Tyrol, in Spain, and in many of the fare pursued by the Russians, with-
other countries which he had invaded, out reflecting that enormities, even
and where he met with a firm resist. greater than ever were committed by
ance on the part of the people. He this people in revenge of his perfidy,
had disregarded not only the dictates had been executed by himself, in the
of humanity, but the accustomed rules wantonness of power, against innocent
of war, and had enforced submission and unoffending nations.
by the terrors of indiscriminate ruin Wittgenstein, who had continued to
and proscription. He still affected occupy the ground won by him from
to follow the same system in Russia, the enemy on the 10th and 11th of
but he soon found that it was returned August, received reinforcements from
upon him with interest. The Russians Dinabourg, and determined to dis-
felt enough of hatred to the French lodge Oudinot from the position which
name; they were roused by an inva- he was fortifying at Polotsk.-On the
sion which threatened the independ. 17th of August he advanced in two
ence of their country; but they be- columns, and, after a few hours, reach-
came exasperated to the utmost pitched the ground on which he' meant to
by the insolence and cruelty of the in- give the enemy battle. Oudinot has,
vaders.—A striking example of this is 'tened to give the Russians a check
said to have happened in the govern- before they should have reached the
ment of Twer. A detachment of position, which he foresaw it was their
French prisoners, accompanied by a object to take up; but in this he was
small escort, arrived in a village near . disappointed. The effect of the Rus-
Smolensko, where they contrived to sian artillery was here, as on many
overpower the Russian soldiers who other occasions, found irresistible;
had them in charge. A party of pea- and its well-directed operation in the
sants instantly made their appearance, affairs of which we are now giving a
and, armed with such weapons as they brief account, had a powerful influ-
could most easily procure, attacked ence on the result of the conflict. A
the French, and finally subdued them. heavy fire from a Russian battery, di.
Nor was this enough for their zeal ; rected against the enemy's masses,
for it was with great difficulty that a while they were yet unformed, crea-
few of the prisoners escaped their ven ted the utmost confusion ; a dreadful
geance. The peasants in the neigh., carnage ensued, in which Marshal
bourhood, supposing that the French Oudinot was severely wounded, and
had actually made their way into this the enemy was at last driven with
district of the empire, sounded the great slaughter to his intrenched
alarm, and no less than 3000 men, camp.--St Cyr, who succeeded Ou:
armed in the best way which the dinot in the command, was anxious to
hurry of the moment would permit, distinguish himself by retrieving these
made their appearance. They in- disasters, and on the following day de-
stantly declared their readiness to de- termined to renew the conflict. Count
stroy their property, that it might Wrede commanded the Bavarians on
not fall into the hands of the French, the right; General Maison was en-
and to make any other sacrifice which trusted with the left fank; and St
the cause of their country might re Cyr himself led on the centre. Witt.
quire. Instances of such devotion as genstein, who had by this time gained
this occurred frequently; and Buo- possession of the enemy's intrench-
naparte was inconsistent enough to ments, determined to remain on the
complain of the savage mode of war. defensive, and allowed them to make

their dispositions for the attack with were driven by the Russians. The out interruption. The attack was be- battle lasted upwards of twelve hours, gun by a discharge of the Bavarian and the pursuit did not cease till midartillery, which was instantly follow- night.- The French left about 10,000 ed by a general and destructive fire men killed and wounded on the field; from the whole French line, The they lost also many prisoners, inclu. Russians made a bold attack on the ding no less than 30 officers. The enemy's left, which entirely succeed. Russians stated their loss at 4000 men ed in driving him in that quarter back put hors de combat, among whom upon his reserves. The contest in were several of their generals. Such the centre, commanded on the one was the result of Buonaparte's attempt side by St Cyr, and on the other by to open for his armies a passage to St Wittgenstein, was maintained with the Petersburgh, and thus to inflict a famost obstinate bravery. At last, how. tal blow on the independence of the ever, the enemy was forced to give Russian empire. But it is proper to way at all points, and was pursued return to operations of still greater with such activity, that numbers of moment, which were under the immehis fugitive soldiers fell even in the diate direction of the French ruler. streets of Polotsk, into which they

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]


Russian Affairs continued. Capture of Smolensko by the French. Battle of

Borodino. The French occupy Moscow. Their unsuccessful Attempts to negociate. They evacuate Moscow.

BUONAPARTE remained at Vitepsk modern warfare, were mounted with until he received intelligence that his cannon, that nothing might be left unreinforcements from Tilsit were advan. done by the Russians of which circing upon Wilna. He then resolved cumstances permitted them to avail immediately to attack Smolensko ; and themselves. with this view, on the 13th of Au The French main army had been gust he ordered Murat and Beauhar. reinforced by the junction of Ponianois to advance and effect the passage towski, and presented at this moment of the Boristhenes. The Russian ge

a very compact and formidable body. neral-in-chief, aware of those move -The capture of Smolensko was an ments, ordered Prince Bagration to object of great importance to the enefall back to Smolensko by the Mos- my, for he would thus be able to discow road, while on the 14th he him. lodge the Russians from the only faself retired to the high ground on the vourable position for defence which right bank of the Dnieper, by which was to be found on this side of MosSmolensko is commanded. He learn- cow, while the occupation of a city so ed also, that the enemy under Murat ancient and venerable, would give that and Ney had already advanced in great sort of eclat to his operations, of which force, and driven the Russians from he has always known well how to avail Krasnoy with severe loss. The garri. himself. On the 16th of August son of Smolensko was in the meantime Buonaparte was at the head of his arstrengthened, and the necessary pre. my before Smolensko; and he no soonparations made, that the Russians er saw the position and strength of might avail themselves of the advan- his enemy than he decided on his plan tages which the situation of this city of operations. He determined to car. presented, to check, for a while at ry the intrenched suburbs and the city, least, the advance of the invader. The and at the same time to destroy the communication betwixt the garrison bridges by which a communication of Smolensko, now 30,000 strong,

was maintained betwixt the garrison and the army under Barclay de Tolly, and the army on the heights. With which occupied the heights, was fully this view, Marshal Ney was ordered established by three bridges ; and the to take up the ground on the left, ancient walls of Smolensko, although Davoust to occupy the centre, and ill adapted to resist the operations of Poniatowski to place himself on the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

right. The reserves consisting of ca- accomplished; and, in the meantime, valry and guards, formed the rear ; every thing in the city, and even the the cavalry was commanded by Murat buildings, were hastily destroyed by and Beauharnois, and Buonaparte him- the hands of their devoted owners. self remained with the guards. On the General Korff having destroyed the 17th of August the sanguinary contest communication with the right bank of was begun, which ended in the occu the Dnieper, led off what still remain. pation of Smolensko by the French ed of his gallant army; and on the armies.

morning of the 18th of August the The fire from the Russian cannon enemy entered Smolensko without furwas answered by the French with ther opposition.. energy and effect. Poniatowskį first When the French leader entered succeeded in driving a body of Rus- the city, he found it a heap of ruins. sians from a formidable position, on He was anxious to save something which a battery was instantly con from the general destruction which structed, and directed against one of met his view, and he ordered his solthe bridges. This gave the enemy a diers to exert themselves in extinguishgreat advantage, and, animated as he ing the flames. They were too busily now was by success, he pushed for employed, however, in seizing what ward in great numbers, and with un remained amid the wreck of this once wonted fury ; drove the Russians be. celebrated city, and paid but little refore him into their intrenchments, and spect to the orders of their chief. The even there vigorously attacked them anxiety of Buonaparte to enter Smowith the bayonet. The Russians for lensko in triumph, and to secure it as a two hours maintained this unequal and place of repose for his troops, was masanguinary contest with firmpess, and nifested in the reflections which he resişted every effort of the enemy to made on this scene of ruin and horror. pierce their lines.' The enemy, how. " Smolensko,” said he,“ ever, still pressed on with additional considered as one of the finest cities in numbers ; the fight 'was every moment Russia, and of the most commanding Þecoming more arduous, and already situation. Had it not been for the the operations of the Russians were circumstances of


which involved impeded by the heaps of slain which it in flames, and consumed its magasurrounded them on all sides. In these zines filled with merchandize, this city desperate circumstances they retired, would now be regarded as the richest still fighting, into the city, and already resource of our army. But even in the French were under 'its walls. It its present ruined 'state, it puts us in was the object of Barclay de Tolly to possession of a formidable military prolong the defence till Prince Bagra- post, and its remaining buildings af tion should be enabled to march to ford excellent hospitals for the sick." Dorogobouche, where it was propo. The reflections here made could desed to reunite the armies'; and the ceive no one ; chagrin and mortifibrave garrison of Smolensko was rea cation were evident in every line. In dy to second his views. The fire from contemplating the ruins of this once the walls still kept the enemy in check; celebrated city, Buonaparte was heard but he quickly ordered batteries to be to exclaim, “ Never was a war pro; constructed which compelled the Rus- secuted with such ferocity-never did sians to abandon the city. Their re defence put on so hostile a shape sistance continued," however, till the against the common feelings of selfinovements of the main aríny could be preservation. These people treat their

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

may be

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

own country as if they were its ene- ' of ruins, while the cavalry took posmies.”—He could not appreciate the session of the churches,

-as if they efforts of real patriotism; he judged of had meant by this act of sacrilege, to the Russians on principles which could raise to the highest pitch the fury and have applied to those only over whom indignation of the pious Russians. he had usurped authority: They met Buonaparte hastened to repair the him with flattery, because they dread. bridges which had been destroyed; ed his power; but the inhabitants of and with that alacrity which so long Russia knew no terms of compromise characterized all his military operawith his arrogance and ambition. tions, ordered the construction of a

In the obstinate affair before Smo- new bridge farther up the river, that lensko, the Russians lost about 4000 he might at the same time harass the men killed and wounded; but the rear-guard of the retiring army, and loss of the enemy was much greater. endeavour, by a movement in another If the French accounts were entitled direction, to cut it off entirely from to credit, it might seem, indeed, that the main body.--His orders were so the enemy had achieved wonders, un promptly obeyed, that Baron Korff, paralleled even in romance; for we who commanded the Russian rearare told, that the dreadful contest guard, had not marched far from Smowhich preceded the occupation of lensko, when he found his progress inSmolensko cost him no more than terrupted, the enemy having already 700 killed, and 3200 wounded. It pre-occupied his line of march, and in is surprising, that the authors of re

great force taken a position to interports so absurd should at any time cept him. Korff had no resource left have hoped to be believed; but when but to form on the spot, and try to we consider that the French accounts maintain his ground, till the generalare now very generally disregarded, in-chief should send him reinforcewhile the reports of the Russians have 'ments. He had not time, however, been uniformly verified by the event,

to make

these arrangements,

till nothing more seems necessary than to he was assailed with impetuosity by oppose the candid history which the the corps of Marshal Ney. The Ruslatter give of the campaign, to the idle sian general was thus surrounded in an and absurd fabrications of their ene- instant, and placed in the most critical mies.

circumstances.-The furious cannonSome Spanish prisoners, who were ade, which instantly commenced, was taken in this very battle, stated the heard by the main army of the Rusloss of the enemy in killed and wound. sians ; and Prince Eugene of Wirtemed alone, as high as 13,000 or 14,000 burg was dispatched with a strong body men ; and when the nature of the en of troops, to support their companions gagement, and the situation of the under Korff, who had been thus expocontending parties are kept in view, sed to so unequal a conflict. The this account cannot be deemed incre. prince made good his passage in spite dible.-- But whatever may have been of all opposition ; and as the ground the loss sustained in the action, the which General Korff occupied was city, on the entrance of the French, favourable, and he found himself so disappointed their hopes of comfort strongly supported, he determined to and repose. Buonaparte and a few of meet with firmness all the efforts of the his favourite generals occupied the enemy, who commenced a furious atepiscopal palace; his infantry sought tack on the Russian centre, which he relief from their fatigues amid a heap hoped to break. A heavy discharge of


« ForrigeFortsett »