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Title: Narrative of the Most Remarkable Events Which Occurred In and Near Leipzig - Immediately Before, During, And Subsequent To, The Sanguinary Series Of Engagements Between The Allied Armies Of The French, From The 14th To The 19th October, 1813
Author: Shoberl, Frederic, 1775-1853
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of the Most Remarkable Events Which Occurred In and Near Leipzig - Immediately Before, During, And Subsequent To, The Sanguinary Series Of Engagements Between The Allied Armies Of The French, From The 14th To The 19th October, 1813" ***

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    | Transcriber's Note:                                          |
    | A number of obvious typographical errors have                |
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    | For a complete list, please see the bottom of this document. |

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14th TO THE 19th OCTOBER, 1813

Illustrated with


"Suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri
 Per campos instructa, tuà sine parte pericli."
               LUCRET. Lib. ii. 5.


_By W. CLOWES, Northumberland court, Strand._


[Price _Five Shillings_.]


After a contest of twenty years' duration, Britain, thanks to her
insular position, her native energies, and the wisdom of her counsels,
knows scarcely any thing of the calamities of war but from report, and
from the comparatively easy pecuniary sacrifices required for its
prosecution. No invader's foot has polluted her shores, no hostile hand
has desolated her towns and villages, neither have fire and sword
transformed her smiling plains into dreary deserts. Enjoying a happy
exemption from these misfortunes, she hears the storm, which is destined
to fall with destructive violence upon others, pass harmlessly over her
head. Meanwhile the progress of her commerce and manufactures, and her
improvement in the arts, sciences, and letters, though liable, from
extraordinary circumstances, to temporary obstructions, are sure and
steady; the channels of her wealth are beyond the reach of foreign
malignity; and, after an unparalleled struggle, her vigour and her
resources seem but to increase with the urgency of the occasions that
call them forth.

Far different is the lot of other nations and of other countries. There
is scarcely a region of Continental Europe but has in its turn drunk
deep within these few years of the cup of horrors. Germany, the theatre
of unnumbered contests--the mountains of Switzerland, which for ages had
reverberated only the notes of rustic harmony--the fertile vales of the
Peninsula--the fields of Austria--the sands of Prussia--the vast forests
of Poland, and the boundless plains of the Russian empire--have
successively rung with the din of battle, and been drenched with native
blood. To the inhabitants of several of these countries, impoverished by
the events of war, the boon of British benevolence has been nobly
extended; but the facts related in the following sheets will bear me out
in the assertion, that none of these cases appealed so forcibly to the
attention of the humane as that of Leipzig, and its immediate vicinity.
Their innocent inhabitants have in one short year been reduced, by the
infatuation of their sovereign, and by that greatest of all curses, the
friendship of France, from a state of comfort to absolute beggary; and
thousands of them, stripped of their all, are at this moment houseless
and unprotected wanderers, exposed to the horrors of famine, cold, and

That Leipzig, undoubtedly the first commercial city of Germany, and the
great Exchange of the Continent, must, in common with every other town
which derives its support from trade and commerce, have severely felt
the effects of what Napoleon chose to nickname _the Continental System_,
is too evident to need demonstration. The sentiments of its inhabitants
towards the author of that system could not of course be very
favourable; neither were they backward in shewing the spirit by which
they were animated, as the following facts will serve to evince:--When
the French, on their return from their disastrous Russian expedition,
had occupied Leipzig, and were beginning, as usual, to levy requisitions
of every kind, an express was sent to the Russian colonel Orloff, who
had pushed forward with his Cossacks to the distance of about 20 miles,
entreating him to release the place from its troublesome guests. He
complied with the invitation; and every Frenchman who had not been able
to escape, and fancied himself secure in the houses, was driven from his
hiding-place, and delivered up to the Cossacks, who were received with
unbounded demonstrations of joy.

About this time a Prussian corps began to be formed in Silesia, under
the denomination of the Corps of Revenge. It was composed of volunteers,
who bound themselves by an oath not to lay down their arms till Germany
had recovered her independence. On the occupation of Leipzig by the
allies, this corps received a great accession of strength from that
place, where it joined by the greater number of the students at the
university, and by the most respectable young men of the city, and other
parts of Saxony. The people of Leipzig moreover availed themselves of
every opportunity to make subscriptions for the allied troops, and large
sums were raised on these occasions. Their mortification was
sufficiently obvious when the French, after the battle of Lützen, again
entered the city. Those who had so lately welcomed the Russians and
Prussians with the loudest acclamations now turned their backs on their
pretended friends; nay, such was the general aversion, that many strove
to get out of the way, that they might not see them.

This antipathy was well known to Bonaparte by means of his spies, who
were concealed in the town, and he took care to resent it. When, among
others, the deputies of the city of Leipzig, M. Frege, aulic counsellor,
M. Dufour, and Dr. Gross, waited upon him after the battle of Lützen, he
expressed himself in the following terms respecting the corps of
revenge: _Je sais bien que c'est chez vous qu'on a formé ce corps de
vengeance, mais qui enfin n'est qu'une poliçonnerie qui n'a eté bon à
rien._ It was on this occasion also that the deputies received from the
imperial ruffian one of those insults which are so common with him, and
which might indeed be naturally expected from such an upstart; for,
when they assured him of the submission of the city, he dismissed them
with these remarkable words: _Allez vous en!_ than which nothing more
contemptuous could be addressed to the meanest beggar.

It was merely to shew his displeasure at the Anti-Gallican sentiments of
the city, that Napoleon, after his entrance into Dresden, declared
Leipzig in a state of siege; in consequence of which the inhabitants
were obliged to furnish gratuitously all the requisitions that he
thought fit to demand. In this way the town, in a very short time, was
plundered of immense sums, exclusively of the expense of the hospitals,
the maintenance of which alone consumed upwards of 30,000 dollars per
week. During this state of things the French, from the highest to the
lowest, seemed to think themselves justified in wreaking upon the
inhabitants the displeasure of their emperor; each therefore, after the
example of his master, was a petty tyrant, whose licentiousness knew no

By such means, and by the immense assemblage of troops which began to be
formed about the city at the conclusion of September 1813, its resources
were completely exhausted, when the series of sanguinary engagements
between the 14th and the 19th of the following month reduced it to the
very verge of destruction. In addition to the pathetic details of the
extreme hardships endured by the devoted inhabitants of the field of
battle, which extended to the distance of ten English miles round
Leipzig, contained in the following sheets, I shall beg leave to
introduce the following extract of a letter, written on the 22d
November, by a person of great commercial eminence in that city, who,
after giving a brief account of those memorable days of October, thus

  "By this five days' conflict our city was transformed into one
  vast hospital, 56 edifices being devoted to that purpose alone.
  The number of sick and wounded amounted to 36,000. Of these a
  large proportion died, but their places were soon supplied by the
  many wounded who had been left in the adjacent villages. Crowded
  to excess, what could be the consequence but contagious diseases?
  especially as there was such a scarcity of the necessaries of
  life--and unfortunately a most destructive nervous fever is at
  this moment making great ravages among us, so that from 150 to 180
  deaths commonly occur in one week, in a city whose ordinary
  proportion was between 30 and 40. In the military hospitals there
  die at least 300 in a day, and frequently from 5 to 600. By this
  extraordinary mortality the numbers there have been reduced to
  from 14 to 10,000. Consider too the state of the circumjacent
  villages, to the distance of 10 miles round, all completely
  stripped; in scarcely any of them is there left a single horse,
  cow, sheep, hog, fowl, or corn of any kind, either hay or
  implements of agriculture. All the dwelling-houses have been
  burned or demolished, and all the wood-work about them carried
  off for fuel by the troops in bivouac. The roofs have shared the
  same fate; the shells of the houses were converted into forts and
  loop-holes made in the walls, as every village individually was
  defended and stormed. Not a door or window is any where to be
  seen, as those might be removed with the greatest ease, and,
  together with the roofs, were all consumed. Winter is now at hand,
  and its rigours begin already to be felt. These poor creatures are
  thus prevented, not only by the season, from rebuilding their
  habitations, but also by the absolute want of means; they have no
  prospect before them but to die of hunger, for all Saxony,
  together with the adjacent countries, has suffered far too
  severely to be able to afford any relief to their miseries.

  "Our commercial house, God be thanked I has not been plundered;
  but every thing in my private house, situated in the suburb of
  Grimma, was carried off or destroyed, as you may easily conceive,
  when I inform you that a body of French troops broke open the door
  on the 19th, and defended themselves in the house against the
  Prussians. Luckily I had a few days before removed my most
  valuable effects to a place of safety. I had in the house one
  killed and two wounded; but, a few doors off, not fewer than 60
  were left dead in one single house.--Almost all the houses in the
  suburbs have been more or less damaged by the shower of balls on
  the 19th."

That these pictures of the miseries occasioned by the sanguinary
conflict which sealed the emancipation of the Continent from Gallic
despotism are not overcharged is proved by the concurrent testimony of
all the other accounts which have arrived from that quarter. Among the
rest a letter received by the publisher, from the venerable count
Schönfeld, a Saxon nobleman of high character, rank, and affluence, many
years ambassador both at the court of Versailles, before the revolution,
and till within a few years at Vienna, is so interesting, that I am
confident I shall need no excuse for introducing it entire. His
extensive and flourishing estates south-east of Leipzig have been the
bloody cradle of regenerated freedom. The short space of a few days has
converted them into a frightful desert, reduced opulent villages into
smoking ruins; and plunged his Miserable tenants as well as himself into
a state of extreme Want, until means can be found again to cultivate the
soil and to rebuild the dwellings. He writes as follows:--

  "It is with a sensation truly peculiar and extraordinary that I
  take up my pen to address you, to whom I had, some years since,
  the pleasure of writing several times on subjects of a very
  different kind: but it is that very difference between those times
  and the present, and the most wonderful series of events which
  have followed each other during that period in rapid succession,
  the ever-memorable occurrences of the last years and months, the
  astonishing success which rejoices all Europe, and has
  nevertheless plunged many thousands into inexpressible misery; it
  is all this that has long engaged my attention, and presses itself
  upon me at the moment I am writing. In events like these, every
  individual, however distant, must take some kind of interest,
  either as a merchant or a man of letters, a soldier or an artist;
  or, if none of these, at least as a man. How strongly the late
  events must interest every benevolent and humane mind I have no
  need to tell you, who must more feelingly sympathize in them from
  the circumstance that it is your native country, where the
  important question, whether the Continent of Europe should
  continue to wear an ignominious yoke, and whether it deserved the
  fetters of slavery, because it was not capable of bursting them,
  has been decisively answered by the greatest and the most
  sanguinary contest that has occurred for many ages. That same
  Saxony, which three centuries ago released part of the world from
  the no less galling yoke of religious bondage; which, according to
  history, has been the theatre of fifteen great battles; that same
  Saxony is now become the cradle of the political liberty of the
  Continent. But a power so firmly rooted could not be overthrown
  without the most energetic exertions; and, while millions are now
  raising the shouts of triumph, there are, in Saxony alone, a
  million of souls who are reduced to misery too severe to be
  capable of taking any part in the general joy, and who are now
  shedding the bitterest tears of abject wretchedness and want That
  such is the fact is confirmed to me by the situation of my
  acquaintance and neighbours, by that of my suffering tenants, and
  finally by my own. The ever-memorable and eventful battles of the
  16th to the 19th of October began exactly upon and between my two
  estates of Störmthal and Liebertwolkwitz. All that the oppressive
  imposts, contributions, and quarterings, as well as the rapacity
  of the yet unvanquished French, had spared, became on these
  tremendous days a prey to the flames, or was plundered by those
  who called themselves allies of our king, but whom the country
  itself acknowledged as such only through compulsion. Whoever could
  save his life with the clothes upon his back might boast of his
  good fortune; for many, who were obliged, with broken hearts, to
  leave their burning houses, lost their apparel also. Out of the
  produce of a tolerably plentiful harvest, not a grain is left for
  sowing; the little that was in the barns was consumed in
  _bivouac_, or, next morning, in spite of the prayers and
  entreaties of the owners, wantonly burned by the laughing fiends.
  Not a horse, not a cow, not a sheep, is now to be seen; nay,
  several species of animals appear to be wholly exterminated in
  Saxony. I have myself lost a flock of 2000 Spanish sheep, Tyrolese
  and Swiss cattle, all my horses, waggons, and household utensils.
  The very floors of my rooms were torn up; my plate, linen, and
  important papers and documents, were carried away and destroyed.
  Not a looking-glass, not a pane in the windows, or a chair, is
  left. The same calamity befell my wretched tenants, over whose
  misfortunes I would willingly forget my own. All is desolation and
  despair, aggravated by the certain prospect of epidemic diseases
  and famine. Who can relieve such misery, unless God should be
  pleased to do it by means of those generous individuals, to whom,
  in my own inability to help, I am now obliged to appeal?

  "I apply, therefore, to you, Sir; and request you, out of love to
  your wretched country, which is so inexpressibly devastated, to
  solicit the aid of your opulent friends and acquaintance, who,
  with the generosity peculiar to the whole nation, may feel for the
  unmerited misery of others, in behalf of my wretched tenants in
  Liebertwolkwitz and Störmthal. These poor and truly helpless
  unfortunates would, with tears, pay the tribute of their warmest
  gratitude to their generous benefactors, if they needed that
  gratitude in addition to the satisfaction resulting from so noble
  an action. You will not, I am sure, misunderstand my request, as
  it proceeds from a truly compassionate heart, but which, by its
  own losses, is reduced so low as to be unable to afford any relief
  to others. Should it ever be possible for me to serve you or any
  of your friends here, depend upon my doing all that lies within my
  poor ability. Meanwhile I remain, in expectation of your kind and
  speedy fulfilment of my request,


  "Your most obedient friend and servant,


  _Leipzig, Nov. 22, 1813.
  To Mr. Ackermann, London._

  "P.S.--I have been obliged, by the weakness of my sight, to employ
  another hand. I remember the friendly sentiments which you here
  testified for me with the liveliest gratitude. My patriotic way of
  thinking, which drew upon me also the hatred of the French
  government, occasioned me, four years since, to resign the post of
  ambassador, which I had held twenty-five years, and to retire from

From documents transmitted to the publisher by friends at Leipzig, have
been selected the narratives contained in the following sheets, which
were written by eye-witnesses of the facts there related. The principal
object of their publication is not so much to expose tine atrocities of
Gallic ruffians, as to awaken the sympathies and call forth the humanity
of the British nation. Like that glorious luminary, whose genial rays
vivify and invigorate all nature, Britain is looked up to by the whole
civilized world for support against injustice, and for solace in
distress. To her liberality the really unfortunate have never yet
appealed in vain; and, with this experience before his eyes, the
publisher confidently anticipates in behalf of his perishing countrymen
the wonted exercise of that godlike quality, which

    "---- droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven?
      And blesseth him that gives and him that takes."


[1] R. ACKERMANN would not feel himself justified in printing this
letter, nor in presuming to make an appeal to the British public in
behalf of the writer, were he not personally acquainted with the
character of this unfortunate and patriotic nobleman, who is held in the
highest veneration and respect for his benevolence to his numerous
tenantry, his liberality to strangers, and his general philanthropy. To
relieve the distresses which he has so pathetically described, the
publisher solicits the contributions of the benevolent. A distinct book
has been opened for that charitable-purpose at No. 101, Strand, in which
even the smallest sums, with the names of the donors, may be entered,
and to which, as well as to the original letter, reference may be made
by those who feel disposed to peruse, them.


You know, my dear friend, how often I have expressed the inconsiderate
wish to have some time or other an opportunity of witnessing a general
engagement. This wish has now been accomplished, and in such a way as
had well nigh proved fatal to myself; for my life had like to have been
forfeited to my curiosity. I may boast, however, with perfect truth,
that, during the four most tremendous days, I was wholly unaffected by
that alarm and terror which had seized all around me. On those four days
I was a near and undisturbed observer of a conflict which can scarcely
be paralleled In the annals of the world: a conflict distinguished by a
character which raises it far above your ordinary every-day battles. Its
consequences will extend not to Europe only, but to regions separated
from it by vast oceans. You must not expect from me a narrative that
will enter into military details, but merely a faithful historical
picture of what fell under my own observation; of what my own eyes,
assisted by an excellent telescope, could discover from one of the
highest buildings in the city, in the centre of operations, in the midst
of a circumference of more than eighteen leagues; and what I saw and
heard while venturing, at the hazard of my life, out of the city, not
indeed up to the mouths of the infernal volcanoes, but close in the
rear of the French lines, into the horrible bustle and tumult of the
baggage-waggons and bivouacs. We were here exactly in the middle of the
immense magic circle, where the incantations thundered forth from
upwards of fifteen hundred engines of destruction annihilated many
thousands, in order to produce a new creation. It was the conflict of
the Titans against Olympus. It is unparalleled in regard to the
commanders, great part of whom knew nothing of defeat but from the
discomfiture of their opponents, and among whom were three emperors, a
king, and the heir-apparent to a throne;--it is unparalleled in regard
to the form, for it was fought in a circle which embraced more than
fifteen miles;--it is unparalleled in regard to the prodigious armies
engaged, for almost half a million of warriors out of every region of
Europe and Asia, from the mouth of the Tajo to the Caucasus, with near
two thousand pieces of cannon, were arrayed against one another;--it is
unparalleled in regard to its duration, for it lasted almost one hundred
hours;--it is unparalleled in regard to the plan so profoundly combined
and so maturely digested by the allies, and characterized by an unity,
which, in a gigantic mass, composed of such, multifarious parts, would
have been previously deemed impossible;--it is unparalleled also in
regard to its consequences, the full extent of which time alone can
develop, and the first of which, the dissolution of the confederation of
the Rhine, the overthrow of the Continental system, and the deliverance
of Germany, are already before our eyes:--finally, it is unparalleled in
regard to single extraordinary events, the most remarkable of which is,
that the majority of the allies of the grand army, who had fought under
the banners of France in so many engagements with exemplary valour and
obstinacy, in the midst of this conflict, as if wakened by an electric
shock, went over in large bodies, with their drums beating and with all
their artillery, to the hostile legions, and immediately turned their
arms against their former associates. The annals of modern warfare
exhibit no examples of such a phenomenon, except upon the most
contracted scale. You may possibly object, that in all this there is
some exaggeration; and that, if I rate the battle of Leipzig so highly,
it is only because I happened to be an eye-witness of it myself; that
the French army is by no means annihilated; that in the uncommon talents
of its leader it possesses a sure pledge that it will regain from its
enemies those laurels which on various occasions they have ravished from
it for a moment. You may employ other arguments of a similar kind; but
to these I boldly reply, that neither do I consider the French army as
annihilated; that such a calamity could scarcely befall a force which in
the month of May, after ten engagements, numbered not less than 400,000
men, and was conducted by a general who had already won near fifty
battles: but this I maintain, that the mighty eagle, which proudly
aspired to encompass the whole globe in his flight, has had his wings
crippled at Leipzig to such a degree, that in future he will scarcely be
inclined to venture beyond the inaccessible crags which he has chosen
for his retreat. For my part, I cannot help considering the battle of
Leipzig as the same (only on an enlarged scale) as that gained near this
very spot 180 years ago, by the great Gustavus Adolphus. In this
conflict it was certainly decided that Napoleon, so far from being able
to sustain such another engagement in Germany, will not have it in his
power to make any stand on the right bank of the Rhine, nor recover
himself till secure with the relics of his dispirited army behind the
bulwarks of his own frontier.

Four times had the sun pursued his course over the immense field of
battle before the die of Fate decided its issue. The whole horizon was
enveloped in clouds of smoke and vapours; every moment fresh columns of
fire shot up from the circumjacent villages; in all points were seen the
incessant flashes of the guns, whose deep thunders, horribly
intermingled with continual volleys of small arms, which frequently
seemed quite close to the gates of the city, shook the very ground. Add
to this the importance of the question which was to be resolved in this
murderous contest, and you may form a faint conception of the anxiety,
the wishes, the hopes,--in a word, of the cruel suspense which pervaded
every bosom in this city.

To enable you to pursue the train of events, as far as I was capable of
informing myself respecting them, I will endeavour to relate them as
they occurred. It was not till the arrival of marshal Marmont with his
corps of the army in this neighbourhood that any idea of the probability
of a general engagement at Leipzig began to be entertained. That
circumstance happened in the beginning of October. These guests brought
along with them every species of misery and distress, which daily
increased in proportion as those hosts of destroyers kept gradually
swelling into a large army. They were joined from time to time by
several other corps; the city was nearly surrounded by bivouacs; and,
gracious God! what proceedings! what havoc!--We had frequently been
informed that all Saxony, from Lusatia to the Elbe, resembled one vast
desert, where nothing was to be seen but towns laid waste and
plundered, villages reduced to ashes, naked and famishing
inhabitants;--that there was no appearance of any other living creature;
nay, not even a trace of vegetation remaining. These accounts we
naturally regarded as exaggerations, little imagining that in a short
time we should have to give to our distant friends the same details of
horror respecting our own vicinity. Too true it is that no nation has
made such progress in the art of refinement, and is so ingenious in
devising infernal torments, as that, which, under the name of allies and
protectors, has made us so inexpressibly wretched. Ever since the battle
of Lützen, Leipzig had been one of the principal resources of the grand
French army, and they showed it no mercy. Numberless hospitals
transformed it into one great infirmary; many thousands of troops,
quartered in the habitations of the citizens, one prodigious _corps de
garde_; and requisitions of meat, bread, rice, brandy, and other
articles, one vast poor-house, where the indigent inhabitants were in
danger of starving. But for this well-stored magazine, the great French
army had long since been obliged to abandon the Elbe. No wonder then
that this point should have been guarded with the utmost care. It
required commissaries and inspectors, such as those who had the control
over our store-houses and granaries, to complete the master-piece, to
reduce that Leipzig, which had once patiently sustained, without being
entirely exhausted, the burdens of a war that lasted seven years--to
reduce it, I say, in six months, to so low an ebb, that even the opulent
were in danger of perishing with hunger; that reputable citizens could
no longer procure the coarsest fare; and that, though their hearts
overflowed with pity and compassion, they were absolutely incapable of
affording the slightest relief, not so much as a crust of bread, to the
sick and wounded soldier. It is impossible to give you any idea of the
dexterity and rapidity with which the French soldiers will so totally
change the look of a village, a field, or a garden, that you shall not
know it again, how well soever you may have been acquainted with it
before. Such was the fate of Leipzig, and of the beautiful environs of
our inner city-walls.

You must know that the bread and forage waggons of a great French army
are destined merely, as they pass through the villages, to receive the
stores collected from all the barns, cellars, lofts, and stables, which
are taken by force from the wretched husbandman, who is beaten, cut, and
mangled, till he puts-to his last horse, and till he carries his last
sheaf of corn and his last loaf of bread to the next bivouac; and then
he may think himself fortunate, if he is suffered to return home without
horses or waggon, and is not compelled to accompany the depredators many
miles without sustenance of any kind. In all other armies, whether
Russians, Prussians, Austrians, or Swedes, when the troops are not drawn
out in line of battle opposite to the enemy, in which case it is
necessary to send back the carriages into the rear, care is always taken
that waggons with bread and forage, and herds of cattle, shall follow
the marching columns. Whenever the army halts, magazines are immediately
established; and, if even the stores necessary for it are required at
the cost of the country, this case bears no comparison with that where
every attendant on the waggon-train is at full liberty to pillage till
his rapacity is satisfied. Woe to the country where, as in our's,
hundreds of thousands of such commissaries are allowed to exercise their
destructive office at discretion! Ask the inhabitants of more than
twenty villages round Leipzig, and many hundred others at a greater
distance, which certainly fared no better, what soldiers they were who
carried off roofs, doors, windows, floors, and every kind of household
furniture and agricultural implements, and threw them like useless
lumber into the watch-fires?--Ask those unfortunates what soldiers they
were who pillaged barns and cellars, and ransacked every corner of the
houses; who tore the scanty clothes from the backs of the poorest class;
who broke open every box and chest, and who searched every dunghill,
that nothing might escape them?--They will tell you that it was the so
highly vaunted French guards, who always led the way, and were the
instructors of their comrades.

It is a great misfortune for a country when, in time of war, the supply
of the troops is left to themselves by the military authorities, and
when that supply is calculated only from one day to another; but this
calamity has no bounds when they are French troops who attack your
stores. It is not enough for them to satisfy the calls of appetite;
every article is an object of their rapacity: nothing whatever is left
to the plundered victim. What they cannot cram into their knapsacks and
cartouch-boxes is dashed in pieces and destroyed. Of the truth of this
statement the environs of Leipzig might furnish a thousand proofs. The
most fortunate of the inhabitants were those who in good time removed
their stores and cattle to a place of safety, and left their houses to
their fate. He who neglected this precaution, under the idea that the
presence of the owner would be sufficient to restrain those locusts, of
course lost his all. No sooner had he satisfied one party than another
arrived to renew the demand; and thus they proceeded so long as a morsel
or a drop was left in the house. When such a person had nothing more to
give, he was treated with the utmost brutality, till at length, stripped
of all, he was reluctantly compelled to abandon his home. If you should
chance to find a horse or a cow, here and there, in the country round
our city, imagine not that the animal was spared by French
generosity:--no such thing! the owner must assuredly have concealed it
in some hiding-place, where it escaped the prying eyes of the French
soldiers. Nothing--absolutely nothing--was spared; the meanest bedstead
of the meanest beggar was broken up as well as the most costly furniture
from the apartments of the opulent. After they had slept upon the beds
in the bivouacs, as they could not carry them away, they ripped them
open, consigned the feathers to the winds, and sold the bed-clothes and
ticking for a mere trifle. Neither the ox, nor the calf but two days
old; neither the ewe, nor the lamb scarcely able to walk; neither the
brood-hen, nor the tender chicken, was spared. All were carried off
indiscriminately; whatever had life was slaughtered; and the fields were
covered with calves, lambs, and poultry, which the troops were unable to
consume. The cattle collected from far and near were driven along in
immense herds with the baggage. Their cries for food in all the high
roads were truly pitiable. Often did one of those wretches drive away
several cows from the out-house of a little farmer, who in vain implored
him upon his knees to spare his only means of subsistence, merely to
sell them before his face for a most disproportionate price. Hay, oats,
and every species of corn, were thrown unthreshed upon the ground, where
they were consumed by the horses, or mostly trampled in the dirt; and if
these animals had stood for some days in the stable, and been supplied
with forage by the peasant, the rider had frequently the impudence to
require his host to pay for the dung. Woe to the field of cabbages,
turnips, or potatoes, that happened to lie near a bivouac! It was
covered in a trice with men and cattle, and in twenty-four hours there
was not a plant to be seen. Fruit-trees were cut down and used for fuel,
or in the erection of sheds, which were left perhaps as soon as they
were finished. Though Saxony is one of the richest and most fertile
provinces of Germany, and the vicinity of Leipzig has been remarkable
for abundance, yet it cannot appear surprising, that, with such wanton
waste, famine, the most dangerous foe to an army, should have at length
found its way into all the French camps. Barns, stables, and lofts, were
emptied; the fields were laid bare; and the inhabitants fled into the
woods and the towns. Bread and other provisions had not been seen in our
markets for several days, and thus it was now our turn to endure the
pressure of hunger. It was a fortunate circumstance that many families
had laid in a quantity of potatoes, which indeed might yet be purchased,
though at an exorbitant price. The bakers of this place were obliged to
work up the small stock of flour in their possession for the use of the
troops; and all other persons were driven from the doors by the guards
with the butt-ends of their muskets; though the citizen who came in
quest of bread had perhaps twenty men quartered upon him, who all
expected him to find wherewith to satisfy their craving appetites.

Such was what might be termed the prologue to the grand tragedy which
was about to be performed in an amphitheatre of many square miles, and
to the catastrophe of which we looked forward with an anxiety that had
risen to so high a pitch, because, in case of the longer continuance of
this state of things, our own annihilation might be hourly expected.
That the grand armies of the allies were approaching Leipzig, on every
side, we had heard through several private channels. Napoleon had
quitted Dresden, which he had been compelled to abandon almost solely by
the want of all the means of subsistence. We were long uncertain
respecting his route, and so perhaps was he himself at first. Many, who
were qualified to form a judgment respecting military operation's, were
of opinion that he would make a push with his whole force upon Berlin
and the Oder. They supposed that those parts were not sufficiently
covered, and considered the fortresses on the Elbe as his _point
d'appui_ in the rear. This opinion, however, seemed to lose much of its
probability, as other French corps, under Ney, Regnier, Bertrand, and
Marmont, kept arriving here, and were afterwards joined by that of
Augereau. We had received authentic information that prince
Schwarzenberg had already advanced to Altenburg with the grand combined
army of Austria, Russia, and Prussia; and also that the crown-prince of
Sweden had his head-quarters at Zörbig. Upon the whole, however, our
intelligence was unsatisfactory. For several days (that is to say, from
the 10th) it was reported that the emperor of the French would certainly
remove his head-quarters hither; that he had taken the road to Wurzen,
and was coming by way of Duben. This account was confirmed by several
detachments of the French guard. It is universally known that this
general preferably chooses those days on which he founds his claim to
glory, in order to distinguish them by new achievements. His proximity
to us, and the approaching 14th of October[2], strengthened the
anticipation of some important event in our neighbourhood. The light
troops of the allies, whom we took for the advanced guard of the
crown-prince of Sweden, were distinctly to be seen from the steeples of
the city, on the north side of it, towards Breitenfeld and Lindenthal.
Daily skirmishes ensued, and wounded French were hourly brought in. The
bustle in the city increased; the king of Naples had arrived, and fixed
his head-quarters at Konnewitz. Innumerable generals and staff-officers
filled all the houses. Not a moment's rest was to be had; all were in
bivouac. They seemed wholly ignorant of the motions of the allies; for
the same troops who went out at one gate often returned before night at
another; so that there was an incessant marching in and out at all the
four principal avenues of the city. These movements of cavalry,
infantry, and carriages, ceased not a moment even during the night It
was very rarely that a troop of cavalry, sent out upon patrol or picket
duty, returned without having lost several men and horses, who were
invariably, according to their report, kidnapped by the Cossacks. Upon
the whole, all the troops with whom the French had any rencounters were
called by them _Cossacks_--a name which I have heard them repeat
millions of times, and to which they never failed to add, that "the
fellows had again set up a devilish hurrah."

The Cossacks are indisputably the troops of whom the French are most
afraid. With them, therefore, all the light cavalry who come upon them
unawares are sure to be Cossacks. In revenge for the many annoyances
which they were incessantly suffering from these men, they applied to
them the opprobrious epithet of _brigands_. Often did I take pains to
convince them that troops who were serving their legitimate sovereign,
and fighting under the conduct of their officers, could not be termed
banditti; my representations had no effect,--they were determined to
have some satisfaction for their disappointment in a thousand attempts
to master such enemies. Their vanity was far too great to suffer them to
do justice to those warriors; and they never would admit what thousands
had witnessed, namely, that thirty French horse had frequently run away
from two Cossacks. If Napoleon had twenty thousand Russian Cossacks in
his service, the French journalists and editors of newspapers would
scarcely be able to find terms strong enough to extol these troops; and
the French have just reason to rejoice that the emperor Alexander has no
such rivals of their government in his pay, otherwise we should hear of
their exploits only, and the vaunted French horse-guards would long
since have sunk into oblivion.

All the preparations that were making now evidently denoted that we were
on the eve of important events. The French corps had already ranged
themselves in a vast semicircle, extending from north to east, and
thence to south-west. The country towards Merseburg and Weissenfels
seemed to be merely observed. For this purpose the eminences beyond the
village of Lindenau were occupied. Here the access to the city is the
most difficult, a causeway only leading to it in this direction. The
country on the right and left consists of swampy meadows and wood-land,
every where intersected by ditches and muddy streams. If you inquired
of the French officers what might be the total strength of their army
about Leipzig, their statements were so various, that it was impossible
to fix with the least confidence upon any number as a medium. By what
standard, indeed, can you judge of a force rated by some at 150,000, by
others at 400,000 men? They unanimously agreed, on the other hand, that
the allies would be opposed by fifteen corps, exclusively of the guards.
I had an opportunity of forming a tolerably correct estimate of one
division of Marmont's corps, which consisted at the utmost of 4000, so
that the whole might amount to 12,000 men; and it was one of those
which, in comparison of others, had sustained the least loss. Even that
of Augereau, which was incontestably the most complete, as it had just
come out of cantonments, was computed at scarcely 15,000 men. If, then,
we take 10,000 for the average, the total amount of the French armies
collected near Leipzig, as the wrecks only of several were then
remaining, can scarcely have reached 170,000, even including the guards.
Such a force, however, commanded by so many generals who had heretofore
been acknowledged the ablest in Europe, together with wore than 600
pieces of artillery, was still fully sufficient to make itself
respected, and even feared, by an enemy of double its number. One single
species of troops alone was below mediocrity:--the cavalry, both in
regard to the horses and the men, the former from weakness and want of
sustenance, and the latter from ignorance of their business. With the
force of the allies we are yet unacquainted, but at all events they must
have been more numerous.

The 14th of October at length dawned. It had preceded by several rainy
days; but this was merely lowering. The cannon thundered at intervals
towards Liebertwolkwitz. In the forenoon wounded French, chiefly
cavalry, kept coming in singly. With whom they had been engaged they
knew not--_Cossacks_, of course. We looked forward with certainty to a
general engagement. It became every hour more dangerous for the
inquisitive to venture out or in at the gates. There was no end to the
marching of horse and foot and the rolling of carriages; at every ten
paces you met in all directions with _corps de garde_, by whom every
non-military person without distinction was ordered back, sometimes with
fair words, and at others with rudeness. Several couriers had been sent
forward to announce the speedy arrival of the king of Saxony and
Napoleon. The hero of the age, as he has been styled, actually came
about noon, not, as we anticipated, by the Dresden road, but by that
from Berlin. He passed hastily through the city, and out at the farthest
Grimma gate, attended by some battalions and squadrons of his guards. A
camp-chair and a table were brought in all haste, and a great watch-fire
kindled in the open field; not far from the gallows. The guards
bivouacked on the right and left. The emperor took possession of the
head-quarters prepared for him, which were any thing but magnificent,
being surrounded only by the relics of the stalks and leaves of the
cabbages consumed by his soldiers, and other matters still more
offensive. The table was instantly covered with maps, over which the
emperor pored most attentively for a considerable time. Of what was
passing around him he seemed not to take the smallest notice. The
spectators, of whom I was one, crowded pretty close about him. On
occasion of his visit to the city, a few months before, the French had
discovered that the people of Leipzig were not so malicious as they had
been represented, but tolerably good-natured creatures. They were
therefore allowed to approach unobstructed within twenty paces. A long
train of carriages from the Wurzen road, the cracking of the whips of
the postilions, together with a great number of horse-soldiers and tall
grenadiers, announced the arrival of another distinguished personage,
and called the attention of the by-standers that way. It was the king of
Saxony, with his guards and retinue. He alighted, and a kind salutation
ensued between him and his august ally. The king soon afterwards mounted
a horse, and thus proceeded into the city. Napoleon meanwhile remained
where he was. He sometimes rose from his seat, went up to the
watch-fire, held his hands over it, rubbed them, and then placed them
behind him, whilst with his foot he pushed the wood, consisting of dry
boards and rafters from the nearest houses, into the flame, to make it
burn more fiercely. At the same time he very frequently took snuff, of
which he seemed to have but a small quantity left in his gold box. At
last he scraped together what was left with his finger, and poured it
out upon his hand. When all was gone, he opened the box several times
and smelt to it, without applying to any of the marshals and generals
around him to relieve his want. As the discharges of artillery towards
Probstheide grew more and more general and alarming, and the wounded
kept returning in continually increasing numbers, I was rather surprised
that the commander should, on this occasion, contrary to his usual
custom, quietly remain so far from the field of battle, which was near
ten miles distant, apparently without giving himself the least concern
about the event.

It was about four in the afternoon when one of his aid-de-camps came at
full speed from the city, and made a report. The drums instantly beat to
arms, and the divisions of the guards broke up. The emperor immediately
mounted his horse, and followed them. He directed his course towards the
Kohlgärten[3], leaving the field of battle on the right. I soon
perceived the cause of this movement: the message informed him of the
arrival of the whole of his guards, for whom he had been waiting. They
came from Düben, entering by the Halle gate, and now made a countermarch
upon Dresden. When I beheld their endless files and cannon without
number pouring out of the city, I certainly gave up the allies for lost.
I was thoroughly convinced that Napoleon had no other plan than to
strike off to the right behind the Kohlgärten, with his new army, and,
proceeding from Stötteritz, to turn his enemies on the right flank, and,
as he had often done before, to attack and annihilate them. I was
however egregiously mistaken. The emperor went with his retinue scarcely
a thousand paces, to the first houses of the Kohlgärten, where he took
up his quarters, and quietly passed the night. The guards and the whole
train likewise stopped in that neighbourhood, and there bivouacked. It
grew dark. The palisades at the gate had left but a narrow passage,
through which troops and artillery kept pouring without intermission.
People on horseback and on foot, who wanted to return into the city, had
been already detained for several successive hours; the crowd every
moment increased, and with it the danger. To seek another entrance was
impracticable, as a person would run the risk of being detained by the
thousands of pickets, and shot, or at least dragged to the filthiest
bivouacs. The night was dark as pitch, and no hope left of getting home.
It rained fast, and not a corner was to be found where you might take
shelter. I was in the midst of more than a thousand horses, which
threatened every moment to trample me under their feet. Fortunately for
me, they were all tolerably quiet The thunder of the artillery had long
ceased; but, had it even continued, it could not possibly have been
heard amidst the rattling of carriages and cannon; the shouts of
soldiers and officers, as sometimes cavalry, at others infantry, wanted
to pass first; the incessant cursing, cracking, pushing, and thrusting.
Never while I live shall I witness such a scene of confusion, of which
indeed it is impossible to convey any conception. It continued without
intermission from four in the afternoon till twelve at night, so that
you may figure to yourself the disagreeable situation in which I was
placed. No sooner had the first columns arrived at their bivouacs in the
neighbouring villages, than a thousand messengers came to announce the
intelligence in a way that sufficiently proved what unwelcome visitors
they were. Weeping mothers with beds packed up in baskets, leading two
or three stark-naked children by the hand, and with perhaps another
infant at their back; fathers seeking their wives and families;
children, who had lost their parents in the crowd trucks with sick
persons forcing their way among the thousands of horses; cries of misery
and despair in every quarter:--such were the heralds that most feelingly
proclaimed the presence of the warriors who have been celebrated in so
many regions, and whose imposing appearance has been so often admired,
all these unfortunates crowded into the filthy corner formed by the old
hospital and the wall at the Kohlgärten-gate. Their cries and
lamentations were intermingled with the moans and groans of the wounded
who were going to the hospitals, and who earnestly solicited bread and
relief. A number of French soldiers, probably such as had loitered in
the rear, searched every basket and every pocket for provisions. They
turned without ceremony the sleeping infants out of the baskets, and
cared not how the enraged mothers lacerated their faces in return. The
scenes of horror changed so quickly, that you could not dwell more than
half a minute upon any of them. The tenderest heart became torpid and
insensible. One tale of woe followed on the heels of another,--"Such a
person too has been plundered!--Such an one's house has been set on
fire!--This man is cut in pieces; that has been transfixed with the
bayonet!--Those poor creatures are seeking their children!"--These were
the tidings brought by every new fugitive. If you asked the French when
the march would be over, you received the consolatory answer--"Not
before six o'clock in the morning." During the night the sound of drums
and trumpets incessantly announced the arrival of fresh regiments. At
length, about midnight, the bustle somewhat subsided, at least so far as
regarded the marching of troops. I now seized the favourable moment, and
felt myself as it were a new creature; when, having made my way through
the crowd of horses with extraordinary courage and dexterity, I once
more set foot in the city. _Thus the morning and the evening completed
the first day of horror._

Notwithstanding the unpleasant circumstances in which my curiosity had
involved me on the preceding day, I had in fact seen and heard nothing
as far as related to my principal object. It was no battle, but merely
an indecisive, though warm, affair. The first act of the piece concluded
with aft illumination extending farther than the eye could reach, and
occasioned by the innumerable watch-fires which were kindled in every
quarter, and gradually spread farther and farther, as the lines of the
bivouacking army were lengthened by the arrival of fresh columns. By way
of variety, the flames rising from a number of burning houses in the
distance formed as it were points of repose. Scarcely was the night over
when all eyes and ears were on the alert, in expectation that the
sanguinary scene would commence with the morning's dawn. All, however,
remained quiet. People, therefore, again ventured abroad, and there
thought themselves more secure than the preceding day, because they
might the more easily avoid the danger while at a distance-than they
could have done the night before. It required, to be sure, considerable
strength of nerves not to be shocked at the spectacles which every where
presented themselves. Many dead bodies of soldiers, who had come sick
into bivouac, lay naked in the fields and upon the roads. The heirs had
taken especial care to be on the spot at the moment of their decease, to
take possession of all that the poor wretches had to bequeath. The
mortality among the horses had been still greater: you met with their
carcasses almost at every step; and, which way soever you turned your
eyes, you beheld a still greater number which Death had so firmly seized
in his iron grasp, that they inclined their heads to the ground, and
fell, in a few minutes, to rise no more! Scarcely was there sufficient
room on the high road for a slender pedestrian to find a passage. All
the fields were covered with troops and baggage. Even on the place of
execution they had erected bivouacs, and not the most inconvenient,
because they were there less crowded than in other places. Except single
musket-shots, nothing was to be heard but incessant cries of _Serrez!
Serrez!_ (Closer! Closer!)--The dice yet lay in the box, and were not
destined to be thrown that day. It was probably spent in reconnoitring,
in order to make up the parties for the grand game in which empires were
the stake. The preparations for the defence of the city became more
serious and alarming. The exterior avenues had been previously
palisaded, and provided with _chevaux de frise_; but the greater part of
them were completely closed up. Loop-holes were formed in every wall,
and _tirailleurs_ posted behind them. In every garden and at every hedge
you stumbled upon pickets. As the inner town is better secured by its
strong walls against a first onset, they contented themselves there with
sawing holes in the great wooden gates, for the purpose of firing
through them. Every thing denoted the determination not to spare the
city in the least, however unfit in itself for a point of defence. The
only circumstance calculated to tranquillize the timid was the presence
of our king, for whom, at any rate, Napoleon could not but have some

As there was no appearance of gleaning much information abroad, I now
sought a wider prospect upon a steeple.--So much I had ascertained from
all accounts, that it was principally the Austrians who had been
engaged the preceding day. Some hundreds of prisoners had been brought
in; the church-yard had been allotted to these poor fellows for their
abode, probably that they might study the inscriptions on the
grave-stones, and thus be reminded of their mortality. Nothing was given
them to eat, lest they should be disturbed in these meditations. So far
as the telescope would command were to be seen double and triple lines,
the end of which the eye sought in vain. The French army stretched in a
vast semicircle from Paunsdorf to Probstheide, and was lost in the woods
of Konnewitz. It occupied therefore a space of more than one German mile
(five English miles). Behind all these lines appeared reserves, who were
posted nearer to the city. On this side the main force seemed to be
assembled. Towards the north and west the ranks were more broken and
detached. Of the armies of the allies, only some divisions could yet be
discerned. The Cossacks were plainly distinguished at a distance of two
leagues. They had the boldness to venture within musket-shot of the
French lines, alight, thrust their pikes into the ground, and let their
horses run about. The king of Saxony himself witnessed their audacity
whilst in the midst of the French army, about half a league from
Leipzig. A number of these men came unawares upon him; and a Saxon
officer, with eighty horse, was obliged to face about against them, till
the king had reached a place of safety. This was the principal reason
why he made his entry into the city on horseback.

The 15th of October, which had been universally expected to give birth
to important events, was now quietly passed. For many weeks the city had
not been so tranquil as it was on the night of that day. Nothing but
the incessant _Qui vive?_ at the gates, denoted the presence of the
troops. On my return about eight o'clock from the suburbs, I was
suddenly surprised by an unusual phenomenon: in the direction of Pegau,
I saw three white rockets ascend to a great height amid the darkness. I
stood still, and waited to observe what would follow. In about a minute
four red ones rose above the horizon, apparently from Halle. After this
there was nothing more to be seen. That they were signals could not be
doubted, any more than that those signals must have been made by the
combined troops. I concluded that they must have armies in those
quarters, and that they were informing one another by these luminous
messengers of the points at which they had arrived. It now became more
certain than ever that the 16th would be the great day that should
decide the fate of Germany. I expressed my conjectures to several French
officers, that, according to all appearance, fresh armies of the allies
were on their march toward Leipzig. They contradicted me point-blank;
partly because, as they said, the crown-prince of Sweden and general
Blücher had been obliged to retreat precipitately across the Elbe, as an
immense French army was in full march upon Berlin; and partly because
they were convinced that the reinforcements which might be coming up
could be of no great consequence; and were confident, that, at all
events, they should be perfectly prepared to receive the enemy. Never
did they make so sure of the most complete victory as they did
previously to the then approaching engagement. Besides the French in
garrison in the city, there were many German troops, who expressed
little hope, and, on the other hand, declared their resolution to make
no resistance, but to pass over to the allies, as many of their comrades
had already done; and there was no reason to doubt their
sincerity.--Thus passed the second day, between hope and fear.

The dawn of the 16th of October was enveloped in a thick fog. It was
gloomy, rainy, and cold. It was imagined that the hostile armies, though
so eager for the combat, would restrain their ardour to engage till the
fog should have cleared away. Soon after six, however, the thunder of
the artillery began to roll from Liebertwolkwitz. It grew more violent,
and approached nearer;--this was probably the moment when the Austrians
stormed that place. The firing _en pelotons_ was already heard. From our
elevated position we could discern nothing, the dense fog concealing
every object at the distance of one hundred paces. About ten, the
artillery thundered along the whole line of battle. The atmosphere
became clearer, and the clouds dispersed. Every flash from the cannon
was distinctly visible on the side of Konnewitz. Already a thousand
engines of death hurled destruction among the contending armies. The
fire of jägers and sharp-shooters rattled on all sides, and we soon
discovered whole ranges of battalions and regiments. It was a general
engagement;--that was evident enough to every one, even though he had
never before heard a cannon fired in all his life. On the side of the
Halle and Ranstädt gates all was yet quiet, and I began to imagine that
my rockets had deceived me. For six hours the guns had roared, and all
the lines were enveloped in clouds of smoke, through which the flashes
incessantly darted like lightning. As yet neither party seemed to have
receded an inch. The thunders of the artillery still continued to
proceed from the same spot. No longer could the firing of single guns
be distinguished; hundreds were every moment discharged, and united in
one single protracted roar. How many victims must already have strewed
the field!--At length, about eleven o'clock, a considerable change
seemed to have taken place. The firing did not appear more distant, but
became less general; single shots were heard, and the combatants seemed
disposed to make a pause in the work of death. All on a sudden a new and
tremendous cannonade commenced beyond Lindenau, towards Lützen, not much
more than half a league from the city. The batteries of the allies
seemed to fire from Kleinschocher: those of the French were posted on
the heights of Lindenau. The corps of count Giulay had arrived there,
and now it appeared that my interpretation of the rockets was correct. I
then turned my eyes quickly towards the north, in the direction of
Halle, where before there was little or nothing to be seen. How was I
astonished when I now beheld lines of soldiers stretching farther than
the eye could reach, and fresh columns advancing behind them. It
appeared as if the troops which had been so furiously engaged the whole
morning were but the advanced guards of the immense armies that now
extended themselves more and more before me. Whence the French lines
which were so rapidly ranged opposite to them could have sprung, I am
yet at a loss to conceive: an hour before, I should have estimated them
at scarcely 10,000 men; and, what I now saw, my inexperienced eye
computed at more than 200,000 on both sides. This prodigious army seemed
about to form in order of battle. A few cannon-shot which it fired were
probably designed only to announce its arrival to the other chiefs.
Immediately afterwards, the cannonade beyond Lindenau, which had lasted
about two hours, entirely ceased. On the left wing of the French the
action was still very vigorously continued. It was about twelve o'clock
when we descended, to learn what accounts had meanwhile been received in
the city, that our relations with the lower world might not be totally
suspended. Before the residence of our sovereign there was a crowd of
officers of all ranks. The city-guard was drawn out on parade as well as
the grenadier-guard. A full band was playing, by French order, though
nobody could conceive what was the meaning of all this, while the cannon
were yet thundering before the city. We soon learned that the allies had
sustained a total defeat; that an Austrian prince, the archduke
Ferdinand, had lost an arm, and been taken prisoner with 40,000 men; and
that an immense quantity of artillery had been captured. This
intelligence had been forwarded by marshal Ney from the field of battle,
and preparations were instantly made to celebrate the victory. A
regiment of the French guards marched to the promenade before the
city--now, alas! an offensive sewer,--and, agreeably to command,
expressed their exultation in the acquisition of these new laurels by a
loud _Vive l'empereur!_ Of the citizens, but a very small portion took
part in their joy; for what else could they have expected from such a
victory than inevitable death by famine? The more intelligent shook
their heads; and in truth there were but too many reasons to suspect the
truth of the account. If you asked the wounded, who in troops either
hobbled or were carried in at the gates, the answer, was, _Les Cossaques
ont encore la même position_--(The Cossacks are still in the same
position). None of them had heard any thing about captured cannon, but
they well knew that they had themselves lost five pieces that morning. I
was unable to comprehend how the French commander-in-chief, possessing
in so eminent a degree the quality of a correct military _coup d'œil_,
could so early announce that he had won the battle, when such numerous
armies of the allies had but just arrived upon the field, and had not
yet fired a single shot. Country-people, who had fled from the
neighbourhood of Grimma, declared that a fresh army of Russians, under
general Bennigsen, was in full march towards that place. In truth, only
a small part of the allied forces had yet been engaged. Bennigsen, the
crown-prince of Sweden, and field-marshal Blücher, had not yet entered
the lists. If this fiction was intended merely to pacify our king at the
expense of truth, it was evident that this object could not be attained
without compromising him;--a kind of treatment wholly unmerited by a
prince who was never guilty of wilful falsehood[4].

In the midst of these rejoicings for the victory, the thunder of the
artillery was again heard from Lindenau. The tremendous roar was almost
immediately repeated from Taucha, Wiederitsch, and Breitenfeld. The
Swedish army and that of Blücher were now engaged. We again repaired to
our lofty station. There was not a point round the city where the fatal
engines were not dealing forth destruction. We knew not which way first
to direct the glass. "Only look here," cried one. "Oh! that's nothing at
all," replied another, "you must come this way."--"You none of you see
any thing," exclaimed a third: "you must look yonder--there the cavalry
are cutting away--and hark how the fresh artillery is beginning to
fire." It was singular enough that just at the very point where the
allies were reported to have sustained so signal a defeat, that is to
say, on their left wing, at Liebertwolkwitz, the cannonade again became
the most violent. Fresh troops, with artillery, including a large body
of Polish cavalry, were seen hastening out by the Ranstädt gate towards
Lindenau. Napoleon himself rode with the king of Naples along the
causeway to the Kuhthurm (cow-tower), as it is called, probably to
observe how things were going on. The allies strove to make themselves
masters of the pass near Lindenau. Their infantry had actually
penetrated into the village, but was driven back, and this was succeeded
by a tremendous fire of riflemen, which was near enough for us to
distinguish the discharge of every single piece. I remarked on this
occasion the incredible exertions of the French _voltigeurs_, who
defended a ditch near the Kuhthurm, ran to and fro on the bank with
inconceivable agility, availed themselves of the protection afforded by
every tree and every hedge, and fired away as briskly as though they
had carried with them the confederation of the Rhine, as their own
property, in their cartouch-boxes. Cannon-balls and shells had fallen in
the village itself, which was set on fire in several places. Whether
friend or enemy had the advantage it was impossible to judge, on account
of the broken nature of the ground and the woods, behind which the
engagement was the hottest It was evident that one party exerted itself
as strenuously to defend as the other did to take this important
position. The French retained it; therefore the prize of victory in this
instance must be adjudged to them. At Breitenfeld, Lindenthal, and
Wiederitsch, the fortune of the day was different. There the lines of
the allies evidently advanced. The cannonade was an infallible
barometer. The French artillery receded, and was already driven back so
close upon Gohlis and Eutritzsch, that the balls of their opponents fell
in both villages. Night drew on: the vast field of battle became
gradually enveloped in darkness, and the horizon was now illumined by
the flashes of the guns alone, followed at long intervals by the low
thunder of the report. The battle had lasted the whole day all round the
city. The church-clocks struck six; and, as if all parties had
unanimously agreed to suspend at this moment the horrid work of
slaughter, the last cannon-shot was fired beyond Lindenau. The fire of
small arms, however, was yet kept up; but, as though the mortal struggle
became more and more faint, that too gradually ceased. Nothing now was
seen around the horizon but one immense circle of many thousand
watch-fires. In all directions appeared blazing villages, and from their
number might be inferred the havoc occasioned by this arduous day. Its
effects were still more plainly manifested when we descended into the
streets. Thousands of wounded had poured in at all the gates, and every
moment increased their numbers. Many had lost an arm or a leg, and yet
limped along with pitiable moans. As for a dressing for their wounds,
that was a thing which could not yet be thought of; the poor wretches
had themselves bound them up with some old rag or other as well as they
were able. All of them were seeking hospitals, the arrangements for
which had, in truth, been most miserably neglected by the French. Upon
the whole, I have had occasion to remark that the soldier, who has been
crippled in the service, and incapacitated for further warfare, has
nowhere so little regard paid to his situation as in the French army. At
least such is the case just at the moment when he has most need of
attention, that is to say, just after he is wounded. No carriages or
other conveyances were provided for the removal of these mangled and
mutilated soldiers, though the lives of thousands might perhaps have
been preserved by such a precaution. When the combined Russian and
Prussian army marched six months before to Lützen, and prepared for
battle, the amplest provision was made in regard to this point; and it
is well known that their army was thus enabled to carry off by far the
greater part of the wounded, and to afford them medical relief. Such, on
the contrary, were the arrangements of the French, that, five days after
that engagement, soldiers with their wounds still undressed, and near
perishing for want of sustenance, were found on the field of battle, and
at last owed their preservation chiefly to the surgeons and inhabitants
of this city. To each French column are attached a great number of
_ambulances_, but they are never to be found where they are most
wanted. It is universally asserted that the French army surgeons are
very skilful men; but, as they seem to consult their own convenience in
a very high degree, and their number is too small--for a complete
regiment has but five--the arrangements for hospitals in a campaign
during which several great battles take place, and in which it is found
necessary to crowd the sick and wounded much too closely together, as
was the case in Saxony, are always most deplorable. But to return from
this digression:--

For the reception of the wounded, in this instance, orders had been
given to clear out the corn-magazine, which is capable of accommodating
about 2,500. Each of these poor fellows received a written ticket at the
outer gate of the city, and was directed to that hospital. The persons
who superintended this business never gave it a thought to distribute
only such a number of these billets as the building would hold of sick,
but continued to send all that came to the corn-magazine, long after it
was too full to admit another individual. Overjoyed on having at last
found the spot, the wretched cripple exerted his last remains of
strength, that he might obtain relief as speedily as possible at the
hands of the surgeons. Judge then of the feelings of the unfortunate man
when his hopes were here most cruelly disappointed; when he found many
hundreds of his fellow-sufferers moaning with anguish on the wet stones,
without straw to lie upon, without shelter of any kind, without medical
or surgical attendance, nay, even without a drop of water, for which
they so often and so earnestly petitioned;--when he was peremptorily
refused admittance at the door, and he too had no other resource than to
seek a couch like the rest upon the hard pavement, which his wounds
very often were unable to endure. No more attention was here paid to
him than the stones on which he gave vent to his anguish. Many hobbled
farther in quest of something to appease the cravings of hunger and
thirst. But who could give it them? Extreme want had long prevailed in
the city; the very inhabitants had great trouble and difficulty to
obtain for money sufficient to make a scanty meal for themselves and
their families. The fainting soldier might think himself fortunate if
his solicitations procured him a crust of bread or an apple. Thousands
were not so lucky.--Such was the state of things at the magazine; such
was the spectacle exhibited in all the streets, and especially in the
market-place, where every corner provided with a shelter was converted
into an hospital. The consequences were inevitable. Many; as might
naturally be expected, perished, in the night, of hunger, agony, and
cold. Their lot was enviable--they no longer needed any human
assistance. What heart would not have bled at such scenes of
horror!--and yet it was the very countrymen of these unfortunate
wretches who seemed to care the least about them, and passed by with the
most frigid indifference, probably because they are so familiarized with
such spectacles. O ye mothers, ye fathers, ye sisters of France, had ye
here beheld your agonized sons and brothers, the sight, like a hideous
phantom, would surely have haunted you to the last moment of your lives.
The laurels acquired by your nation have indeed been purchased at a most
exorbitant price.

I have forgotten to mention a circumstance worthy of notice in the
history of this day. It is this; that in the midst of the cannonade all
round Leipzig--when the whole city shook with the thunders of the
artillery, and the general engagement had, strictly speaking, but just
commenced--all the bells of the churches were rung by French command, to
celebrate the victory won in the forenoon. Such an instance was
certainly never afforded by any battle which had scarcely begun, and
terminated in the total and decisive overthrow of him who had already
fancied himself mounted in triumph upon the car of victory. This day,
however, the engagement still remained undecided, according to the
reports of those who returned from different points of the field of
battle. The French had stood as if rooted to the spot--the allies, like
rocks of granite. The former had fought like men, the latter like lions.
Both parties, inspired with mutual respect, desisted from hostilities
during the night.

The combined troops, who had not been able in two sanguinary days to
bring the contest to an issue, had, however, during that time gained
several essential advantages. They had ascertained the strength of their
antagonist, and made themselves acquainted with the nature of the
ground. They knew what points were the most vulnerable, and could thence
infer how the enemy would manœuvre. They were enabled to make their own
dispositions accordingly, and to give to the plan of the grand
engagement that perfection by which it is so peculiarly characterized.
In this point of view the allies had, without our suspecting it,
advanced a considerable step on the night of the third day.

According to the general opinion of the inhabitants of Leipzig, the 17th
was destined to be the important day on which the last act of the great
tragedy was to be performed. We were, however, mistaken. The morning
came, and we heard nothing from either side. We had long ceased to take
notice of single shots. The French lines occupied Probstheide, and all
the points where they had the preceding day been posted. The order of
battle had, however, been considerably changed. The vast armies which
had been drawn up to the west and north had almost entirely disappeared.
In the forenoon a cannonade commenced about Gohlis, but soon ceased
again. In the meadows between the city and Lindenau were posted some
cavalry. At a greater distance but few troops were to be seen; and the
allies seemed to have renounced any farther attempts on that pass. The
left wing of the French grand army extended to Abtnaundorf, and had
strong corps posted as far as Taucha; the centre stretched behind the
Kohlgärten and Stötteritz to Probstheide, and the right wing reached
beyond Konnewitz to the wood and the Elster. Several lines were advanced
to Markleeberg. The combined army occupied parallel positions. You will
not expect me to say more respecting the order of battle, especially as
a circumstantial account of it has already appeared. The motives which
occasioned a kind of truce to be observed during the whole of this day
are unknown to me. This phenomenon was, the more surprising, as Napoleon
is not accustomed long to defer business of such importance. From what I
can learn, there was no parleying, as has been asserted, between the
contending parties. Several Frenchmen assigned, as a reason, that the
emperor expected a strong reinforcement of three corps, and therefore
undertook nothing on this day. On all sides columns of smoke were yet
seen rising from the villages that were reduced to ashes. All at once
the church of Probstheide also appeared in flames. It soon fell in, and
is now totally demolished. This fire is said to have been occasioned by

All the large edifices in the city were now selected for the purpose of
being converted into hospitals. The number of the wounded kept
continually augmenting, and by far the greatest part of them had still
no other shelter than the streets. Many, though after three days of
suffering, were yet unable to obtain any assistance. The king resolutely
remained in the city, in order, as the event shewed, there to await his
fate, whatever it might be. Our condition became every moment more
alarming; and, in proportion as our anxiety grew more painful, our hopes
diminished. What will become of us before this time to-morrow? was the
general question on the evening of that day, and we looked forward with
dejection and despondency to the morrow's dawn. We felt much less
anxiety in the midst of the thunder of the artillery than we did at the
close of this fourth day. It resembled the dead calm which precedes the
impending storm. The combined troops took their leave of us for the
night, as they had done on the preceding, with the discharge of three
cannon. It had been Sunday, and you might almost have imagined that the
contending parties had suffered it to pass thus peaceably, out of
respect to the commandment--_Thou shalt keep the sabbath-day holy._

The 18th of October at length appeared. It was a day equal in importance
to many a century; and the fewer History can produce that deserve to be
classed along with it, the more memorable it will remain. All that
preceded it had merely opened the way, and there were yet almost
inaccessible cliffs to climb before we could flatter ourselves with the
hope of reaching the wished-for goal. The leaders of the allies had
already shewn the ablest French generals, in several grand engagements,
that they possessed sufficient means and talents to dissolve the charm
of their invincibility. They were now about to enter the lists with the
hero whom a thousand panegyrists, during a period of near twenty years,
had extolled far above the greatest generals of ancient and modern
times; whose enemies had to boast of but one victory over him at most--a
victory which he himself did not admit, as he ascribed the total
destruction of his army in Russia to physical causes alone. It was the
conqueror of Marengo, Austerlitz, Friedland, Ratisbon, Wagram, and
Mojaisk. Fresh laurels entwined his brow at Lützen, Bautzen, and
Dresden. Here at Leipzig the allies attempted to wrest them from him who
grasps so firmly. It was easy to foresee that with unshaken resolution
he would risk all, in order, as on former occasions, to gain all, and to
put an end to the campaign with a single blow. He seemed to contemplate
nothing less than the utter annihilation of the allies, as all the
bridges far and near were broken down to cut off their retreat. Whether
the situation in which he had placed himself was such as to justify
these hopes, I shall leave to the decision of those who are better
qualified to judge. His confidence in victory must, however, have been
very strong, as he had made such inadequate preparations for his own

The action commenced in the centre of the French army beyond
Probstheide, probably with the storming of the villages in its front,
for we afterwards learned that they were several times taken and
recovered. They have been more or less reduced to heaps of rubbish. That
the work of slaughter might be completed on this day, it had been begun
with the first dawn of morning. So early as nine o'clock all the immense
lines from Taucha to Konnewitz were engaged. As the latter village lay
nearest to us, we could see what was passing there the most distinctly.
From Lösnig, a village situated beyond Konnewitz, a hollow, about two
thousand paces in length, runs from north-west to south-east. It is
bordered with a narrow skirt of wood, consisting of alders, limes, and
oaks, and forms an angle with the village. Beyond this line were
advanced several French batteries, the incessant movements of which, as
well as every single shot, might be clearly distinguished with our
glasses. To make myself better acquainted with this neighbourhood, I
explored two days afterwards this part of the field of battle, and found
that the French artillery must there have formed an open triangle; for
the road which runs straight from Leipzig, behind Konnewitz through
Dehlis and Lösnig, of course from north to south, was also lined by
French batteries. The houses of those villages had served them for a
_point d'appui_ in the rear, and were most of them dreadfully shattered
by the balls of the Austrians. The artillery of the latter seems to have
had a great advantage in regard to the ground. The French cannon brought
into the line from Konnewitz to Dehlis and Lösnig stood in a
hollow--those of the Austrians on eminences. These last had moreover the
advantage of enfilading the two angles formed by the batteries of the
French. That this had actually been the case was evident from the
numbers of French cannoniers and horses lying dead in rows in the line
of the above-mentioned villages, where they had been swept down by the
guns of their opponents. On the eminences where the hostile cannon were
planted the number of dead was much smaller, and these were apparently
not artillery-men, but infantry, who were probably engaged in covering
those batteries. The firearms which lay beside them confirmed the
conjecture. This pass must nevertheless have been obstinately defended,
as it was not taken the whole day. The fire of musketry grew more and
more brisk--a proof that the combatants were already in close action.
The French _tirailleurs_ could not be driven out of the woods, on which
their right wing was supported. We remarked frequent charges of cavalry,
which seemed to decide nothing. All the villages lying beyond Konnewitz,
on the road to Borna, as far as Markleeberg, were on fire. The thunder
from the French centre, as well as from the left wing, gradually
approached nearer to the city. The seventh corps, under general Reynier,
was in the left wing, and posted towards Taucha. It was principally
composed of Saxons. They had just come into action, and the allies had
already brought up a great number of guns against them. To the no small
astonishment and consternation of their leader, they suddenly shouldered
their arms, marched forward in close files with their artillery, and
went over to the enemy. Several French battalions, misled by this
movement, joined them, and were immediately disarmed and made prisoners
by the allies. The French cuirassiers, suspecting the design of the
Saxons, followed, apparently with the intention of falling upon them.
The Saxons faced about, and compelled them, by a smart fire of musketry,
to return. A volley of small arms was discharged after them, but with no
more effect--it did them no injury. Their horse-artillery turned about,
and soon dismounted that of the French. They were greeted with a joyful
_hurrah!_ by the Cossacks, who cordially shook hands with their new
comrades. The Saxons desired to be immediately led back to the attack of
the French. The hearts of these soldiers individually had long glowed
with revenge for all the devastations committed in their native land by
their allies and companions in arms, for whom they had so often shed
their blood in torrents. The generals of the allies refused on very good
grounds to comply with their desire. The Saxons marched a league into
the rear of the field of battle, and there bivouacked. Their artillery
only was afterwards invited to take part in the engagement, and did
great execution. This circumstance had an essential influence on the
issue of the contest, inasmuch as the defection of a body of more than
8000 men facilitated the advance of the right wing of the allies. But
for this step the Saxons would have fared very badly, as their opponents
had already ranged upwards of thirty pieces of cannon against their
line, and were bringing up still more to the attack. These now proved
the more galling to the ranks of the French, who were driven back almost
to the Kohlgärten. From my position this advance of the allies was not
to be perceived except by the approach of the thunder of the artillery.
The French centre yet stood immoveable; at least we could not observe
from the city any change which denoted a retrograde movement. The
sanguinary character of this tremendous conflict might be inferred from
the thousands of wounded, who hobbled, crawled, and were carried in at
the gates. Among the latter were many officers of rank. If you inquired
of those who returned from the field, how the battle was going on, the
reply almost invariably was--"Badly enough,--the enemy is very strong."
A Saxon cuirassier declared, without reserve, that it might be
considered as decided, adding, "We have lost a deal of ground
already."--Stötteritz and Schönefeld were stormed the same evening. All
the streets were covered with wounded, and fortunate were they who
could find a shelter. As for surgical aid and refreshments, these were
not to be thought of. A far greater number of those miserable wretches
were yet left behind in the villages, as might be seen from the detached
limbs, which were piled in heaps, especially at Probstheide.

Had any of the allied corps succeeded this day in penetrating on any
side into our city, nothing less than the total destruction of the
French army would probably have been the consequence; since it might
from this place, as from the centre of the field of battle, have fallen
upon the rear of any part of the French force, and have hemmed in both
the centre and the wings. This misfortune Napoleon had taken good care
to prevent. He now felt, however, that his strength was broken, and that
he was no longer in a condition to maintain the contest. He resolved
upon retreat, but carefully sought to conceal this intention from his
enemies. Though night had come on; yet the cannon thundered as furiously
as in the morning, and the fire of musketry was brisker than ever. A
long column, with an endless train of artillery, was seen defiling from
Probstheide to Konnewitz. Again I trembled for the cause of the allies.
These, I imagined, were the French guards, marching to the attack of the
right wing. Now methought the moment had arrived when Napoleon would
strike the decisive blow, which he had so often deferred till the very
last hour. Soon afterwards the cannonade seemed to gain redoubled
vigour, and continued an hour without intermission, so that every house
in the city was shaken. As, however, it at length ceased without
removing to a greater distance, we naturally concluded that this last
attack had proved unsuccessful. More than ten great conflagrations
illumined the whole horizon amid the obscurity of night.

The excessive bustle in the city rendered it impossible for us to
observe that the retreat had in fact commenced. The greatest part of the
persons attached to the army had already left the city, while the others
were making all the requisite preparations for their departure. Most of
them had wonderfully changed the tone in which they had spoken the
preceding day. They now talked of the miseries of war, deplored the
sufferings of the people, and declared that peace would be the greatest
of blessings for all parties. The multitude of French officers here was
so great, that even those of high rank on the staff were obliged to put
up with the most wretched accommodations, for which they paid
handsomely, leaving their horses and equipages in the street, where the
former frequently ran away. One of these officers sought a night's
lodging in a mean house in the author's neighbourhood. He was called up
at midnight, and informed that his column had just begun to retreat. He
inquired whether the whole army was doing the same--the messenger
replied that he did not know. This circumstance first confirmed my
belief that the French had sustained a defeat, and rendered the
conjecture that their whole army was retreating highly probable. Many
French _employés_ and soldiers had, several days before, while they yet
had an opportunity, exchanged their uniform for the plainest attire,
that, under this peaceful ægis, they might the more calmly await the
issue of events; and that, in case the allies should come upon them too
unexpectedly, they might, under the disguise of honest citizens, hasten
away to their beloved Rhine without being challenged by the lances of
the Cossacks. With greater composure than any of them did general
Bertrand, the governor of the city, who, perhaps, as an intelligent
officer, was the least confident of victory, look forward to the event.
He abandoned not his post at the precipitate departure of the emperor,
and was in consequence made prisoner the following day.

Such was the conclusion of the fifth day. It beheld a field of battle,
of unparalleled extent, strewed with slain; and left one of the most
flourishing districts of Saxony, as it were, one general conflagration.
With anxious solicitude the people of Leipzig awaited its coming, and
with expectations unfulfilled they witnessed its close. Though it
appeared probable to us all, that, in this colossal engagement, victory
had wholly forsaken the Gallic eagles, still the fate of our city was
far from being decided. We were yet in the midst of the crater of the
tremendous volcano, which by one mighty effort might hurl us into atoms,
and leave behind scarcely a vestige of our existence. Napoleon had
received a severe blow; and now it behoved him to oppose an immediate
barrier to the impetuous course of the conquerors, and to prevent the
total loss of his yet remaining army, artillery, and baggage. The only
bulwark that he could employ for this purpose was Leipzig. All that art
had formerly done to render it a defensive position had long since
disappeared. Planks, hedges, and mud walls, were scarcely calculated to
resist the butt-end of a musket. This deficiency it was every where
necessary to supply by living walls, and that was in fact done in such a
way as filled us all with consternation.

At day-break on the 19th the allies put the finishing hand to the great
work. A considerable part of the French army, with an immense quantity
of artillery, had already passed through and into the city with great
precipitation. The troops that covered the retreat were furiously
attacked, and driven on all sides into the city. Napoleon attempted to
arrest the progress of victory by an expedient which had so often before
produced an extraordinary effect, that is, by negotiation. A proposal
was made to evacuate the city voluntarily, and to declare the Saxon
troops there as neutral, on condition that the retreating army should
have sufficient time allowed to withdraw from it with its artillery and
waggon-train, and to reach a certain specified point. The allies too
clearly perceived what an important advantage would in this case be
gained by the French army, which was less anxious for the fate of the
city than to effect its own escape. These terms were rejected, and
several hundred pieces of artillery began to play upon Leipzig. Our fate
would have been decided had the allied sovereigns cherished sentiments
less generous and humane than they did. It behoved them to gain
possession of Leipzig at any rate; and this object they might have
accomplished in the shortest way, and with inconsiderable loss to
themselves, if they had bombarded it for one single hour with shells,
red-hot balls, and Congreve rockets, with which an English battery that
accompanied them was provided. Their philanthropic spirits, on the
contrary, revolted at the idea of involving the innocent population of a
_German_ city in the fate of Moscow and Saragossa. They resolved to
storm the town, and to support the troops employed in this duty with
artillery no farther than was necessary to silence the enemy, and to
force their way through the palisaded avenues and gates. Meanwhile the
discharges of artillery, quite close to us, were so tremendous, that
each seemed sufficient to annihilate the city. The king of Saxony
himself sent flags of truce, entreating that it might be spared. The
allies replied that this should be done in as far as the defence of the
enemy might render it practicable: they promised, moreover, security to
persons and property after the place should be taken, and to enforce as
rigid discipline as it was possible on such an occasion. To these
assurances they annexed the condition that no French should be secreted
in the city, declaring that every house in which one or more of them
should be found would run the risk of being reduced to ashes. The
cannon, though only in a proportionably small number from the north and
east, immediately began to play. They were partly directed against the
palisades at the gates, partly against the French artillery which
defended the avenues. For more than two hours balls and shells from the
east and north frequently fell in the city itself, and in the suburbs.
Many a time I was filled with astonishment at the effects of one single
ball, which often penetrated through two thick walls, and pursued its
course still farther. Though they seldom fell in the streets, it was
impossible to venture abroad without imminent hazard of life, as these
tremendous visitors beat down large fragments of roofs, chimneys, and
walls, which, tumbling with a frightful crash, threatened to bury every
passenger beneath their ruins. Still greater havoc was made by the
shells, which, bursting as soon as they had descended, immediately set
their new habitations in flames. Fortunately for us, but few of these
guests were sent into the city. The most that fell came from the north,
that is, in the direction of Halle. Three times did fires break out in
the Brühl, which, in a short consumed several back buildings contiguous
to the city wall, and nothing but the instantaneous measures adopted for
their extinction prevented farther damage. The allies had no other
object, in dispatching these ministers of destruction, than to shew the
retreating enemy, who, in the general confusion and bustle, could no
longer move either forward or backward, that, if they now forbore to
annihilate him, it was because the innocent citizens might be involved
in equal destruction with the fugitives. Pfaffendorf, a farm-house near
the north side of the city, had previously been set on fire, when the
Russian jägers had penetrated thither through the Rosenthal, and was
consumed to the very walls. As this place had been converted into an
hospital, many poor fellows there fell a sacrifice to the flames.

You may easily conceive the sensations of the inhabitants of the upper
town when we beheld the black clouds of smoke rising from the lower,
while the incessant fire of the artillery rendered it impossible for us
to repair thither, to obtain information or to afford assistance. Here,
as every where else, the fears of the inhabitants were wound up to the
highest pitch. A cry was raised that several streets were already in
flames, and every one now hastened to his own house, that he might be at
hand in case a similar accident should happen there. It became more and
more dangerous to remain in the upper stories, which the inhabitants
accordingly quitted, and betook themselves to the kitchens and cellars.
If such were the terrors of the inmates, old and young, the fears and
anxiety of the French who chanced to be in the houses surpassed all
description. Many of them were seen weeping like children, and starting
convulsively at every report of the cannon. In the midst of this hideous
uproar I made another attempt to learn what was passing in the suburbs.
In the streets I found inexpressible confusion, people running in all
directions, officers driving their men to the gates. Cries and shouts
resounded from all quarters, though very few of the persons from whom
they proceeded knew what they would be at. At this time cartouch-boxes
and muskets were to be seen thrown away here and there in the streets.
The Saxon grenadier guards were drawn out with wonderful composure and
grounded arms, before the royal residence. Every unarmed person
anxiously sought to gain the nearest house, but commonly found it shut
against him. Several had already lost their lives or been severely
wounded by the balls which fell in all directions. Napoleon was still in
the city; he was at this moment with our king, with whom he had an
animated conversation, which lasted near an hour. Soon afterwards I saw
him, accompanied by the king of Naples, proceeding on horseback toward
the Ranstädt gate. I had meanwhile taken the opportunity of slipping
into a house which overlooks that street, and now for the first time
beheld a French retreat in the height of its confusion. Not a vestige of
regularity was any where observable. The horse and foot guards poured
along in mingled disorder. They would probably have marched in quicker
time, had they been permitted by the waggons and cannon, which were
locked in one another, and obstructed the way. Between these they were
obliged to pass singly, and I really thought that it would be at least
six hours before they could all have effected their passage. Immense
droves of cattle were cooped up among the crowd. These seemed to be
objects of particular concern to the French. They sought out a space,
however narrow, along the town-ditch, by which they might drive forward
their horned favourites. Whoever was bold enough, and had any hopes of
being able to conduct these animals into his own habitation, had now an
opportunity of making an advantageous bargain. A few pieces of silver
might be carried off with much greater facility than a huge clumsy ox.
Notwithstanding all the efforts to preserve this valuable booty from the
general wreck, it was absolutely impossible to save the whole of it.
Many horned cattle and horses were left behind, and now innocently
sought a scanty repast by the city-walls. That, amidst all this
"confusion worse confounded," there was no want of shouting and
blustering, you may easily imagine, though nobody got forward any faster
for all this noise. On a sudden we saw at a distance the emperor
himself, with not a numerous retinue, advancing on horseback into the
midst of this chaos. He got through better than I expected. I afterwards
learned that he took a by-road through a garden to the outer Ranstädt
gate. Prince Poniatowsky attempted, higher up, to ford the Elster. The
banks on each side are of considerable height, soft and swampy; the
current itself narrow, but in this part uncommonly deep and muddy. How
so expert a rider should have lost the management of his horse, I cannot
imagine. According to report, the animal plunged headlong into the water
with him, so that he could not possibly recover himself. He fell a
victim to his temerity, and was drowned. His body was found several days
afterwards, and interred with all the military honours due to his

As the commander-in-chief had so precipitately quitted the city, we
could no longer doubt the proximity of the enemy to our walls. The fire
of the artillery and musketry in the place, which gradually approached
nearer, was a much more convincing proof of this than we desired. The
men already began to cut away the traces, in order to save the horses.
The bustle among the soldiers augmented; a weak rearguard had taken post
in Reichel's garden, to keep the allies in check, in case they should
penetrate into the high road. We thought them still at a considerable
distance, when a confused cry suddenly proclaimed that the Russians had
stormed the outer Peter's gate, and were coming round from the
Rossplatz. The French were evidently alarmed. The Russian jägers came
upon them all at once, at full speed, with tremendous huzzas and fixed
bayonets, and discharged their pieces singly, without stopping. I now
thought it advisable to quit my dangerous post, and hasten home with all
possible expedition. I was informed by the way that the Prussians had
that moment stormed the Grimma gate, and would be in the city in a few
minutes. On all sides was heard the firing of small arms, intermixed at
times with the reports of the artillery, already playing upon the
waggon-train in the suburbs. Musket-balls, passing over the city wall,
likewise whizzed through the streets; and, when I ventured to put my
head out of the window, I observed with horror, not far from my house,
two Prussian jägers pursuing and firing at some Frenchmen who were
running away. Behind them I heard the storm-march, and huzzas and shouts
of _Long live Frederic William!_ from thousands of voices. A company of
Baden jägers was charged with the defence of the inner Peter's gate.
These troops immediately abandoned their post, and ran as fast as their
legs would carry them to the market-place, where they halted, and, like
the Saxon grenadier guards, fired not a single shot.

Thus the so long feared and yet wished-for hour was at length arrived.
What we should never have expected after the 2nd of May, namely, to see
a single Prussian again at Leipzig, was nevertheless come to pass. They
had then left us as friends, and, by their exemplary conduct, had
acquired our highest respect. We bore them, as well as the Russians, in
the most honourable remembrance. They now appeared as enemies, whose
duty had imposed on them the task of storming the city. Our sons and
brothers had fought against them. What might not be our fate? We had not
forgotten that which befell Lübeck, seven years before, under similar
circumstances. But they were the warriors of Alexander, Francis,
Frederic William, and Charles John; terrible as destroying angels to the
foe, kind and generous to the defenceless citizen. As far as the
author's knowledge extends, not a man was guilty of the smallest excess
within our walls. They even paid in specie for bread, tobacco, and
brandy. The suburbs, indeed, fared not quite so well. There many an
inhabitant suffered severely; but how was it possible for the commanders
to be present every where, and to prevent all irregularities, after a
conflict which had raged in every corner of the city? Would you compare
the victors, upon the whole, with our late friends and protectors, go
through all Saxony, and then judge in whose favour the parallel must be

It was half past one o'clock when the allies penetrated into the city.
The artillery had been but little used on this occasion, and in the
interior of the place not at all. Had not the allies shewn so much
tenderness for the town, they might have spared the sacrifice of some
hundreds of their brave soldiers. They employed infantry in the assault,
that the city might not be utterly destroyed. The grand work was now
nearly accomplished. Obstinately as the French in general defended
themselves, they were, nevertheless, unable to withstand the iron masses
of their assailants. They were overthrown in all quarters, and driven
out of the place. The streets, especially in the suburbs, were strewed
with dead. The writer often counted eight in a very small space. In
about an hour you might venture abroad without danger in all parts of
the town. But what sights now met the eye! Leipzig, including the
suburbs, cannot occupy an area of much less than one (German) square
mile. In this extent there was scarcely a spot not covered with houses
but bore evidence of the sanguinary conflict. The ground was covered
with carcasses, and the horses were particularly numerous. The nearer
you approached to the Ranstädt gate, the thicker lay the dead bodies.
The Ranstädt causeway, which is crossed by what is called the Mühlgraben
(mill-dam), exhibited a spectacle peculiarly horrid. Men and horses were
every where to be seen; driven into the water, they had found their
grave in it, and projected in hideous groups above its surface. Here the
storming columns from all the gates, guided by the fleeing foe, had for
the most part united, and had found a sure mark for every shot in the
closely crowded masses of the enemy. But the most dreadful sight of all
was that which presented itself in the beautiful Richter's garden, once
the ornament of the city, on that side where it joins the Elster. There
the cavalry must have been engaged; at least I there saw a great number
of French cuirasses lying about. All along the bank, heads, arms, and
feet, appeared above the water. Numbers, in attempting to ford the
treacherous river, had here perished. People were just then engaged in
collecting the arms that had been thrown away by the fugitives, and they
had already formed a pile of them far exceeding the height of a man.

The smoking ruins of whole villages and towns, or extensive tracts laid
waste by inundations, exhibit a melancholy spectacle; but a field of
battle is assuredly the most shocking sight that eye can ever behold.
Here all kinds of horrors are united; here Death reaps his richest
harvest, and revels amid a thousand different forms of human suffering.
The whole area has of itself a peculiar and repulsive physiognomy,
resulting from such a variety of heterogeneous objects as are no where
else found together. The relics of torches, the littered and trampled
straw, the bones and flesh of slaughtered animals, fragments of plates,
a thousand articles of leather, tattered cartouch-boxes, old rags,
clothes thrown away, all kinds of harness, broken muskets, shattered
waggons and carts, weapons of all sorts, thousands of dead and dying,
horribly mangled bodies of men and horses,--and all these
intermingled!--I shudder whenever I recall to memory this scene, which,
for the world, I would not again behold. Such, however, was the
spectacle that presented itself in all directions; so that a person, who
had before seen the beautiful environs of Leipzig, would not have known
them again in their present state. Barriers, gardens, parks, hedges, and
walks, were alike destroyed and swept away. These devastations were not
the consequence of this day's engagement, but of the previous
bivouacking of the French, who are now so habituated to conduct
themselves in such a manner that their bivouacs never fail to exhibit
the most deplorable attestations of their presence, as to admit no hopes
of a change. The appearance of Richter's garden was a fair specimen of
the aspect of all the others. Among these the beautiful one of Löhr was
particularly remarkable. Here French artillery had been stationed
towards Göhlis; and here both horses and men had suffered most severely.
The magnificent buildings, in the Grecian style, seemed mournfully to
overlook their late agreeable, now devastated, groves, enlivened in
spring by the warbling of hundreds of nightingales, but where now
nothing was to be heard, save the loud groans of the dying. The dark
alleys, summer-houses, and arbours, so often resorted to for recreation,
social pleasures, or silent meditation, were now the haunts of death,
the abode of agony and despair. The gardens, so late a paradise, were
transformed into the seat of corruption and pestilential putridity. A
similar spectacle was exhibited by Grosbosch's, Reichel's, and all the
other spacious gardens round the city, which the allies had been obliged
to storm.--The buildings which had suffered most were those at the outer
gates of the city. These were the habitations of the excise and other
officers stationed at the gates. Most of them were so perforated as
rather to resemble large cages, which you may see through, than solid
walls. All this, however, though more than a thousand balls must have
been fired at the city, bore no comparison to the mischiefs which might
have ensued, and which we had every reason to apprehend. We now look
forward to a happier futurity; the commerce of Leipzig will revive; and
the activity, industry, and good taste of its inhabitants, will,
doubtless, ere long, call forth from these ruins a new and more
beautiful creation.

I now summon your attention from these scenes of horror to others of a
different kind, the delineation of which is absolutely necessary to
complete the picture. Those hosts which had so long been the scourge of
Germany and Europe, and had left us this last hideous monument of their
presence, perhaps never to return, were now in precipitate flight, as
though hurried away by an impetuous torrent. The terrors of the Most
High had descended upon them. The conqueror had appeared to them at
Leipzig in the most terrific form, and with uplifted arm followed close
at their heels. About a league beyond the city the ardour of the pursuit
somewhat abated; at Markranstädt the routed army first stopped to take
breath, and to form itself in some measure into a connected whole. The
booty taken by the allies was immense. The suburbs were crowded with
waggons and artillery, which the enemy had been obliged to abandon. It
was impossible for the most experienced eye to form any kind of estimate
of their numbers. The captors left them all just as they were, and
merely examined here and there the contents of the waggons. Many of them
were laden with rice, which was partly given away, especially by the
Prussians. Many a Frenchman probably missed the usual supply of it for
his scanty supper. All the streets were thronged with the allied troops,
who had fought dispersed, and now met to congratulate one another on the
important victory. Soon after the city was taken, their sovereigns made
their entry. The people pressed in crowds to behold their august and so
long wished-for deliverers. They appeared without any pomp in the
simplest officers' uniforms, attended by those heroes, a Blücher, Bülow,
Platow, Barklay de Tolly, Schwarzenberg, Repnin, Sanders, &c. &c., whom
we had so long admired. The acclamations of the people were unbounded.
Tens of thousands of voices greeted them with _Huzzas_ and _Vivats_; and
white handkerchiefs,--symbols of peace,--waved from every window. Some
few indeed were too unhappy to take part in the general joy on this
memorable day. It was the only punishment, but truly a severe one, for
the abject wretches who have not German hearts in their bosoms. Never
did acclamations so sincere greet the ears of emperors and kings as
those which welcomed Alexander, Francis, Frederic William, and Charles
John. They were followed by long files of troops, who had so gloriously
sustained the arduous contest under their victorious banners. In the
midst of Cossacks, Prussian, Russian, Austrian, and Swedish hussars,
appeared also our gallant Saxon cavalry, resolved henceforward to fight
for the liberty of Germany, and the genuine interests of their native

A great number of regiments immediately continued their march without
halting, and took some the road to Pegau, and others that to Merseburg,
in order to pursue the enemy in his left flank and in his rear.
Blücher's army had the preceding day advanced to the neighbourhood of
Merseburg, where it was now posted in the right flank of the retreating
force. Leipzig had nothing more to fear. French officers and soldiers
were every where seen intermixed with their conquerors. It was only here
and there that they were collected together and conveyed away. Of the
greater part but little notice was taken in the first bustle, as all the
gates were well guarded, and it was scarcely possible for one of them to
escape. Numbers had fled during the assault from their quarters into the
suburbs. Many seemed to have left behind valuable effects and money, as
I should conjecture from various expressions used by some, who offered,
several Napoleon-d'ors to any person who could assist them to reach
their lodgings. For this, however, it was now too late. Strict orders
were issued against the secreting or entertaining of Frenchmen, and they
were therefore obliged to seek, for the moment, a refuge in the

Only a small part of the combined troops had gone in pursuit of the
French. By far the greatest portion reposed in countless ranks round the
town from the fatigues of the long and sanguinary conflict. Part of the
army equipage entered, and all the streets were soon crowded to such
excess that you could scarcely stir but at the risk of your life. The
allied monarchs alighted in the market-place, where the concourse of
guards and equipages was consequently immense. Here I saw the late
French commandant of the city coming on foot with a numerous retinue of
officers and commissaries, and advancing towards the Russian generals.
The fate of general Bertrand was certainly most to be pitied; he was a
truly honest man, who had no share in those inexpressible miseries in
which we had been for the last six months involved. I felt so much the
less for the commissaries, whom I have ever considered as the Pandora's
box of the French army, whence such numberless calamities have spread
over every country in which they have set foot. At the residence of our
sovereign I observed no other alteration than that a great number of
Saxon generals and officers were collected about it. The life
grenadier-guards were on duty as before, and a battalion of Russian
grenadiers was parading in front of the windows. No interview, that I
know of, took place between the king of Saxony the allied sovereigns.
The king of Prussia remained here longest in conversation with the
prince-royal. The emperors of Austria and Russia, as well as the
crown-prince of Sweden, returned early to the army. After the departure
of the Prussian monarch, our king set out under a strong escort of
Cossacks for Berlin, or, as some asserted, for Schwedt.

The French hospitals which we had constantly had here since the
beginning of the year, and which, since the battle of Lützen and the
denunciation of the armistice, had increased to such a degree as to
contain upwards of 20,000 sick and wounded, may be considered as a
malignant cancer, that keeps eating farther and farther, and consuming
the vital juices. It was these that introduced among us a dreadfully
destructive nervous fever, which had increased the mortality of the
inhabitants to near double its usual amount. Regarded in this point of
view alone, they were one of the most terrible scourges of the city; but
they proved a still more serious evil, inasmuch as the whole expense of
them fell upon the circle. The French never inquired whence the
prodigious funds requisite for their maintenance were to be derived, nor
ever thought of making the smallest compensation. If we reckon, for six
months, 10,000 sick upon an average, and for each of them 12 groschen
per day (and, including all necessaries, they could scarcely be kept at
that rate), the amount for each day is 5000, and, for the six months,
the enormous sum of 900,000 dollars, which the exhausted coffers were
obliged to pay in specie. This calculation, however, is so far below the
truth, that it ought rather to be greatly augmented. A tolerable
aggregate must have been formed by proportionable contributions from all
our country towns, and this was for the service of the hospitals alone:
judge then of the rest.

Previously to the battle of Leipzig the state of the inmates of these
pestilential dens, these abodes of misery, was deplorable enough, as
they were continually becoming more crowded and enlarged. Many of the
persons attached to them, and in particular many a valuable and
experienced medical man, carried from them the seeds of death into the
bosom of his family. With their want of accommodations, cleanliness was
a point which could not be attained, and it was impossible to pass them
without extreme disgust. As Leipzig was for a considerable time cut off
from the rest of the world by the vast circle of armies, like the
mariner cast upon a desert island, the wants of these hospitals became
from day to day more urgent. Provisions also at length began to fail.
The distress had arrived at its highest pitch, when the thousands from
the field of battle applied there for relief. Not even bread could any
longer be dispensed to these unfortunates. Many wandered about without
any kind of shelter. Then did we witness scenes which would have
thrilled the most obdurate cannibals with horror. No eye could have
beheld a sight more hideous at Smolensk, on the Berezyna, or on the road
to Wilna--there at least Death more speedily dispatched his victims.
Thousands of ghastly figures staggered along the streets, begging at
every window and at every door; and seldom indeed had Compassion the
power to give. These, however, were ordinary, familiar spectacles.
Neither was it rare to see one of these emaciated wretches picking up
the dirtiest bones, and eagerly gnawing them; nay, even the smallest
crumb of bread which had chanced to be thrown into the street, as well
as apple-parings and cabbage-stalks, were voraciously devoured. But
hunger did not confine itself within these disgusting limits. More than
twenty eye-witnesses can attest that wounded French soldiers crawled to
the already putrid carcasses of horses, with some blunt knife or other
contrived with their feeble hands to cut the flesh from the haunches,
and greedily regaled themselves with the carrion. They were glad to
appease their hunger with what the raven and the kite never feed on but
in cases of necessity. They even tore the flesh from human limbs, and
broiled it to satisfy the cravings of appetite; nay, what is almost
incredible, the very dunghills were searched for undigested fragments to
devour. You know me, and must certainly believe that I would not relate
as facts things which would be liable to be contradicted by the whole
city. Thus the hospitals became a hot-bed of pestilence, from which the
senses of hearing, smell, and sight, turned with disgust, and one of the
most fatal of those vampyres which had so profusely drained our vitals,
and now dispensed destruction to those who had fed them and to the sick

The great church-yard exhibited a spectacle of peculiar horror. The
peaceful dead and their monuments had been spared no more than any other
corner of the city. Here also the king of terrors had reaped a rich
harvest. The slight walls had been converted into one great fort, and
loop-holes formed in them. Troops had long before bivouacked in this
spot, and the Prussian, Russian, and Austrian prisoners, were here
confined, frequently for several successive days, in the most
tempestuous weather and violent rain, without food, straw, or shelter.
These poor fellows had nevertheless spared the many handsome monuments
of the deceased, and only sought a refuge from the wet, or a lodging for
the night, in such vaults as they found open. This spacious ground,
which rather resembled a superbly embellished garden than a
burial-place, now fell under the all-desolating hands of the French. It
soon bore not the smallest resemblance to itself; what Art had, in the
space of a century, employed a thousand hands to produce, was in a short
time, and by very few, defaced and destroyed. The strongest iron doors
to the vaults were broken open, the walls stripped of their decorations
and emblems of mourning, the last tributes of grief and affection
annihilated, and every atom of wood thrown into the watch-fire; so that
the living could no longer know where to look for the remains of the
deceased objects of their love. The elegant rails, with which the
generality of the graves were encompassed, for the most part
disappeared, and the only vestiges of them to be found were their ashes,
or the relics of the reeking brands of the watch-fire. On the 19th this
wretched bulwark also was stormed, and thrown down as easily as a
fowler's net. The carcasses of horses now replaced upon the graves the
monuments of mourning for the peaceful dead. After the battle part of
the French prisoners were confined in this place. The church of St.
John, which stands in it, had, as early as the month of May, been
converted into an hospital, which, ever since the beginning of October,
was crowded with sick. It could hold no more; the sick and prisoners
were therefore intermingled, and lay down pell-mell among the graves.
What had hitherto been spared was now completely destroyed. In this
case, indeed, dire necessity pleaded a sufficient excuse. Who could find
fault with Distress and Despair if they resorted to the only means that
could afford them the slightest alleviation? Who could grudge them a
shelter in the cold autumnal nights, even though they sought it in the
dreary abode of mouldering corpses? Every vault which it was possible
for them to open was converted into a chamber and dwelling-place, which
at least was preferable to a couch between hillocks soaked with rain or
covered with hoar frost. They descended into the deepest graves, broke
open the coffins, and ejected their tenants, to procure fire-wood to
warm their frozen limbs. I myself saw a French soldier who had fallen
among a heap of coffins piled up to the height of more than twelve feet;
and, unable to clamber up again, had probably lain there several days,
and been added by Death to the number of his former victims. The
appearance of the skulls, before so carefully concealed from the view of
the living, now thrown out of the coffins into the graves, was truly

In spite of all the exertion of the new authorities, appointed by the
allies to alleviate the general misery, it was utterly impossible for
any human power to restore order in the horrid chaos which the French
had left behind them. A severe want of all necessaries was felt in the
city; the circumjacent villages, far and wide, were plundered and laid
waste. From them, of course, no supply could be obtained. More than
thirty hospitals were not capable of receiving all the sick and wounded
who applied for admission. Where were to be found buildings sufficiently
spacious, mattresses, bedding, utensils, provisions, and the prodigious
number of medical attendants, whose services were so urgently required
by these poor creatures? Every edifice at all adapted to the purpose had
long been occupied; and so completely had every thing been drained by
requisitions, that the hospital committee had for some time been unable
to collect even the necessary quantity of lint. Almost every barber's
apprentice was obliged to exercise his unskilful hands in the service of
the hospitals. It would have been impossible to procure any thing with
money, had it been ever so plentiful; and this resource, moreover, was
already completely exhausted. The most acute understanding and the most
invincible presence of mind were inadequate to the providing of a remedy
for these evils. No where was there to be seen either beginning or end.
The city was covered with carcasses, and the rivers obstructed with dead
bodies. Thousands of hands were necessary to remove and bury these
disgusting objects before any attention could be paid to the clearing of
the field of battle about Leipzig. As all sought relief, there was of
course none to afford it. It was difficult to decide whether first to
build, to slaughter, to brew, to bake, to bury the dead, or to assist
the wounded, as all these points demanded equally prompt attention.

In the city lay many thousands of newly-arrived troops, who came from
the fight, and were both hungry and thirsty. Notwithstanding their
moderation, some of these could obtain nothing, and others but a very
scanty supply. Gladly would every citizen have entertained them in the
best manner; but not even a glass of the worst beer or brandy was now to
be had. Many of them naturally ascribed this to ill will, and even
observed that every thing was denied them because they were not
Frenchmen. How little did they know of our real situation! In the house
where I live six of the Prussian foot-guards were quartered. They
complained when nothing was set before them but dry potatoes; but
listened with calmness to the excuses that were offered. Without making
any reply, four of them took up their arms, and departed. In about an
hour they returned, bringing with them two cows, which they had taken
from the French. These they presented to their host, and immediately
fell to work and killed then. In two hours the family was abundantly
supplied with meat, so that it could assist others; and, as great part
was pickled, it was supplied for a considerable time. Frenchmen would
certainly not have acted thus.

Among the thousands of facts which might be adduced to prove that it was
absolutely impossible for any thing whatever to be left in the town,
that its resources were completely exhausted, and that extreme want
could not but prevail, let one instance suffice. There were in the city
two granaries, one of which, in the palace of Pleissenburg, had been
filled at the king's cost, and the other, called the corn-magazine, at
the expense of the magistrates. The former had long been put in
requisition by French commissaries, and had been chiefly applied to the
provisioning of the French garrisons of Wittenberg and Torgau. As this
was the king's property, it was perhaps but right to demand it for the
fortresses which were to defend the country. The stores possessed by the
magistrates were purchased in those years when a scarcity of corn
prevailed in Saxony. To afford some relief the government had imported
great quantities from Russia, by way of the Baltic and the Elbe. The
magistrates of Leipzig had bought a considerable part of it, that they
might be able to relieve the wants of the citizens in case a similar
calamity should again occur. It was ground and put into casks, each
containing 450 pounds. They had in their magazine 4000 such casks, which
had been left untouched even in the year 1806, and were carefully
preserved, to be used only in cases of extreme necessity. This was
certainly a wise and truly paternal precaution. So valuable a store
would have been sufficient to protect the city from hunger for a
considerable time. As the French army behaved all over Saxony as though
it had been in an enemy's country, and consumed every thing far and
near, the most urgent want was the inevitable consequence. They forgot
the common maxim, that the bread of which you deprive the citizen and
the husbandman is in fact taken from yourself, and that the soldier can
have nothing where those who feed him have lost their all. The country
round Dresden was already exhausted. Soldiers and travellers coming from
that quarter could scarcely find terms to describe the distress. They
unanimously declared that the country from Oschatz to Leipzig was a real
paradise, in comparison with Lusatia and the circle of Misnia, as far as
the Elbe. Of this we soon had convincing proofs. It was necessary to
pick out a great number of horses from all the regiments, and to send
back numerous troops of soldiers to the depots. Don Quixote's Rosinante
was a superb animal compared with those which returned to Dresden. Most
of them had previously perished by the way. Here they covered all the
streets. The men sold them out of hand, partly for a few groschen. A
great number were publicly put up to auction by the French commissaries;
and you may form some idea what sorry beasts they must have been, when
you know that a lot of 26 was sold for 20 dollars. After some time the
whole of the horse-guards arrived here. They were computed at 5000 men,
all of whom were unfit for service. How changed! how lost was their once
imposing appearance! Scarcely could troops ever make so ludicrous, so
grotesque, and so miserable a figure. Gigantic grenadiers, with caps of
prodigious height, and heavy-armed cuirassiers, were seen riding upon
lean cows, which certainly did not cut many capers. It was wonderful
that the animals shewed no disposition to decline the singular honour.
Their knapsacks were fastened to the horns, so that you were puzzled to
make out what kind of a monstrous creature was approaching. Carbineers,
with cuirasses and helmets polished like mirrors, lay without boots and
stockings in wheelbarrows, to which a peasant had harnessed himself with
his dog, and thus transported the heroes. Few of the horses were yet
able to carry the knapsack, and much less the rider. The men were
therefore obliged to drag the jaded beasts by the bridle through the
deepest morasses, and thought themselves fortunate when at last the
animals dropped to rise no more. Compared with these endless caravans, a
band of strolling players might be considered as the triumphant
procession of a Roman emperor. All these men were proceeding to Erfurt
and Mentz.

These, and similar scenes which we had daily witnessed, were a natural
consequence of the French system of supply, and the prodigious bodies of
troops, which bore no proportion to the resources of a small tract of
country. Attempts had been made, but without success, to find other
provinces abounding in grain and forage. The fertile fields of Silesia
and Bohemia were beyond their reach. The angel with the fiery sword
vigilantly guarded the avenues to them against the fallen children of
Adam. It was now absolutely necessary to devise some expedient; and to
the French all means were alike. Some rice had been procured by way of
the Elbe and the Rhine. The stocks in the warehouses of the tradesmen of
Leipzig were now put in requisition, and sent off to the army; and I
shrewdly suspect that no part of them was paid for. These, however, were
but small privations; to relieve the general want required no less a
miracle than that by which 4000 men were fed with five small loaves. The
valuable stores in the city magazine had not yet been discovered. But
where is the door, however strong, through which their eagle eyes would
not at last penetrate? The flour was soon spied out, and forthwith
destined for the hungry stomachs of the French. The barrels were rolled
away with incredible expedition, and conveyed to the bakehouses. Each
baker was supplied with two a day, which he was obliged to make up with
all possible dispatch into bread, and to carry to the Cloth-hall. Here
the loaves were piled up in immense rows, and sent off to the famishing
army. From morning till night nothing was to be seen but waggons loading
and setting out. Not a morsel, however, was given to the soldiers
quartered upon the citizens; their superiors well knew that the patient
landlord had yet a penny left in his pocket to help himself out with.
Thus the fine magazine was stripped; and its valuable contents, which
would have kept twenty years longer without spoiling, and had been
preserved with such care, were dissipated in a moment. You may easily
conceive how severe a misfortune this loss proved to the city, and how
keenly it was felt, when you know that we were in a manner besieged for
several weeks, and that not a handful of flour was to be had even at the
mills themselves.

If you now take into the account the state of the city in a financial
point of view, you may judge how dreadful its condition in general must
have been. In no town is a better provision made for the indigent than
in Leipzig. Here were poor-houses, under most judicious regulations,
where food, fire, and lodging, were afforded. These buildings were
converted into hospitals, their inmates were obliged to turn out, and at
length the necessitous were deprived of their scanty allowance--the
funds were exhausted, and no fresh supplies received. The citizen sunk
under the weight of his burdens; it was impossible to lay any new ones
upon him. Among the different sources of income enjoyed by the city, the
author knows of one which at each of the two principal fairs commonly
produced 4000 dollars; whereas the receipts from it at the late
Michaelmas fair fell short of 100 dollars. All the other branches of
revenue, whether belonging to the king or to the city, fared no better.

Such was the state of a city, which a few years since might justly be
numbered among the most opulent in Germany, and whose resources appeared
inexhaustible. It may be considered as the heart of all Saxony, on
account of the manifold channels for trade, manufactures, and industry,
which here meet as in one common centre. Hence the commerce of Saxony
extends to every part of the globe. With the credit of Leipzig, that of
all Saxony could not fail to be in a great measure destroyed. Had this
state of things continued a little longer, absolute ruin would probably
have ensued, as the total suspension of trade would certainly have
occasioned the removal of all the yet remaining monied men. So low,
however, the city was not destined to fall. The fatal blow already
impended over Leipzig, which was on the point of being reduced to a heap
of ashes. Black storm-clouds gathered thick around it; but they passed
off; and a new sun, the cheering hope of better times, burst forth.
Large bodies of troops are yet within our walls; and they are a heavy
burden to the impoverished inhabitants, under their present
circumstances. We shall, however, be relieved of some part of it, on the
reduction of the fortresses upon the Elbe, which the enemy may yet
defend for some time, though without any other prospect than that of
final surrender, and of wielding for the last time his desolating arms
on the shores of that river. Symptoms of reviving trade and commerce
begin at least to appear. The gates are no longer beset with the Argus
eyes of French inspectors. The patient indeed, brought as he has been to
the very gates of death, is yet extremely weak, and requires the aid of
crutches. Long will it be before he is free from pain, but his recovery
is sure: he has quitted the close sick room, and is now consigned to
better care, to the hands of Prudence and Philanthropy, who are
acquainted with his condition, and will infallibly restore him to his
former health and vigour.

The confederation of the Rhine and the Continental system,--terms
synonymous with all the evils which have brought Germany and Europe to
the brink of destruction,--will in future have no other signification in
the vocabularies of the writers on political economy than that interval
of severe probation when Germany seemed to be annihilated, but yet rose
from her ruins with renewed energies, and, united more firmly than ever,
by new ties, with the other states of Europe, resumed her ancient
rights. The battle of Leipzig was the watch-word for this great
revolution. History, therefore, when partiality and passion shall have
long been silent, will not fail to class it among the most important
events recorded in her annals.

Here permit me to conclude my letters respecting those eventful days of
October, which must ever be so deeply impressed upon the memories of us
all. What may be called the military part of my narrative may be
imperfect; the names of the generals who commanded, the positions of
particular corps, and other circumstances of minor importance, may
perhaps be incorrect; yet the circumstantial details which I have given
will enable you to form to yourself in some measure a complete picture
of that memorable conflict.


[2] The 14th of October is the anniversary of the battles of Ulm and of

[3] What is yet called the Kohlgärten was formerly gardeners' ground for
the supply of the city, and is now converted into a fashionable village,
consisting chiefly of the country-houses of merchants; and where is also
a public garden for the recreation of the citizens.

[4] The following fact will serve to shew how completely the king of
Saxony was duped by the imperial plunderer:--The king was standing with
one of his ministers at a window of his palace in Dresden at the moment
when a drove of remarkably fine cattle, intended for the French army,
passed by. His majesty took occasion to praise the paternal care which
the emperor manifested for his troops, in procuring them such abundant
supplies of provisions. "But," replied the minister, "your majesty is
surely not aware that it is at the expense of your poor subjects, as
Napoleon pays for nothing."--"Impossible!" exclaimed the king with
evident indignation. While they were yet in conversation, intelligence
was brought from his domain of Pillnitz, which is well known to be the
most beautiful in Saxony, that the French had taken away by force all
his fine cattle, and just driven them through the city. These were the
very same beasts which he had seen passing, and now for the first time
he became sensible at what price Bonaparte obtained provisions from his
faithful ally.

[5] Prince Joseph Poniatowsky was nephew to Stanislaus Augustus, the
last king of Poland, and there is no doubt that he was cajoled into a
subservience to the views of the French emperor by the flattering
prospect of the restoration of his country to its former rank among the
nations of Europe. The circumstances attending his death, as related by
his aid-de-camp, are as follow:--On the 19th of October, when the French
army began to retreat, the prince was charged by Napoleon with the
defence of that part of the suburbs of Leipzig which lies nearest to the
Borna road. For this service he had only 2000 Polish infantry assigned
him. Perceiving the French columns on his left flank in full retreat,
and the bridge completely choked up with their artillery and carriages,
so that there was no possibility of getting over it, he drew his sabre,
and, turning to the officers who were about him, "Gentlemen," said he,
"it is better to fall with honour." With these words he rushed, at the
head of a few Polish cuirassiers and the officers surrounding him, upon
the advancing columns of the allies. He had been previously wounded on
the 14th and 16th, and on this occasion also received a musket-ball in
his left arm. He nevertheless pushed forward, but found the suburbs full
of the allied troops, who hastened up to take him prisoner. He cut his
way through them, received another wound through his cross, threw
himself into the Pleisse, and with the assistance of his officers
reached the opposite bank in safety, leaving his horse behind in the
river. Though much exhausted he mounted another, and proceeded to the
Elster, which was already lined by Saxon and Prussian riflemen. Seeing
them coming upon him on all sides, he plunged into the river, and
instantly sunk, together with his horse. Several officers, who threw
themselves in after him, were likewise drowned; and others were taken on
the bank or in the water. The body of the prince was found on the fifth
day (Oct. 24), and taken out of the water by a fisherman. He was dressed
in his gala uniform, the epaulets of which were studded with diamonds.
His fingers were covered with rings set with brilliants; and his pockets
contained snuff-boxes of great value and other trinkets. Many of those
articles were eagerly purchased by the Polish officers who were made
prisoners, evidently for the purpose of being transmitted to his family;
so that the whole produced the fisherman a very considerable sum.


In the battle of Leipzig the reflecting observer discovers something
grand; but there is also much that puzzles one who is not a soldier, and
is accustomed to find in all Napoleon's campaigns a consistency of plan
which he here looks for in vain. If in his earlier combinations he did
not in every instance take all possibilities into the account, but
overlooked some, this must be ascribed not so much to the want of
military penetration, as to his firm confidence in his good fortune, and
in his ability to turn unforeseen accidents to his own advantage, or at
least to render them harmless. Rarely has a general been so highly
favoured by fortune for a long series of years as he. It is no wonder
then that this confidence at length increased to such a degree as
frequently to become the height of temerity. In Russia, Napoleon met
with many circumstances which he had not taken into his calculation; but
he nevertheless penetrated to Moscow. Here he for the first time
experienced such a reverse as no general ever yet sustained. His immense
army was entirely annihilated. His stern decree created a new one, to
all outward appearance equally formidable. From the haste with which its
component parts were collected, it could not but be deficient in
intrinsic energy, and it was impossible to doubt that this would be
shewn in time. In this respect his antagonists had a decided advantage,
as must have been obvious to him after the battles of Lützen and
Bautzen. Had he not been so vastly superior in number to the Russian and
Prussian army in the first engagement, he would indisputably have been
defeated on that occasion.--The political relations of Europe had
moreover undergone an extraordinary change. He could not for a thousand
reasons be a moment doubtful of the choice of Austria. If with a strong
and well-appointed army she could not by negotiation bring about a peace
upon the basis of a future balance of power among the principal states
of Europe, in which Prussia and Russia were willing to acquiesce, there
could be no question that for the sake of her own existence she would
espouse the cause of those two powers. This Napoleon seems to have
considered as impossible, or the advantages already obtained must have
inspired him with the confidence that even the accession of Austria to
the alliance could not prevent the prosecution of his victorious career
to the Vistula. Could he have expected to encounter the whole Austrian
army in Silesia, or to reduce the fortresses of Upper Silesia, with such
rapidity as to be able a third time to menace Vienna, and to compel the
force assembled on the Bohemian frontiers to return with precipitation
to cover the capital? This would have been too presumptuous an idea. He
probably fancied himself strong enough, with 400,000 men, led on by
himself and the ablest generals of the age, to cope, if even Austria
should declare against him, with all three powers; especially if he
presumed that he should be able to force all the combined armies united
to a general engagement, and to annihilate them with a single blow. The
proposals for peace were rejected: not the slightest disposition was
shewn to treat, and the armistice of two months answered no other
purpose than to convince Austria of the absolute necessity of joining
the cause of the allies, and exerting all her energies to conquer that
peace by the sword, which there was not the least hope of accomplishing
by negotiation. By the accession of Austria the grand alliance had now
gained a manifest superiority, as well in regard to the number of troops
as to the geographical advantages of the theatre of war and resources.
After the renewal of hostilities Napoleon still seemed determined to
pursue his plan of advancing beyond the Oder. The allies were not to be
deceived by these demonstrations, but unexpectedly took post with their
main force in Bohemia, along the Saxon frontier, leaving in Silesia and
Brandenburg, where the crown-prince of Sweden had by this time arrived
with his gallant troops, armies strong enough to keep him in check by a
vigorous defensive system. The great Bohemian army was destined for
offensive operations. This plan was equally grand and judicious.
Silesia, and all Saxony, to the Elbe, could not fail, in consequence, to
be lost to Napoleon. That river, while he had only Prussia and Russia to
encounter, was a sure support in his rear; but no sooner had Austria
declared herself than it was no longer of any military consequence.
Dresden was the central point for the French army. There were organized
all the military bureaus, and all the branches of administration for the
economy of the army. The allies opened the campaign with a hasty advance
upon that important city. If the enterprise proved successful, its
consequences would be incalculable; if it miscarried, nothing would be
lost for the grand object; and at any rate the expedition would be a
diversion, which would immediately draw the French out of Silesia.
Napoleon now saw how egregiously he was deceived in his reckoning. He
hastened precipitately to save the Saxon capital. The army arrived
breathless. The allies were already assaulting the suburbs; and, had
Napoleon come one hour later, Dresden would have been in their power.
Owing to the unexpected appearance of so prodigious a force, and still
more to physical accidents, the grand enterprise of the allies
miscarried. The battle of Dresden terminated to their disadvantage, but
their primary object was attained. Napoleon's force was divided into
three great armies. Should any of them sustain a defeat, all Saxony to
the right of the Elbe would be lost to him. The engagements of Jauer,
Grossbeeren, and Dennewitz, proved disastrous to the French generals,
and Lusatia and the right bank of the Elbe were soon in the hands of the
allies. All the attempts to penetrate to Prague and Berlin ended in the
discomfiture and annihilation of whole French corps. Oudinot, Ney,
Regnier, Bertrand, and the terrible Vandamme, were in succession so
totally defeated, that it was not possible even for the French
reporters, with all their address, to cloak their disasters. The allies
every where acted offensively. Saxony, surrounded by Silesia, Bohemia,
and Brandenburg, was now, from its situation, likely to become, earlier
or later, the grave of the French armies: the allies had every where the
choice of their operations; they were neither to be turned nor broken
through. It was evident that the long and obstinate continuance of
Napoleon at Dresden could not fail to prove ruinous to him. Of what
service could the Elbe be to him, when Bohemia, the key to that river,
was in the hands of his opponents? These had it in their power to turn
his flank as far as the Saale, without hazard or any great impediment,
as the event actually proved. Napoleon was cooped up in a narrow space,
where in time, even without being defeated, he would have been in danger
of starving with his army. Dresden was to him, in some respects, what
Wilna had been in 1812. Leipzig, an open place, was now of far greater
importance to him than Minsk was then. How easily might he have lost it,
as the allies were advancing in considerable force upon that place! It
was not lost, to be sure; but the communication between Dresden and
Leipzig, and Leipzig and Erfurt, was, if not cut off, at least
interrupted; his supplies became more and more precarious, and a large
garrison, which it was deemed necessary to reinforce with strong
detachments from the main army, was locked up in Leipzig.

When in August Austria declared herself decidedly in favour of Russia
and Prussia, it was natural to expect that Napoleon would have totally
relinquished the useless defence of Saxony, and have adopted a new plan
of operations, in order to cover and preserve the other states of the
confederation of the Rhine. That he would infallibly be compelled to
evacuate Saxony, was evident from the slightest inspection of the map.
In this beautiful province he could expect no other glory than that of
plunging it, by his inflexible obstinacy, into the most abject misery.
The combined monarchs had nothing to fear for their own dominions; they
needed to do no more than to carry on for some time a mere war of
observation, and to recruit their forces. They might quietly await the
moment when Napoleon should leave Dresden, and, on his arrival, force
him to a general engagement in any situation which they should deem most
advantageous. Too late did Napoleon resolve upon retreat. He was obliged
to commence it in the midst of an immense quadrangle which the allies
formed about him, and to direct his course towards Leipzig. He could
not, however, yet determine to give up Dresden, but left there a
considerable army, thus weakening himself, and sacrificing it, as well
as the garrisons of the fortresses on the Elbe and Oder, to no purpose
whatever, in case he should lose a battle. At length, near Leipzig, he
was forced, into the arduous conflict. Since the latter half of August,
the talents which he had heretofore displayed for comprehensive and
profound combinations seemed to have totally deserted him. All his
measures and plans appeared imperfect, and betrayed a vacillation which
he had never yet manifested. He seems to have been as uncertain
respecting the strength of his antagonists as in regard to their grand
plan of deciding the fate of the campaign with a single blow.

In the battle of Leipzig we perceive none of that forethought which
characterizes his other engagements. The possibility of losing it seems
never to have entered into his calculations; otherwise he would scarcely
have endeavoured to prevail upon the king of Saxony to repair to Leipzig
to witness his defeat. In the most favourable event he had a right to
anticipate no other result than an unmolested retreat: the allies
however, were producing a very different one from what he expected. Of
this he might have convinced himself so early as the 16th, when he
encountered the strongest resistance at all points which he had probably
deemed the weakest. From that day all his measures were calculated only
for the moment. He boasted of victory when the battle was scarcely
begun. He every where strove to check the impetuous advance of his foes
at the expense of those means which were so necessary for his own
retreat. It could not be difficult for Napoleon to foresee, on the 16th,
that, in case he should be defeated, he had no other route left than to
retreat westward, in the direction of Lützen and Merseburg. He
nevertheless caused all the bridges over the numerous muddy streams on
that side to be destroyed, instead of diligently providing temporary
ones in addition. He was acquainted with the situation of the city,
through the centre of which he would be obliged to pass. He knew the
position of his army, which might, indeed, enter it by three spacious
roads, from north, east, and south; but had only one outlet, and this
the very narrowest of all, for itself and its train, many miles in
length. Let the reader figure to himself a routed army, and that a
French army, in which all order is so easily lost, converging in three
columns to one common centre. The passage at the outermost gate towards
Lützen is so narrow as to admit only one single waggon at a time. When
we consider that at the Kuhthurm again the road is but just wide enough
for one carriage; that, on the west side of the city, the Elster, the
Pleisse, and their different branches, intersect with their thousand
meanders the marshy plains covered with wood, which are scarcely
passable for the pedestrian; when we farther consider the incessant
stoppages of the whole train at every little obstacle, and figure to
ourselves all the three columns united in a road, the two principal
passes of which are scarcely 30 feet in breadth; we shall rather be
astonished that the whole French army was not annihilated than surprised
at the prodigious quantity of waggons and artillery which it was obliged
to abandon. Even in the night between the 18th and 19th, when Napoleon
must have been perfectly aware of his situation, there would still have
been time to throw bridges across the different streams, so that the
army might have marched in five or six columns to Lindenau, and been
again collected at this place, from which several convenient roads
branch off. Such dispositions as circumstances required might then have
been made, and the retreat might have been effected with inconsiderable
loss. Such a precaution was the more necessary, as he could not be
ignorant that Blücher's troops had already gained a march upon him, and
was waiting for him at the Saale. Thus the want of a few paltry wooden
bridges proved as ruinous to the French army as the battle itself. It
lost, solely because it was unprovided with them, great part of its yet
remaining artillery, several thousands of dead, who were mostly drowned,
and a great number of prisoners. It was evident that such a retreat,
conducted without order and without plan, was likely to be attended with
the total destruction of the remnant of the army before it could reach
the Rhine. By the actions on the Unstrut and Saale, at Eisenach and
Hanau, this force was actually so reduced, that, on its arrival at the
Rhine, it must probably have entirely lost its military consequence. How
infinitely inferior is Napoleon in this branch of the military art to
the immortal Moreau, to whom he would have owed everlasting obligations,
had he, at his glorious death, bequeathed to him the transcendent art of
converting retreats into victories!

In regard to boldness, Napoleon certainly belongs to the generals of the
first rank. He has undertaken and executed the rashest enterprises. But,
if the true hero shines with the greatest lustre in misfortune, like
Hannibal and Frederic the Great, Napoleon must be classed far below
them. He abandoned his army in Russia when it had most need of his
assistance; and the reason assigned for this desertion--that
circumstances rendered his presence necessary in France--is by no means
satisfactory to the rigid inquirer. During the seven-years' war, the
more dangerous the situation of the Prussian army, the more Frederic
felt himself bound to continue with it, and to assist it with his
eminent military genius. The campaign of 1813 has clearly proved that
the secret of Napoleon's most decisive victories has consisted in the
art of assailing his opponents with a superior force. Napoleon would be
incapable of attacking with 30,000 men an army of 90,000, posted in an
advantageous position, and defeating it, as Frederic did at Leuthen.
Napoleon, like the Prussian monarch, attempted to penetrate into
Bohemia, a country so dangerous for an army; but what a wretched
business did he make of it, in comparison with the latter! Frederic
waged war that he might conquer peace; Napoleon never wished for peace,
often as he has made a show of desiring it. Frederic knew how to stop
his victorious career in time, for History had taught him that it is as
difficult to retain as to acquire glory. Napoleon imagined that his fame
was susceptible of increase alone, and lost it all in the fields of
Leipzig. The hardly-earned laurels of France faded along with it. With
what feelings must he direct his views beyond the Rhine, where the eyes
of so many thousands are now opened? He too has lived to witness days
which are far from agreeable to him. He, who represented it to the
countries which he forced into his alliance as a supreme felicity to
have their sons led forth to fight foreign battles, and to have many
thousands of them sacrificed every year upon the altar of his ambition,
now sees them all abandon him, and become his bitterest enemies. The
_Great Empire_ is now an idle dream. Already is he nearly confined
within that ancient France, which has lost through him the flower of her
population. Long has discontent lurked there in every bosom; long have
her people beheld with indignation their youth driven across the Rhine,
into foreign lands, where they were swept away by cold, famine, and the
sword, so that few of them revisited their paternal homes. Will the
nation again be ready to bathe foreign plains with the blood of half a
million of fresh victims? Scarcely can it be so infatuated. The French
too are now roused from their torpor: like the Germans, they will
confine their exertions to the defence of their own frontiers against
those mighty armies of Europe, which, crowned with laurels, wield the
sword in one hand, and bear the olive of peace in the other.


The following letter, which cannot but be considered as most honourable
to the writer, contains so many minute, but, at the same time, highly
characteristic traits, that it cannot fail to prove extremely
interesting to every reader. No other apology is necessary for its
introduction here by way of Supplement.

_Leipzig, Nov. 3, 1813._


You here see how ready I am to gratify your desire of knowing every
thing that passed in my neighbourhood and that befell myself in the
eventful days of October. I proceed to the point without farther

Ever since the arrival of marshal Marmont I have constantly resided at
the beautiful country-house of my employer at R***, where I imagined
that I might be of some service during the impending events. The general
of brigade Chamois, an honest man, but a severe officer, was at first
quartered there.

On the 14th of October every body expected a general engagement near
Leipzig. On that day several French corps had arrived in the
neighbourhood. The near thunders of the artillery, which began to roll,
and the repeated assurances of the French officers that the anniversary
of the battles of Ulm and Jena would not be suffered to pass
uncelebrated, seemed to confirm this expectation. The king of Saxony
entered by the palisadoed gates of the outer city, and Napoleon also
soon arrived. The latter came from Düben, and took possession of a
bivouac in the open field, not far from the gallows, close to a great
watch-fire. I was one of those who hastened to the spot, to obtain a
sight of the extraordinary man, little suspecting that a still greater
honour awaited me, namely, that of sleeping under the same roof, nay,
even of being admitted to a personal interview of some length with him.
The state of things at my country-house did not permit me to be long
absent. I hastened back, therefore, with all possible expedition. I
arrived nearly at the same moment with a French _marechal de logis du
palais_, to whom I was obliged to shew every apartment in the house, and
who, to my no small dismay, announced "that the emperor would probably
lodge there that night." The man, having despatched his errand in great
haste, immediately departed. I communicated the unexpected intelligence
to the aid-de-camp of general Pajol, but expressly observed that I had
great doubts about it, as the _marechal de logis_ himself had not spoken
positively. The aid-de-camp appeared very uneasy; and, though I strove
to convince him that it must be some time before our distinguished guest
could arrive, he immediately packed up, and, notwithstanding all my
earnest endeavours to detain him, he was gone with his servant in a few
minutes. Seldom have I witnessed such an extraordinary degree of
anxiety as this man shewed while preparing for his departure.

The _marechal de logis_ soon returned, and again inspected all the
apartments, and even the smallest closets, more minutely than before. He
announced that _sa majesté_ would certainly take up his head-quarters
here, and asked for a piece of chalk, to mark each room with the names
of the distinguished personages by whom they were to be occupied. When
he had shewn me the apartment destined for the emperor, he desired that
a fire might be immediately lighted in it, as his majesty was very fond
of warmth. The bustle soon began; the guards appeared, and occupied the
house and all the avenues. Many officers of rank, with numerous
attendants, arrived; and six of the emperor's cooks were soon busily
engaged in the kitchen. Thus I was soon surrounded on all sides with
imperial splendour, and might consider myself for the moment as its
centre. I might possibly have felt no small degree of vanity on the
occasion, had I not been every instant reminded that the part which I
should have to act would be that of obedience alone. I heard the beating
of drums at a distance, which, as I presently learned, announced that I
was shortly to descend into a very subordinate station. It proclaimed
the arrival of the emperor, who came on horseback in a grey surtout.
Behind him rode the duke of Vicenza (Caulincourt), who, since the death
of marshal Duroc, has succeeded to his office. When they had come up to
the house, the master of the horse sprung from his steed with a
lightness and agility which I should not have expected in such a
raw-boned, stiff-looking gentleman, and immediately held that of the

His majesty had scarcely reached his apartments when I was hastily
sought and called for. You may easily conceive my astonishment and
perturbation when I was told that the emperor desired to speak with me
immediately. Now, in such a state of things, I had not once thought for
several days of putting on my Sunday clothes; but, to say nothing of
this, my mind was still less prepared for an interview with a hero, the
mere sight of whom was enough to bow me down to the very ground. In this
emergency courage alone could be of any service, and I rallied my
spirits as well as the short notice would permit. I had done nothing
amiss--at least that I knew of--and had performed my duty as _maître
d'hotel_ to the best of my ability. After a general had taken charge of
me, I mustered my whole stock of rhetorical flourishes, best calculated
to win the favour of a mighty emperor. The general conducted me through
a crowd of aid-de-camps and officers of all ranks. They took but little
notice of such an insignificant being, and indeed scarcely deigned to
bestow a look upon me. My conductor opened the door, and I entered with
a heart throbbing violently. The emperor had pulled off his surtout, and
had nobody with him. On the long table was spread a map of prodigious
size. Rustan, the Mameluke, who has so long been falsely reported to be
dead, was, as I afterwards learned, in the next room.--My presence of
mind was all gone again when I came to be introduced to the emperor, and
he must certainly have perceived by my looks that I was not a little
confused. I was just going to begin the harangue which I had studied
with such pains, and to stammer out something or other about the high
and unexpected felicity of being presented to the most powerful, the
most celebrated, and the most sincerely beloved monarch in the world,
when he relieved me at once from my dilemma. He addressed me in French,
speaking very quick, but distinctly, to the following effect:--

_Nap._ Are you the master of this house?

_I._ No, please your majesty, only a servant.

_N._ Where is the owner?

_I._ He is in the city. He is advanced in years; and under the present
circumstances has quitted his house leaving me to take care of it as
well as I can.

_N._ What is your master?

_I._ He is in business, sire.

_N._ In what line?

_I._ He is a banker.

_N._ (_Laughing._) Oho! then he is worth a plum, (_un millionaire_,) I

_I._ Begging your majesty's pardon, indeed he is not.

_N._ Well then, perhaps he may be worth two?

_I._ Would to God I could answer your majesty in the affirmative.

_N._ You lend money, I presume?

_I._ Formerly we did, sire; but now we are glad to borrow.

_N._ Yes, yes, I dare say you do a little in that way yet. What interest
do you charge?

_I._ We used to charge from 4 to 5 per cent.; now we would willingly
give from 8 to 10.

_N._ To whom were you used to lend money?

_I._ To inferior tradesmen and manufacturers.

_N._ You discount bills too, I suppose?

_I._ Formerly, sire, we did; now we can neither discount nor get any

_N._ How is business with you?

_I._ At present, your majesty, there is none doing

_N._ How so?

_I._ Because all trade is totally at a stand.

_N._ But have you not your fair just now?

_I._ Yes, but it is so only in name.

_N._ Why?

_I._ As all communication has for a considerable time been suspended,
and the roads are unsafe for goods, neither sellers nor buyers will run
the risk of coming; and, besides, the greatest scarcity of money
prevails in this country.

_N._ (_Taking much snuff_) So, so! What is the name of your employer?

I mentioned his name.

_N._ Is he married?

_I._ Yes, sire.

_N._ Has he any children.

_I._ He has, and they are married too.

_N._ In what capacity are you employed by him?

_I._ As a clerk.

_N._ Then you have a cashier too, I suppose?

_I._ Yes, sire, at your service.

_N._ What wages do you receive?

I mentioned a sum that I thought fit.

He now motioned with his hand, and I retired with a low bow. During the
whole conversation the emperor was in very good humour, laughed
frequently, and took a great deal of snuff. After the interview, on
coming out of the room, I appeared a totally different and highly
important person to all those who a quarter of an hour before had not
deigned to take the slightest notice of me. Both officers and domestics
now shewed me the greatest respect. The emperor lodged in the first
floor; his favourite Mameluke, an uncommonly handsome man, was
constantly about his person. The second floor was occupied by the
prince of Neufchatel, who had a very sickly appearance, and the duke of
Bassano, the emperor's secretary. On the ground floor a front room was
converted into a _sallon au service_. Here were marshals Oudinot,
Mortier, Ney, Reynier, with a great number of generals, aid-de-camps,
and other officers in waiting, who lay at night upon straw, crowded as
close as herrings in a barrel. In the left wing lodged the duke of
Vicenza, master of the horse; and above him the physician to the
emperor, whose name, I think, was M. Yvan. The right wing was occupied
by the _officiers du palais_. The smallest room was turned into the
bed-chamber of a general; and every corner was so filled, that the
servants and other attendants were obliged to sleep on the kitchen
floor. Upon my remonstrance to the valet of the _marechal du palais_ I
was allowed to keep a small apartment for my own use, and thought to
guard myself against unwelcome intruders by inscribing with chalk my
high rank--_maitre de la maison_--in large letters upon the door. At
first the new-comers passed respectfully before my little cell, and
durst scarcely venture to peep in at the door; but it was not long
before French curiosity overleaped this written barrier. For sometime
this place served my people and several neighbours in the village as a
protecting asylum at night.

The keys of the hay-loft and barns I was commanded to deliver to the
emperor's _piqueur_.--I earnestly entreated him to be as sparing of our
stores as possible, supporting this request with a bottle of
wine,--which, under the present circumstance, was no contemptible
present. He knew how to appreciate it, and immediately gave me a proof
of his gratitude. He took me aside, and whispered in my ear, "As long
as the emperor is here you are safe; but the moment he is gone--and
nobody can tell how soon that may be--you will be completely stripped by
the guards; the officers themselves will then shew no mercy. You had
best endeavour to obtain a safeguard, for which you must apply to the
duke of Vicenza."

This advice was not thrown away upon me: I immediately begged to speak
with the _grand ecuyer_. I explained my business as delicately as
possible, and be with great good humour promised to comply with my
request. Determined to strike while the iron was hot, I soon, afterwards
repeated my application in writing.

After the emperor's arrival there was no such thing as a moment's rest
for me. Gladly would I have exchanged my high function, which placed me
upon an equal footing with the first officers of the French court, for a
night's tranquil slumber. _M. maitre de la maison_ was every moment
called for. As for shaving, changing linen, brushing clothes--that was
quite out of the question. His guests had remarked his good will, and
they imagined that his ability was capable of keeping pace with it.
Luckily it never came into my head, whilst invested with my high
dignity, to look into a glass, otherwise I should certainly not have
known myself again, and Diogenes would have appeared a beau in
comparison. As to danger of life, or personal ill-treatment, I was under
no apprehension; for who would have presumed to lay hands on so
important a personage, who was every moment wanted, and whose place it
would have been absolutely impossible to supply?--I was much less
concerned about all this than about the means of saving the property of
my employer, as far as lay in my power. The danger of having every thing
destroyed was very great.

The French guards had kindled a large fire at a small distance from the
house. The wind, being high, drove not only sparks but great flakes of
fire towards it. The whole court-yard was covered with straw, which was
liable every moment to set us all in flames. I represented this
circumstance to an officer of high rank, and observed that the emperor
himself would be exposed to very great risk; on which he ordered a
grenadier belonging to the guards to go and direct it to be put out
immediately. This man, an excessively grim fellow, refused without
ceremony to carry the order. "They are my comrades," said he: "it is
cold--they must have a fire, and dare not go too far off--I cannot
desire them to put it out."--What was to be done? I bethought myself of
the duke of Vicenza, and applied directly to him. My representations
produced the desired effect. He gave orders, and in a quarter of an hour
the fire was out. I was equally fortunate in saving a building situated
near the house. It had been but lately constructed and fitted up. The
young guard were on the point of pulling it down, with the intention of
carrying the wood to their bivouacs. Their design was instantly
prevented, and one single piece of timber only was destroyed. A guard
was sent to the place, to defend it from all farther attacks. It had
been burned down only last summer, through the carelessness of some
French dragoons.

Late at night the king of Naples came with his retinue from Stötteritz.
He was attended by a black Othello, who seems to serve him in the same
capacity as Rustan does his brother-in-law Napoleon.

By day-break the emperor started with all his retinue, and took the road
to Wolkwitz. The king of Naples had already set out for the same place.
All was quiet during the day, and towards night the emperor returned.
Several French officers had asserted, the preceding night, that a
general engagement would certainly take place on the 15th. How
imperfectly they were acquainted with the state of things, I could
perceive from many of their expressions. In their opinion the armies of
the allies were already as good as annihilated. By the emperor's
masterly manœuvres, the Russians and Swedes--the latter, by the bye, had
not yet come up--were according to them completely cut off from the
Austrians. A _courier de l'empereur_ was honest enough to tell me
plumply that they had done nothing all day but look at one another, but
that there would be so much the warmer work on the morrow.

Very early indeed on the morning of the 16th, I remarked preparations
for the final departure of the emperor. The _maitre d'hôtel_ desired a
bill of the provisions furnished him. I had already made out one, but
that would not do. It was necessary that the articles should be arranged
under particular heads, and a distinct account of each given in. I ran
short of time, patience, and paper. All excuses were unavailing, and
there was no time to be lost. I readily perceived that all the elegance
required in a merchant's counting-house would not be expected here, and
accordingly dispensed with many little formalities. I wrote upon the
first paper that came to hand, and my bills were the most miserable
scraps that ever were seen. The amount was immediately paid. Finding
that the _maitre d'hôtel_ had not the least notion that it would be but
reasonable to make some remuneration to the servants, who had been so
assiduous in their attendance, I was uncivil enough to remind him of it.
He then desired me to give him a receipt for 200 francs, which I
immediately divided among the domestics; though he remarked that I ought
to give each but three or four, at most. I also made out a distinct
account for the forage, but this was not paid.

At length arrived the long wished-for _sauvegarde_. It consisted of
three _gens d'armes d'elite_, who had a written order from the baron de
Lennep, _ecuyer_ to the emperor, by virtue of which they were to defend
my house and property from all depredations. I immediately took a copy
of this important protection, and nailed it upon the door. The house was
gradually evacuated; I was soon left alone with my guards, and sincerely
rejoiced that Heaven had sent me such honest fellows. It was impossible,
indeed, to be quite easy; the thunders of the cannon rolled more and
more awfully, and I had frequent visits from soldiers. My brave _gens
d'armes_, however, drove them all away, and I never applied in vain when
I besought them to assist a neighbour in distress. I shewed my gratitude
as far as lay in my power, and at least took care that they wanted for

One of these three men went into the city, and returned in haste,
bringing the news of a great victory. "_Vive l'empereur!_" cried he;
"_la bataille est gagnée._" When I inquired the particulars, he related,
in the most confident manner, that an Austrian prince had been taken,
with 30,000 men, and that they were already singing _Te Deum_ in the
city. This story seemed extremely improbable to me, as the cannonade was
at that moment rather approaching than receding from us. I expressed my
doubts of the fact, and told him that the battle could not possibly be
yet decided. The man, however, would not give up the point, but insisted
that the intelligence was official. When I asked him if he had seen the
captive prince and the 30,000 Austrians, as they must certainly have
been brought into the city, he frankly replied that he had not. Several
persons from the town had seen no more of them than he, so that I could
give a shrewd guess what degree of credit was due to the story.

In the afternoon of the 17th marshal Ney suddenly appeared at the door
with a numerous retinue, and without ceremony took up his quarters in
the house. I saw nothing of the emperor all that day, nor did any
circumstance worthy of notice occur. On the 18th, at three in the
morning, Napoleon came quite unexpectedly in a carriage. He went
immediately to marshal Ney, with whom he remained in conversation about
an hour. He then hastened away again, and was soon followed by the
marshal, whose servants staid behind. His post must have been a very
warm one; for before noon he sent for two fresh horses, and a third was
fetched in the afternoon. The cannonade grow more violent, and gradually
approached nearer. I became more and more convinced that the pompous
story of the victory the day before was a mere gasconade. So early as
twelve o'clock things seemed to be taking a very disastrous turn for the
French. About this time they began to fall back very fast upon the city.
Shouts of _Vice l'empereur!_ suddenly resounded from thousands of
voices, and at this cry I saw the weary soldiers turn about and advance.
Appearances nevertheless became still more alarming. The balls from the
cannon of the allies already fell very near us. One of them indeed was
rude enough to kill a cow scarcely five paces from me, and to wound a

The French all this time could talk of nothing but victories, with which
Fortune had, most unfortunately, rendered them but too familiar. One
messenger of victory followed upon the heels of another. "General
Thielemann," cried an aid-de-camp, "has just been taken, with 6000 men;
and the emperor ordered him to be instantly shot on the field of
battle."--The most violent abuse was poured forth upon the Saxons, and I
now learned that great part of them had gone over to the allies in the
midst of the engagement. Heartily as I rejoiced at the circumstance, I
nevertheless joined the French officers in their execrations. The
concourse kept increasing; the wounded arrived in troops. Towards
evening every thing attested that the French were very closely pressed.
A servant came at full gallop to inform us that marshal Ney might
shortly be expected, and that he was wounded. The whole house was
instantly in an uproar. _Mon Dieu, mon Dieu!_--cried one to another--_le
prince est blessé--quel malheur!_ Soon after the marshal himself
arrived; he was on foot, and supported by an aid-de-camp. Vinegar was
hastily called for. The marshal had been wounded in the arm by a
cannon-ball, and the pain was so acute that he could not bear the motion
of riding.

The houses in the village were every where plundered, and the
inhabitants kept coming in to solicit assistance. I represented their
distress to an aid-de-camp, who only shrugged his shoulders, and gave
the miserable consolation that it was now impossible for him to put a
stop to the evil.

At length, early on the 19th, we appeared likely to get rid in good
earnest of the monster by which we had been so dreadfully tormented.
All the French hurried in disorder to the city, and our _sauvegarde_
also made preparations to depart. Already did I again behold in
imagination the pikes of the Cossacks. All the subsequent events
followed in rapid succession. My _gens d'armes_ were scarcely gone when
a very brisk fire of sharp-shooters commenced in our neighbourhood. In a
few moments Pomeranian infantry poured from behind through the garden
into the house. They immediately proceeded, without stopping, to the
city. It was only for a few minutes that I could observe with a glass
the confused retreat of the French. Joy at the long wished-for arrival
of our countrymen and deliverers soon called me away. The galling yoke
was now shaken off, probably for ever. I bade a hearty welcome to the
brave soldiers; and, as I saw several wounded brought in, I hastened to
afford them all the assistance in my power. I may ascribe to my
unwearied assiduity the preservation of the life of lieutenant M**, a
Swedish officer, who was dangerously wounded; and by means of it I had
likewise the satisfaction to save the arm of the Prussian captain Von
B***, which, but for that, would certainly have required amputation. On
the other hand, all my exertions in behalf of the Swedish major Von
Döbeln proved unavailing; I had the mortification to see him expire.

I was incessantly engaged with my wounded patients, while more numerous
bodies of troops continued to hasten towards the town. We now thought
ourselves fortunate in being already in the rear of the victorious army;
but the universal cry was, 'What will become of poor Leipzig?' which was
at this moment most furiously assaulted. Various officers of
distinction kept dropping in. The Swedish adjutant-general Güldenskiöld
arrived with the captive general Reynier, who alighted and took up his
abode in the apartment in which the emperor had lodged. He was followed
by the Prussian colonel Von Zastrow, a most amiable man, and soon after
the Prussian general Von Bülow arrived with his suite.

Our stock of provisions was almost entirely consumed, and you may
conceive my vexation at being unable, with the best will in the world,
to treat our ardently wished-for guests in a suitable manner. I had long
been obliged to endure hunger myself, and to take it as an especial
favour if the French cooks and valets had the generosity to allow me a
small portion, of the victuals with which they were supplied.

At the very moment when marshal Ney arrived, a fire had broken out in
the neighbourhood, through the carelessness of the French. I hastened to
the spot, to render assistance, if possible. It was particularly
fortunate, considering the violence of the wind, and the want of means
to extinguish the flames, that only two houses were destroyed. The
fire-engines and utensils provided for such purposes had been carried
off for fuel to the bivouacs. Such of the inhabitants of the village as
had not run away, just now kept close in their houses, not daring to
venture abroad. A number of unfeeling Frenchmen stood about gazing at
the fire, without moving a finger towards extinguishing it. I called out
to them to lend a hand to check the progress of the conflagration. A
scornful burst of laughter was the only reply: the scoundrels would not
stir, and absolutely could not contain their joy whenever the flames
burned more furiously than usual. At the same time I witnessed
proceedings, of which the wildest savage would not have been guilty. I
saw these same wretches, who, a few days afterwards, voraciously
devoured before my face the flesh of dead horses, and even human
carcasses, wantonly trample bread, already so great a rarity, like brute
beasts in the dirt.

For six or eight nights I had not been able to get a moment's sleep or
rest, so that at last I reeled about like one drunk or stupid. The only
wonder is that my health was not impaired by these super-human
exertions. My dress and general appearance were frightful. When the
wounded Swedish officer was brought in, he of course wanted a change of
linen. Not a shirt was to be procured any where, and I cheerfully gave
him that which I had on my back; so that I was obliged to go without one
myself for near three days. Several times during the stay of the French
I had assisted in extinguishing fires: even the presence of marshal Ney
was not sufficient to make the French in our houses at all careful in
the use of fire. Those thoughtless fellows took the first combustible
that fell into their hands, and lighted themselves about with it in
every corner. They ran with burning wisps of straw among large piles of
trusses, and this was often done in the house where the marshal lay,
without its being possible to prevent the practice. A French
aid-de-camp, in my presence, took fifty segars out of my bureau, just at
the moment when I was too busy to hinder him. Whether he likewise helped
himself to some fine cravats which lay near them, and which I afterwards
missed, I will not pretend to say.

I have suffered a little, you see; but yet I have fortunately escaped
the thousands of dangers in which I was incessantly involved. Never
while I live shall I forget those days. That same divine Providence
which was so manifestly displayed in that arduous conflict, and which
crowned the efforts of the powers allied in a sacred cause with so
glorious and so signal a victory, evidently extended its care to me.
After the battle of Jena, in 1806, Napoleon declared in our city that
Leipzig was the most dangerous of his enemies. Little did he imagine
that it would once prove so in a very different sense from that which he
attached to those words. Here the arm of the Most High arrested his
victorious career, of which no mortal eye could have foreseen the
termination. I would not exchange the glory--which I may justly
assume--the glory of having saved the property of my worthy employer, as
far as lay in my power, during those tremendous days of havoc and
devastation, for the laurel wreath with which French adulation attempts
most unseasonably to entwine the brow of the imperial commander, on
account of the battle of Leipzig.


That Napoleon was not quite so much master of himself, during the
retreat through Leipzig, as might have been supposed from his
countenance, may be inferred from various circumstances. While riding
slowly through Peter's gate he was bathed in sweat, and pursued his way
towards the very quarter by which the enemy was advancing. It was not
till he had gone a considerable distance that he bethought himself, and
immediately turned about. He inquired if there was any cross-road to
Borna and Altenburg; and, being answered in the negative, he took the
way to the Ranstädt gate.

       *       *       *       *       *

None of the French officers or soldiers could be brought to admit that
they had sustained any material loss from the Russian arms in 1812; they
maintained, on the contrary, that famine and cold alone had destroyed
their legions, and that it was impossible for a French army to be
beaten. What excuse will they now have to make, when they return,
without baggage and artillery, to their countrymen beyond the Rhine?

       *       *       *       *       *

That the French prophesied nothing good of their retreat the evening
before it commenced, is evinced by the circumstance of their having
broken up a great number of gun-carriages, and buried the cannon, or
thrown them into marshes or ponds. These yet continue to be daily
discovered, and that in places contiguous to houses which are fully
inhabited. It is rather singular that they were not observed while
engaged in this business, which must certainly have been performed with
uncommon silence and expedition.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Russian officer, to whom complaints were made respecting same
irregularities committed by the Cossacks in the villages, expressed
himself in the following manner in regard to those troops:--"The
officers would gladly put a stop to such proceedings, which are strictly
prohibited, and severely punished;--but how is it possible for them to
have these men continually under their eye? The nature of the warfare in
which they are engaged, which obliges them to be constantly making
extensive excursions, prevents this. We are often under the necessity of
leaving them for several days together to themselves, that they may
explore every wood, every corner, and fatigue and harass the enemy. In
services on which no other kind of troops can be employed, they are
frequently obliged to struggle alone for several days through every
species of hardship and danger; and then, indeed, it is no wonder if
they occasionally indulge themselves. On account of the important
service which they render to the army, we cannot possibly dispense with
them. The incessant vigilance of the Cossacks, who are every where at
once, renders it extremely difficult for the enemy to reconnoitre, and
scarcely possible for him to surprise us; and so much the more
frequently are we enabled by them to take him at unawares. In a word,
the Cossacks are the eye of the army;--and it is a pity only that it
sometimes sees too clearly where it needs not see at all."

*** _After the preceding Sheets were put to Press, the following
important Documents were received by the Publisher._


Addressed by the City of LEIPZIG to the independent and benevolent


In Behalf of the Inhabitants of the adjacent Villages and Hamlets,
who have been reduced to extreme Distress by the Military
Operations in October, 1813.

The prosperity of Leipzig depends upon commerce, as that of commerce
depends upon liberty. Till 1806 it was a flourishing city. With England
in particular, whose manufactures and colonial produce were allowed to
be freely imported, its commercial relations were of the highest
importance. For the opulence which Leipzig then enjoyed it was indebted
to its extensive traffic, which contributed to the prosperity of Saxony
in general; but it was more particularly the numerous adjacent villages
and hamlets that owed to our city their respectability, their
improvements, and the easy circumstances of their inhabitants.

The well-known events in October, 1806, rendered Saxony--the then happy
Saxony--dependent on the will of Napoleon. Commerce, and the liberty of
trade, were annihilated as by magic. A new code was enforced, and
Leipzig was severely punished for the traffic which it had heretofore
carried on with England and which had been encouraged by its sovereign,
as for a heinous crime. Since that catastrophe Saxony had suffered
severely, its prosperity had greatly declined, and our city in
particular had, in addition to the general burdens, the most grievous
oppressions of every kind to endure. How often did Leipzig resemble a
military parade or hospital rather than a commercial city! How many
pledges of our affection were snatched from us by the contagious fever
spread among us by means of the hospitals!--But with the spring of the
present year, with the season which usually fills every tender heart
with delight, commenced the most melancholy epoch for our country, as it
became the theatre of a war which laid it waste without mercy, and of
the most sanguinary engagements. After all the hardships which it had
suffered, a lot still more severe awaited Leipzig and its vicinity.

From the commencement of October last the French troops here kept daily
increasing, as did also their sick and wounded in a most alarming
manner. On the 14th Napoleon arrived with his army in our neighbourhood,
and the different corps of the allied powers advanced on all sides. On
the 15th commenced all round us a great, a holy conflict, for the
liberation and independence of Germany, for the peace of Europe, for the
repose of the world--a conflict which, after an engagement of three
days, that can scarcely be paralleled in history for obstinacy and
duration, and at last extended to our city itself, terminated on the
19th of October, through the superior talents of the generals and the
valour of their troops, which vanquished all the resistance of despair,
in the most complete and glorious victory. The French still defended
themselves in our unfortified town, and would have devoted it to
destruction; the allies made themselves masters of it by assault at one
o'clock, and spared it. They were received with the loudest acclamations
by the inhabitants, whose joy was heightened into transport when they
beheld their illustrious deliverers, the two emperors, the king of
Prussia, and the crown-prince of Sweden, enter the place in triumph.
During this engagement the Saxon troops went over to the banners of the

This eventful victory justifies the hope of a speedy peace, founded upon
the renewed political system of the balance of power,--an honourable,
safe, permanent, and general peace, for which, with all its attendant
blessings, Europe will be indebted, under divine Providence, to the
invincible perseverance of England in the contest with France, to the
combined energies of the south and the north, and to the exertions of
the allied powers, and of the truly patriotic Germans by whom they were

The battle of Leipzig will be ever memorable in the annals of History. A
severe lot has hitherto befallen our city. To the burdens and
requisitions of every kind, by which it was overwhelmed, were added the
suspension of trade, and the injury sustained by the entire suppression
this year of our two principal fairs. Our resources are exhausted, and
we have yet here a prodigious number of sick and wounded;--upwards of
30,000 in more than 40 military hospitals, with our own poor and the
troops yet stationed here for our protection, to be provided for;
besides which numberless just claims for the good cause yet remain to be
satisfied. But from misfortune itself we will derive new strength and
new courage, and our now unfettered commerce affords us the prospect of
a happier futurity. We have lost much; but those days when we ourselves
knew the want of provisions, and even of bread--those days of horror,
danger, and consternation--are past; we yet live, and our city has been
preserved through the favour of Heaven and the generosity of the

One subject of affliction lies heavy upon our hearts. Our prosperous
days afforded us the felicity of being able to perform in its full
extent the duty of beneficence towards the necessitous. We have before
our eyes many thousands of the inhabitants of the adjacent villages and
hamlets, landed proprietors, farmers, ecclesiastics, schoolmasters,
artisans of every description, who, some weeks since, were in
circumstances more or less easy, and at least knew no want; but now,
without a home, and stripped of their all, are with their families
perishing of hunger.

Their fields have gained everlasting celebrity, for there the most
signal of victories was won for the good cause; but these fields, so
lately a paradise, are now, to the distance of from ten to twelve miles,
transformed into a desert. What the industry of many years had acquired
was annihilated in a few hours. All around is one wide waste. The
numerous villages and hamlets are almost all entirely or partially
reduced to ashes; the yet remaining buildings are perforated with balls,
in a most ruinous condition, and plundered of every thing; the barns,
cellars, and lofts, are despoiled, and stores of every kind carried off;
the implements of farming and domestic economy, for brewing and
distilling--in a word, for every purpose--the gardens, plantations, and
fruit-trees--are destroyed; the fuel collected for the winter, the
gates, the doors, the floors, the wood-work of every description, were
consumed in the watch-fires; the horses were taken away, together with
all the other cattle; and many families are deploring the loss of
beloved relatives, or are doomed to behold them afflicted with sickness
and destitute of relief.

The miserable condition of these deplorable victims to the thirst of
conquest, the distress which meets our view whenever we cross our
thresholds, no language is capable of describing. The horrid spectacle
wounds us to the very soul.

But all these unfortunate creatures look up to Leipzig, formerly the
source of their prosperity;--their eloquent looks supplicate our aid;
and the pang that wrings our bosoms arises from this consideration, that
neither the exhausted means of Leipzig nor those of our ruined country
are adequate to afford them that relief and support which may enable
them to rebuild their habitations, and to return to the exercise of
their respective trades and professions.

All the countries of our continent have been more or less drained by
this destructive war. Whither then are these poor people, who have such
need of assistance--whither are they to look for relief? Whither but to
the sea-girt Albion, whose wooden walls defy every hostile attack,--who
has, uninjured, maintained the glorious conflict with France, both by
water and by land? Ye free, ye beneficent, ye happy Britons, whose
generosity is attested by every page of the annals of suffering
Humanity--whose soil bus been trodden by no hostile foot--who know not
the feelings of the wretch that beholds a foreign master revelling in
his habitation,--of you the city of Leipzig implores relief for the
inhabitants of the circumjacent villages and hamlets, ruined by the
military events in the past month of October. We therefore entreat our
patrons and friends in England to open a subscription in their behalf.
The boon of Charity shall be punctually acknowledged in the public
papers, and conscientiously distributed, agreeably to the object for
which it was designed, by a committee appointed for the purpose. Those
who partake of it will bless their benefactors, and their grateful
prayers for them will ascend to Heaven.

  (Signed) FREGE AND CO.

  _Leipzig, Nov. 1, 1813._

       *       *       *       *       *

  _We, the Burgomaster and Council of the city of Leipzig, hereby
  attest the truth of the deplorable state of our city, and of the
  villages around it, as faithfully and pathetically described in a
  Memorial dated November 1st, and addressed to the British nation
  by some of our most reputable and highly-respected
  fellow-citizens, namely, the bankers Messrs. Frege and Co. Messrs.
  Küstner and Co. Messrs. Reichenbach and Co.; and recommend it to
  the generosity which has, in all ages, marked the character of the
  British nation. We have formally authenticated this attestation,
  by affixing to it the seal of our city, and our usual signature._

  Acting Burgomaster.

  _Leipzig, Nov. 18, 1813._

Printed by W. Clowes, Northumberland-Court, Strand, London.



About eight years ago the calamities, occasioned by the war in different
provinces of Germany, gave rise to a Subscription and the formation of a
Committee in London, to relieve the distresses on the Continent. By the
generosity of the British Public, and with the aid of several
respectable Foreigners resident in this country, the sum of nearly
50,000_l._ was remitted to the Continent, which rescued multitudes of
individuals and families from the extremity of distress, and the very
brink of ruin. The Committee received, both from Germany and Sweden, the
most satisfactory documents, testifying that the various sums
transmitted had been received and conscientiously distributed; but at no
period since the existence of this Committee has the mass of every kind
of misery been so great, in the country to which their attention was
first directed. Never has the cry of the distressed Germans for help
been so urgent, their appeal to British benevolence so pressing, as at
the present moment. Who could read the reports of the dreadful conflicts
which have taken place in Germany, during the last eventful year; of the
many sanguinary battles fought in Silesia, Lusatia, Bohemia, Saxony,
Brandenburg, and other parts; and peruse the melancholy details of
sufferings, almost unexampled in the annals of history, without the most
lively emotions? Who could hear of so many thousands of families
barbarously driven from Hamburg, in the midst of a severe winter; of so
many villages burnt, cities pillaged, whole principalities desolated,
and not glow with ardent desire to assist in relieving distress so
multifarious and extensive? _To the alleviation of sufferings so
dreadful; to the rescue of our fellow-men, who are literally ready to
perish: the views of the Committee are exclusively directed._ Many
well-authenticated afflicting details of the present distress having
been, on the 14th Jan. 1814, laid before the Committee, it was
immediately resolved, in reliance on the liberality of the British
public, to remit, by that post, the sum of _Three Thousand Five Hundred
Pounds_, to respectable Persons, with directions to form Committees of
Distribution at the several places following:--

 1. To Leipsic and its vicinity,                               £500
 2. To Dresden and its vicinity,                                500
 3. To Bautzen and its vicinity,                                500
 4. To Silesia; on the borders of which, seventy-two
       villages were almost entirely destroyed,                 500
 5. To Lauenburg, Luneburg, and the vicinity of Harburg
       in Hanover,                                              500
 6. To the many thousands who have been forced from their
       habitations in Hamburg,                                 1000

At subsequent Meetings the following sums were voted:--

 7. _Jan. 18_, To Erfurt, Naumburg, and their vicinity,        £500
 8. _Jan. 23_, To Hamburg and its vicinity,                    1000
 9. To Berlin, its vicinity, and hospitals,                    1000
10. To Leipsic and its vicinity,                               1000
11. To Silesia and Lusatia,                                    1000
12. For several hundred Children, turned out of the
      Foundling Hospital at Hamburg,                            300
13. _Jan. 31_, To Wittemberg and its vicinity,                  500
14. To Halle and its vicinity,                                  500
15. To Dresden and its vicinity,                                500
16. To the towns, villages, and hamlets, between
      Leipsic and Dresden,                                     1000
17. _Feb 1_, To Hanover and its vicinity,                       500
18. To Stettin and its vicinity,                                500
19. _Feb 3_, To Stargard, its hospitals, and vicinity,          300
20. _Feb 10_, To Liegnitz, Neusaltz, Jauer, Buntzlau,
      and the 72 villages, which are almost entirely
      destroyed,                                               2000
21. To Bautzen, with the recommendation of Bischoffswerda,
      Zittau, Lauban, Loban, and vicinity,                      600
22. To Culm and neighbourhood,                                  500
23. To Dresden and vicinity,                                    500
24. To Pirna, Freiberg, and vicinity,                           500
25. To Lützen and vicinity,                                     300
26. For the unfortunate Peasantry in the vicinity Leipzig,     1000
27. To Torgau,                                                  500
28. To Naumburg and vicinity,                                   500
29. To Weissenfels and vicinity,                                500
30. To Erfurt and Eisenach,                                     500
31. To Dessau and vicinity,                                     500
32. To Fulda, Hanau, and vicinity,                             1000
33. To Schwerin, Rostock, and vicinity,                         800
34. To Wismar and vicinity,                                     200
35. To Frankfurt and vicinity,                                  500
36. To Lübeck and vicinity,                                     500
37. To Lauenburg, Ratzeburg, Luneburg, Zelle, Harburg,
      Stade, and neighbouring villages,                        1000
38. To Berlin and Whistock,                                    1000
39. To be held at Berlin, for the sufferers at Magdeburg,
      when that fortress shall be evacuated by the enemy,      1000
40. To Stettin,                                                 500
41. To Hamburg,                                                1000
42. To Bremen,                                                  500
43. To Wurzburg,                                                500
44. _Feb 17_, To Stettin,                                       500
45. To the Exiles from Hamburg, at Altona, Lübeck, Bremen,
      and wherever they may be,                                3000
46. To Kiel, in Holstein,                                      £500
47. To Leipzig, Chemnitz, and Freyberg, and their vicinity,    2000
48. To Dresden, Pirna, and their vicinity,                     2000

At a General Meeting, convened by the Committee for relieving the
Distress in Germany, and other parts of the Continent, on the 27th of
January, at the City of London Tavern, Bishopsgate-street;

HENRY THORNTON, Esq. M.P. in the Chair;

The Chairman read a letter from His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex,
stating, that an illness, which had deprived him of his rest the
preceding night; totally incapacitated him from the proposed pleasure of
presiding at a Meeting, the purpose of which was so congenial to his
feelings, and in the success of which he avowed his heart to be deeply

The Secretary then read an interesting Memorial from the Inhabitants of
Leipsic, praying that relief from British benevolence, which former
experience had taught them, to confide in.

_The following Resolutions were agreed to:--_

1. That it appears to this Meeting that the distress arising out of the
ravages of war in Germany, and other parts of the Continent, is
inconceivably great, and loudly calls on the British Nation for the
exercise of its accustomed beneficence.

2. That this General Meeting, convened by the Committee appointed in the
year 1805, for relieving the Distresses in Germany and other parts of
the Continent, approves most cordially of the object of the Committee,
and especially of the prompt measures taken at their meetings of the
14th and 18th of January, anticipating the liberality of the British
Public, and sending immediate succour to the places in greatest need.

3. That an addition to the Subscriptions already opened by the Committee
be now applied for, to meet the relief they have already ordered; and
that the Committee be desired, without delay, to use its utmost
endeavours to procure further contributions, to alleviate, as much as
possible, the present unparalleled distress on the Continent.

4. That it be recommended to the Committee in the distribution of the
funds to observe the strictest impartiality and that the measure of
distress in each place or district do regulate the proportion of relief
to be afforded.

5. That the several Bankers in the metropolis and the country be, and
they are hereby, requested to receive Subscriptions for this great
object of charity; and that the country Bankers be, and they are hereby,
requested to remit the amount received, on the first day of March, to
Henry Thornton, Esq. Bartholomew-lane, with the names of Subscribers,
and to continue the same on the first day of each subsequent month.

6. That the Clergy of the Church of England, and Ministers of all
religious denominations, be, and they are hereby, earnestly requested to
recommend this important object to their several congregations, and to
make public collections in aid of its funds.

7. That all the Corporate Bodies in the United Kingdom be, and they are
hereby, respectfully requested to contribute to this important object.

8. That the most respectful thanks of this Meeting are due, and that
they be presented, to his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, for his
condescending and, immediate acquiescence in the request that he would
take the Chair on this important occasion.

Resolved, That the thanks of this Meeting be given to HENRY THORNTON,
Esq. for the zeal and ability evinced in his conduct in the Chair.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Sub-Committee having been commissioned to examine the documental
papers and other sources from which Mr. Ackermann's _Narrative of the
most remarkable Events in and near Leipzig, &c._ is compiled, as some
insinuations have been thrown out that much of what is therein related
is rather exaggerated, and Mr. Ackermann having furnished them with the
said papers, they were found to consist of--

1. A Pamphlet, printed at Leipzig, entitled, "_Leipzig, während der
Schreckenstage der Schlachten, im Monat October, 1813; als Beytrag zur
Chronik dieser Stadt._" ("Leipzig, during the terrible Days of the
Battles in the Month of October, 1813; being a Supplement to the History
of this City.")

2. A printed Advertisement of a large Work, to be accompanied with Nine
Plates, the Advertisement itself giving a brief but comprehensive
account of the battle of Leipzig.

3. A second Advertisement, giving a similar description of these battles
in German and French.

4. A Letter from Count Schönfeld to Mr. Ackermann, describing the
dreadful condition of the villages in the neighbourhood of Leipzig,
especially of those over which the storm of the battle passed.

5. An Official Paper, signed by some of the principal Bankers and
Merchants at Leipzig, containing an appeal to the benevolence of the
British Public, in behalf of the sufferers.

6. An Official Attestation of the truth of the statement made in the
said Appeal, signed by the acting Burgomaster of Leipzig, with the City
Seal affixed.

7. Several private Letters, entering more or less into the detail.

The Sub-Committee, having read and considered the chief parts of these
several sources of information, were unanimous in their opinion, that
far from any exaggeration of facts having been resorted to, in
presenting this Narrative to the British Public, facts have been
suppressed under an idea that they might shock the feelings of
Englishmen, who, in general, by God's mercy, have so imperfect an idea
of the horrors of a campaign, and the unspeakable sufferings occasioned
by the presence of contending armies, that, to hear more of the detail
contained in the said papers, might destroy the effect of exciting
compassion by creating disgust, and doubts of the possibility of the
existence of such enormities.

The Sub-Committee were likewise fully persuaded that the accounts
contained in these official and printed Papers could not have been
published at Leipzig itself, without being acknowledged by all as
authentic, as they would otherwise have been liable to the censure of
every reader and reviewer; and therefore, comparing them also with
various similar accounts, received from other places, they feel no
hesitation in expressing their opinion, that the Narrative published by
Mr. Ackermann is a true and faithful representation of such facts as
came within the Reporter's own observation.

  Rev. Wm. KUPER.
  Rev. Dr. SCHWABE.
  Rev. C.J. LATROBE.

  _Tuesday, Feb. 8th, 1814._

       *       *       *       *       *

_The following are the Instructions given by the London Committee to the
Committees of Distribution on the Continent._

Permit me to inform you, that the London Committee for relieving the
Distresses in Germany, and other parts of the Continent, deeply
sympathizing in the distressed situation of your town, (or district,)
and anxiously wishing to afford some relief to the suffering
inhabitants, have devoted the sum of ---- to this purpose in the
distribution of which they request your attention to the following

1. The express design of this Charity is to relieve those who have been
plunged into poverty and distress by the recent calamities of the War.

2. In the appropriation of its funds, the strictest impartiality is to
be observed.

3. The distribution is to take place with the least possible loss of

4. No one family or individual is to receive too large a proportion of
this Charity. The amount of the loss, and all the circumstances of the
persons to be relieved, are duly to be taken into consideration.

5. For these purposes a Committee of Distribution is immediately to be
formed, consisting of magistrates, clergymen, merchants, and such other
persons as are most generally respected for their knowledge, discretion,
and integrity. Should a Committed be already formed for the disposing of
contributions received from other quarters, they are requested to choose
from among its members a Sub-Committee for the management of the sums
received from London.

6. This Committee is requested to keep an accurate list of every person
and family they relieve, as well as the sum allotted to each, and to
transmit to the London Committee such authentic accounts of the distress
still prevailing, together with such particulars relative to the good
effects produced by the distribution of the charity, as may prove
interesting to the public.

7. Finally, the Committee of Distribution will have the goodness, at the
close of their benevolent labours, to draw up a concise Report of the
manner in which they have applied the funds intrusted to their care,
accompanied with such documents as they may deem necessary, and to send
the whole to the London Committee.

8. The London Committee, considering themselves responsible to the
Public, whose Almoners they are, wish to lay particular stress on a
fair, equitable, and impartial distribution of this bounty; and as
persons of different ranks, and religious denominations, in Great
Britain, have been the contributors, they anxiously wish that the _most
distressed_, without regard to any religious community, whether
Christians or Jews, Protestants or Catholics, may receive their due
proportion in the distribution.

9. They now conclude with assurances of their deep interest in the
sufferings of their brethren on the Continent; and consider it not only
a duty, but a privilege, to administer to their necessities, as far as
the kind providence of God, through the instrumentality of the British
Public, may enable them to dispense.

10. The Committee of Distribution are requested to appoint a
Correspondent with the London Committees, and to transmit their letters

  R.H. MARTEN, }
  LUKE HOWARD, } Secretaries,

  _At the City of London Tavern, London._

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected in text:

page 10: Duben replaced with Düben
page 12: repretentations replaced with representations
page 27: Brietenfeld replaced with Breitenfeld
page 28: Brietenfeld replaced with Breitenfeld
page 80: aparment replaced with apartment

       *       *       *       *       *

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of the Most Remarkable Events Which Occurred In and Near Leipzig - Immediately Before, During, And Subsequent To, The Sanguinary Series Of Engagements Between The Allied Armies Of The French, From The 14th To The 19th October, 1813" ***

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