt a model which had been proved to be the 


best, and to order large quantities of breech-loaders 
to be made on the Chassepot system. The Imperial 
decree which sanctioned this measure is dated the 
30th of August 1866. 

But the making of a sufficient number of Chasse- 
pots for the whole French army would manifestly 
require much time, for the machinery necessary to 
turn them out had yet to be constructed. Meanwhile 
complications with Prussia might arise, and the French 
army, destitute of breech-loaders, would combat with 
the Prussian at a great disadvantage. To remedy 
this to some extent, it was resolved to convert at once 
the large -calibre muzzle -loading Minie rifles with 
which the French troops were armed into breech- 
loaders, and to effect this change the Snider system 
was adopted early in 1867. These converted rifles 
were usually called in France " fusils ^ tabati^re," 
owing to the maimer in which the breech was closed. 
At the same time it was determined to construct a 
considerable number of the so-called mitrailleuses or 
machine-guns-a revolving firearm which was to 
operate with the infantry, and supply any lack which 
there might stiU be in rapidity of fire. 

An immediate contest with Germany was a pos- 
sibility which the Empire could not lose sight of. 
The successes of the Prussians had awakened in 
France a great feeling of disquietude and of alarm. It 
was difficult for the French mind to understand that 
every nation, and not France alone, had a right to . 


manage its own internal affairs independently and 
without foreign intervention. The French army 
could not pardon the Prussians because they had 
taken the liberty of beating the Austrians more 
rapidly and more thoroughly than it had done. The 
greater part of the press stirred up and excited public 
feeling in the same direction, and the Empire was 
reproached on all sides with want of foresight in re- 
gard to the recent events in Germany. Examining 
all these expressions of discontent carefully, it was 
manifest that they all tended to one of two things — 
the one division urged the introduction of a Parlia- 
mentary constitution in the place of the ruling Im- 
perialism, the other pointed out that the Imperial 
Government should prove anew its right to exist by 
a brilliant foreign policy. 

The latter course necessarily appeared the more 
agreeable to the Emperor and to thelmperial orCsesaric 
party ; and as even the Parliamentary party based 
their arguments chiefly upon the bad results of the 
foreign policy of France, it seemed doubly possible 
for the Empire to quiet all discontent, silence all its 
detractors, and assert itself anew by seeking a quarrel 
abroad and bringing it to a good end. 

Therefore, side by aide with the tasks of reorganising 
the army and of providing for it a new weapon, the 
work of concentrating the existing but scattered forces 
of France upon French soil was carried on. From 
Rome the French troops were withdrawn between 


the 2d and 12th of December 1866^ many months 
sooner than the terms of the Convention of Septem- 
ber 1864 required. As regards Mexico, Napoleon had 
decided, owing to the determined attitude assumed 
by the Government of Washington, even before the 
outbreak of the Austro-Prussian war, to withdraw the 
French expedition in three divisions — one in Novem- 
ber 1866, another in March 1867, and the third in 
November 1867. After the war of 1866 he resolved 
to bring back the whole force to France in one body 
during the first months of the year 1867, and he 
pressed the ill-fated Emperor Maximilian to justify 
this measTire in anticipation, by resigning his crown 
before the departure of the French. But the Habs- 
burg Prince was obstinate and disobliging, and had 
to be left to the fate which speedily overtook him. 
The transport fleet which was to bring back from 
Mexico the wreck of the expedition, sailed from the 
French harbours early in December 1866, and re- 
turned to France with the melancholy remains of the 
French army of Mexico in March 1867. 

And while Napoleon thus on the one hand made 
ready for war, he nevertheless bethought himself on 
the other hand of providing for the contingency of 
peace by satisfying to some extent the demands of 
the Parliamentarians by placing on the Imperial 
structure a new " couronnement de T^difice." In the 
fabrication of this " coTironnement de T^difice " a 
certain M. Emil Ollivier took some share — a man who 



ill 1870 played a most disastrous part in the histoiy 
of France, which we shall hereafter more fully explain, 
and who was gained for the support of the libend 
Empire first by M. Morny, and afterwards more 
thoroughly by Count Walewaki. 

On the 19th of January 1867, the Emperor wrote 
to his representative minister a letter which was 
meant to be published, and in which Jie explained 
how it seemed to him to be now feasible to give to 
tlie institutions of the Empire that development of 
which they were capable. Europe expected wonders, 
but in reality these great promises led to nothing. 
The members of the Senate and of the Legislative 
ixxly were to be allowed a privilege which had hither- 
to been denied to them — the right of questioning the 
Government But as a compensation, the address on 
the speech from the throne and the consequent dis- 
cussion were to be abolished. Evil-minded men as- 
serted that this was the main object of the Emperor, 
that he di-eaded a discussion on his policy in the 
Mexican question and towards Germany, and that, 
not daring to abolisli the debate on the address by a 
simple decree, he tlierofore granted the right of inter- 
pellation. Further, there was to be no longer a 
special representative minister. Every minister was 
henceforth to represent his department in the Cham- 
bers, but without taking upon himself any responsi- 
bility, which was to rest as heretofore with the Em- 
peror, Finally, freer laws were pmmised for tlie 


press, for political unions, and for assemblies of the 

Owing to these changes in the constitution, the 
existing ministiy was, for the sake of appearances, 
obliged to resign ; but in reality the old ministers 
formed the greater part of the new ministry. The 
most important change that took place was that 
Marshal Randon, a man somewhat slothful and not 
very apt in speech, was replaced as Minister of War 
by Marshal Niel, a man full of energy, and a perfect 
master of debate. The new minister set himself at 
once vigorously to work to prepare for an immediate 
war ; and, in truth, such a war seemed to be already 
close at hand. 

The question of the day was the Grand Duchy of 
Luxemburg. According to the treaties of 1814, 1815, 
and 1816, the Grand Duchy belonged to the King of 
the Netherlands, and at the same time to the German 
Confederation. Prussia had the right of garrisoning 
the capital, the fortress of Luxemburg. In 1839, 
after the southern provinces of the kingdom of the 
Netherlands had declared themselves independent, 
and had been formed into the kingdom of Belgium, 
the European Powers sanctioned also a division of 
the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. The western part 
was apportioned to Belgium, while the position of 
the eastern division, as belonging on the one hand 
to Holland, and on the other to the German Diet, 
remained unchanged. The right of Prussia to garri- 


son the fortrcBs of Luxemburg was also not to be 
in any way affected by thia division of the Grand 

But when Prussia, in June 1866, renounced her 
participation in the old German Confederation, the 
question was raised how it should stand with regard 
to the Prussian right of garrisoning the fortress of 
Luxemburg. This right Prussia insisted on, urging 
that it belonged to her by virtue of special treaties 
which were in no way dependent on the fact that 
Luxemburg belonged to the German Diet. She there- 
fore still maintained her garrison in Luxemburg, even 
after the peace of Prague had formally annulled the 
connection of the Grand Duchy with the new crea- 
tions in Germany ; but nevertheless she made no 
attempt to incorporate it with the North German 

Neither the Dutch nation nor the King of Holland, 
William III., had ever placed much value upon the 
possession of the Grand Duchy. The king therefore 
entered willingly into au intrigue with Napoleon 
with the view of ceding Luxemburg to France, re- 
ceiving in exchange a considerable round sum of 
money for hia private treasury, which was always 
in need of supplies. Towards the end of March 
1867, these secret negotiations between the King of 
Holland and the French Government had so far 
ripened that they could only be continued officially. 
On the French side, it was wished that the matter 


should be kept secret from Prussia until the cession 
of Luxemburg to France was an accomplished fact ; 
but this course seemed to the King of Holland too 
critical ; and moved by this feeling, he, on the same 
day that he telegraphed officially to Paris that he had 
resolved to cede Luxemburg to France, informed the 
Prussian ambassador at the Hague of this determina- 
tion. Prussia now naturally stepped into the trans- 
action, and appealed at once to the Powers who were 
parties to, and guarantees of» the treaties of 1839, 
upon which the existence of the modem kingdom of 
Holland was based. 

In Gennany pubUc opinion was outeaged at the 
idea that Luxemburg — a province of the old German 
Empire — should be yielded to France-; and on the 
1st of April 1867, the affair was brought before the 
North German Parliament through a question by 
Herr von Benningsen, in a speech in which the old 
Hanoverian gave fierce vent to his excited feelings. 
Count Bismark answered him with satisfaction. He 
was not displeased at the question, but, declining to 
betray such warmth as the questioner had done, con- 
tented himself with appropriating this Parliamentary 
manifestation of the public feeling of Germany as a 
justification for making ready for a war with France. 
Military preparations were at once begun on both 
sides, but the war was nevertheless happily avoided. 
France for the moment did not feel herself strong 
enough ; the French Government began to treat the 

VOL. I. B 


matter with caution ; and thus the intervention of the 
European Powers was able 30on to find a foundation 
for a peaceful settlement, which was brought about 
on the 11th May through the London Conference. 

The Treaty of London was ratified on the 31st of 
May 1867. Accordingtoitsterms, the Grand Duchy of 
Luxemburg was still to appertain to the reigning house 
of Nassau-Orange, and was declared to be a neutral 
state under the collective guarantee of all the Powers 
who were parties to the treaty, excepting only of Bel- 
gium, who herself enjoys the advantage of European 
neutrality. Consequently the town of Luxemburg 
was to cease to be a fortress. Prussia withdrew her 
garrison from it, and the royal Grand Duke under- 
took to raze the fortifications. The relation of Lux- 
emburg towards the German Zollverein (custom- 
union) was not entered into by the London Con- 

It cannot be denied that in the French Court party 
a great desire prevailed to use the Luxemburg ques- 
tion as a means to bring about a war. The Emperor 
Napoleon, however, showed Idmself but little disposed 
for this, perhaps because he knew thoroughly that 
the French forces were not yet equal to those of 
united Germany. In Germany, also, there arose 
complaining voices, which condemned the concession 
of Prussia on this question. Men talked of the sacri- 
fice of a German province, of the sacrifice of a bul- 
wark of Germany. Hollow words, truly, for those 


who knew thoroughly the state of affairs, and who 
took a correct military and political view of them. 
Others, again, said war between France and Ger- 
many is sooner or later inevitable. At this moment 
Germany is very strong, and far superior, as a mil- 
itary power, to her opponent. Such a favourable 
opportunity should not be allowed to pass away ; for 
who can tell what aspect affairs may hereafter as- 
sume ? But Count Bismark held that a war between 
Germany and France, however it might terminate, 
and whoever might be the conqueror, would* be a 
great disaster for Europe. This opinion was shared 
by all far-seeing men. Bismark therefore deemed it 
desirable to at least postpone the war. Who could 
foretell what would happen in France after the death 
of the Emperor? Might it not come to pass that 
war, postponed until then, would then be altogether 
unnecessary? For such a hope it was well worth 
while to sacrifice — ^if it could be regarded as a sac- 
rifice — ^the very doubtful advantage of retaining 
Luxemburg, especially as it could be given up in the 
manner and imder the conditions that were now 
proposed. The less Germany urged on the unhappy 
war with France, so much the more united and so 
much the stronger would she step forward in the 
same if she was wilfully dragged into it by the other 

Others said, again, that France would regard the 
yielding of Germany in the Luxemburg question as 



the result of fear, and would therefore become herself 
all the more desirous of war. And with the super- 
ficial knowledge which prevailed generally in France 
as to German affaire, this might very possibly be the 
case. Still, a statesman should in no way allow the 
dread of being held to be afraid to influence his acts. 
The behaviour of Bismai-k in the Luxemburg ques- 
tion — his quiet yielding up to a certain point, where 
he stood firm — will always form one of the most 
beautifid chapters in the political history of this 
statesman. None of the men who, in the years from 
1867 to 1870, laboured indefatigably to conciliate 
the two nations who sustain the civilisation of 
Europe, and who strove to postpone the unhappy 
war, will ever repent them of their work, whatever 
the inveterate French haters of Germany and German 
haters of France may think or say on the matter. 
Let us hope that in a few more lustres the two great 
nations will blush when they pronounce such names 
as Cassagnac, Emil de Glrardin, or Menzel and 
Heinrich Leo, 




After the settlement of the Luxemburg question, 
public opinion in France gradually turned from the 
idea of glory, to which the Court party wished to 
lead it, and tended more and more to insist on the 
introduction of internal freedom — a tendency which 
was at the time greatly strengthened by the history 
of the foreign policy of France. 

The Mexican drama wound up on the 19th of 
June 1867 with the execution, by martial law, of 
the Emperor Maximilian in Queretaro. The Emperor 
of the French had enticed the poor romantic arch- 
duke to Mexico, and had there left him to his fate. 
The whole of intelligent France felt that her honour 
was aflFected by the sad catastrophe ; and the weak, 
suppressed opposition, which had from its commence- 
ment consistently condemned the Mexican war, as 
being undertaken for the good of a Jewish usurer 
and of his high-bom accomplices, could at this sad 
moment with justice assert that the ill-fated expedi- 


Lwntten doi 


tion would never have been entered upon if a Parlia- 
mentary Government had existed, instead of that of 
the nominally responsible, but really irresponsible, 

In November 1867, the Garibaldian rising to free 
Rome, and the ambiguous behaviour of the Italian 
Government, compelled the Emperor Napoleon to 
send back to Rome the troops which, in compliance 
with the terms of the Convention of September 1864, 
he had withdrawn from the States of the Church. 
The Chassepots worked wonders in the battle of 
Mentaua against the brave but badly-organised and 
worse armed volunteers of Garibaldi. That circum- 
stances compelled the Emperor Napoleon to act as he 
did, every honest man must admit; but still, the French 
opposition asserted with reason that the whole policy 
of France towards Italy since 1849 had been wrong, 
and that it would never have been carried out had 
not the country been enthralled by the Empire. 

After the victory of Mentana, Napoleon again 
wished to originate a European congress, which should 
free him from the Roman difficulty. But the Euro- 
pean Powers were not inclined to take part, for the 
pleasure of Napoleon, in such an assembly, unless guar- 
antees were forthcoming that something useful would 
result from it ; and the congress, therefore, did not 
take place : — another abortive design, which was duly 
written down to the debit of the Imperial Govern- 

*■ J 

STATE OF FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 23 

Then in September 1868 came the Spanish Revolu- 
tion, which cost Queen Isabella her throne ; and, fol- 
lowing it, the conflict of Greece with the Porte. This 
last difficulty was, it is true, speedily settled ; but still 
the Imperial Government won no laurels in either of 
these affairs, and the open sympathy shown by the 
Court for the reverses of Queen Isabella, naturally 
sharpened the weapons of the opposition. And below 
these events, which were patent to all the world, a 
secret undercurrent of intrigue was flowing on, known 
to the Court circles alone, and which was only later 
on openly proclaimed. The result of these secret 
negotiations was equally unfavourable to the Empire. 

After the shipwreck of the project to surprise France 
and the world by adding Luxemburg to the Empire, 
the French Court still continued to cherish plans for 
acquiring territory in the north, which should turn 
aside the French people, thirsting either for glory 
or for victory, from the pursuit of freedom. Count 
Benedetti, the French ambassador at the Court of 
Berlin, had, after the settlement of the Luxemburg 
question, frequent interviews with the Chancellor of 
the North German Confederation. In these Bismark 
observed a strictly passive attitude. The main sub- 
ject of their conversations was that France and North 
Germany should form an ofiensive alliance, with the 
object of bringing about the acquisition of Luxemburg 
and of Belgium by France, and of removing the 
obstacles which prevented the entrance of the South 


German States into the North German Confedera- 

As early aa the year 1867 Beiiedetti was ingenious 
enough to draw up with his own hand the sketch of 
a treaty to that effect, and placed the same in the 
hands of the Chancellor, in order that he might 
consider the scheme with King William of Prussia, 
Bismark, true to his ideas of postponing a war, did 
not disdain to converse on this project; but, guarding 
the writing carefully as a valuable document, of which 
later on at an opportune moment he might make 
good use, spoke no ward on the subject to other 
people, as he was far from wishing to provoke a war 
with France. 

When the French Court party found Bismark to 
be deaf to their plans for acquiring territory in the 
north through the support of Prussia, it did not, 
nevertheless, in any way abandon its design, but 
rather cast about for some way by which it might 
gain its ends, even at the risk of incurring the dan- 
ger of a war with Germany, or, as would be more 
pleasing to it, a war with Prussia alone. 

The Court party now bethought itself of making 
the small countries on the borders of France, Belgium, 
Switzerland, and Holland, dependent upon France by 
means of treaties of commerce and of customs, as 
South Germany was by the ZoUverein dependent upon 
Nortli Gennany. The more thorough annexation of 
desirable portions of these countries was then to be 

STATE OP FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 25 

reserved for a favourable opportunity. But as neither 
Belgium nor Switzerland evinced any inclination to 
be ensnared by France, it was necessary to conduct 
these negotiations with the greatest caution, and at 
the same time to be prepared for a possible war with 
observant Prussia. 

In January 1868 the French Eastern Railway Com- 
pany made overtures to the Luxemburg " Wilhelm's 
Railway " with a view to purchasing the latter line, 
or, failing that, to leasing it In September 1868, M. 
de la Guerroni^re, a zealous adherent of the French 
Court and war party, was sent as ambassador to 
Brussels, and shortly afterwards suspicious negotia- 
tions were heard of between the French Railway Com- 
pany and the Belgian Companies of the Great Luxem- 
burg and Liege-Limburg Railways. The basis of these 
negotiations was this : the Belgian railways were to 
be sold, or at all events leased, to the French Eastern 
Railway Company. The dividends which were guar- 
anteed by the French Government to the Eastern 
railways were to be also secured by it to the Belgian 
railways which it sought to acquire. For the Bel- 
gian railway companies this arrangement would 
have been by no means bad ; from a general commer- 
cial point of view it must also be regarded as good, 
as it would necessarily facilitate the communication 
in eastern France from Holland to Switzerland. 

But to the Belgian nation this business was not 
pleasing. The gteat incorporated companies, in small 


countries especially, have attained an influence which 
limits the power of the state in its most beneficial 
measiyea. By the projected treaties this influence 
was to be handed over to the French Eastern Railway 
Company, and behind this Company stood, as was 
well known, the French Government. The Belgian 
nation saw, therefore, in the proposed arrangement, 
the first step towards a complete annexation of Bel- 
gium to France, and remonstrated decidedly against 
it The Belgian Goverament stood in this matter in 
complete accord with the nation, and, on the 23d of 
February 1869, was able to pasa a law which rendered 
impossible the completion of treaties by incorporated 
companies without the sanction of the state, and pre- 
vented the state being overreached by such means. 

In France there arose, at the instigation of tlic 
Court party, a loud outcry at this measure, as though 
by it a great injustice had been done to the Empire ; 
and the Parisian newspapers asserted that the above- 
mentioned law was prompted by Bismark. Corre- 
spondence at once ensued between France and Belgium . 
The Belgians pleaded that if the proposed treatiei* 
between the French and Belgian railway companies 
had in reality no other object than that of facilitating 
international communication, their end could be gained 
by simpler means than by selling or leasing the 
Belgian railways to the French Eastern Railway Com- 
pany — namely, by an agreement ae to their manage- 
ment, without allowing it to lapse altogether into the 


power of the French. The seiiBitiveness which was 
manifested on the French side, and which showed 
itself in various threats, only excited the Belgian 
Government to double its vigilance and caution. M. 
Fr^re-Orban, President of the Belgian Ministry, and 
Minister of Finance, came himself to Paris to take 
part in the negotiations ; but before any result was 
arrived at, the time for the elections of 1869 drew 
nigh. The Emperor, who believed that these would 
give him full occupation, stepped personally into the 
business. The question was adjourned, and when it 
came on again subsequently, was tamely settled by 
an agreement of management much as the Belgians 
had at first proposed. 

As we have seen, the foreign relations and policy 
of the Empire in their origin and in their issue were 
little calculated to divert the attention of France 
from internal questions. After the new Army Bill 
had been disposed of early in 1868, a new law for 
the press, and another for regulating political unions 
and assemblies, came on. The first was announced 
on the 11th of May, the latter on the 6 th of June. 
Both laws teemed with repressive Draconic clauses, 
but still they gave somewhat more freedom than the 
£ormer. The clause in the old law which made the 
publication of every journal dependent upon a con- 
cession of the Government was abolished. Every one 
might now publish newspapers without more ado : 
every one had now the right to ruin himself, if he 


thought fit, through the press. The practical end 
which the newly-started newspapers undertook waa, 
to prepare for the elections for the Corps Legislatif, 
whose period of legislature expired in 1869. The 
new press, therefore, was much prosecuted both by 
the law and by the administration ; but still it was 
not deterred, to any great extent, from pursuing its 

Since the beginning of the year 1868, a very in- 
fluential party had sprung up, which, opposing itself 
to personal rule, urged the adoption of the principle 
of Parliamentary government. The views of this 
party were shared not only by the opponents of the 
Napoleonic dynasty, but also by some of its most 
devoted adherents. The repeated sicknesses of the 
Emperor had rendered even more important the ques- 
tion. What was to happen after the death of Napoleon 
III.? There would remain the Empress Eugenie, a 
good but somewhat narrow-minded woman, who clung 
obstinately to the prerogative of the crown, who was 
the real head of that Court party which ever hoped 
to renew the brightness of the dynasty by the brilli- 
ancy of its foreign enterprises, and who, lastly, was to 
be chiefly blamed for the shameful overgrowth of the 
clerical element, and with it for the foolish opposition 
to the intelligent education of the masses ; there 
would be, further, if the Emperor should die soon, a 
boy, a minor in age, of whose talents, disposition, and 
character, nothing was known save that he was 

STATE OP FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 29 

weakly and badly brought up ; then there remained 
Prince Jerome Napoleon, who, in spite of his Bona- 
partist face, was neither respected by the people nor 
by the army, — and this is taking no accoimt of the 
civil family of the Emperor, the members of which 
were constantly causing him trouble and care by their 

Which of these persons, then, was to continue the 
personal rule of the Emperor after his death ? Would 
it not be better to think in time of so changing the 
form of government that a too close inspection of the 
ruling personage would not be inevitable? Under 
these circumstances it was natural that the party 
opposed to personal government should increase 
apace, although composed of the most heterogeneous 

Coexistent with this party was the Republican, 
represented in the press mainly by two newly-founded 
newspapers — ^the * Reveil ' of Ch. Delescluze, and the 
* Lanteme ' of Count Henry Rochefort, which latter 
strove especially to render the Second Empire person- 
ally ridiculous and hated ; and touching it thus on 
its most sensitive spot, subjected itself to the most 
freqitent and sharpest prosecutions. A great demon- 
stration at the tomb of the Republican deputy, Bau- 
din, who fell at the barricades on the 3d of December 
1851, fighting against the coup d'Stat, and the invita- 
tion which followed to subscribe for a monument to 
be erected to him, led to the dismission of the Min- 


iatet of the Interior, Pinard, who had acted very un- 
skilfully on these occasions, and brought on further 
legal processes, in the course of which the Empire was 
unavoidably discussed,- a proceeding which was more 
painful to it than aught else. 

From the beginning of the year 1869, all parties 
were preparing for the coming elections for the Corps 
Legialatif. The Republicans had increaBed consider- 
ably; still, every impartial observer knew well that 
they could not play any great part. But with the 
party opposed to personal government it was very dif- 
ferent. The Government had, it is true, owing to the 
long-prevailing system of centralising the administra- 
tion and of nominating oflicial candidates, an unusual 
influence over the elections ; but since even the ad- 
herents of the dynasty were opposed on grounds of 
expediency to the principle of personal rule, it could 
be foreseen that the Chamber, chosen by the elections 
of 1869, would, although perhaps but slightly differ- 
ent in its personal composition_, still bring with it a 
very different vote to that of the former ones. 

On the 28th of April 1869 the session of the old 
Corps Legislatif closed, and the elections for the com- 
ing period of legislature fixed for the 23d and 24th 
of May ; for Corsica for the 30th and 31st of May. 
The election committees at once commenced their 
work, and meetings to consider the claims of the 
candidates were convened. The opportunity was 
seized in these assemblies to test the new law of the 

STATE OF FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 31 

6th of June 1868 ; and in this way many disputes, 
and even in some cases unimportant conflicts, ensued 
between the police and the citizens. 

On the whole, the elections, as well as the meetings, 
passed off throughout France and in the large towns, 
especially in Paris, very quietly, and with good order. 
In Paris, at the first scrutiny, five of the nine candi- 
dates were selected : these were the young advocate 
Gambetta, who had made himself renowned by his 
fiery attack upon the Second Empire, when defending 
those implicated in the Baudin affair; Bancel, who 
had just returned firom a long exile ; the thorough 
Parisian Ernest Picard ; the dulcet and shallow prat- 
tler of humanity, Julius Simon ; and Pelletan. At 
the second scrutiny, on the 6 th and 7th of June, were 
elected Thiers, the celebrated historian of the Revolu- 
tion and of the Empire, to oppose whose election the 
Government strained every nerve, even to this extent, 
that to gain votes in his district they placed the 
regiment of gendarmes of the Guard who were 
quartered there, and who heretofore had been always 
regarded as field troops, upon the same footing as the 
gendarmerie of the departments ; further. Gamier 
Pag^, Julius Ferry, and the eloquent advocate Jules 

All the candidates elected in Paris were anti-Impe- 
rialists; but only one — Gambetta — was a declared 
Republican. Rochefort, for whose support a strong 
party had been organised, was thrown out by Favre, 


and chiefly for this reason, that the newly-founded 
' Rappel/ an organ of Victor Hugo's clique, had de- 
manded the return of Rochefort as an absolute enemy 
of Napoleon HI, Paris was ill-disposed towards per- 
sonal rule, but it proved itself by no means personally 
hostile to the Emperor. Emil Ollivier had not been 
able to secure his return in Paris, solely because he 
was there regarded as a traitor to every opinion 
which he had formerly defended. 

The 6th and 7th of June, the days of the second 
scrutiny, also passed by quietly, but on the 8th 
disturbances began. As the evening declined, 
groups began to assemble in the streets and on tlie 
Boulevards. These diaturbauces had been arranged 
by M. Rouher, and by the Prefect of Police, Pietri. 
The leaders of the groups were gallows-birds, engaged 
by Pietri to the number of about three huntlred. It 
was calculated, and rightly so, that the curiosity of 
the Parisian public would soon enlarge these gioupe. 
Two points were selected as the foci of these dis- 
turbances — the environs of the Temple, and the 
neighbourhood of the Boulevard Montmartre. In the 
first days of these imeutes the troops of the Guard of 
Paris and the sergents de ville marched out to quell 
tliem ; in the latter days, detachments of the cavalry 
of the line, hussars, and mounted rifles, and after- 
wanls two regiments of cuirassiers, which were called 
in from Versailles. On the afternoon of the 11th of 
June, the Emi>eror, accompanied by the Empress, rode 


in an open carriage along the Boulevards; on the 
evening of the same day the cuirassiers entered Paris ; 
and on the 12th of June the disturbances ceased by 
command^ as by command they had arisen. 

The object of these arrangements was to instU 
into the mind of the good citizens a dread of " bad 
elections'' and of their consequences, and this end 
was very completely gained. On the 8th and 9th of 
June, 40,000 strangers left Paris. These had come 
there, some on business, others, and these the greater 
part, for amusement, and they were by no means 
desirous of allowing themselves instead to be cut 
down by the sergents de ville. Business and com- 
merce stood still. Independently of the departure of 
these 40,000 visitors, who gave much employment, 
the passages of the Boulevards were closed, and the 
cafis cleared at 9 o'clock in the evening. Destruc- 
tion of every sort was wrought by the soldiers en- 
gaged by M. Pietri, The business popidation of 
Paris had learnt — not the truth — ^but exactly that 
which it was meant to learn, and was now ready to 
step forward personally against such disturbances. 
During all these Smeutes not a single shot was fired, 
not a rallying shout was heard, not a barricade was 
erected ; the cry of " aux Tuileries" was never raised, 
although the Boulevard Montmartre is not far dis- 
tant from them. We only relate these things because 
there are yet people who regard the disturbances of 
June 1869 as a Republican demonstration, and who 

VOL. I. c 



will not believe that so great a scandal was purely a 
police affair. These Stneutes were in truth nothing 

From the 8th to the 12th of June 1869 many 
arrests were made. The greater number of those 
arrested were released witliin twenty-four hours. The 
FStc of Napoleon on the 15th of August, with its 
customary general amnesty, afforded an opportunity 
of getting rid of the remainder. Only a few poor 
wretches, about whom no human being cared, were 
reserved ; and in the autumn processes were instituted 
against them to demonstrate to the "poor in spirit" 
that the Imperial Government was really justified in 
June in stepping in to quell the disturbances. 

Of the 293 deputies elected throughout France, 
about 1 00, a good third, and more than was at first 
hoped for, belonged to tlie various opposition parties. 
A more important fact was, that the Government had 
not dared in some places to put forward official candi- 
dates, and in others had preferred to disguise them 
as so-called " independents," who in their election 
speeches did not hesitate to disown repeatedly and 
sharply the Imperial Government. 

On the 28th of June 1869 the new Oirps Legia- 
latif was opened by an address from the Ministerial 
Presideut Rouher, in which as little as possible was 
said. The session, which began on the 28th of June, 
waa to be dedicated solely to proving the elections, 
and to the constitution of the C'hambers. Those 

STATE OF FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 35 

deputies who had been returned for two or three dis- 
tricts could only declare which they would represent 
after the proving the elections had taken place, and 
therefore the affcer-elections could not be held until 

The opposition in the Chambers would not at all 
acquiesce in the intention of the Government, that 
the present session should close after the elections 
were proved, and the " Tiers parti " especially opposed 
this. This party was the moderate Opposition, who 
were in favour of the Empire with Parliamentary 
forms, and its members were mostly they who had 
come forward in the elections as " independent" can- 
didates, without belonging to the ** Irreconcilablea" 
The various sections of the " Tiers parti " held the 
most varied opinions as to how far the Imperial 
power should be limited and the influence of Parlia- 
ment raised. But all were agreed as to the neces- 
sity for a constitutional limitation, and a question on 
this subject to be put to the Government soon found 
116 supporters. 

The Imperial Government was not at all pleased 
by this question ; and as neither flattery nor threats 
had any eflFect upon its supporters, the Emperor deter- 
mined to meet it by what he deemed to be a heroic 

On the 12th of July 1869 he caused his Minister 
of State, Eouher, to read a message to the Corps 
Legislatif, in which he announced the reforms which 


he intended to sanction. We cannot here examine 
more minutely this message. It will suffice to re- 
mark that these refoi-ma were altogether illusorj'. 
The Emperor expressly stated that hia concessions 
could not in any way affect the prerogatives conferred 
upon him by the Frencli people through the plebiscite 
of December 1851, but that he should still maintain 
these prerogatives in their integrity. The Senate was 
to examine these Imperial propositions, and a sena- 
tus consullum was to give them the constitutional 
sanction. Of their ratification by a plebiscite there 
was this time no talk. 

As this heroic expedient only influenced a very 
small number of the supporters of the question, the 
great bulk of them declaring that, after the Imperial 
message, they were constrained to hold but the moi-c 
firmly to their intention, the Corps Legislatif was 
prorogued by an Imperial whim on the 1 3th of July, 
although fifty-eight elections still remained unproved. 
The Senate was summoned to assemble on the 2d of 
August to pass the proposed changes in the Constitu- 
tion, and the Ministry ftt the same time tendered its 

On the morning of the 17th of July the new Minis- 
try was fonned. By a decree of the same day the 
hitherto existing representative Ministiy of State 
(Redeministerium) was abolishefl ; and M. Rouher, 
who had hitherto filled the office, was appointed Pre- 
sident of the Senate, niid thus gained a position which 


was all the more influential, as it was the Senate 
which was to deliberate on the proposed modifications 
of the Constitution. 

Five of the old Ministry remained in ofiice — Mar- 
shal Niel as Minister of War, Admiral Rigaut de 
Genouilly as Minister of Marine : and for the Colo- 
nies, MM. Forcade de la Roquette, Minister of the 
Interior ; Magne, Minister of Finance ; Gressier, for 
the Public Works. The newly-appointed were MM. 
Duvergier, Minister of Justice and Culture ; Prince 
Latour d'Auvergne, for Foreign Affairs; Bourbeau, 
for Public Instruction ; Alfred Leroux, for Commerce 
and Agriculture ; the Marquis Chasseloup-Laubat, as 
President of the Council. Among the newly-nomi- 
nated Ministers, two— Bourbeau and Leroux— had 
seats also in the Corps Legislatif. The hitherto exist- 
ing inability of Ministers to sit as deputies was now 
formally abolished. 

The new Ministry was essentially peaceful. Public 
opinion had also turned away more and more from 
the idea of war, and devoted itself to winning internal 
freedom. At first Paris tried to persuade itself that 
the Corps Legislatif was only prorogued for a few 
days, but the intention of the Emperor was very 

On the 2d of August the Senate assembled to deli- 
berate on the changes in the Constitution which were 
to be laid before it — changes which were represented 
by MM. Bouher and Duvergier as being the natural 



finiit of the original idea which Napoleon III. had 
entertained and constantly brooded over since the 
year 1848 of giving Liberty to France, in homoso- 
pathic doses certainly, but all the more surely on that 

The Senate nominated by the Emperor, every mem- 
ber of which had an annual dotation of 30,000 franca, 
elected a commission, on the 5th of August 1869, to 
consider the Imperial proposal. The Senate was to 
have its consultum ready by the 15th of August, so 
that on that day, the FSte of Napoleon — which, being 
also the centenary FMe of Napoleon I., was to be 
celebrated with peculiar solemnity — the new gospel of 
liberty might be preached to France. But as that 
day approached, the heaven of the Second Empire 
gradually darkened on all sides. 

The senators worked but slowly during these mo- 
mentous hours. Marshal Niel, who had laboured 
bravely and pcrseveriiigly under the most difficult 
conditions on the reorganisation of the army, and 
who wished that it might be employed as soon as 
possible against Germany — a wish which we could 
not share, but can easily understand ^fell sick, and 
by the 8th of August it was admitted that some 
months at least must elapse before he could be re- 
stored to health. On the 13th of August he died. 
The Emperor himself was seriously unwell, and had 
to be represented at Chalons by the Prince Imperial, 
who did not awaken any special sympathy by this 

STATE OF FRANCE FKOM 1867 TO 1870. 39 

early appearance in public. The Emperor Napoleon 
is a fatalist, and not indisposed to listen to arithmet- 
ical prophets. These had long foretold that the year 
1869 would be a fatal one for the Napoleonic dynasty, 
and this prediction did not ameliorate the state of 
health of the Emperor. 

On the 15th of August, which passed away some- 
what sadly in Paris, a great amnesty was proclaimed, 
which ajfforded an opportunity of quietly getting rid 
of the unpleasant affairs of the June hneutes. The 
Empress Eugenie and her son were obliged to repre- 
sent the Emperor in Ajaccio, where a statue of Napo- 
leon I. was to be unveiled, in celebration of his pre- 
tended centenary. 

The continued sickness of the Emperor caused a 
great sensation, not only among the financiers and 
politicians of France, but among those of the whole 
of Europe ; and thus it came to pass that the death 
of the Emperor, and what was to follow it, was more 
discussed than it ever had been before. Perhaps the 
Imperial Senate itself was the least affected by these 
considerations : why should not that which had lasted 
so long still last on till the death of the senators, 
who were collectively not in the bloom of youth ? 

On the 1st of September 1869, the Senate pro- 
ceeded to deliberate in full house on the constdtum 
prepared by its commission. Prince Jerome Napoleon, 
who presumably would one day play the leading 
part in the council of the regency, took the opportu- 


nity to deliver an address, in which he condemned the 
setiatus consuUuvi and the whole system of the Im- 
perial policy, and demanded an unconditional return 
to a Parliamentary government. 

On the 6th of September the Senate had finished 
its deliberations ; and on the 8th of September the 
Emperor could announce from St Cloud the senatus 
ooiisultum, which agreed very closely with his propo- 
sition. On the 10th of September he drove, notwith- 
standing his sickness, along the Boulevards, to show 
the Parisians that it was not especially urgent for 
them to trouble themselves with the question of the 
regency. On the same day, also, Prince Napoleon 
started on a journey, which he certainly could have 
postponed without any material damage. 

The discontent of the " Moderates " increased from 
day to day. The moderate oppositionists, the dynastic 
Parliamentarians, had believed that the Corps Legis- 
latif was only prorogued for a few days, while the 
new Ministry was being formed. But when, even 
after the completion of the senatus consuUum on the 
6th of September, there was still no mention of the 
reassembling of the Corps Legislatif, M. de Keratry 
proposed that it should reassemble on its own author- 
ity on the 26th of October, supporting itself on the 
existing constitution by not regarding as a session the 
sitting which commenced on the 28th of June, .and 
in which the jtroving even of the elections was not 

STATE OF FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 41 

completed. This proposition was at first received with 
much applause ; but as time went by, more and more 
of the Opposition became apostates to it, especially 
after the Government, by a decree of the 2d of Octo- 
ber, summoned both the Senate and Corps Legislatif 
to assemble on the 29th of November, for a session 
which was to be regarded as extraordinary until the 
proving the elections was finished^ and should then 
become an ordinary one. 

Nevertheless the Government took military mea- 
sures of precaution on a large scale for the 26th of 
October. But the day passed quietly away. The 
Left throughout all this time behaved very badly. 
Devoted to pleasure, they availed themselves of every 
pretext not to appear at their posts. The 21st and 
22d of November were fixed for the elections of the 
Corps Legislatif. Of the four which had to take 
place in Paris, after Gambetta, Bancel, Picard, and 
Julius Simon had declared their intention to sit for 
the departments, three took place on the 22d of 
November. Rochefort, the personal enemy of the 
dynasty, Cr^mieux, and Emmanuel Arago were 
elected. For the 4th Paris District, the old Glais 
Bizoin was elected on the 6th and 7th of December 
1869 a Parliamentarian, but as bitter a foe to Napo- 
leon III. as Rochefort. These elections also took 
place quietly. The speech from the throne, with 
which Napoleon III. opened the Senate and the Corps 


Legislatif on' tlic 29th November, was defeated, not- 
withstanding the admixture of several hauglity and 
high-toned phrases. 

The Emperor had entirely lost faith in the majority 
of the Corps Legislatif ; and how absolutely insignifi- 
cant his Ministry of the 17th July was, he knew better 
than any one else. The Empress Eugenie was not 
present at the opening of the Chambers — she was upon 
her journey to the inauguration of the Suez Canal ; 
and the Emperor was in a better situation to follow 
the instincts of liis reason than he had ever been 
before. He recognised, now that he was not inces- 
santly tormented by the warlilic Court party, that his 
intercsta demanded a yielding in the direction of 
liberty. The storm was lulled for the moment, but 
there was no doubt that it would rise again after the 
final completion of tlic proving of the elections. 

Under these circumstances, the Emperor took coun- 
sel with himself, and thought it good, as the sole 
irresponsible Ctesar of France, to give to her, by his 
own free will, that Parliamentary Constitution which 
she demanded from him. But with this he .wished to 
remain, as far as might be possible, the elected demo- 
cratic Cffisar of France. On the 27tli of December, 
after he had caused the old one to tender its resigna- 
tion, he commanded M. Emil Ollivicr to form a new 
Parliamentary Ministry. We must now introduce 
Emil Ollivier, tlie man who has exercised such a dis- 
astrous influence over the affairs of France, in order 

STATE OF FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870, 43 

to do justice to him and to the nation on which he 
has wrought such great injuries. 

Emil Ollivier, son of the old Eepublican Demos- 
thenes OUivier, was born at Marseilles on the 2d of 
July 1825. In 1847 he commenced his career as 
advocate in Paris. In the following year the Kevolu- 
tion broke out, which overthrew Louis Philippe, and 
the young Emil Ollivier was sent by Ledru Eollin, a 
fiiend of his father, as Commissioner-General to the 
department of the Ehone. Not only has Emil 
Ollivier himself spoken well of his activity in this 
position, but also his flatterers, when he was in 
power, could not sufficiently praise it. But long 
before it was ever thought that he woidd be a 
Minister of Napoleon III., we heard from impartial 
observers of those times that OUivier, owing to his 
youth and to his inordinate vanity, only wrought harm 
in his office. Cavaignac speedily recalled the pre- 
maturely-forced young hero from his dangerous post, 
and transplanted him to be Prefect in the more tran- 
quil department of the Upper Marne. 

With the election of Napoleon to the Presidency 
of the Republic, the administrative life of Ollivier 
closed suddenly, and he returned to his career of 
advocate. In this he gained himself a name, and 
justly so. He had true instincts of liberty, and as 
long as he allowed these to reign unchecked, possessed 
great influence. In consequence of these, he was 
elected in the year 1857 deputy for the third district 


of the department of the Seine. He belonged to the 
small group of the " Five " who then alone among the 
mass of the Mamclucks of the Second Empire repre- 
sented the opposition, and was the moat brilliant orator 
among them, being atill filled with the enthusiasm of 
youth and of liberty, which had departed from the 
older members of the group, who had more or less 
lapsed into advocates. Nevertheless it was even then 
noticed that Ollivier was not untainted with the 
desire to be pleasing to the majority. Popular 
applause was so pleasant to him that he showed 
himself ever more and more " moderate." After 
he had been re-elected in the year 1863, this ten- 
dency towards the " Right " became ever greater and 
greater. He had so talked and argued on " modera- 
tion," that he became now in reality inwardly per- 
suaded of its justice, and in the session from 1866 to 
1867 he separated himself entirely from the "Left." 
At this time his personal relationship with Napoleon 
commenced. After the letter of the Emperor on the 
9th of January 1867, Ollivier openly supported the 
Empire. He believed, in the high opinion which he had 
of himself, that he could parliamentarise Imperialism. 
From this time forward, it was reported at every 
Ministerial crisis, either that he would be a member 
of the new Ministry, or that he himself would under- 
take its formation. But for a time it was so in report 
only. Although Ollivier had declared his 8ei)aration 
from the Left, the odour of his former ideas of free- 

STATE OF FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 45 

dom Still clung to him^ and the man was regarded 
with suspicion by the Mamelucks of the Right, by 
the Court party, and by M. Eouher. They would wil- 
lingly have employed him as their instrument, but 
they were unwilling to concede to him any influence 
upon the fate of the Empire. 

In March 1869, OUivier attempted in his pamphlet 
*The 19 th of January' to justify himself before the 
democracy of France, and to pave the way for his 
re-election in Paris. But he was not returned for 
Paris. Stigmatised everywhere as a traitor, he polled 
only 12,848 votes, while 22,848 were recorded for his 
opponent Bancel. On the other hand, OUivier was 
returned for the department of the Bar. But he was 
not contented with this, and his discontent drove him 
into still closer connection with the Imperial sur- 
roundings. Upon the letter of the Emperor, dated 
27th of December 1869, he undertook the formation 
of a new Ministry. In other matters besides police 
affairs, this is true, " cherchez la femme.^' OUivier 
had, whilst stUl a young man, married the daughter 
of the pianist, and later Abb^ Liszt, and of the Coun- 
tess d'Agoult (Daniel Stem). Noble motives cannot 
be denied to OUivier; but his wife, who, however, 
died in 1862, exercised, together with her kindred, a 
very pernicious influence upon him. In September 
1869 he married the daughter of a rich merchant of 
MarseiUes. In the year 1865 he received an appoint- 
ment as Commissioner of the Viceroy (or Khedive) 



of Egypt in the Suez Canal undertaking, with a salary 
of 30,000 franca, and for this he gave up his practice 
as advocate in Paris. 

OUivier had some difficulty in getting together hia 
new Ministry, which was to be a Parliamentary one, 
as he was regarded with suspicion both by the 
Bight and by the Left. But he succeeded finally, 
and by the 2d of January 1870 it was formed. It 
consisted of, — 

M. Ollivier, Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Jus- 
tice and of Culture ; 

Count Napoleon Daru, for Foreign Affairs ; 

Chevandicr de Valdrflme, for the Interior ; 

Buffet, for Finance ; 

LebcBuf, for War ; 

Rigault de Genouilly, for the Marine and the 
Colonies ; 

Segris, for Public Instruction ; 

Marquis of Talhouet, for Public Works ; 

Louvet, for Agriculture and Commerce ; 

Marshal Vaillant, Minister of the Imperial House- 
hold ; 

Moritz Richard, for the Fine Arts ; 

De Parieu, President of the Council. 

In this new Ministry, MM, Ollivier, Daru, Che- 
vandicr de Valdr6me, Buffet, Segris, Talhouet^ Louvet, 
and Richard, belonged to the Corps Legislatif. 

Count Daru, born in 1807, left the Polytechnic 
School in the year 1828, served with distinction as 


an artillery oflScer, and attached himself with his 
whole heart to the cause of the house of Orleans. 
He accepted the Republic ; but after Napoleon's coup 
cPitat in December 1851, in which he did not escape 
arrest, he retired into private life, and only accepted 
a seat in the Corps Legislatif in 1869. 

Chevandier de Valdrdme entered the Corps Legis- 
latif in 1859, elected for the department of the 
Meurthe, as a Government candidate ; afterwards he 
sat constantly, and always as a supporter of the 

Buffet^ bom 1818, advocate, man of order, decided 
opponent of socialism, was first elected as a represen- 
tative of the people in 1848, was a Minister of the 
President Louis Napoleon, but separated from him 
when he was preparing the coup d'etat, and for a 
long time took no part in public affairs. In 1864 he 
was again elected for the Corps Legislatif, and was 
there one of the chief representatives of the djmastic 
opposition, which demanded the Empire with Parlia- 
mentary institutions. He was very active in the 
question of the 116. 

Segris, bom 1811, advocate, was returned for the 
Corps Legislatif in 1859, where he belonged to the 
same party as Buffet. 

The Marquis of Talhouet Roy, bom 1819, is one of 
the three or four largest landed proprietors in France. 
A deputy since 1849, he protested in 1859 against 
the coup (Titaty was imprisoned for several days, 



but was nevertheless elected again in 1832, and with- 
out any protest from the Government. In 1869 he 
came forward at the elections as a member of the 
Liberal Opposition, and when the Chamber was 
granted the right to nominate its own bm-eau, he was 
elected Vice-President. 

Louvet, born 180G, banker, was returned in 1848 
as representative of the people. He was a constant 
supporter of the policy of Napoleon, both before and 
after tlie foundation of the Empire. Nevertheless lie 
also was one of those who signed the question of the 

Maurice Richard, bom 1832, son of a rich commer- 
cial agent, advocate, was first returned for the Corps 
Legislatif in 1863. He was a constant adherent to 
the policy of OllJvier, who in 1870 created for him 
the useless Ministry of the Fine Arts. 

The declared ohjtct of Ollivier's Ministry was to 
ally the Empire to Parliamentary institutions, and to 
lead France to political freedom. At first little pro- 
gress in that direction was apparent. Nothing was 
brought forward but a few well-meant but insignifi- 
cant reforms in the administration of justice. At the 
very onset of its career, an event occurred wliich was 
unfortunate for tlie Ministry. Prince Pierre Napoleon 
shot in his own liouse the young jouiualist Victor Noir 
(properly Iwan Salmon). The radical press at once 
made capital of this event against the dynasty which 
it was the task of Ollivier's Ministry to 


STATE OP PRANCE PROM 1867 TO 1870. 49 

The deputy Rochefort was particularly violent on the 
matter in the ' Marseillaise/ a paper newly established 
V hte. ; and l»ddes this, .Irft^J^^ »».« 
took place on the occasion of the burial of Victor 

OUivier judged it expedient to display great energy 
on this occasion, in order to gain respect for himself 
among his adversaries about the Emperor, the most 
important and clever of whom was M. Rouher. He 
caused Prince Pierre to be arrested, and a process to 
be instituted against him before the State Court, 
which assembled at Tours. The trial ended in the 
acquittal of the Prince. With the deputy M. Roche- 
fort it fared differently. OUivier demanded from the 
Chamber the assent to his legal prosecution, which 
was gladly given by the majority, as the " Red dis- 
turbance-monger '^ was very distasteful to them. 

Rochefort was condenmed to six months* imprison- 
ment, and to a fine of 3000 francs, and OUivier did 
not delay to carry out the sentence. On the 7th of 
February 1870, Rochefort was arrested and incar- 
cerated in St Pelagic. The comparison of the pro- 
ceedings against Prince Pierre on the one hand, 
and against Rochefort on the other, created much 
bad feeling in Paris. 

By the end of March 1870 the Ministry was unani- 
mous as to the changes of the Constitution which 
seemed to be necessary, and it only remained to de- 
cide upon the form in which they should be sanc- 

VOL. I. D 


tioned and promulgated. The genuine Parliament- 
arians demanded that they ahould be laid before the 
Senate and Corps Legielatif for consideration, and 
that they should be proclaimed by the Government 
in the form in which they remained after the debate. 
The Imperialists — at whose head was M. Kouher — 
held a very different opinion, and it was they who, 
now as formerly, exercised the greatest influence over 
the Emperor. The opinion of these men — and women 
— was, that the project for the alteration of the Con- 
stitution should be constitutionally treated. The 
project, according to the existing laws, must be first 
laid before the Senate, and its acceptance then de- 
cided by a plebiscite. For the rest, whatever legis- 
lative rights the Emperor might cede to the Chamber^ 
he must still reserve to himself the right to appeal to 
a plebiscite. 

This view was pleasant to the Emperor. To M. 
EmU Ollivier it could not be acceptable, for he had 
often, in former time, both in his speeches and in his 
writings, pronounced against this plebiscite busineaa 
Yet he yielded to the wish of his opponents, who 
daily represented to him that he must first give proirf 
by acts of his adherence to the Empire before the 
same could be believed in, and that up to the present 
he had not done this in the required degree. When 
Ollivier yielded, all — friends as well as foes — declared 
that he did so in ordei- to keep at any price his post 
of Minister. We think otherwise. M. Ollivier 


STATE OF FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 51 

suffering, he is afflicted with macromania, and as he, 
moreover, is imbued with the tendency of all advo- 
cates to believe that everything can be effected by 
dialectic dexterity, he was therefore persuaded that, 
even allowing the admission of the plebiscite, Csesar- 
ism could be stifled in Parliamentarianism. 

Not so lightly did some of the colleagues of M. 
Ollivier treat the matter. Count Daru and M. Buffet 
declared that they could in no case assent to the 
principle of the plebiscite, and signified their inten- 
tion of resigning office if it was to be reaUy recognised 
in the new Constitution. Talhouet was of the same 
opinion. Still he determined to remain in office until 
after the plebiscite, in order not to prematurely em- 
barrass the Ministry. 

On the 13th of April the Corps Legislatif was ad- 
journed until after the plebiscite, so that no hindrance 
to the latter might arise. On the 14th of April the 
debate in the Senate commenced, its commission hav- 
ing constructed out of the changes proposed by the 
Ministry an entirely new and connected Constitution. 
On the 25th of April the * Journal Officiel ' announced 
the retirement, which had in reality long before taken 
place, of MM. Daru and Buffet from the Ministry. 
Their places were for the present now filled up. M. 
Ollivier imdertook the Foreign Affairs, Segris the 
Finance, and Maurice Richard the Public Instruction, 
in addition to the heavy burden of the Fine Arts. 

On the 23d of April the decree for the plebiscite 


appeared. The 8tli of May was named as the day on 
which it should take place, and, as had happened 
prior to the elections for the Corpa Legislatif, so now 
again political meetings began to be convened. The 
entire independent press being unable to prevent the 
plebiscite, counselled men now either to abstain from 
voting, or to vote " No." 

What was expected from the plebiscite 1 In the 
elections of 1869 the official candidates bad only been 
returned by a very small majority. But then they 
were many in number, while now there waa only 
one, the Emperor himself; and he certainly, for rea- 
sons easily recognisable, was not unbeloved by the 
country people. How could an uneducated rural 
population, whom the Government could not even 
trust to elect its own members for the Corps Legislatif 
without its guardianship, vote conscientiously with a 
"Yes" or a "No" upon a Constitution of forty-five 
articles ? The vote was really demanded for or against 
the Emperor, and every impartial observer must see 
that the majority would be in favour of Napoleon. 

The antagonists of CiBSarism could only strive to 
prevent the majority being too overwhelming, that 
the Empire might not by it be encouraged to com- 
mit fresh follies. The quiet, moderate, and sensi- 
ble oppositionists attempted this only, and nothing 
more, but a good deal depended upon how much 
ofBcial influence might be brought to bear upon the 
sovereign people. 

STATE OF FRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 53 

OUivier had formerly pronounced very strongly 
against the official candidates^ and against every offi- 
cial influence upon the voting, which, with the exist- 
ing incredible centralisation of the administration in 
France, must necessarily exercise an enormous power. 
Condemned by his present fatal situation to do the 
exact reverse of all that he had formerly acknow- 
ledged as good and just, OUivier now laboured as- 
siduously for the plebiscite. The Ministry of the 
Interior now pressed the prefects more urgently than 
ever the Imperial, bureaucratic Forcade had done, to 
work with a " consuming " activity to insure a great 
majority of the " Yes" 

But in spite of all this the Emperor and his sur- 
roundings were not tranquil The official newspapers 
explained from day to day that the vote on this 
occasion would virtually determine the question of 
peace or war. K a great majority voted " Yes,*' then 
peace would be assured ; if the contrary took place, 
then the Empire must bethink itself of, and apply, 
other means to re-establish itself anew — as, for ex- 
ample, a war to gain the Rhine. This argument had 
an extraordinary effect, the best proof how much the 
whole of France in those days wished for peace. 

The independent press called attention to the fact 
that the reverse of this was really the truth. A great 
majority for the new Constitution would give to 
Csesansm new power to undertake other expeditions 
like the Mexican. A modest majority only would 



render it also more modest, and dispose it to think 
seriously of the promised development of the Consti- 
tution, and would compel it to press this on. 

By a dispensation of Providence and of the Prefect 
of PolicC) Pietri, a plot and an attempt to assassinate 
were discovered. On the 29th of April a certain 
Beaury, a dissolute man, a deserter from the French 
army, who had just returned from Belgium, was 
arrested and charged with intending to shoot the 
Emperor. As this did not appear sufficient, a plot 
was added to it, which had for its object the over- 
turning of the whole French Constitution. On the 
5th of May — that is, two days before the plebiscite, 
and at a time when popular meetings for discussion 
were no longer allowed — a report of the Procurator- 
General, Grandpcrret, to OUivier, together with the 
decision of OUivier and of the Emperor, was published, 
— a writing which well deserves to be distinguished 
as the most audacious deed of its kind that ever saw 
the light. The attempt, the plot, all possible things 
were mixed up in it ; the testimony of police spies 
was mingled with a few scanty facts, and the interna- 
tional trades-union, were dragged into the plot in an 
unheard-of manner : in short, decency and common- 
sense were most shamefully outraged by the produc- 
tion of this work. 

But nevertheless, or perhaps even on that account, 
the coup worked. The voting on the forty-five para- 
graphs of the new Constitution was thrust into the 

STATE OP FRANCE FEOM 1867 TO 1870. 65 

background, and the question for the mass of the 
people was thus put, Would they on the 8th of May 
vote for Napoleon III., or for the deserter Beaury? 
who, it was pretended, had attempted to shoot him. 
They voted for Napoleon III. against the deserter 

But a few black clouds somewhat darkened this 
sereneness of the heaven. Paris, and nearly all the 
large towns, had refused to give the Emperor a 
majority ; a good sixth of the amy, which had been 
allowed to vote this time, in special military comitias^ 
had voted " No,'* or against the Emperor ; and on the 
occasion of the plebiscite in the army, scenes had 
arisen in the ba^acks which were not compatible 
with the ordinary notions of military discipline. 
StiU the Empire had gathered together an over- 
whelming majority, larger than the greatest pessimists 
could have expected after the elections of 1869. 

The fear entertained by the Liberal papers that 
a great majority of " Yeses " on the day of the plebi- 
scite would signify war was not unfounded. Even 
before the plebiscite there had been much talk — in 
secret, certainly — of sending the Duke of Persigny 
on a mission to Berlin. He was there to demand 
the performance of the terms of the Treaty of Prague 
of 1866, and to behave with an audacity which might 
compel Prussia to declare war. After the plebiscite 
this aflFair lapsed for the time being, thanks before 
all to the Emperor, who must, in order that justice 



may be done, be separated from the Court party. He 
knew Germany better than it was generally known 
in France ; and however willing he may have been 
to undertake a victorious war to establish anew his 
dynasty, still, up to the last hour he remained very 
doubtful of the capability of the French to conquer 
unconditionally the Germans. 

After the plebiscite, the Ministry, which had been 
mutilated by the resignation of Dai-u, of Buffet, and 
of Talhouet, was recruited by the appointment of the 
Duke of Granimont to be Minister of Foreign Affairs; 
of the Deputy Mege to be Minister of Public Instruc- 
tion ; of the Deputy Plichon to be Minister of Public 
Works. It is remarkable that on the same day the 
management of the Studs was separated from the 
Ministry of the Fine Arts, and placed under the pro- 
tection of the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce. 
The addition which, in exchange, was made to the 
Ministry of the Fine Arts is alao remarkable. Hence- 
forth it was to have the title of Ministry of the 
Sciences and Fine Arts ; and to it were apportioned, 
instead of to the Ministry of Public Instruction, the 
Imperial Institute of France, the Imperial Academy 
of Medicine, the service of the libraries in Paris and 
in the departments, the service of the learned societies, 
their journals, and all matters connected with them. 

Of the newly-appointed Ministers the Duke of 
Grammout occupies the chief place, owing to the 
short, but, for France, terrible part which he was 

STATE OF PRANCE FROM 1867 TO 1870. 57 

destined to play in her history. The Duke Anton 
Agenor Alfred of Grammont, Prince of Bidache, was 
bom on the 14th of August 1819. His education 
was thoroughly Legitimist, and by it he became much 
attached to Henry V., the Count of Chambord. In 
the year 1837 he entered the Polytechnic School, and 
from this, as sub-lieutenant, the icole d'application of 
the general staff, but quitted it in 1840 to retire to 
his estates. He was drawn forth from this retirement 
by clerical influence, after the coup ditat of 1851, 
and followed henceforth in his diplomatic career, for 
which he had in no way prepared himself, the star 
of Napoleon. He was in succession ambassador at 
Cassel, Stuttgard, Turin, Rome, and Vienna. During 
this diplomatic life he had on two occasions the 
opportunity of proving his worth — at Eome in 1860, 
and at Vienna in 1866. On both of these he knew 
utterly nothing of what was happening, and like 
ignorance was to be for a third time manifested in a 
most terrible manner in 1870. The flatterers of the 
Duke boasted, when he entered this Ministry, of 
his corporeal strength : he could crush a Napoleon 
between his fingers. Of his intellectual ability, even, 
they refrained from speaking; and anxious people, 
friends of peace, were fearful, even on the 15th of 
May, that the mental strength of the Duke of Gram- 
mont would perhaps suffice to crush the Empire: 
besides this, many people believed that an alliance 
between Austria and France had been concluded. 



M. M^ge, advocate, friend of M. Rouher, born 
1817, was first returned to the Corps Legislatif in 
1863. He belonged to the Cassarian Right, but 
nevertheless was one of those who, in July 1869, 
Bigned the question of the 116 — a proof how even 
the most extreme Caesariana despaired of upholding 
absolute Csesarianism. 

M. Plichon, born 1814, was deputy under the Kingr 
dom of July. He is advocate, churchman, and pro- 
tectionist, after the manner of M. Pouyer-Quertier, 
In the year 1857 he was elected, by a great majority, 
as an Opposition candidate for the department of the 
North ; but in spite of all this he also undersigned 
the question of the 116. 

Viewing all this, it must be said that by these 
three nominations Ollivier's Ministry received a large 
addition of the clerical - Ceesarian element. K M. 
Ollivier had resigned before the plebiscite, or even 
in view of these appointments, much could have been 
forgiven him. He would then have been justified in 
Baying, " I believed that liberty and the Empire were 
compatible ; in this belief I have submitted to much. 
I am now convinced that I deceived myself, and I 
lay down my Ministerial portfolio and paper-knife on 
the altar of my country ! " 

Emil Ollivier remained in office. Having thus 
related the political history of France up to this 
point, we will now turn to the history of her army 
from 1866 to 1870. 




Even in the ordinary course of events, every army, 
however well organised, requires constant labour to be 
expended on it ; for men and materikls wear out, and 
must be replaced and kept in good order for real work. 
Great political changes at home and abroad, new 
discoveries and inventions, increase and multiply this 
work. The personnel of the army must be recast in 
the form which has been proved to be the better ; the 
existing mai&riel must be in part altogether laid 
aside, in part supplemented by other of a newer kind. 
Men talk, then, of a reorganisation, of a rearmament 
and a re-equipment of the army. These may be 
carried out without the State which undertakes them 
expecting or wishing for a war. No army of the 
present day, it matters not how much money may be 
expended upon it during long years of peace, can 
enter upon a campaign without special prepara- 
tion. Each one requires special work to render it fit 
for wte and to mobilise it, a work which, according 
as the organisation has been more or less thorough. 


will require a less or greater time to complete, but 
which, under any circumstances, must extend over 
some weeks. The work of mobilisation and the work 
of reorganisation are easily distinguished from one 
another by experienced men, but just as easily are 
they confounded by the inexperienced. 

In times of excitement this confusion occurs the 
more readily, as the work of reorganisation often as- 
sumes the appearance of a work of mobilisation. As 
early as the autumn of 1866, the reorganisation of 
the French army was commenced, and after Marshal 
Niel undertook the War Ministry, it was most assidu- 
ously carried on. During the Luxemburg affair the 
works of reorganisation and mobilisation became so 
intermixed that it was difficult to distinguish the one 
from the other. 

In the state in which it was left by the reductions 
of November 1865 — or, more truly, in the state in 
which those reductions should have left it, the in- 
fantry of the French army was composed, as before, 
of guard and line infantry. 

The infantry of the Guard consisted of, — 
1 regiment of Gendarmes. 

3 regiments of Grenadiers. 

4 regiments of Voltigeurs. 
1 regiment of Zouaves. 
1 battalion of RiHes. 

After the reductions of 1865, the regiment 
gendannea of the Guard had two battalions of 


THE FRENCH ARMY FROM 1866 TO 1870. 61 

companies, each company having 3 officers and 83 
men. Each regiment of Voltigeurs and of Grenadiers 
had three battalions of 7 companies of 3 officers and 92 
men each. The regiment of Zouaves retained its two 
battalions of 7 companies with the same establish- 
ment, the battalion of Rifles 10 companies of 3 officers 
and 79 men each. 

The gendarmes of the Guard had never been 
coimted as field troops.* Only in the regulations 
did they exist as such. Besides this, the numbers of 
the infantry of the Guard were never completed. We 
give a high estimate if we allow that it could send 
15,000 men to the army. In 1866 the infantry of 
the line consisted of, — 

100 regiments of Infantry of the Line. 

20 battalions of Rifles. 

3 regiments of 2iOuaves. 

3 regiments of Algerian Skirmishers (Turcos). 

1 Foreign Regiment. 

3 battalions of African Light Infantry. 
7 Discipline Companies. 

2 Veteran Companies. 

1 battalion of Sapeurs (Pompiers), and 
1 regiment of the Municipal Guard of Paris. 
The mass of the infantry consisted of the 100 regi- 
ments of the line. After the autumn of 1866 the 
Government was mostly occupied with these. 

* 1869. The regiment of the gendannes of the Guard was com- 
pletely abolished. 


Before the reduction of 1865, every line regiment 
of infantry conaiated of twenty-four companies, which 
formed three peace battalions of eight companies each. 
Of the eight eompanieB of a peace battalion, the first was 
a Grenadier company on the right of the battalion; the 
second, composed of the Slite of the email men of the 
battalion, was called the Voltigeur company, and waa 
on the left ; the remaining six were the 1-6 Fusilier 
or centre companies. On mobilisation, the fifth and 
sixth centre companies were separated from their 
battalion, and theae separated companies from the 
three peace battalions formed together the depot 
battalion of the regiment. The regiment then con- 
sisted of three field battalions, of one Grenadier, one 
Voltigeur, and four centre or Fusilier companies each ; 
and of one depot battalion of aix Fusilier companies, 
who were to garrison the fortresses, train the reserves, 
and perform other similar servicea. Through the 
reduction of 1865, the fifth and sixth centre com- 
panies of the third peace battalion of every regiment 
were aboliahed ; the regiment, therefore, retained 
twenty-two instead of twenty-four companies. 

When Marshal Niel commenced his work of reform, 
he proposed, by the decree of the 27th of February 
1867, to place all the regiments upon a footing of two 
active battalions of eight companies each, and one 
depot battalion of six companies. Only the active 
battalions were to retain their Clile companies of 
Grenadiers and Voltigeurs. On a war footing the 

THE FRENCH ARMY PROM 1867 TO 1870. 63 

regiment was to be brought up to a strength of three 
field battalions of seven companies and a depot bat- 
talion of six companies — that is, to a total of twenty- 
seven companies. Only the first two battalions of a 
regiment were then to have ilite companies. At the 
same time the companies were to be strengthened, 
and by that means the battalions brought up to about 
the Prussian strength of 1000 men each. 

As a matter of fact, this increase of the battalions 
could not at once be effected on the French system of 
service. During the Luxemburg question, therefore. 
Marshal Niel simply fell back upon the old organisa- 
tion as it had eidsted previous to the reductions of 
November 1865. By a decree of the 4th of April 
1867, the two companies which had been reduced in 
each regiment were re-established. 

By a decree of the 22d of January 1868, the Slite 
companies were entirely abolished, and their soldiers 
distributed equally as soldiers of the first class among 
all the companies of the field battalions. This mea- 
sure had always been intended by Marshal Niel ; but 
it met with very great opposition, and even, after its 
execution, was violently blamed, although it was un- 
doubtedly well-timed, as it put an end to the deteri- 
oration of the personnel of the central companies. 
The regiment consisted now of three peace battalions, 
each of eight equally-formed companies. On a war 
footing each battalion gave up its seventh and eighth 
companies to form a depot battalion, so that then 


each of the three field battalions retained six cora- 

The whole of the infantry of the line received the 
red epaulettes, which had formerly distinguished the 
Grenadiers, and, at the same time, a long instead of a 
short tunic. The war strength of each company of 
the line was fixed at 3 ofiicers and 112 men. On 
being mobilised, therefore, a battalion would number, 
without officers, 672 men. The field battalions of the 
100 line regiments consequently gave a total of 
201,600 men— the depot battalions, 67,200 men. 

A battalion of Rifles had, on a war footing, six field 
and two depot companies. The field battalions gave 
a strength of 13,440 men — the depot divisions, 4480 

Each of the three Zouave regiments had twenty- 
seven companies, in three field battalions of seven 
companies each, and a depot battalion of six com- 
panies. The three regiments placed in the field 5985 
men, with 1710 at the depot. 

Each regiment of Turcos, or Algerian skirmishers, 
had, before the reduction, twenty-one companies; but, 
while the European troops were being reduced, each 
regiment of Turcos was increased to twenty-eight 
companies, so that it might be possible to use the 
native Algerian population in a more clastic manner 
than formerly to recruit tlie army. Each regiment of 
Turcos, tlicrcfore, consisted of four field battalions of ' 
six companies, and of one depot battalion of four 

THE FRENCH ARMY FROM 1867 TO 1870. 65 

companies ; and the three regiments could place 
in the field 7660 men, having 1260 men at their 

The Foreign Regiment had been increased during 
the Mexican war to eight battalions, two of which 
were depot battalions. During the war it suffered 
severely ; and afterwards it was, by a decree of the 
4th of April 1867, reduced to four battalions, includ- 
ing one depot battalion. The Foreign Regiment, 
therefore, now stood on the same footing as an ordi- 
nary line regiment, with 2016 men for the field, and 
672 men for its depot. The Discipline troops, the 
Veterans, the Paris Sapeurs (Pompiers), and the 
Municipal Guard of Paris, we may leave out of our 

It follows, then, that the collective French infantry 
could muster on its normal war footing 247,381 men 
for the field, and 75,592 men for the depots — a total 
of 322,973 combatants. 

With a view to rearming the infantry, orders for 
Chassepot rifles were given in and after 1866, not 
only in France itself, but also in foreign countries. 
In 1868 the making of these rifles was brought to 
such a pitch, that the French gun manufactories of 
St Etienne, Tulle, Chatellerault, and Mutzig could 
together turn out daily 1600 Chassepots, besides 500 
rifles d tahatUre. As long as Marshal Niel lived, the 
manufacture of arms was carried on very diligently ; 
but after General Leboeuf became Minister of War in 

VOL. I. E 


1869, this activity was for reasons of economy much 
diminished. In the beginning very different opinions 
were held of the value of the Chasaepot rifle, and 
even among the French officers there were many 
who condemned it ; but after 1869 it was universally 
allowed to be a most perfect arm, and regarded as a 
weapon decidedly superior t« the Prussian needle- 
gun. It was originally intended to give to the Rifles 
the large-calibre tabatiSre rifle ; but this design was 
soon abandoned, and they too received the Chassepot, 
so that their armament and that of the line infantry 
were now uniform. 

As eleven rounds per minute can be fired with the 
Chassepot, the French officers were much troubled by 
the fear that their soldiers, possessing an excitable 
temperament, would very soon expend their ammuni- 
tion, unless they were provided with a large number 
of cartridges. This anxiety was, in truth, by no 
means unfounded. To every man, therefore, ninety 
cartridges in ten packets were now given ; and, in addi- 
tion, small two-wheeled double-draught ammunition- 
carts were introduced, which were to follow closely 
one or two battalions. One such cart carried about 
11,000 Chassepot cartridges in ten cases, which stood 
upright side by side, and each of which could be 
easily taken out. Further, it was sought to lessen 
the tendency to a too rapid firing by instruction in 
target-practice ; but here, in practice, many of the 
higher officers deviated greatly from the principles 


THE FRENCH ARMY PROM 1867 TO 1870. 67 

which in theory they acknowledged to be good and 

The French cavahy had been for a long time 
divided into three classes :— 

Heavy or Reserve Cavalry — Cuirassiers and Carbi- 

Line or Medium Cavalry — ^Dragoons and Lancers ; 

Light Cavalry — Mounted Rifles, Hussars, Guides, 
and Spahis. 

By the reductions of November 1865, which 
affected the cavalry very considerably, the cavalry 
of the Guard was placed on the following footing : — 

Heavy Cavalry — 1 regiment of Cuirassiers, 1 regi- 
ment of Carbineers ; 

Line Cavalry — 1 regiment of Dragoons, 1 regiment 
of Lancers ; 

Light Cavalry — 1 regiment of Mounted Rifles, 1 
regiment of Guides. 

In addition to these 6 regiments, there was also 1 
squadron of Cent Gardes, which was a purely state 
troop ; and 1 squadron of gendarmes of the Guard, 
who were also not intended to act as field troops. 

Each of the 6 above-mentioned regiments had 4 
field squadrons, but only the 2 regiments of Light 
Cavalry retained their 2 depot squadrons, while 
the depots of the 4 regiments of Heavy and Line 
Cavalry were reduced to 1 squadron. But on the 
6th of February 1867, these curtailed regiments also 
received back their second depot squadron. 


The remaining cavalry was placed by the reduction 
of 1865 on this footing : — 

Heavy Cavalry — 10 regiments of Cuirassiers ; 

Line Cavalry — 12 regiments of Dragoons, 8 regi- 
raenta of Lancers ; 

Light Cavalry- — ^13 regiments of Mounted Rifles, 
8 regiments of Hussars, 3 regiments of African 
Rifles, 3 regiments of Spabis. 

In addition to the 4 field squadrons, each regiment 
of light cavalry retained its 2 depot squadrons, 
while the depots of the heavy and line cavalry were 
reduced to I squadron. Up to 1870 no essential 
change was made in this footing, except that, by a 
decree of the 6th of February 1867, a fourth regiment 
of African Rifles was formed. Accordingly, France 
had, including the Guard, 63 regiments of cavalry. 
A field squadron consisted of (excepting in the case 
of the Guard, Spabis, and African Rifles) 7 officers, 
164 men, and 150 horses. The whole cavalry, then — 
the Guard.s, Spabis, and African Rifles included — gave 
a total number of 38,675 horses and sabres in the 
field squadrons, and of 15,687 in the depot squadrons. 

Such a strength on paper is by no means incon- 
siderable, but in case of war very important deduc- 
tions must be made from it. Various circumstances 
had in bygone days greatly lowered the breed of 
horses in France, and the Empire was unable, in spite 
of many well - designed endeavours, to remedy the 
evil at once. 


THE FRENCH ARMY FROM 1867 TO 1870. 69 

In the Crimea, and in Italy in 1859, the cavaby 
regiments rarely mustered more than 400 horses. 
The neglect which followed, and the Mexican expedi- 
tion, made the gaps still larger. In the year 1866, 
the 4 field squadrons of a regiment could hardly 
parade with more than 350 horses. From the autimm 
of 1866 these gaps were to be fiUed up. In August 
large purchases of horses were ordered, but as these 
did not give the desired results, the bands of the 
mounted arms — cavalry and artillery — ^which until 
then had been extraordinarily strong, were, during 
the Luxemburg question, by a decree of the 4 th of 
April 1867, reduced to the necessary number of 
trumpeters, so that their horses might be available to 
mount the real combatants. As a matter of fact, the 
number of bandsmen in most regiments remained 
the same, but the musicians, now disallowed by the 
regulations, figured in the returns as simple troopers. 
At the same time the attempt was made to employ in 
part the horses of the heavy cavalry in the batteries 
of the artillery, while the place of the losses thus taken 
away was supplied by those of the mounted gen- 
darmes. Wholesale buying up of draught and cavalry 
horses was commenced in August 1866 ; 23,500,000 
firancs were entered in the estimates for this purpose 
in the extraordinary budget of 1867, and during the 
Luxemburg question large remount - markets were 
instituted in all the departments of France. Pur- 
chases were made in great haste, and consequently 


horses which were of very indiiferent (juality were 
frequently bought at exorbitant prices. 

Meanwhile commi-ssione were also given to buy in 
Hungary. The horses purchased there passed through 
Austria and Northern Italy towards the end of June, 
and the transport lasted until far into December of 
1867, spite of the eerioua breach which was said to 
exist at that time between Italy and France. More- 
over, liotb saddle and draught horses were bought up 
in England, in Ireland, in Holland, and in Germany. 
Finally, Algeria also was brought in as a source for 
obtaining remounts. The Barbary horses for the ser- 
vice are all stallions. These were already employed 
in all mounted troops specially instituted for service 
in Algeria, in the Spahis, and African Mounted Rifles, 
and now they began to be used as remounts for other 
regiments of light cavalry, for Mounted Rifles and 
Hussars. The prevailing scarcity of fodder in Africa 
had lowered the market, so that they could be obtained 
at a very cheap rate. The Barbary horses have great 
endurance, are affected neither by heat nor cold, con- 
tented with any forage, and but little liable to sick- 
ness ; but they could only be employed for light 
cavalry, and as they arc all stallions, could not be 
placed in one and the same regiment — scarcely in one 
and the same brigade — with European horses. More- 
over, they necessarily make much noise ; and this, 
though it may be unimportant in cavalry which has 
to work in the great deserts of Africa, would be very 


THE FRENCH ARMY FROM 1807 TO 1870. 71 

detrimental to the utility of Ught horsemen who are 
to operate in the cultivated ground of Europe — who 
have to observe the enemy in their immediate vicinity, 
and at times surprise them unawares. The Hungarian 
horses, on the whole, did not please the oflBcers of the 
French cavalry, and it was difficult to accustom them 
to French forage ; they proved troublesome to groom, 
and easily fell sick. In 1869 only one Hussar regi- 
ment was completely moimted with them. In the 
greatest repute for the light cavalry were the horses of 
Tarbes (Pyrenees), of Arabic extraction, light, elegant, 
but spoilt by injudicious crossing with English blood 
in the reign of Louis Philippe — a deterioration which 
Napoleon III. strove to remedy. The horses of Brit- 
tany also, although less elegant and enduring than 
the Pjn'enean, were also much valued for light cavalry 
and horse-artillery. The most mixed were the horses 
of the medium cavalry, drawn from the whole of 
France, and supplemented by remounts from HoUand, 
England, and Germany. The heavy cavalry also were 
moimted to a great extent on horses from foreign coim- 
tries, and from Normandy. As draught-animals for 
the artillery and trains, the horses of the Ardennes, 
of Normandy, of Brittany, and of Favemey, were in 
greatest request. 

In the hasty purchases of 1866 and 1867 many 
very bad horses were bought, and in the calm which 
succeeded the peaceful settlement of the Luxemburg 
question, most of these were again got rid of ; so that 


the increase of horses id the French cavalry was by 
110 means so great as it was supposed to be abroad. 
The total number of horses added to the French army, 
draught included, between August 1866 and the end 
of the year 1867, cannot be computed at more than 
36,000 ; and this, allowing for the waste caused by 
wear and tear, which had to be made good, only en- 
abled a regiment to take the field with its four squad- 
rons of 500 horses complete, while the number of 
serviceable horses at the depots remained far below 
the prescribed strength. Tlie sixty-three regiments of 
cavalry which altogether enter into the calculation, 
could, in 1869 and 1870, place about 31,500 horses 
in the field, leaving 12,000 at the depots, of which, at 
the most, the half only were serviceable, while of the 
other half part would never be forthcoming, part only 
in the course of the following year,* 

In order to have a sufficient number of draught- 
horaea ready at hand without increasing the estimates 
excessively, the arrangement has been for some time 
in force of lending out to farmers the serviceable 
draught- horses which became superfluous on a de- 
mobilisation. By an instruction of the 3d of July 
1870 this plan was rearranged. Only draught-horses' 
of over five years of age were to be thus lent to agri- 


* In the year 1870 the regimcnla of the heavy and line caTslry, and ' ■ 
of the African Rifles, were mnhilifled with four field squftdroOB ; ihs 
other light cavalry re)^menU with five tirld ujuulrona ; but eoch sqnad- 
ron had only 6 officers, 120 men, and 105 troop-horseB. 





THE FRENCH ARMY FROM 1867 TO 1870. 73 


culture, and they were never to pass into the property 
of the person to whom they were lent. If a horse 
became unserviceable, it was to be sold on account *of 
the military exchequer. The supervision of the lent- 
out horses was intrusted generally to the remount 
depots ; and fourteen days after the issue of the re- 
quisition, those to whom horses were lent were bound 
to deliver them up without fail to the several detach- 
ments of troops. 

All horsemen carried as their weapon a sword. The 
Cuirassiers had, in addition, pistols ; the Lancers, lances 
and pistols; the Dragoons, Mounted Rifles, and Hussars, 
carbines. The pistols carried formerly by the last 
three description of horsemen were abolished by a 
decree of the 14th of May 1867. The carbine intro- 
duced in 1870 was a rifle on the Chassepot system, 
shorter than that of the infantry, and with a lever 
bent down to the right with which to open and shut 
the chamber. 

The artillery was considerably reduced in 1865. 
After the reductions, it consisted of the artillery of 
the Guard, of 1 regiment of field artillery of 6 bat- 
teries, 1 regiment of horse-artillery of 6 batteries, 1 
squadron of artillery-train of 2 companies, and of the 
artillery of the line of 5 regiments (Nos. 1-5) of foot- 
artillery — i.e., of garrison and siege artillery of 12 com- 
panies ; 1 regiment of pontoniers (No. 6) of 12 com- 
panies, 10 regiments of field artillery (Nos. 7-16) of 
9 batteries ; 4 regiments of horse-artillery (Nos. 17- 



20) of 7 batteries, and 6 squadrona of artiUcry-train 
of i companies. Shortly after the reduction had 
been completed, 2 batteries of each regiment of foot- 
artillery were equipped as field artillery — in all, 10 
batteries. During the Luxemburg crisis, a new bat- 
tery was added to each of the 14 field and horse 
artillery^ regiments, and at the same time 5 instead 
of 2 batteries from each regiment of foot-artillery 
were converted into field artillery. 

Finally, on the 13th of May 1867, an entirely new 
organisation of the artillery was instituted, and it waa 
arranged as follows : — 

Guard. — 1 regiment (field) of 6 batteries. 
2 regiments (horse) of 6 batteries. 
1 squadron of train of 2 companies. 
Line. — Istto 15th regiments, each of 8 field and 
4 foot batteries. 
16th regiment, pontoniers, with 14 com- 
1 7th to 20th regiments, each of 8 batteries 

of horse-artillerj', 
2 regiments of artillerj'-train, at first of 12, 
afterwards of 1 6 companies. 
By this organisation of 1867, a total of 164 bat- 
tericB was established, of which 38 were horse-artillery. 
After the mitrailleuse (25 - barrelled) had been 
adopted as an arm that must be intrusted to the 
artillery, these 164 batteries, each of 6 guns, were thus 
distributed : — 

THE FRENCH ARMY FROM 1867 TO 1870. 75 

38 horse-artillery batteries with rifled 4-pouiider8 
(pidce de qitatre). 

72 field batteries with rifled 4-pounder8. 

24 mitraiUeuse batteriea 

30 reserve batteries, 12-pounders.* 

A great secret was made of the mitrailleuses. Only 
sworn officers, and the few artiUerists who conducted 
the experiments on the range at Meudon, knew any- 
thing of the terrible weapon. We could relate, out 
of our own experience, most laughable anecdotes con- 
cerning this, if it were possible to laugh at all in 
this crisis for the whole of civilised Europe.t The 
equipped batteries of mitrailleuses were carefully 
guarded in the fort of Mount Valerien. When men 
talked of them to the initiated, and suggested that 
it was somewhat remarkable to intrust these weap- 
ons in the moment of danger to people who were 
utterly ignorant of their use, it was answered that 
the range-tables were worked out, and that the same 
course had been adopted with the rifled 4-pounders 
in 1859. 

The French engineer troops consisted of 3 regi- 
menta Each regiment had 2 battalions, each bat- 
talion 8 companies. Of these, 1 was a company of 
miners, the other 7 were sappers. Of the latter, 1 
company in each regiment had in 1869 been formed 
into a railway company, and exercised as such. In 

♦ The French 4-pounder8 correspond to our 9-pounder8. 
t This paragraph was vrritten in December 1 870. 



the lat regiment alone, 1 sappper company had also 
been formed into a telegraph company. 

The general train of the army {equipages militaires) 
was composed, according to a decree of the 29th of 
January 1869, of 3 regiments of 16 companies each. 

The French army, on the normal war footing of 
1868, could thus place in the field 285,000 men, 
infantry and cavalry, with 984 guns ; having in the 
second line, as depot troops, 91,000 men, infantry and 
cavalry. On a peace footing, the army could muster 
about two-thirds of these numbers; and as the calling 
in of the reserves was, in spite of the amendments 
introduced in 1868, not to be easily accomplished, the 
fact had to be accepted that, in case of the sudden 
breaking out of the war, only about 200,000 men, 
infantry and cavalry, would be disposable for active 

The military preparations of France expressed by 
these numbers are terribly meagre when compared 
with her population, and with her moral and material 
resources. This evil state of things was to be reme- 
died by the new Service Act, which, prepared since 
1866, was published on the 1st of February 1868. 
But in reality this Act ^vrought no essential changes, 
for it created no new troops or cadres for the active 
army ; so that, in the future as in the past, in case of 
a serious war breaking out, every addition would have 
to be improvised. 

By the new decree of the Ist of Febniary 1868, 


THE FRENCH ARMY FROM 1867 TO 1870. 77 

the land forces of France were divided into, — (1.) the 
Active Army; (2.) the Reserve; (3.) the Mobile 
National Guard. 

In principle every Frenchman is bound to serve in 
person either in the Active Army or in the Mobile 
Guard. Recruiting for the army takes place by call- 
ing in the annual levies, by voluntary entrances, and 
by re-engagements. In the Active Army substitution 
is allowed, but not in the Mobile Guard. Exonera- 
tion — that is, the simple purchase of freedom from 
military service by the payment to the Government 
of a certain fixed sum, in return for which the Govern- 
ment itself provided a substitute, or did not — was 
abolished. With it, the law of the 25th of April 
1858, of the " army dotation chest," went out of force 
after it had existed nearly thirteen years, to the great 
detriment of the French army. A return was essen- 
tially made to the law of the 21st of March 1832, 
whereby every one who was drawn for the Active 
Army and did not wish to serve was obliged to pro- 
vide a substitute at his own cost and trouble. 

The contingent for the Active Army was to be de- 
termined each year by the Legislature, and was to be 
taken at an average of 100,000 men. The standard 
for the army was lowered 1 centimetre — ^from 1™* 56 
to 1™- 55. The grounds of exemption from service 
for social causes were retained, with this additional 
relief, that even after his entry into the ranks, a 
young man should at once be placed in the Reserve, if 



any of the social grounds of exemption— such as, for 
instance, the death of kia father — should occur to his 
prejudice. The time of service, to count from the Ist 
of July of the year in which the conscript was drawn, 
was fixed at 9 years instead of at 7, as heretofore. 
Of the whole 9 years, 5 were to be spent in service in 
the Active Army, and the remaining 4 in the Reserve. 

The division of the contingent into two portions 
was retained, and men belonging to the first were to 
serve their 5 years in the Active Army, tlic peace foot- 
ing of which, including the soldiers by profession, and 
those temporarily on furlough for a longer or shorter 
time, was assumed to be 415,000 men. Those be- 
longing to the second were only to be exercised for 5 
months — 3 in the first year, and 2 in the second — 
but were always to be in readiness when called in for 
service in the Active Army. The Reserve, in which 
the men of the second as well as of the first portion 
passed the last 4 years of their service, could only be 
called out in case of war, and by an Imperial decree, 
and these only by classes, to keep the Active Army at 
its full strength. During the last two years of their 
service, men could marry without special permission. 

If an annual contingent of 100,000 men is as- 
sumed, 9000 of it join the marine, and 14,416 
more must, as experience has proved, be allowed 
for volunteers who have already entered, and for 
those exempted on social grounds, so that a total 
of 23,416 men must be deducted from it. There- 


THE FRENCH ARMY FROM 1867 TO 1870. 79 

fore only 76,584 men remain available for the land 
forces. Of these, about 63,000 were assigned to the 
first portion, and of these 63,000 again, about 20,000 
purchased substitutes, which substitutes did not en- 
gage for the whole 9 years' service, but only for the 5 
years with the colours, and therefore must be neces- 
sarily reckoned in the class of soldiers by profession. 
The conscripts, therefore, of the first portion, amount- 
ed in the course of 5 years to 215,000 men, and to 
68,000 men in the second, leaving altogether out of 
account the diminution which would be naturally 
caused by deaths, sickness, &c. The 4 years of the Re- 
serve give by the most liberal calculation 210,000 men. 
From this it can be understood that the law of 
the 1st of February 1868 did very little to help 
the Active Army, especially as the evils which the 
Army Dotation Law had brought about could not 
be uprooted at once. Even in the circles of the 
French Government, men did not hope to be freed 
from them before the year 1877. Still, if the depot 
battalions could be mobilised ; if they could be trans- 
formed, as was the intention of Marshal Niel, into 
marching regiments, if even of but two battalions; 
if increased levies could be obtained for this purpose 
at the commencement of a war, — ^it could certainly 
be still possible to reinforce the field army — only, in 
the first place, the greater part of the work must be 
improvised ; and, secondly, it would be necessary to 
replace by something the depot battalions in the 


duties which they now performed — that is, of training 
the new reserves, garrisoning fortresses, &c. 

This something was to be the Mobile Guard, which 
was created by the law of the 1st of February 1868. 
It was, in case of war, to undertake the guaidianship 
of the strong places and of the coasts, and to perform 
the duties of the Imperial police in the interior. This 
Mobile Guard, or Mobile National Guard, was to be 
recruited, — 

1. From the collective male population liable to 
serve, who had been found to be capable of bearing 
arms, but were freed by lot from service in the Active 
Army ; 

2. From those exempted on social grounds ; 

3. From those who had been drawn in the contin- 
gent for the Active Army, but who had purchased sub- 

The time of service in the Mobile Guard was fixed 
at 5 years. The real contingent for it cannot be esti- 
mated at more than 74,000 to 75,000 men, let the 
Government calculations be what they may. This 
would give, during the 5 years, about 370,000 men. 
The calling out of the Mobile Guard for war service 
could only ensue upon a law passed for each occasion ; 
still, the Government was empowered, in cases of 
emergency, to collect the men in battalions and bat- 
teries at any points in their departments it might 
select, twenty days before the passing of the law. 
The officers of the Mobile Guard were to be nominated 




by the Emperor, the non-commissioned ofl&cers by the 
military authorities of the departments. The Mobiles 
could be called out for exercise at the most fifteen 
times in the year, and no exercise was to oblige the 
Mobile to be absent more than twenty-four hours 
from his home. 

These general instructions prove clearly that no 
great things could be expected from the Mobile 
Guard as a regular militery organisation. The paper 
organisation was commenced by the Government in 
the north and in the east ; in the south and in the 
west, even this was opposed with a resistance which 
developed into anti-Imperial demonstrations. 

As long as Marshal Niel lived, the work of organi- 
sation was carried on, and the exercising of the 
Mobile Guard began in June 1869. After the death 
of the Marshal, when General Leboeuf undertook the 
Ministry of War, and to spare the citizens was de- 
clared to be the highest State principle in military 
matters, these exercises ceased. The appointment 
of officers still continued, but in direct opposition to 
the maxim which lays down that untrained troops 
require the best officers if they are to render good 

The total number of the Mobile Guard was reckoned 
by the French Government — too high, as is clear from 
the foregoing — at 550,000 men. It was to be divid- 
ed into 318 very strong battalions of 8 companies 
each, and into 128 batteries of garrison artillery — six 

VOL. I. F 



companies of pontoniers included. At the time of 
the death of Marshal Niel, there existed in tolerable 
formation on paper 142 battalions and 91 batteries. 
Clothing was ready for about 100,000 men ; and the 
same number — namely, those of the two youngest 
annual classes in the eastern half of the Empire — had 
been slightly exercised. As from this time forward 
nothing more was done, these numbers give also the 
state in which the war of 1870 found the institution 
of the Mobile Guard. 

After all the above related, our assertion must be 
agreed to, that in reality, and at all events at first, 
the French army did not receive any true addition of 
strength by the Service Act of 1868, much less such 
an addition as would make it numerically equal to 
the war forces of the North German Confederation. 

The French have in time of peace no permanent 
large division of the army. Still, even then they 
had a number of Army Corps, which were formed, 
some for two years, others only for a few months, for 
exercising purposes, and there existed tolerably well- 
established data for their formation. The Army 
Corps or divisions which were formed wore the Guard 
Corps, the armies of Lyons and of Paris, the Corps in 
the camps of Chalons and of Lannemezan, and the 
Cavalry Division of Luneville. 

The rule for the formation of an Army Corps waa ; 
Three divisions of infantry (only exceptionally two <w 
four) ; one division of cavalrj' ; and a reserve of artU*,] 



W. A division of infantry had 13 batuUons- 
namely, 1 battalion of Rifles, and 4 infantry regiments 
of 3 battalions each ; these were divided into two bri- 
gades of 6 or 7 battalions. According to the ideas which 
prevailed in the year 1869, and which had been 
already partly accepted in 1868, a regiment of cavalry 
waa attached to each division of infantry as divi- 
sional cavalry. The arrangement was actually carried 
out in the first series of manoeuvres in the camp of 
Chalons in 1869. Finally, the division of infantry 
was to receive 3 batteries of 6 guns each — namely, 
2 4 - pounder batteries and 1 mitrailleuse battery. 
A division of cavalry had, as a rule, 4 regiments in 
2 brigades, and 1 battery of horse-artillery, if it was 
not destined to operate independently. When this 
was the case, 2 batteries were assigned to it. The 
Artillery Reserve of the Corps consisted, until 1869, 
of only 2 batteries of rifled 12-pounders. By the 
latest regulations it received 1 horse, 2 4-pounder, and 
2 12-pounder batteries — that is, a total of 5. To 
each division of infantry a company of sappers was to 
be attached ; while to the Corps Reserve were added, 
according to its destination, companies of sappers, 
of miners, and of pontoniers with bridge-trains. 

A complete Army Corps consisted, therefore, com- 
monly of 39 battalions of infantry, 7 regiments of 
cavalry, and 15 batteries — that is, of about 26,000 
infantry, 3500 cavalry, or a total of nearly 30,000 
men, infantry and cavalry, with 90 guns. If 9 Army 



Corps were established, and if to each one 7 regiments 
of cavalry were given, the total of 63 cavalry regi- 
ments would be thus distributed, and none would 
remain of which to form an Army Reserve, or large 
detachments for special enterprises. It follows, there- 
fore, that some of the Army Corps, at least, could only 
have about 4 regimenta of cavalry. 

An army is composed of a gieater or less number 
of Army Corps, and to it is then added a main 
cavalry and a main artillery reserve. 

In old times France was uncommonly rich in for- 
tresses ; new ones were constantly built, and still the 
old ones were not allowed to decay. Until the reign 
of Louis Philippe, the French system of fortresses was 
essentially a cordon system, according to the theory of 
the triple girdle, and then under his government it .^h 
was reduced to a network, with Paris as the centre. ^1 

In the year 18G8 France had 88 proper fortresses, ^ 
and 47 strong places (towns with old fortifications, 
isolated forts, and old castles). To keep this mass of 
fortified places in repair required a large expenditure 
of money, and this prevented much thought being 
given to the erection of new works. Under the Second ^^ 
Empire, with the increase in the price of all things, ^H 
and also of building materials, the difficulty of con- ^ 
structing them increased also. Moreover, from the 
time of the Crimean war until shortly after the 
Italian campaign, Napoleon III. stood as the recog-g 
nised arbiter and umpire of Europe. Therefore, conrij 



sidering the behaviour of the whole Continent, and 
the state of affairs in Germany, the French cannot be 
blamed if they believed ever more and more firmly 
that no cannon-shot could be fired without their per- 
mission ; that circumstances might, indeed, compel 
France to attack, but that she could never be exposed 
to be herself attacked. Consequently, even the intro- 
duction of rifled guns into warfare did not at first 
cause the Government to occupy itself seriously with 
the question of the fortresses. It was only in the 
years 1863 and 1864 that the faith of the French 
Government on their decided ascendancy began some- 
what to waver, and then first some works of improve- 
ment were undertaken on the more important for- 
tresses with a view to covering better the masonry 
buildings, especially the powder-magazines, and of 
providing bomb-proof shelter for the garrison, am- 
munition, and supplies. 

The works, by reason of the outlay which they 
occasioned, naturally led to the question, Whether it 
would not be more serviceable to give up completely 
a number of small places which were acknowledged 
to be useless, so that more money could be expended 
upon the remaining fortresses ? This question was 
answered in the afl&rmative ; and by a decree of the 
26th of June 1867, many places were completely 
abandoned as strongholds, and others were reserved, 
only to be used, in case of war, as fortresses in a 
partial way. The places given up belonged mostly to 


the fourth clasSj which for a long time had been of 
no military import-ance. AmoDg those of the second 
and third class which were allowed to decay were 
Weissenburg, Boulogne, Lauterburg, and Carcassonne. 

New works were especially undertaken from the 
beginning of 1868 on the strong places in the east. 
Particular attention was paid to Metz, Belfort, and 
Langres ; while at Strasburg only improvements on 
the existing works were made, but these, it is true, 
on a very extensive scale. "We propose, as soon as 
any one fortress begins to play a part in the history 
of the war of 1870, to describe its fortifications 
more minutely, and to give a military picture of 
their connection with one another, explaining the 
main idea on which they were planned, and the cir- 
cumstances which exercised an influence upon the 
carrying out of this idea. 

The events of 1866 and the introduction of the 
Chaasepot did not fail to occasion much deliberation 
even in France as to what changes in tactics would 
now be necessary. These deliberations were reduced 
in some degree to a system by the so-called con- 
firences milttaires which Marshal Niel at first caused 
to be worked out by a commission of officers, who 
met under the presidency of General Jarras, Director 
of the War Depots. 

As early as 1867 the infantry regulations were 
rewritten, then thrice revised, so that the last edition 
only appeared in 1870, shortly before the outbreak 



of the war. But nevertheless there were no com- 
prehensive changes from former times to be remarked. 
In opposition to the Prussian company column, the 
French held to the battalion as the only tactical unit 
—very likely with perfect right, with their purposely 
weak battalions. The skirmishing drill was somewhat 
better established; and, in addition, the divisional 
column (each of two companies) and the subdivisional 
(peloton) column (each of one company) came into 
frequent use in the advance or retirement of whole 
brigades or divisions in line. 

In the camp of Chalons every Commander-in-Chief 
who governed there in succession during the years 
from 1867 to 1870, L'Admirault, de Failly, Leboeuf, 
Bazaine, Bourbaki, Frossard, manoeuvred according to 
his own devices and fancies, without going deep into 
detail, so that it cannot with any justice be said that 
a new system was established by these exercises. 

For the cavalry, the introduction of divisional 
cavalry and the adoption of the breech-loading car- 
bine were especially important changes ; a few forma- 
tions — as, for instance, the squadron column, the four 
ranks of the squadron behind one another, while the 
squadrons are separated by the wide intervals thus 
formed — were copied from the Prussians. In the 
artillery, the introduction of the mitrailleuse and the 
increase of divisional and corps artillery, which partly 
resulted from it, although it did not take place until 
the time of the Ministry of Marshal Leboeuf, must be 



remarked on. Moreover, the 1'2-pounder (12 kilo- 
grammer) was to be replaced as a reserve gun by the 
8-poimder ; but this change was not, as far as we 
know, effected by 1870. 

Marshal Leboeuf, who was called by a decree of the 
2lBt of August 1869 to the head of the adminiatration 
of the army, was born in the year 180i). He was a 
pupil at the Polytechnic School, then at tlie School of 
Artillery at Metz, was captain in 1837, squadron 
leader in 1846, and was then, as Lieutenant-Colonel, 
Second Commandant of the Polytechnic School from 
1848 to 1850. In this position he acquired the fame 
of being a good Republican. In the year 1852 he 
became Colonel, in 1854 Brigadier-General, and in 
1857 General of Division. He served in the Crimean 
campaign, and in 1859 commanded the artillery of 
the Active Army of Italy. In January 1869 he 
received the command of tlie 6th Army Corps at 
Toulouse, and was afterwards, as we have seen, in the 
same year Minister of War. In the spring of 1870 
he was made a Marshal of France, 

The Emperor was not at first much disposed to 
accept Leboeuf as Minister of War, partly, probably, 
because of the reputation he enjoyed as a Republican. 
In allusion to the name of the General, the Emperor, 
at that time very sick, said — " II ^tait trop longtempa 
sous le joug." Still, unless it was wished to make 
some great mistake, there was at that moment only 
the choice between Lebceuf and Trochu. The latter. 



owing to his reputation as an Orleanist, to the shy- 
ness which he had always displayed towards the Im- 
perial Court, and to his straightforward book on the 
French army, was not at all beloved in the Tuileries. 
In Leboeuf s favour weighed also, although as a by- 
matter, that he was an artillerist, and that really no 
artillery officer had been Minister of War since 1797 
— Scherer. We know, we may passingly remark, that 
Marshal Mortier, Duke of Treviso (1834-1835), may 
by a great stretch be called an artillerist, and that 
the celebrated Francis Arago, Minister of War in 
April and May 1848, was, as pupil in the Poljrtechnic 
School, originally destined for the artillery. 

Marshal Leboeuf accommodated himself very well 
to the Parliamentary regime which was to commence 
as he undertook his heavy task. He had rather 
bourgeois than courtier tendencies. Still he did not 
shun the Court life of the Second Empire, but took 
more part in it than was perhaps good for his health. 
Strange as it will now sound, the disposition of the 
Marshal was absolutely peacefuL He wished to eco- 
nomise in the army, and to raise its tone through less 
expensive institutions. For his own particular arm, 
the artillery, ho did much, as he materially increased 
its strength in Divisions and Army Corps. 

The French fleet, at the end of 1867, counted 343 
steam, and 116 sailing ships of war ; and on the slips, 
in a more or less advanced stage, were 33 steamers 
and 1 sailing vessel. Of ironclads there were alto- 



getlier GO, either ready or in a forward state of pre- 
paration. These were of the moat varied construc- 
tion. Some were monitors or turret-ahipa ; othera 
rams, with a mighty iron spur on the bow, to crush 
in the side of hostile ships ; others mere floating bat- 
teries for coast and harbom- defence, and for the 
attack on an enemy's coast and harbour fortifications ; 
othera were frigates and corvettes for cruising on the 
high seas, and with these latter were two of the 
older type of ironclad, the Magenta and the Sol- 
ferino, partially-armoured line-of-battle ships. 

In the latest days, after the principle had been 
accepted that it was preferable to arm a ship with a 
few guns of large calibre, rather than ■with a greater 
number of email - ealibred ones, the frigates were 
generally built to carry 12, and the corvettes 8 guns ; 
while the turret-ships, according to the number of 
turrets which each ship had, and accordingly as each 
turret carried 1 or 2 guna, were armed with from 
1 to fi guna. In the corvettes and frigates the guns 
were distributed in most diverse ways, in upper-deck, 
forecastle, and main-deck batteries of every imagin- 
able construction, so that there could be no talk of 
uniformity ; and each ship required special study on 
the part of those who were to fight her. 

As soon as the fact was recognised that in future 
the fighting men-of-war must be ironclads, the duel 
between the iron plate and the ship's gun began. If 
the calibre was increased the ii-on plate became 


thicker, then the calibre increased again, and so on. 
Men cannot yet say where this will cease, and which 
will first reach its limit, the shield or the gun ; for 
modem industry is fruitful in new inventions, and 
Europe has for war imtold mines of wealth. In the 
year 1858 a thickness of 8 centimetres (2^ inches), 
and even less, sufiiced : in 1868 such a shield was as 
a tin plate ; 1 8 centimetres (6 inches) were not then 
suflScient, and for the most vulnerable parts 24 centi- 
metres (8 inches) were required. In 1869, those who 
studied the subject shook their heads doubtfully even 
of this thickness. 

Then, as the iron shield cannot be extended over 
the whole surface of the ship, but usually covers at 
most 6 feet of the sides below the water-line, what 
security has the best-armoured vessel against torpe- 
does, Ig^ .ubm^rine mines 1 Who c«i Jy 1 
Perhali after all, the ship wiU lay aside its annoor 
altogether, now become too heavy for it, as centuries 
ago the armoured knight stripped himself of his coat 
of mail The rifled guns which in the latest times 
have been supplied to the large French men-of-war 
have calibres of 16 centimetres, with a shell loaded 
with powder weighing 62 pounds, and a solid projec- 
tile of 90 ; of 27 centimetres, with projectiles of 300, 
and exceptionally of 400 pounds ; and, between these 
two, of 19 and 24 centimetres. 

More particularly in the last ten years, but gene- 
rally since the time that England lost her acknow- 


lodged leadership in all maiitime matters, the clear 
perception of the very simple truth has spread more 
and more, that a naval war can now only be of im- 
portance in so far as it is undertaken in conjunction 
with a land war, and is brought into a certain con- 
nection with it. 

Privateering on the high seas efiects very little, 
even were it not considerably curtailed by the Paris 
Treaty of 1856. But troops must be disembarked on 
certain points of the enemy's coast which it is gene- 
rally wished to seize, and to effect this a fleet of trans- 
ports is necessary. A highly-developed mercantile 
marine renders essential aid here ; but still, to insure 
the due working of such a fleet, many military 
preparations must have been made in the marine — 
such, for instance, as would be necessary to solve the 
problem of transporting horses in large numbers. 
Military transport by sea is here under the same con- 
ditions as military transport by the railway. 

Since the autumn of 1866 the formation of atrans- 
port fleet had been worked at in France which should 
be able to convey at one time, with the assistance of 
so much of the mercantile navy as was on the average 
available, 40,000 men, with 12,000 horses, together 
with all requisite artillery, engineer, and train mate- 
rial, over such distances by sea as an ordinary mail 
steamer could run in three times twenty-four hours. 
Much, and we may say suflicient, had been provided 
for this purpose; but when there is no disembarka- 


tion force left, the largest transport fleet is super- 

The sailors for the French fleet are obtained — en- 
tirely independent of the contingent for the land army 
— by the inscription maritime,the entering of suitable 
young men of the coast population, fishermen, and 
sailors. The number of men entered for the war fleet 
runs, with small variations, up to 170,000 men, a 
number completely sufficient for its requirements, 
especially in modern times, where steam essentially 
supersedes sails, especially in the moment of battle. 

As we mentioned before, 9000 men of the annual 
contingent of 100,000, were set aside for the Marines, 
not in any way for the sailor crew of the navy of 
which we have just spoken, but to form the marine 
infantry, the marine artillery, and the marine adminis- 
trative troops. The marine infantry and artillery are 
in no way considered as part of the crew of the ship ; 
they are rather specially destined for colonial service 
and for disembarkation troops. Marshal Niel de- 
manded in 1868 32,000 marine infantry and 7000 
marine artillery, a total of about 40,000 marine troops, 
when the administration is included. 

Up to 1868, by writing off" annually 6500 men from 
the contingent, there had been only about 20,000 
marine troops disposable ; by the future arrangement 
of writing off" 9000 men, and by increasing the time of 
service from seven to nine years, the required number 
of 40,000 marine troops could in time be obtained. 


The marine iDfantry was divided into 4 regi- 
ments of a great and different number of companies, 
the marine artillery into 28 batteries. A combined 
regiment of marine infantry, of 2 battalions of 6 
companies each, had been latterly annually sent to the 
camp of Chalons to be exercised in common with the 
land troops. 

At the head of the marine administration in 1870, 
was Admiral Rigault de Genouilly, bom 1807. In 
1827 he entered the naval service from the Poly- 
technic School; was Captain of corvette in 1841; 
Captain of line-of-battle ship on the 22d of July 
1848, under the Republic; Rear- Admiral on the 2d 
of December 1854; Vice -Admiral on the 9th of 
August 1858; and Admiral on the 27th of January 
1864. In the year 1867 he was nominated Minister 
of Marine, and acted also provisionally for a few 
days after the death of Marshal Niel, in 1869, as 
Minister of War. He had from 1854 to 1864 held 
important commands in the Crimea, in China, and 
in the Mediterranean, without distinguishing himself 
in any way. He was always reputed to be a good 
Imperialist and churchman, and disposed to the forc- 
ible repression of civil war. 




TO THE YEAR 1870. 

The Peace of Prague, concluded on the 23d of August 
1866 between Prussia and Austria, was the com- 
mencement of a new era for Germany, and with that 
for Europe also. 

For the reconstruction of Germany, the terms of 
the Peace of Prague gave, essentially, the following 
conditions : — 

1. The old German Diet was formally dissolved 

and abolished, and its name even disappeared. 


2. Austria gave up for the future all interference 
in the affairs of those German States which were not 
directly subject to the Hapsburg Crown. 

3. Prussia was increased by annexations in North 
Germany — Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Nassau, Schleswig- 

4. Prussia formed a North German Confederation, 
which included the kingdom of Saxony, and reached 
as far south as the line of the Main. 

5. The South German States, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, 


Baden, Hease-Darmstadt to the south of the Main, 
remained unattached. But they might at the same 
time form a South German Confederation, and this 
might then enter into any relation it liked with the 
North German Confederation. 

Pntaaia and South Germany had carried on war 
against one another in 1866, and yet they had raised 
the customs for foreigners on the common Zollverein 
boundary. Abroad, this characteristic circumstance 
was at once remarked ; but to every German it was 
of itself so intelligible that it was never even men- 
tioned in the belligerent papers on either side. That 
ia certainly something remarkable. How much has 
the feeling of German nationality increased since 

In suspense remained the former provinces of the 
Diet, Luxemburg and Limburg, and a not very 
exactly defined part of North Schleawig, which might 
possibly he given back again to the kingdom of Den- 

The political work of Germany concentrated itself 
for the present, in consequence of the Peace of Prague, 
in consummating the direct enlargement of Prussia 
by annexations in North Germany ; in indirectly in- 
creasing the strength of Prussia by the establishment 
of the North German Confederation ; in establishing 
some satisfactory relation with the South German 
States, and in settling the complications which had 
arisen respecting Luxemburg. Limburg, and North 



Schleswig. It was in itself manifest that the last two 
points could not be settled without the interference 
of foreign countries. 

The annexations which Prussia had directly de- 
manded were accomplished on the 24th of January 
1867, without any diflSculty arising on any side. 
Prussia on this day enlarged her territory from an 
area of 5086f square miles (German), with 19,305,000 
inhabitants, which she possessed in the beginning of 
1866, to 6395^ square miles, with 23,600,000 inhab- 
itants. The foundation of the North German Con- 
federation also occasioned no diflSculties. By the end 
of August most of the Governments which Prussia 
principally wished to draw into the Confederation 
had announced their willingness to enter it; those 
who struggled against it were speedily forced to 

By the 12th of February 1867, the elections could 
take place for the first, or constituting, North Ger- 
man Parliament. By the 24th of June 1867, the 
constitution of the North German Confederation could 
be announced in Prussia. The Luxemburg complica- 
tion aided undoubtedly more than a little in bringing 
about such a rapid consummation of the work. 

The princes, certainly, whose lands were taken 
from them, were not contented with the annexation ; 
and two of them especially. King George of Hanover 
and the Electoral Prince of Hesse, assumed a hostile 
attitude towards Prussia, which moved her to refuse to 

VOL. I. G 


pay them the compensation money which at first was j 
to be granted. Both princes had, as can be easily 
understood, parties in their own countries. That of ' 
the Electoral Prince of Hesse was almost invisibly 
small ; but that of the King of Hanover, or at least 
of " Guelphdom," was apparently greater and more 
stubborn. On this behalf it came even to a military 
formation. Of the so-called Guelphie Legion, which 
thus sprung up, we must here say a few words. 

A number of Hanoverian soldiers, unwilling to 
subject themselves to Prussian discipUne, left Hanover 
in the early autumn of 1866 and went into Holland, 
not altogether uninfluenced by some Hanoverian 
officers, stubborn partisans of King George, who had 
established his Court in Hietzing, near Vienna. Most 
of these secessionists had a doubly firm belief : they 
were enemies of Prussia, and they had a strong con- 
viction that the order of things which had arisen in 
Germany through the war of 1866 would have no 
long existence, though in the beginning they could 
hardly have had any clear idea how the restoration of 
the old state of things was to be brought about Mean- , 
while they subjected themselves in Holland to a sort 
of military organisation ; and when, in the spring 
of 1867, the Luxemburg question arose, their affiiira 
and intentions took a more decided shape. Formal 
recruiting for the Guelphie Legion was now set on . 
foot in Hanover. Golden rewards were promised to 
those enlisting, and offers made wliich attracted not 


only old soldiers and true adherents of King George, 
but also, though in lesser numbers certainly, many 
young people who had not yet served, and who wished 
to withdraw themselves from their liability to service 
in the Prussian army, — piu-e vagabonds, who thought 
to avoid their duties at home in a comfortable and 
glorious manner by joining the Guelphic Legion. The 
Headquarters of the Legion were at Amheim, and 
its organisation was at this time tolerably regular. By 
the side of the victorious French it was shortly to 
conduct King George back again to Hanover. But 
things took another turn. The London Conference 
brought about a peaceful settlement of the difl&culty 
which had arisen between France and Prussia. At 
first the Dutch authorities had not troubled them- 
selves about the Legion : now they were obliged to 
devote to them a disagreeable attention. The leaders 
of the Legion held their followers together by the 
proverb " Postponed is not finished," and by the whole- 
some dread of Prussian military service ; and in the 
middle of the year 1867 they migrated to Switzerland. 
Here the Hanoverians conducted themselves quietly 
and peaceably. Still, whoever took even a superficial 
glance at the localities which they rented, received 
the impression that these dwellings were barracks. 
The men neither wore uniform nor did they bear arms, 
but they were under a military discipline which was 
carried out with great authority by old under-officers. 
Suddenly, in the beginning of February 1868, the 

Hanoverians quitted Switzerland. The report was 
spread, and it was even aaserted by some of their 
officers, that they had been expelled by the Federal 
authorities. This was not true. The Guelphic Legion 
had been certainly watched, which was unavoidably 
necessary, as Switzerland, in accepting the neutrality 
guai-anteed her by Europe, accepts also the obligation 
to frustrate any attempt which may be prepared 
in her territory to break the peace of Europe. The 
Hanoverians went now into France ; and this tlicy did 
with Austrian passes — a proceeding which occasioned 
various reflections and much diplomatic correspond- 
ence. Although it was at that time by no means to 
the interest of Napoleon to war with Germany, still 
men had indubitably a right to think singular things 
of this migration ; and it was under these circum- 
stances that the sequestration ensued of the property 
of King George, or of the compensation which bad 
been granted to him for the loss of his throne. 

At the same time that the Guelphic Legion .settled 
in France, the Hanoverian royal pair celebrated, on 
the 18th of February 1868, their golden marriage. 
Numerous partisans of Guelphdora repaired to this 
festival at Hietzing, to which, as appears to an im- 
partial observer, more importance was attached than 
it really merited. The Legion, meanwhile, composed 
altogether of fine young men, made itself, in a short 
time, very useful by the assistance it rendered to 
agriculture ; and this aid was the more timely, as in 



the north-east of France the " May beetle pest " 
was this year especially troublesome. Very few 
of the Legionaires availed themselves of the per- 
mission which was now granted by Prussia to 
return, unpunished, to their native land. The poor 
people were very isolated, spoke no French, received 
no Grerman newspapers, and were therefore easily led 
by the committee, which sat in Paris, and was ani- 
mated by Major von During and Herr von Meding ; 
and it was rumoured and bemoaned over that the 
men who had returned to Hanover had been prose- 
cuted by the Prussian authorities, in spite of their 
promises, and severely treated. 

As the year 1869 closed in, and the hope of a 
speedy war between Prussia and France seemed ever 
to fade away, men began to talk in the Hanoverian 
camp of a change in the position of the Legion, which, 
as it then existed, cost King George painful sacrifices. 
The Court party at Hietzing counselled King George 
to dissolve the Legion altogether ; but the leaders of 
it in Paris had another project in their mind, which 
was this : King George was to acquire from France a 
considerable territory in Algeria, and the Legion was 
to form a colony there, but was still to retain its 
military organisation under its leaders, something as 
do the inhabitants of the Austrian military frontier. 
Thus an African Hanover would be formed, which 
would further oflfer to all distressed Hanoverians a 
new home, and thus continually increase. But as 


France was not at all disposed to cede such a terri- 
tory in Africa at a nominal price, and as such a 
military colony must always be, at the outset at 
least, a very costly affair to those who have to sup- 
port it, the project was rejected at Hietzing; and as 
some of the leaders in Paris still urged its execution, 
they incurred the displeasure of King George. 

On the 15th of April 1870 the Guelphic Legion 
was formally dissolved. Every Legionaire received a 
sum of 400 francs on discharge, and, moreover, travel- 
ling money to repair whither he would. Many went 
to America, and but few returned to Hanover or 
remained in France. The Legion is said to have been 
1400 strong when dissolved. If this be true, it must 
have increased numerically in France, for in Switzer- 
land it numbered at the most 700 men. When the 
war broke out, a certain Herr von Malortie offered to 
organise anew the Guelphic Legion in and for France, 
and promised a considerable concurrence of recruits. 
The French War Ministry at the time declined his 
offer, but the decree which shortly afterwards appeared 
ordering the establishment of a fifth battalion of the 
Foreign Regiment was essentially a result of it. 

The South German States were left, according to 
the theory of the Peace of Prague, separately inde- 
pendent, but could agree among themselves to form a 
South German Confederation ; and this again could bind 
itself by an international treaty with North Germany. 
Practically, the state of affairs was very different. 



When Prussia concluded peace in 1866 with the 
South Oerman States, Bismark had caused them to 
conclude at once offensive and defensive alliances, 
which assured to the King of Prussia, in case of war, 
the command-in-chief of the South German forces. 
He had persuaded the southern Germans to make 
these treaties in their own interest, by telling them 
of the tempting offers which France had repeatedly 
made to Prussia; and which she could easily avail her- 
self of by sacrificing to some degree South Germany, 
were she minded to act for her Prussian, not for the 
German, interest. Another bond of union existed 
in the old custom treaties (Zollverein) which had 
never been annulled, and practically had never been 
violated, and the amendment of which, with a view to 
a better unity, Prussia had already alluded to in her 
treaties with the southern Germans. In the third 
place, Hesse-Darmstadt was most peculiary situated, 
with one foot within the North German Confedera- 
tion and the other outside of it. It was impossible 
that the small State could retain this position per- 
manently; and by the law of political gravitation, 
there was no doubt that she would be compelled, in 
any decisive affair, to take part with Prussia, or ydth 
the North German Confederation. 

The composition of a South German Confederation 
had from its very origin diflficulties to encounter. In 
Baden the people and the Government desired to be 
taken into it, as the simplest way to escape from the 


existing confusion. In Wurtemberg the democratic or 
people's party worked eapccially against Prussia, and 
for a South German Confederation. The so-called 
Prussian party was only very weakly represented. 
Besides the democratic and Prussian parties there 
existed another, the Government party, without any 
definite aim, brought and held together, as such 
parties are in all small States, more by personal and 
family interests than by general political objects. 

If a South German Confederation was to be brought 
about, Bavaria, as the greatest of the South German 
States, must manifestly pLay the chief part in it, some- 
what aa Prussia did in the North German Confedera- 
tion. But neither Hessian, nor Badenser, nor Wlir- 
temberger, to whatever party they might belong, had 
any desire to cede such a part to Bavaria. In Ba- 
varia itself there were three parties to be distin- 
guished — the patriots or ultramontanists, essentially 
particularists, but still not disinclined to a South 
German Confederation, under certain circumstances ; 
the German party, who were for annexation to North 
Germany ; and the so-called " Wilden," who were 
but weakly represented. These were the former 
" great " Germans, who could not at all resign them- 
selves to falling into the arms of Prussia, but who 
had still a degree of holy respect for the Confedera- 
tion, as had the patriots, who, in the elections of 1869, 
sent 24 Catholic clergy as members to the Chamber 
of Deputies. The German party were particularly 


Strong in the north of Bavaria, with the exception 
of the old bishoprics of Bamberg and Wurzburg, and 
in the great industrial and commercial towns. The 
patriot party was more strongly represented in the 
old Bavarian south, and in the former ecclesiastical 
provinces. A bond of union between the democratic 
party in Wurtemberg and the patriot party in Bava- 
Has formed by Lu common ^di of mffi,»^ 
sway. Still the internal differences in the two parties 
on vital matters were so pronounced, that a union be- 
tween them even on this point seemed scarcely to be 
possible. A certain German shame prevented either 
party from approaching the other when this question 
was brought forward. 

Thus it is evident that Prussia's game in South 
Germany was in reality abeady played for her. 
Baden wished for annexation to the North German 
Confederation ; Hesse-Darmstadt would then be car- 
ried with her, forced along in spite of all the enemies 
of Prussia, who still retained the upper hand in the 

Bismark wished for peace ; he did not even wish it 
to seem as though he would provoke France. The 
entrance of a single solitary South German State 
into the North German Confederation was in reality 
immaterial to him. The military treaties of the 
autumn of 1866, and the old and to be amended 
custom treaties, had rendered it possible for the 
North German Confederation to wait quietly. But 

still separate demonstrations by the Prussian national 
liberals, who demanded a decided movement for the 
unity of Germany, could not be altogether displeas- 
ing to the Chancellor, although they always in a 
very unskilful manner followed aa it were upon his 
command. As soon as the completion of the North 
German Confederation seemed to be assured, the 
Prussian Government entered into negotiations with 
the South German Governments upon the new ar- 
rangement of the custom union (Zollverein). By 
the 4th of June 186V a preliminaiy agreement, and 
by the 8th of July 1867 a more complete treaty, was 

In the North German Confederation, the Govern- 
ments of the separate component States and their 
Diets still existed, sometimes mth two very contra- 
dictorily composed Houses or Chambers, limited only 
in military matters and in a few administrative de- 
tails ; and not merely theoretical was the comparison 
of the Diets of Saxe-Cohurg-Gotha (there were two of 
them !) with the Diet of mighty Prussia. Over all 
these stood the Parliamentary government of the 
North German Confederation, consisting of the King 
of Prussia as President ; the Chancellor of the Con- 
federation, who was essentially Count Bismark ; tite 
Council of the Confederation (half an assembly, half 
a ministry), sent by the North German Governments; 
and, lastly, the North German Parliament, which 
was directly elected. 


To this North Gennan Government the general 
German Zollverein was to be annexed. For this 
was formed a Custom Confederate Council, consisting 
of the representatives of the Council of the North 
German Confederation, then of 6 voices for Bavaria, 
4 for Wurtemberg, 3 each for Baden and Hesse-Darm- 
stadt. Altogether the Custom Confederate Council 
had 58 voices, 17 of which fell to the presidential 
power, Prussia. Beside the Custom Confederate 
Council was placed the Custom Parliament, consist- 
ing of the members of the German Parliament and 
delegates from the South German States, who were 
chosen by direct and secret election. The whole 
Custom Parliament was to be composed of 382 mem- 
bers, of whom 297 came from the North German 
Parliament, and 85 from the South German States. 

It will be confessed that the constitution of the 
modern German Empire, with all these Parliaments 
and Landtags enveloping one another, was a most 
complicated affair, just as involved at the least as the 
old German Diet. But it was so only in its outward 
form, for inwardly a desire for simplification had 
arisen throughout Germany. Moreover, the old 
liberal veto was abolished, if not at once, at all events 
very shortly, by the introduction of Parliamentary 
assemblies ; and the very confusion of the newly-intro- 
duced forms must itself lead men to believe that it, 
the confusion, would not continue permanently, but 
that out of it simplicity would arise in some way or 



other. This view in the main gained the day. The 
only opposition oftered to the new organisation for 
the Zollverein was that of the Bavarian Chambers, 
and they naturally were soon forced to yield. 

In February 1868 the elections for the first Customs 
Parliament took place. A certain mistrust of Prus- 
sia prevailed thereby, and in South Germany, except- 
ing in Baden, the word was only to return such men 
to the Customs Parliament as would decidedly oppose 
any overstepping of its duties or of its objects which 
might be attempted with a view to bringing about a 
more intimate connection between South Germany 
and North Germany, or any subjection of South Ger- 
many to Prussian dominion. 

The first Customs Parliament assembled in Berlin 
on the 27th of April 1868. The results were, when 
compared to the expectations cherished in North 
Germany, extremely small. The glowing North 
German national liberals were frustrated in all their 
endeavours to gain their end by surprise through 
debates, addressea, banquets, and festivals, by the 
unconquerable distrust which animated the South 
Germans; and this state of affairs received no essen- 
tial change even until the year 1870, in the spring 
of which the flag of the battle against the military 
system was raised in South Germany, and especially 
in WUrtembei^ and Bavaria. 

Wo have now to consider how Prussia settled her 
foreign relationships — namely, with Luxemburg, Lim- 

Prussia's relations with schleswig. 109 

burg, and North Schleswig. As regards Luxemburg, 
all that is necessary has been already related ; Lim- 
burg, which had only been given to the German Diet 
in 1839 as a compensation for the loss of the western 
part of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, was, by the 
London Treaty of 1867 simply and unconditionally 
restored to the kingdom of Holland. A restoration 
of North Schleswig districts to Denmark had been 
provided for in the Peace of Prague. France and 
Austria on this occasion took the part of Denmark, 
and the former especially asserted that she had a 
right to interfere Z thk Europeaii question, an 
assertion which was always politely but decidedly 
denied by Prussia. The deputies of North Schleswig 
protested continually in the Prussian Landtag and 
in the German Parliament against the forcible dimi- 
nution of the Danish element. 

But the question was more difficult than is gene- 
rally supposed. There is in Schleswig no easily 
recognisable natural frontier. A frontier of nation- 
ality is the more difficult to find, as the Danish 
Norwegian is only a dialect of German spoken in in- 
numerable ways, and in every possible form, in Schles- 
wig, in addition to which pure German and Danish 
are much used. The towns are, up to the extreme 
north of Schleswig, thoroughly German. The Danes 
would naturally have wished to obtain again the 
whole of Schleswig. The Germans could not possibly 
desire to retain it altogether, but they did wish 


to keep all the German towns ; or, if concessions must 
be made on this point also, to obtain guarantees for 
the protection of the German element in the portions 
of North Schleswig which were to be given up. This 
question of guarantees it was which the two contend- 
ing parties fought about in every form and on every 
occasion, naturally without arriving at any result, 
except to give to foreign Powers, especially to France 
and to Austria, an opportunity of stepping into the 
question in an ^^ unselfish '' manner, at such time as 
might seem to them to be favourable. 



YEAR 1866 TO THE YEAR 1870. 

Even during the war of 1866, Prussia, in view of 
the annexations which she was about to make, had 
commenced preparations for the enlargement of her 
army ; and after the termination of the war it was 
easy for her to draw into her military system not 
merely the annexed provinces, but also the States of 
the North German Confederation. 

Before the Peace of Prague, Prussia had 1 Guard 
Corps and 8 provincial Army Corps. All these 9 Corps 
were, if we disregard a few unimportant differences, 
organised alike. The line troops — active and per- 
manent constituents — of an Army Corps were : — 

9 infantry regiments of 3 battalions each ; 

1 battalion of rifles ; 

6 regiments of cavalry ; 

1 brigade of artillery, which was divided into a 
field and a garrison artillery regiment ; 

1 battalion of pioneers ; and 

1 battalion of train. 


Each Army Corps on a war footing had about 
30,000 men, infantry and cavalry, with 96 field-guns, 

The reinforcement of each separate body of troops 
was not attended with any difBculties, owing to 
the number of trained men available, and to the 
thoroughly proved and well-organised institutiona. 
New companies, battalions, and squadrons were easily 
formed; the reserve troops gave the basis in the first 
line, and the landwelir troops came forward in the 
second line, to supply the garrisons for the fortresses 
and military places, and to form strategical reserves 
for the line army which was fighting abroad. 

In consequence of the direct annexations, the Prus- 
sian Government determined to form 3 new Army 
Corps, so that the Prussian army contained 11 pro- 
vincial corps, besides the Guard Corps, which was 
reunited from the whole State. As a matter of fact, 
instead of the 27 new regiments of infantry which 
could properly be required to form the 3 new Army 
Corps, only 16 were raised ; the gap was to be filled 
by the contingents of the small States of the North 
German Confederation. A 12th Army Corps was 
supplied by the kingdom of Saxony on its entrance 
into the Confederation. 

\Vc shall first consider the organisation of the dif- 
ferent arms as it was completed in the year 1868, 
and that only for the North German Confederation, 
leaving out of account at present the landwehr and 
the Grand Duchy of Hesse. 


The streDgtfa of the North German infantry, then, 
was as follows : — 

Prussian Guard Corps — 

4 regiments of Foot Guards ; 
4 regiments of Grenadiers of the Guard ; 
1 regiment of Fusiliers of the Guard ; 
1 battalion of Rifles of the Guard ; 
1 battalion of Chasseurs of the Guard ; 
altogether, 29 battalions of infantry. 

Provincial Army Corps (including the 12th 

88 Prussian regiments of infantry, numbering from 
1 to 88 — of which 12 were grenadier regiments, Nos. 
1 to 12 — and 8 fusilier regiments, Nos. 33 to 40 ; and 

17 Confederate infantry regiments— namely, 

2 Mecklenburg regiments, No. 89 (Grenadiers) and 
No. 90 (Fusiliers), belonging to the 9th Army Corps. 

1 Oldenburg, No. 91 (10th Army Corps). 

1 Brunswick, No. 92 (10th Army Corps). 

1 Anhaltian, No. 93 (4th Army Corps). 

1 Thuringian, No. 96 (4th Army Corps), provided 
by Saxe-Altenburg and Reuss. 

1 (fifth) Thuringian, No. 94 (11th Army Corps), 
provided by Saxe-Weimar. 

1 (sixth) Thuringian, No 95 (11th Army Corps), 
provided by Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Saxe-Meiningen- 

9 regiments (Nos. 100 to 108) of the Saxon or 12th 
North German Army Corps, of which 2 were grena- 

VOL. I. H 


dier regiments (Nos. 100 and 101) and 1 a fusilier 
regiment (No. 108). 

The Nos. 97, 98, and 99 are absent from the aeries 
of North German provincial regiments. In pursuance 
of several special military conventions, Prussia pro- 
vided regiments for some of the smaller States, or 
rather removed regiments into their territories. At 
first this new condition was not completely arranged, 
and therefore for a time the numbers 97, 98, and 99 
remained open. 

Of provincial Kiflc battalions there were 
11, with Nos. from 1 to 11 for the Prussian Corps; 

2 Saxon (12th Army Corps), Nos. 12 and 13 ; 

1 Mecklenburg (No. 14). 

Recapitulating the infantry, we have — 


9 regiments of the Guard, of 3 battalions each, = 27 
S8 PruBsian infantry regiments of 3 battalions, = 264 
17 Oonfederateinfautryregimentaof Sbattaliona, = 51 

2 battalions of Rifles of the Guard, . . == 2 

14 battalions of pravincia! Eifles, =14 




The battalion may be taken aa having an average 
strength at the commencement of a campaign of 1000 
men, who are divided into 4 strong companies. On 
mobilisation, a reserve battalion of 1000 men is 
formed for each regiment of infantry, and a reserve 
company of 200 men for every battalion of Rifles. 

Within two months at the latest, every re8er\'o 


battalion can double itself in this way, that it first 
prepares a fourth battalion for service in the field, 
and then forms a new reserve battalion. Accordingly, 
the North German infantry can, without improvising, 
place in the field — 

In the first line (infantry and Rifles), 358,000 men. 
In the second line (infantry and Rifles), 117,200 „ 

Altogether, 475,200 men. 

In the cavalry, the campaign of 1866 and the 
subsequent annexations brought about important 
changes. The cavalry regiments of the Guard were 
not increased after 1866, but numbered afterwards as 
before — 

1 regiment of Body Guard. 

1 regiment of Cuirassiers. 

2 regiments of Dragoons* 
1 regiment of Hussars* 

3 regiments of Uhlans (lancers) — ^that is, a total 
of 8 regiments. 

The number of cuirassier regiments of the line also 
was not increased after the annexations. The 8 old 
regiments still remained. 

But it fared very differently with the dragoons, hus- 
sars, and Uhlans. The 8 old Prussian dragoon regi- 
ments were in 1866 increased to 16. To these were 
added by the North German Confederation the 2 Meck- 
lenburg dragoon regiments, with the Nos. 1 7 and 1 8 ; 
the Oldenburg dragoon regiment. No. 19 ; and the 



4 old Saxon cavalry regiments, whicli retained their 
names and numbers from 1 to 4. The North German 
Confederation had now, therefore (including the 
Saxons), 23 dragoon regimenta The 12 old Prussian 
hussar regiments were increased after the annexations 
to 16, and to these came in the North German Con- 
federation the Brunswick hussar regiment. No. 17. 
The Confederation had therefore 17 regiments of hus- 
sars. The 12 old Prussian Uhlan regiments were 
also increased after the annexations to 16, and to 
these were joined 2 newly-formed Saxon Uhlan regi- 
ments ; so that now the North German Confederation 
had 18 regiments of these troops. 

Recapitulating, we find the North German eavalrj' 
composed of (Heaae-Darmstadt not included) — 

Prussian Guard, 
Li ne — Cuiraasi ers. 

I regiments. 




Altogether, 74' n^ments. 

Each of these consisted, according to the latest 
formation, of 5 squadrons, of which 4 were fiehl 
squadrons and 1 a depot squadron. This latter, also, 
is even in time of peace fully organised. With the 
aid of the reserve and landwehr systems, it is easy 
to swell out this squadron considerably, so that it 
may form the germ of new reserve field squadrons 


and of garrison squadrons, for the fortifications, for 
coast defence, and for strategical reserves in rear of 
the operating army. Each squadron takes the field 
with 150 combatant horses; the 74 cavalry regi- 
ments therefore place in the field — 

In the first line, . . . 44,400 horsea 
In the second line (depot squadron), 11,100 „ 

Altogether, 55,500 horses. 

Artillery. — ^As a rule, each brigade of Prussian 
artillery consists of a regiment of field artillery and 
of a regiment of garrison artillery. But up to the 
present time the brigades of the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 
12th Army Corps had only a division of garrison artil- 
lery and their ^giment of field artillery Each regi- 
ment of field artTry consiste, on a Z footing, of 5 
divisions-namely, 1 horse, 3 foot, and 1 column 
division. The mat&riel of the foot divisions has been 
lately so changed that they have been really trans- 
formed into field batteries. Each foot division has 
now 4 batteries, 2 of which are rifled 6-poiinders and 
2 rifled 4-pounders, all breech-loaders. Each horse 
division consists, since the end of 1866, of only 3 
batteries of rifled 4-pounders. All batteries have six 
guns. Each of the 13 regiments of field artillery 
places therefore in the first line 15 batteries, with 90 
guns. To this must be added the column division, 
which consists of 9 columns — namely, 4 for infantry 
and 5 for artillery ammunition. 




A regiment has 3731 men (without officers), 3358 
horses, and, without counting in the guns, 385 car- 
riages. The 13 regiments place in the first line 1170 
guns. Each regiment of field artillery forms, in case 
of war, a reserve division of two foot-batteries and 
1 horse-battery, with a total of 18 guns. This gives 
for the 13 regiments of the North German Confedera- 
tion 234 guns in the second line. The two Olden- 
burg batteries — a 6-pounder and a 4-pounder — and 
the Brunswick rifled 6-pounder battery, belong to the 
10th regiment of field artillciy ; the 4 Mecklenburg 
— two 6-pounder3 and two 4 -pounders — form the 3d 
foot division of the 9th regiment of field artillery. 

A division of garrison artillery has 4 companies : 
therefore, as there are 22 garrison divisions, the 13 
North German Corps have altogether 88 companies, 
which in war can, by calling in the reserve and the 
landwehr, be doubled, ancl would thus give 176 com- 
panies, with a total of about 36,000 men. The gar- 
rison artillery does not serve merely to garrison strong 
places and coast defences, but it also supplies men for 
the equipment and service of the siege-trains, which 
are formed in case of a war of invasion being under- 

Engineers. — The engineei-s consist of the engineer 
corps, composed entirely of officers and of 13 battal- 
ions of pioneers, each having in peace time 4 com- 
panies — 1 of miners, 2 of sappers, and 1 of pon- 
tonicrs, A mobilised pioneer battalion is in time of 



war divided into 3 companies of equal strength, to 
each of which is added, according to its destination, 
either a column of pioneer implements, a train of ad- 
vance-guard bridges, or a pontoon column. More- 
over, the pioneer battalions supply the cadres, and 
the nucleus of men for the railway and telegraph 
detachments. Each pioneer battalion forms, when 
mobilised, a reserve company. 

Train. — Each army corps has its battalion of train, 
which, in contradistinction to the other branches of 
the service, receives recruits twice in the year, on the 
one occasion only for a service of six months. Very 
weak in time of peace, the train battaUon assumes, on 
mobilisation, colossal dimensions, quite independently 
of those soldiers of the train who axe specially at. 
tached to the separate divisions of troops : it consists 
then of — 

5 provision columns of 32 waggons each. 

1 field battery of 5 waggons. 

1 horse-depot of 1 70 horses and 1 waggon. 

3 sanitary detachments (ambulances), together with 
the corresponding company of sick-bearers for each, 
of 10 waggons each. 

1 squadron of train escort of 120 horses and 1 

1 park column of waggons, answering to the pro- 
visional companies of the French train of Equipages 
militaireSy which can be formed as required, but 
which numbers, on the average, 5 divisions, each of 


80 waggons. As the cavaliy, owing to its high 
peace footing, only requires to draw in a compara- 
tively small proportion of its reserve and land- 
wehr when mobilised, it is always able to give to 
the train a very sufficient contingent to complete the 
requisite number of drivers and of grooms. 

For purposes of recruiting, administration, embodi- 
ment of landwehr, and of mobilisation generally, 
the whole territory of the North German Confedera- 
tion (Hesse-Diirmstadt not included) is divided into 
12 Army Corps Districts, one for each of the 12 pro- 
vincial army corps, while the Prussian Guards Corps, 
the 13th of the North German Confederate army, is 
recruited from the whole Prussian State. Each Army 
Corps District is further divided, as a rule, into 9 
chief districts of a lower class, among which is one 
Reserve Landwehr Battalion District, and 8 LandwcLr 
Regimental Districts. The Reserve Landwehr Bat- 
talion District exists in every corps district ; the num- 
ber of Landwehr Regimental Districts is, as a matter 
of fact, various in different Corps Districts. In the 
1st, 2d, 3d, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th, and 12th Army 
Corps Districts there are 8 Landwehr Regimental 
Districts; i(i the 9th aud 10th Army Corps Districts 
there are 6 ; in the 4th Army Corps District there 
are 9. 

In each Landwehr Regimental District, the corre- 
8i>onding infantry regiment of the line is recruited ; 
the Fusilier regiment, the battalion of Rifles, the regi- 


ments of cavahy, the brigade of artiUery. the batteUon 
of pioneers, and the battalion of train of the corps, are 
recruited from the whole army corps district with- 
out regard to the special subdivision. Two landwehr 
regimental districts form as a rule a Brigade District 
Each landwehr regimental district is subdivided into 
two Battalion Districts, each of which can supply, in 
case of mobilisation, a weU-fonned garrison battaUon 
(of landwehr, independent of any other formations). 
A landwehr battalion district is again subdivided into 
3 or 6 (exceptionally only into 12) Company Districts. 
But it is not to be imderstood from this that on 
mobilisation the landwehr battalions are composed of 
diflFerent numbers of companies, for, on the contrary, 
every mobile landwehr battalion is divided, as is a 
line battalion, into 4 companies. 

A peculiar part is played by the Reserve Landwehr 
Battlon Db^ote. L 4eirn\«,be,s they cor«spond 
.0 the fuBiUer regimenU. which are dra™ froM tteir 
corps distiicts. But they serve specially to render 
u« in the formation of the ^rrUol battaUon, 
possible, and they are the more necessary as the land- 
wehr arrangement could not all at once be put into 
force in the provinces annexed by Prussia, and in the 
small States of the North German Confederation. It 
will therefore not be by any means superfluous to 
enumerate here the 12 Army Corps Districts of the 
North German Confederation, pointing out in each 
the reserve landwehr battalion territory. Every one 


can then arrive at such conclusions on the matter as 
he is minded to. Therefore : — 

1st Army Corps. — East Prussia and a great portion 
of West Prussia ; reserve landwehr battalion district, 
Konigsberg, No. 33. (Fischhausen, Konigsberg town 
and coimtry.) 

2d Army Corps. — Pomerania, parts of West Prus- 
sia and Posen ; r. 1. b. d., Stettin, No. 34. (Randow, 
Usedom Wollin, town of Stettin.) 

3d Army Corps. — Brandenburg ; r. 1. b. d., Berlin, 
No. 35. (Town of Berlin.) 

4th Army Corps. — ^Province of Saxony, Anhalt, 
Schwarzburg, Reuss ; r. 1. b. d., Magdeburg, No. 36. 
(Town of Magdeburg, Magdeburg and Wanzleben.) 

5th Army Corps. — Lower Silesia and the Govern- 
ment district Posen ; r. 1. b. d., Glogau, No. 37. 
(Glogau and Fraustadt.) 

6th Army Corps. — Middle and Upper Silesia ; 
r. 1. b. d., Breslau, No. 38. (Town of Breslau.) 

7th Army Corps. — The Government districts Munster 
and Minden in Westphalia, the Government district of 
Dlisseldorf in the Rhine provinces, and Lippe Detmold 
and Schaumburg Lippe ; r. 1. b. d.. Barmen, No. 39. 
(Elberfeld, Barmen, and Meltmaun.) 

8th Army Corps. — The Government districts of Aix- 
la-Chapelle, Cologne, Coblenz, Treves, in the Rhine 
provinces, and Hohenzollem ; r. 1. b. d., Cologne, No. 
40. (Town and district of Cologne.) 

9th Army Corps. — Schleswig-Holstcin, with the 


Oldenburg Enclaves, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Strel- 
itz, the north-eastern portion of the province of Hano- 
ver, the free towns Hamburg, Lubeck, and Bremen ; 
r. 1. b. d., Altona. (Pinneberg, Stormam, Seegeberg, 
and the town Altona.) 

10th Army Corps. — ^The main part of the former 
kingdom and present province of Hanover, the Grand 
Duchy of Oldenburg, and the Duchy of Brunswick ; 
r. 1. b. d., Hanover, No. 73. (Wennigsen and Hameln, 
town and district of Hanover). 

11th Army Corps. — ^The Government district of 
Amsberg in Westphalia, the former Electorate of 
Hesse, the former Duchy of Nassau, the former free 
town of Frankfort, the Grand Duchy of Saxe- Weimar, 
the Duchies of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and of Saxe-Mein- 
ingen-Hilburghausen-Saalfeld, and the Princedom of 
Waldeck; r. Lb. d., Frankfort-on-the-Main, No. 80. 
(Frankfort, Upper Taunus, and Hanau.) 

12th Army Corps. — Kingdom of Saxony ; r. 1. b. d., 
Dresden, No. 108. (Town of Dresden.) 

On this division into Landwehr Districts the whole 
formation of the garrison army is founded. 

Of garrison troops there are :— 

1. Two landwehr regiments of the Guard, each of 
3 battalions. 

2. Two landwehr grenadier regiments of the Guard, 
each of 3 battalions. 

3. For every provincial landwehr battalion district, 
1 battalion of 4 companies. 


4. For every line battalion of Rifles, 1 company. 

5. For every army corps district, 2 cavalry regi- 
ments of 4 squadrons each. 

6. For every field-artillery regiment, 3 batteries, to 
be used as sortie-batteries, and for disposal elsewhere 
afterwards, when not required in the fortresses. 

7. The companies of garrison artillery are doubled 
in number, and therefore in total strength. 

8. For every battalion of pioneers 3 fortress com- 
panies, but to be distributed, not by companies, but 
by detachments, as the size of the fortifications may 

The garrison troops can also, if requisite, be con- 
centrated in regiments, brigades, and divisions^ to 
form strategical reserves for the active army during 
an ofiensive war, to supply garrisons abroad, and to 
furnish siege-corps for fortresses left behind by the 

The battalions of landwehr regiments of the Guard, 
and of the landwehr grenadier regiments of the 
Guard, have each, on a complete war footing, about 
800 men; the provincial landwehr battalions about 
700 each ; a landwehr Rifle company about 250 ; a 
landwehr cavalry regiment about 600 ; and a land- 
wehr sortie-battery, 6 guns. To these must be added 
the 8 to 1 6 companies of garrison artillery. 

The garrison infantry of an army corps consists, 
on the average, of 1 7 battalions of 


700 men, . . = 11,900 

1 company of Rifles, = 250 

Total, . . 12,150 

or in round numbers, 12,000, which for the 12 corps 
gives a strength of 144,000 men. The garrison 
cavalry of an army corps consists of about 1200 com- 
batants; therefore for the 12 corps 14,400 men. 
The sortie - batteries of an army corps contain 18 
guns; for the 12 corps, 216 guns. To the garrison 
infantry must be added the 12 landwehr battalions 
of the Guard, with a total of 9600 men. The garri- 
son army, therefore, comprises a total of 168,000 
men, infantry and cavalry, with 216 guns. 

By the constitution of the North German Confedera- 
tion, every North German is bound to serve in the 
army, and cannot provide a substitute to fulfil this 
duty. Every German liable to serve serves seven 
years in the active army — as a rule, fix)m the comple- 
tion of his 20th year to the commencement of the 28th 
year of his age ; he then serves other five years — ^that 
is, as a rule, imtil the commencement of the 33d year 
of his age, in the landwehr. Of the first seven years 
he spends three in actual service with the colours ; the 
remaining four, during which he is generally on fur- 
lough, in the reserve. In case of war, the operating 
army is first completed to a full war footing by calling 
in the reserves ; the remainder of the reserves, newly- 
raised recruits, and, where necessary, the landwehr. 



are then formed into reserve troops; and, finally, 
from the landwehr men, save where esceptions are 
made for special arms, the garrison troops are formed. 

The peculiar position of the Grand Duchy of Hesse- 
Darmstadt, with one foot in South Germany and the 
other in the North German Confederation, led at once 
to the treaty of the 17th of April 1867, by which the 
whole Hessian army, not merely the contingent for 
Upper Hesse, was placed as a special division, the 
25th, in the 11th Army Corps, and incorporated into 
the North German Confederate Army. 

The Hesse-Darmstadt or 25th Division places in 
the active army 4 regiments of infantry of 2 bat- 
talions each, 2 battalions of Rifles, 2 cavalry regi- 
ments of 5 squadrons each, 2 divisions of artillery, 
with a total of 6 batteries (two 6-pounder, three 
4-pounder foot-batteries, and 1 Iiorse-battery), 1 com- 
pany of pioneers, and 1 division of train ; there- 
fore, for field service, 10 battalions and 8 squadrons, 
or 11,200 men, infantry and cavalry, with 36 guns. 
The reserve troops consist of 4 battahons of in- 
fantry, 2 companies of Rifles, 2 batteries with 8 guns, 
1 division of pioneers, 1 detachment of train, and the 
two 5th ajuadrons of the cavalry regiments. Thus 
there are in the second line 4800 men, infantry and 
cavalry, with 8 guns. 

Of garrison troops there are 6 landwehr battalions : 
the State is divided into four regimental districts, 
every two of which furnish together 1 regiment. 


According to the Prussian system^ there must be also 
2 companies of Rifles and 1 regiment of cavalry, as 
well as a sortie-battery of 6 guna This gives 5100 
men, infantry and cavaliy, with 6 guns. 

The three South German States, Bavaria, Wurtem- 
berg, and Baden, received essentially, in February 
1867, the Prussian institutions into their armies. 
Baden had really for some time adopted them, and also 
the needle-gun. Wlirtemberg also soon afterwards 
armed her infantry with the same weapon ; but Bavaria 
followed her own way in this respect, by introducing 
first of all the converted Podewil rifle as a very im- 
perfect breech-loader, end afterwards, in 1869, by or- 
dering the manufacture of a new and most excellent 
breech-loader, the Werder rifle. The fabrication of 
the whole number requisite was not completed when 
the war of 1870 broke out In uniform also, as in 
the exercise regulations, the Bavarians had rather 
important differences from the Prussians ; but, as a 
whole, the formation of their army was in imitation 
of the Prussians. 

The Bavarian army had in field troops : — 

1 6 regiments of infantry, of 3 battalions each ; 

10 battalions of Rifles ; 

1 regiments of cavalry, of 5 (of which 4 were field) 
squadrons — ^namely, 

2 regimente of cuirassiers, 
6 regiments of light horse, 
2 regiments of Uhlans ; 

4 regiments of artillery, of 8 field and 5 foot (for- 
tress) batteries each ; the 2d and 3d regiments had 
each among their field batteries 2 horse-batteries ; 

1 regiment of engineers, with 2 field divisions of 3 
companies, and 4 fortress companies. 

The 58 infantry and Rifle battalions give a total of 
58,000 men; the 40 field squadrons, 6000 men; in- 
fantry and cavalry together, 64,000 men, with 192 

Of reserve troops there were, according to the Prus- 
sian arrangement, 16 battalions of infantry, and 10 
companies of Rifles, or together, 18,500 men ; 10 fifth 
squadrons, or 1500 horsemen ; 8 batteries, and 2 com- 
panies of engineers, — that is, 20,000 men, infantry and 
cavalry, with 48 guns. 

The garrison troops were composed of 32 landwehr 
battalions, or 22,400 men ; to which must be added 
the before-mentioned companies of garrison artillery 
and engineers. 

The Wurtemberg Corps had in field troops 8 reg^-: 
ments of infantry, of 2 battalions, and 3 Rifle batta- 
lions each ; 4 regiments of cavalry, of 4 squadrons 
each ; 1 regiment of field artillery, with 3 divisions of 
3 batteries; 2 companies of pioneers, — therefore 21,400 
men, infantry and cavalry, with 54 guns. Of reserve 
troops, 4 battidions of infantry, 1 battalion of Rifles, 3 

uadrons, 3 reserve batteries of 4 guns each; or 5200 
men, infantry and cavalry, with 12 guns. Of garri- 
aon troops (in the beginning of 1 870), 6 landwehr bat- 




talions (4200 men), and a division of fortress artillery 
of 4 companies. 

The Baden Corps had of field troops 6 regiments of 
infantry, of 3 battalions each; 3 regiments of dragoons, 
of 5 (4) squadrons ; 1 regiment of field artillery with 
9 batteries, 1 division of pioneers, and 1 of train ; or 
19,800 men, infantry and cavalry, with 54 guns. Of 
reserve troops, 3 battalions, 3 squadrons, 1 battery ; 
3450 men, infantry and cavalry, with 6 guns. Of gar- 
rison troops, 10 landwehr battalions and 1 squadron, 
together with a detachment of fortress artiUery of 5 
companies ; therefore about 7000 men, infantry and 
cavalry, with 7 field (sortie) guns. 

It will be interesting now to review the collective 
forces which Germany could muster, thoroughly or- 
ganised and equipped, and to compare with them, in 
each class, the numbers which France could bring 

Germany could muster in field troops 518,000 men, 
infantry and cavalry, with 1506 guns ; France could 
oppose to them 285,000 men, infantry and cavalry, 
with 984 guns — that is, but little more than the half. 
Germany had as reserve troops 161,000 men, infantry 
and cavalry; France had as depot troops 91,000 men. 
Germany had as garrison troops 187,000 men ; France 
could show nothing as an equivalent to this, for the 
Mobile Guard which was to fill their place was simply 
not organised. We believe that in these round num- 
bers we have given a true comparison of the land 

VOL. I. I 



forces of the countries which, in the year 1870, were 
about to engage in an unhappy war. These numbers 
distinctly express the enormous military superiority of 
Germany on the land. Later on we shall frequently 
have to refer to this. 

It is truly said that France lias as great, or even a 
greater, population than Germany — that is, thaxi the 
North German Confederation and South Germany 
taken together ; the soil of France is, on the average, 
rather richer than poorer than that of Germany ; cur- 
rent money is more plentiful in France than in Ger- 
many ; and in many other material respects she h;is 
the advantage. This ia all very true and correct, but 
it by no means proves that military organisation is 
there also. There may be steam enough generated 
in a town to drive a hundred locomotives, but if it 
be allowed to escape into the streets it will begrime 
the people and darken the sun, but will yet drive no 

By organisation of forces we do not mean the per- 
petual presence of every soldier with the colours ; in 
Germany, even, such ia not the case : but every man 
wJio is to render service as a soldier must be exercised 
in military matters, and must know his place in the 
army. This condition was not carried out in France, 
The Second Empire had done too much for the stand- 
ing army, which can never be anything but weak; but 
too little in the way of providing resources with which 
to increase this army in ease of wju-. 


•-•r ■ 


Even under Louis Philippe the organisation was 
better arranged for this end. There was then estab- 
lished throughout France a sedentary National Guard. 
If this even was nothing better than a citizen army, 
it nevertheless indubitably oflFered a possibility of 
giving an elementary military education to the whole 
male population, especially to the richer and more 
educated classes, who had purchased freedom from 
service in the standing army. Moreover, there existed 
a law providing for the formation of mobile detach- 
ments of the National Guard. These were easily 
formed ; and, with the great supply which the collec- 
tive National Guard oflFered, these mobile detachments 
could furnish a very tolerable reserve army, especially 
for the interior. Napoleon III. had abolished the 
National Guard. It was retained only in a few 
towns, and there only in a ruined state. The good 
adherents of the Empire did very scanty duty as 
soldiers of the National Guard, and even for that 
little they provided substitutes. The master who 
was ordered on guard dressed up his servant in the 
pretty imiform of the National Guard and sent him 
on duty in his place. 

For the great division of a mobile army, the follow- 
ing rules, which are essentially based on the peace 
divisions, are observed in Germany. Slight variations 
from these are sometimes met with, but none of any 
great importance. 

A mobile Army Corps is divided into 2 divisions 


of infantry, 1 division of cavalry, and 1 resen'c of 
artillery. A division of infantry consists of 2 brigades 
of infantry, 1 regiment of horse, aa divisional cavalry, 
and a division of field artillery of 4 batteries. A 
brigade of infantry consists, as a rule, of 2 regiments 
or 6 battalions. A division of cavalry consists of 2 
brigades, each of 2 regiments, and of a battery of 
horse-artillery: in 1870, cavalry divisions, in some 
cases of considerable strength, and of as many as 9 
regiments, were formed quite independently of the 
army corps, and in less numbers. The reserve of 
artillery consists of 2 horse - batteries and of 1 
division of field artillery — therefore altogether 6 

Germany is by no means so abundantly supplied 
with fortresses as France, but among the German 
fortresses there are a proportionately greater number 
of important ones. North Germany has not neglected 
to do much to improve its works to meet the changes 
introduced into firearms ; still, in the new erections, 
its main efforts have been made in fortifying the 
coasts. In this class we may specially mention Alsen- 
Sonderburg, Wilhelmshafen (in the Jahde bay), the 
fortifications of the estuaries of the Ems and of the 
Weser, Kiel and Friedrichsort. 

The North German navy is still too young to have 
BB yet acquired any great importance; still, in the last 
few years much has been done for it. The ironclad 
fleet is to be increased to 16 ships, and perhaps 


this war of 1870 will bring about the opportunity 
to reach this strength. In the beginning of this 
year * the North German steam fleet comprised 45 
ships, of which 3 were ironclad frigates and 2 ironclad 
vessels. The nominal strength of sailors for manning 
the whole fleet was about 4600 men. To this must be 
added 1 battalion of marine infantry of 6 companies, 
and 3 companies of marine artillery. For the rest 
there existed for every part of the fleet, as for the 
land forces, a proportionate reserve of men liable to 
service (reserve and seewehr). 

* Written in 1870. 




After our digression concerning the German forces, 
we can now return to follow the course of events. 

In May 1870 the aspect of aflFairs was, as we have 
seen, altogether peaceful. In Germany, nobody wished 
for the war, and nobody expected it immediately. 
Ministers and generals were employed making their 
plans for the summer season of the year. The same 
peaceful disposition prevailed apparently in France 
also ; a just appreciation of the position of Germany, 
the recognition of her right to unity and to regulate 
her own affairs independently, gained ground more and 
more. There was certainly a warlike Court party, 
who wished to renew the Empire by the shedding of 
blood, and who took advantage of the repeated sick- 
ness of the Emperor to impress this necessity upon 
him. The war for the Rhine frontier was, according 
to a long-received belief, the only one which could be 
held to be serviceable for this end. But the French 
army, as a matter of fact, had not, as we have shown. 


been as yet increased in numerical strength by the 
law of the 1st of February 1868 ; the law itself had 
never been practically carried out in one essential 
point — ^the institution of the Mobile Guard — unless, 
indeed, we regard as an organisation the nomination 
on paper of officers of all ranks, who provided them- 
selves with uniform, because they thought that so 
clad they presented a more beautiful appearance. 
Regarded from any point of view, it could but be held 
that the only gain to the French forces had been the 
introduction of the new armament, the Chassepot and 
the mitrailleuse. 

Whoever simply compared the military situation of 
France on the one hand with that of Germany on 
the other, must have been constrained to declare to 
himself that France could in no way think of declar- 
ing war with Germany without having some allies. 
Even the Emperor Napoleon, who certainly could not 
have wished for a war in which he would be beaten, 
must have acknowledged this to himself. Where, 
then,' was France to seek in those days for allies 
against Germany ? The party in France who were 
thirsting for war naturally turned their glances to- 
wards Austria and Italy. 

But Austria ? Herr von Beust— one of those for- 
tunate ones who are always imperially rewarded for 
all services rendered, even when they are of but 
questionable value, until at length the leaf unexpect- 
edly turns over — regarded as his masterstroke the 


consolidation of Austria and Hungary, the foundation 
of the dual empire of Austrian-Hungary or Hungar- 
ian-Austria. For such an empire the commencement 
of a war always brings with it considerable difficulties; 
and, moreover, the great work of Herr von Beust 
existed as yet only on paper. The desire for new 
settlements had arisen in all the countries of the 
Austrian Empire ; and the Austria of 1 8 70 presented 
rather a picture of Belcredic system of groups than of 
the dualism of Beust. The finances of Austria were 
improving but slowly, and a war is never the means 
to raise the financial condition of a country. More- 
over, it was certain that if Austria took part with 
France, Eussia would array herself on the other side, 
and seek compensation at the cost of Austria. 

In Italy, certainly, the Court party inclined greatly 
towards France. The war of 1866 had rather 
estranged than drawn into closer union certain mem- 
bers of it, as Lamarmora. On the other hand, the 
people were for the most part on the side of Prussia. 
Young Italy had, since 1859, always had her share 
of the prey which was captured by others, and she 
expected that such would again be the case. The 
booty upon which it was now more immediately 
intent was the territory which still remained to 
the Pope. But Prussia could concede this to her 
just as well as France coidd. The Italian finances 
were in a still worse state than the Austrian, and 
careful economy had become by necessity an imper- 


ative law. All this must make even the Italian Court 
party itself hesitate, if it were required of it, to join 
the French Empire in a war against Germany. 

Therefore the prospect which France had of gaining 
allies was at that time by no means consolatory. 

And indeed in June the tokens of a peaceful dis- 
position seemed, if that were necessary, to increase in 
France. An extraordinary drought prevailed — we 
ourselves experienced in France no single drop of 
rain from the 9th of April to the 28th of June ; 
the grass crops were destroyed, and extraordinary 
measures had to be taken to render it possible for 
the farmers to keep up to some extent their stock 
of cattle. The Minister of War also, viewing the 
scarcity of forage, ordered the sale of a great number 
of mUitaiy horses. 

M. Ollivier has certainly done, as a Minister, every- 
thing in word and deed that he had in former times 
condemned; but of his love of peace there could 
certainly be no doubt, especially as his interest lay in 
it. As soon as he could bring about the downfall 
of one of his opponents of the Court and war party, 
this must necessarily be recognised as another token 
of the ascendancy which the party of peace was 
attaining. Such a downfall of a certain importance 
took place in the middle of June 1870. The man 
who fell was a certain M. Clement Duvemois. This 
talented journalist, bom in 1836^ was^ until the year 
1867, in the most decided oppositioD ^ 


lu the latter year he published a book on the Mexi- 
can expedition, which, written cleverly and in a 
purposely moderate style, still contained a most dis- 
tinct condemnation of Cajsarism. The book was 
originally published in French, but a German trans- 
lation shortly appeared. Immediately afterwards, 
men remarked that M. Duvemois gradually drew near 
to the Government of the Empire. At first it could 
be asserted that he had been won over to the Empire 
by the Parliamentary tendencies which it proclaimed 
in its letter of the 19th of January 1869, although 
bis enemies said that the suppression of his book on 
the Mexican question had been dearly bought. But 
M. Duvemois made the excusing of his secession every 
day more impossible. From the 1st of February 
1867 he undertook the editorship of a newly-founded 
journal, ' Le Peuple Franjais,' a paper which was sold 
for about the price that its stamp cost. Naturally 
this Journal entretcnu must have an entreteneur, 
and this subsidiser was no other than the Emperor 
Napoleon himself. This journal was the journal of 
Csesarism. M, Duvemois had become the intimate 
friend of Napoleon. But he did not content himself 
with being the popular exponent of the thoughts of 
the Emperor, he speedily became his counsellor. As 
Napoleon HI. became bodily weaker, so much the 
louder was the outcry of M, Cldment Duvemois. He 
was one of those who whispered ever more resolutely 
into the ear of the Emperor that he must do some 


great thing — ^naturally make war on the Rhine — " to 
revenge the affront of Sadowa." Through the well- 
merited celebrity which the * Peuple Fran9ais' enjoyed, 
Clement Duvemois convinced France that the Em- 
peror himself desired nothing more earnestly than to 
do some great thing. In the year 1869, Duvemois 
was returned as official candidate for the Upper Alps. 
As soon as Ollivier had undertaken the Presidency 
of the Ministry on the 2d of January 1870, he was 
attacked by Duvemois with a persistency which is 
without parallel — attacked for his lukewarmness, for 
his want of energy, for his swaying to and fro- 
attacked from the Caesarian point of view. Public 
opinion said also that the Emperor himself had no 
sympathy with this Ministry. All this was more 
than Ollivier could submit to, the more so as other 
provocations were not wanting. He complained to 
the Emperor, and demanded either that he should be 
allowed to retire, or that the work of M. Clement 
Duvemois shoidd be stopped. On the 1 6th of June, 
Napoleon III. offered up his friend Duvemois by 
causing him to resign the editorship of the * Peuple 
Franfais.' It was long before this decision was arrived 
at, but the final determination only acquired greater 
weight thereby. 

For the 20th of June 1870, M. Mony, a man of 
seventy years, and long celebrated in France as an 
engineer, gave notice of a question to the Government 
about the Gothard Railway. For many years a tun- 


nelling of the Alps had been thought of in Sn-itzer- 
land, which would bring tho northern plains of the 
country into direct communication with the plaina of 
Italy. To effect this a long tunnel was uncondition- 
ally necessary, and the undertaking must be enor- 
mously costly. In Switzerland, strife had long pre- 
vailed about the road to be adopted, and many local 
interests had pushed into the foreground. Some de- 
manded the Stmplon route, other the Lukmanier or 
Splugen, and others again the Gothard. Arguments 
of all kinds, technical, commercial, and even military, 
had been freely used in this fight of rival routes. 
When on the one side the Mont Cenis tunnel was 
approaching completion, and on the other the Brenner 
Railway was already completed, there remained, as 
can be readily seen, only the Gothard line for the 
Alpine railway— unless, indeed, the execution of three 
or four Alpine tunnels simultaneously was to be 
thought of. 

But this one line alone would be so costly an ad- 
venture that a private company could hardly under- 
take it without guarantees from the States interested. 
Tho resources of Switzerland unaided would also be 
insufficient to commence so great a work; and as both 
Italy and Germany were equally interested in its com- 
pletion, negotiations were set on foot between Swit- 
zerland and Italy on the one hand, and between these 
two States and Prussia, and the North German Con- 
federation, on the other. These arrangements were 


successfully tenninated by the Convention of Vaxzin, 
of the 20th of June 1870. 

From various expressions which Count Bismark 
had before this uttered in the German Parliament 
concerning these matters, M. Mony took occasion to 
give notice of his question. It was clearly to be 
foreseen that in the discussion which would arise 
thereupon on the 20th of June, political matters, and 
especially the pretended threatened violation of the 
neutrality of Switzerland by Prussia, would be more 
debated on than the commercial interests of France. 
Thoughtful politicians were afraid that some of the 
speakers would harangue with great warmth, and 
use the opportunity to inveigh against Prussia^ and 
then if perhaps not war, at all events useless diplo- 
matic complications would arise. 

Dr Eem, the Swiss ambassador at Paris, as soon 
as he was informed of the intention of M. Mony to per- 
sist in putting the question, of which notice had been 
given, repaired forthwith to the Duke of Grammont, 
and with the documents in his hand, explained to him 
that there could be no question of any threatening of 
the neutrality of Switzerland by the Gothard treaties ; 
but that, on the contrary, Switzerland, in all the deal- 
ings, had had most careful regard to its preservation, 
and by a variety of clauses had carefully obviated any 
misunderstanding which might later on lead to its 
violation or to that of her sovereignty. For the rest, 
the ambassador added it would be very pleasing to 


Switzerland if she could — with like coDditions and 
reservations— conclude similar treaties with France 
in favour of a Simplon railway. 

Before M. Mony on the 20th of June put his ques- 
tion, he also had taken counsel with himself, and con- 
cluded his long speech with the assurance that France 
had in no way anything to fear from the Gothard 
Railway. Thereupon he was justly asked why he had 
put the question ; to which he made answer, that he 
had done so in order that the French Government 
might dig canals to assist the commerce of Marseilles. 
The Duke of Grammont also treated the matter, in 
his answer to the question, in accordance with the 
views which the Swiss Federal Council itself enter- 
tained — thoroughly peacefully. And now from the 
left of the Chamber the Minister of War was asked 
whether the Gothard Kailway, and the way in which 
it was to be completed, did not affect the balance of 
military power in a manner unfavourable to France ? 
To which he replied that such might be the case, but 
that it would be so in so small a degree that it could 
not be taken into consideration ; and that for the rest 
the Gothard Railway was not yet completed — ^that its 
construction would last from fifteen to sixteen years, 
so that there was yet sufficient time to thoroughly 
weigh the matter. The majority of the Corps Legis- 
latif was satisfied ; and their peace was not even 
materially disturbed when M. Ferry made some re- 
marks, in which he said that those who now quietly 


allowed the Gothard Eailway to be constructed, were 
they who had permitted Sadowa to be fought 

The interlude was played out — the anxiety had 
been in vain. 

In the camp of Chalons, only one series of troops 
was encamped in the year 1870 instead of two, as 
usual. This single series was placed under the com- 
mand of Frossard, Greneral of Engineers, and great 
siege exercises were to be carried on. A temporary 
work was constructed to this end in the neighbour- 
hood of the farm of St Hilaire ; but only three bas- 
tioned fronts were built in 1870. These could be 
finished by the middle of July, and then the siege 
exercises were to be commenced. Many officers from 
foreign armies were to attend them. Nothing in the 
Camp gave notice of the smaUest preparations for a war. 

On the 30th of June the Corps Legislatif debated 
on the law by which the contingent of recruits was to 
be reduced from the usual number of 100,000 men to 
90,000. The law was passed. OUivier declared on 
this occasion that the peace of Europe had never been 
more assured than it then was — that no impending 
question menaced it. We have here purposely nar- 
rated in succession the tokens which seem to us the 
most important of the peaceful disposition of France. 
OUivier was right. Even on the 30th of June no 
man could dream that the French Government would, 
within a week, look out for a pretext for a war against 
Prussia ; — ^and yet such was the case. 

We will now follow the details of this unhappy- 

In Spain, Donna Isabella II. of Bourbon, born 
1830, daughter of Ferdinand VII. and of the Nea- 
politan Princess Marie Christine, reigned as consti- 
tutional queen since 1843, She was a good-natured 
woman, but brought up firom childhood in bigotry 
and dissoluteness. Her Government was composed 
of an unceasing change of favourites and generals, 
who, raised to power by military pronundamientos, 
were, in the name of the queen, the real rulers. 
Civil war was in Spain an institution. In the year 

■ 1868, the President of the Ministry, Narvaez, Duke 

^K of Valencia, who was a moderado — which in its 

^H Spanish translation signifies a bloodthirsty reactionist 

^H — died. With a few honest counsellors at her side, 

^H the queen might perhaps even then have struck upon 

^H a path which would have been beneficial for Spain ; 

^H but as there were none of these near her, she failed 

^H to do this, and commissioned Gonzales Bravo to form 

^H a Cabinet — a passionate man, of whom she was afraid; 

^H a man who had chastised her corporeally, when she 

^1 was a child of twelve years old, to obtain her sigua- 

^H ture to a command. 

^H Gonzales Bravo conducted himself in office per- 

^H fectly after the manner of Narvaez. After he had, 

^H in his imperiousncss, committed many other follies, 

^H he, on the 7th of July 1868, caused Generals Serrano, 


de Rodas^ who did not belong to the extreme re- 
actionist party, to be arrested, in order to intern or 
transport them. At the same time the intriguing 
Duke of Montpensier and his wife, the Infanta Louise, 
younger sister of Queen Isabella, were exiled from 
Spain. They repaired to Lisbon. The Duke of 
Montpensier, — that son of Louis Philippe who was 
by no means beloved in Spain — mean, covetous, cau- 
tious — " the duke with the umbrella," — found at first 
in this banishment a certain relief. To the greater 
number of the above-named generals the same feeling 
came also. But each of them had a certain number 
of followers in the army, and after their arrest no 
one any longer enjoyed a feeling of security for him- 
self. All, therefore, began to conspire against the 
queen and her favourites, Marfori and the real regent 
Gonzales Bravo. 

In August 1868 an uneasy feeling prevailed 
throughout Spain. In the Court also this was felt. 
Still Queen Isabella trusted in her relations on the 
other side of the Pyrenees, the Emperor Napoleon 
III. and the Empress Eugenie. With them she 
sought to conclude an intimate bond for her own 
protection and for that of the Holy Father, who had 
given her the consecrated rose as the testifying seal of 
her universally acknowledged virtue. In August she 
sent to the Emperor Napoleon Count Girgenti, a 
younger brother of the exiled King Francis of Naples, 
with his wife, her eldest daughter Isabella, whom she 

VOL, I. K 


had given in marriage to him only in the May of 
that year. The young pair were received at the 
French Court with the greatest distinction. But the 
good Queen Isabella herself repaired in September to 
St Sebastian, to take there sea-baths, and to be at the 
same time near the French frontier, so that a meeting 
with the Emperor Napoleon might be easily brought 
about During this time the exiled generals had put 
themselves in communication with the leaders of the 
dijfferent parties of the opposition ; and the pronun- 
damiento of 1868 was no longer made in the name 
of the queen, but against the dynasty. The banished 
generals placed themselves at the head of the move- 
ment. The troops of the Government, as many as 
remained true to the queen, were soon beaten. Isa- 
bella had dismissed Gonzales Bravo, and had placed 
General Don Josd Concha at the head of the Min- 
istry; but even he pronounced against her, and 
demanded the dismissal of her favourite Marfori. 

After much hesitation, the queen determined, on 
the 30th of September, to fly to France, and carried 
out her resolve forthwith. Accompanied by her 
singular secular-ecclesiastical retinue, she saw for a 
moment the Emperor Napoleon III., the Empress 
Eugenie, and the Prince Imperial, in Biarritz, and 
then continued her journey immediately to the old 
castle of Pau, once the residence of Henry IV., which 
had been pointed out to her as her resting-place by 
Napoleon III. The meeting in Biarritz was mournful. 


Had Napoleon forebodings? Who can tell? He 
scarcely thought, though, that the 1st of September 
would be near to the 30th of September, as it proved 
to be. 

On the 3d of October Isabella hurled from Pau at 
Spain a protest against her deposition, which, how- 
ever, was properly only her flight. In Spain pro- 
visional "juntas'* had everywhere arisen. An ad- 
ministration must finally be formed, and men knew 
not where and whereof this should be gathered 
together. The junta of Madrid claimed a preference, 
and demanded of Marshal Serrano, who had van- 
quished the royal forces at Alcolea, and had entered 
Madrid on the 3d of October, to form a provisional 
government Serrano undertook without hesitation 
the commission assigned to him. 

There were in Europe many people who pictured 
to themselves that Spain must be glad to have freed 
herself so cheaply from a rooted dynasty, and to be 
able now to acknowledge, unhindered, a republic. 
There existed also in Spain a republican party, and 
its members were not the worst men. But the pro- 
visional government of Serrano consisted mainly of 
adherents to a constitutional monarchy ; and there- 
fore, in the times which immediately followed, the 
history of Spain turns essentially upon the search for 
a king for that country. There was, strangely enough, 
no lack of candidates, and each of them had his fol- 
lowers and supporters. 


Very prominent among them in the first moments 
was the Duke of Montpensier, who, in spite of his 
avarice, allowed his candidateship to cost him much. 
The Spanish monarchists, who were striving for the 
unity of the Iberian peninsula, for the union of Spain 
and Portugal, bethought themselves of a Portuguese 
king, either in the person of the reigning King Louis, 
or of his father Ferdinand, who had withdrawn with 
the title of king from political affairs, and now lived 
quietly in Oporto. But both of these manifested but 
small desire to take upon themselves the burden of 
the Spanish crown. The old Carlists took courage, 
and brought forward a pretender of the old stem. 
According to their apprehension, the present legiti- 
mate king must be the third son of the old Don 
Carlos, Don Juan. But this man had made his elec- 
tion impossible, even with the legitimate party, by 
his behaviour in the year 1860. Then, during the 
Morocco war, which for a time had united all parties 
in Spain, and was there regarded as a holy war, he 
had taken up arms. His general, Ortega, was taken 
prisoner and shot, but he himself escaped, hastily 
disguised, in a hackney, and thenceforward he bore 
the nickname of " Fly-Don- Juan " ( Don Juan alia 
tartana). Now he gave heed for once to the coun- 
sel of his advisers, and abdicated in favour of his son, 
who, under the name of Charles VII., entered upon 
his reign in partibus on the 3d of Ofetober 1868, and 
announced it to the sovereigns of Europe on the 28th 
of October. 


In Italy, also, the constitutional Spaniards sought 
for a prince, but here too they found hesitation and 
doubt. In short, a king could not be found, and 
this was principally the fault of the French Govern- 
ment. This calculated upon leading back to the 
royal throne of Spain, not in any way Queen Isabella, 
but her son, the young Prince of the Asturias, bom 
on the 20th of November 1857. It believed that it 
would then be able to govern him, and therefore it 
intrigued against all other candidates for the throne ; 
at the same time constantly working upon Queen 
Isabella, who soon found beautiful Pau monotonous, 
and removed her residence to Paris. 

In spite of the candidateship of the young Prince 
Alfonse, which was in the main faithfully supported 
by the French Government, there arose, nevertheless, 
in the summer of 1869, much talk of another, which 
was not altogether displeasing to the circles in Paris 
which were near to the Tuileries. This was the 
candidateship of a Prince of Hohenzollern - Sigma- 
ringen. The Princes of Hohenzollern - Hechingen 
and of HohenzoUem-Sigmaringen had, in 1849, re- 
signed their lands to those HohenzoUems who for 
centuries had ruled in Brandenburg and in Prussia, 
and who are Protestants. The Hohenzollern -Sig- 
maringens very distantly related to the Prussian 
branch, have always remained Catholics. 

The head of this family was now Prince Charles 
Anton, bom 1811, General in the Prussian army. 


He is the son not only of his father, the old Prince 
Charles, but also of the French Princess Marie-An- 
toinette, a niece of Murat, once King of Naples. In 
1834 he married the Princess Josephine, a daughter 
of the Archduke Charles Frederic of Baden and of 
the Princess Stephanie, sister of Hortense de Beau- 
hamais. The head of the Hohenzollem-Sigmaringen 
family had, by his wife, between 1835 and 1845, five 
children — ^namely : 

The Hereditary Prince Leopold, bom 1835 ; 

Prince Charles, born 1839, and now the elected 
Prince of Roumania ; 

Prince Anton, bom 1841, who, a brave young 
oflScer in the Prussian service, was severely wounded 
on the 3d of July at Koniggratz, and died early in 
August 1866; 

Prince Frederic, bom 1843 ; 

Princess Marie, bom 1845. 

The Prince of Hohenzollem-Sigmaringen, who was 
at this time (in 1869) talked of in Paris as a candi- 
date for the throne of Spain, was the young Prince 
Frederic, bom 1843. At that time nothing was said 
against the candidateship of this prince of a Catholic 
line which, as is shown by the foregoing, was more 
closely allied to the Emperor Napoleon than to King 
William of Prassia. It was asserted that the Empress 
Eugenie decidedly favoured it, and that Prince Fre- 
deric was to marry some relation of the Empress. 

It was precisely this last idea which was, as it 


appears, displeasing to the leading men in Spain. 
They had no objection to a Prince of Hohenzollem- 
Sigmaringen, but they had much to say against the 
proposed marriage. The project to elect as King of 
Spain the Hereditary Prince of HohenzoUem-Sigma- 
ringen, Leopold, was only brought to light in the 
autumn. If France, who had opposed all former 
candidates for the throne, had accepted Prince Fre- 
deric, why should she not equally accept his elder 
brother Prince Leopold? The latter had, in the 
eyes of the supporters of the Iberian union, this addi- 
tional advantage, that he had married in the year 
1861 the Princess Antonie, daughter of the old King 
Ferdinand of Portugal. The intriguing Marshal 
Prim, to enter upon any project with whom is cer- 
tainly almost fatal, was empowered to enter into 
negotiations with the Hereditary Prince Leopold of 
HohenzoUem-Sigmaringen. If Prince Leopold had 
known what manner of man Marshal Prim was, he 
would probably never have entered into any deal- 
ing with him. However, this is for the present 

There is no doubt that the French Court party 
heard immediately all that was necessary of these 
negotiations; and although the candidateship of 
Prince Frederic had been by no means unpleasant 
to them, the candidateship of his elder brother, the 
Hereditary Prince Leopold, was now all at once most 
displeasing to them. From this time may be dated 


all the endeavours of the French Court party to move 
Queen Isabella to abdicate in favour of her son, the 
young Prince Alfonse of Asturias. These endeav- 
ours were at the end of June 1870 crowned with 
success. Queen Isabella formally abdicated in favour 
of her son, Prince Alfonse, and reserving to herself 
aU rights, announced it to the Spaniards in a " mani- 
festo." But very nearly at the same time it became 
knowB in France that, in consequence of negotiations 
which had been concluded, the Hereditary Prince 
Leopold of HohenzoUem-Sigmaringen had declared 
himself ready to assume the Spanish crown if he 
were elected to be king by the majority of the Cortes. 
In a council of the Ministry in Madrid, held on the 
5th of July, it was resolved that the Cortes should 
be reassembled on the 22d of the same month ; that 
the election of king should take place on the 1st 
of August — it was calculated that there would be 
a great majority for Prince Leopold ; — and that the 
elected king should enter Spain on the 1st of Novem- 
ber. On the same day on which this council of the 
Ministry took place in Madrid, M. Cochery moved a 
question in the Corps Legislatif on the Spanish affair. 
Cochery, advocate, bom 1820, was after the Revolu- 
tion of February 1848 chief of the Cabinet of the 
Ministry of Justice ; retired, however, very soon after- 
wards from public life, and returned to his career of 
advocate, and with it of journalism. In the year 
1869 he was returned to the Corps Legislatif, 


although violently opposed by the Government, by 
the democratic opposition in the Department Loiret 
He signed the question of the 116. His seat was in 
the Left Centre. When M. Cochery proposed his 
question, the Court party had in reality already 
determined to make use of the occasion either to 
humble Prussia or to bring on a war with her. In a 
coimcil of Ministers on the 5th of July, an answer to 
the question of M. Cochery was agreed upon, which 
could be read as peaceful by one part of the Ministry, 
but was meant to be warlike by the other. The 
Duke of Grammont delivered this answer to the 
Chamber on the 6th of July. He said : — 

''It is true that Marshal Prim has offered the 
throne of Spain to Prince Leopold of HohetLZoUem- 
Sigmaringen, and that the offer has been accepted. 
Meanwhile, on the one hand, the Spanish people have 
not yet pronoimced their vote ; and on the other, the 
details of the transaction — ^which have been concealed 
from her — are not yet known to France. It will Ix^ 
therefore well to adjourn the debate on this ({ueHtion^ 
The Government has never ceased to te8tjfy tfjeir 
sympathy with the Spanish nation, and to avoid fiVf^ 
appearance of interference in the affairs of Spain. It 
has observed the strictest neutrality in regard Up the 
various candidates for the throne. It will continui^ 
to act in this sense. But,'' continue^l the Duke, ^ wo 
do not believe that respect for the rights of a neigh* 
bouring people obliges us to endure patiently tliat a 


foreign Power, by placing one of her own princes upon 
the throne of Charles V., should disturb to our preju- 
dice the existing balance of power in Europe, and 
endanger the interests and honour of France. This 
contingency, we firmly hope, will not occur. We cal- 
culated in this respect upon the wisdom of the Ger- 
man and the friendship of the Spanish people. But 
should it be otherwise, gentlemen, we all know, strong 
by your support and by that of the nation, how to do 
our duty without fear and hesitation." 

This declaration was received with loud applause 
by the Eighty the Right Centre, and even by a part of 
the Left Centre. The Left demanded that the docu- 
ments should be laid upon the table ; their orators, 
especially Picard, Cremieux, and Arago, scented the 
war from afar. They protested that it was wished to 
plunge France into it before she had time to consider 
and declare her opinion ; that it was, under existing 
circumstances, quite unnecessary to continue the dis- 
cussion on the budget — which was just then the 
business before the house — as this budget had only 
been framed in view of a completely assured peace, 
and that the war which was being prepared would 
overthrow it completely and render it ridiculous. 
Ollivier strove to conciliate : he believed in peace ; he 
held that it was only necessary for France to show 
herself strong and energetic, and she would obtain 
everything which she required and demanded. 

But meanwhile what could a declaration such as 


that of the Duke of Grammont, delivered on the 
public tribune, signify — unless it signified, indeed, 
nothing at all — other than a war against Germany t 
The Duke of Grammont declared that France did not 
wish to interfere in the internal aflFairs of Spain. 
Therefore, if the Spaniards elect Prince Leopold to be 
their king, what had France to do with it ? He said 
also that she had nothing to do it. Biit — the Govern- 
ment will not suffer a foreign Power to place one of 
her princes upon the throne of Charles V., and thereby 
disturb the European balance of power. 

The foreign Power was Prussia. With her, there- 
fore, the French Government would have to deal, and 
not with Spain. How it stood with regard to the 
position of the Hereditary Prince Leopold to " the 
foreign Power'* we have already explained. The 
French Government could have known it as well as 
we do. K they had said through diplomatic means to 
the actual Spanish Government, We do not wish to see 
the Prince of HohenzoUem upon the throne of Spain 
— ^that would then have been its affair, and it would 
have been at the option of the Spanish Government 
and of the Spanish people to yield or not to yield 
to the wishes of the French Government. But how 
Prussia could determine upon a king for Spain, how 
Prussia could be made answerable for the choice of 
the Spaniards, must necessarily remain an unsolved 
enigma to sound common-sense. Equally enigmatical 
is it to discover how, if even a Prussian prince had 




been nominated to be King of Spain — assuming, 
therefore, the Hereditary Prince of HohenzoUem- 
Sigmaringen to be a Prussian prince— the balance of 
power in Europe would be disturbed. 

Weighing well all this, no other conclusion can 
possibly be drawn from the declaration of the Duke 
i of Grammont on the 6th of July, than that — we will 

: not say the French Government — but the French 

■ warlike Court party had found, or believed they had 

found, a pretext for a war for the Rhine frontier. 
The behaviour of the whole official press in the days 
j which followed the 6th of July, leaves no doubt on 

I the subject The old peace-disturber, Girardin, de- 

clared very soon, " If France steps forward boldly, 
* Prussia naturally will stoop ; but that will not suffice : 

if she will not do more than that, France must simply 
advance into the Rhenish provinces, and with the 
butts of her muskets in their backs, drive the Prus- 
sians back across the Rhine." So said all the Imperial 
or Court party. The reasonable, liberally-conducted 
journals, * Debats,' * Temps,' ' Sifecle,' and a few 
others, could soon make no way against the enormous 
swindle which was preached by the greater part of 
the Paris press. As since 1814 and 1815 the people 
of Paris and the troopers have used the word '* le 
Prussien " to express also that portion of the body 
upon which a human being is accustomed to sit down, 
the affair with Prussia soon gave the humorous weekly 



papers much food for agreeable pictures, and for more 
or less appropriate witticisms. 

We strive in all this to give as true a picture as 
possible, short though it may be, of the events which 
actually took place ; but it is more important to de- 
scribe more minutely the conception which the Court 
war party had of the situation of Germany. It had 
taught itself, namely, to believe firmly that the pre- 
sent opportunity was an especially favourable one to 
engage with Prussia alone. It was here a question 
of a Prussian dynasty. South Germany, it assumed — 
where, in truth, Prussia was not greatly beloved — 
would seize with pleasure upon the opportunity to sep- 
arate itself firom her. And not only there, but in 
the North German Confederation also, Prussia would 
behold enemies spring up. Hanover would arise. 
Saxony, whose Crown Prince had in 1866 declared 
that he would rather be an Austrian corporal than a 
Prussian general, would, supported by Austria, lend 
her assistance to the French cause. All these were 
in truth destined to be but imaginary pictures, for 
the simple reason that the French ambassadors knew 
perhaps the German courts, but were utterly ignorant 
of the German people. 

The debate upon Cochery's question was adjourned, 
but the French Legislatif showed itself impatient in 
the highest degree in its wish to know how matters 
stood concerning this affair. 


The French Government had forthwith applied to 
all the European Governments to ascertain what they 
severally thought about its right to interfere in the 
question of the candidateship of Prince Leopold. The 
European Governments, as can be easily understood, 
could not be unpolite ; they answered that they 
wished peace to be maintained. The Prussian Gov- 
ernment especially declared that it knew nothing 
officially of the candidateship of Prince Leopold, and 
that this candidateship in no way concerned it 

Upon this the French ambassador in Berlin, Count 
Benedetti, was instructed to place himself in direct 
communication with King WiUiam of Prussia, and to 
demand of him that he should forbid Prince Leopold 
to accept the Spanish crown. King William was 
just at this time taking the baths in Ems. Thither 
Count Benedetti repaired, and on the 9th of July he 
had an audience with the King. The King replied 
to the demands which Benedetti made of him, that 
as King of Prussia he knew absolutely nothing of the 
candidateship of Prince Leopold, only as the head of 
the Hohenzollem family had he been informed of it. 
He could just as little command Prince Leopold, who 
was of age, to accept as to refuse the Spanish crown. 
In a second audience, on the 11th of July, Benedetti 
was still more urgent ; but it was impossible for King 
William to give an answer other than he had made 
on the 9th of July. Only he now added that he did 
not even know where Prince Leopold, who had in- 


tended to make a journey in the Alps, might be at 
that moment. 

Prince Leopold, as soon as he was informed of the 
complications which his candidateship had evoked — of 
which he had not before thought, and which he could 
not have anticipated — determined to renounce bis 
candidateship in order that he might give no occa- 
sion for a war between the two representative nations 
of civilisation in central Europe, — in order that by no 
fault of his should even a pretext for such a war 1^ 
forthcoming. He prayed his father to announce tbiii 
intention at all places where it might be nece^;stry% 
and his father in all haste did all that was ym})Ah t// 
fulfil his request On the 12th of July, Don kialw^ 
tiano Olozaga, the Spanish anibavi^siAJor in P&rijf, 
announced officially to the French Gov^nji/j.*i;rt isjsiX 
Prince Leopold had renounced the xLtouh of r:y^.:.^ 
With this, according to all reasr/L^oI.^ c^I^^JtV/;,, V-*<j 
cause of quarrel must be slosuil.'^I v> :>> Ti^::^%viA. 
Such also, at noon on the 12tL wa> ♦.- > v ^-v /^ K- J 
Ollivier. After the withdrawal of \:.h ';%.v;.'i;feV;i'^;,;/ 
of Prince Leopold, he declaj^ v, ^ s.\::.'^j 'A j/^-vv 
ties in the "Salle des pa* j^r/Cvst/' :, r.v; ^;i^;,,it 
Bourbon, that the quarrel hx\:*^jrr. ,v/ ;.v;-i, ^a*^. 
everything was arranged. 

But this 12th of July wsa * lu^c^ft'^-^^. 'Uy^ hu 
it commenced the tran-|//n <.f r/v.--p, ^^r^i //f //^v/,r,. 
tions of war to Metz, and V, u^. u/r^.u^.^\ 1f^/hl,^f 
of France. On it i!\6mf':nt Ir^r^^^/AX, iu^. viv^'/it*r#y 


of Ollivier, put the question to the Cabinet, What 
guarantee France had that other complications, auch 
aa the candidateship for the Spanish crown, might 
not be again stirred up by Prussia ? On it the 
Ministry instructed Count Benedetti to demand of 
the King of Prussia that he would forbid the Prince 
of HohenzoUem for all future time to come forward 
again in any way as a candidate for the crown of 
Spain. On this same day the Prussian ambassador. 
Baron von Werther, who had been absent since the 
5th of July on leave granted him long before, and 
who had just returned, had a conversation with Gram- 
mont and Ollivier, in the course of which the French 
Minister of Foreign Affairs insinuated that the King 
of Prussia must write a letter of apology to tlie Em- 
peror Napoleon, in which he must state in substance 
that by his assent to the candidateship of Prince 
Leopold he had neither intended to give offence to 
the Emperor Napoleon nor to France, and that " he 
would not do it again." Baron Werther communi- 
cated this to Count Bismark, who made answer that 
he was hard of hearing, and could not well understand 
this language ; but that the French Government 
might make communications of like nature to the 
Prussian Cabinet through their ambassador in Berlin. 
On the 12th of July Emil Ollivier yielded yet again 
to the will of others, and determined to defend a 
cause which he had ten times and until this very day 
fought against : he formed his resolution — if so noble 


a word may be applied to such an unworthy proceed- 
ing. Henceforth he was the declared servant of the 
Court war party. 

The history of the 1 3th of July followed — ^let us 
not grudge following out the course of events by 
single days — and on that day the drama was con- 
tinued at Paris and at Ems. In Paris the Duke of 
Orammont communicated to the Corps Legislatif that 
the French Government had received from the Span- 
ish ambassador official information of the withdrawal 
of Prince Leopold. The negotiations of the French 
Government with Prussia were not, however, yet 
brought to an end, and therefore no communication 
about them could be made to the Chambers. But for 
the Mamelukes of the Second Empire, matters were 
progressing even now much too slowly. One of them 
arose to put a question as to the causes of the slow 
proceedings in her foreign policy, which endangered 
not only the public welfare, but also the national 
dignity of France. 

This Deputy was Baron J^r6me David, son of the 
old King J^r6me of Westphalia, and grandson of the 
celebrated painter Louis David. Bom in the year 
1823, he was destined by his family for the sea, and 
was a ship's boy from 1835 to 1837. But a sea life 
was not pleasing to him ; he preferred service on land, 
and received the necessary preparations in the military 
school of St Cyr, which he left in 1844 to become 
a sub-lieutenant in the Zouaves. In Africa, whither 

VOL. 1. ^ 



he waa seut, he learnt Arabic, and found many and 
distinguished pi'oteetors, who, as waa natural, accom- 
panied him under the Empire. During the Ciimean 
war he was orderly officer to Prince Napoleon (Plon- 
plon), hia brother, and came back with him to 
France, when the bodily and mental condition of the 
Prince prevented hia remaining any longer with the 
army. In the year 1857, Baron J(5r6me David left 
the military service with the rank of captain, and 
devoted himself partly to idyllic and partly to civil- 
political studies. In the year 1859 he waa elected to 
the Corps Legislatif as Government candidate for the 
Departmeut Gironde, and diatinguiahed himself in it 
by hia pronounced Csesarian views, and hia great 
power of talking. 

While in Paris the Mamelukes of the Empire had 
lost patience. Count Bcnedetti had behaved in accor- 
dance with hia instructioua from the Ollivier-Gram- 
mont or Grammont-Ollivier Ministry. On the 13th 
of July he atldressed the King of Pcuasia during his 
morning walk, and delivered a harangue to him. The 
King answered that he was infoimed of the renuncia- 
tion of Prince Leopold, and perfectly agreed with it ; 
he had, however, only acquired the information from 
newspapers, which he showed to Count Benedctti, 
taking them from his pocket. At breakfast, at 1 P.M., 
the King of Prussia received a letter from the old 
Prince Charles Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, 
in which the latter confirmed in a detailed narrative 



the news of the withdrawal of his son from the candi- 
dateship for the Spanish throne. At 2 p.m. the King 
sent this intelligence, and an explanation that he 
looked upon the matter as concluded by this, by an 
adjutant to Count Benedetti. 

This poor man, meanwhile, had to withstand all 
manner of pressure from Paris. He said to the adju- 
tant of the King that he had been instructed by 
telegraph to demand a fresh audience with the King. 
In it he was to lay before the King the definite wishes 
of the French Government, which amounted to this : 
That the King, in the first place, should consent to the 
renunciation of the Prince of HohenzoUem ; and that, 
secondly, he should give an assurance that this candi- 
dateship should never in future be taken up again. 
The King replied by his adjutant to Count Benedetti 
that he consented to the renunciation of Prince Leo- 
pold in the same way that he had accepted the fact 
^his becoming a candidate for the throne of Spain, 
as a matter which concerned neither him nor stiU 
less Prussia or the North German Confederation.- It 
followed, then, that it was absolute^ impossible for 
him to give on his side assurances for the future in 
this question, which in no way concerned him. The 
King could only appeal to that which he had that 
morning said by word of mouth to Count Benedetti. 

Benedetti, nevertheless, now demanded a personal 
interview with the King to discuss the second point— 
the assurances for the future. The King, at 5.30 p.m., 


sent his adjutant yet again to Benedetti, and caused 
it to be told him that after the earlier explanations 
there was nothing new to be said on the second point. 
Benedetti then made inquiries to ascertain where 
Bismark was. The Chancellor had certainly been 
called by the King to Ems, but when on his journey 
from Barzin he heard in Berlin of the renunciation of 
Prince Leopold, he turned quietly back, as he held 
that with this the aflfjyr was settled. On the 13th 
of June only was his attendance again ordered, and 
using aU speed, he could not possibly arrive in Ems 
before the 1 5th of July. 

On the 14th of July the King made a journey to Co- 
blentz, and on this occasion greeted Count Benedetti, 
who displayed the greatest haste to depart from his 
presence, at the railway station. The Germans had 
opposed a wonderfully calm behaviour to the chal- 
lenges of France, for in Germany no man really 
thought that from this candidateship for the throne 
of Spain even the pretext for a war could arise. 

Could anything more frivolous be thought of ? 

The German newspapers spoke in those days with 
an extreme moderation, which contrasted wonderfully 
with the expressions of the Paris journals, ' Libert^,' 
'Paris Journal,' 'Gaulois,' * Figaro,' 'Patrie,' *Con- 
stitutionnel,' * Peuple Fran9ais,' and others. 

On the 14th of July the die was cast in Paris. 
War was determined on, come what might. The pre- 
parations, as we have before related, had been already 


begun, but still without the sanction of the Ministry, 
by the Court party, who were busy behind the scenes. 
Benedetti had sent several reports of the occurrences 
of the 13th of July in Ems, and the North German 
Confederate Government had also sent telegraphic 
accounts of the proceedings to their diplomatic agents, 
and these were published by the French Court war 
party as " diplomatic notes," in which form they were 
certainly decided affronts. During the Cabinet coun- 
cil, the Emperor — to whom the idea, not of the war, 
certainly, but of defeat in it, was abhorrent — ^left the 
Chamber, but returning in great haste repeated what 
he had already often before said : " But, gentlemen, 
I require surety, surety " (naturally meaning thereby 
surety that the French would gain the victory — a 
surety difficult to give). Marshal Leboeuf answered 
proudly : " Sire, not a single trouser-button is want- 
ing." With this assurance from a competent judge, 
everything was concluded : the wished-for war could 
now begin, and it was proclaimed on the 15th of 

On the same day M. Emil Ollivier demanded an 
extraordinary credit of 500 millions of francs, and 
making himself the faithful interpreter of the views 
of the mighty Duke of Grammont, proclaimed the 
war with Prussia. He announced that the calling in 
of the reserves had been already ordered on the 14tlu 
The decree for the credit of 500 millions was dedara^ 
to be urgent. The Left abstained from voting; b 


the only man who dared now, even in the twelfth 
hour, to speak a word of reaaon, was the old M. Thiers. 
This man, to whom France is principally indebted for 
the fortifications of Paris, of whom it certainly cannot 
be asserted that in general a war by Franco against 
Germany, and especially for the Rhine frontier, would 
be displeasing to him, declared, nevertheless, against 
this war — against a war now, and under the present 
circumstances. He described it as imprudent; the 
occasion was badly chosen; France waa not prepared ; 
and, moreover, she stood alone in it. Certainly it 
required courage to speak tlie truth in such a manner 
to this assembly, in the face of the senseless roar of 
jubilation from the Imperial Mamelukes. It was the 
pure truth ; but just on that account was courage 
required to proclaim it. 

Ollivier did justice to the courage of M. Thiers, 
but he took upon liimself the full responsibility i 
history of this war — a burden which was soon to be 
made light enough for him. He asserted that the 
war waa necessary, and appealed to justify thia asser- 
tion to the afii'ont which had been offered to Count 
Beuedetti. The refusal of the King to hold further 
intei-course with Beuedetti might perhaps in itself 
have been more leniently judged, although the Prus- 
sian Government had before declared that it was in 
no way concerned in the candidateship of Prince Leo- 
pold of Hohenzollern, thereby forcing the French 
Government to apply dii-ectly to the King of Prussia, 


But the matter had been made worse and irrepar- 
able by this, that the Prussian Government had 
expressly informed the foreign Courts, in a note 
of the 14 th of July, of the refusal of the King 
to receive the French ambassador. The Left de- 
manded to see the talked- of note; but the Right 
forbade, at first by tumult, and afterwards by their 
vote, its production. Such a prohibition was certainly 
extremely necessary in the interest of M. Emil 01- 
livier, for the note simply did not exist There 
existed nothing more than a simple telegraphic de- 
spatch from the Prussian Government to its diplo- 
matic agents abroad, in which it shortly communi- 
cated to them the real history of the events of the 
13th of July. The majority of the Chamber assented 
to everything that the Government demanded for the 

From day to day men waited now for the appear- 
ance of the declaration of war against Prussia. The 
proclamation, however, was still delayed. England 
made a feeble attempt to prevent the war. She 
offered to this end her good services of mediation to 
the French as well as to the Prussian Cabinets. From 
France an answer politely declininff them was at once 
^ntback. Pruaai^^lre^y mfonn!d of this, declared 
that she would thankfully accept the intervention of 
England, but only on condition that France should 
first equally assent to it. With this, England's last 
attempt was shipwrecked. 


At 1.30 P.M. on the 19th of July, the French 
ambassador in Berlin handed to the Prussian Govern- 
ment the declaration of war. His name happened to 
be Le Sourd, a name characteristic of the situation. 
The declaration of war runs thus : — 

" The undersigned agent of France has, in accord- 
ance with the orders of his Government, the honour 
to bring the following communication to the know- 
ledge of his Excellency the Minister for Foreign 
AflFairs of his Majesty the King of Prussia. 

" The Government of his Majesty the Emperor of 
the French could only regard the plan to raise a 
Prussian prince to the throne of Spain as an under- 
taking against the territorial security of France, and 
saw itself therefore compelled to demand from his 
Majesty the King of Prussia the assurance that a 
similar combination should never arise again with his 

"As his Majesty the King of Prussia refuses to 
give this assurance, and, on the contrary, has declared 
to the ambassador of his Majesty the Emperor of tlie 
French that he intends to reserve to himself the 
possibility of acting according to circumstances in 
this eventuality as in any other, the Imperial Govern- 
ment must perceive in this declaration of the King 
an amire pensSe which is threatening to France, 
and to the balance of power in Europe. 

" This declaration has acquired a more earnest sig- 
nificance through the communication wliich was made 


to the Cabinets of the refusal to receive the ambassa- 
dor of the Emperor, and to enter with him upon a 
new explanation. 

" CJonsequently the French Government has re- 
garded it as its duty to think without delay upon 
defending their injured dignity ; and determining to 
adopt every measure for this end which the present 
situation oflfers, it regards itself to be from the pre- 
sent time in a state of war with Prussia." 

Germany was forced into the war by the light- 
minded French Government. But it is unjust to 
make the French people answerable for it. The 
French people desired this war just as little as did 
the German. Germany was forced into the war. 
The King of Prussia, representative of the North 
German Confederation, had been a&onted by the 
demands which Count Benedetti had made of him. 
The King had been insulted. The majority of the 
Paris newspapers — the ' Gaulois,* the * Figaro,' the 
* Paris Journal,* the ' ConstitutionneV the * Libert^,* 
and others — proclaimed this aloud. As long as 
monarchical governments exist, intentional offence 
given to the monarch who stands at the head of his 
people, must be equivalent to an affront offered to the 
whole nation. A republican also can well say this. 
No republican would hesitate for a moment to con- 
sider it as a personal affront if the president of his 
republic was officially insulted by a foreign nation. 

The affair was so simple, that in Germany every 





child comprehended it ; and many of eveu the moat 
moderate people could not understand bow, after the 
15th of July, the Government of the North German 
Confederation retained its moderate tone. Certainly 
it might well be asked how an affront to the King of 
Prussia afl'ectcd South Germany. But on that point 
the above-named Paris journals gave the most telling 
answer : they counted upon a duel between France 
and Prussia; they speculated upon division in Ger- 
many^speeulated upon this, that the Germans, more 
than sixty years after the death of Schiller, nearly 
forty years after the death of Goethe, in spite of all 
their acquisitions in the helds of science, of arts, of 
commerce, and of manufacture — acquisitions which 
were in common, and could only have been won by 
their united powers — could be divided in a war against 
foreigners, who demanded from them one of their 

This must be answered vigorously and energetically. 
It was an insult to every German. They must answer 
it not with, " We wish to be a united nation of 
brethren," but with " We are a united nation of 
brethren. You think that we will now divide 
against ourselves 1 No; a thousand times, no ! " And 
such a result came to pass. Throughout all Germany 
but one voice rang. One voice drowned all party 
cries : they may arise again, but in that moment they 
dared not make themselves heard. South Germany 
aud North Germany rose up with one thought and 


with one mind. And the German provinces of Aus- 
tria, although separated by statecraft from Germany, 
had no other thought than the remaining German 
countries had, and had the necessity arisen, would 
have rendered it very difficult for Herr von Beust to 
follow out his peculiar political ideaa 

On the 14th the command was given for the mobil- 
isation of the North German Army, and the South 
German States did not delay to declare their adher- 
ence. At the same time, the North German Parlia- 
ment was summoned to assemble at Berlin, the 1 9th 
of July, on the same day on which the Corps Legis- 
latif was sent home that it might not be able to in- 
terfere. When the King of Prussia opened the session 
at noon on the 19th of July, the French official de- 
claration of war had not been communicated to him, 
but he knew that it was already in Berlin. His speech 
from the throne was a pattern of moderation, and we 
select from it those parts which seem to us to be 
characteristic of the existing feeling in Germany, be- 
cause, when once such a senseless war has commenced, 
all ideas become perverted. When once two great 
nations who are equal to one another have allowed 
themselves to be plunged into such a war, reason 
ceases but too easily on both sides, and the reign of 
madness begins. 

"K Germany," thus spoke the King of Prussia, 
after he had shortly explained the situation, " in for- 
mer centuries has silently submitted to the like violep^ 



injuries of lier rights and of lier honour, she endured 
them only because in her divided state she did not 
know how strong she was. To-day, that the bond of 
intellectual and just union, which the war of libera- 
tion commenced to knit, binds together, the longer 
the more thoroughly, all German races; to-day, that 
the preparation of Germany ofl'ers no opening to the 
enemy, Germany ean'iea within herself the will and 
the power to ward off a new French deed of violence. 

" It is no boasting spirit which puts these words 
into my mouth. The allied governments, as I do 
myself, act in the full consciousness that victory and 
defeat arc in the hand of the Ruler of Battles. We 
have clearly weighed the responsibility which, before 
the judgment-seats of God and of men, rests upon 
him who drives two great and peace-loving people 
in the heart of Europe to a devastating war. 

"The German and the French nations, both equally 
enjoying and desiring the blessings of Christian civil- 
isation, and of increasing prosperity, are called to a 
nobler contest than the bloodthirsty one of arms. 

" Nevertheless, the rulers of France have understood 
how to turn to the use of their own personal interests 
and passions the justifiable but irritable self-conscious- 
ness of our great neighbouring nation." 

When were ever truer and nobler words spoken, at 
the beginning of a great war between two nations, by 
the head of one of tlicse nations 1 Never, since the 
liistory of the world began ; never I But shall we be 


obliged later on to revert to these words to remind 
ourselves that magnanimity and reason disappear as 
soon as a senseless war has been conjured up between 
two nationa, who both -the natii^s - wished for 
peace 1 

In the address which the North German Parlia- 
ment presented to the King of Prussia, it said : — 

" We trust in God, whose judgment punishes blood- 
thirsty crime. From the shores of the ocean to the 
foot of the Alps, the nation has risen up at the call 
of its princes, who stand together in unanimity. No 
sacrifice is too heavy for it. The public opinion of 
the civilised world recognises the justice of our cause. 
Friendly nations see in our victory the liberation from 
the burden of Bonapartic imperiousness, and the ex- 
piation of injustice wrought also upon themselves. 
The German people will at last find upon the battle- 
field the foundation of a peacefcd and free union, 
which will be respected by all nations.*' 

In the session of the Parliament, on the 20th of 
July, the Chancellor of the Confederation, Count 
Bismark, laid before it all the documents which were, 
with great trouble, to be found about the origin of the 
war. Among them also was the answer of the 1 8th 
of July, which he had been obliged to make to the 
English ambassador in Berlin, Lord Loftus, in reply 
to the ofier of mediation made by England. In this 
answer the following passage occurs : — 

" France has taken the initiative in this war, and 



held fast to it, after the firat complication had been 
materially settled, in accordance also with the opinion 
of England. An initiative taken by ua now in in- 
stituting negotiations would be misunderstood by the 
national feeling of Germany, now that it is deeply 
hurt and excited by the threats of France. Our 
strength lies in the feelings of nationality, justice, and 
honour which the nation possesses ; while the French 
Government has shown that it does not stand in 
need of this support to an equal degree in its own 

The troops marched from the east and from the 
west towards the Rhine. But meanwhile a diplo- 
matic campaign was fought out which we cannot pass 
over unheeded. 

There appeared, namely, in the 'Times,' a com- 
munication over the earlier negotiations between 
Bismark and Benedetti, whieh were mostly concern- 
ing Belgium, the main points of which we have 
before narrated. This publication aroused in Eng- 
land, in the Parliament and in the nation, stormy 
excitement. Could it then be the case that, while 
men had been believing that they were living in the 
profoundest peace, such transactions had taken place 1 
That while Englaud was assured that the neutrality 
of Belgium was as firm as anything could be, that, 
the same had come to be in extreme jeopardy 1 Ex- 
planations were demanded. 

Bismark wished for nothing better. On the 27th 


of July Tie telegraphed to Count Bemstorff, ambas- 
sador of the North German Confederation in London, 
that the communications of the * Times * were perfectly 
correct and true; and on the 29th of July he issued a 
long circular despatch, in which he diflfusely narrated 
the various negotiations of the French Court with 
him, and repeated that the project of a treaty, written 
by Benedetti himself, of which we have before made 
mention, was in his possession, and that the hand- 
writing of Benedetti had been recognised by the 
ambassadors of England, Austria, Russia, Baden, 
Bavaria, Belgium, Hesse, Italy, Saxony, Turkey, 
and WUrtemberg, at Berlin. The most important 
passage in Bismark's note seems to us to be the 
following : — 

"I think that the conviction that the French 
territory would never be enlarged through us, has 
alone determined the Emperor (Napoleon) to seek it 
through a war with us. 

"Were the project of the treaty not published 
abroad — I have grounds for believing it — France 
would, after the completion of the preparations for 
war on both sides, urge us more than ever to put 
into execution the former proposals, as we should 
stand in the view of unarmed Europe at the head of 
altogether a million well-armed warriors. She would 
propose to us, it may be before or it may be after the 
first battle, to conclude peace upon the basis of the 
project of M. Benedetti, and at the cost of Belgium." 


Tlic answer of the Duke of Grammont only appeared, 
after hostilities had already been commenced, on the 3d 
of August. The Duke could say but little. He dwelt 
upon the "impossibility" of Bismark's narrative in 
some points ; he asserted that at all events the Em- 
peror had had nothing to do with the negotiations of 
M. Benedetti — of his ambassador I He laid all the 
blame of the projects concerning Belgium upon Bis- 
mark, and accused him generally of being desirous of 
war, bringing forward as an argument in his own 
favour the peculiar proposition which had been made 
of a European disarmament. 

The English Government meanwhile had not waited 
for the playing out of this in some part very loitering 
strife. The neutraUty of Bolgiuni seemed to her to 
l)e threatened. In the situation of affairs it was per- 
haps really less so now tlian at other times. As 
South Germany joined in complete accord with North 
Germany, the Germans did not suffer through having 
a too short frontier (or base of operations) towards 
France, as might easily have been the case if North 
Germany had stood alone in the quarrel. As regards 
the French, the war frontier which circumstances 
offered them was, with their numerical inferiority, 
rather too extended than too contracted. Neverthe- 
less England wished to insure the neutrality of Bel- 
gium under any circumstances, and moved, therefore, 
France as well as Germany, to give an assurance in 
conformity with the treaty that they would respect 



this neutrality. The agreement demanded was signed 
in London on the 9th of August, after strange things 
had already come to pass, by Lord Granville, the 
Marquis Lavalette, and Count Bernstorff, for Great 
Britain, France, and the North German Confedera- 

VOL. 1. M 




The French field axmy, which was, in the first 
place, set on foot, consisted of 8 Anny Corps and 1 
large Reserve of cavalry. The Army Corps were : — 

1. The Guard Corps, with 2 divisions of infantry, 
under Generals Deligny and Garnier, and a division 
of cavalry of 6 regiments under General Desvaux ; 
Commander-in-chief of the Corps, General Bourbaki. 

2. The 1st Corps, Marshal M'Mahon, Duke of Ma- 
genta, with 4 divisions of infantry : Ducrot, Abel 
Douay, Raoult, De Lartigue, and 1 division of cavalry : 
Duhesme, of 7 regiments. 3. The 2d Corps, General 
Frossard, with 3 divisions of infantry : Verg^, Bataille, 
and Laveaucoupet, and 1 division of cavalry: Lichtlin, 
of 4 regiments. 4. The 3d Corps, Marshal Bazaine, with 
4 divisions of infantry : Montaudon, Castagny, Met- 
mann, Decaen, and 1 division of cavalry : Clerambault, 
of 7 regiments. 5. The 4tli Corps, General de Lad- 
mirault, with 3 divisions of infantry : De Cissey, Rose, 
De Lorencez, and 1 division of cavalry : Legrand, of 4 


regiments. 6. The 5th Corps, General de FaiUy, 
with 3 divisions of infantry : Goze, De TAbadie 
d'Aydrein, Guzot de Lespart, and 1 division of 
cavalry : Brahaut, with 4 . regiments. 7. The 6th 
Corps, Marshal Canrobert, with 4 divisions of in- 
fantry : Tixier, Bisson, Lafont de Villiers, Martimprey, 
and 1 division of cavalry : Salignac-F^n61on, with 6 
regiments. 8. The 7th Corps, General Felix Douay, 
with 3 divisions of infantry : Conseil Dumesnil, Li^ 
bert, Duraont, and 1 division of cavalry : Ameil, of 5 
regiments. The Reserve of cavalry was divided into 
3 divisions of 4 regiments each : du Barrail, Bonne- 
mains, and de Forton. 

These forces altogether would have numbered 
260,000 men, infantry and cavalry^ if the men on 
furlough, and the youngest classes of the reserve, had 
been called in to complete their strength ; but most 
of the regiments had marched out on their peace 
footing, and had only (when already on the frontier) 
commenced to complete their establishment. Large 
bodies of troops from the more distant garrisons had 
not arrived when hostilities commenced ; so that, in 
the beginning of August, the field forces can at the 
most be reckoned at 200,000 men. 

In addition to this, there took place a yet further 
dissemination of forces, which might possibly have 
been avoided. The frontier upon which, under existing 
circumstances, the two hostile forces could come into 
collision, forms for France a salient angle, the left 


containing line of which, the line from Sierck toJ 
Lauterburg, meaaurea 94 miles, and the right sid^ I 
irom Lauterburg to Hiiningen, 103 miles. To thfrl 
left were the two neutral States of Luxemburg and ' 
Belgium. The neutrality of the latter was expressly . 
recognised anew by the treaty of which we have ^ 
before spoken. To the right was Switzerland, also , 
neutral. Belgium had some troops ready to fulfil ] 
her neutral obligations. Switzerland had already, on 
the 15th of July, without any long hesitation, called ! 
to arms 5 divisions of militia, partly to watch her 
frontier along the slopes of the Jura Mountains and 
on the Rhine, partly to protect Basle and the bridge 
there from any sudden blow. By the evening of the I 
15th, Basle was militarily occupied ; and on the 18th j 
of July — that is, before the declaration of war was | 
delivered in Berlin — the whole of this levy stood at I 
their posts on the frontier. The Tessiner brigade j 
alone, which had to traverse the long road over the J 
Gothard, arrived a week afterwards. 

The watchfulness of the Swiss authorities waa ] 
justified by some recent questions from France, ask- j 
ing whether Switzerland would be able to defend her J 
neutrality in case of a collision between France and I 
Germany. Tliero had even been some offer made ofj 
a French general who was to inspect more closely tfae J 
Swiss forces, bring thcra into some kind of order, and I 
do no one knows what besides. These offers werel 
politely declined, and the assurance was given that J 


Switzerland could fulfil all the duties which her 
political position in Europe required firom her ; but 
nevertheless all these things were carefully registered 
in the Notice-Book of the Swiss Federation* In addi- 
tion to this, it came to pass that in 1870, Belfort, 
close to the Swiss frontier, and in the neighbourhood 
of Basle, was named as the point of concentration for 
one of the French Corps. 

The positions into which the French Corps with 
their available forces advanced, after the 12th of 
July, were as follows : — 

On the left side of the frontier, the 4th Corps 
(Ladmirault) to Thionville ; the 3d Corps (Bazaine) 
first to Metz, whence it was soon afterwards pushed 
further forward to Bouzonville ; the 2d Corps (Fros- 
sard) to St Avoid; the 5th Corps (De Failly) to 
Bitche : in rear of these, the Guard (Bourbaki), first 
to Nancy, then to Metz ; and the 6th Corps (Can- 
robert) to the camp of Chalons. On the right side 
of the frontier, the 1st Corps (M'Mahon) assembled 
between Hagenau and Strasburg; the 7th Corps 
(Felix Douay) at Belfort. 

The most concentrated part of the army, where 
there were on the 1st of August about 90,000 men, 
stood in the triangle between Metz, Thionville, and 
St Avoid, upon a front of about seven geographical 
miles, or two good days' march ; to its right, distant 
thirty-three miles, was De Failly, at Bitche ; to the 
left Canrobert, at Chalons, distant eighty miles, or six 



days' march. Between Bitche and Hagenau, where 
M'Mahon's extreme left stood, the distance is about 
twenty-eight miles ; between Strasburg, M'Mahon'a 
right wing, and Belfort (Douay), eighty miles. De 
Failly had, on the 1st of August, 25,000 men ; 
M'Mahon, 35,000; and Canrobcrt at the moat, 30,000. 
The corps of Felix Douay was not yet organised, and 
Belfort was merely a place of passage for troops which 
were going from the south to the north. 

The position taken up by the French is in itself 
quite inexplicable ; to imderstaud it, we must enter 
upon older, and to some extent personal, ideas. 

There were two contingencies which might arise for 
France. Either she would have to deal with Pi-us- 
sia alone, or South Germany would join with Prussia 
and North Gennany. In the first place, the line 
from Metz to Mayence was the chief matter. Ad- 
vancing along this, conquering the fortress of May- 
ence by a coup de main, crossing the Rhine there, 
and taking up a position on its right bank to check 
any offensive return of the Prussians, France would 
content herself for the rest with cleansing the Prus- 
sian left bank of the Rhine; Luxemburg and Belgium 
must afterwards fall of themselves. Under these 
circumstances the right wing, formed, as we have 
shown, by the corps of M'Mahon and of Felix Douay, 
would be altogether superfluous ; it would only 
acquire importance if the South Germans, throwing 
aside their neutrality, should advance actively against 


North Gennany, and require the support of some 
French troops. On the other hand, the left wing 
would acquire under this supposition a special im- 
portance ; it would be composed of two elements — of 
the fleet conveying a large force of soldiers for dis- 
embarkation, and of a corps of observation towards 
Belgium, the latter of which, immediately after the 
first victory of the centre over the Prussians, would 
invade that land. This latter fraction of the left is 
represented, in the first disposition we gave of the 
French forces, by the Corps of Canrobert. The fleet 
would, it was calculated, find allies in Denmark, which 
had everything to regain, and in Hanover, the sup- 
posed Prussian Vendue ; and it was assumed that the 
disembarkation force, thus strengthened by Danes 
and Germans, would be very successful in the rear 
of the Prussian Army of the Ehine, and make it 
impossible for it to remain on the river. 

Should the second contingency happen — the alliance 
of the South Germans with the North Germans — ^the 
centre and left wing would still retain the same 
importance ; but the right wing would now have a 
greater part to play than it had in the first case ; for 
the French centre having been victorious on the 
Metz-Mayence line, the right wing would immedi- 
ately cross the Rhine in the neighbourhood of Stras- 
burg, and falling upon Southern Germany, roll up its 
forces. Still, even with this expectation, the reasons 
for the position of the 7th Corps at Belfort remains 


difficult to be explained ; they can ouly be guessed 
at from historical rcminisceucea, and from the value 
which the Emperor Napoleon, owing to his researches 
in ancient geography, set upon " the gap of Belfort " 
{la troiice de Belfort). 

So far we have only spoken of the offensive inten- 
tions of the French, and these were in reality the 
prevailing ones. If France should be obliged to act 
on the defensive, then the left wing, the fleet, still , 
remained of importance. If it coidd carry a force for | 
disembarkation, it would, by disquieting the shores of 
the North Sea and of the Baltic, hinder the develop- 
ment of a too powerful force on the Rhine frontier. 
The riglit wing would now, if France were only i 
engaged with North Germany, be quite superfluous. J 
Should she have to deal also with South Germany, i 
it would acquire the value of a corps of observation, I 
and of a cori)3, in case such should be needed, which 1 
would stop the advance of the Gerraau left wing 1 
along the line of railway from Strasburg to Pari^ I 
and also along the line from Midhausen to Paris. I 
The centre remained always the main point. It must 1 
either assume the ofiensive, advance against and beat 1 
the Germans, or stop them in their march on Paris. 
With this supposition also, we find no justification j 
for the presence of a corps at Belfort. It could J 
only have taken a useful part in the struggle if j 
Austiia had joined in the war as an ally of France^,] 


and if the French and Austrian annies had wished 
to join hands across Southern Germany. 

The plan of concentration will generally afford a 
very clear insight into the strategical ideas for the 
conduct of a war, and we have given generally the 
French project. If our short account be studied, 
it will be found that the necessary clearness and 
decision of military thought are absent, and that 
confusion reigns everywhere. All the elements of 
success — ^force, time, and space — are neglected. 

If it was intended to conquer Germany on land, 
whence were to come, with the then existing con- 
dition of the French army, the troops to be dis- 
embarked from the fleets in the North Sea and 
Baltic 1 

When the French Government declared war in 
Berlin on the 19th of July, without having com- 
menced any new organisation, how did it expect to 
bring a force of anything approaching equal strength 
against Germany, who, through her organised mili- 
tary institutions, was much more capable than France 
of mobilising large forces ? If, in spite of this, France 
still hoped for success, how could she possibly attain 
it if she scattered in such an unaccountable manner 
the few troops which she had contrived to get to- 
gether ? Certainly there never was a war undertaken 
with such frivolous and frantic calculations. The 
behaviour of the French Government towards Ger- 


many could only be regarded as sane, if it were true, 
as the 'Pigaro' of M, de Villemesaaut and the 'Lib- 
erty ' of M, de Girardin. asserted, that one Frenchman 
was sufficient to drive back five Germans over the 
Rhine. Then, certainly, the ascendancy of the French 
would be assured, and then France could also send 
troops enough in her fleet to disquiet the German 
shores of the North Sea and of the Baltic. 

The Emperor Napoleon himself assumed the com- 
mand-in-cliief of the army against Germany, whicli 
was officially named " the Amiy of the Rhine " (Armde 
du Rhin) ; and on the 23d July he issued tlie following 
proclamation to the Frencli ; — 

" Frenchmen ! there come in the life of nations 
solemn moments. The honour of the people, roused 
by acts of violence, becomes then an iiresistiljle 
power, prevails over all other interests, and alone 
takes in hand the fate of the country. Such a decisive 
hour has arrived for France. Prussia, to whom dur- 
ing and since the war of 1866 we have shown our- 
selves to be most well-wishing, has taken no account 
of our goodwill and of our forbearance ; she has rushed 
into a course of attacks, has awakened eveiy kind of ' 
distrust, has caused excessive armaments to be every- 
where necessary, and lias turned Europe into a camp, 
in which uncertainty and fear of the morrow prevaiL 
A recent event lias shown the instability of all inter- 
national relations, and the whole difficulty of the 
situation. In view of the new and arrogant demands 


of Prussia, we have on our side made protests ; these 
have been laughed at, and events which show a con- 
tempt for us have followed. Our country was roused 
by them, and instantly the cry for war rang from one 
end of France to the other. Nothing more remains 
for us but to commit our fate to the die which is 
cast by arms. We do not make war against Ger- 
many, whose independence we respect; we wish 
most cordially that the nations which compose the 
great German people should dispose freely of their 
destinies. As regards ourselves, we demand the 
establishment of a state of things which shall guar- 
antee our safety and make our future secure. We 
wish to obtain a lasting peace, grounded on the true 
interests of the nation ; we wish that this wretched 
state of things may cease, in which every nation ex- 
pends her resources in arming the one against the 
other. The glorious flag, which in answer to the 
challenge we again unfold, is the same which carried 
through Europe the ideas of civilisation, of our great 
Revolution. It represents the same principles, it will 
call forth the readiness to make like sacrifices. French- 
men ! I place myself at the head of our brave army, 
which is animated by its sense of duty and by its 
love of its country. It knows its value, for it has 
seen victory follow its footsteps in the four quarters 
of the world. I take my son with me : in spite of his 
youth, he knows the duties which his name lays upon 
him, and he is proud to share the dangers of our 


warriors. God prosper your endeavours ! a grei 
nation defending a just cause is unconquerable." 

It is certainly not necessary to analyse this pro- i 
clamatiou ; we believe that it sounds even better in 
our translation than in the original. It is always dif- 
ficult to speak well in a bad cause — much more diffi- 
cult than crafty advocates imagine. 

As a matter of fact, the Emperor took with him his 
little son, bom on 16th of March 1856, whom first 
in 1870 he named Lieutenant, and for whose sake 
alone he plunged into this war, the prospects of which 
alwajB seemed to him gloomy. He issued a pro- 
clamation to the anuy on the 28th of July from his 
headquarters at Metz (H6tel de I'Europe), as fol- 
lows : — 

" Soldiers ! I place myself at your head to defend I 
the honour and the soil of France. You have tol 
combat with one of the best armies of Europe ; but! 
others, which were equally good, have not been able I 
to withstand your valour ; so will it be this time also, f 
The war which we are commencing will be long and 1 
diflicult, for the theatre bristles with obstacles and for- 1 
tresses ; but nothing is too much for the perseveriagl 
endeavours of the soldiers of Africa, of the Crimeayl 
of Italy, and of Mexico. Once again you will showl 
what a French army can do guided by a sense i 
duty, maintained by discipline, and animated by i 
love of its country. Whatever road wc take beyonda 
our frontier, we shall find on it glorious traces of ouj 


forefathers ; we wiU prove ourselves worthy of them. 
All France follows you with glowing eyes, and the 
gaze of the universe is upon us. Upon our success 
depends the fate of liberty and of civilisation. Sol- 
diers ! do your duty, and the God of Hosts will be 
with us." 


Here also any further explanation would be super- 

For his first assistant and counsellor the Emperor 
had chosen Marshal Leboeuf as Major-General : he 
was supported by the two generals of division, Lebrun 
and Jarras; General Soleille commanded the artillery, 
and General CoflSniferes de Nordeck the engineers. 
Among the corps commanders the best known were 
Marshals M'Mahon and Bazaine. M'Mahon was bom 
in the year 1808, and received his military education 
at St Cyr ; from this he went into the school for the 
General Staff, and thence into the infantry. A great 
part of his time of service was spent in Africa, where 
he became general of brigade ; recalled from Africa, 
he received in the Crimea the command of a division 
in Bosquet's Corps. The capture and holding of the 
Malakoff bastion, at the storming of Sebastopol, on 
the 8th of September, made his name celebrated 
throughout Europe. The prominent services he ren- 
dered in the battle of Magenta won for him the title 
of Duke of Magenta. In the year 1861, M*Mahon 
represented France at the coronation of William I. of 
Prussia, and the surpassing brilliancy which he dis- 


played on this occasion was much talked of. After ■ 
his retura, the Marshal received the command of the 
3d Army Corps, and was then, in 1864, sent as Gov- 
ernor-General to Algeria. In this position he was not 
aucceasful ; and the bittereat accusations were made 
against him, which, however, it appears would have i 
been made with greater justice against the general | 
state of things than against hira personally. 

The Emperor Napoleon was at that time much en- 
grossed with the idea of making out of Algeria an 
Arabian kingdom, and consequently of driving Euro- 
pean colonisation iuto the background. The attempt 
to carry out this scheme had caused the emig^ration of 
a great number of colonists, and a considerable decline 
in all business relations ; and this was followed, in the 
year 186S, by the great famine with all its hoiTora. 
Then, and then only, did the French Government be- 
gin to think seriously of adopting a more reasonable 
system of administration in Algiers tlian the hereto- 
fore existing one; but only a few steps were taken 
along the new path when the Marshal was recalled to 
Eui-ope and placed at the head of the let Corps, In 
the army he always enjoyed the highest esteem and 
the most thorough confidence. 

Marshal Bazaine was bom in 1814, and entered 
the service as a volunteer private in 1831. Fighting 
in Africa, he was first made an officer in 1835. In 
1837 he went with the Foreign Legion to Spain, to 
fight there with the Christinos against the Carlista, 


on which occasion he learned Spanish. After his 
return in 1839, his promotion was very rapid. At the 
beginning of the war in the East he was general of 
brigade, and in 1855 general of division; and as 
such he commanded the expedition against Kinbum. 
In 1862 he went to Mexico, and undertook there, in 
the following year, the commandership-in-chief of the 
French expedition. His relation to the Emperor 
Maximilian was so unfortunate, that it was often 
asserted that Bazainc wished to make himself Em- 
peror of Mexico. In 1864 he was made a Marshal, 
and in 1867 he led back to France the ruins of the 
French Army of Mexico. By the nation he was 
badly received, but in the army he was and remained 
beloved ; for on the one hand he was the only real 
trooper among the Marshals of France, and on the 
other he knew how to procure for himself a fit sur- 
rounding, and did not treat the same too strictly. 
And as he was beloved in the army, so also was he 
beloved at the Court. After he had resided in Nancy 
for some time as chief of the 3d Corps, he was, at the 
end of 1869, called to be the head of the Guard 
Corps; and from there, in 1870, to command the 
stronger 3d Army Corps of the active army. 

His successor in the command of the Guard Corps 
was General Bourbaki, of Greek family by descent, 
but bom in Paris in 1816. He served in the lower 
grades of the army in Africa, principally in the 
Foreign Legion and in the Zouaves ; was made gene- 


ral of brigade in 1854, and general of division in 
1857. He fought with distinction in tbc Ciimea, and 
in Italy in 1859, and made himaelf a name in the 
army by his fiery valour. In the year 1869 he com- 
manded the second series of troops in the camp of 

Marshal Canrobert, bom 1809, was educated at St 
Cyr, and entered the anny in 1828. Excepting in 
his youth, and more especially after he was, in 1850, 
promoted to the rank of general of brigade by the 
Prince President, he was more noted for his attach- 
ment to Napoleon than for his military achievements. 
He played a prominent part in the carrying out of 
the coup d^6tat in the year 1859, and in the year 
1853 he became a general of division. The modesty 
with which he, in 1855, retired from the command of 
the Crimean army, was highly commended ; and in 
1859 he assisted to raise Marahal Nicl to so much the 
greater renown by the late arrival of his feeble sup- 
port In more recent times lie was commandant of 
the Ist Corps, or the Amiy of Paris. In the year 
1870 he was given the command of the 6th Coi-ps 
of the active army, which was to be regarded for 
the present, as is apparent from the foregoing, as 
a reserve. 

General Ladmirault, bom 1808, entered the in- 
fantry from the school of St Cyr in the year 1829, 
and made, as did most officers of this period, his mili- 
tary career in Africa. In 1848 he became general of 


brigade. As general of division he took a decisive 
part in the battle of Solferino, in which he was 
wounded. In the year 1870 he was chief of the 2d 
Army Corps (Lille), when he was called to lead the 
4th Corps of the active army. In the French service 
he had especial renown as a tactician, and on this 
account he was appointed in 1867, when the question 
of changes in tactics began to be mooted, to the com- 
mand of the camp of Chalons. His manoeuvres there 
awakened great interest, but, nevertheless, nothing 
has remained from them to be an eternal possession 
to posterity. 

General Felix Douay is also an old African officer. 
In 1859 he commanded a brigade in Niel's Corps, and 
was severely wounded in the battle of Solferino. 
Before the war of 1870 he commanded a division of 
the Army of Paris. 

General de Failly, bom 1810, was educated in 
the military school of St Cyr. In the year 1854 he 
was sent to the Crimea as general of brigade. In 
1859 he commanded with distinction a division of 
Niel's Corps, and distinguished himself especially at 
Solferino. In the year 1867, the command of the 
expedition for the protection of the Pope against 
the invasion of Garibaldi was intrusted to him, and 
he had the misfortune to sign the report of the en- 
counter at Mentana (probably without having read it), 
in which it was said, " the Chassepots did wonders." 
This was never forgiven him ; and in consequence of 

VOL. I. N 



it, he, a brave, straightforward man, who, moreover, 
was not even present at the encounter of Mentana, 
was chosen to be the scapegoat for the French disaa- 
tera of the year 1870. In 1868 he commanded the 
first series of troops in the camp of Chalons ; and 
from the end of 1869 held the command of the 3d 
Corps (Nancy) as successor to Bazaine, who at that 
time was at the head of the Guard, 

General Frossard was born in the year 1807, and 
in 1827 left the Polytechnic School for the engineers. 
He was present at the siege of Antwerp, and wap 
then employed in Africa, and at the siege of Rome in 
1849, after which he relieved Lebceuf as Second Com- 
mandant of the Polytechnic School, In the year 

1855 he conducted the engineering works against the 
Karabelnaja ; and after the taking of Sebastopol, the 
building of the lines of Kamiesh. He had already, 
in May 1854, been appointed general of brigade; in 

1856 he was present in Morny's suite at the corona- 
tion of the Emperor of Eussia ; afterwards he received 
the command of the engineers in Algiers, and was 
promoted to the rank of general of division in 1858. 
In the year 1859 he was chief commandant of the 
engineers in the army of Italy, and conducted the 
siege-works of Peschiera. On the 15th March 1867 
he was made Governor of the Prince Imperial of 
France ; in 1869 he was nominated President of the 
Fortification Committee, and commanded in 1870 the 
camp of Chalons, where, as we have related, a great 




siege exercise was to be carried out. Latterly he 
stood in too close connection with the Court, and too 
far removed from the army, to be able to form a cor- 
rect judgment of the chances of a war of France against 
Germany. His opinion was, that sooner or later France 
would be attacked by Germany — if not during the life 
of King William, at all events by his successor. The 
views of the General about war in the open field were 
not always the most correct, and contact with troops 
did not seem to be especially pleasant to him. 

The German frontier formed, as it existed in 1870, 
a re-entering angle from France. Directly opposite 
to France, and with the intention of attacking it, the 
Germans arrayed three armies. 

The First Army, under the General of Infantry, Von 
Steinmetz, consisted of the 7th Army Corps (General 
vonZastrow), with the 13th (Glumer) and 14th (Kam- 
eke) divisions of infantry; of the 8th Army Corps 
(General von Goben), with the 15th (Weltzien) and 
16th (Bameckow) divisions of infantry; and of the 3d 
division of cavalry (Lieutenant-General Gr. von der 
Groben). Each division of infantry had, as divisional 
cavalry, 1 regiment of cavalry ; the 3d division of cav- 
alry consisted of 4 regiments, — and the whole of the 
First Armynumbered 55,000 men, infantry and cavalry. 

The Second Army, under Prince Frederic Charles 
of Prussia, was composed of the Prussian Guard 
Corps (Prince August of Wurtemberg), with the 
infantry divisions HoUeben and Budritzki, and the 


cavalry division (Von der Goltz), 6 regiments; of 
the 3d North German Corps (Licutcnant^General von 
Alvenaleben), with the 5th (StUlpnagel) and the 6th 
(Buddenbrock) divisions of infantry ; of the 4th 
Korth German Corps (General of Infantry, von Alven- 
sleben), with the 7th (Schwarzhoff) and the 8th 
(Scholer) divisions of infantry; of the 10th North 
German Corps (General von Voigts-Rhetz), with the 
19th(Schwarzkoppen) and the 20th (Kraatz-Koachlau) 
infantry divisions; of the 12th North German Corps 
(the Crown-Prince of Saxony), with the 23d (Prince 
George) and the 24th (NerhofF) divisions of infantry; 
of the 5th division of cavalry (Rheiuijabeu), 9 regi- 
ments; of the Gth division of cavalry (Duke of 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin), 5 regiments ; of the Saxon 
division of cavalry (Count Lippe), 4 regiments. 
The Second Army numbered, altogether, 143,000 
men, infantry and cavalry. 

The Third Army, under the Crown - Prince of 
Prussia, consisted of the 5th North German Corps 
(Lieutenant-General von Kirchbach), with the 9th 
(Sandrart) and the 10th (Schmidt) divisions of in- 
fantry ; of the 1 1th North German Corps (Lieutenant- 
General von Bose) with the 21st (Schachtraeyer) and 
the 22d (Gersdorff) divisions of infantry ; of the 
1st Bavarian Corjis (General von der Tann), with the 
divisions of infantry of Stephan and Pappenheim ; 
of the 2d Bavarian Corps (General von Hartmann), 
^vith the divisions of infantry of Walther and Gr. 



Bothmer; of the Wurtemberg division (Lieutenant- 
General von Obemitz) ; of the Baden division (Gene- 
ral von Beyer) ; of the 4th North German division 
of cavalry (Prince Albrecht of Prussia), 6 regiments ; 
of the Bavarian reserve cavalry, 6 regiments. The 
Third Army numbered, altogether, 140,000 men. 

Bavaria and Baden had issued, on the 16th of 
July, the order for the mobilisation of their troops. 
On the 20th of July the Bavarian Government an- 
nounced to the Chancellor of the North German 
Confederation, that as France had declared war 
with Prussia, and as French troops (a patrol) had 
advanced into Germany, she, because of the treaty 
of alliance with Prussia and North Germany, entered 
into the war. The King of Prussia answered that 
he at once undertook the command-in-chief of the 
Bavarian Corps, and assigned them to the Third Army 
under the command of the Crown-Prince of Prussia. 

On the 22d of July Baden declared herself to be 
at war with France, and on the 26th of July the 
King of Wurtemberg also gave up the command of 
his troops to the King of Prussia. 

On the 27th of July the Crown-Prince of Prussia 
arrived in Municli, in order to assume, in the first 
place, the command of the Bavarian troops, and then 
that of all the South German forces. On the 28th 
he went to Stuttgard, on the 29th to Karlsruhe, and 
on the 30th to Speyer, whence the operations of his 
army were to commence. 



The three German armies to be eouceiitrated on 
the French frontier had a coUeetive strength of 
338,000 men. They were therefore numerically far 
in excess of the French field forces, even if we esti- 
mate these at the highest of the numbers which we 
have before given. Moreover, there remained in 
Germany, entirely independent of the reserve and 
garrison troops, strong mobilised corps, which in the 
course of events, and according to circumstances, 
could be at once sent after the operating army — ■ 
namely : 

The 1st North German Corps (General of Cavalry, ■ 
Von Manteuffel), with the 1st (Bentheim) and the 
2d (Pritzelwitz) divisions of infantry ; the 3d Corps 
(General von Fransecky), with the 3d (Hartmann) 
and 4th (Hann von AVeyhern) divisions of infantry; 
the 6th Cori>s (General of Cavalry, Von Tiimpling), 
with the lltb (Gordon) and the 12th (Hoffman) 
divisions of infantry ; the 9th Corps (General von i 
Manstein), with the 18th (Wrangel) and the 25th i 
(Hesse - Darmstadt) divisions of infantry, and the 
25th (Hesse -Darmstadt) brigade of cavahy ; the | 
17th division of infantry (Lientenant-General Schim- 
raelmann), with the 17th brigade of cavalry and the 
garrison division in Mayeuce (Lieu ten ant- General I 
Kummer); the 1st division of cavalry (Lieutenant- 
Gcneral von Hartmann), 6 regiments ; the 2d divi- 
sion of cavalry (Lieutenant^General Stollberg), fi J 
regiments; in addition, 4 mobile landwehr divisions i 


—namely, the landwehr division of the Guard 
(Major-General von Loen), 4 regiments of 3 bat- 
talions each; the Ist landwehr division (Major- 
General von Treskow), 4 regiments of 3 battalions 
each ; the 2d landwehr division (Major-General von 
Selchow), 4 regiments of 4 battalions each; the 3d 
landwehr division (Major-General Schuler von Sen- 
den), 4 regiments of 3 battalions each. ' To each of 
these 4 landwehr divisions, as to a line division of 
infantry, a regiment of cavalry (reserve regiment) 
and a reserve of artillery were added. 

These last-mentioned troops gave another mobile 
mass of at least 170,000 men, infantry and cavalry. 
And it is evident from our former explanation that these 
forces by no means exhausted the supply of German 
soldiers that could be easily and thoroughly mobilised. 
For military administration, and for the secondary 
embodiment of armies against hostile attack, should 
such by any means become necessary, the whole 
territory of the North German Confederation was 
divided on the 25th July into five General Govern- 
ments — namely, 

The 1st for the district of the 1st, 2d, 9th, 10th Corps. 
The 2d „ „ 7th, 8th, 11th 

The 3d „ „ 3d and 4th 

The 4th „ „ 5th and 6th 

The 5th „ „ 12th Saxon. 

The first of these General Commands was, under the 
existing circumstances, the most important, or at least 



it must at that time have appeared so, even if after 
the course which events took we may judge other- 
wise. It was the command of the shores of the 
North Sea and of the Baltic. If the French Govern- 
ment had been preparing, as waa confidently asserted, 
during a long time for this war, it must have care- 
fully organised a disembarkation force, as being the 
only way in which it could derive use from the naval 
superiority of France. This presumption was incor- 
rect; but the German Government had no right to 
assume that France had plunged into this war so 
recklessly as she really did. 

General of Infantry, Vogel von Falkenstein, was 
appointed Governor-General of this district, a man 
who had shown in 1866 that he knew how to con- 
duct the independent command of an army. The 
general command of the mobile troops in this district 
was intrusted to the Grand Duke of Mccklenburg- 
Schwerin, who was assisted by a good chief of the 
Staff, Colonel von Krensky. 

As Governor-General of the second district, that of 
the Ehine line, General Herwarth von Bittenfeld was 
appointed — the same who, in 1S66, commanded the 
Army of the Elbe, or the right wing of the army 
invading Bohemia. The district would have become 
of importance had the Germans been thrown back on 
die defensive, and thus been obliged to defend the line 
of the Rhine. And however improbable this eventu- 
ality may have been, considering the general situa- 



tion and the mUitary strength of the two parties, 
still, when a war is commenced, it is necessary to 
provide for every contingency — a maxim which the 
French, to their cost, neglected to follow. 

The fourth General Command, Lieutenant-General 
von Lowenfeld, and also the fifth, or Saxon, would have 
become of importance had Austria not remained 
quiet. It can never be foretold what people may do ; 
and however insane it would have been for Austria 
to have mixed in the contest, still the chances of war 
produce great changes in politics, against which it is 
necessary to be forearmed. 

The third General Command was, under any cir- 
cumstances, but a post of honour, which was handed 
over to General von Bonin. 

The three field armies which Germany arrayed 
against France were, according to the general plan of 
operations, to march upon Paris, as the centre of the 
administration and of the power of France. For the 
present they were directed along the following lines 
of advance : The First Army, Steinmetz, from Co- 
blentz, by Saarlouis, through the Treves district. The 
Second Army, Prince Frederic Charles of Prussia, 
from Mayence by Kaiserslautem, through the western 
portion of the Bavarian Palatinate. The Third Army, 
Crown-Prince of Prussia, from Speyer by Landau, 
through the eastern portion of the Bavarian Palatinate. 

The Crown-Prince of Prussia arrived, as we stated, 
on the 30th July in Speyer. Prince Frederic Charles 

had already, on the GfJth of July, arrived in Mayence, 
and General Steinmetz still earlior in Coblentz. 
King William left Berlin on the 31stof July. Before 
his departure he issued a proclamation to the Prus- 
sians, and to the Germans generally : — 

" Before leaving for the army to-day, to fight with 
it for the honour of Germany and for the preservation 
of our biglieat benefits, I wish to proclaim, in view 
of the unanimous uprising of my people, a general 
amnesty for political offences and crimes. I have i 
directed the Ministry of State to prepare for me an 
edict in this sense. My people know with me that 
the breach of peace and enmity are in truth not on our 
side. But ourselves challenged, we are determined to 
undertake war, as our fathers did before us, for the 
deliverance of the Fatherland, with a firm trust in 
the God of battles." 

To the army he addressed the following from May- 
ence on the 2d of August : — 

" The whole of Germany stands with one accord 
under arms against a neighbouring State, which has 
declared war against us suddenly and without cause. 
We have now to defend om- threatened Fatherland, 
our honour, and our hearths. I assume to-day the 
command over the assembled army, and go forth 
comforted to a contest which our fathers in former 
times undertook in a like situation. With me the 
whole Fatherland looks with confidence towards you. 
The Lord God will be with our just cause." 


By a decree of the 1 9th of July, King William had 
revived for this war of 1870 the Order of the Iron 
Cross, in essentially the same manner as it was 
founded in 1813 — a measure which was calculated to 
awaken in all minds the remembrance of a great 
epoch, and to give to the present war also the appear- 
ance of a necessary act of justice against a mighty 

A few notices of some of the most prominent 
leaders of the Germans will be here in their place. 

General von Steinmetz, bom 1796, entered the 
army from the Cadet Corps as an officer in 1813, 
and took an honourable part in the campaigns from 
that year to 1815 ; in 1814 he won for himself the 
Iron Cross; in 1848 he commanded the two muske- 
teer battalions of the 2d regiment of infantry during 
the campaign in Schleswig, and earned the order 
pour le mSrite. In the same year he became com- 
mandant of the 32d regiment of infantry; in 1851 
he commanded, as colonel, the Cadet Corps ; in 1854 
he was promoted to the rank of major-general, and 
was appointed governor of the fortress of Magdeburg ; 
in 1857 he became commandant of the 4th brigade 
of infantry of the Guard, and in the same year, of the 
1st division of infantiy. In the following year he 
rose to be lieutenant-general, was for a time at the 
head of the 2d Corps, and was called in 1864 to be 
commander-in-chief of the 5th Corps, with which, as 
general of infantry, he in 1866 performed many 



glorious deeds. He was extraordinarily popular, and 
the Landtag voted him with pleasure a rich State 
dotation. In Parliament, to which he was returned 
in 1867) he was afterwards less successful with his 
propositions for national economy ; but neither hia 
mishapa there, nor his great age, prevented his being i 
called upon to take an active share in the present 

Prince Frederic Charles was born in 1828, became 
lieutenant-general in 1856, and in 1860 — being then 
32 years old — was nominated commanding-general 
of the 3d Coqia. He had sen-ed in 1848 in Schles- 
wig on the Staff of General Wrangel, and had been 
present in the campaign in Baden in 1849 as squad- 
ron leader. In 1864 ho commanded the combined 
Prussian Corps in the war against the Danes, and 
later on, after the retirement of Wrangel, the whole 
allied army. In 1866 he led the First Prussian 
Army, won the victories of Munchengnitz and Gitsch- 
in, and maintained the battle of Koniggratz against 
superior Austrian forces until the ai-rival of the Crown- 
Prince of Prussia. The Prince excited much atten- 
tion by a pamphlet on the way to conquer the French, 
which was published without his consent in Germany, 
and immediately translated into French. 

The Crown-Prince of Prussia was bom in 1831, 
and became, in accordance with the traditions of the 
dynasty, lieutenant-general in 1860. In 1864, during 
the war against the Danes, he served with the head- 


quarters of Wrangel, was made general of infantry in 
1866, and as such commanded the Second Prussian 
Army. Since 1858 the Crown-Prince of Prussia has 
been most happily married to the Princess Victoria, 
eldest daughter of the Queen of England. He thor- 
oughly, and rightly so, dislikes war. In France, am- 
bitious designs were attributed to him ; at least, not 
three weeks before the declaration of war of the 19 th 
of July, the author himself heard such remarks in that 
country as, — ** Peace will continue as long as William 
I. lives ; but when the young ambitious Crown-Prince 
assumes the government, then it will certainly break 
out.'* May " the young ambitious Crown-Prince " 
have the good fortune to find that the chief matter 
has been settled before he ascends the throne, and 
may he be able to really maintain an era of peace 
without boasting, in the full consciousness of the 
power of Germany in Europe. 

General von Zastrow is chiefly known in the mili- 
tary world through his industrious, but in many parts 
Zt singular. Writing, on the U of fortifiLtion. 
These productions have assisted more than a little in 
bringing about the confusion which at present reigns 
in Europe over the most simple questions on this 
subject, and are therefore really remarkable. The 
General, born in 1801, entered the infantry in 1819 
from the Cadet Corps, and began his writings on 
fortifications as early as 1828. In the year 1848 he 
was ordered to join the army in Schleswig-Holstein. 


There he displayed a character very different from 
that of the doctrinaire — namely, a romantic one. He 
commanded a brigade, and even a division ; but when 
he returned to Prussia in 1850, he again returned 
to the rank of battalion commander in the 2d 
regiment of infantry. Eight years later he became 
major-general, and in 1863 he was lieutenant- 
general, and appointed to the command of the 11th 
division. At its head he went gloriously through 
the campaign of 1866. At the end of the year he 
became commandant of the 7th Corps, and in 1868 
was in this position promoted to the rank of general 
of infantry. 

General von Goeben, born 1816, entered the Prus- 
sian infantry in 1833, became an officer in 1835, but 
resigned in the following year to fight on the side of 
the Carlists in Spain. There he rose to the rank of 
lieutenant- colonel, but in 1840 he re-entered the 
Prussian army as a lieutenant. Immediately after- 
wards he was sent to the General Staff, and was soon 
appointed to it. In the year 1849 he served with 
the headquarters during the campaign in the Rhenish 
Palatinate and in Westphalia ; afterwards he returned 
to the infantiy, but in 1850 came back again as major 
on to the General Staff. In 1860 he became colonel, 
and was sent to the Spanish army during the cam- 
paign against Morocco. In 1864 he commanded as 
major-general the 26th brigade of infantry during 
the campaign against Denmark, and after 1865 the 


13th division, with which, in the Army of the Main, 
he won for himself a European name by his mag- 
nificent generalship. In 1870 he became general of 
infantry. He has written a very attractive book 
about his campaigns in Spain during the civil war, 
and also many pamphlets on those battles of the 
campaign of 1866 in which his division played the 
chief part or fought alone. 

Prince August of Wurtemberg, bom 1813, entered 
the Prussian service from the Wurtemberg as captain 
of cavalry in 1831. He became major-general in 
1844, lieutenant-general in 1850, commandant of the 
Guard Corps (at whose head he fought in the cam- 
paign of 1866) in 1858, and general of cavalry in 

General Gustav von Alvensleben, bom 1803, en- 
tered the army from the Cadet Corps in 1821, was 
removed to the General Staff as major in 1847, and 
went through the campaign of 1849 in Baden. In 
1858 he was major-general, and in 1863 lieutenant- 
general, and served during the war of 1866 in the 
headquarters of the King. After the war he received 
the command of the 4th Corps, and in 1868 became 
general of infantr}". 

General von Voigts - Rhetz, bom 1809, entered 
the army in 1827, became an officer in 1829, and was 
removed to the General Staff as captain in 1841. In 
1847 he was promoted to the rank of major, and as 
such was present in 1848 at the battle of Xionz, in 


the Grand Duchy of Posen. In the year 1858 he 
became, after he had already had the command of a 
regiment of infantry and afterwards of a brigade, 
major-general. From 1859 to 18G0 he was chief of 
the general war department in the Ministry of War, 
and in 1860 he received the command of the fortress 
of Luxemburg and of the garrison brigade there. In 
18C3 he became commandant of the 7th division, 
lieutenant-general in the same year, coramander-in- 
cliief of the garrison of the Diet in Frankfort-on-the 
Main, and then, in the spring of 1866, first military 
plenipotentiary of Prussia at the Diet. At the out- 
break of the war he was called from this post to bo 
Chief of the Staff with the First Army (Prince Frederic 
Charles), and after the war was appointed Governor- 
General of Hanover and chief of the newly-formed 
loth Corps. In 1868 he became a general of infantry, 

Lieutenant-General von Kirchbach, born 1809, en- 
tered the army &om the Cadet Corps in 1826, and 
became an officer in 1827. After long service in the 
infantry he became major in 1850, and in the follow- 
ing year was removed to tlie General Staff, In 18G3 
he was major-general; and in 186G, as lieutenant-gen- 
eral, he commanded with distinction the 10th division 
of infantry in tlie Corps of General Steinmetz. 

General von Bose, bom 1 809, entered the Prussian 
service in 1826, and became an officer in 1829. Em- 
ployed successively in the infantry, on the General 
Staff, and in the Ministry of War, he was promoted 



to the rank of major-general in 1864, and in 1866 
commanded the 15th brigade of infantry, at whose 
head he served with glory in all the encounters and 
battles which were fought by the Army of Prince 
Frederic Charles. The part he played in the battle 
of Presburg is especially noticeable. After the war 
of 1866 he became commandant of the 20th division, 
and at the end of the same year was nominated lieu- 

General von der Tann was bom in 1815, entered 
early into the military service, and went, after he had 
attained the rank of captain on the Quartermaster's 
Staflf in the Bavarian army, as a volunteer to Schles- 
wig-Holstein to assume there the command of a vol- 
unteer corps. In 1850 he was Chief of the Staflf of 
General Willisen ; in 1866, Chief of the Staflf of Prince 
Charles of Bavaria. After the war he again took the 
command of his division ; and when, in 1869, the 
Bavarian army was divided into two General Com- 
mands, he received that of Munich. 

We conclude here for the present these personal 
details, intending hereafter to continue them in a few 
remarks at a fitting opportunity. 

VOL. I. o 




The theatre of war which was created by the declara- 
tion of hostilities of the French on the 19th of July, 
and by the unanimous uprising of the Germans, com- 
prised the territory of the whole of France, of the 
North German Confederation, of the South German 
States, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Baden, the sea in 
general, and particularly the seas which wash tlie 
coasts of Northern France and Germany. 

Owing to the fact that the land army of France 
suffered from such a decided numerical weakness, it 
came to pass that the war on the coasts — in default 
of all alliances — could not be canied on, and that the 
naval war was limited to the capturing of German 
merchant ships by French cruisers, and to the block- 
ading of German ports, which the German Heet, 
owing to its comparative weakness, was powerless to 
prevent. And because of the weakness of the French 
land forces, and because the declaration of war against 


Gennany had been hurled forth in a most reckless 
manner, it also came to pass that the German army 
was ready to assume a successful offensive much 
earlier than the French was. 

The real theatre of war was therefore, in the begin- 
ning, bounded by the northern frontier of France, by 
the Rhine between Lauterburg and Strasburg, by 
the railway from Strasburg to Paris, and by the rail- 
way from Paris to Brussels. As in this volume we 
shall not carry our narrative further than to the time 
when the events happened on the heights between 
the Moselle and the Meuse, we shall for the present 
confine our special consideration of the ground to the 
district which extends up to those heights, and then 
continue our description in detail as the history of 
the war leads us into new territory. But before 
we commence this special work, we wish to make a 
general remark. 

At the commencement of the war a mass of so- 
called war maps were published, which were sold in 
the ordinary shops. The French ones were, when 
compared with the German, extremely badly executed. 
This must evidently be taken as resulting from the 
fact that nature and landscape are much less interest- 
ing to the French than to the Germans, with whom 
not unfrequently the love of it degenerates into a 
sentimental debauchery. The French occupy them- 
selves much more with men and with society ; and it 
has often occurred to us that the French newspaper 


reader only employed liis map because it afforded 
him the pleasure of sticking into it little coloured 
flags, of which an incredible quantity were consumed 
in the larger towns. 

Of people who can read a map there are in Ger- 
many incomparably more than in France. And this 
is very easy to be understood ; for the first condition 
to be fulfilled that a man may be able to understand 
^L a map is, that he should be able to compare it with 

^H nature ; therefore, that he should liave observed and 

^H considered this latter, — and this, on the whole, French- 

^H men are little disposed to do, even when in the 

^H country. And he who wUI not take the trouble to 

^H really read a map will be less and less interested as 

^H to the manner in which it is executed. 

^H The German maps which appeai'ed in the begin- 

^H iiing contained almost always a very considcraljle 

^H portion of their own country, Germany, and only the 

^H frontier provinces of their enemy's land, France. The 

^H French maps, on the contrary, comprised only a 

^H veiy small comer of their own country, whilst they 

^^P extended eastward over the whole of Germany, and 

^V even beyond it. From this it may be judged, therc- 

^H fore, that, we will not say the North German General 

^H Staff, but at all events the genenil public, regarded 

^H this war, which was certainly politically a defensive 

^^1 one, as likely to be such a one also strategically, while 

^H in France an offensive war was chiefly contemplated. 

^H^ The district which we have, in the first place, to 



consider, is divided by the Vosges into an eastern and a 
western part. The Vosges begin in the neighbourhood 
of Belfort, and run with an average width of about 
twenty-four miles from south to north, terminating in 
the Donnersberg, on the Nahe, which separates them 
from the Hundsriick. Their summits and passes are 
both of them higher in the south than in the north, 
growing gradually less as they approach that quarter. 
In the neighbourhood in which we are at present 
mainly interested, between the frontier of Rhenish 
Bavaria in the north and the Strasburg-Paris Railway 
in the south, there are no important mountains at all ; 
the height of the passes does not exceed 1200 feet 
above the sea, therefore not more than 700 to 800 
feet above the plain of Alsace, and the summit of the 
chain about 2000 feet above the level of the sea. 

To the east of the Vosges the smiling plain of 
Alsace extends, watered by many small streams which 
run from the mountains to the Rhine and fertilise the 
country, which industrious hands, aided by a good 
soil and a temperate climate, have converted into 
a fruitftd garden. Here, low down on the eastern 
slopes, are planted thriving vineyards ; there, higher 
up, where agriculture produces less, the numerous 
streamlets offer their forces to industry. To the west, 
the Vosges change into the hilly land of Lorraine, 
which, stretching away as far as the Meuse, has 
between the Vosges and the Moselle an altitude of 
600 to 700 feet above the level of the sea; and 




wliieli, even if not equal in fertility to Alaace, also 
smilea with the tokens of cultivation. On the left 
bank of the Moselle, between Frouard and ThionvUle, 
the undulating ground rises up to a height of 1100 
feet above the sea, but only to sink again rapidly 
towai-ds the Meuse. Of the numerous waters which, 
flowing down from the eastern slopes of the Vosges, 
run through the plain of the Rhine in our district, the 
most important are the Lauter, which in its lower 
course forms the boundary between the Rhenish 
Palatinate and Alsace, and to the south of it the 
Moder and the Zora. The Brusch unites first at 
Strasburg with the HI, and through it later on with 
the Rhine below the town. 

Much more considerable are the rivers which de- 
scend the western side of the mountains. The most 
important of them is the Moselle. It rises in the 
highest point of the Vosges in the Ballon d'Alsacc, 
and flows thence nearly northwards by Reraire- 
mont, Kpinal, Toul, Frouard, Metz, Thionvillc, and 
Treves, to Coblentz, where it joJus the Rhine. 
Below Frouard, as far as Thionville, its waters are shal- 
low, and divided by many islands. It was therefore 
contemplated to form it into a canal between these 
two places, and in the spring of 1870 the execution 
of this work was commenced. This was to join the 
Rliine-Marne Canal which connects Strasburg and 
Vitry le Fran9ais, and coincides at tlie most difficult 
points with the Strasburg- Paris Railway. 


The most important tributaries to the Moselle on 
its right — ^that is, flowing from the Vosges — are the 
Meurthe, which joins it at Frouard ; the Saar, which, 
rmming by Saarburg, Sarralbe, Saargemund, Saar- 
brlick, Saarlouis, empties itself into the Moselle above 
Treves. Further is to be noticed the Seille, because 
it joins the Moselle in the fortress of Metz itself 
although it does not rise in the Vosges, but in the 
hilly country of Lorraine. It flows out of the Etang 
de Lindre, one of those many lakes (there called 
Teche Hangs) which are to be found on the west foot 
of the Vosges, between Fenestrang and Luneville. The 
Nied has two tributaries, the German and the French 
Nied, also in the hill-country of Lorraine, and flows 
into the Saar. The rivers which run into the Moselle 
from the west are one and all unimportant. The hill- 
country of Lorraine, of which we have related that it 
sinks towards the west, rises again close to the Meuse; 
and it is from this watershed that the Moselle receives 
her tributaries on the left. But in the vicinity of the 
Strasburg-Paris Railway, the Moselle and the Meuse 
are so close together that these affluents cannot be- 
come considerable. More to the north, the two rivers 
diverge again, and here flows the most important 
tributary on the left of the Moselle, the Ornes, which 
joins it above Thionville. 

The most noted passes which unite the plain of 
Alsace over the Vosges with the hill-country of Lor- 
raine, are the following : — 


1. The Pass of Bitche. — At Bitche the roads from 
\Veis8cnl:)urg and from Hagcnau over the Bad Nieder- 
broim unite, and then descend aa one to Saargemund. 
The fortress of Bitche stands to the north of the junc- 
tion of the roada, upon a projecting rock 160 feet 
high. It is celebrated in military history as the scene 
of an attempted surprise which the Duke of BruQS- 
■\vick, on the 16th of November 1793, caused General 
AVartensleben to make against it, in order to bring his 
winter quarters round Pirmasenz into better connec- 
tion with those of the Austrians on the Moder under 
AVurmser, The enterprise failed, owing to occurrences 
which were most extraordinary in their details. The 
town of Bitche has bai-ely 3000 inhabitants. 2. The 
Pass of Lutzelstein (la Petite Pierre), from Hageuau 
to Saar Union. — The Fort of Liitzelstetn, quite unim- 
portant for the roet, lies to the south of the road. 
3. The Pass of PfaLzburg, from Strasburg by Zaberu 
[Saverne) to Fenestrangc on the one side, and to 
upper Saarburg on the other. — The little town of 
Pfalzburg, with not quite 4000 inhabitants, fortified 
by Vauban as a baationed hexagon, has lately received 
an undeniable celebrity through the romance of Ert-k- 
mann-Chati-ian. But it has disproportionately lost in 
military importance, for it lies 2^ miles to the north 
of the Strasburg-Paris Railway, and is too small to 
hold a garrison that would be able by distant sorties 
to seriously disturb the railway communication. 4. 
Between the two passes of Liitzelstein and of Bitche 



lies a much less important one, which leads by the old 
castle of Lichtenberg from Hagenau to Saargemtind. 

Besides the fortresses, for the most part but of small 
importance, of which we have made mention in enu- 
merating the passes of the Vosges, there remain to 
be remarked in the district which we are now describ- 
ing the strongholds of Strasburg on the Khine, Marsal 
on the Seille, Toul, Metz, and Thionville on the 
Moselle. Of Strasburg we reserve the more detailed 
account until the time when we shall narrate the 
siege of this ancient city, so celebrated in song and 
legend. Marsal is an unimportant place, a bastioned 
heptagon, which in these days of railways, as it does 
not even lie on one, has lost still more of its original 
small value. The old town of Toul, with its beautiful 
churches, is more celebrated for these than for its 
fortifications. It has scarcely 8000 inhabitants. Its 
works are planned with a bastion-trace upon a nine- 
sided polygon ; it is totally without detached forts, 
and can be commanded on all sides by artillery of 
the present day. Such importance as it has arises 
from its position close to the Strasburg-Paris Railway. 
Thionville, with the main part of the town on the left 
bank of the Moselle, was once a favourite residence of 
Charlemagne, and is now a city of about 8000 inhabi- 
tants, fortified in a more modem manner by Vauban 
and Cormontaigne. Two larger forts and several 
lunettes form an important Ule du pout on the right 
bank of the Moselle. 



But far above all theBe places in importance Metz 
forth alone. 3000 yards above the town the 
Moselle divides itself into two main arms, flowing in 
a north-westerly and a south-easterly direction, which 
unite again about 3000 yards below the city. A few 
intermediate arms join these two chief ones, and thus 
three remarkable islands are formed, called (taken iu 
succession down the river) St Simphorien, the Island 
du Sauley, and the Island Chambifere. Upon the last 
one lies a small part of the town, but the greater por- 
tion is upon the right bank of the south-eastern arm. 

For the plan of its more modern fortifications, Metz 
is principally indebted to the works of Cormontaigne; 
to him may especially be ascribed the two forts De 
la Moselle and Bellecrois. The Moselle Fort (Fort 
de la Moselle), a double crown work, with two whole 
and two half bastions, lies on the left bank of the 
north-western arm of the river, towards Plappe^'ille, 
Woippy, and St Eloy. Fort Bellecroix, equally a 
double crown work, on the east aide of the main part 
of the town, on the right bank of the south-eastern 
arm, towai-ds St JuHen, Valliferes, and Bomy. The 
old Citadel, the building of wiiich was commenced by 
Marshal Vicilleville in the year 1556, on the south- 
west end of the town, and finished in 1564, was razed 
to the ground in 1791. In its place now stand the 
quartern of the engineers ; and the old esplanade has 
been turned into a pleasant promenade, the only one 
wliicli the lai'gc town of Metz possesses. It would 


METZ. 219 

have been unnecessary to mention this Citadel were it 
not that reminiscences are attached to it which are 
significant for the present time. 

Scarcely had the old free town of Metz thrown 
itself in the beginning of the year 1552 into the 
arms of Henry 11. , King of France, who was to rule 
it as a prince of the German Empire, than it re- 
pented itself thereof. The French imderstood but 
little the pretensions of the citizens of an old German 
free town. The people of Metz, " les Messins," would 
even in the same year have willingly seen the Em- 
peror Charles IV. reconquer the town ; but the cele- 
brated defence made by Duke Francis of Guise, and 
the crumbling down of the then existing German Em- 
pire, prevented this. After the attack of Charles V. 
had been repulsed, the people of Metz felt evermore 
acutely how wrongly they had acted in separating 
themselves from the German Empire, and yielding 
themselves to France. The young nobility of France 
treated them simply as canaille, and the free-town 
spirit rebelled against this. The French saw in Metz 
absolutely nothing more than a place of arms against 
Germany ; and because the people would not submit 
to this, and to the suppression of all their privileges, 
but, on the other hand, ever incited disturbances 
against the French sway, the building of the Citadel 
was undertaken. The people of Metz became good 
Frenchmen with the demolition of the Citadel and 
with the French Kepublic, between 1791 and 1793. 



Up to that time the old inhabitants had always had 
.1 greater tendency, if not to Germany, at all events 
to the liberty of a free town, than to France. 

With its 60,000 inhabitants, with its favourable 
position, with its fortifications, which at the time of 
their construction might be called master-works, the 
town of Metz, until the introduction of rifled guns, 
always ranked as a firat-class fortress, especially in 
France, where men attached less value than they did 
in Germany to the building of detached forts, a ques- 
tion which stands in close relationship to that of mili- 
tary organisation. 

If oven, after the adoption of long-ranging guns, 
the extension or the conversion of the works of Metz 
was still not thought of, this must have resulted from 
the general views which were held of the position of 
France in Europe while the Empire was culminating, 
views of which we have before spoken. As soon as 
— after Sadowa — the French Government had come 
to the conclusion tliat now the military balance of 
power in Europe was completely overthrown, Metz 
was one of the first (perhaps the first) places the al- 
teration of the fortifications of which was thought of. 
It was to be at once surrounded, in order to bring it 
up to the level of the times, and to insure its better 
defence, with a girdle of detached forts ; but these, at 
the same time, converted it into a great intrenched 
camp, an ofiensivc place. The execution of the pro- 
ject was begun in the spring of 1868, and four of the 

METZ. 221 

forts, of whose position there could be no doubt, were 
taken in hand. These were Plappeville (also called 
les Carriferes), St Quentin, Queleu, and St Julien — the 
first two on the left, the last two on the right bank 
of the Moselle. All these works were to be master- 
pieces, and they were so in part, as far as the ques- 
tion of money, which had to be considered, did not 
impose limits on them. 

The ground-plan of the enceinte of each of them is 
either a closed bastioned square {carrS hastion7i^) or 
a closed bastioned pentagon {pentagone bastionnS), 
according to the size which it was judged expedient 
to give the work. The escarp and counterscarp of 
the main enceinte are revetted with masonry up to 
the building level, which was carefully defiladed from 
distant view. Round the top of the escarp runs nearly 
everywhere a thin breast-high wall, and between it and 
the base of the exterior slope of the 24 to 28 feet high 
rampart, a chemin des rondes is left Casemates are 
constructed only in some few places in the main en- 
ceinte — as, for instance, in the flanks of the bastions — 
but casemates en d^charge run along the whole gorge 
of the work. Within the main enceinte is a cavalier 
of a very simple plan. It follows the windings of 
the front in the most obtuse angles possible, and is 
about 2 metres, and sometimes more, higher than the 
enceinte. It is a mighty earthwork, which is alto- 
gether filled with casemates on its reverse side. 
These are not for defence; they have no embra- 


sures piercing the mass of earth towards the enemy, 
and therefore no artillery or infantry fire can be 
obtained from them; they are purely barracks for 
the garrison, forming magazines for provisions and 
ammunition, and containing kitchens and cisterns. 

The idea of the whole is this. The cavalier, with 
the heavy guns placed on its high ramparts, will 
damage the enemy at a distance, and prevent him 
intrenching himself. But if it fail to do this, and the 
enemy succeed in spite of it in advancing his works 
nearer, then the close defence will be undertaken by 
the main enceinte, with its complete flanking fire. 
Should the enemy succeed in making breaches, and 
in advancing to storm them, then the cavalier comes 
into play again. Connected with the gorge by walls, 
it forms a last retrenchment, which would necessitate 
new efforts on the part of the enemy. The garrison 
will either be relieved by a successful sortie from 
the body of the place, or it gains time to conclude 
a favourable capitulation. 

Fort St Julien, a bastioned pentagon, is situated 
upon the road to Bouzonville, with its front opposite 
the wood of Grimont, and with its gorge removed 
about 2800 paces from the left wing of Fort Bolle- 

In front of the riglit wing of Belleeroix, about 
2700 paces from the Mazelle gate, is situated the 
largest of all the detached works, Fort Queleu, with 
itii front opposite the village of Grig}' and the high- 

METZ. / 223 

road to Strasburg. It also is a pentagon. To the 
west of it the Seille flows northwards to Metz. This 
river, of which mention has been before made, enters 
the main enceinte of Metz close to the Mazelle gate, 
and waters the ditches on the east side of the town. 
Moreover, by means of sluice-works, the valley of the 
Seille above the town can be inundated. 

Fort Plappeville, on the left bank of the Moselle, 
is essentially a bastioned square, and is situated upon 
the considerable heights to the west of the town. 
On these heights also stands Fort St Quentin, exactly 
on the -hill whence the Emperor Charles V. observed 
the town during the siege of 1552. Fort St Quentin 
is also a bastioned square, but so small that on the 
north and west sides the main enceinte and cavalier 
become one, whilst upon the south and east, where 
the steep slopes of the hill make the ascent naturally 
difficult, the defence is confined to a ditch and wall. 
On the south side only an earthen battery is built, a 
species of cavalier, to sweep the valley of the Moselle. 
Originally, Fort St Quentin was projected much larger 
— its front was to come up to about the same level 
as Fort Plappeville ; but on account of the expense, 
this idea was for the time abandoned. 

In the spring of 1870, Forts Plappeville and St 
Quentin were both so far advanced that their com- 
pletion in that year could be looked forward to as a 
certainty. Queleu and St Julien, on the contrary, were 
behindliand, for, owing partly to the water-holding 



1 they stood, and ] 

clay foundation oi 

the building havii 

ward, the revetment of the escarp had in many places 

begun to slip ; but spite of this, there was reason to 

hope that these forts also would be completely finished 

in the year 1871. 

In May 1870 the construction of a new work, 
which, however, had been for some time in contem- 
plation, was commenced — that of St Privat. All the 
railways which meet at Metz have one common 
station near the Serpeuoise gate. To cover both 
this and the approaches to the lines themselves was 
the destined purpose of this fort. For the present it 
was only erected in eai-th, without any sheltered 
space ; and when it is remembered that this was done 
by the orders of a man who was in very close rela- 
tionship with the Court of the Tuileries, and carried 
out in the greatest haste, it is certainly possible that 
men may be led by it to the belief that, in tiie begin- 
ning of the mouth of May 1870, the wai- for the 
Rhine frontier was already a settled purpose at the 
Imperial Court. Fort St Privat lies more than 4000 
paces distant from the old outworks of the main 

To connect all these large detached forts, smaller 
works were projected — Fort St Eloy, between Plap- 
pcville and St Julien, on the road to Thionville, on 
the left bank of the Moselle ; and Fort lea Bottes, 
between St Julien and Quclcii. Whether these forts 

METZ. 225 

were, at the outbreak of the war, run up in a tem- 
porary manner, is at present unknown to us; but it is 
asserted that such was the case with Fort les Bottes. 

The detached forts form a girdle of about 14 
miles in length, and all of them stand upon compara- 
tive heights. The level of the Moselle at Metz is 
about 560 feet above that of the sea. The horizon 
of Fort St Julien 860, of Queleu 750, of St Privat 
640, of St Quentin 1200, and of Plappeville 1140 
feet above the level of the sea. 

While these detached forts were being worked at, 
the old circumvallation was not forgotten. On the 
right wing of the Moselle Fort a casemated battery- 
was constructed ; for in reality, as long as Fort St 
Eloy did not exist, this work was exactly in the 
middle between the two forts of Plappeville and St 
Julien, and nearly on a straight line with them. 

But the greatest care was bestowed upon Fort 
Bellecroix. Bomb-proof magazines were built, and 
the two whole middle bastions were to be provided 
with cavaliers, which were actually commenced. Be- 
fore the left wing of Fort Bellecroix an extraordinarily 
high work was constructed, which was to command 
the valley of Valli^res better than the fort itself or 
than a work of the same date which stood before it 
could. In order that the new erection might not, if 
taken, be prejudicial to the defence of Bellecroix, it 
was mined ; and, moreover, in Fort Bellecroix itself, a 
cavalier was built which commanded it. 

VOL. I. p 



The front St Vincent on the right bank of the 
north-west arm of the Moselle, behind the Fort de la 
Moselle, was pushed forward further on the river. 
This was certainly, in the first place, an administrative 
measure. More space for the town was required, 
especially for the Imperial Administrative Institute ; 
but in effecting the change, the fortificationa of .die 
front were also Improved. 

Taking Mctz as the centre of the railway system 
which we have to consider in our district, it can be 
said that from it lines radiate to all regions of the 
world. The railway to the east runs by Forbach 
into Germany, ft has branch lines to Treves, to 
Bingen, thence to Coblentz and to Mayence, and 
through the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate by Kaisera- 
lautcru to Mannheim and Heidelberg. The railway 
to the north goes by Thionville and Luxemburg to 
Liiige ; from it the line by Sedan westward to Meziferes 
branches off at Thionville. The railway to the south 
along the left bank of the Moselle joins at Frouard 
the main line from Strasburg to Paris, and this main 
line is again joined to Meziferes at two points by 
Rhcima and Chalons and by Epernay. The railway 
to the west, although opened for a small distance in 
1867, was not completed in 1870, but it was to be 
finished in 1871. It was essentially what men are 
wont to call a strategical line, intended to connect 
the great exercising camp of France at Chalons with 


METZ. 227 

its great depot for oflFensive enterprises, Metz. Its 
projected route was by St Hilaire, to the south of 
Mourmelon, on to the line Chalons- Rheims, or from 
the camp of Chalons by Vahny, St Menehould, and 
Verdun to Metz. Only the portion from St Hilaire 
to Verdun was practicable in the year 1870. 




Commencing on the 21st of July, there had been 
small outpost affairs continually going on on the 
German-French frontier. Detachments of French 
troops had penetrated into German territory, and 
small bodies of Germans had invaded the French soil, 
to reconnoitre, to execute some coups de mainy and to 
cool their mettle. All Europe waited in breathless 
expectation for the more serious things which were 
to follow, and became almost impatient because great 
battle-dramas were not acted immediately after the 
19th of July, the day of the declaration of war. 
Of such it was certainly destined to witness plenty 
later on. 

France also was impatient ; and in truth was she 
not so with right ? With what haste had she plunged 
into hostilities! Educated Frenchmen not in the 
army have so little in common with it, that they 
know nothing of the conditions for the conduct of 
war — the Empire had fully broken off* all connection 


between the better-informed classes and the army. 
Frenchmen are in general very much inclined to 
value technical knowledge, and to submit to the 
guidance of men supposed to possess it. Listening 
to what they had been told, they had become assured 
that the French army was the first in the world, and 
that it possessed everything that was necessary for it 
to operate successfully. Of the fact that their forces 
had been thrown blindly on the frontier without being 
fully organised for war, they had not the very faintest 
suspicion. Why, then, did not the army at once com- 
mence hostilities on the 1 5th of July ? Why did they 
not at once go by the railway to Berlin, which lies 
close to the right bank of the Rhine ? " Mystfere," 
answered Victor Hugo. The official newspapers 
strove in every way to exhort to patience. About 
the 23d of July they announced that before fourteen 
days at the least, hostilities would not be commenced, 
in order to be able to deal then the heavier blows. 
That the Grermans could assimie the initiative was 
never for an instant supposed. 

But when the French army stood on the frontier, 
then, and only then, the French Generals commenced 
to calculate and to consider. It is an unexampled fact, 
and yet wholly true, that the tenders for the supplies 
of the army were only given in on the 28th of July, 
and that even then there was no meat-tender which was 
deemed fair. Doubtless the French could by the 23d of 
July have crossed into the German frontier States and 



have advanced upon the Rhine ; they could have de- 
vastated the land and routed some scattered bodies of 
troops, but — then they would certainly have encoun- 
tered the compact and well-organised columns of the 
Germans. And now, when on the frontier, the leaders 
of the French army began to say that which while 
in Paris they had completely neglected to think of — 
that an ephemeral success must be bouglit at the 
price of a so much the greater defeat hereafter. 

The Prussian Staff— that Staff of the ' Figaro ' which 
had moved for years in the highest circles of Paris, in 
order to learn and to collect intelligence — had always 
held the opinion at which the French Generals now 
arrived, that it was possible that the French, by a 
sudden surprise, might invade Germany and gain a 
few successes, but that then only the more certainly 
would their work be stopped, and retribution follow. 
Therefore throughout the whole of Germany the 
Prussian principle was strictly carried out — that no 
detachment should leave the district of their Corps, or 
even their garrison, to be moved to the frontier, until 
they were completely mobilised on a war footing. 

It is very easy to imagine that the citizens of the 
German frontier States did not altogether believe tliat 
the French had marched to the frontier, and then 6rat 
begun to place their armies on a war footing. Who 
except one who had long and specially occupied him- 
self in studying these things could presuppose such 
insane conduct '( Men have never the right to regard 


their adversary as quite and utterly foolish ; therefore 
there was in the German frontier States a certain dis- 
quietude on account of the supposed slowness of the 
German armies in the mobilisation and advance against 
the French ; still, on the whole, the confidence in their 
own strength, and in the superiority of the German 
military institutions, was very great, and it could be 
foreseen that the first military success would raise it 
yet higher. 

We have already narrated how the combined Ger- 
man operating force — the First, Second, and Third 
Armies — ^was to be thrown at once (in accordance 
with the general plan of operations) on to Ihe left 
bank of the Ehine, in order there to assume the mili- 
tary offensive. This gives testimony not merely of 
great confidence on the part of those conducting the 
strategy of the war, but also of a correct appreciation 
of circumstances. We will not enter into a long 
discussion on this really simple subject, but will 
content ourselves with reminding our readers that 
another guidance of the forces might have divided the 
three armies on the two fronts Saarburg-Lauterburg 
and Ettlingen-Lorrach, instead of concentrating them 
upon the one front Saarburg- (or Sierck-) Lauterburg. 
Had this course been adopted, would the successes of 
the Germans have been as great as they were ? 

The whole German operating force was then thrown 
across the Rhine on the line Coblentz-Germersheim 
with the intention of assuming the offensive. The lines 


of advance which had been asaigned to it in the Ger- 
man territory on the left bank of the !Rhinc prolonged 
themselves naturally into French territory. The 
fortress of Knstadt auppoited the extreme left wing; 
and in order to show that the Germans did not intend 
to undertake any offensive movements on the Upper 
Rhine, the railway bridge over the Rhino at Kehl 
was blown up on the 22d of July. Was it absolutely 
necessary to destroy this masterpiece of modem 
architecture ? We believe it could hardly have been 
so ; but perhaps we are too sceptical with regard to 
the utility of such destructions. 

The Strasburg military division was commanded 
by General Ducrot — a man with whom the idea of a 
collision between France and Germany had become a 
fixed one as he conducted his noisy reconnaissances 
along the banks of the Rhine ; and he therefore eagerly 
set to work to throw a pontoon-bridge over the Rhine 
in as short a time as possible. In 1868 he had per- 
formed the feat in eighteen minutes, and he hoped 
that with practice it would be accomplished in a yet 
shorter time, which, judging by our observations of 
such work, would be very possible. Means of cross- 
ing the river, therefore, would never be wanting, with 
all the rich collection of stores in Strasburg. But 
we must always ask, Of what use are bridges if there 
arc no troops to throw over them ? For these reasons 
it a])pears to ua that the blowing up of the railway 
bridge at Kchl was not a necessity; and we are — may 



we be pardoned for it-always grieved when a menu- 
ment of architecture is uselessly destroyed. 

On the 2d of August the Emperor Napoleon com- 
menced hostilities with a play which was the first 
act of the war so senselessly begun, and it is to be 
hoped will be the last of the French Csesarian Empire. 
The industrious town of Saarbrticken on the right, 
and the large suburb of St Johann on the left bank 
of the Saax, lie encradled in the narrow vaUey of this 
river, whose banks rise up rather steep both to the 
north and to the soutL The town is scarcely two 
and a half miles distant from the French frontier. 
The railway from Metz by St Avoid and Forbach 
crosses the Saar below Saarbrilcken, and joins on the 
right bank the line from Treves. The common rail- 
way station of these two lines lies to the north of the 
town. The heights are not considerable, but still the 
Kelsch Berg at Forbach is nearly 700 feet higher 
than the river at Saarbrilcken, and in addition to this, 
the small valleys which run into that of the Saar are 
all deep-cut and narrow. 

The town of Saarbrticken had provisionally only a 
very weak garrison — one battalion of the 40th Prus- 
sian infantry regiment (Hohenzollem fusilier regi- 
ment), and three squadrons of the 7th (Rhenish) 
Uhlan regiment. The whole detachment was under 
the command of Lieutenant-Colonel von Pestel, com- 
manding the 7th Uhlans. Opposed to these 1500 
Prussians stood the 2d French Corps, under General 



Frossard, which was concentrated mainly at St 
Avoid, having Bataille's division pushed forward on 
the heights of Spicheren. These lieights fall with 
rather steep slopes on the one side towards the Ger- 
man frontier, on the other side towards the Forhach 
Railway, and on them Bataille's di\'ision had in- 
trenched itself. To the left of Frossard's Corps, and 
not veiy far distant, was Bazaine's Corps, in the 
neighbourhood of Boulay. 

It can certainly never bo without danger that a 
detachment of 1500 men finds itaelf opposed quite 
alone to two hostile Corps numbering together 50,000 
men. The commander-in-chief of the German armies 
intended, therefore, to retire the Saarbriicken detach- 
ment; but the commander of it, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Pestel, remonstrated against this, and begged to be 
allowed to remain on his post, urging that the whole 
behaviour of the French showed that they were afraid ; 
and in truth the French press had magnified the small 
Prussian detachments on the Saar into a complete 
army. Lieutenant-Colonel Pestel received, in answer 
to his application, permission to remain in Saar- 
brUcken ; but at the same time two other battalions 
were pushed forward to Saarbriicken, and further in 
rear other troops, which in the meanwhile had been 
made mobile, were posted, in order to receive tho 
detachment from Saarbriicken, in case the French 
should really attack it. 

In order in some degree to allay the incrcusiug 


impatience of the French, the Emperor Napoleon 
ordered, on the Ist of August, that General Frossard 
should on the following day take possession of the 
heights on the left bank of the Saar opposite Saar- 
briicken. The Emperor himself intended to be pre- 
sent at the battle, and also to bring with him his son. 
Prince Louis, who was but fourteen years old, and 
who was to be taken into the' field to win his spurs 
imder the guidance of his Governor. General Bazaine 
was to make a demonstration on the same day 
against Wehrden with one division. 

On the morning of the 2d August, General Frossard 
marched his whole Corps on to the heights of Spich- 
eren. Bataille's division formed the first line; Bastoul's 
brigade on the right ; Pouget's on the left ; and on 
each wing of the division there was also a 12-pounder 
battery from the reserve of the Corps. Behind the 
right wing of Bataille's division was Laveaucoupet's 
division ; behind the left wing, Letellier's brigade 
from Verge's division. A detachment of one squad- 
ron and two battalions was to advance on the extreme 
left against Gersweiler, to seek to effect communica- 
tion with Bazaine. Bastoul's brigade was to take 
possession of the heights of St Amual (Darlen), oppo- 
site St Johann, and then turn to the westward against 
the exercising ground ; while Pouget's brigade, ad- 
vancing between the Forbach highroad and the For- 
bach Railway, was to attack the exercising ground in 


On the 1st of August the Prussian patrols had per- 
ceived a great movement in the French camp. On 
the morning of the 2d, Froasard'a Corps broke up its 
camp, and took up a position on the heights which 
extend on German territory between Stiring and St 
Amual, Upon receiving notice of this advance of 
the French, tliree compauiea of the garrison battalion 
of Saarbriickeu took up a position on the left bank 
of the Saar, on the heights of the exercising ground 
to the west of the town ; the fourth company re- 
mained in the town itself, and the two battalions 
which had been pushed forward as reinforcements on 
the right bank of the Saar. The two 12-pounder 
batteries which Froasard had brought forward, and 
the three batteries of Bataille's division, including 
the mitrailleuse battery, opened a heavy cannonade 
in the direction of Saarbriicken, without, however, 
doing any injury worth naming to the few Prussians 

It was 11 A.M. before Pouget's brigade advanced, 
with skirmishers thrown out, against the front of the 
exercising ground, and Bastoul's brigade against St 
Armial. The three Prussian companies also threw out 
skirmishers, and a lively tliough useless firing ensued, 
the French opening fire at enormous distances. After 
this musketry contest had lasted nearly an hour, Bas- 
toul's brigade appeared about noon on the left flank of 
the Prussians. These, never having had any intention 
of offering resistance, commenced their retreat, as soon 


as the French attack became earnest, quietly and in 
good order, through Saarbriicken, and on to the right 
bank of the Saar, and were in no way molested by 
their attackers, excepting by a few shells and mitrail- 
leuse-balls from guns which the. latter posted on the 
position they had taken up near the crest of the 
heights on the left bank of the Saar. The Prussians 
bivouacked that night at Puttlingen. Their loss in 
dead, wounded, and missing amounted to 2 officers 
and 73 men. The French must have lost at least as 

General Frossard sent to the Emperor a long official 
report of this fight at Saarbriicken— if a fight it must 
be called — the only official report, excepting that of 
M'Mahon's of the action at Worth, which exists on the 
French side of the battles and combats of this war. 
The private accounts— especially those in the French 
official newspapers — ^were superabundant ; the Prince 
Imperial, who after the fall of the curtain returned 
with his father to the Imperial headquarters in Metz, 
and the mitrailleuses, were the chief subjects of adora- 
tion. The former — the poor boy 1 — ^had shown the 
most wonderful courage and coolness; he had even 
made most remarkable military remarks^ such as, 
" The bullets whistle very much." In short, through 
him, and also in some small degree through the mi- 
trailleuses, the Napoleonic dynasty was, according to 
these accounts, firmly re-established on the battle-field 
of Saarbriicken. The mitrailleuses were reported to 



have worked miracles, and to have exterminated whole 
divisions of Prussians. 

And before a short week had passed, it was destined 
that it should become manifest to the whole French 
nation how all this was a swindle of the Empire, and 
nothing more. 



I • 



1 ■ 

i • 

I , 




On the same day on which the comedy at Saarbriicken 
was played by the French, or a day later, the concen- 
tration of the German armies was completed, and they 
could now advance southwards in compact masses 
against the French frontier. 

The Third Army, that of the Crown-Prince of Prus- 
sia, was to be engaged first. On the 3d of August 
the Crown-Prince, from his headquarters at Speyer, 
ordered the advance of his troops towards the Lauter, 
and away over this, to commence on the 4th of Au- 
gust. His army, which, on arrival at the Lauter, 
would have to extend along a front of about sixteen 
miles, was formed in four chief columns. 

1. The right wing was formed by the 2d Bavarian 
Corps (Hartmann's), the advanced-guard of which was 
formed by Bothmer's division. This was to march at 
once upon Weissenburg, and endeavour to seize the 
town. To cover its right flank it was to send a de- 
tachment towards BobcnthaL The remainder of Hart- 



raann's corps was to follow Bothmer's division by 
Bergzabern to Ober-Otterbach. 2. The second column, 
the 5th North German Corps, was to march on the left 
of the first by Nieder-Otterbach to Kapswcyer and 
Gross Stoinfeld ; its advanced-guard was to cross the 
Lauter below Weissenburg, and push forward outposts 
along the right bank of the river on the heights to- 
wards the town. 3, The third column, the 1 1th North 
German Corps, was to advance on the left of the second 
through the Bienwald, upon the BicnwaldsmiiUIe on 
the Lauter ; it was also to push forward its advanced- 
guard on to the right bank of the river. 4. The fourth 
column, lastly, the corps of Lieutenaut^General Wer- 
der, composed of the Baden division (Beyer) and the 
Wurt<?mberg division (Obernitz), was directed to 
advance, in the first place, along the left bank of the 
Rhine against Lauterburg, to occupy that point, and 
to place outposts on the right bank of the Lauter. 

These four chief columns of the first line were fol- 
lowed in the second line by the 4th division of cavalry 
(Prince Albrecht of Prussia), which was to advance 
by Billigheira and Babclroth, as far as the Otterbach, 
to the cast of Ober-Otterbach, and by the 1st Ba- 
varian Cor^js (Von der Tann), which, moving along 
the road from Germersheim to Weissenburg, was to 
bivouack on the evening of the 4th at Langeukandel. 
The Crown-Prince of Prussia intended to establish Ma 
headquarters at Nieder-Otterbach. The troops com- 
menced their march in accordance with these instruc- 


tions, and Bothmer's Bavarian division was the first 
to encounter the enemy at Wcissenburg. 

When in the last days of July and in the beginning 
of August the commanders of the French forces came 
to their senses, and began to say to themselves that 
perhaps the French army was not numerically strong 
enough to allow of its being uselessly scattered, Mar- 
shal M'Mahon was directed to cover his communica- 
tions with the 5 th Corps (De Failly) in such a way 
that he might not by any chance be cut off from it 
In accordance with these instructions, M'Mahon sent 
his 2d division, Abel Douay, >vith two regiments of 
cavalry, on to the line of the Lauter, and concentrated 
the remainder of his troops northwards towards Ha- 
genau. General Abel Douay occupied the town of 
Weissenburg with two battalions, detached a regiment 
with some cavalry towards Lauterburg, and encamped 
with the bulk of his division on the heights of the 
Geissbergs, to the south of Weissenburg, on the right 
bank of the Lauter. The outpost duty was rather 
indifierently performed. 

The town of Weissenburg, surrounded by a wall 
and ditch of the middle age, had long ceased to have 
any value as a fortress, although its enceinte had been 
strengthened by a few more modern earthworks. But 
it had always, until the year 1867, ranked as a for- 
tress of the second class, owing probably to ancient 
traditions, and then it was scratcbed off the list In 
military history it has considerable rnr 

VOL. I. 


central point of the ao - called Wcisaenbui'ger lines, 
which, during the Spanish Succession war, extended, 
in accordance with the cordon syatem which then 
prevailed, eastward to Lauterburg on the Rhine, and 
westward to the upper Miindat-Wald. These lines, 
which were at that time defended by the French 
Army of the Rhine, were attacked by the Austrian 
General Wurmser, who stormed them, and then took 
a position more to the southward on the Moder, to 
cover the siege of Landau. In December of the 
same year he was driven from his position on the 
Moder by Heche aud Pichegru, and compelled to 
abandon the line of the Lauter, after fighting a battle 
at Weissenburg on the 25th of December. ■ 

The advanced-guard of the Bavarian division. Both-" 
mer, encountered, to the southward of Sehweigen, 
opposition from the French garrison of Weissenburg, 
which contained, besides the infantry, sixteen guus 
served by men of the National Guard. General Douay 
immediately sent two battalions and a battery to the 
support of the troops on the right bank of the Lauter. 
Between the Bavarians at Sehweigen and the French 
in Weiaaenburg, there then ensued a battle of fire- 
arms which could not indeed have appeared to the 
latter to be very tlireat«ning. The Ci-owu-Prince of 
Prussia on his side, who had arrived at Sehweigen 
shortly after 8 A.M., did not deem it advisable to 
storm Weissenburg with the Bavarians. He puj 
waiting for the advance of the eoluraita which 



to cross the Lauter between Weisaenburg and Lauter- 

The weather was bad, and it rained. Towards 10 
A.M. the advanced-guard of the 5th Corps {1 7th brigade 
of infantry, Colonel von Bothmer, 58th and 59th 
regimente) had crossed the Lauter below Wcissen- 
burg, had taken possession of the Gutleutshof without 
much opposition, and was now forming up to attack 
the Geissberg. The 18th brigade. General Voigta- 
Bhetz (7th and 57th regiments), was ordered by 
General Kirchbach, the commander of the 5th Corps, 
as soon as he heard that the Bavarians were brought 
to a standstill before Weissenburg, to march upon 
Altenstadt below Weissenburg, cross the Lauter there, 
and with its right to join on to the 17th brigade. By 
about noon, the l7th and 18th brigades had marched 
up to the eastward of the Gieissberg, while artillery 
had advanced, and had begun a heavy cannonade 
against the batteries of Douay's division. Three bat- 
teries of the l7th and 18th brigades were sent on the 
south of the Lauter towards Weissenburg, to support 
the attack which the Bavarian division, Bothmer, was 
making &om the north against the town. 

The 1 1th North German Corps had crossed the 
Lauter near the Bienwald mill at about 10 A.M., and 
bad marched upon Scliluithal. When they heiinl 
the thunder of the cannon at Weissenburg, the uora- 
inaudcr. General ] 
from Scldeitlm 



pened at about 11 A.M. The artillery of tbe Corps 
was LQ front, followed ty the 4l8t brigade of infantry 
(Koblinski, 80th and 87th regiments). 

At noon the Bavarian division, Bothmer, from the 
north, and the three Prussian battalions, of which we 
before made mention, from the south, attacked at the 
same moment the town of Weissenburg, and took 
it after the artillery had battered in the strongly- 
barricaded gate. Shortly after 12 o'clock, after thtir 
artillery had for some time fired on the enemy's 
position, the 18th and 4l8t infantry brigades attacked 
the Geissberg. 

General Douay, who in the beginning had faced 
north, was compelled by the arrival of the 4lBt 
brigade, which threatened to take him in rear, to 
change his front. He had to swing back his right 
wing. The 18th Prussian Iirigade, the 7th regiment 
(Royal Grenadier Regiment) in front, mounted tho 
Geissberg from the east, from Gutlcnthof, under 
most violent cannon and musketry fire from 
French. At 1 o'clock they took the castle of Gei 
berg, which stands near the summit. At tlie mrm 
time the 4l8t brigade attacked the cuL'my on 
right fiank, so that their position became uutr 
They commenced tn retreat, mnking at 
offensive rally, but without hucc 
artillery and infantry on the Geissberg 
attempt impossible; but at II cvcttti 
thniat covered a little t 


the H 



Douay having fallen in the fight, did not take place 
in the best order. On the Prussian side the 4th and 
14th regiments of dragoons were sent in pursuit, 
and made some prisoners; but they could not reap 
the full fruit of their first advantage, as the French 
soon found refuge towards the south-west in the 

At least twenty battalions of the Germans — that is 
about 20,000 men — ^were actually engaged. Douay's 
division was scarcely 8000 strong, and it was, more- 
over, completely surprised by the German attack. 
Only the circumstance that Weissenburg was occupied 
and attacked before the Prussian columns could cross 
the Lauter, gave it time to form up. As, in spite of 
the great numerical superiority of the Germans, and 
of the circumstances which we have related, the 
battle lasted nevertheless three hours, and the French 
lost only one gun, which was surprised by the Prus- 
sian Rifles, no conclusion disadvantageous to the 
French as to the issue of the war can be drawn from 
the fight in itself. But it was certainly clear that 
the Germans woidd be able to bring on nearly every 
occasion a considerable numerical superiority on to 
the battle-field. 

The mitrailleuse battery of Douay's division was 
only in action for a short time; a Prussian shell 
struck its ammunition- waggon and blew it up, wound- 
ing a great number of the gunners, so that the bat- 
tery had to withdraw. The French carried ofi* with 



them the greater part of their wounded ; 
wounded priaoners they lost about 1000, among them 
30 officers. The greater part of these belonged to 
the garrison of Weissenburg. The German loss in . 
killed and wounded was estimated at about 800 men, \ 
among whom were 76 officers. The King's Grenadier 
Regiment alune had 10 officers killed and 1 2 wounded 
— together, 22 ; that is, much more than a third of its 
total number. The French loss in killed and wounded 
was probably not so great as that of the Germans, as 
the latter were obliged to attack difficult positions. 

The German troops who had been engaged in the 
fight encamped on the south side of the valley of tlie 
Lauter. The 2d Bavarian Corps was pushed on to 
Oberhofen and Steinselz ; the 4tb division of cavalry, 
in the course of the afternoon, to Weissenburg- Al ten-, 
stadt. General von Werder, with his Baden-Wiirtem- I 
berg Corps, crossed the Lauter at Lauterburg without* 
meeting any opposition, and pushed a brigade south-iT 
wards to Selz, at the same time connecting itself by 
outposts and patrols with the Corjts of General Bose. J 

On the 4th of August, Marshal M'Mahon had conJ 
centrated the greater part of hia Corps in the vicinity J 
of Hagenau. He himself, however, was still at Straa- J 
burg, where, at 4 p.m., he received by telegraph, f 
the intelligence of the attack of the Germans i 
Weissenburg, and afterwards of the defeat of Qcnei 
Douay. It appeared to him more urgent than ew 
to establish a better connection between his Ctw 


that of De Failly, and thereby with the main body of 
the French army, which waa pushed forward towards 
the Saar, and to cover to this end the passes of the 
Northern Vosgea, especially those by Niederbronn and 
Lichtenberg. But he did not intend to give up the 
western slopes of the Vosgea, and with them Alsace, 
without a struggle. In order to strengthen himself 
for this, he demanded from General Felix Douay, 
who was posted very uselessly at Belfort, any avail- 
able organised forces which he might have at hand. 
After he had received ao answer to his telegram say- 
ing that these troops would be sent by railway with 
all possible speed, he ha^itencd on the evening of the 
same day, the 4th of August, to Hagenau, and there 
resolved, after he had surveyed the ground, to take 
up a position on the right bank of the Sauer near 
Worth. The Sauer flows in the neighbourhood of 
Worth from north to south, and bends below Gun- 
stett from west to east, to flow through the plains of 
Alsace towards the Bhine. 

The remains of the beaten division of Abel Douay, 
which were now under the command of General Pell6, 
as well as the troops sent from Belfort, were ordered 
to assemble in this position. Intelligence of what 
had happened waa also sent to General de Failly, 
and he was requested to support the Ist Corps by 
Niederbronn. The position which Marshal M'Mnhon 
^ pf August was as follows : — 

left wing, the let 



division, Ducrot, with its right at Froschwciler, 
and its left, fronting Neuweilcr, resting on the ' 
great wood to the north of Reichshofcn ; in the 
centre the 3d division, Eaoult, with its left on the 
lieight before Frdschweiler opposite Gorsdorf, and 
its right wing at Elsaaahausen ; on the right wing 
the 4th division, De Lartigue, with its left in front 
of Ebcrbach in the Niedeiwald, and its light on the 
Eberbaeh at Morsbronn. 

In the second line : Abel Douay's division, now 
PelliS's, between Elaaashauaen and Reiehshofen ; Con- 
8cil Dumesnil's division, the 1st of the 7th Corps (Felix 
Douay), took up its position between Eberbaeh and 
Forstheim, behind the right wing of the first line, 
having only arrived by the railway at 6 a.m. In the ' 
second line also, and in reserve, were placed the cav- 1 
airy — Septeuil's brigade of Bonneniain's division I 
(from tlie cavalry reserve) and the Michel's brigade of 1 
cuirassiers (8th and 9th regiments). This last brigade, j 
with which the divisional general of cavalry, Duhesme, j 
was present, was posted behind Conseil DumesnU'Bl 
division between Forstheim and Griesbach. 

On the 5th of August the Crown-Prince of Prussia I 
pushed forward his army from their bivouack on thai 
Lautcr against the Sauer : the 2d Bavarian Corp»l 
through the Hochwald, between I.embach and Lam 
pertsloeh ; tlie 5th North German Corps to Preusch-^ 
dorf; tlie 11th to Sulz-uid-dcra-wald (Soulz 8on»« 
forfits) ; Werder's Corps to Aschbach ; the hcadquai 


ters were moved to Sulz ; while the 1st Bavarian Corps 
and the 4th division of cavaliy remained in reserve 
further in rear. 

The Crown-Prince of Prussia had no intention of 
offering battle on the 6th of August ; but as on the 
5th he continually received intelligence of M'Mahon's 
concentration on the right bank of the Sauer, he re- 
solved to push forward his aimy towards the left bank 
of that stream. Accordingly the 2d Bavarian Corps 
was ordered to advance upon Langensulzbach, the 
5th North German Corps on to the line from Gors- 
dorff to Gunstett, opposite Worth ; the 11th North 
German upon Holschloch and Surburg ; and Werder's 
Corps on Hohweiler and Reimersweiler. Behind 
this first line the 1st Bavarian Corps (Von der Tann) 
was to move forward to Preuschdorf, but th6 4th 
division of cavalry was to remain for the present in 
Schonenburg, where it had arrived on the 5th of 
August. The Crown-Prince of Prussia purposed also 
remaining during the 6th in his headquarters at Sulz. 

By the evening of the 5th of August, General 
Kirchbach, acting upon these instructions, had al- 
ready pushed forward the outposts of the 5 th Corps 
on to the heights on the left bank of the Saar, which 
overlook the stream opposite Worth and Gunstett; 
and early on the morning of the 6th of August, they 
and the advanced troops of the French divisions, 
£aoult and De Lartigue, began to fire on one another. 

The commander of the outposts of the 5th North 





German Corps hastened to the front, and it appeared 
to him as though his adversary only wished to cover 
his retreat through the firing. To certify himself of 
this, he caused a battalion of the Westphalian Fusilier 
Regiment, No. 37, to cross the Sauerbacb and advance 
against the Niederwald ; but this movement met 
with great opposition from the enemy, and the 
troops, fighting bravely, were soon engaged in a 
severe musketry combat. This firing at Elaasshausen 
in the Niederwald was heard the more plainly by the 
left wing as the artillery of the 5th Corps became 
engaged also, and this caused French artillery to be 
brought forward to reply to it. 

General von Schachtmcyer, commander of the 21st 
division of infantry belonging to the 11th Corps, who, 
according to the dispositions made, was marching on 
the morning of the 6th upon Holscbloch, heard, when 
in the neighbourhood of Weiler, the noise of cannon 
at Worth. Presently this subsided. Thereupon the 
31st division encamped at Holachloch, but sent out 
patrols, who returned with the intelligence that a 
small Prussian detachment of the 5th Corps occupied 
Gunstott, and that upon the other side of the Sauer- 
bach there was a French camp. 

And now the thunder of artillery began again in 
the direction of Worth. Schachtmcyer, following the 
good old maxim that a general in the neighbourhood 
of the enemy must march towards the sound of can- 
non, pushed forward bis advanced - guai'd towards 


Oberdorf and Gunstett, strengthened the garrison of 
the latter place, and sent his detachment of artillery 
forward towards it, which took up a position on the 
heights north-west of this place on the left bank 
of the Sauerbach. Behind this screen the bidk of 
Schachtmeyer s division then formed up also. Gene- 
ral von Kirchbach had also, at 8 o'clock, ordered the 
advanced troops of his Corps (the 5th) to light their 
fires, as no fight was intended on that day; but 
shortly afterwards the noise of the artillery from the 
south caused him also to renew the musketry fight, 
so that by 9 a.m. firing was going on along the whole 
line of the Sauerbach. 

At this time the 22d division, belonging also to the 
11th Corps, arrived at Surburg, and its commander, 
General Gersdorfi*, was at once informed of the march 
of the 21st division on Gunstett. Directly afterwards, 
the chief of the 11th Corps, General Bose, came up, 
and he at once ordered the 22d division to advance. 
The division, therefore, with the 43d brigade of in- 
fantry, Kontzki, and the artillery in front, moved south- 
wards from the Gunstetter Niederwald upon Gunstett 
to deploy on the left of the 21st division; but it only 
arrived, as we shall see, at mid-day in Gunstett, and 
the reserve of artillery of the 11th Corps at 1 p.m. 

When General von Werder at Reimersweiler heard 
of the removal of the 22d division, he pushed forward 
the cavalry brigade of General Sch^ler and the infan- 
try brigade of StarkloflF, belonging to Obemitz's Wur- 




tarabcrg division, by Surburg on Gunstett. The in- 
fantry brigade left their knapsaeka behind. As can be 
easily understood, these troops arrived even later than 
the 22d division on the field of battle. 

The Crown -Prince of Prussia, hearing, in the 
course of the aft«moon, of those events on the Siiuer, 
changed his first intention of not offering battle on 
this day, and resolved now to push all his troops 
forward into the line. Accordingly, at 12.15 p.m., 
General von Werder received the order to move for- 
ward on Gunstett the remainder of Obernitz's divi- 
sion, Hiigel's brigade of infantry, and Beyer's Baden 
division. Only one regiment was to remain to guard 
the headquartei-s on the south of Sulz. The above- 
named troops of Werder's Corps mai'ched in this 
order — Hiigel's brigade, the artillery of the Corps, 
and then Beyer's division from Peimersweiler and 
Hohweiler, through the Gimstettcr Niederwald to- 
wards Gunstett. At the same time the 2d Bavarian 
Corps and the 11th Corps received the order to con- 
tinue the fight, and General von der Tann was 
directed to hasten the march of the 1st Bavarian 
Corps on Preuschdorf. 

We have now seen how the fight was commenced 
and carried on on the part of the headquarters of the 
Third Army— how of the various bodies of troops 
some were engaged, and others were set in motion 
for that purpose. By the force of circumstances, and 
in pursuance of the orders, the army was distributed , 


as follows : On the right wing stood the 2d Bavarian 
Corps, in a long line and in a wooded district, having 
only a small number of the enemy in their front ; in 
the centre, from Gorsdorf to Spachbach, was the 5th 
Corps, opposed to the left wing of M*Mahon ; on the 
left of the Germans there would be concentrated in 
time a mass of two full Corps upon a small front at 
Gunstett, to the south of Spachbach ; as a general 
reserve in the centre would be the 1st Bavarian Corps 
as soon as it should arrive at Preuschdorf. 

We will now follow the movements of the 5th 
Prussian Corps, and then those of the 11th, until 
about 2 P.M. 

Shortly after 8 a.m. General Kirchbach had re- 
newed the combat, and determined at once to direct 
his attack upon Worth, instead of keeping up an 
uncertain fire at long ranges. To this end he ordered 
the reserve artillery of his Corps, as well as the artil- 
lery of the advanced-guard, to take ground to the 
eastward of Worth, and to open at once upon the 
left wing of Raoult's French division. Behind his 
artiUery he formed in first line on the road from 
Preuschdorf the 10th division, Schmidt ; in the 
second line the 9th division, Sandrart. M'Mahon 
caused the right wing of the 1st division to advance 
from Froschweiler to prolong the position of the 3d 
division, and to protect it from being outflanked — a 
manoeuvre which, as it was suspected, was intended 
by the Qen 




By 10 A.M. Kii'clibach had in action against Worth 
14 batteries (84 guua). These kept up a heavy fire 
until 11 A.M., and there can be no doubt that the 
effect of this cannonade upon the French positions 
was very great. And just at tliia time the news was 
received from the llth Corps that it also had already 
achieved great successes. Kii'chbach therefore ordered 
his atlvanced - guard to storm Worth, and having 
taken it, to establish itself upon the heights on the 
right bank of the Sauerbach. The 20th brigade of 
infantry, Walther von Monbaiy, advanced to the 
attack, took Worth at about 12.30 p.m., after a most 
obstinate fight, in which the French General Raoult 
feU, and supported soon afterwards by the 19th bri- 
gade, Henning, took up a position on the crest of the 
lieights which form the right side of the valley of the 
Sauer. Of the second line the 18th brigade, Voigts- 
Rhetz, was pushed forward to Spachbach and Elsass- 
hausen. The 1st and 3d French divisions retire J 
along the line Froschweiler-Elsasshausen. 

While General Kirchbach was occupied with the 
execution of this last-mentioned manosuvre, he re- 
ceived the general order which the Crown- Prince had 
issued. He immediately resolved upon an advance 
of his whole Corps against Froschweilcr ; communi- 
cated, however, before ho commenced the movement, 
his intention tu General liose, and entreated him to 
push forward at the same time against the enemy's 
right flank. This the General promised to do. 


Schachtmeyer's divisioii of the 1 1th Corps did not 
confine itself to carrying on an artillery fire ; it endea- 
voured also to gain ground on the other side of the 
Sauerbach ; and for this purpose a battalion of the 
87th regiment was sent forward into the Elsasshausen 
Niederwald. At the same time Schachtmeyer ordered 
two battalions to advance against Gunstett, and three 
others over the ground between that place and Ober- 

Lartigue's division of M'Mahon's Corps had con- 
centrated its three batteries, the mitrailleuse battery 
included, on the heights by Albrechtshauser Hof 
(Lansberg) against the batteries of Schachtmeyer's 
division. In addition two batteries were brought for- 
ward to the eastward of Elsasshausen to fire upon the 
Prussian columns advancing by Oberdorf. Against 
these last-mentioned guns the fire of the left wing of 
the artillery of the 5th Prussian Corps was directed 
from the heights between Dieffenbach and Spachbach. 

At 10.30 A.M. General Lartigue ordered a brigade 
of his division to advance from Morsbronn against 
Gunstett. Its onset was repulsed by the Prussians. 
But meanwhile the division of ConseU DumesnU had 
deployed behind it to renew the attack. At 11 a.m. 
General Bose, commander of the 11th Corps, arrived 
at Schachtmeyer 's division, and announced that 
GersdorfTs division of the Corps was marching up. 
At 11 A.M. the attack by Dumesnil's division and by 
the part of Lartigue's upon Gunstett took place. 


The French pushed forward into the village, but were 
repulsed by Schachtmeyer's division, which had been 
strengthened by the arrival of the 11th battalion of 

At 12 noon GersdorflF's division arrived at Gunstett 
and advanced on the south of the village in the direc- 
tion of Eberbach. A quarter of an hour later the 
reserve artillery of the Corps came up. General 
Bose, then, having meanwhile received information 
of the energetic advance of Kirchbach against Worth, 
and having been entreated by him to operate against 
the right flank of the French, ordered the bulk of his 
force (two brigades), under General Thile, to cross the 
Sauerbach and move upon Elsasshausen, covered by 
the fire of part of his artillery, which remained in 
position to the north of Gunstett. 

Whilst at 1 P.M. General Bose's Corps was cross- 
ing the Sauer, the WUrtemberg brigades, Sehdler and 
Starkloff*, came up on his left wing, and secured liim 
here also against a flank attack. At the same time 
General Bose received an order from the Crown- 
Prince, in consequence of which he inclined to liis 
right, and directed his troops upon Wcirtli. 

At 1.30 P.M. Schachtmeyer's division, the 21st, 
followed by the Wurtembergers on the right, the 22d 
division, Gersdorff*, on the left wing, advanced from 
south to north through the Elsasshauser Nioderwald, 
and the Eberbachthal against Elsassliauscn, which 
was set fire to and taken at about 2 p.m. 


Portions of Lartigue's and Dumesnil s division had 
been already beaten to the southwards by the attack 
of the 11th Corps. From Froschweiler M'Mahon had 
made desperate efforts to regain connection with his 
right wing; whilst Nausouty's brigade of lancers, 
and especially Michel's brigade of cuirassiers (8 th 
and 9th regiments), charged with the wildest fury the 
Prussians and Wurtembergers advancing by Elsass- 
hausen. The two regiments of cuirassiers were so 
nearly annihilated by the Prussian infantry, and by 
the artillery supporting them, that only melancholy 
ruins, barely 150 men, remained of these superb 

Now the Germans advanced without halt upon 
Froschweiler, the 11th Corps from the south and 
parts of the 5th from the east, and at 3.30 p.m. it 
was taken. The fight at Elsasshausen, and between 
Elsasshausen and Froschweiler, had cost painful sac- 
rifices. On the German side General Bose was twice 
wounded, so that he had to resign the command to 
General GersdorflF; and on the French side General 
Colson, Chief of M'Mahon's Staff, fell. 

M'Mahon was forced to commence his retreat. In 
regard to direction he had no choice. He was com- 
pelled to retire by Reichshofen upon Niederbronn, 
where he was received by Guyot de Lespart's division, 
which De Failly had sent forward from Bitche. The 
Germans, wearied by the furious fighting, could not 
carry out a vigorous pursuit, and thus M'Mahon was 

VOL. I. R 


enabled to gain Zabern (Saverne), on the east foot of 
the Vosgea, with the 15,000 men of his centre and 
left wing whom he had held together. The German 
horsemen who followed the Frenchmen in pursuit 
conaiated of the Wurtemberg brigade of cavalry 
(Seh^ler), of the 14th North German regiment of 
hussars, and of the 1 4th regiment of dragoons. The 
first of these captured, to the south of Reichshofen, 
some guns and stores, and made numerous prisoners. 

After the battle, the 5th Corps bivouacked at 
Froachweiler. Of tlie 11th Corps, Sehachtraeyer'a 
division between Elsasshausen and Worth ; Gcrs- 
dorfTs division on the Eberbach, to the south of 
Elsasshausen. The Wurtembergers encamped partly 
by Elsasshausen, partly by Eberbach ; the Baden 
Division by Gunstett ; the Wurtemberg cavalry by 
Reichshofen ; the Baden cavalry brigade. La Roche, 
was sent forward towards the Hagenau wood. 

The number of M'Mahon's forces engaged is said 
to be only 35,000 ; the German troops who really 
came into action were about 75,000 infantry and 
cavalry. The losses on both sides were very con- 
siderable. The troops of M'Mahon's which had been 
forced away from him joined him again, some on the 
cast foot of the Voages, others later on, while others, 
again, retreated to Strasburg. The Germans took 
4000 unwounded prisoners, 36 guns, among which 
were 6 mitrailleuses, and 2 eagles. 








On the same day on wliich the left wing of the Ger- 
mans won the battle of Worth and routed the troops 
of M*Mahon, their right wing also was destined to 
gain a victory, and to bring into disorder another 
French Corps, that of General Frossard. 

The First Army was advancing upon the Saar. It 
was determined that the advanced-guards should be 
pushed forward as far as the river by the 6th of 
August, without, however, any expectation or inten- 
tion of giving battle. 

The 7th Corps, Zastrow, was on the right ; the 8th, 
Goeben, on the left. Of the 7th Corps, the 13th 
division, GlUmer, was directed on the 6th of August 
upon Puttlingen, and its outposts were to be advanced 
as far as the Saar, below Saarbrlicken, to Volklingen 
and Rockershausen ; the 1 4th division, Kameke, was 
to move upon Guchenbach, and push forward out- 
posts as far as Saarbriicken itself, and to the west of 
it to Louisenthal. The main body of the Corps was 
not to reach the Saar until the 7th of August Of the 


8th Corps, the 16 th division arrived at 6 a.m. on the 
6th at Fischbach, five miles to the north of Saar- 
brlicken, and the 15th in rear of it to IIolz. The 
extreme right of the Second Army, Prince Frederic 
Charles, consisting of the 3d Corps, Alvensleben, and 
of the 3d division of cavalry, Rheinbaben, debouched 
from the Western Palatinate, and advanced also in 
the direction of Saarbriicken. The outposts of the 
3d Corps were to reach this town on the 6th ; Rheinba- 
ben's division of cavalry had in part already arrived 
there on the 5th August ; the 5th division of infantry, 
StUlpnagel, was to encamp five miks to the north of 
Saarbriicken; the 6th, Buddenbrock, around Neun- 
kirchen, a good twelve miles from the former town. 

Early on the morning of the 6th of August, Gene- 
ral Kameke received intelligence from Rheinbaben's 
division that the French had quitted the exercisincr 
ground of Saarbriicken, and retired upon the heights 
of Spicheren, and that even the position there seemed 
to be only taken up with a view of covering a further 
retreat, assisted by the railway. Somewhat later on. 
General Zastrow, who was on the march from Lebach 
to Dilsburg, heard the same news — in the first place 
directly, and afterwards from General Kameke. 

This last-named general now determined to attack 
and drive in the rear-guard of the enemy. To this 
end he ordered liis division to advance upon Saar- 
briicken, and hurried on himself to the advanced- 
guard, where he arrived about 11 a.m., and then 

Battle of saarbrucken, 6th of august. 261 

forthwith caused Rheinbaben's division of cavalry to 
march through Saarbrucken, and the infantry of the 
advanced-guard of the 1 4th division to follow it. 

In reality, General Frossard was intending to eva- 
cuate the position Spicheren - Forbach. Since the 
first news of the battle of Weissenburg, great confu- 
sion had prevailed at the French headquarters On 
the one hand, it was admitted that De Failly should 
endeavour to keep up his communication with 
M*Mahon, while this last was drawn in towards him, 
and that Frossard also should seek to reach the hand 
to De Failly over Saargemtind ; on the other hand, it 
was held that great advantage would be gained by a 
blow against the Prussian fortress Saarlouis. The 
Corps-commanders, who were thus swayed hither and 
thither, cannot be much blamed. The misfortune 
was that France had undertaken this war without 
any consideration, and with most insufficient forces. 
General de Failly was to support M'Mahon on his 
right, to seek to join communications on his left with 
Frossard, and during all this was to still maintain 
his position at Bitche. General Frossard waa to keep 
up his connection with De Failly, cover the space 
between Bitche and St Avoid, and also have troops 
disposable to support an expedition against Saarlouis. 
How could all these things be done at one and the 
same time with 30,000 men ? 

On the 6th of August Frossard was about to send 
a strong detachment to Saargemtind ; Verge's division 


was to remain for the present on the Spicheren heights; 
the remainder were to fall back to St Avoid, to be 
ready to act from that place against Saarlouis, in 
conjunction with Bazaine, Ladmirault, and the Guard. 
Soon after 1 1 o'clock in the forenoon, the main body 
of Kameke's division reached the right bank of the 
Saar at Saarbriicken, and was then immediately 
ordered to cross the stream and follow the advanced- 
guard, which had abeady occupied the exercising 
ground, and was now engaged in an artillery combat 
with the troops on the heights of Spicheren. In com- 
pliance with these instructions, therefore, Kameke 
now advanced his troops along both sides of the road 
from Saarbrucken to Forbach against this latter town 
and the heights. 

Frossard meanwhile had already withdrawn his 
headquarters from "the Golden Bream,'' close to the 
Prussian frontier, to Forbach, and his troops were pre- 
paring to depart. But as soon as he was instructed of 
the state of affairs, he countermanded this order, and 
caused his forces to form front towards the Germans, 
at the same time informing Bazaine, who was the 
nearest to him, of what was taking place. This 
change was quickly effected. Frossard's Corps soon 
occupied the heights of Spicheren, and those of 
Stiring to the west of them, and thus it came to pass 
that Kameke's division encoimtered a very serious 

We have already seen how General Zastrow had 


acquired by his own observation a knowledge of the 
events which were passing. As soon as this was 
confirmed by reports from Kameke, he, at about 
1 P.M., ordered the whole of Glumer's division to 
advance upon the Saar at Wehrden and Volklingen, 
to push forward its advanced - guard towards For- 
bach and Ludweiler, and obtain information of the 
intentions of the enemy ; the main body of Kameke's 
division, which, as we have related, had already been 
for a long time engaged, was to push forward to the 
Baar at Rokershausen, and the reserve artiUery of the 
Corps to Puttlingen. As soon as he received this 
order, Gliimer at once marched oflF his division. Its 
advanced-guard came at 2.30 p.m. to Volklingen ; the 
main body started at 3 p.m. from Puttlingen for the 
same place — nearly three and a half miles — being 
still ignorant of what was occurring at Saarbrlicken, 
as between them and it there was a thickly- wooded 
hilly district, and the direction of the wind was not 
such as to carry to them the noise of the cannon. 
Troops who stood further to the east heard it, and 
they at once marched towards it. 

At first these troops were composed only of the 
16th division of the 8th Corps. Its commander, 
General Bamekow, at once sent forwatrd his ad- 
vanced-guard to Saarbrlicken, and arrived at 3 p.m. 
to the south of the town with the 40th regiment of 
infantry and three squadrons of the 9th regiment 
of hussars. The van of the advanced-guard of the 



3d Corps — the 9th brigade of infantry, Doring — had I 
arrived in the forenoon to the east of Saarbriieken. 
In a reconnaissance which he made on the south of J 
the Saar, General Doring remarked soon after 11 
A.M. that Prussian troops^the 14th division — were ' 
engaged about the Spicheren hills. He at once sent ] 
the two battalions and one squadron which he had 
with him to the south of the Saar to support them, 
and moreover gave orders to advance to all the troops ] 
of his brigade, which was at Duttweiler, three and a I 
half miles to the north of the Saar, at the same time 
informing the chief of the 3d Corps, General von 
Alvensleben, of his proceedings. Alvenslcben received I 
the report at about 2 p.m., and at once set in motion 
all the troops of his Corps who could by any possible 
means be yet brought on to the field of battle. 

To this end the r2th regiment of infantry of the ' 
10th brigade was to leave Neunkirchen, where it 
happened to be, by railway for St Johann ; the 52d 
regiment of infantry of the same brigade was directed 
to march from St Ingbert to Saarbriieken ; the 20th 
regiment of infantry of the 11th brigade (6th divi- 
sion) was to place itself on the railway at St Wendel 
to hasten to the field of battle ; and the reserve artil- 
lery of the Corps, which was at Ottwciler, received the 
order to march to Saarbriieken. 

But with all this, Kamcke'a division was, until 
3 P.M., only supported by Rheinbaben's division of 
cavalry. Fighting thus alone, Kameke directed the 


28 th brigade of infantry, Woyna, against Frossard's 
left wing, against Stiring, and the western parts of the 
Spicheren heights ; the 27th brigade of infantry, 
Franjois, he sent to the left to ascend the steep slopes 
to the east of the road from Saarbrticken to Spicheren, 
and caused the artillery to take post on the Folster 
Hohe, and on the Galgenberg in front of Spicheren. 
In the hollow to the north of the Galgenberg and 
of the Drathzug, he placed the cavalry of the 14th 
division, the 15th regiment of hussars, which had 
been joined by the 11th regiment of hussars of 
Rheinbaben's division ; whilst in the bottom between 
the Winterberg and the Spicheren hills more horsemen 
of the same division formed up. On his right wing 
Kameke, with the 28th brigade, gained ground, and 
gradually, though with considerable losfif, obtained 
possession of the wood between the Drathzug and 
Stiring. On the left wing the state of aflfairs was 
worse : there the attack on the Spicheren wood could 
not be carried through, and there fell the gallant 
commander of the 27th infantry brigade, General 

Such was the state of things when, at 3 p.m., the 
first troops of the 8th Corps appeared on the battle- 
field : first of all the 40th regiment; and the first 
troops of the 3d Corps — ^namely, Doring's brigade— on 
the Winterberg. Shortly after this General Goeben 
came up and took command. Without delay he sent 
the 40th regiment to support the 27th brigade of 


infantry, to whose left wing it annexed itself; whilst 
on its left the troops of the 3d Corps as they arrived 
came into action ; the first of these was Boring's 
brigade. When at 3 p,m. these troops reached him, 
General Kameke had no reserve of infantry left ; 
the only troops which he held in hand were his regi- 
meut of hussars and the artillery on the Galgenberg, 
which had been reinforced by two batteries of the 
16th division, Barnekow. Before this he had, when 
completely engaged, sent a report to General Zastrow, 
in which he had represented the affair as favourably 
as possible, aayiug that the infantry of his division 
was engaged in a violent encounter, but was gaining j 
ground, and that the French batteries were withdraw-' 
ing from the Spichereu hills. 

Zastrow received this intelligence at 3 p.m., and ] 
judged it expedient to repair himself to Saarbriieken ; 
but before he reached it he heard cannon thundering 
there, and despatched an officer to General Gliimer 
to inform him of what was going on. At 4.30 p.m. 
he arrived on the Galgenberg to the southward of 
Saarbriieken, and Goeben, as junior officer, gave over j 
the command to him. At 5 p.m. Alvensleben camo I 
up, having already directed all his disposable troopa 
in the direction of Darlcn against the Spichereu 
wood, and through this against Frossard'a right wing. 
After much fighting the wood was finally taken; and 
although the French, reinforced on their left by a 
division of Buzuitic's Corps, again and again assumed 


the offensive, they could not succeed in piercing 

But, on the other hand, the Germans, having won 
the wood, could not emerge from it. Before ground 
could be gained on the open plateau, it was indis- 
pensable to have artillery on the heights, and at last 
two batteries of the 5th division succeeded in climb- 
ing the steep slopes of the Spicheren hills. These, 
united to the infantry, kept the French in check, so 
that their right wing could no longer undertake any 
forward movement. 

Under these circumstances. General Zastrow ordered 
an offensive blow to be struck against the French left 
wing, which was posted on the Kreuzberg. The 
troops of the 3d Corps who had already come up 
formed a strong reserve of infantry ; therefore at 6 
P.M. six battalions and two batteries of the 5th divi- 
sion of infantry were ordered to make ready to assume 
the offensive. But before they could advance, the 
French left wing itself made, at 6.30 p.m., a counter- 
movement of attack. This was in so far advantageous 
to the Germans, as it brought their adversaries under 
the fire of their artillery. After this had played on 
them for some time, the Prussian infantry attacked, 
and after a short encounter threw the left wing of the 
French back towards Spicheren and Alsting. 

With this the fate of the day was decided at 7 p.m. 
The French massed their artillery on the heights by 
Kerbach, to the south of the field of battle, to cover 



their retreat, and a few regiments now and again 
made offensive rallies; but these had no effect further 
than to limit somewhat the pursuit of the Prussians. 
By 8.30 P.M. the fighting had entirely ceased, and 
FroBsard'a Corps retired in no very good order. The 
head of the 13th division also assisted to disturb thia 
retreat. Its advanced-guard had, as we have seen, 
arrived at Volklingen at 2.30 p.m., without suspecting 
anything of the fight about the ^Spicheren heights. 
At 5 P.M. an officer sent by Zastrow arrived there, 
and the advanced-guard, two battalions, at once set 
out by Ludweiler and RoHseln towards Forbach, where 
it appeared after darkness had set in. The two battal- 
ions were very tired, and it did not seem advisable to 
attempt a night attack with them. But the French 
discovered them, and taking them to be certainly 
a whole Corps, immediately evacuated in all haste 
the town of Forbach, which they still held. The line 
of retreat of Frossard's Corps ran first by Puttelange, 
southwards (for the PruBsians pushed forwards upon 
both sides of the road from Forbach to St Avoid), 
80 that for some days after the battle nothing was 
known in the headquarters at Metz of its where- 

In the evening the 16th division also came up in 
reserve at SaarbrUcken, and the commander of the 
First Army, General Steinmetz, who arrived at the 
same time, placed it at the disposition of General 
Zastrow, who, however, did not avail himself of it. 



The Prussians had in action 27 battalions, there- 
fore about 27,000 men: Frossard's Corps was of 
about the same strength; and if, in addition, we 
reckon one of Bazaine's divisions, which, however, 
did very little, the numerical superiority was this 
time on the side of the French. The long-contested 
victory of the Prussians becomes thus of more signi- 
ficance, especially as they were the attackers, and the 
French held a position naturally exceedingly strong, 
and rendered more so by shelter-trenches {tranchSes- 

The losses of the Prussians were great. The 5th 
division alone had about 2000 men killed and 
wounded, of which 239 were killed. The loss of the 
1 4th division was certainly not less ; the 40th regi- 
ment had also suffered considerably, — so that the total 
number would be at the very least 4000. Among 
the killed was General von Franjois ; and among the 
severely wounded. Colonel von Renter, conmianding 
the 12th regiment of infantry. The French must 
have lost as many in killed and wounded as the 
Germans ; and in addition 2000 unwounded prisoners 
were taken. The Germans captured also a pontoon- 
train, many pro vision- waggons, a magazine in Forbach, 
and the camp of Verge's division, which originally 
held the heights of Spicheren. 

The 6th of August was a day of great triumph for 
the German arms, for two French Corps were defeated 
and placed for some time hors de combat Parts of 


Others — namely, of the 7th and 3d Corps — were also 
more or less cut up. The masses of the three Grerman 
armies could now unite unhindered on the west foot 
of the Vosges, and fall with their collected forces on 
the remaining French Corps. 

Before we continue our narrative of the progress of 
hostilities we must turn our glance upon Paris, and 
consider the political changes which took place there 
in consequence of the events at the seat of war, and 
which again in their turn influenced the course of the 




On the day of the great battles of Forbach and of Worth, 
a despatch was posted up on the Paris Bourse announce 
ing a great victory by the French. Its contents were 
to the effect that the army of the Crown-Prince was as 
good as annihilated. It was an Exchange manoeuvre ; 
but the news spread with lightning speed through 
Paris, and the Parisians gladly gave credence to an ac- 
count of that which they so greatly desired. The city 
was speedily decked with " tricolor " flags, and prepara- 
tions were made for an illumination in the evening. 

But ere long a rumour became current that that 
intelligence on the Bourse was false, merely an Ex- 
change manoeuvre ; and suddenly to this was added 
a report that even some of the Ministers themselves 
were privy to the deception, and had based a specu- 
lation upon it. Hereupon universal indignation was 
aroused, disquietude and a panic ensued upon the 
Bourse, and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon crowds 
mobbed the Palace of the President of the Ministry, 
demanding the official news which he had received. 


Ollivier only returned at half-past 3 o'clock from St 
Cloud, whither be had repaired on the first arrival of 
the news of the battle of "Weisseuburg, the only mis- 
fortune of which he had as yet heard, in order to have 
an interview with the Empress Regent. With great 
difficulty he succeeded in entering his house through 
the dense masses of people, and then he harangued 
the crowd from the balcony amid frequent interrup- 
tions. He asserted that the Ministry immediately 
communicated to the journals all the official informa- 
tion that it received. The notice on the Bourse waa 
a vile manceuvre, the originator of which should bo 1 
discovered, while at the same time every measure J 
should be taken to prevent the like liappening again. 
To close the Bourse, as was demanded, he was unable 
— at least without previously consulting the Ministry. ' 
The true news from the theatre of war was, that a i 
single division of from 6000 to 7000 men had been i 
beaten after it had heroically defended itself against I 
two Prussian Army Corps. But Marshal M'Mahon I 
had taken up a position to revenge the momentary * 
advantage which the enemy only owed to his great J 
superiority in numbers. Should any fresh intelligence J 
arrive, good or bad, it should be forthwith made-v 
known to the Parisians. " Have confidence in us," I 
concluded Ollivier, " as we have confidence in you. J 
While our brothers are fighting on the frontier, let ua I 
have sufficient command over ourselves to support i 
them by our patience. Let us unite in one common -j 


shout, Vive la Patrie ! Yes, let us unite in the 
single cry, Vive la France ! " 

The Parisians are good-natured. After this dis- 
course the crowd slowly separated, but not altogether 
freed from their depression and indignation by the 
speech of OUivier. 

On the 7th of August the bad news arrived of the 
affairs of Worth and of Forbach. The Emperor tele- 
graphed from Metz that, if the army was to maintain 
itself there, Paris and France must resolve upon great 
patriotic efforts. The Empress hurried up from St 
Cloud. The Government, which had on the 6th 
already determined to reassemble the Chambers on 
the 11th of August, now changed the date to the 9th. 
This they announced to the Parisians in a proclama- 
tion in which they appealed to the power and patriot- 
ism of all. Two remarkable events followed. In the 
first place, all the newspapers became filled with in- 
dignation because the Germans had invaded France, 
although the majority of them had declared the inva- 
sion of Germany by the French to be a matter of 
course ; and secondly, every one now predicted that 
Paris would be besieged in the very shortest time, 
which certainly was by no means a necessary result 
of three lost battles. 

On the 7th of August the provisional Minister of 
War, General Dejean, brought forward a decree in 
three articles, which ran thus : — 

1. All capable citizens between 30 and 40 years of 
VOL. I. s 


age, who did not already belong to the Sedentary 
National Guard, are incorporated into it. 

2. The National Guard of Paris is to be employed 
in the defence of the capital, and in placing its works 
in a fit 3tate for defence. 

3. The project of a law will be proposed having 
for its end to incorporate into the Mobile National 
Guard all citizens below 30 years of age not at pre- 
sent belonging to it. 

The necessity for this decree was argued in a long 
report, of the contents of which we give a short snm- 
mary, in order to explain a few of its points. 

The present circumstances, said the Minister of 
War, necessitate two things —that the defence of Paris 
be taken into consideration, and that new field troops 
be created to unite with those still at the disposal of 
the Emperor. The outer forts of Paris have already 
for some time had the armament necessary for their 
security and the completion of it, so that it may be 
ready for any emergency, and also the arming of the 
main enceinte has been commenced. New defensive 
works are projected, and their execution will be taken 
in hand on the 8th of August : 40,000 men of the 
National Guard will assist in placing the guns on the 
fortifications, and then in manning the lines; these, to- 
gether with the present garrison, will be sufficient to 
carry out an active, enterprising defence. Tlic new field 
army will be created (a) out of marine troops ; (t) out 
of the yet disposfible regiments in Algiers and France ; 


(c) out of the marching battalions (4th battalions) of 
the 100 regiments of infantry, which battalions will be 
increased to a strength of 900 men each by incorpo- 
rating with them men of the Mobile Guard ; (d) by 
organising a portion of the gendarmes as elite troops — 
these elements give together, without cavalry, artillery, 
and engineers, 150,000 men ; {e) to these come in ad- 
dition 60,000 young conscripts of the class of 1869, 
which enter the depots between the 8th and 12th of 
August, and in one month can be converted into good 
soldiers ; (/) for the field army can be reckoned the 
Mobile Guard and the Franctireurs, who number to- 
gether 400,000 men. Here we have, therefore, not less 
than 610,000 men wherewith to reinforce the field 
army. Finally, the Sedentary National Guard must not 
be forgotten ; so that taking all in all, France has two 
millions of defenders, for which number arms are forth- 
coming — so General Dejean asserted; and not for them 
only, for, said he, after all these men are supplied, 
there will remain even then a million stands in reserve. 
A careful inspection of this report prevents any 
wonder being felt at the singular mixture of dejected- 
ness, indifference, and presumption which prevailed 
generally throughout the French nation after the 6th of 
August ; for when the Minister of War on the one hand 
assumes that the Germans can arrive before Paris very 
shortly, and on the other hand asserts that he can array 
two million combatants, 90 per cent of whom, roughly 
calculated, must be organised from the very outset — 



while, according to the supposition, the eastern and 
northern provinces, the real soldier provinces of FraneCj 
are overrun by the enemy, — when this is possible, what 
perception can be expected from citizen or peasant ? 

The marine troops, by whom the field army on land 
was to be reinforced, were originally destined for the 
great expedition on the shores of the Baltic and North 
Sea, but had been, nevertheless, for the most part kept 
back in the seaport towns. Their employment in 
the above expedition was now totally abandoned, and 
they were sent into the interior of the country, espe- 
cially into the Camp of Chalons, where we shall find 
them later on. 

The establishment of the 4th battalions of the regi- 
ments of infantry had been ordered by a decree oi 
the 20th of July. Each of the 100 regiments had, a£ 
we before related, 24 companies. Each regiment woe 
now to be increased by 2 companies, while the 
companies themselves were to be numerically strength- 
ened by calling in men on furlough, reserves, and the 
meu of the second portion — thus every regiment 
would have a strength of 26 companies ; so that after 
the departure of the 3 field battalions of 6 companies 
each, 8 companies would still remain, of which 
4 were now to form the field, and the other 4 the 
depot battalion. All the men of the Reserve and 
of the second portion were to report themselves at 
the departmental dejiots before the 23d of July. But 
this really required much more time for its execution ; 


a great portion remained at first absent, and then the 
work followed of distributing them and despatching 
them to their regiments, many of which were already 
on the frontier. Moreover, battalions of 900 men, 
especially of only 4 companies, each of which, there- 
fore, numbered 225 men, were quite unknown in 
France ; and to establish the cadres of them was a 
task of great difficulty. 

If, again, a great part of the gendarmerie was 
taken from the departments to organise it for active 
work, the service of the public security must, accord- 
ing to the principles of the Empire, sufi'er greatly — 
and this exactly in a time of confusion, when it must 
seem to be most necessary to maintain it intact. 
Recruiting would also perhaps be affected prejudi- 
cially, as the gendarmes were much employed in 
getting together the conscripta Similar things may 
be said also of other military formations which were 
adopted later on, of subordinate employes of the ad- 
ministration — custom-house men, wood-rangers, &c. 

Further, how in an army in which the rule holds 
good that the soldier must remain four years with the 
colours, and that even the second portion must be 
exercised for five months, could the young conscripts 
of 1869 be suddenly transformed in one month into 
perfect soldiers? Where were the good, especially 
good, officers to be found who were to drill and 
discipline these and the following new formations? 
Whence were to come the 400,000 men of the Mobile 


Guard, especially if the eastern and northern depart- 
ments were threatened or overrun by the enemy ? 
Even at the end of August and in the beginning of 
September, battalions of the Mobile Guard were to be 
seen which may have numbered 1200 men, but were 
destitute of officers deserving the name, and provided 
with, at the most, 200 serviceable firearms. The 
whole clothing of the men consisted of a linen or 
cotton blouse, with a red cross sewn upon the arm, 
and a military cap — certainly not a sufficient uniform 
for a campaign in weather which was already becom- 
ing autumnal. The equipment was altogether want- 
ing ; and though there may have been a little drill 
carried on, yet the greater part of the day was spent 
by the men in most pernicious idleness. About the 
Sedentary National Guard we may, after what we 
have before said on the subject, now keep silence. 

It is true that in France there were, in the middle 
of the year 1870, about four millions of firearms, 
partly in the hands of the troops, partly in the hands 
of the National Guard, partly in the magazines. But 
in this number we include everything : pistols and 
muskets; carbines for the cavalry, artillery, and 
marine troops; the ancient smooth-bore firearms, 
which were still stored up in great quantities; the 
old muzzle-loading Minies ; and even the antiquities 
and curiosities of the armouries. Of the two adopted 
systems of breech-loading rifles (the Chassepot and the 
Fusil h. tabati^re), there were altogether about one 


million and a half. For actual work in the field, it 
was intended to use only the Chassepots, of which 
there were about 1,200,000. But if the Mobile Guard 
and the Sedentary National Guard were to be in 
any way made use of in the defence of the fortresses, 
even if the first of them might not perchance be 
employed in the field, they must at least be provided 
with breech-loaders, either Chassepots or Tabati^res. 
K it be also taken into consideration that among the 
Chassepots which were at first ordered abroad and 
supplied thence, there would be sure to be many use- 
less ones, and that by the advance of the Germans 
hundreds of thousands of rifles would become their 
booty in the storehouses of the east ; and that, more- 
over, on actual service, a great diminution in the 
number of arms always, although perhaps only for a 
time, ensues, which necessitates a good reserve, — then 
it becomes apparent that the calculation of General 
Decaen loses much of its value. 

On the 9th of August the Senate and Corps Legis- 
latif reopened. In the first appeared the President 
of the Ministry of State, Parieu; in the latter the 
Keeper of the Great Seals, Ollivier. Before the 
Palais Bourbon, the seat of the Corps Legislatif, 
dense masses of people had collected, and also on the 
Place de la Concorde. The Bridge de la Concorde 
was barricaded by the military, so that (3ven the 
deputies had to make long circuits to reach the place 
of sitting. Before the Palais Bourbon scenes took 


place during the session which made the interference 
of armed force seem to be necessary, and this was 
ordered to be carried out by Marshal Baraguay d'Hil- 
liers, who was at that time chief of the Army of 
Paris, in place of Canrobert. Several charges were 
made by the cavalry upon the crowds, which each 
time dispersed, but only to collect together again ; 
and bitter complaints arose that a large body of 
troops were retained in Paris to subdue the people, 
instead of being sent to oppose the enemy on the 

At the opening of the session Ollivier spoke first ; 
but the very commencement of his address called 
forth numerous interruptions. 

" Gentlemen," said he, " the Emperor promised that 
the Empress should assemble you if circumstances 
became serious. We have not thought fit to delay 
summoning you until the situation of the country 
should become dangerous {/At compromise). ^^ Here- 
upon a tumultuous uproar arose on tlie Left, with the 
cry " It has already become dangerous ! " which was 
the signal for interruptions which never ceased again. 
To defend himself a little from tliese, and to gain a 
few minutes more for his speech, Ollivier had recourse 
to the expedient of discoursing upon the insignificancy 
of the defeats which had been sustained, and upon 
the heroic courage of the Frencli soldiers, who had 
only yielded to four or five fold numbers. 

To support these glorious eflbrts of the army, Olli- 


vier proposed to lay before the Chamber the project 
of a law to the same effect as the proposals of Dejean, 
at the same time asserting once more that which had 
been before and at the commencement of the war 
also asserted, that nothing was wanting to conduct 
the war gloriously for France. 

Meanwhile many of the interruptions were directly 
addressed to the Ministry of Ollivier. Arago, with his 
voice of thunder, shouted out, "Disappear, ye Minis- 
ters, and the army will conquer ! " And again, " We 
will make every sacrifice, but without you ! " Jules 
Favre said, *' It is a disgrace that this Ministry dares 
to appear before the Assembly!" Guyot Mont- 
pairoux named the army, when Ollivier spoke of their 
heroic courage, '* Lions led by asses." 

These and other speeches were certainly very per- 
sonal, and might well cause M. Ollivier to put the 
question of a vote of confidence in the Ministry. 
Orders of the day were proposed which should decide 
this. On the one side it was demanded that, first of 
all, the important, material questions of military or- 
ganisation should be treated, and not personalities, 
which could be afterwards discussed. These last 
were, as is very easy to be understood, not pleasing to 
Ollivier. Many attempts were made to deal first with 
these material questions; but each time, amid all 
the complaints of neglected preparations, the personal 
question gained the upper hand, and at last it became 
so prominent that its settlement could no longer be 


avoided. After many orders of the day, a truly 
malicious one of Clement Duvemois came to be voted 
upon. It ran : — 

" The Chamber, determined to support a Cabinet 
which ia capable of providing for the defence of the 
country, paaaes to the order of the day " (la Chambre, 
decid^e k soutenir un Cabinet capable de pourvoir k 
la defense du pays, passe k I'ordre du jour). 

Duvemois saw very clearly that he was now in a 
position to richly requite his adversary EmU OlHvier 
for the blow received on the 16th of June, and he 
joyfuUy embraced the opportunity — out of patriotism ! 
Before the division, Emil Ollivier, who felt the 
poisonous sting entering deeply, and who knew bet- 
ter than any one else what this order of the day 
signified, declared that it would be to him especially 
the most bitter of all offences, and that the Cabinet 
would not receive it. But the Chamber, in spite of 
this declaration, divided, and accepted the order by a 
great majority. 

After the division of the house, Emil Ollivier de- 
manded that the session be suspended for a quarter 
of an hour. The Chamber was adjourned, and reas- 
sembled at five minutes past six o'clock in the even- 
ing. After the settlement of a few, under the present 
circumstances unimportant, matters, Emil Olliviw 
declared that the Ministry had, in consequence d{ 
the voting on the question of the day propoaed ll^ 
Cldment Duvcrnois, given in its rcaignatioa to 


Empress ; that the same had been accepted ; and the 
Count of Palikao had been commissioned to form a 
new Ministry. 

On the 10th of August the Count of Palikao 
appeared before the Chamber with the new Ministry, 
which called itself the Ministry of the National De- 
fence. It was composed as foUows : President and 
Minister of War, the Count of Palikao ; for the In- 
terior, Chevreau, Prefect of the Department of the 
Seine since the retirement of Hausmann ; for Finance, 
Magne ; for Justice, Grandperret, notorious for the 
many processes instituted by the police which he 
had conducted ; for Agriculture and Commerce, 
Clement Duvemois ; for the Marine, Admiral Rigault 
de Genouilly; for Public Works, Baron J^r6me 
David; for Foreign Affairs, Prince Latour d'Anvergne; 
for Public Instruction, Brame ; President of the State 
Council, Bnsson-Billault. The celebrated Ministry of 
the Fine Arts and Sciences, created by OUivier for the 
benefit of Maurice Eichard, was not filled up. 

Whoever has read, if only these pages, will be 
constraioed to admit that the constitution of this 
Ministry was at the least singular, when he thus sees 
that in it sat the two loudest talkers, MM. Duvemois 
and David, of whom wc have already given some 
particulars. Besides these two, the most import.ont 
person in it waA the OoQat of f aUkao, and of him 
we must here say a faw ^Ql 

Cousin de MoQtaabsQfef?'^dB4Mfl|t||||Wa3 born 


in tbe year 1796. As a cavalry officer he went with 
Beaumont's expedition to Algeria, and remained there 
many years. In 1851 he became brigadier-general, 
in 1855 general of division and chief of Coa- 
stantine's division. Recalled to France, he received 
the command of the 21st military division (Limoges). 
In the year 1860 he was intrusted with the com- 
mand of the expedition to China, whence he returned 
to France in July 1861. He had there gained a 
victory over the Chinese at Palikao on the 21st of 
September, had caused the Summer Palace of the 
emperor in Pekin to be seized and plundered, and 
sent many costly and interesting preaenta to the 
Imperial Court of France. The Emperor Napoleon 
had already, at the end of 1860, conferred on General 
Cousin de Montauban the Grand Cross of the Legion 
of Honour, and on the 4th of March 1861 appointed 
him a Senator. On the 22d of January 1862 he 
gave him the title of Coimt of Palikao, demanding 
from the Corps Legislatif at the same time a large 
dotation for him. Upon this a great outcry arose in 
France. It was said that it was not so much tho 
military as the family services of the Count of 
Palikao which were to be rewarded by this dotation ; 
and it apj)eared to be so doubtful whether it would 
be granted that the bill for it had to be withdrawn 
— an unbcard-of thing in those days to happen to 
a demand of the Emperor. In the year 1666 tin 
Count of Palikao was appointed to com 


4th Army Corps (Lyons), and held that post until the 
Empress called him to be President of the Ministry. 

When the outbreak of the war with Germany was 
impending, the news of the massacre of French mis- 
sionaries in China also arrived in France, and the 
soldiers said, " Nous allons, en Pnisse ou en Chine." 
If Prussia and China are in any way the same, then 
the nomination of the Count of Palikao to be Presi- 
dent of the Ministry in those troubled times gains 
some grounds and foundation. He had conquered 
the Chinese, and under the above supposition he might 
conquer the Prussians also. 

That the Cabinet of Palikao should be favourably 
received by the majority of the Chamber is not 
surprising ; for it would have received anything 
favourably which came from above — that is, from the 
Tuileries; the few exceptions would be easily enu- 
merated. But it is more difficult for an impartial 
but remote observer to understand how it came to 
pass that Palikao's Cabinet was favourably received, 
being so singularly composed as it was, by the 
Parisian public under the existing circumstances. 
The puzzle is explained when we relate that this 
Cabinet called itself the Government of the National 
Defence, and announced in the papers which were 
devoted to the Govetiunent certain revolutionary 
measures, although it may have been very far frum 
intending to carry them out. 

Even the misti-ust of the Left was first aroused 


eight days after this Cabinet had been ushered into 
the world. To this we shall return later on. At first 
the new Ministry seemed fully determined to organ- 
ise, on the largest soalo, the uprising of France 
against the foreign invasion. All its propositions 
were adopted — a vote of thanks to the army, wliieh 
deserved well of its country ; the calling in to tho 
colours of all unmarried or widowed citi2en8 of from 
25 to 35 years of age who were not employed in the 
Mobile Guard ; the increase of the credit of 4 mil- 
lions, which had been already voted on the 14th of 
July, to 25 millions, for the support of the families 
of soldiers of the army and of the Mobile Guard ; 
the admission of volunteers of aU ages, of old sol- 
diers up to the age of 45 yeai-s, for the duration of 
the war, and the calling in of the full contingent of 
recruits (fixed at 140,000) without any freedom by- 

The French Bank notes were also declared to be 
legal currency ; but this did not prevent the trades- 
man, to whom a hundred-franc note was offered from 
which to tiike a payment of five francs, saying that he 
had not change enough in his till ; neither did it pre- 
vent the money-changers demanding 10 per cent for 
cashing them. The Bank of France was empowered at 
the same time to issue bank-notes for 2400 millions h 
stead of the 1800 millions heretofore allowed, a 
war loan of 500 millions of francs was raised t 
millions. Tlie pleasure of making sacrificea " 




who sacrifice nothing, at the expense of others who 
have to sacrifice, is truly always most cheering and 

But however pleasant things were made by the 
Chamber for the Ministry during its honeyweek — of 
a honeymoon we have no right to speak — still even 
in those days disagreeable scenes occurred. So soon 
as the 11th of August M. de Keratry demanded in 
the Chamber that Marshal Lebceuf (he meant really 
the Emperor Napoleon), who was to be blamed for 
all the misfortunes of the war, should be arraigned 
before a commission of inquiry of the Legislature. 
The majority threw out this proposition, and the 
Count of Palikao was able to announce on the same 
day that Marshal Bazaine now commanded the 
" Army of the Rhine " ; on the 12th he communicated 
to the Chamber that the Emperor had accepted 
Marshal Lcboeufs resignation of the post of major- 
general, and on the 13th that Marshal Bazaine was 
intrusted with the commandership- in -chief of the 
army. Upon a question by M. Barth^lemy St-Hilaire 
whether Bazaine was therefore Generalissimo, Palikao 
answered Yes ; and when M. Cochery asked whether 
the Guard also was under the command of Bazaine, 
the Ptesident of the Ministry answered, " In the army 
the Guard is aa any other Corps. It, as well as the 
otbera. ata ndfl under the orders of Marshal Bazaina" 
TIB for the present to return 




When the French armies ?ifter the battle of Worth 
and Saarbriicken - Forbach retired along the whole 
front, it was to be assumed that they would try to 
concentrate all their forces under the cannon of Metz 
and its forts, and, drawing in all their defeated and 
remaining fractions, offer a pitched battle. And such, 
in the first moments, seemed to be their intention, for 
they took up in the following days a position behind 
the Nied. But there was in reality one great im- 
pediment to the execution of this plan — namely, their 
numerical weakness. 

The Germans, with their superiority of numbers, 
could easily outflank the French army, could hinder 
the junction of the already defeated Corps with those 
in Metz, could throw large bodies of troops across the 
Moselle above or below Metz, and then, having 
beaten the French on the Seillc, shut them up in 

As soon as Bazaine assumed the command-in-chief 
at Metz, he formed the plan to intrust its defence to 


a suitable garrison, and to the MobUe Guard of the 
neighbourhood, together with the Sedentary National 
Guard, and to retire with his whole disposable army 
by Verdun, to reach the Champagne country, uniting 
there with the defeated troops, and with such re- 
inforcements as could be drawn in. The retreat of 
the " Army of Metz '* was to be conducted as slowly 
as possible, so that the troops elsewhere might have 
time, some to form in the Camp of Chalons, others to 
reorganise themselves. 

The Paris journals, which, although they wrote 
much nonsense, were yet in some degree the echo of 
the views which prevailed at headquarters, said now 
among other things : " The Germans hitherto have 
always crawled along in the woods, so that we have 
never been able to see and fire at them properly : 
they have only come sneakingly out of their forests 
to fall upon and surprise the French, after having 
wrought great damage upon them from their lurking- 
places. But on the treeless plains of Champagne, in 
the dreary neighbourhood of Chalons, this system of 
warfare will be put a stop to. Then first will be 
developed the true power of the Chassepot and of 
the mitrailleuse." 

Therefore a great fight on the plains of Cham- 
pagne was looked forward to by the French, and for 
this all their available forces were to be concentrated 

Historical reminiscences also assisted men to 9^ 


VOL. I. T 



at these conclusions. It was at St Mdn^hould and 
Valmy, on the road by Verdun to Chalons, that the 
German invasion of 1792 found its sad end. Why 
should not the hke happen again ? The French did 
not call to mind that in 1792 the nation had just 
begun to resist with energy the ignominy of an ia- 
famous government, and that the ardent fire of 
revolution was blazing within it; whilst in 1870 m 
thing of a revolutionary spirit was to be seen even in 
the accredited revolutionists : and that again, on the 
other side, there was a great difference between the 
dynastic Gferman army of invasion of 1792 and the 
German national army of 1870. The German Govern- 
ment of 1 792 challenged France ; the German nation 
of 1870 had been challenged by the French Govern- 
ment, and by its literary hirelings, in a most frivolous 
manner — disturbed out of a peace which it loved, and 
forced to undertake a war which it did not desire. 

Aa a matter of fact, tlic French " Army of the 
Rhine " was now composed of two parts : 1. Of the 
" Army of Metz," under the immediate command of 
Bazaine ; and, 2. Of the "Army of Paris" under 
M'Mahon, The latter general, must necessarily retire 
at first westwards, along the Strasburg-Paris Railway, 
with the 1st Corps from Saverne, to gain rest from 
the pursuing enemy, and time to reform his troops. 
De Faill/s Corps naturally joined him, for, prevented 
by the advance of the Germans from concentrating at 
Mctz, it was compelled to fall back also along the 


west foot of the Vosges to the south, on to the Stras- 
burg-Paris Railway ; further, M'Mahon could draw to 
himself the parts of the 7th Corps (Felix Douay) which 
were yet in the neighbourhood of Belfort, and then 
commence the new organisation, which would be car- 
ried out partly in the Camp of Chalons, partly in 
Paris. We shall return later to the composition of 
M*Mahon*8 army, as for the present it does not play 
any vital part in the operations of the campaign. 

Let us imagine the Army of Paris (M'Mahon) 
at Chalons. Then the strategical game of the two 
armies, of Paris and of Metz, is reduced essentially to 
two contingencies; either Bazaine can get out of Metz, 
or he cannot In the first case, he would join M'Mahon 
in the triangle, Chalons, St M^n^hould, Ecithel, either 
by way of Verdun or by Stenay. In the second case, 
M'Mahon must, having gained time to reorganise his 
army, march by some way or other to the relief of 
Bazaine. A union of the two armies must unquestion- 
ably be striven for, considering the numerical weak- 
ness of the French, in order that they might have any 
chance of winning a battle. The course of the next 
operations would, according to this view, be essentially 
determined by the answer to the question, Would 
Bazaine be able to quit Metz, or would he not ? 

There was certainly still another plan to be con- 
sidered, and it is impossible to pronounce it to be un- 
conditionally false. It ran thus : that Bazaine should 
remain by himself in Mets^ while M'Mahon, in the 


neighbourhood of Paris, and without shutting Himsel 
up in the town, operated with a view to strengtfaei 
himself as much as possible from all sides; endeavour 
ing to form of the old regular troops which he had i 
his disposition the nucleus of a large army of relief 
and at the same time gain time for the organi3ati(Ml 
of the new formations of the Loire, the Garonne, and 
the Rhone. We have grounds to sujipose that thil 
was the original idea of M'Mahon, and that he even 
returned to it in the course of the later operations j 
but of this we shall have to speak further on. 

When Marshal Bazaine was named GeueraliasinMi 
of the Army, he chose, as Major-General, General 
Jarras. Marshal Leboeuf retired completely for thi 
time being from all management of affairs ; whi^ 
General Lebrun went to the Camp of Chalons, whei 
we shall find him again in M'Mahon's army. Bi 
zaine's army at Metz consisted of tlic 4th Corp^ 
Ladmirault ; of the 3d Corps, which Bazaine, o 
being named Generalissimo, gave over to Genen 
Decaen, who up to that time had commanded th« 
4th division of the 3d Corps; of the 2d Corps, Fk 
Bard, which, forced originally from its line of retre 
upon Metz, succeeded afterwards in gaining tl»< 
Moselle (General Lichtlin, commanding the cavaln 
division of the Corps, had requested, owing to i 
content and to ill-health, permission to quit the armjv 
and had been succeeded in the command of the divi* 
sion by General Marmier, but we shall fin<I him again 


serving in M'Mahon's Army); of the Guard, Bourbaki ; 
and, lastly, of portions of the 6th Corps, Canrobert, 
who, as soon as he heard of the defeats suffered by 
the French army, hastened to the Moselle with the 
divisions Tixier, Lafont de Villiers, and Lavassor 
Sorval, which last division, up to this time, had been 
retained in Paris for the preservation of order. Of 
the 1st division, Bisson, only the generals and the 
9th regiment of the line arrived in Metz. The trains 
which were conveying the remainder of the division 
by Frouard to Metz were fired upon when at the first- 
named place by the Germans, who had occupied it, 
and turned back to the Camp of Chalons. Of the 
cavalry division of the Corps, Fcin^lon, the brigade of 
cuirassiers remained to preserve order in Paris ; the 
other two brigades made, from the 7th to the 9th 
of August, a great reconnaissance to St M^n^hould, 
where naturally they found no Germans, and returned 
for the present into the Camp. 

When the German armies arrived on French soil, 
the King of Prussia issued a general order from his 
headquarters in Homburg, in which he especially 
urged upon the soldiers the preservation of good 
discipline in the enemy's territory, as he was not 
waging war against the peaceful inhabitants of the 
country. Afterwards, when he himself repaired to 
France, he issued from St Avoid the following pro- 
clamation to the French people : — 

" We, William, King of Prussia, make known to 


the inbabitauta of the French territory occupied by 
the German armies the following : After the Emperor 
Napoleon has attacked by land and byaea the Ger- 
man nation, which wished and still wishes to live in 
peace with the French people, I have assumed the 
command - in - chief of the German armies to repel 
these attacks. I have succeeded, owing to military 
events, in crossing the frontier of France. I wage 
war against the soldiers of France, and not again&t 
her citizens. These will henceforth enjoy perfect 
security for their persons and for their property as 
long as they do not themselves deprive me of the 
right of protecting them by hostile undertakings 
against the German troops. The generals who com- 
mand the several Corps will deteimine by special 
regulations, which will be made known to the public, 
the measures which will be adopted against communi- 
ties or individuals who act contrary to the usages 
of war ; they will regulate, in like manner, eveiy 

thing appertaining to the rcquisitioi 




appear to be necessary to supply the wants of the 
troops ; they will also determine the rate of exehange 
between the German and French currency, to faeili«- 
tate private business between the troops and 

After the entrance of the German forces i 
France, the First Army, Stcinmetz, marched to 
north of the railway from Forbach to Metz upi 
Mctz, and upon the Moselle below the town. It i 


reinforced about the 12 th of August by the 1st Corps, 
Manteuflfel, which, with many others which had 
remained behind in Germany, had been called to the 
theatre of war after the mobilisation of the reserve 
and garrison troops, especially as it had become 
known that the French fleet would not be able to 
effect any great deeds. To the south of the railway 
Prince Frederic Charles advanced upon Metz and 
upon the Moselle above the town. 

The Crown -Prince of Prussia detached the Baden 
division from his army, and ordered it to march upon 
Strasburg. With it went General Von Werder, who 
up to this time had commanded the Baden and 
WUrtemberg divisions together. He was to take 
command of the army investing Strasburg, which 
was to be composed of Prussian landwehr divisions, 
in addition to the Baden division. On the 8th of 
August the Baden cavalry appeared before Strasburg, 
and occupied itself in closing the communications of 
the place. On the 9th the Baden infantry appeared, 
and the commander of the division. General Beyer, 
summoned the governor of the fortress. General 
Uhrich, to surrender. As this was, as can be easily 
understood, refused, siege operations, which we shall 
later on consider, were commenced. 

Meanwhile the greater part of the army of the 
Crown-Prince wheeled to its right out of Alsace, and 
crossed the Yosges, to join communications with the 
left wing of the army of Prince Frederic Charlea. 


The main body moved along the road from Hagonau 
to Saar-Uniou, with detachments on parallel roads. 

Aheady on the 10th of August the cavalrj' divi- 
sions of all three armies spread themselves out, con- 
necting with one another, and forming a line from 
Les Etangs, Foligny, Falquemont, Grand Teuquin, 
and Saar-Union, screening the movements of the Corps 
following them, and spying out those of the enemy. 

In crossing the Vosges, the army of the Crown- 
Prince had to deal with the small fortresses there. 
Bitche refused to surrender, and had to be watched 
by a few hundred men. Litclienberg was invested 
on the 9th of August by two and a half battalions of 
Hugel's Wiirtemberg brigade and a detachment of 
field artUler}'. As it would not surrender, it was 
bombarded, and after a part of it had been set on 
fire, it capitulated on the 10th ; the garrison consisted 
of 280 men. Lulzelstein was evacuated by its gar- 
rison before the Germans arrived, Pfalzburg, well 
garrisoned, refused to capitulate, and an observation 
detachment had to be left to watch it. 

It may have been at first intended to unite the 
array of the Crown-Prince with the otbers against 
Metz, but as the Prince crossed the A'osges the Ger- 
man headquarters acquired the information that the 
Corps of M'Mahou and of De Failly had retired south- 
wards, not having been able to join the troops at 
Metz. Under these circumstances, it was clear that 
the two armies of Steinmetz and of Prince Frederic 


Charles, especially as they had already received some, 
and were expecting still further reinforcements, par- 
ticularly the 2d and 9th North German Corps, would 
he by themselves perfectly suflBcient to shut up Ba- 
zaine in Metz, or to overpower him should he attempt 
to break out ; for within the course of a few days these 
two German armies numbered at least 220,000 in- 
fantry and cavalry, while Bazaine, exclusive of the 
necessary garrison of Metz, had at the most 120,000 

The army of the Crown-Prince therefore marched 
towards the line of railway from Strasburg to Paris 
by Nancy, to follow up M'Mahon and De Failly, to 
observe them, and to hinder as much as possible their 
union with other troops, or any attempt which they 
might make to march upon Metz. 

By the 12th of August detachments of Prussian 
cavalry occupied Nancy without opposition, on the 
13th they destroyed the railway at Frouard, and on 
the 15th they had already made raids as far as Com- 
mercy on the Meuse. The headquarters of the Crown 
Prince were, on the 15th, at LUneville, on the 16th 
in Nancy. 

On the 15th also, Bothmer's Bavarian division 
forced the fortress of Marsal to capitulate. When 
Bothmer appeared before the place, which was garri- 
soned by 600 men and armed with 60 guns, he sum- 
moned it to surrender. This was refused, and as the 
messenger was witJ fii^ upon fixna 



the walls — an event whieli often happened during the 
VfkT. In Bome cases the blame of such proceedings 
may be ascribed to the ignorance of the Mobile Guard 
who formed the garrisons ; but in others it must be 
laid upon the want of discipline even among the 
troops of the linCj and upon the ragu against the 
Prussians with which they were filled. The first 
attack of the Bavarian advanced -guard of infantry 
upon the weak outwork was unsuccessful, but soon 
afterwards the artillery arrived, came into action at 
once, and commenced to bombard the place. The 
firing had scarcely continued for half an hour, whea 
the powder magazine in the town blew up. The 
German infantry were at the time again advancing to 
the attack, and aoon made themselves masters of some 
of the outworks. The commandant of the garrison 
wished now to capitulate, but Bothmer demanded 
that, as his messenger had been fired on, the sur- 
render should be upon mercy or no mercy, and to 
this the defenders were obliged to accede. 

In Paris there arose a storm of discontent that a 
weak detachment of cavalry had been allowed to 
occupy the laige town of Nancy without the slightest 
opposition, and that the municipal authorities them- 
selves had even exhorted the citizens to submit quietly 
and resignedly, and had afterwards received th« 
Prussian Staft' most respectfully and cordially. Simi. 
lar events were destined to be henceforth repeated 
almost daily on the road of the Crown -Prince toj 


Paris ; and it must be confessed that they were but 
. little in accordance with the great national war which 
the Parisian newspapers had promised. 

From this time also may be dated the great spy 
mania of the French. The most innocent people 
were evilly entreated, and some poor wretches were 
even shot by martial law. Any one at all acquainted 
with the subject must involuntarily ask himself 
whether the French would have had a single man more 
under arms if not a single Prussian spy had existed 
throughout France ? Moreover, what was there to 
spy out ? The books which appeared in France were 
perfectly sufficient to acquaint any one with the 
composition of the French army. Equally could the 
French have acquired a knowledge of the German 
organisation from the even more numerous writings 
which were printed in Germany on the subject. French 
officers were admitted as freely into German camps 
and German fortresses as German officers were into 
French. Why, then, could not those know Germany 
as well as these knew France 1 The explanation is 
very simple. The Germans took the trouble to learn 
French, and to see thoroughly what there was to be 
seen. The French, on the contrary, only looked at 
what pleased them ; and in spite of the nimierous 
Alsacians who had entered the French army, but 
proportionately few officers were to be met with who 
could speak or understand German. It excited 
wonder and ' ^n France when the Ger- 


mana proved that they understood so thoroughly the' 
geography and statistics of the Empire. And' yet 
this should have been no cause for astonishment ; and 
the attaining to such understanding did not require 
the use of spies. The French ordnance map can be 
procured through a bookseller just as Rcymann's map 
of Germany and the topographical works of the 
Prussian General Staff can be. It is the same with 
regard to the numerous publications in the domains 
of statistics and of public works which explain build- 
ings, water supply, roads, &c., and in the discussioUj 
touch on or relate a mass of details. He, then, wh< 
earnestly seeks into and studies these things, which 
neither are nor can be secrets, will know something 
about them ; and when he makes a journey into those 
localities will certainly, if he looks about him intel* 
ligently, still further increase that knowledge. Hoi 
also who, on the other hand, has never troubled 
himself in the slightest about such mattera, will 
necessarily but walk in darkness even on his own 
sou. Now the French took but little heed of &ueli 
matters either in Germany or in their own country. 

" Cesarisra " certainly requires both civil and 
military bureaucracy ; but in France it had ruined 
these. The bureaucracy hud grown old with the 
Cesar. The strife for favour, and with it for thft- 
pleasures of life, had driven out the honest workena^, 
and their places were supplied by those wlio know, 
best how to suit themselves to the modern Byzantism* 





Naturally, the former became continually less in 
number, and the latter greater, without the honest 
French people being aware of it. This people, under 
the Empire, troubled itself, day by day, less and less 
about affairs in general. In military matters it was 
told, "How does that concern you? We have our 
army, which will dominate over military Europe; 
work on, then, peacefully under its protection, and 
take care only that there is enough money forthcom- 
ing to maintain it." The miserable condition of 
Germany until 1866, the victories of the French in 
the Crimea, and in Italy in 1859, supported in the eyes 
of the people this bad theory. The peasant and the 
burgher fell into an ever-increasing apathy as to the 
affairs of the country, and each occupied himself more 
and more with his own private interests ; so that in 
reality the highest centralisation produced the high- 
est decentralisation, until the year 1870 roused the 
French from their sweet slumber. Naturally, the 
thorough awakening could not be the work of a 

The Prussians, on the other hand, had not allowed 
themselves to go to sleep after their successes against 
Austria and the South Germans in 1866. They had 
improved what there was yet to improve. Whoever 
has followed the history of the times will remember 
that in 1866 the bad employment of their cavalry 
and infantry was much criticised. Now, the conduct 
of both these arms was faultless. Besides the regular 




On the 13th of August, Marshal Bazaine determined 
to evacuate Metz with his army, and to leave behind 
him only a garrison sufficient for the fortress. 

The marching out was to commence on the after- 
noon of the 1 4th. The Emperor Napoleon left Metz 
at noon of that day, and repaired to Longeville, on 
the river above the town. Before leaving, he ad- 
dressed a proclamation to the inhabitants, in which 
he said that he departed from them to fight against 
the invasion, and intrusted the defence of their walls 
to their patriotism. 

On the German side, the cavalry had seized the 
passages of the Moselle above Metz as far as Frouard, 
a length which also includes the important point of 
Pont & Mousson. A French battalion sent j6x)m 
Metz by railway came too late to prevent the capture 
of this latter passage, and had to return without hav- 
ing accomplished its object. 


The army of Prince Frederic Charles was marching 
upon the Moselle, to cross it in masses at the points 
which the cavalry had already secured, intending then 
to close for Bazaine the road to the west. 

Steimnetz's army stood with ite three Corps in ob- 
servation to the east of Metz. Opposite to it were 
encamped the 3d French Corps, Decaen ; the 4 th, 
Ladmirault ; and parts of the 2d, Frossard, covered 
by the forts St Julien and Queleu. 

On the afternoon of the 1 4th the Prussian outposts 
announced that there was a great movement in the 
French camp, and that the enemy seemed to be about 
to march away from Metz. This, as we know, was 
really the case ; and were Bazaine to succeed in de- 
camping, he would even now gain two days' march 
on the army of Prince Frederic Charles, which, 
according to all calculation, could hardly be on the 
left bank of the Moselle, ready to attack, before the 

This consideration caused General Steinmetz to 
order, at 4 p.m., a reconnaissance in force against the 
French position to the east of Metz ; and for this he 
sent forward Bentheim*s 1st division of infantry of 
ManteuflFeFs Corps, and the 13th division of infantry, 
Gliimer, of Zastrow's Corps. The 1 st division advanced 
along the Saarbriick highroad; of the 13th division, 
the 26 th brigade, imder Goltz, was nearest to the 
enemy, the 25th brigade much further to the rear, 
at Pange ; the 1 4th division was encamped to the left 

VOL. I. u 


of it at Domangeville ; the artillery reserve of the 
7th Corps at Bazoncoiui; ; the 1st division of cavalry, 
Hartmann, which had come up with Manteuffel's 
Corps, and was attached to the First Army, was at 
Frontigny, to the west of Domangeville. 

The 26th brigade attacked at once, with great vio- 
lence, Decaen's rear-guard at Colombey, In conse- 
quence of this, Decaen caused his troops, who were 
already marching off, to front again. Bazaine, being 
informed of what had happened, suspended the de- 
parture of the other Corps, and repaired himself to 
the field of battle. 

On the part of the Germans, the two generals com- 
manding, whose troops were engaged, caused the re- 
mainder of their Corps to push forward in support ; 
and thus while the 26th brigade was fighting at Col- 
ombey, the 2d brigade of Bentheim's division, Gm. 
von Falkenstein, advanced against Montoy, and soon 
came into action also. These brigades alone could not 
gain any ground, and were themselves sorely pushed 
l)y the superior numbers of their adversaries — so 
much so, that even the first reinforcements did not 
change the state of things. 

The German artillery which came up posted itself, 
after Gayl and Noisseville had been taken by the 
1st brigade, upon the slopes to the north of Montoy, 
where finally fourteen batteries were collected, which 
directed a concentrated fire upon the French. 

It was 7 r.M. before parts of the 2d (Pritzelwitz) 


and of the 14th division (Kameke) could take part 
in the fight. On the left wing the 18 th division 
(Wrangel) also joined in the combat. The 9th Corps, 
to which this division belonged, had only lately ar- 
rived on the theatre of war, and had been attached to 
Prince Frederic Charies's anny, with which it was ad- 
vancing upon the Moselle. As, however, it heard the 
cannon thundering on its right, and it was not too far 
from the battle-field, it marched forthwith to the aid 
of the troops before Metz. These considerable rein- 
forcements to the German side decided the day. It 
was in vain that towards dusk General Ladmirault 
endeavoured, with a part of the 4th Corps, to make 
an attack on the right wing of the adversary by 
pushing forward upon Servigny and NoisseviUe ; for 
there Manteufiel with the reserves which had come 
up was able to oppose him vigorously. After the 
failure of the attempt, the French retired behind the 
forts. The losses on both sides were considerable. 
The French report that the left wing of the Ger- 
mans, pursuing hotly and incautiously, came under 
the fire of fort Queleu, and fared very badly ; while 
German accounts make no mention of the occur- 
rence. General Decaen was severely wounded, and 
Marshal Leboeuf now took command of the 3d Corps 
in his place. irr- 

The German troops remained on the battle-field 
till 10 P.M. ; the 7th Corps bivouacked on the same, 
with their arms in their hands, and only withdrew 


on the morning of the 15th into a more retired 

The attack of the Germans on the 1 4th of August 
had fulfilled its purpose in a greater degree than was 
to be supposed. The 3d and 4th French Corps could 
not march during the whole of the 15 th, for they 
were occupied all day in distributing ammunition, 
and in performing other necessary work. 

On the 15th Bazaine sent off the 6th Corps, the 
Guard, and following them, the 2d Corps. These 
marched along the more southerly of the two roads 
leading from Metz to Verdun, which runs through 
Gravelotte and Mars la Tour; the northern road 
bifurcates from this at Gravelotte, and runs through 
Doncourt, Conflans, and Estain. Along this latter high- 
way were to march the 3d and 4th Corps, leaving Metz 
on the 16th of August; but the Guard, the 6th and 
2d Corps, were to remain on the 1 6th in the neigh- 
bourhood of Mars la Tour and Vionville until the 3d 
and 4th Corps came upon a level with them — that is, 
until they arrived in the vicinity of Doncourt The 
Emperor Napoleon also quitted Longeville on the 
morning of the 16th to proceed to Verdim. 

The army of Prince Frederic Chaxles stood on the 
15th of August with its main body on the road from 
Han an der Nied to Pont k Mousson, and in part 
already on the other side of tlie Moselle. The most 
forward was the 5 th division of cavalry, Rheinbaben, 
at Thiaucourt, famous for its excellent red Moselle 


wine ; behind it were the advanced-guard of the 10th 
Corps, between Thiauconrt and Pont k Mousson, the 
10th Corps itself (Voigts-Rhetz) being at Pont h, 
Mousson; the 3d Corps (Alvensleben II.) was at 
Cheminot and Vigny ; the 9th Corps (Manstein) at 
Buchy ; and south of it the 12th Corps (Crown-Prince 
of Saxony) at Sologne; the 2d Corps (Fransecky), 
which had only just arrived on the theatre of war, was 
at Han an der Nied. 

A northern neighbouring group was formed by the 
6th division of cavalry (Duke William of Mecklen- 
burg) of the 3d Corps, on the right bank of the 
Moselle, pushed forward towards Metz. A southern 
neighbouring group was formed by the Prussian 
Guard and by the 4th Corps. The main body of the 
Quard was at Dieulouard on the Moselle, and had its 
advanced-guard to the south-west, on the left bank 
of the Moselle, at Les Quartre Vents; the dragoon 
brigade of the Guard, Count Brandenburg IL, was at 
Kog^ville. The 4th Corps, Alvensleben I., had its 
headquarters at Marbach, on the Moselle above Dieu- 
louard ; the main body was further back on the right 
bank of the river, towards the Seille. 

This southerly group, which was to be joined also by 
the Saxon Corps, had, it is probable, already the duty 
assigned it of supporting the advance of the Crown- 
Prince upon Paris, and more immediately upon 
Chalons, and the troops which were being collected 
there. This task they were not for some days called 

upon to fulfil, but it devolved upou them iinme«' 
diately after the battle of Gravelotte. 

The intentions of Bazaine were not fully and clt 
known in the Prussian headquarters up to the even- 
ing of the 15th, on which day the headquarters of 
Prince Frederic Charles were at Pont h. Mousson, 
those of the King in the Castle of Herny, whence he^ 
on this day, visited the battle-field of the 14th, 

Early on the morning of the 15th, Prince Frederic 
Charles ordered Rheinbaben's division of cavalry 
reinforced by the dragoon brigade of the Guard, to 
advance northwards from Thiaucourt towards tha 
southern Metz- Verdun road. To support them, the 
^L head of the 10th Corps was to advance on Thiau- 

H court, while a detachment of the Hame Corps was to 

H march down the left bank of the Moselle. In the 

H afternoon it was further ordered that the 3d Corps 

H should cross the river, and move by Gorze upon 

^M Mars la Tour ; while the 12th Corps was to march 

H fkim Sologne to Nomduy upon the road to Pont ^ 

^M Mousson, in order to draw nearer to it. These orders 

H had in view a great reconnaissance to ascertain 

H whether Bazaine was about to retreat upon Vcnlun 

H or not. In case he meant to do so, the necessary 

H troops were to be at once placed in readiness to check 

^1 his march. 

^B Aa even on the afternoon of the 15th news came 

H in wliich made the departure of Bazaine seem to 

^^ very probahle, further orders were (r 



reuder possible a powerful attack on his flank on the 
16th or 17th of August. By these the 3d Corps and 
the 5th division of cavalry were, after they had 
crossed the Moselle, to march through Novt^ant and 
Gorze upon Vionville and Mars la Tour on the southern 
Metz- Verdun road. To the left of these troops, the 
10th Corps and the 5th division of cavalry were to 
advance towards the same road, being directed upon 
St Hilaire. The 9th Corps w:ia to march towards 
Sillegny ; on the 17th it was to follow the 3d Corps, 
across the Moselle, and through Gorze. This order 
was so worded that it could at once be altered if 
necessary, by commands and communications from 
the headquarters of the King. It stated, namely, 
that the 7th and 8th Corps of the First Army would 
take up a position to the south of Metz on the line 
Arry - Pommerieux, between the Moselle and the 
Seille ; that this rendered it superfluous that the Second 
Army sliould leave behind a Corps opposite the south 
aide of Metz, on the right bank of the Moselle ; and 
that therefore the 9th Corps now received the order 
to continue its march during the 16th, and to follow 
the 3d Corps as far as possilsle on this day, to cross 
Lthe river on the 17th of August with the remainder, 
nd to take the direction of Mars la Tour, as the 3d 
lorjis had done. The 12th Corps was directed on 
Pont ik Moaason, with its advanced-guard on Regn^- 
lle en Haye. It Conned thus a reserve for the 10th 
torp«, ttf the' '.^■'^ did for the 3d. The Prussian 


Guard was also thrown forward in a direction which 
would bring it upon the Metz- Verdun road. It was 
to march westward from Dieulouard upon Bem^ 
court, and push on its advanced-guard toward Bam- 
bucourt. The 2d Corps, which was the niost rear- 
ward, was to march on the 16th to Buchy, and to 
cross the Moselle on the l7th at Pont k Mousson. 

Whilst, as the above narrative shows, the main 
body of the Second Army was directed, during the 
16th and l7th of August, upon the Metz- Verdun 
road — that is, upon the left flank of Bazaine — ^under 
the supposition that he would be marching from Metz 
to Verdun, the 4th Corps received a special destina- 
tion. It was ordered to concentrate on the 16 th on 
the left bank of the Moselle between Le Saizerais and 
Marbach, and to push forward its advanced-^ard 
to Jaillon, on the road to the fortress of Toul. 

A battle on the 16th was evidently never calculated 
on at the headquarters of Prince Frederic Charles on 
the 15th. In fact, the most advanced Corps had at 
noon on the 15th nearly 19 miles to march to reach 
the southern Metz- Verdun road. But the cavalry, 
which would undoubtedly be able to fall upon his 
columns, especially the left one, in time, would 
assuredly detain Bazaine on the 16th, and then on the 
1 7th the battle would be fought which was to drive 
him back into Metz. But the ardour of the German 
Corps was destined to bring about a result on the 
16th which laid the foundation for the completely 


decisive battle of the 18th. Nevertheless the 16th 
of August would not have ended so favourably for 
the Gennans as it did but for the wretched slowness 
of the French army leaders, who even at this hour 
did not recognise the true state of aflfairs, but continued 
wilfully to deceive themselves. 

We have now, in the first place, to relate the move- 
ments of the most advanced German Corps, the 3d 
and the 10th, and of the divisions of cavalry attached 
to them. 

The 3d German Corps crossed the Moselle on the 
evening of the 15th of August at three points — ^by the 
two permanent bridges of Nov^ant and Pont h, Mous- 
son, and by a field bridge thrown across the river by 
the Prussians at Champey between these two places. 
At Nov^ant, the 5th division of infantry (Sttilpnagel) 
and the 5th division of cavalry (William of Mecklen- 
burg) crossed ; at Champey, the 6th division of in- 
fantry (Buddenbrock) ; at Pont ll Mousson, the artil- 
lery of the Corps. 

By 3 A.M. on the 16th of August the advanced- 
guard of the Corps was at Onville, the 6th division at 
Pagny and Amaville, the division of cavalry behind 
it, and still farther in rear stood the 5th division. 
The division of cavalry was ordered to be by 5.30 
A.M. on the 16th on the left bank of the Moselle, and 
was then to march through Gorze upon Vionville; 
the 5th division of infantry was to follow. 

Buddenbrock's division had commenced its march 


at 5 A.M. on the 16th in a northerly direction upon 
Vionville. According to intelligence received from 
the advanced-patrols, the French outposts were at 
this latter place and Tronville, while behind them 
were extensive camps. At 8 a.m. it was reported 
that the French appeared to be moving off in a 
northerly and westerly dkection. 

Hereupon Alvensleben ordered BuddenbrocVs di- 
vision to move upon Mars la Tour and Jamy to stop 
the enemy's march, if he really intended to retreat. 
To the right of Buddenbrock's division, the 6th 
division of cavalry reached at 9 A.M. the heights to 
the southward of Flavigny, drove in the French 
cavalry posts, and sent forward detachments as far 
as the southern Metz-Verdun road. These found 
that Vionville and Rezonville were strongly occupied, 
and that behind them were deployed masses of the 
enemy. Alvensleben now ordered Buddenbrock's 
division, which had arrived at Tronville, to turn to 
its right, and to advance to the attack of the heights 
of Vionville and Flavigny. Complying with these 
instructions, Buddenbrock brought his artillery into 
action on the height of Tronville, and after it had 
fired for some time, sent forward his infantry shortly 
after 10 a.m. It was only after an obstinate fight 
that the Prussians succeeded in gaining the heights, 
but these once won, they took the villages of Vionville 
and Flavigny without much opposition. Meanwhile 
the reserve artillery of the Corps, which had come 


up, took up a position to the south-east of Flavigny 
against Eezonville. 

Stulpnagel's division, to the right of Buddenbrock, 
and of the 6th division of cavalry, began, towards 
10 A.M., to mount the heights near Anconville from 
the valley of Gorze. The detachment of the 10th 
Corps which, under Colonel Lyncker, had been pushed 
forward on the 1 5th along the left bank of the Mo- 
selle to Nov^ant, had joined this division. This re- 
inforcement consisted of 2 battalions and 1 battery. 
Pushing forward into the wood of Vionville, StUlp- 
nagel encountered French battalions, which had been 
advanced into it from Eezonville. After a long com- 
bat he drove them out of the wood, and also out of 
the wood of St Amould, which lies to the north of it, 
and thus, by mid-day, the 3d Corps was in complete 
possession of the front, which stretches from the 
north comer of the wood to St Arnould to Vionville ; 
Sttilpnagel on the right, Buddenbrock on the left, 
and between them the division of cavalry. The 
French made several offensive attacks against this 
position, but were energetically repulsed. In repelling 
these the cavalry also assisted, penetjrating forwards 
to the other side of the Metz- Verdun road, where, 
however, they came upon unshaken French infantry, 
and suffered serious losses. 

The 5th division of cavalzy, Bheinbaben, had rested 
during the night from tb t At 

Xonville, sonth of Ma 


ing it set out for this latter village, and came upon 
the head of the enemy's troops there. At 9.30 a,m. 
its leader informed General von Alvensleben that he 
would support his attack upon Vionville from Mars 
la Tour, and at the same time give information to 
the columns of the 10th Corps, which were on the 
march of the real position of the enemy. The divi- 
sion of Rheinbaben itself was reinforced for the 1 6th 
by 2 battalions of horse-artillery from the reserve of 
the 10th Corps. 

The principal direction given to the main body of 
the 10th Corps was from Thiaucourt upon St Hilaire, 
which lies about 8 miles to the west of Mars la Tour 
on the Metz- Verdun road. This movement was, 
therefore, viewing the real position of Bazaine, a very 
widely-sweeping one. A flank detachment, the 37th 
brigade of infantry, Lehmann, which was still 4 
battalions strong after the departure of Lyncker's de- 
tachment, and was, moreover, reinforced by 2 squad- 
rons of cavalry and 1 battery of artillery, marched 
with a less extended sweep upon Chambley, south of 
Mars la Tour, to support Rheinbaben there. This 
detachment started from Thiaucourt at 4.30 a.m. At 
5 A.M. the remainder of the 19th division of infantry 
(Schwarzkoppen), namely, the 38th brigade of in- 
fantry (Wedell), and 2 batteries of artillery, left the 
same place for St Hilaire. The dragoon brigade of 
the Guard also joined this force. The 20th division 
of infantry (Kraatz-Koschlau), and the reserve artil- 


lery of the lOth Corps only, marched at 4.30 A.M. 
from Pont ll Mousson for Thiaucourt. Lehmann's 
brigade arrived in due time at Chambley, and hearing 
when there the sound of cannon, marched at once 
towards it to Tronville, where it arrived at 11.30 A.M., 
and placed itself at the disposal of the commander of 
the 3d Corps, Alvensleben. 

Schwarzkoppen only received the order to march 
on to the battle-field at mid-day when he was near St 
Hilaire. The dragoon brigade of the Guard, which 
formed part of his force, had already gone forward 
thence towards the thunder of the artillery. Schwarz- 
koppen himself arrived at 3 p.m. between Sponville 
and Bois la Dame. Kraatz-Koschlau hurried from 
Thiaucourt northwards, over Xammes and Chambley, 
and at 4 p.m. the heads of his column reached the 
vicinity of Tronville. Half an hour earlier the reserve 
artillery of the 10th Corps had arrived there, pre- 
ceding the division. 

As will be seen from the foregoing, the 3d Corps 
received no reinforcement of infantry from the 10th 
Corps until 3.30 p.m., excepting Lehmann's brigade ; 
but later on, parts of the 8th and 9th Corps came also 
into action, and in this way : The 16th division of 
the 8th Corps (Bameckow's) had arrived at noon in 
Any, on the right bank of the Moselle, from Fron- 
tigny, and was to encamp there; but hearing the 
thunder of the cannon, Barneckow, at 1 p.m., marched 
upon Nov^ant, crossed the river there, and arrived at 


3.30 P.M. with the head of his column at Gorze — ^that 
is, a good 2^ miles from the battle-field. The 11th 
regiment from the 9th Corps had joined him, and 
had been attached to the 32d infantry brigade. 
Rex. ] 

In Pont k Mousson, Prince Frederic Charles re- 
ceived at noon the first news of the engagement of 
the 3d Corps. Before he repaired to the field of 
battle, which he reached at 3 p.m., he directed the 
commander of the 9th Corps, General von Manstein, 
to cover the right flank of the 3d Corps, and generally 
to support it as much as possible. Manstein upon 
this sent the 49th brigade of infantry and 1 regiment 
of cavalry from the Hessian Division, under Prince 
Louis, to Gorze. These troops crossed the Moselle 
at Nov^ant at 4 p.m., and the head of the colunm 
reached Gorze at 5.30 p.m. 

Now that we have related what troops took part 
in the fight, and at what time they severally came 
into action, we will return to the field of battle. 

We quitted it soon after mid-day, when the 3d 
Corps, in its position between the wood of St Amould 
and the village of Vionville, was sorely pressed by the 
repeated offensive thrusts of the French. 

After a new attack on Vionville had been repulsed 
at 1.30 P.M., Buddenbrock was directed to hold with 
his right wing that village and Flavigny, but to 
penetrate with his left wing, in as much force as 
possible, into the woods to the north of Vionville. 


To do this Buddenbrock sent forward first the 24th 
regiment of infantry, and this was gradually sup- 
ported on the left wing by the four battalions of 
Lehmann's brigade. Buddenbrock had now in re- 
serve only two battalions of the 20th regiment (11th 
brigade of infantry). 

The wood-fighting was excessively murderous ; and 
as it went on a new danger presented itself to the 
Germans. Up to this time only the Corps of Canrobert 
and of Frossard had been engaged ; the Guard was in 
reserve, in the vicinity of St Marcel, while the Corps of 
LeboBuf (late of Decaen, and before that of Bazaine) and 
of Ladmirault were halted on the road to Estain; 
but now Leboeuf moved forward with his Corps from 
Jarny and Doncourt on to the height of Bruville. To 
oppose him, the artillery reserve of the 10th Corps 
and the greater part of its troops were sent forward 
as they arrived on the scene of action. The artillery 
took up a position to the north of Tronville on the 
road from Vionville to Mars la Tour ; Kraatz-Kosch- 
lau's division, on its arrival, threw five battalions 
into the western part of the woods lying to the north 
of Vionville, and kept back in rear of them three 
battalions in reserve. Three other of its battalionn 
were sent to support Alvensleben's right wing, StUlp- 
nagel's division. 

The French had massed their artillery in tlui wcmkI 
between St Marcel and Vionville, near tlio old llcinmti 
road, and cannonaded with great efluct tho wcHt^^rti 


parts of the woods to the north of Vionville, and also 
the Prussian batteries near that village. The Prus- 
sian infantry, coming out of the wood, turned against 
this artillery, and compelled it to abandon temporarily 
its position, capturing also a gun. At about the same 
time Alvensleben caused another French battery upon 
the heights to the north-west of Eezonville to be 
attacked by the 12th brigade of cavalry (Bredow), 
17th Cuirassiers, 16th Uhlans, and 13th Dragoons. 
The German cavalry charged into the battery, 
sabred the gunners, and rode on against the French 
infantry standing in rear. But they were obliged to 
yield to the fire of the Chassepots, and returned, hav- 
ing suflFered fearful losses. 

When Wedell's brigade of the 10th Corps arrived 
on the battle-field, it was first allowed to rest an hour 
after its long march, and was then sent to the east- 
ward of Mars la Tour in a northerly direction against 
Bruville and the Corps of Lebceuf in position there, 
but, decimated during its advance by the shell-fire 
of the French, which also set Mars la Tour in flames, 
it could not withstand the attack of the enemy's 
infantry, and was compelled to retreat 

As Wedell's brigade commenced its forward march, 
the artillery reserve of the 10th Corps, covered by 
the 2d regiment of dragoons of the Guard, had 
posted itself upon the ridge of heights to the east of 
Mars la Tour to support the movement of the bri- 
gade ; while on the west of it General Rheinbaben had 


of his own division Barby's brigade (4th Cuirassiers, 
13th Uhlans, and 19th Dragoons), the 13th regiment 
of dragoons of Bredow's brigade, and the 10th regi- 
ment of hussars of Redem's brigade. When Wedell 
was obliged to retire with very heavy losses, the 
reserve artillery of the 1 0th Corps covered his retreat 
with th^ir fire, and the Prussian Dragoons of the 
Guard and Rheinbaben's division did the same by 
repeated charges, which were executed with the 
greatest gallantry, but not without entailing great 
sacrifices. The dragoons of the Guard charged 
Leboeufs infantry, whilst Rheinbaben's rode against 
five regiments of French cavalry of the Guard, who 
were to cover the extreme right of Bazaine's position. 
The hand-to-hand fighting was furious, but the 
artillery and musketry fire wrought more destruction 
among both bodies of cavalry than the sword. Voigts- 
Rhetz also, when he became aware of the continued 
retreat of Wedell's brigade, ordered General Kraatz- 
Koschlau to bring back on to the height of Tronville 
as many of his troops which were engaged in the 
combat in the wood as possible, so that Wedell, 
covered by them, might be able to re-form. 

While these things were taking place upon the left 
wing of the Germans, Stlilpnagers division had on 
the right steadily and firmly maintained itself against 
repeated and violent attacks, although perhaps not so 
furious as those which Buddenbrock's division had to 
sustain. When Bameckow's division of the 8th Corps 

VOL. I. X 


arrived, it sent first three batteries of artillery and 
three squadrons of the 9th Hussars to the direct 
support of Stulpnagel. Prince Frederic Charles 
directed also Rex's brigade to proceed by C6te Mousa 
through the wood of St Amould upon RezonviUe, 
emerging from which place the French had penetrated, 
or were seeking to penetrate, on Stulpnagers right 
flank, partly into the wood of St Amould, partly in 
the wood Des Ognons. Rex's brigade, three regiments 
strong, as we have seen, pushed forward as far as the 
northern edge of the woods of St Amould and of Des 
Ognons, but could not debouch from the same against 
RezonviUe, for Bazaine led there the infantry of the 
Guard, kept until then in reserva Nevertheless the 
movement of Rex's brigade was very useful, as it 
prevented the French throwing still stronger forces 
against the left wing of the Grermans. 

Still more to the right than Rex's brigade, the 49th 
(Hesse-Darmstadt) brigade, which had sent two bat- 
teries to the direct support of Stulpnagel, came into 
action, advancing through the woods De Chevaux 
and Des Ognons, and driving the French out of the 

Only total darkness put an end to the battle here, 
as well as on the left wing of the Germans. LebcBuf 
and Canrobert, at 6.30 p.m., again assumed the oflfen- 
sive against this latter ; but they were repulsed, and 
detachments from Kraatz-Koschlau's and Budden- 


brock's troops debouched again from Mars la Tour and 
Vionville, and advanced against the northern woods. 
At 7.30 P.M. the French reopened a heavy cannonade, 
but this was only to secure the retreat of their right 
wing on to the northern Metz- Verdun road. When 
this firing ceased, Prince Frederic Charles, at about 
8 P.M., advanced the 6th division of cavaby from 
Flavigny upon Rezonville. Ranch's brigade, the 3d 
and 1 6th regiments of hussars, made on this occasion 
many prisoners. 

By 9 P.M. all was over. Both parties bivouacked 
upon the battle-field. The Prussians had won little 
ground, but still something ; the southern road from 
Metz to Verdun was now, under any circumstances, 
denied to Bazaine, and was fully in the power of the 

The day had cost both sides great sacrifices. The 
Prussians give their loss in killed and wounded at 
17,000, among whom were 650 oflScers — that is, 1 for 
every 26 men. As the French acknowledge 15,000 
wounded, and as they lost 3000 unwounded prisoners, 
their total loss must be estimated at 23,000 men. 
For the rest, the trophies gained by the victors were 
inconsiderable, which speaks for the obstinacy of the 
fight on both sides. 

The number of combatants may be taken as about 
equal on both sides. Of the French side, about 12 
divisions came into action, but they had been for the 


most paxt weakened in previous encounters. On the 
German side, about the equivalent for 3 Corps came on 
to the battle-field, but they also had already suffered; 
so that it may be calculated that on each side about 
80,000 men actually took part in the fight. 

;f • 

'• J 






Even on the evening of tlie 1 6th of August, Marshal 
Bazaine did not relinquish his intention of retiring 
westwards, in order to effect a junction with M'Mahon. 
Let us consider the circumstances in which he stood. 

Bazaine must wish to accomplish his march to join 
M*Mahon, if possible, without fighting. This was no 
longer practicable if he moved along the southern 
highway to Verdun, for it w^as altogether in the hands 
of the Germans ; it was also very improbable that he 
would gain his end if he took the northern road, as it 
runs very near to the southern one, and the active 
cavalry of the Prussians could show themselves upon 
it, between Estain and Doncourt, by the 17th of 
August at the latest. 

There remained, then, two other routes — the one by 
Briey and Montmddy to Stenay or to Sedan, and the 
other by Thionville, Longwy, and thence again to 


Stenay or Sedan. The two roads by the Meuse are 
much longer than the two first mentioned to Verdun, 
for going by them a great circuit is made. This 
would have been but of small importance had they 
offered complete security from an attack by the Ger- 
mans ; but this condition they in nowise fulfilled. 

In order to be able to issue from Metz with a force 
worth carrying away, Bazaine could only leave behind 
in the fortress a weak garrison, besides men of the 
Mobile Guard and of the Sedentary National Guard. 
To watch these, a single Prussian Corps would have 
sufficed. The whole main body of Steinmetz's army 
and of the army of Prince Frederic Charles could, as 
soon as they should be informed of Bazaine's retreat^ 
have instantly followed, and have easily overtaken 
him before he reached the Meuse. The more northerly 
the direction of Bazaine's retreat, so much the more 
surely would this interception be effected. It is true 
that the road by Thionville to Longwy increased at 
first greatly his distance from the Germans, but after 
passing Longwy he was compelled to bend south- 
wards, and come again towards them. 

For these reasons Bazaine kept for the present to 
his intended line of retreat along the Briey-Longuion 
road. The only question still to be answered was, 
When could it be commenced ? Naturally, the sooner 
the better ; but Bazaine was obliged to admit that he 
could not think of starting on the 1 7th of August. 
The wounded must be to some extent carried away; 


the ammunition, of which enormous quantities had 
been expended on the 16th, and the supplies of pro- 
visions, required to be replenished. The earliest date 
at which the retreat could be commenced was the 
night from the 1 7th to 1 8th of August ; and again, 
unless the start were postponed until then, it would 
be impossible to make forced marches, as the soldiers, 
even those who were unwounded, were very much 
exhausted by the sanguinary work of the 1 6th. 

If the Prussians did not move on the 1 7th or 1 8th 
August, Bazaine could, if he succeeded in setting out 
on the night of 17-1 8th, reach Longuion by a forced 
march on the latter day, and then he would have 
gained not only a considerable start, but also free 
communications with M'Mahon, who, being informed 
of his movements, could come to meet him from the 
Camp of Chalons, marching north by Vouziers. The 
operations after the union had been eflfected would 
depend upon circumstances. But certainly the hope 
that the Germans would remain quiet on the 1 7th 
and 18th was a very faint one, that was not to be 
lightly acted upon. Bazaine appreciated this cor- 
rectly, and took up consequently at earliest dawn of 
the 17th a position which appeared to him to be a 
favourable one in case he should be attacked before 
he could depart This position, fronting about west, 
extended from north to south between the water- 
courses of the Mance and of the brook of Chatel St 
Germain. Its right rested on Roncourt and St Privat 


la Montagne, extended thence by Amanvilliers, Mon- 
tigny la Grange, the farm-houses of Leipzic and 
Moscou, the public-houses of St Hubert and Point 
du Jour, to Rozerieulle and Jussy, and then to the 
Moselle. In front of the position the Mance runs 
into this latter river at Ars la Moselle, behind it the 
brook of St Germain at Moulins-les-Metz. 

On the right of the main position were concentrated 
the 4th Corps (Ladmirault) and the 6th Corps (Can- 
robert) ; on the left, the 2d Corps (Frossard) and the 
3d (Leboeuf) ; the Guard being in reserve. The prin- 
cipal advanced-posts in its front were, Ste Marie aux 
Chenes, Verndville, Gravelotte, and the Bois de Vaux. 
The advantages which this position afforded were 
the following : 1. It was not too near the places at 
that moment occupied by the Germans ; so that, unless 
they were unreasonably eager to fight, they were not 
directly provoked to engage on the 1 7th, and per- 
haps also not on the 18th of August. 2. It was not 
too long even for the comparatively weak force at 
Bazaine's disposal. Its lateral extension was about 
16,000 paces; so that, assuming Bazaine's disposable 
force to be 96,000, he had six men for every pace of 
his front. 3. The front of the position was naturally 
strong. The heights east of tlie Mance rise up in 
terrace-like form to the Plateau St Privat, Amanvil- 
liers, St Hubert, and so are admirably ada])ted for 
shelter -trenches {trancheeS'ahris)^ the use of which 
had been especially recommended t() the French in- 


fantry in the instruction of Marshal Niel of the 9th 
of August 1868, and in making which they had 
been afterwards exercised in the Camp of Chalons ; 
and such shelter - trenches were largely dug in the 
position on the 17th of August. 4. The right wing 
kept for the present possession of the road of retreat, 
by Briey to Longuion. 5. The left was especially 
strong : immediately in front were woods, which are 
never favourable to the rapid advance of the attackers, 
and behind it were Forts St Quentin and Plappe- 
ville. Assuming that the Prussians attacked only 
the left wing of the French, it would retire after a 
moderate resistance behind the above-named forts, 
and it would be then not improbable that the French 
could effect their retreat. 

We must at the same time remember that the 
French, even at this time, greatly underrated the 
forces of the Germans. Thus Bazaine believed, al- 
though quite falsely, that on the 16th of August he 
liad a considerable numerical superiority opposed to 
him ; but he was ignorant of the terrible fact that the 
Germans would in the following days be able to 
oppose him with a much larger number of fresh 
troops than had fought against him on the 16th ; 
whilst he, with the exception of Ladmirault's Corps, 
had no more untouched reserves. But whatever 
fault may be found with Bazaine's measures on the 
17th, it must be admitted finally that, under the 
given circumstances, they were the best that could 


have been taken, especially if it be remembered that 
in war something must ever be left to chance or to 
an omnipotent fate. 

Let us now look into the German camp. On the 
evening of the 16th of August, after the battle of 
Vionville, the German troops who had come into 
action on that day encamped in the following order, 
fipom the right to the left wing : The troops of the 
25th (Hessian) division in the woods Des Ognons and 
De Chevaux ; those troops of the 25th division who 
had not taken part in the battle of the 16th also 
marched into their bivouacs, early on the morning 
of the 17th; the 16th division, Bameckow, at C6te 
Mousa ; the 5th division, Stulpnagel, to the west of 
the Bois de Vionville ; the 6th division of cavahry, 
Duke of Mecklenburg, to the south of Flavigny ; the 
reserve artillery of the 3d Corps to the south of the 
6th division of cavalry ; the 6th division of infantry, 
Buddenbrock, between Vionville and Tronville; the 
10th Corps and the 5th division of cavalry to the west 
of Tronville. Prince Frederic Charles established his 
headquarters at Gorze, where he arrived at 9 p.m. 
Before this, advices of the events of the 16th had 
been sent to King William, who was at Pont li 

The result of the battle which had been that day 
fought could not be exactly ascertained at the head- 
quarters of Prince Frcdciiic Charles, but it was clearly 
recognised that Bazainc would either still try to effect 


his retreat westward, or would deliver a battle before 
Metz to prevent being at once shut up within it. And 
it was also certain that the German troops which had 
been engaged on the 1 6th of August had suflfered severe 
losses, and were much exhausted, and that it was there- 
fore of great importance to reUeve them, and to bring 
up as many fresh troops as possible. Consequently, 
by an order given at 11 o'clock on the evening of the 
16th, all those Corps were called up which would 
probably be able to reach the battle-field on the 1 7th. 

Of the 9th Corps, Manstein (of which 'we have 
already seen the 25th (Hessian) division engaged), 
the 18th division was on the evening of the 16th 
on the Madbach at Onville and Arnaville, and to 
the north of it, in the Lower Gorze valley, the artil- 
lery reserve of the Corps, while Manstein's headquarters 
were at Nov^ant. There he received the order to 
place himself, if possible, by daybreak of the 1 7th of 
August, upon the plateau 12 miles to the N.W. of 
Gorze. As a matter of fact, the head of his Corps 
advanced at 6 a.m. on the 1 7th to a rendezvous to 
the north of Anconville, and to the west of the wood 
of Vionville. 

The Prussian Guard Corps stood, on the evening of 
the 16th of August, with its main body at and about 
Bern^court, and its advanced-guard at Rambucourt. 
It was directed to march at once through St Benoit 
en Woewre upon Mars la Tour, and place itself on the 
left of the 12th North German (Saxon) Corps. Prince 


August of Wurtemberg, Chief of the Guard Corps, 
had already, upon his own responsibility, after the first 
intelligence which he received of the battle of Vion- 
ville, ordered that his divisions should concentrate at 
Richecourt and Flirey — that is, in a direction towards 
the north. He received the instructions of Prince 
Frederic Charles only at 3 a.m. on the 17th of 
August, commenced his march with his Corps at 5 
A.M., and soon after 3 p;m. was in bivouacks between 
Mars la Tour and Hannonville au Passage. 

The 12th (Saxon) Corps had its main body on the 
evening of the 16th at Pont h, Mousson, with its 
advanced-guard at Regni^ville en Haye, on the road 
to Thiaucourt ; and there it received orders to march 
by Thiaucourt to Mars la Tour, to the east of the 
Guard Corps. The King of Prussia had abeady, on 
the evening of the 16th, instructed the Crown-Prince 
of Saxony at Pont h Mousson of the events which 
had occurred at Vionville, and had directly ordered 
him to set out. When now the Crown-Prince was 
apprised of the commands of the Prince Frederic 
Charles from Gorze, lie at once caused the alarm to 
be sounded, and, starting at 2 a.m., arrived about 
2 P.M. between Mars la Tour and Puxieux. 

Upon the presence on the scene of immediate 
operations of tlie 4 th Corps, which was between Le 
Saizerais and ]\Iarbach, with its advanced-guard at 
Jaillon, it was impossible to reckon. Prince Frederic 
Charles, therefore, allowed the orders issued at noon 


of the 16th to remain in force, which prescribed for 
it a route by Boucq upon Soncy, and perhaps an 
attempt at a coup de main against the fortress of 
Toul, should the opportunity present itself. 

The 2d Corps, also, which was to the east of the 
Moselle at Buchy, and still further in rear, was 
obliged to be left out of the reckoning for the 1 7th 
of August, and therefore it likewise did not receive 
any new order on the evening of the 16th. The 
former one directed it to .march to Pont h, Mousson 
on the 1 7th. 

On his side, King William, as soon as he had 
given his directions to the Crown-Prince of Saxony, 
had commanded the 8th Corps — at least such part 
of it as had not already passed over the river — the 
7th Corps, and the 1st division of cavalry, which 
all belonged to the First Army, to cross to the 
left bank of the Moselle. Prince Frederic Charles 
was informed about midnight at Gorze of this ar- 

The 7th and 8th Corps threw several bridges over 
the Moselle during the night, began their march 
early on the morning of the 17th, and between 1 
and 2 p.m. stood thus : the 8th Corps to the south of 
Rezonville, behind it the division of cavalry; the 
7th Corps south of Gravelotte, extending rearwards 
towards Ars la Moselle. The two Corps were in 
communication in the Bois dcs Ognons. 

Prince Frederic Charles left Gorze on the 1 7th of 


August at 4 A.M. for the scene of action, where, at I 
6 A.M., the King also arrived. 

The German troops who were on the battle-field 
were under arms early in the morning. The French 
troops, which were still arrayed fiicing the Vionville- 
Rezonville road, marched eastward into their new 
positions under cover of skirmishers, and were seen 
to arrive in them about noon. 

As the fresh German Corps, as we have seen, only 
eame up in part towards. 3 p.m., after having made 
such long marches that it was necessary to give them 
some repose, it was no longer possible to think of 
attacking the French position on the 1 7th; and at 

1 o'clock, therefore, the outposts were organised, and 
placed on a line extending from the Bois des Ognons, 
over the heights south of Rezonville, through the 
wood to the north-west of Vionville, to ViUe sur Yron. 
Meanwhile the troops which were already on the 
battle-field had lighted their cooking-fires as soon as 
the marcli of the French eastward was ceitified ; but 
strong detachments of cavalry were sent out in the 
afternoon northwards, beyond the Une of outpoets, 
to observe the road by Estiiin and Briey, and any 
movement the French might make along it. Towards 

2 P.M. the King issued, through General Moltke, the i 
following dispositions for the 18th : — 

"The Second Army will form up to-morrow, the \ 
18th, at 5 A.M., and advance in echelon between the ' 
Yron and the Gorzebach (in general between Villo i 



sur Yron and Rezonville) ; the 8th Corps will join 
this movement on the right wing of the Second 
Army ; the 7th Corps will have the task of securing 
this movement from any hostile attacks from the side 
of Metz. The further dispositions of the King will 
depend upon the measures taken by the enemy. 
Reports to his Majesty are, for the present, to be 
sent to his Majesty on the height to the south of 

As it had been determined not to fight before the 
1 8th, it was now possible that the 2d Corps, which 
was to reach Pont k Mousson on the 17th, could 
also be brought into action, perhaps even at the last 
decisive moments. At 1 o'clock, therefore, the order 
was sent to it to march from Pont h, Mousson at 4 
A.M. on the 18th, and to advance on Buxi&res by 
way of Arnanville, Bayonville, and Onville. It was 
there to cook and rest, and there to form up in mass. 
This march was about seventeen miles, and could 
therefore, allowing for the time consimied in march- 
ing oflF and in halting, be accomplished in nine or ten 

The general dispositions given above were only 
calculated to place the Second Army and the 8th 
Corps upon one front, which would extend along a line 
almost parallel to the road from Metz through Don- 
court and Estain. By the time that this movement 
could be completed, it would be seen whether the 
enemy still intended to retreat either by Doncourt or 


by Briey, in which case the German army would still 
have to advance northwards to the attack. But 
should the French army remain in the position, Aman- 
viUiers-Rozerieulle, in which as we know it stood, the 
German army must continue the wheel to the right 
which it had commenced, and in which the 7th Corps 
served as the fixed pivot, in order to attack the French 

The King of Prussia returned after 2 p.m. to his 
headquarters in Pont k Mousson, and Prince Frederic 
Charles established his at 3 p.m. in Buxiferes, south of 

Very early on the morning of the 18th, Prince 
Frederic Charles gave verbal instructions for the day 
to the generals commanding the Corps of the Second 
Army, — to those of the Corps on the left, the 12tli, 
Guard, and 10th at 5 A.M., to the south of Mars la 
Tour ; to those of the Corps on the right, the 9th and 
3d, at 5.30 a.m., to the west of Vionville. Accordinor 
to these, it was tlie task of the Second Army to march 
forwards to shut off definitely the retreat of the 
French army to Verdun, and to fight it wherever it 
found it. Its advance was to take place in two lines, 
the first formed, enumerating from left to right, by 
the 12th, Guard, and 9th Corps, the second made up 
principally of the Corps that had been most engaged 
on the IGtli of August, the 10th and 3d Corps. 

In the first line, the 12th (Saxon) Corps was to 
advance on the extreme left upon Jarny; on its rights 


and next to it, the Guard Corps upon Doncourt ; and 
to the right of this the 9th Corps between Vionville 
and Rezonville, to the eastward of St Marcel; and 
according to the general dispositions, the 8th Corps 
of the First Army would then join on to its right. In 
the second line, the 10th Corps, with Eheinbaben's 
division of cavalry, was to follow the 1 2th Corps ; the 
3d Corps, with the 6th division of cavalry (Duke of 
Mecklenburg), was directed upon the interval between 
the Prussian Guard and the 1 0th Corps. For a third 
line there remained, then, the before-mentioned 2d 
Corps, which could only come up late. The Corps 
were not to advance in columns of march, but each 
division was to be in a formation capable of being 
quickly developed, and therefore always ready for 

The 12th Corps, which formed the wheeling flank, 
and had therefore the longest way to march, was to 
start immediately upon receiving the orders at 5 a.m. ; 
the rest were to follow, from left to right, at intervals 
proportionate to the distances they had to traverse. 
The Guard had, owing to the position of its bivouacs, 
about as far to march to reach Doncourt as the 12th 
had to arrive at Jamy ; the 9th Corps, on the con- 
trary, had only half as far to go to reach the road 
over Doncourt in the neighbourhood of Caulre. Prince 
Frederic Charles placed himself at the head of the 3d 
Corps, which formed the right of the second line. 
The King of Prussia came upon the battle-field at 6 

VOL. I. y 



A.M., and remained at first on the heights to the south 
of Flavigny. 

At 8.30 A.M. the 9tb Corps had reached Caulre and 
halted there ; but the Prussian Guard and the 12th 
Corps had not yet arrived at Doncourt and Jarny, 
From the intelligence which up- to this time had 
reached Prince Frederic Charles, it seemed to be most 
probable that the French had not marched oif through 
Doncourt upon Estain, or through Briey, hut that 
tliey had taken up a position on the plateau of Aman- 
villiers. Still nothing could be ascertained with 
certainty from these reports ; for they said that 
Gravelotte was not occupied hy the French, but that 
behind the place, and to the east of it, there waa 
a camp ; that the camps at BiTiville and St Marcel 
had been evacuated, and that in those which had been 
pitched on the plateau near the farmhouses of Moscou 
and Leipzic, great movements were observed. Being 
thus in doubt as to the proceedings of his adversaries. 
Prince Frederic Charles sent ordei-a at 8.30 a.m. to the 
Guard and 12th Corps to halt as soon as they reached 
Doncourt and Jarny, until a greater certainty as to 
the intention of the French could be arrived at, for it 
seems that the Prince had been led very much astray 
by the report of the striking of the camps of BruviUe 
and of St Marcel. Could the troops who had been 
there till the morning of the 1 7th have now marched 
away to the north ? 

The 3d Corps had as yet made no movement from 



Vionville, but the 1 Otli Corps, which had commenced 
its march, was now directed to halt at Bruville. By 
10 A.M. it appeared to be more probable that the 
French were remaining on the plateau ; but still this 
was even yet not a certainty. The Prince, therefore, 
now ordered the 9 th Corps to march through Ver- 
n^ville upon La Folic, and at 10.15 a.m. the Guard 
to follow the 9th Corps upon Vern^ville. In planning 
this movement, the Prince assumed that, if the French 
were in position, their extreme right wing would be 
somewhere by La Folic (in reality it was, as we know, 
much more to the north) ; and when the 10th Corps 
came upon the enemy there, it Was at first to engage 
with him in a musketry combat, while the Guard 
from Vern^ville was to reconnoitre towards Aman- 
villiers and St Privat la Montagne> and send in 
prompt information of what it discovered. The 12th 
Corps (Saxon) was all this time to remain halted at 
Jarny, ready to march northwards when required. 

Meanwhile the Staff of the King had received 
about 10.30 A.M. further and more correct intelli- 
gence. From this it appeared that the main body of 
the French was between Montigny la Grange and 
Point du Jour, and that four French battalions were 
advanced into the Bois des Genivaux. Accordingly 
the King held it to be expedient that the Guard and 
12th Corps should be directed upon Batilly. Thence 
they could, in case Bazaine should still take the Briey 
road, march upon Ste Marie aux Chfines, or, in case 


he should remain in bia position at Amanvilliera, 
attack him there on his right flank ; while, simultane- 
ously, the 9th Corps would advance against the Bois 
de Genivaux, and the 8th and 7th Corps against ■ 
Gravelotte, and through the wood De Vaux. 

These directions reached Prince Frederic Charles 
soon after 11 a.m., and by that time he also had re- 
ceived similar information. The error into which he 
had fallen as to the position of the right wing of the 
French had been neaily completely rectified; but, 
on the other hand, he did not wish to bring confusion 
into the advance of the Corps which were already on 
the march by giving now entirely contradictory 
counter-orders ; and these two sets of feelings must 
be considered in judging the dispositions which the , 
Prince made at 11.30 a.m., after he had received the 
instructions of the King. To cany out these, orders 
were at once simultaneously sent to General Mansteia 
(9th Cori)s) and Prince August of Wilrtemberg 
(Guard). Manstein was to halt in his advance 
through Verndville by La Folic, but not to engage I 
the enemy there seriously before the Guard attacked 
from Amanvilliers. Tlie Prmce of Wiirtemberg was j 
to march by Vcrn^ville to Amanvilliers, and thenoa 
attack in the flank Bazaiue's right wing, which waa' 
supposed to be posted there. A quarter of an hour \ 
later, the Crown-Prince of Saxony (12th Corps) re- 
ceived the order to march from Janiy upon Ste j 
Marie aux Chones, to secure his left wing on the J 


roads to Estain and Briey, to send forward cavalry 
towards Woippy in the Moselle valley, and, as far- as 
possible, cut the railway and telegraph communica- 
tions from Metz to Thionville. A quarter of an hour 
later still, at noon. General Voigts-Rhetz (10th Corps) 
was directed to support the Saxons by advancing 
upon St Ail. At the same time an order was sent to 
General Fransecky, commander of the 2d Corps, the 
head of which began to draw near to the battle-field, 
to march from Buxi^res upon Rezonville, to serve as a 
support to the right wing of the general line. At the 
same time, the commander of each Corps was advised 
of what the other Corps were ordered to do. 

The 8th Corps received from the King at noon the 
order to advance from Rezonville by Gravelotte upon 
Moscou ; the 7th Corps was to hold the Bois de Vaux, 
keeping stiU its character aa the fixed pivot, and only 
taking part in the action with its artillery — an order 
which two hours later was repeated. With the 3d 
Corps Prince Frederic Charles intended to advance 
himself, into the neighbourhood of Vem^villc, and no 
precise instructions were given to it. 

Thus we have seen how, by about noon, the pre- 
parations for the attack of the French position on the 
plateau of Amanvilliers were completed by the Ger- 
mans. We will now follow the movements of the 
separate Corps, and first those of the Second Army, 
until 5 P.M. 

The 9th Corps, Manstein, had finished its cooking at 



Cauire, and was rcatly to set out when it received the I 
orders which Prince Frederic Charles had issued at 
10 A.M. At 10.30 A.M. it marched off in the follow- 
ing order ; 18th division (Wrangel), reserve artilleiy ' 
of the Corps, and 25tli division (Prince Louis of ' 
Hesse) taking a direction between the wood of Doa- 
cuillons and the wood of Bagneux, direct upon Ver- 
n^ville, which was occupied by Wrangel's advanced- 
guard. To the north of the road from Verntiville to 
Amanvillicra lies the wooil De la Cusse, to the south 
the wood Des Genivaus. The gap between these two I 
is about 2000 paces wide, and through it Amanvillicra I 
and Moutigny la Grange can be distinctly seen from ' 
Verndville; but La Folie, which lies more to the 
south, and against which the 9th Corps was specially 
directed, is hidden from view by the latter wood. 
The Germans, then, arriving at VemeviUe, and look- 
ing up this vista, saw French camps upon the heights 
of AmanviUiers, and remarked some of the enemy's 
battalions, which were just then marching thence 

L towards Veni^ville, with the intention of occupying 
of t: 
the 1 

Manstein, therefore, at 12 noon, caused the artillery 
of the 18th division to push on to Champenois, aud 
soon afterwards sent the reserve artillery of the Corps 
into position on its left, with its own left considerably 
thrown forward, while at the same time that the 
divisional artillery was advanced, two battalions of 
the same division were sent into the wood De la 


Cusse, with instructions to occupy and hold its east- 
ern edge opposite Amanvilliers. On the French side, 
batteries, and with them mitrailleuse batteries also, 
came into action at Amanvilliers and Montigny la 
Grange against Manstein's artillery, and soon after- 
wards others further to the north, towards St Privat 
la Montague, began to cannonade it. This fire, as 
well as that from the French Chassepots, proved 
especially destructive to the advanced left wing of 
Manstein's artillery ; but still, by 5 p.m., this had 
gained considerable advantages, ^though it had 
suffered great losses, having 15 guns completely 

We have already seen how two battalions of 
Wrangel's division had been thrown into the wood 
De la Cusse, on the north of the road from Vem^villc 
to Amanvilliers. These were in the course of time 
reinforced by the 49th brigade of infantry from the 
Hessian Division, while the 50th brigade and the 
Hessian cavalry were formed up in the vista between 
the wood De la Cusse and the wood Des Doscuillons 
as a reserve for Manstein's left wing. The battalions 
in the wood suffered very severely from the artillery- 
fire of the French. 

Whilst these things were going on on the left, 
Wrangel, on Manstein's right wing, held firm at 
Chantrennes, and in the north-east comer of the 
wood Des Genivaux, with the bulk of his division, 
and repelled repeated attacks which the French 


directed againat him from La Folie. Sucli, then, wai 
the atate of affairs with the 9tb Corps at 3 P.M. 

The Prussian Guard, when it quitted its bivoua 
on the morning of the 18th of August, had, aa dispos- 
able troops, the 1st division of infantry of the Guard 
(Pape), the 2d diviaiou of infantry of the Guard 
(Budritzky), the reaerve of artillery, but only the 
Cuirassier brigade (Count Brandenburg I.) of the 
division of cavalry of the Guard, for the Dragoon 
brigade of the Guard (Count Brandenburg II.), which 
had been assigned on the 16th August to Rheinba- 
ben's division, only came up later in the day, and 
the Uhlan brigade (Rochow), which had been sent 
forward to St Mihiel on the Meiise, took no part in 
the battle. Of these troops Budritzky 'a division 
marched on the right from Doncourt towards Vernd- 
ville, Pape's division and the reserve of artillery on 
the left by Tonaville to Habonville ; but about 1 P.M. 
Prince Frederic Charles repaired personally from 
Vionville to Vorn^ville, and seeing there cleai'ly that 
the French right extended much further to the 
north than it had originally been supposed, directed 
Budritzky 'a division, which had not yet reached; 
Vem^ville, also to bend northwards towards Habont 

Meanwhile the advanced-guard of Pape'a diviaioa 
had occupied St Ail, to the north of HabouviUc^ 
shortly after noon, and it was followed by the ; 
part of the division. The divisional artillery 1 


up a position between St Ail and Habonville. To it 
Prince Hohenlohe, chief of the brigade of artiUery of 
the Guard, joined the reserve of artillery of the Corps 
as soon as it came up, and then led this mass of fifty- 
four guns into an eflfective range for firing against 
the French position at St Privat la Montague. To- 
wards 2 P.M. Budritzky's division, turned northward 
as we have seen by Prince Charles, arrived at Habon- 
ville ; and at the same time the mass of artillery 
under Prince Hohenlohe was increased by two bat- 
teries of horse-artillery of the division of cavalry of 
the Guard, and somewhat after 2.30 p.m. by three 
batteries from Budritzky's division; so that now a 
total number of fourteen batteries — that is, of eighty- 
four guns — were in action on the heights to the west 
of Habonville. 

Towards 2 p.m. Prince Frederic Charles left 
Vem^ville and repaired also to these heights. On 
arrival he ordered Prince August of WUrtemberg to 
confine himself for the present to this artillery fight, 
and to withhold the attack of the infantry until the 
time when the 12th (Saxon) Corps, having completed 
its wide-sweeping movement, should be in a position 
to support effectually the fight in which the Guard 
was engaged. Consequently the fire was continued 
— Prince Hohenlohe moving up at 4 p.m. his guns 
gradually into a yet more forward position, fi'om 
which the artillery duel raged for another full hour. 

But at 5 P.M. Prince August of Wurtemberg deter- 




infantry to the attack of St Privat le Moutagm 
although the wide out -flanking movement of the 
Saxons was not yet accomplished. 

The 12th (Saxon) Corps marching from Jam; 
reached the neiglibourhood of Batilly with the headi 
of its column at 2 p.m. Here the Crown-Prince of' 
Saxony prepared to attack with hia right wing the;! 
24th division of infantry, Ste Marie aux Chenes, the; 
advancednautpost of the right wing of the French, 
whilst his left wing, the 23d division of infantry, 
leaving Ste Marie on its right, and passing through 
Coinville and Roncourt, was to outflank tljeir extreme 
right. Of these preparations ho informed Prim 
Frederic Charles. 

At 2.30 P.M. the 24th division of infantry, wil 
the 47th brigade, Leonhardi, at its head, deploy 
between CoinvUle and Ste Marie, for the attack on th< 
latter. It was supported by the advanced-guard 
Pape's division of the Guard, which pushed forwi 
from St Ail northwards simultaneously with it. Al 
3.30 P.M. Ste Marie aux Chfines was in the hands 
the Gei-mans; so that now the greater pai-t of 
24th division of infautiy was also available for 
encircling movement upon Roncourt. But the ma: 
of the 23d division had been so delayed that it vrt 
only at 5 P.M. that the whole of the 12th Corps 
deployed upon the line from Ste Marie aux Ch6iies 
Joeuf, facing Roncourt. 




At 4 P.M. two squadrons of Saxon horsemen had 
been detached from Coinville, and sent down the 
Ornes into the valley of the Moselle to break up the 
railway and cut the telegraph to Thionville. They 
had found the ways in the wood barricaded, and met 
with great difficulties, but nevertheless succeeded in 
accomplishing their errand. 

Of the second line of the Second Army, no single 
Corps came into action until 5 p.m. The 10th Corps 
arrived at 2 p.m. at Batilly, and remained halted to 
the north of the village awaiting orders. The 3d 
Corps marched out of Vionville after Prince Frederic 
Charles had quitted the village, reached Vemciville at 
3 P.M., and halted there. Later on it received an 
order to send forward its reserve of artiUery to 
support the 9th Corps between Vem^ville and the 
wood Des Genivaux. The 2d Corps, after cooking at 
Buxi^res, arrived some time about 5.30 P.M. to the 
east of Rezonville. 

Of the troops which formed the First Army, the 
8 th Corps advanced about noon, when the fight with 
the 9th Corps was developing itself, with the 15th 
division of infantry, Weltzien, to the eiist of Rezon- 
ville upon Gravelotte. It was there received with a 
heavy fire from the guns and mitrailleuses of the 2d 
French and Guard Corps, who held the positions of 
Moscou and of Pont du Jour ; but notwithstanding 
this, it succeeded in obtaining possession of the south- 
em part of the wood Des Genivaux, and made many 


endeavours to debouch from it against Moscou. In 
these it was until 5 p.m. unsuccessful, and had to 
content itself with holding the eastern edge of the 
front. When the commandant of the 7th Corps, Zas- 
ti-ow, remarked the advance of the 8th Corps, and 
saw how the French opened a heavy artillery-fire 
upon it, he at 1 p.m. brought up, in order to silence this 
to some extent, four batteries of the 14th division of 
infantry on to the heights between Gravelotte and 
the wood Des Ognons ; and thence they commenced to 
cannonade with great effect the position of Pont du 
Jour, BO that thereby some of the pressure was taken 
off the 8th Corps. Half an hour later, Zastrow sent 
three batteries more of the 13th division, and at 2 
p. M. other two, from the reserve of artillery, into the 
same position ; and after the united fire of these nine 
batteries (54 guns) had played upon them for half an 
hour, the fire from the French at Pont du Jour be- 
came perceptibly weaker. The artillery of the 7th 
Corps advanced now gradually in echelon towards 
the north-east. Zastrow, although he had been or- 
dered to engage only with artillery, held that in its 
forward position it was too much exposed to be left 
without the protection of infantry, and he therefore 
brought forward, into sheltered positions, the 25th 
brigade of infantry, Osten Sacken, npon the right, 
and the 27th brigade, now Conrady's, upon the left 
wing of the artillery. 

After 3 P.M. nothing more waa hoard on the right 


of the fighting on the left and centre of the Germans, 
which may have been owing to a change in the wind, 
or perhaps to an actual lull in the battle in which 
the centre, the 9th Corps, was engaged. Be that as 
it may, Zastrow had certainly the right to assume 
that the French right had been completely routed, and 
that only the left at Pont du Jour remained firm. 
In this case an oflfensive thrust by the First Army, 
and especially by the 7th Corps, as the 8th was still 
vainly endeavouring to emerge fi-om the wood de 
Genivaux, would be very eflfective, as it would render 
the retreat of the French very difficult. Zastrow 
therefore, towards 4 p. m., ordered the 25th and 28th 
brigades of infantry to push forwaa-d against Pont du 
Jour; three batteries were to follow them; the 27th 
brigade of infantry was to march in reserve to Grave- 
lotte ; while the 26th brigade of infantry had the in- 
dependent task of holding the extreme right of the 
German army between Vaux and Jussy, and was 
already engaged there. 

As, then, the two brigades of infantry debouched 
from the wood Des Vaux, they were received by a 
furious fire from the French shelter-trenches ; and so 
heavy was it, that they were obliged to retreat and seek 
shelter some 800 yards to the south of Pont du Jour, 
behind ^;he folds of the ground and in the thickets. 
The three batteries which were to support the attack 
of the above-named brigades advanced, followed by 
the 4th regiment of Uhlans from the 1st division of 



cavalry, between the woods Des Vaux and Des Geiii- 
vaux, across tbc MancCj and came into action about 
1500 paces to the south of and facing St Hubert. 
In this position they as well as the Uhlana were 
much cut up by the fire from the French infantry 
and mitrailleuses. Tlic Uhlans retired quickly into a 
covered position behind the infantry on the east edge 
of the wood De Vans, but the batteries remained firm, 
although they were suffering great losses ; and Zas- 
trow therefore sent forward two fresh battalions of the 
27th brigade of infantry to cover them. Still at 5 p.m. 
there could no longer be any idea of assuming the 
offensive with either the 7th or 8th Corps, and the 
the battle was here completely at a standstill, 

"We will now shortly sum up the state of affairs at 

5 P.M. 

We find on the German right (7th and 8th Corps) 
and centre (9th Corps) a continuous artillery and mus- 
ketry combat going on, in which the Germans enjoy 
the cover of the borders of the woods, the French that 
of their shelter-trenches and of their commanding posi- 
tion. On the German left, the Prussian Guanl Corps 
and the 12th (Saxon) Corps are preparing for the first 
decisive attack on the right wing of the French at St 
Privat la Montagne and Roncourt. The reaervea, tlie 
2d, 3d, and 10th Coi'ps, have not yet been employed. 

The movements of the 9th, the Guard, and of 
the 12th Corps must now be considered in connec- 
tion with one another. The losses of the 9th Corjia, 



especially in the wood De la Cusse, were at 5 p.m. so 
considerable, that Prince Frederic Charles kept back, 
when Prince August of Wurtemberg was preparing to 
attack decisively St Privat, the 3d brigade of infantry 
of the Guard (Knappe von Knappstadt), the Rifle bat- 
talion, and a battery of the artillery of the Guard, all 
specially to support it. The woods in this neighbour- 
hood are not as a rulc.thick ; they consist of numerous 
groves, which are separated from one another by 
small vistas ; but the several gioups consist of but 
proportionately few trees, and between them an en- 
tangled undergrowth, which explains the great losses 
which the Germans suflfered in the wood De la Cusse. 
The Guard became now the centre of the decisive 
manoeuvre. Shortly after 5 p.m. Prince August of 
Wurtemberg advanced the 4th brigade of infantry of 
the Guard from Habonville against St Privat, and a 
quarter of an hour later to the left of this the main 
body of Pape's division from Ste Marie aux Chines, 
which was held by the advanced-guard of the divi- 
sion, also against St Privat. St Privat was most 
obstinately defended by the French ; in spite of all 
the bravery displayed by the battalions of the Prus- 
sian Guard, they were forced to retire. The artillery 
of the 1 0th Corps was called up from the reserve ; 
but at the same time, at 6 p.m., the Prince of Wur- 
temberg resolved to delay the storming until the 
Saxons should be in a position to support him. 

Meanwhile the 23d (Saxon) division of infantry 



had reached Roncourt at 6.30 p.m., and advanced 
thence with the 45tk brigade of infantry, Craushaar, 
at its head against St Piivat. When Prince August 
heard the thunder of their cannon after he had carried 
on the action on his eidu for half an hour solely with 
the artillery of the Guard and of the 10th Corps, he 
pushed forward again the infantry of the Prussian 
Guard from the south aud from the west against St 

Thus at GAS p.m. the Saxon and Prussian Guard 
advanced simultaneously from all sides, the latter 
supported on their left wing by portions of the Kraatz- 
Kosehlau's division of the 10th Corps, which had 
just come up and penetrated into St Privat. The 
French were obliged to yield at 7 p.m., and retired 
slowly towards the woods of Jauraont and Saulny. 

As Prince August was making his first attack upon 
St Privat, General Manstein, with a Hessian brigade, 
with a part of AVrangel's division, and with the ad 
division of infantry of the Guard, supported by the 
reserve of artillery of the 3d Corps, pushed forwanl 
against Amanvilliers and Moutigny la Grange ; but he 
could not get possession of them, and had finally to 
content himself with holding the eastern edge of the 
wood De la Cusse, whilst Blumenthal's brigade of 
Wrangel's division held upon his right wlug Chaii- 
trenne and the N.E. comer of the wood Des Genivaux. 

In the wood De la Cusse the French artillery at 
Amanvilliers and Montigny la Graugti wrought great 



destruction. Towards 7 p.m., therefore, Prince Fred- 
eric Charles ordered General von Alvensleben to 
place one brigade of his Corps, the 3d, at the disposal 
of General Manstein, and support him with the rest 
of his Corps according to circumstances. Alvensleben 
was about to advance the whole of Buddenbrock's 
division, when about 7.30 p.m. considerable masses 
of French troops appeared towards the Bois des 
Genivaux ; he judged, therefore, that he must keep 
back his troops to be prepared for an oflfensive move- 
ment on the part of the French. 

On the right wing of the Germans the battle 
remained stationary, as we have seen, since 4.30 p.m. 
At 6 P.M. the King ordered the 2d Corps, Fransecky, 
which had arrived at Kezonville, to support the First 
Army, the 7th and 8th Corps, by Gravelotte. The 
head of the 2d Corps reached Gravelotte at 6.30 p.m., 
and advanced along the highroad through this place 
against St Hubert. Shortly afterwards Zastrow re- 
ceived orders to march with the 7th Corps on the 
right of the 2d against Pont du Jour, while to the 
left of the 2d Corps the 8th Corps was to debouch out 
of the Bois des Genivaux. Zastrow advanced at once 
the 28th and 25th brigades of infantry and two 
battalions of the 27th, while four battalions of the 
latter brigade remained in reserve at Gravelotte. 

But even this joint attack was not sufficient to 
drive the French from their position at Pont du 
Jour. While the right ^\^ng was in reteeat from St 

VOL. I. z 


Privat, while the centre stood firm at Montigny la 
Grange, Bazaine directed all his disposable troops to 
move through Leipzic towards his left wing, to cover 
there the most important roads of retreat ; and only 
at 6 A.M. on the 1 9th of August, when the 2d Prus- 
sian Corps renewed the attack against it, did the 
French rearguard leave its position at Pont du Jour. 

The real battle was finished by 8 p.m. The Ger- 
man Corps bivouacked in the positions, they had 
taken, and were directed to cover themselves well 
with outposts, to be able to meet any desperate stroke 
which the French might make. The 12th Corps was 
repeatedly directed to push forward if possible a 
strong detachment to Woippy on the railway to 
Thionville. The King of Prussia established his 
headquarters at Rezonville, after which place the 
battle is therefore sometimes called. 

The German loss is given at 550 officers and 14,000 
men; that of the French was probably, owing to their 
favourable position, not much greater. 
, The losses, therefore, were less than on the 16th. 
This may be partly explained by the fact that the 
artillery played a proportionately greater part on the 
18th than on the 16 th, and that furious infantry and 
cavalry encounters were more frequent on the 16th 
than on the 18th. But besides this, it is said that 
the French on the whole did not fight with the same 
tenacity on the 18th as on the 16th August. A 
certain despondency had instinctively entered their 


hearts, and this feeling was increased by the great 
numerical superiority of the Germans on the 18th. 
On the 1 6th the forces were, as we have seen, about 
even. On the 18th the French had about 100,000 
men, infantry and cavalry, on the battle-field; the 
Germans numbered, in the eight Corps on the left 
bank of the Moselle, and in the divisions of cavalry 
attached to them, at least 200,000. The French had 
about 450 guns, mitrailleuses included, the Germans 
720 ; so that even if the Germans did not actually 
bring all their forces into action, still their apparent 
superiority in troops present must have made a dis- 
turbing impression on the French. 










On the 20th of August Count Palikao declared in the 
Chamber : — 

" Gentlemen the Deputies ! the Prussians have 
circulated reports which would cause a belief that on 
the 18th they gained a very important advantage 
over our troops. I will narrate the facts. I cannot 
enter into details. You will understand my reti- 
cence. (Yes, yes ! Very good ! very good !) 1 have 
shown despatches to many members of the Chaml)ers, 
and from which it appears that, so far from obtaining 
an advantage on the 18th, three Corps which united 
against Bazaine were — according to intelligence which 
seems to be worthy of belief — thrown into the stone 
' J quarries of Jaumont." 

The Gentlemen the Deputies naturally did not know 
where the quarries of Jaumont were, or what they 
were. The newspaper editors racked their brains for 
eight days about the matter, owing to scarcity of any- 
thing like good maps in France ; but the Gentlemen 


the Deputies asked no questions ; it was suflScient for 
them to know that three Prussian Corps had been 
thrown into the " well-known " quarries of Jaumont. 
These quarries, which supply the inhabitants of Metz 
with an excellent building material, are situated to 
the east of Roncourt We know that, on the 18th, 
only the left wing of the Saxons came to that village, 
that it experienced no opposition there, and advanced 
thence in concert with the Prussian Guard against St 
Privat la Montague, where indeed the French made 
some stand, but were unable to assume a successful 
oflfensive. From whom then had Count Palikao received 
this intelligence ? Certainly not from Bazaine ; and 
yet he had already heard from him, for Bazaine was 
at 8.20 P.M. on the 18th still able to telegraph to the 
Emperor Napoleon at Chalons. In the despatch which 
he then sent, and which was written at 7 p.m. on the 
battle-field before Fort Plappeville, he only says that 
the attack had been very violent ; that now, at 7 p.m., 
the fire was subsiding, that the 60th Regiment had 
suffered very much at St Aubert, and that the French 
troops had maintained their position, — a statement 
which at that time was in the main correct of the 
right wing, and perfectly so of the left. This tele- 
gram Count Palikao also received from Chalons on 
the night of the 18th- 19th of August. 

On the 19th Bazaine could no longer telegraph, 
but he sent a woodsman, who pledged himself to find 
his way through the forests, and through the midst 


of the Germans, with further intelligence to Verdun, 
whence it was to be telegraphed to the Emperor at 
Chalons, and to Count Palikao at Paris. This letter 
runs thus : — 

" Ban St Mabtin, the 19tb. 

" The army fought the whole day yesterday be- 
tween St Privat and Rozereuilles. The 4th and 6th 
Corps alone made a change of front, drawing back 
their right to check a movement towards the right,* 
which masses t of the enemy were about to make 
under cover of the darkness. This morning I retired 
the 2d and 3d Corps from their positions.^ The 
army is again formed up on the left bank of the 
Moselle, from Longeville over the heights of Ban St 
Martin, behind the Forts St Qucntin and Plappeville. 
The troops are fatigued by the continued fighting, 
which has prevented their material wants being sup- 
plied, and has not allowed them to take any rest. 
The King of Prussia was to-day with Moltke in 
Rezonville, and from everything it may be concluded 
that the Prussian army intends to surround Metz. I 
still hope to get away in a northerly direction towanls 
Montmddy, and thence on to the St lilendhould- 
Chalons road if it is not too strongly occupied. 
Should this be the case, I shall go to Sedan, and even 
to Mezibrcs, in order thence to gain Chalons. In 
Metz we have 700 prisoners, who incommode us. 1 
shall propose an exchange to General Moltke." 

♦ Seen from the French fiide. f The SU-r^y gn^ 

X Leipzic, Mo»cou, St AulHjrt, Rozereuilles. 


Bazaine said the truth in this despatch of the 19th; 
he had on the morning of that day also withdrawn 
the Corps which had held their ground, and placed 
them in a concentrated position under the protection 
of Forts Plappeville and St Quentin, a position with a 
main front of 5000 paces, extending from Le San- 
sonnet on the right to Longeville les Metz on the left 
wing. On the right wing he had advanced-posts at 
Woippy and at the Maison-Rouge, on the left wing 
at Sey, Chazelles, Moulins les Metz ; his centre was 
sufficiently covered by the two forts Plappeville and 
St Quentin. 

Bazaine had allowed himself to be shut in. Why 1 
Certainly not because he held himself to be the 
victor on the 18th of August, for he had been obliged 
to retire his right wing, and thereby his position had 
undoubtedly lost an advantage. That he could on 
the 19th or even on the 20th of August deliver 
another battle in the position Amanvilliers-Rozercu- 
illes with any prospect of success he did not believe. 
His greatest need was to procure rest for his men. 
Certainly he expressed the hope that he might be 
able to get to Montm^dy after his troops had rested, 
perhaps on the 22d. But he only said, "I still hope." 
He did not speak with certainty. And the hope was 
undoubtedly one which he might reasonably allow 
himself to entertain. 

The Prussians might commit mistakes in their 
investment — spread themselves out too far, weaken 
themaelyeB by dfitwhrnents eLsewhere. Why, then, 




should it not be possible to break out and gain Mont- 
m^dy 1 Without a battle it was certainly not to be 
thought of. But even in Bazaine, who could not be 
expected to know thoroughly all the circumstances of 
the case, this hope was weak. As a rule, continued 
jj misfortune does not raise the spirit of an army ; and 

what he had failed to do with 120,000 fighting men, 
he could scarcely hope to achieve with 80,000, or at 
the highest 90,000, effective combatants. Therefore 
the despatch assuredly did not contain good news for 

The brave woodsman kept his word, but was only 
able to arrive at Verdun, having made his way through 
the middle of the German troops, on the morning of 
the 2 2d of August The commandant of this fortress 
at once telegraphed the despatch to the Emperor and 
to Count Palikao. The latter received it at 10 a.m., 
and on the afternoon of the 22d he stood up in the 
Chamber and said : — 

" Gentlemen the Deputies! you could this morning 
have read in the ' Journal Officiel ' a paragraph which 
the Government caused to be printed. This para- 
graph was then the expression of the truth, which we 
published in order to keep our promise of proclaiming 
the whole truth, whatever excitement it may produce 
in the public. (Very good.) Since the publication of 
that paragraph, I have received reports from Marshal 
Bazaine. (Excitement.) These reports are good. I 
cannot here communicate them to you. You will 
understand why." (Yes, yes! Very good! Very 


good !) Count Keratry asked, " Of what date is this 
news 1 " Palikao answered, " Of the 19th/' Keratry 
asked again, "Are these despatches from Bazaine 
himself ? " " Yes,*' replied Palikao, and continued : 
" Gentlemen, these reports show on the part of the 
Marshal a confidence which I share, as I know his 
worth and his energy. I must add — without, however, 
entering into further details of the events of the war — 
that the preparations for the defence of Paris are 
being actively pushed forward, and that we shall 
shortly be ready to receive any one who may be 
desirous of showing himself before us/' (Lively signs 
of assent.) 

It may well be asked, what harm would have been 
done if Count Palikao had read the despatch of 
Bazaine word for word ? Certainly, every one could 
not have drawn from it the same confidence which he 
did ; many would not have taken an uncertain hope 
for a firm persuasion, and consequently would not 
have esteemed the news of the 19th as good; but 
still it was not absolutely bad. 

In the German headquarters the state of affairs was 
properly appreciated; and it was felt that Bazaine 
was now shut up with his army in Metz, and that he 
could be kept there until he and it surrendered. And 
the German leaders went further still, for they pur- 
posed keeping him there with a smaller force than 
had been collected for the battle on the 1 8th. Under 
this conviction, and also reckoning upon further re- 

VOL. L 2 a 




inforcements which could shortly be brought up, a 
new army, the Fourth, was definitely formed on the 
1 9th, the components of which were taken firom the 
Second Army. 

The Fourth Army, composed of the 4th, 12th, and 
I Guard Corps, was under the command of the Crown- 

Prince of Saxony, and was destined to operate in 
concert with ti.e Lny of the Crown-Prince oVPrussia 
against M'Mahon and against Paris. In the next 
chapters we shall be occupied chiefly with the opera- 
tions of the two Crown-Princes. 

Before Metz and against Bazaine there remained 
behind the First Army, Steinmetz, 1st, 7th, and 8 th 
Corps, and the Second Army, 2d, 3d, 9th, and 10th 
Corps — ^that is, in all 7 Corps, a force which numbered, 
including the divisions of cavalry, spite of the losses 
sustained in the recent battles, 180,000, or at the least 
170,000 men, infantry and cavalry, with 630 field- 







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