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the city without opposition. They were at last assailed, however, by a strong body of French infantry and cavalry, and must have been cut to pieces but for the opportune arrival of General Iliovaskoy, with the whole force under his command, by whom the French were repulsed.—Winzengerode was thus enabled to draw his forces round Moscow ; and on the 22d he passed the barriers of the city, overthrew the enemy, and drove them under the guns of the citadel. At this moment the Russian general, accompanied by his aid de-camp, rode forward to the French lines, carrying a flag of truce, to intimate that further resistance by the enemy must be vain, and to propose a capitulation. The French answered by making the general and his aid-de-camp prisoners. This singular violation of the usages of war animated the Russians with resistless fury; and on the morning of the 23d of October, when the first mine was about to be sprung, which was to level the Kremlin to the ground, they marched forward under their general,
Iliovaskoy, and seized the incendiaries
with the torches in their hands. Thus was the Kremlin saved, and what remained of Moscow recovered to the Russian empire. Although Buonaparte, in his report, had remarked, “that the Kremlin exists no more,” scarcely any part of it had been injured; and the Russians, besides recovering their ancient capital, had the satisfaction of saving from the flames thousands of sick and wounded French, with whom the palace, as well as the neighbouring churches, was crowded. The inhabitants of Moscow returned to their desolated city; their wants were supplied as well as circumstances would permit; and every effort was made to mitigate as much as possible the severity of suffering, which no human power could altogether relieve. The return of the civil and military
authorities contributed to the restoration of order; and, above all, the reappearance of the magnanimous Rostopschin filled every heart with confidence and joy. Those who recollect, that to the councils and example of this nobleman the abandonment of Moscow has been chiefly ascribed, and whose hearts are too cold to sympathize with the feelings which at this moment inspired the people of Russia, may wonder that the apparent author of so many calamities should have excited any other sentiments than those of horror and indignation. To such persons he will appear in the light only of a desperate and unrelenting barbarian, filled with vulgar antipathies towards the more civilized enemies of his country, and altogether regardless of the sufferings of his fellow creatures.—A very different view of his character was taken by his more generous countrymen, who attributed to his wise councils, and heroic resolution, the deliverance of their country from a foreign yoke. He was not one of those selfish patriots, who advise others to submit to sacrifices from which they themselves would shrink; for as he was among the most resolute of his countrymen in recommending eternal resistance to the enemy, so was he among the foremost in setting an example of the virtues which he so strenuously inculcated. Besides his houses in Moscow, he had a fine villa in the neighbourhood, to which he set fire with his own hands, having first affixed to one of the gates the following singular notification: “For eight years I found my pleasure in embellishing this country retreat. I lived here in perfect happiness within the bosom of my family; and those around me largely partook of my felicity. But you approach, and the peasantry of this domain, to the num
ber of 1720 human beings, fly for mercy, and I set fire to my house ! We abandon all, we consume all, that neither ourselves nor our habitations may be polluted with your presence. Frenchmen, I left to your rapacity two of my houses in Moscow, full of furniture and valuables, to the amount of half a million of rubles. Here you
will find nothing but ashes.”—Solong as this memorable campaign shall be remembered, the name of Rostopschin will be pronounced with exultation and delight by all those who have any sympathy with the noblest virtues of human nature.
4; continued. The French prepare to retreat. They are sur
rounded by Difficulties. Account of the numerous Engagements which occurred during the Retreat—Of the Sufferings of the French—Of the Dispersion of their Armies, and their Expulsion from the Russian Empire. Buonaparte returns to Paris, and the Russians occupy Wilna.
The reoccupation of the capital by the Russian troops, was an event of such importance, that the general-inchief immediately availed himself of the opportunity now offered him for developing his plains, and explaining to his soldiers the condition to which their enemies had been reduced, and the glorious prospects which began to unfold themselves. The address, which he circulated throughout the army, contained many just remarks and noble sentiments; and at the same time gave so faithful a description of the state of Russian feelings at this great crisis, that it shall be inserted. It is dated the 31st of October, and declared to be for the instruction of the troops : “At the moment in which the enemy entered Moscow,” says the generalin-chief, “ he beheld the destruction: of those vain hopes by which he had been flattered; he expected to find there plenty and peace ; on the contrary, he saw himself deprived of every necessary of life; harassed by long marches; exhausted for want of provisions; wearied by our parties intercepting his slender resources; losing, without the honour of battle, thousands of his troops, cut off by our 6
provincial detachments, and no pros. pect before him, but the vengeance of an armed nation, threatening annihilation to the whole of his army. In every Russian he beheld a hero disdainful of his fallacious promises; in every state of the empire he met an insurmountable rampart of peril to his efforts. After sustaining incalculable losses by the attacks of our brave troops, he recognized at last the frenzy of his expectations, that the foundation of the empire would be shaken by his possession of Moscow. Nothing remained for him but a precipitate flight; the resolution was no sooner taken than it was executed; and he fled, abandoning nearly the whole of his sick to the mercy of an outraged people, and leaving Moscow on the 23d of the month completely evacuated. The horrible excesses which he committed while in that city are already well known, and have left an unconquerable desire of vengeance in the bottom of every Russian heart; but I have to add, that his impotent rage exercised itself in blowing up part of the Kremlin, where, by a signal interference of Divine Providence, the sacred temples and cathedral have been saved. Let us then hasten to pursue this impious enemy, while other Russian armies, once more occupying Lithuania, act in concert with us for his destruction. Already do we behold him in full flight, abandoning his baggage, burning his war carriages, and reluctantly separating himself from those treasures which his profane hands had torn from the very altars of God. Already destruction and famine spread confusion before Napoleon, and behind him arise the murmurs of his troops, like the sound of threatening waves. While these appalling sounds attend the retreat of the French, in the ears of the Russians resounds the name of their magnanimous monarch. Listen, soldiers, while he thus addresses you, • Extinguish the flames of Moscow in the blood of our invaders.” Russians, let us obey this solemn command; our injured country, appeased by this great vengeance, will then retire satisfied from the field of war, and behind the line of her extensive frontier will take her august station, between peace and glory. Russian warriors, God is our leader!”—This address had great effect throughout the army, and redoubled the zeal of the soldiers to avenge the cause of their country. While these great events occurred in the neighbourhood of Moscow, some affairs of considerable moment took place in other quarters. A short summary of these events, which may fix attention on the state of the detached corps during the intermediate period, will be necessary to a right understanding of their movements and operations, when they came to act under one great system against the retreating enemy.—The army of General Essen, in the neighbourhood of Riga, for some time maintained the position which it had taken up without molestation, and preserved its communication with the corps of Count
Wittgenstein, which the enemy scarce. ly attempted to interrupt. The French, however, for a moment weakened their force, and withdrew from Mittau ; and Essen, knowing the importance of this station, hastened to occupy it, and succeeded almost without resistance —General D’Yorck, who commanded the Prussians in this quarter, advanced to retake the position. Essen, aware of the great superiority of the assailants, deemed it prudent to retire in the direction of Riga, where he endeavoured to unite his army to that of General Steingel, who was acting in front of this place.— Steingel’s position was at this time threatened by the French, who had assembled in considerable numbers in the vicinity of Petergoff, and occupied a station which gave them many advantages. The Russian general advan. ced to the neighbourhood of a small village called Garossen, where, on the morning of the 31st of September, a severe engagement took place, in which the French succeeded at first in driving the Russians from their position, but were afterwards repulsed.—A similar attempt was made by the enemy four several times during the day, and the same result regularly fol. lowed. These affairs, and the intelli. gence that the Russians had received considerable reinforcements at Riga, induced Macdonald to form a closer junction with the Prussians; and this movement had the effect of liberating the corps which Wittgenstein had sta. tioned to observe the French marshal at Dinaburg. The Prussian auxiliaries did not exert themselves on this occasion with very great zeal; the French already began to abandon the shores of the 1) wina ; and the Russian generals, unable to comprehend the object of these singular movements, thought that the enemy prepared to unite the whole of his tenth division, and fall at once upon Riga with his
combined forces. The Marquis of Panlutchi, who had assumed the command at Riga, took some additional measures of defence in consequence of these speculations; but far different indeed were the motives which now influenced the enemy’s generals from those which were thus ignorantly ascribed to them. The army of Steingel pursued its march after the advantages which it had just gained ; and on the 10th of October found itself in close communication with a part of Wittgenstein's corps near Drissa. Wittgenstein instantly determined to turn so fortunate a circumstance to good account, by attacking the enemy at Polotsk, driving him from his works in that neighbourhood, and forcing him to retreat by Vitepsk, where he must be entirely separated from Macdonald.— On the morning of the 18th of October Count Wittgenstein’s troops were in motion ; by sun-rise the advance of both armies was engaged ; and the French right was quickly attacked with great spirit by Wittgenstein in person. St Cyr, who commanded the enemy, and who had done every thing to recover his army that became an able commander, saw his right give way before the impetuosity of the Russians, and ordered up to its support a strong body of Bavarians, Saxons, and Poles. The fight was renewed with greater fury than before, but the enemy was compelled to yield to the valour of the Russians: the confusion which overtook his right spread rapidly through his other columns, and the retreat became general. The French retired within their intrenchments, and maintained an unavailing cannonade against their pursuers.—At five o’clock in the afternoon of the following day the Russians again advanced, and the enemy began to pour among them a dreadful fire from his intrenchments. The palisadoes, which guarded the city, were
quickly carried by the Russians at the point of the bayonet; the battle raged in the streets ; and St Cyr, perceiving that all hope of resistance was vain, gave orders for a retreat. General Steingel had in the meantime advanced in a different direction, and had driven the French to the very intrenchments which surrounded Polotsk, so that their retreat seemed to be cut off.There was no alternative left to the enemy.; and by three o’clock of the morning of the 20th of October he evacuated the city, crossed the Dwina, and took the road towards Vilezka, where he hoped to join his broken corps to that of Marshal Victor, who was now on his march to join the rand army with his reinforcements.— hus terminated these sanguinary en“gagements, in which the enemy sustained a heavy loss in killed and wounded, besides 2000 prisoners, among whom were 45 officers of different ranks, including the general-in-chief St Cyr. The loss of the Russians was also severe.—As the enemy was vigorously pursued in his retreat by the cavalry belonging to the army of General Steingel, the whole country around was soon cleared, and St Petersburgh was happily delivered from the alarm which had been excited by the operations of this part of the invading army. The Russian general-in-chief had ordered all the armies to advance with the greatest rapidity, around the retreating enemy.—And here it is proper to mention, that in the month of September, the armies of the Danube and of Tormozoff, had united in the neighbourhood of Loutsk; while the enemy had again over-run those parts of Volhynia which he bad for a time abandoned. The Polish division under Dombrowski once more communicated with those of Renier and Prince Schwartzenberg; and several affairs unimportant, but for the
gallantry displayed on both sides, oc