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eighteenth of October, he directed his march on the Kalougha road, and speedily came in contact with the Muscovites at Malo-Jaroslavitz. Here again Labaume claims the victory for his countrymen ; but the following extract will shew how dearly it was purchased, as well as the stern indifference with which the Imperial Chief could contemplate the dreadful ravages of his ambition.
· The town where we had fought no longer remained. We could not even distinguish the lines of the streets, on account of the numerous dead bodies with which they were heaped. On every side we saw a multitude of scattered limbs, and human heads, crushed by the wheels of the artillery. The houses formed a pile of ruins, and under their burning ashes, appeared many skeletons half consumed. Many of the sick and wounded had, on quitting the field of battle, taken refuge in these houses. The small number of them who had escaped the flames, now presented themselves before us, with their faces blackened, and their clothes and hair dreadfully burnt.' p. 252, 253.
"Towards the afternoon, Napoleon, having arrived with a numerous suite, coolly surveyed the field of battle, and heard, without emotion, the heart-rending cries of the unhappy wounded, who eagerly demanded assistance. But this man, although accustomed for twenty years to the calamities of war, could not, on entering the town, repress his astonishment at the desperation with which bosh parties must have fought. Even had he intended to continue his march on Tula and Kaluga, the experience of this battle would have deterred him. On this occasion, even his insensibility was forced to render justice to those to whom it was due. He gave a convincing proof of it by praising the valour of the fourth corps, and saying to the Viceroy, “The honour of this glorious day belongs entirely to “you." ' p. 253, 254.
The results of this battle were entirely in favour of the Russians, for they succeeded in outflanking the French army, and in cutting off its columns from the route of Medouin, Joukh
nov and Elnïa.' It was thus thrown back on the Smolensko great road, which had been completely desolated by the ravages of its former march, offering neither food nor shelter to its retiring divisions. Along this dreadful road the French retraced their steps, traversing the scenes of former conflict, still covered with thousands of decaying carcases; incessantly harrassed by the Cossacks, and suffering the very extremity of privation. At Viazma, they were overtaken and routed by Milarodovitch, and at one o'clock in the morning the Viceroy deemed it
prudent to profit by the obscurity of the night, to effect his
retreat and gain some hours march on the Russians.' The passage of the Wop was eminently disastrous to the Viceroy's division ; nearly the whole of the baggage and artillery was obliged to be abandoned, and it was with difficulty that the troops themselves could pass the ford. Some relief was hoped for from the magazines, which it was presumed had been formed and husbanded at Smolensko : this hope, however, was vain : -Nothing,' says Labaume, had been prepared to relieve and comfort an army whose salvation depended on that place alone.'
Marching from Smolensko, a spectacle the most horrible was. presented to our view. From that point till we arrived at a wretched ruined hamlet*, at the distance of about three leagues, the road was entirely covered with cannon and ammunition-waggons, which they had scarce time to spike, or to blow up. Horses in the agonies of death were seen at every step, and sometimes whole teams, sinking under their labours, fell together. All the defiles which the carriages could not pass, were filled with muskets, helmets, and breast-plates. Trunks broken open, portmanteaus torn to pieces, and garments of every kind were scattered over the valley. At every little distance, we met with trees, at the foot of which the soldiers had attempted to light a fire, but the poor wretches had perished ere they could aecomplish their object. We saw them stretched by dozens around the green branches which they had vainly endeavoured to kindle ; and so numerous were the bodies, that they would have obstructed the road, had not the soldiers been often employed in throwing them into the ditches and the ruts.' p. 327.
At Krasnoë, Miloradovitch again awaited them, and again inflicted signal vengeance on their exbausted columns. From this place, Napoleon advanced by forced marches on the Bere
sina,' aware of the dangerous situation in which he was placed by the progress of Wittgenstein, and the advance of Chichagoff
. At Liadouï, the following 'horrible scene' took place.
. Amongst the buildings which were burning, were three vast barns, filled with soldiers, most of whom were wounded. They could not escape from the two which were behind, without passing through the one that was in front, and that was enveloped in flames.
The most active saved themselves by leaping out of the windows; but the sick and the wounded, unable to move, saw, with horrible consternation, the flames rapidly advancing to devour them. Moved by the cries with which those unhappy běings rent the air, some, whose hearts were less hardened than others, attempted to save them. Vain effort! Before we could reach them, they were more than half buried under the burning rafters. Eagerly did they cry to their comrades through the whirlwinds of the fire, to shorten their sufferings. by immediately depriving them of life. It became the painful duty of humanity to comply with their intreaties. “ Fire upon us, five upon us, at the head, at the head ; do not hesitate," were the
* On inspecting the map, this appears to be Loubna. VOL. III. N. S.
cries which proceeded from every part of the building, nor did they
every wretched victim was consumed.' p. 343–4. We shall now direct our attention principally to the latter of the two publications, whose titles stand at the head of this article. It is, as we have before remarked, intended to exonerate Chichagoff at the expense of Kutusoff and Wittgenstein, which, we think, it altogether fails to do. We find it absolutely impossible, without the advantage of illustrating our comments by a map, to make our remarks as intelligible as we could wish : we shall therefore abandon the intention we had formed of giving a complete and critical analysis of this pamphlet. The whole statement is liable to strong animadversion ; but we must content ourselves with noting a few only of the more questionable positions.
It is well known that the hopes of all Europe were fixed on the Beresina as the limit of Napoleon's career. Chichagoff, it was every where reported, and implicitly believed, had, with a large and well appointed army of veteran troops, obtained entire possession and command of its banks, and was, in part, as Lord Stewart would say, à cheval on the Beresina. Now it very clearly appears, that this was far from being a fair representation of the circumstances of the case. The Admiral was, as it is here asserted, unable to direct more than twenty-four thousand troops on the various threatened points, and it will be obvious, that the subdivision of this small force could not do more than obstruct, without absolutely preventing, the passage of the river. From the
very outset he was in circumstances of extraordinary difficulty. In the first place, the army of Prince Schwartzenberg, although inferior in numbers to the united Moldavian and Volhynian armies, was yet quite sufficient. of itself to have completely occupied the whole attention of Chichagoff; and if the Austrians had entered upon a series of active and vigorous operations; or if, instead of falling back entirely upon Warsaw, he had retired on Minsk, the Russian general, we conceive, would never have seen the Beresina.
In addition to this, and without any reference to the movements of Schwartzenberg, an army quite disposable, in good order, and amounting to forty thousand men, might have been easily assembled at Minsk, to protect the retreat of Buonaparte. In fact, Chichagoff seems to have been indebted, for his partial successes, to the downright fatuity of the governor of Minsk, rather than to his own skill and activity If
proper measures had been adopted by this incomprehensible being, the division of Oudinot, Dombrowski, and other strong detachments, would have united, and not only possessed themselves of the passage of the Beresina, but probably annihilated the Admiral's army. Still we cannot altogether approve the conduct of the Russian general. Undeniably brave, and, in ordinary circumstances, we have no doubt, sufficiently skilful, he does not seem to have been quite equal to the very great difficulties of his situation, Instead of moving on every point with the greatest celerity; of multiplying himself by the rapidity of his maneuvres and marches, and of adopting a system of movements calculated to distract the attention of the enemy, and destroy his detachments in detail ; he appears to have moved forward with the most scrupulous deliberation, to have executed his evolutions with the utmost gravity and precision, and to have, as the French say, tatonné le terrain with incredible caution.
The Admiral took the command of the united armies of the Danube and Volhynia, posted behind the Styr, on the fifteenth and seventeenth of September. Schwartzenberg was not compelled to recross the Bug tillthe tenth of October ; and Chichagoff did not quit the banks of that river until the twenty-seventh. On the thirteenth of November his advanced guard fought at Suerjin ; on the fifteenth at Kaidanovo; on the sixteenth he entered Minsk without opposition, and staid there till the niueteenth, busily employed in rough-shoeing his horses. On the twenty-first the tête de pont of Borisow was gallantly stormed by the division of General Lambert; on the twenty-third Count Pahlen was sent to Bobr for no other purpose, that we can guess, than that of being beaten. On the twenty-eighth, Chichagoff fought a drawn battle with the Duke of Reggio, and Wittgenstein drove Victor across the Beresina. Let any one trace on the map the Admiral's marches from the banks of the Styr, first to Brjest-Litowski, on the Bug, and then to the places we have just named ; let him next refer to the space of time included within the dates of the seventeenth of September, and the 28th November; and then find out, if he can, a satisfactory reason for the long and leisurely intervals between the Admiral's busy days.
But this is not all : General Hertel was stationed with fifteen thousand men at Bobruisk, under the Admiral's command, and repeated orders, both verbal and in writing, were sent him to co-operate with his commanding officer. These orders he disobeyed; at first, peremptorily; and afterwards, it is here said, on the ridiculous pretext, that an infectious cattle distemper prevailed in the country, to which he was afraid of exposing
himself. If this strange story be correct, the conduct of General Hertel can be accounted for only on the supposition of idiocy or treachery, and we find it almost equally difficult to excuse the want of decision and energy in Chichagoff, who was bound instantly to supersede Hertel. This was so obviously necessary, as to give a very mysterious air to the whole transaction; and tends, with other considerations, to make us exceedingly doubt the fidelity of the whole narrative. It does, indeed, sometimes happen, in military, as well as in civil transaotions, that in very critical conjunetures, very strange collocations of blockheads take place ; but that there should be found, in circumstances of so great emergency, three such inefficient beings as this pam-. phlet describes the nameless governor of Minsk, Hertel, and the Admiral, to be, we find difficulty in believing without better evidence.
It is indeed unfortunate for Admiral Chichagoff, whom we Kelieve to be a brave and good soldier, that the - Eye-witness', and the Annotator, think it necessary to clear him at the expense of so many other commanding officers. Hertel we may feel very indifferent about;-Kutusoff might be tardy in his movements ;-but Wittgenstein we cannot consent to give up; and we are disposed to censure, as worse than absurd, any arrangement which would have plaoed him under the command of a naval officer.
It is extremely suspicious too, that none of the obviously partial statements of the text, even when they make the grossest pretensions to military superiority, in behalf of the French, are ever contradicted by the Russian annotator, till they interfere with the Admiral's claims to victory. Then he can very readily point out the absurd inconsistency evident between different points of the narrator's details. Who, for instance, will believe a Frenchinan, when he represents the raw militia of Wittgenstein as, in fact, equivalent to the veteran troops of Reggio and Belluno ;-who but must smile when he talks of the glorious & conflict of Marshal Victor, who had not fifteen thousand
men, with General Wittgenstein, who had forty-five thou. sand;' - and yet these palpable nationalities do not call forth the slightest animadversion from the writer of the notes !
Again, when this veridical 'Eye-witness' describes the disastrous passage of the Beresina, he expressly asserts, tbat when the bridges were blown up, there remained only a crowd of un
fortunate beings, scurcely any of them soldiers ;' but, on the other hand, we have the assurance of Labauine, that ! more • than twenty thousand sick and wounded fell into the hands of the enemy.'
The following sixty pages exhibit a laboured, and, as it appears to us, extremely weak attempt to criminate the conduct of Count Wittgenstein According to this knot of incoherent hypotheses he ought, in every instance, to have done precisely the opposite of what he actually did do. It really surprises us that any màn can be so completely blinded by personal antipathy and national vapity, as not to perceive that this indiscriminating eensure defeats its own object. If Count W.was so perfectly in