information as to the proper route, no leaders, they separated into two parties, the most numerous following the road by which they had issued, and which led to Avesnes, the other inclining to the left and moving to Philippeville. A number of scattered fugitives threw themselves into the neighbouring wood, without other drift than that of escaping the pursuit of the cavalry. It was the road to Philippeville that Bonaparte took himself in his flight. Once more a selfish deserter, he abandoned his army without an effort to rally it. He abandoned it not only to the common dangers of the occasion, but to anarchy, which necessarily aggravated those dangers to the utmost, and of which a total dissolution was the natural consequence. Thousands of dispersed soldiers, wandering as chance directed and issuing from the woods, spread themselves over the country and propagated their panic. The wretched inhabitants were overwhelmed with dismay, on learning the irreparable defeat of the French army almost at the same time that they heard of its first success, and on finding themselves, just as they fondly supposed the seat of war to be transferred far from them, a prey to an enemy who would probably be rendered more furious by a victory so dearly purchased. The fortified towns every where precipitately shut their gates. The fugitives who presented themselves for admittance were driven off, and thus obliged to wander among the villages and farms, where they committed every species of excess. A fugitive himself in the midst of the affrighted multitude, and in still greater trepidation than they, Bonaparte came to supplicate admission into Philippeville. He had

Vol. I.

need of the protection of its ramparts against the eager pursuit of the Prussians, who tracked him with steady attention, and who had already dispatched in this direction numerous parties whom he could with difficulty avoid. At the gates of the town he had to endure the humiliation of being questioned by the guard, to whom he announced his quality of emperor, but who kept him at bay until the governor appeared to testify to his identity. He then entered with a very lowly suite and the gates were immediately shut. Orders were soon afterwards given to disperse the groups of fugitives that collected at every moment around the walls, and at the entrance of the town. The report being spread among them that their illustrious emperor was at last found and actually in the place, they deemed it their duty to fix their camp near him, and relied, moreover, upon his kind interposition for their admission into the fortress. But the prudence of Bonaparte is well known. He supposed that such an assemblage would attract the enemy towards the spot, and disclose his asylum. He therefore sent them an order to continue their march. An able general, profoundly versed in moral influences, he had recourse to a stratagem of certain efficacy, to induce their prompt and perfect obedience to this mandate. Emissaries were dispatched from the town, who ran towards the camp in seeming agitation, crying out, “save yourselves—there are the Cossacks!—Quick—the Cossacks are coming!” It will be readily imagined that nothing more was necessary, and that every one disappeared in an instant. This wretched crowd, in the accents of despair and grief, honestly disseminated as they went


along the defilorable intelligence that the emperor was blockaded in Philippeville. The thing was regarded as certain, and no one on the road to Mezieres and Laon ventured even to conjecture that this was only a new and curious stratagem of war imagined by the great man to conceal the skilful march on which his safety depended. But, happily, the rumour of this fatal event was not long suffered to oppress the spirits of the people. After spending some hours at Philippeville, His Majesty sallied forth and directed his steps to Mezieres. The night approached as he passed under the walls of Rocroi, where it was thought he would stop. A part of the inhabitants ascended the ramparts, and he had the mortification to hear himself saluted with cries of vive t’emfereur as long as he remained in sight. Thinking it advisable to gain ground in the night, he pushed on. Some officers of his household and the few survivors of his suite entered the town. All were on horseback, for his vehicles of every description had been taken by the enemy. That branch of the army which had moved towards Avesnes and Laon, also felt the most lively disquietude concerning Bonaparte, as they were entirely ignorant of his fate. Persuaded that, as he was not with them, he must have perished on the field of honour, where he had led so many brave men to death, they were mourning over the unhappy destiny of one so dear, when they were informed of his safe arrival at Paris in full health and vigour! Even since the affair of Ligny, all communication had ceased with the right wing of the army, composed of the corps of Marshal

Grouchy; and although we expected to find them on the Sambre, yet we received no intelligence respecting them on our route. Entire ignorance prevailed as to their course, and the most depressing reports were circulated. It was said that not having been informed of the issue of the battle of Mount St. Jean, they had been surrounded by the allies in the environs of Wavres, during the night of the 18th and on the morning of the 19th, and that unable to effect their retreat, they had been, after an obstinate resistance, constrained to lay down their arms and surrender at discretion. Vandamme was particularized in the number of the dead. Although these reports were not true, yet they were extremely probable, and the army might be considered as totally annihilated. We deeply bewailed the extinction of so beautiful a host, made up as it was of the noble remains of so many magnificent armaments already immolated by Bonaparte. Indeed, if the intention of involving them in total ruin could be imputed to him, confirmation of it might be drawn from the manner in which he conducted this short and woful campaign. But, we should rather attribute the enormous faults which he committed to his want of skill, evidenced by his signal rashness, and to his well known and incorrigible habit of advancing-with blind confidence, without weighing plans or calculating chances. It was from their knowledge of his leading tactics, that the generals of the enemy determined to lay the trap into which he rushed with pitiable security. Whatever foreign bulletins may affirm, for the purpose of exalting the glory of their generals and the courage of their troops, it is evident, that the position of Mount St. Jean had been reconnoitred, marked out, and prepared as the spot to which the French army was to be drawn and where the battle was to be fought. No one indeed but Bonaparte always overweening, could help perceiving the design. The retreat of the English manifestly preconcerted, upon a position so strong; the obstinacy with which they inaintained it; the facility which they enjoyed of masking their troops and artillery in an immense forest; and, more than all, the redoubts and batteries which it was evident they had constructed, would have inspired any other general with a salutary mistrust, or would, at least, have made him suspect that this spot, instead of being an accidental stand, had been long and warily selected. This idea would have been strengthened by noticing a wooden observatory erected upon a little hill in front of the forest, from which, with good glasses, could be discovered every thing that was passing as far as the Sambre, and which, destined, no doubt, to the end of watching our movements, could not have been the work of twentyfour hours. In any hypothesis, did not prudence require that the nature of the ground and the dispositions of the enemy should have been thoroughly understood? Would a general of sound experience have committed the error of attacking, without communicating with his right wing, or at least being well informed of the result of its operations? Besides, on the supposition that he had succeeded in breaking the English line, which could not have been effected without a sewere loss, what great advantage

could he have reasonably expected, since they had behind them a forest of fifteen leagues in length by five in breadth? The road by which it was traversed might be regarded as a narrow defile, where 10,000 men and a few pieces of artillery could arrest any number of assailants. Was it then indispensable to attack, in front, a remarkably strong position, and was it impossible to turn it? Such are the questions that would have presented themselves to the mind of a man truly expert in the art of war, and which indeed the bare inspection of the ground was enough to have suggested: but Bonaparte persisted in seeing nothing upon Mount St. Jean, except a strong rear guard, which being already intimidated, only assumed a bold attitude to allow time for the baggage and ammunition-train to cross the forest. He firmly believed that he had not to fight a battle but to continue a pursuit. He both resisted, as it were, the evidence of his own senses, and refused to listen to the advice of some of his generals, who endeavoured to persuade him to permit the English quietly to evacuate the forest, or to postpone the attack until the next day, if such was not their intention. Fatigued with long and painful marches, and harassed, as I have said, by the incessant rain to which they had been exposed during the night, his troops were scarcely formed when he propelled them upon the enemy, without giving them a moment for refreshment. Persuaded that nothing could resist them, he made them attack an impregnable position in front, and disdaining even the common manoeuvres which would have rendered their approach less perilous, he gave them up, with

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his usual callousness, to the murderous fire of the many batteries by which it was defended. Enraged at the resistance that he met with, and still madly aiming at the enemy's line, he caused all his cavalry to advance and charge at any cost. In less than an hour they had perished, cut to pieces by the cavalry of the enemy, and swept away by their grape shot. By this cruel and prodigal sacrifice, he deprived himself of the means of pursuing the English, had he afterwards defeated them. Instead of yiclding to the admonition given by his enormous losses, of the force and projects of the enemy; instead of then taking measures for the safety of at least part of his army, he descended furiously from the plateau whence he had directed its operations, put himself at the head of the guard, and continued to exact from them the performance of impossibilities, until they disappeared from his sight, in the midst of a whirlwind of flight and carnage. All was then lost; and the destruction of the French army became so much the more unavoidable, from their right flank being turned and no arrangement made for a retreat. Bonaparte alone understood not the crisis: He still wished to press forward, and collected a few scattered troops to renew his attack upon the centre. An inconceivable folly!—to hope that a few battalions would overthrow, forces which had just bafiled his whole army. Yet this is he who is considered the greatest captain of the age! His title is no doubt good, if to gain a battle, it be sufficient to make men rush upon and massacre each other without plan or a

calculation of cost. At mount St. Jean, Bonaparte unquestionably displayed his utmost skill, for he was too deeply interested in the victory not to strain his highest powers. The alternative is then left, of confessing that he owed his previous victories to chance, or that he was insane on the 18th of June; for his arrangements on that day can only be considered as skilful, on the supposition, that he intended to have his army entirely destroyed. Such is the opinion expressed by some of his general officers the most capable of judging; who unable to conceal their astonishment or restrain their indignation, exclaimed during the action: This man has lost himself —he is mad! Some however pretend that, putting out of view the conformation of the ground, the manner in which the attack was made and its corresponding manoeuvres offer a close resemblance to the battle of Marengo; so that if a strong column commanded by another Dessaix had, at the moment when the English left their positions to fall upon us, sprung out of the earth to oppose them, the chances would have been in our favour! Many agree in affirming that when he saw the unlucky turn which the affair was taking, he charged bravely at the head of the guard, that he had two horses shot under him, and that he threw himself repeatedly into the midst of the English in quest of death!— But this act of despair could only be regarded as a fresh instance of foily; and far from refuting our opinion of his unskilfulness comes powerfully to its aid; it contributes to prove that at Mount St. Jean, as elsewhere, he was incapable or careless of providing for a secure retreat; that his tactics were confined to risking every thing to break the enemy’s line; that all was staked on this cast: which accounts for the asto. nishing disasters that have invariably characterised his defeats. It is impossible not to deplore the fate of an army thrown upon the discretion of a man thus invincibly obstinate; regardless of all impediments, and inaccessible to any other alternative for his fol. lowers, than victory or death. Inconsiderate bravery is to be censured in a general, who belongs altogether to his army. But did Bonaparte really display it in his own person? If this question be answered in the affirmative (and it cannot be denied, that on many occasions, he confronted danger with coolness and intrepidity,) we are obliged to acknowledge in him two essentially different beings; one, bold, daring, freely exposing his life in battle, and ready to perish gloriously on the field of honour; the other pusillanimous and nerveless, haunted incessantly by the fear of death, and to avoid it shamelessly braving infamy and disgrace. It is this last being who instead of making efforts to rally his army, instead of throwing himself in their path to stop their flight, and snatch something from the wreck, hides himself in the crowd of his soldiers, steals from then as a desetter, and in the course of his uninterrupted gallop to his capital, consults his personal safety alone. If the one has shown himself at times courageous on the field of battle, or at least unshaken and insensible among the scenes of carnage in which indeed he appeared to delight, the other has always been found cowering at the

aspect of danger, and so panicstruck at the approach of death, as to lose all power of self-government, and be irresistibly impelled to an ignominious flight. The soldiery manifested more tenderness for his glory than he felt himself. Whilst in making his escape, he glided furtively, although not undetected, through their broken ranks, they, in the fulness of their generous, but mortified attachment, exclaimed—Ah! if he had only died! In vain were they reminded that he was a sovereign, and that his duties were radically different from those of a mere leader; this reasoning was not to be understood, and they saw in it merely a specious colouring for a desertion, of which nothing could palliate the baseness, or veil the disgrace. The battle of Mount St. Jean, was one of the most destructive that has ever been fought. The French army consisting of 120,000 men, was, after having performed prodigies of valor, almost entirely destroyed; 300 pieces of artillery, all the caissons and carriages, together with an immense number of prisoners, fell into the hands of the enemy; more than 20,000 Frenchmen were stretched upon the field, horribly mangled with grape shot. The English, likewise, suffered a heavy loss, but not so severe as that of the French, owing to the advantage of their position. The number of slain, however, in the whole allied army, may be estimated at 20,000. We are induced to believe that at the commencement of the action, the two armies were equally strong in point of numbers, but the English had the superiority, as they were attacked in their entrenchments, and still more by reason of the effectual

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