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number. A successful battle could alone force the French to respect the embarkation.. It was requisite, too, in order to redeem the glory of the army, and keep up that confidence cf its superior mettle requisite for future exertion. The battle of Corunna was, in consequence, fought on the 16th of January, 1809; the English were not only inferior in number, but totally without cavalry, the remaining horses having been shot. Nevertheless, the French attack was repulsed on every point; and could any purpose have been answered in following it up, they might have been driven from their positions. Sir John Moore was struck by a cannon-ball, and mortally wounded. Corunna, more than even Vimiero, taught the French to appreciate British valor upon land; and it is but justice to declare, how ready they were to do so. They erected a monument to Moore. The retreat of Corunna, and its closing action, are quite sufficient to disprove that maxim respecting British soldiery, which general Foy picked up from the conversation of certain Englishmen: this is, the English require to be well fed, and to have their stomachs full, in order to fight valiantly; yet never was an army more starved and harassed than the British in this retreat, and never did they display greater obstinacy or valor.
Amidst the few civil occurrences' drowned in the tumults of arms, a circumstance indicative of Napoleon's ideas of government occurred in the pages of the Moniteur. In November, the legislative body thought fit to present their congratulations to the empress Josephine on the victory near Burgos. She thanked them, and assured them of the emperor's respect towards the representatives of the nation. The journals repeated the expression: it reached Napoleon in his camp; and an immediate note transmitted to the Moniteur informed the French public of their master's code of government, and at the same time betrayed a symptom of ill-humor towards Josephine. "As to the legislative body representing the nation, her majesty the empress could not have uttered any such words: she knows too well our institutions; she is aware that the only representative of the nation is the emperor. In the time of the convention France had a representative assembly; and all our misfortunes have proceeded from this exaggeration of ideas. It is at once chimerical and criminal in any to pretend to represent the nation before the emperor." Such was the language held to the French public in eight years after the fall of the republic. Let it, however, not be supposed that the French received such affronts in apathy: on the contrary, the enthusiasm for Napoleon now died away; and even his ardent followers allow that success survived his popularity, the latter languishing since the epoch of Tilsit. The first hostili1809. CAMPAIGN IN AUSTRIA. 231
ties of Austria excited neither astonishment nor resentment in Paris. The French, themselves oppressed, began to consider their foes as fellow-victims.
The car of Juggernaut, however, once put in motion, is not to be stopped even by those who first impelled it. Austria armed : Napoleon called for fresh conscriptions; his guard was recalled from the pursuit of the English, to combat the Austrians on the Danube. War seemed interminable ; the prophecy of Talleyrand was fast realizing itself. The court of Vienna had made most incredible exertions: an army of nearly 200,000 men, commanded by the archduke Charles, menaced both France and Italy; another army in Gallicia opposed whatever forces the emperor Alexander might think himself called upon to send in order to support his ally. Austria determined to crush her enemy by the magnitude of her exertions. In her first campaign against France, in concert with the duke of Brunswick, she had equipped but a wretched army of 40,000 men; yet then 100,000 would have decided the question. England made precisely the same blunder. Both countries were now compelled to keep 500,000 men each in pay, in order to compete with their giant antagonist.
On the 10th of May, the archduke passed the Inn. Napoleon had hurried from Paris on the first tidings: he met the king of Bavaria at Dillingen, whither he had fled from his capital. The French were quite unprepared ; their division most in advance was under Davoust at Ratisbon, the others were at Ulm and Augsburg. To cut off Davoust from the latter, the archduke sent forward a division or wing of his army to the Danube, and had almost effected his project. Napoleon instantly ordered Davoust to leave Ratisbon and march upon this advanced wing at Abensberg, whilst he himself attacked it simultaneously; thus hoping to effect a junction with Davoust by a successful action. To achieve this, Bonaparte had scarcely a French soldier with him: he put himself at the head of the Bavarians and men of Wirtemburg, visited their lines and bivouacs, addressed them, and stirred them to emuate French valor. His efforts were successful: on the 20th of May, whilst Davoust advanced from Ratisbon, Napoleon attacked, at the head of the German troops, and defeated the Austrians at Abensberg. Davoust being almost between them nd the archduke's main body, at Eckmuhl, the routed wing was obliged to retreat in another direction, to Landshut, where it was forced to surrender on the morrow. It was in these first moments of rencontre that Napoleon so happily knew how to seize the advantage. The archduke, who had a day since so boldly pushed forward on the offensive, was already paralyzed, and saw a great part of his army destroyed within a few leagues of him.
From the field of Abensberg, Davoust had been ordered to advance straight towards the archduke Charles at Eckmuhl, whilst Napoleon followed the routed Austrian wing to Landshut. The latter foresaw, that the archduke would direct his forces against Davoust. He did so; but whilst attacking, the portion of the army under Napoleon came from Landshut, on the left flank of the Austrians, who were totally unprepared, and who thought Napoleon far away; the consequence was a complete victory. The archduke made the best retreat possible to Ratisbon; there crossed the Danube to join the Austrian corps on the side of Bohemia, and left the right bank, together with Bavaria, free. Thus, after the campaign of a week in which two actions and divers combats had been fought, the French emperor was enabled to send forth one of his astounding proclamations. "An hundred pieces of cannon, 50,000 prisoners, forty stand of colors:" so great already was the amount of his trophies: and these were achieved principally by Germans, by the soldiers of Bavaria and Wirtemburg. The general here made the army. Davoust was created prince of Eckmuhl on the field of battle. Napoleon on this occasion received a contusion on the right foot from a spent ball. "That must have been a Tyrolese," said he, "by his long aim."
The archduke Charles having crossed the Danube at Ratisbon, retreated into Bohemia, no doubt desiring to draw the French after in pursuit. Napoleon preferred marching on the right bank to Vienna. A respectable force under general HiWer alone opposed him here, and took its stand in a strong position at Ebersberg near Lintz. Massena, eager to rival Davoust's recent glory, attacked it with more rashness than skill; but valor, and the confidence of triumph, carried success with them, and Ebersberg was also marked with French victory. Towards the close of the combat the town was set on fire, and all the wounded burned to death. "Figure to yourself," says an eye-witness, "all these dead baked by the fire, trodden under the feet of the cavalry and the wheels of the artillery, all forming a mass of mud, which, as it was removed by shovels, emitting an indescribable odor of burnt human flesh, caused a sensation, horrible even amongst the every-day horrors of war." Napoleon himself moralized upon the scene. In passing Cohorn's Corsican regiment, that had headed the column of attack, the emperor inquired respecting its loss, which had been about one half of its number. "We have just one more charge left," replied the officer, pointing to the surviving half of his battalion.
1809. NAPOLEON OCCUPIES VIENNA. 233
Precisely in a month after the Austrians had commenced the war, by passing the Inn on the 10th of May, Napoleon was at the gates of Vienna. The archduke Maximilian refused to surrender; the French accordingly occupied the suburbs, and mortars being placed near the beautiful promnade of the Prater, the bombardment began. A flag of ruce soon appeared; but it was merely to mention that the rchduchess Maria Louisa, confined by indisposition, had been eft behind in the imperial palace. Napoleon immediately rdered the guns to play in another direction, thus sparing unconsciously his future empress. On the 12th Vienna capitulated, and received the French troops on the following day.
The favorite triumph of Napoleon was to date some startling order from the conquered capital of an enemy. He now sent forth from his imperial camp at Vienna a decree, setting forth that " Charlemagne, emperor of the French, our august predecessor, bestowed upon the bishops of Rome divers countries, not in property, but as a fief, to be held upon certain spiritual services; but by no means intending that these territories should cease to make part of his empire." The conclusion from these logical premises was the annexation of Rome and its territories to the French empire; the pope being allowed still to remain there as bishop, with a revenue of two millions of francs.
The archduke Charles had in the mean time reached, by a circuitous march through Bohemia, the bank of the Danube opposite Vienna. More wary than in 1805, the Austrians had destroyed every bridge over the river, whilst it became indispensable for the French to cross it, and put an end to the war by a victory, ere insurrection or diversions could be formed in their rear,—ere the want of subsistence or accident should compel them to retreat. The first attempt to cross the river, preparatory to throwing a bridge over it, failed. The soldiers who attempted it were cut off. Beyond Vienna the stream of the Danube forms and runs round numerous islets, calculated to facilitate the attempt of crossing. The largest ->f these islands is that of Lobau, opposite Ebersdorf. Napo/eon established a considerable portion of his army in this marshy woody island, which was still separated from the left bank by a deep and rapid channel. The haste of the advancewas here felt. There were no materials for forming a bridge; nd, instead of anchors for attaching the boats, the French were obliged to make use of Austrian cannon.
On the 21st of May, Napoleon passed with the greater part of his forces to the left bank of the Danube, occupying the two villages of Aspern and Essling, but not without consid* erable loss from the artillery of the enemy. All day and night the troops were engaged in crossing, not seriously impeded until evening by the Austrians, who seemed willing that their foes should come within their reach, and in no overwhelming force. By the morning of the 22d, about 40,000 French were on the left bank, and against them the archduke marched with all his forces. Massena was intrust ed with the defence of Aspern, Lannes with that of Essling The Austrians penetrated into the village, where the French still preserved their position, and every house and wall became a fortress and intrenchment, attacked and defended with obstinate valor.. As the combat slackened on the part of the Austrians, towards Essling, Napoleon advanced into the plain, brought forward his cavalry, and menaced the centre of the enemy. • The archduke Charles flew instantly to the threatened point, rallied in person his faltering troops, and seizing a standard with his own hands, led them back to the charge. The French were repulsed; and at the same time a want of ammunition made itself felt, the stores being still in the island. At this critical moment the bridge was carried away, either by the stream, or by the impediments which had been purposeiy sent down the river. Water-mills in boats or on piles, are frequent on the Danube. One of these let loose from its moorings carried away the bridge. The tidings oi this accident, which cut oflf all hopes of reinforcement, produced an involuntary movement of retreat towards the bridge, which the workmen hastened to refit. As the French in their retreat converged to the one point, the bridge, the enemy's cannon made dreadful slaughter amongst them. Essling was taken, but retaken by Mouton, now count de Lobau. To keep possession of it was absolutely requisite to protect the retreat. Lannes quitted his horse to command the defence, and he held out whilst the cavalry was crossing the temporarily refitted bridge. A cannon-shot carried off his legs. General St. Hilaire was slain. But the French were enabled to retreat from the left bank back into the island of Lobau. Thither Bonaparte had retired. Thither the shattered Lannes was borne. This brave man now bewailed his fate, cast imprecations on the surgeons who could not save him, and invoked Napoleon as a deity to grant him life. Lannes re gretted the glories and triumphs of life, more than he feared death. Yet his last moments appeared like frantic pusillanimity. Napoleon was greatly moved. As the shrieks of madame du Barry, under the guillotine, had roused the emotions of the Parisian mob, long accustomed to look with apathy on the executions of those resigned to die, so the frenzy of Lannes tortured Bonaparte to sensibility.