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Title: Memoirs of General Count Rapp, First aide-de-camp to Napoleon
Author: Rapp, Jean Comte
Language: English
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[Illustration: GENERAL RAPP.

_Published, April 1828, by H. Colburn & Co. London._]











  CHAPTER I.—Commencement of the Author's military career.—His
  promotion.—Certificate from Desaix.—Good fortune
  in Egypt.—Introduction to, and character of, Napoleon.—Servile
  conduct of the old nobility.                                        1

  CHAP. II.—Napoleon's temper.—His flatterers.—His clemency.          8

  CHAP. III.—Napoleon's attachment to his family.—Lucien's
  opposition to the views of Napoleon.—Napoleon's bounty to
  Rapp.—Rapp's intercession for Requier and Damas.—Is
  unsuccessful.—Writes to Requier.—Letter intercepted and
  carried to Napoleon.—The Emperor greatly incensed at it.—Rapp
  apologizes.—Is restored to favour.—Marries.—Bernadotte's
  disgrace with the Emperor.—His restoration to favour.              12

  CHAP. IV.—Napoleon's courage.—Infernal machine.—The
  Emperor's escape.                                                  19

  CHAP. V.—Napoleon's readiness to receive advice.—His contempt
  for ignorance.—His partiality to the game of   _vingt et un_.      22

  CHAP. VI.—The third Austrian war.—The French victorious.—The
  Austrian army shut up in Ulm.—Summoned to
  surrender.—Negotiation conducted by M. de Segur.—The
  enemy surrender.—Napoleon's joy.                                   26

  CHAP. VII.—The remainder of the Austrians pursued.—Defeated
  by Murat.—Werneck's capitulation; disregarded by
  Count Hohenzollern.—Correspondence.—Napoleon's proclamation.       40

  CHAP. VIII.—The French march towards Vienna.—The
  Russians defeated.—Napoleon's instructions to Murat on the
  occupation of Vienna.                                              50

  CHAP. IX.—Anecdote of the Emperor and Madame de
  Brunny.—The advance of the French troops.—Stratagem
  in crossing the Danube.—Austerlitz.—The advance-guard
  of the French repulsed by the Russians.—The Russians
  completely defeated.—Rapp wounded.—His promotion.—Napoleon's
  kindness to him.—His recovery.—The Emperor's
  instructions to Rapp.—Peace concluded.                             54

  CHAP. X.—The conduct of Prussia.—Rapp's mission.—Its
  object.—His return.—The Grand Duchess of Darmstadt
  offends the Emperor.—Her punishment.—The French troops
  attacked by some Prussian detachments.—Rapp's appointment
  to the command of the military division at Strasburg.—He
  receives instructions.—The Emperor arrives at Mentz.—Rapp
  joins him at Wurtzburg.—His mission to the Grand
  Duke of Baden.—The impatience of the Prussian Generals to
  commence the war.—Character of Prince Louis.—Demand of
  Prussia.—Napoleon's proclamation.—Prussians defeated at
  Schleitz.—Rapp sent to the King of Prussia.—Recalled.—Mission
  of De Montesquiou.—His treatment.                                  66

  CHAP. XI.—The calculations of the Duke of Brunswick.—He is
  disconcerted at the movement of the French.—Manœuvres.—Napoleon
  issues orders.—Battle of Auerstadt and Jena.—The
  French victorious.—Rapp instructed to pursue the Russians.—He
  enters Weimar.—The King of Prussia makes overtures.—Napoleon's
  conduct.—He sends Duroc to visit the wounded.—Head-quarters
  established at Weimar.—Movements of
  the enemy.—Attacked and routed by Bernadotte at Halle.—Napoleon
  visits the field of battle.—Goes to Dessau.—His treatment of the
  old Duke.                                                          79

  CHAP. XII.—The Prussians closely pursued by the French.—Surrender
  of a corps before Magdeburg.—Misfortunes of Prussia.—The French
  prepare to march on Berlin.—Napoleon's instructions to Davoust.    89

  CHAP. XIII.—The French set out for Potsdam.—Anecdote of
  the Emperor and a female native of Egypt.—State of Potsdam.—Flight
  of the Court.—Deputations to the Emperor.—Their
  reception.—Napoleon's observations to the Duke of Brunswick's
  envoy.—Head-quarters at Charlotteenburg—Napoleon's proclamation.   93

  CHAP. XIV.—Napoleon reviews the third corps.—Effect of
  the proclamation on the troops.—Surrender of 25,000
  Prussians.—The Duke of Weimar abandons his command.—Blucher
  surrenders.—Napoleon's despatch to General Belliard.—Blucher
  allowed to retire to Hamburg.                                     101

  CHAP. XV.—Arrest of Prince Hatzfeld as a spy.—Napoleon's
  determination to have him executed.—Intercession
  for him.—The release of the Prince.—His letter to Count
  Rapp.—Embassies to the Emperor.—Rapp authorised to
  settle the affairs of the Court of Weimar.—The Duke permitted
  to return to his estates.—His letter of thanks to Rapp.           107

  CHAP. XVI.—Surrender of the Prussian fortresses.—Arrest
  of the Prince of Wurtemberg.—Head-quarters at Posen.—State
  of Poland.—Entry into Warsaw.—The Emperor's reception.—Anecdotes
  of the Poles and of the French soldiers.—Passage
  of the Vistula.                                                   114

  CHAP. XVII.—Affairs with the Russians.—Battle of Pultusk.—Rapp's
  wounds.—His appointment to the government
  of Thorn.—Blucher's letter to him.—He intercedes
  for Blucher.—Is made Governor of Dantzic.—Contributions
  levied.—Napoleon's dissatisfaction with Prussia.                  124

  CHAP. XVIII.—Fourth Austrian war (1809.)—Battle of
  Esslingen.—Schill's insurrection.—Napoleon's feeling.—Battle
  of Wagram.—Rapp's accident.—Rapp obtains the pardon of some
  conspirators.                                                     136

  CHAP. XIX.—Attempt of a young German to assassinate
  Napoleon.—Conversation and conduct of the assassin.               141

  CHAP. XX.—Execution of the young German.—Peace concluded.—Rapp's
  reception in Munich.—Situation of Bavaria.—Trait
  of the King of Wurtemberg.—Napoleon's return to Fontainebleau.    147

  CHAP. XXI.—Divorce of Josephine.—Marriage of Napoleon
  and Maria-Louisa.—Napoleon displeased with Rapp;
  sends him to Dantzic.—Rapp at Dantzic.—Character of
  his garrison.—He gives offence to the Russian Resident.           151

  CHAP. XXII.—Napoleon's dissatisfaction with Rapp, for
  evading the anti-commercial decrees.—_Douane_ established
  at Dantzic.—Discontent in the North of Germany.—Rapp's
  representations.—Napoleon's ignorance of the German Character.    158

  CHAP. XXIII.—Napoleon repairs to Dantzic.—Conversation
  between the Emperor and Rapp.                                     164

  CHAP. XXIV.—Napoleon proceeds to Kœnigsberg.—His
  intentions.—The advance of the French troops. Their
  arrival at Wilna.—Commencement of the Russian war.                168

  CHAP. XXV.—Flight of the Russians.—Their rear-guard
  defeated by the King of Naples.—His report of the
  engagement.—Dispute between the King of Westphalia and
  Vandamme.                                                         171

  CHAP. XXVI.—Rapp leaves Dantzic.—State of the roads.—Arrives
  at Wilna.—Opening of the Polish Diet.—Speech of the
  President.—Eloquence and negotiations of the Abbé de Pradt.       176

  CHAP. XXVII.—Activity of the Emperor.—His instructions
  to Hautpoult.—Distress of the army.—Hopes of Napoleon.—The
  Russian Patriarch's denunciation of the French.                   186

  CHAP. XXVIII.—Battle of Smolensko.—Escape of the Russian
  army.—Junot's inactivity.—He is in disgrace with the
  Emperor.—Intercessions in his favour.—Rapp named for
  the command of the Westphalian corps, instead of
  Junot.—Character of Junot.—He is allowed to resume his
  command.—Irruption of Tormasoff.—Napoleon's instructions to the
  Duke de Belluno.                                                  190

  CHAP. XXIX.—Kutusow takes the command of the Russian army.—His
  qualifications; his losses.—Rapp sent to reconnoitre.—Napoleon's
  conversation before the battle of Borodino.—Proclamation.         197

  CHAP. XXX.—Battle of Borodino.—Rapp's wounds.                     204

  CHAP. XXXI.—Retreat of the Russians.—Occupation and burning
  of Moscow.                                                        209

  CHAP. XXXII.—The Emperor's delay at Moscow; its
  motives and consequences.—His instructions to the Duke
  de Belluno.—Deplorable state of the French army.—Rapp's
  recovery.—The Emperor's anxiety about the wounded.                213

  CHAP. XXXIII.—Retreat of the French.—The Emperor's
  despatch to Mortier.—Battle at Malojaroslawitz.—Napoleon
  visits the field of battle.—Surprised by some
  Cossacks.—Rapp's conduct: the Emperor loads him
  with eulogiums.—General Winzengerode taken prisoner.—His
  treatment.                                                        221

  CHAP. XXXIV.—Deplorable condition of the French.—Mallet's
  conspiracy.—The Emperor's surprise.—The
  French cross the Borysthenes.—Attacked by the Russians.—Retreat
  of the French.—Marshal Ney's courage.                             230

  CHAP. XXXV.—Continuation of the Retreat.—Capture of
  Witepsk.—Loss of the magazines.—State of the weather.—Disasters
  of the French.—Attacked by the Cossacks.                          235

  CHAP. XXXVI.—The Emperor's solicitude for Ney.—Receives
  information of his escape from the Russians.—Embarrassment
  of the French.—Battle of the Beresina.—Surrender
  of Partonneau's division.—Retreat of the French
  upon Wilna.—Napoleon sets out for Paris.—His instructions.—Rapp
  proceeds to Dantzic.                                              242

  CHAP. XXXVII.—Description of the town and garrison of
  Dantzic.—Rapp's preparations.—His difficulties.—Losses
  of the garrison by disease.—Scarcity of provisions.—Breaking
  up of the ice.                                                    254

  CHAP. XXXVIII.—Conduct of the Allies.—General Detrées
  sent to reconnoitre.—Skirmishes between the French and
  Allies.—The Russians defeated at Langfuhr, and Ohra.              262

  CHAP. XXXIX.—Destructive ravages of the epidemic.—Expedition
  against Quadendorf.—Defeat of the Russians.—Ignorance
  of the garrison of the progress of events.—The
  epidemic disappears.—The Russian signals set on fire.—Attempts
  to seduce the troops of the garrison.—Review of
  the garrison on the glacis.                                       271

  CHAP. XL.—The garrison's efforts to obtain provisions; its
  difficulties.—Rapp sends an expedition into the Nerhung.—Is
  successful.—He demands a loan from the Dantzickers.—Accusation
  against the senator Piegeleau.—Conduct of the
  Duke of Wurtemberg.—News of the victories of Lutzen
  and Bautzen.—Its effect on the French troops.—The
  Russians defeated.—The Allies solicit an armistice.—Rapp
  receives the ribbon of the order of La Réunion.—Napoleon's
  despatch to Rapp.                                                 282

  CHAP. XLI.—Conditions of the armistice.—Duke of Wurtemberg
  raises obstacles to the fulfilment of them.—His
  subterfuges.—Rapp's letter to the Prince de Neuchâtel.—Scarcity
  of provisions.—Recommencement of hostilities.                     292

  CHAP. XLII.—Attempts of the besiegers.—Engagement
  between the garrison and the Russians at the advanced
  posts.—Details.—A second engagement.—The Russians
  take Langfuhr.—Their intentions.—Rapp's preparations.—Ohra
  put in a state of defence.—The Russians attack
  Kabrun.—Their fleet fire on the French batteries; but are
  repulsed.—Overflowing of the Vistula.—Combined attack
  by the land and sea forces of the besiegers.                      303

  CHAP. XLIII.—Severity of the weather.—Scarcity of
  provisions.—Attack of the Russians.—Their defeat.—Situation,
  and plan of operations.—State of Dantzic, the magazines, and
  the surrounding fortresses.—Condition of the
  garrison.—Disaffection of the German troops.—Means used to
  decoy them.—Rapp capitulates.—The Emperor Alexander annuls the
  capitulation.—Rapp protests and surrenders.                       323

  CHAP. XLIV.—The garrison taken prisoners to Kiow.—Their
  liberation.—The state of France in 1814.—Rapp's
  treatment at Court.—The return from Elba.—Conversation
  between Napoleon and Rapp.—Rapp's appointment to the
  command of the army of the Upper Rhine.—Napoleon's
  arrangements.—His letter to the allied Sovereigns.—Rapp
  sets out for Alsace.—State of public feeling.—Enthusiasm
  of the women at Mulhausen.                                        337

  CHAP. XLV.—Preparations of the Allies.—Napoleon's letter
  to Rapp.—Rapp receives fresh funds.—The Emperor's
  despatch to Rapp.                                                 352

  CHAP. XLVI.—Amount and division of the French troops.—Rapp
  receives news of the battle of Waterloo.—His
  determination.—Rapp's advanced posts attacked.—Movements
  of the Allies.—The success of the French.—Their retreat.          357

  CHAP. XLVII.—Effect of the news of the battle of
  Waterloo.—Disposition of Rapp's troops.—Battle of
  Lampertheim.—Designs of the Allies.—Rapp throws himself into
  Strasburg.—Prince of Wurtemberg's conduct.—Military
  convention signed.                                                364

  CHAP. XLVIII.—Mutiny of the garrison of Strasburg.—A
  description of their conduct.—Dissolution of the army.—Rapp's
  letter to the King.—Its effect.—Rapp's death.—Conclusion.         375


  Letter from General Rapp to the Duke of Wurtemberg.               405

  Answer.                                                           407

  Letter from the Duke of Wurtemberg to his Excellency Count Rapp.  409

  Answer.                                                           410

  Letter from the Duke of Wurtemberg to General Count Rapp.         411

  Answer.                                                           413

  Letter from the Duke of Wurtemberg to General Rapp.               415

  Capitulation of Dantzic.                                          417

  Letter from the Duke of Wurtemberg to General Rapp.               424

  Answer.                                                           426

  Letter from Count Rapp to the Duke of Wurtemberg.                 428

  To the same.                                                      430






I do not pretend to be an historical character; but I was long near
a man who has been the object of base misrepresentations, and I
commanded brave troops whose services have been disowned. The former
overwhelmed me with favours; the latter would have laid down their
lives for me: these things I cannot forget.

I served in the army for several years; and I was successful in some
enterprises, though without gaining distinction, as is usual with
those who hold subaltern rank. At length I was fortunate enough to
engage the attention of General Desaix. Our advance guard, which had
been thrown into disorder, was speedily rallied. I hastened forward
with a hundred hussars; we charged the Austrians, and succeeded in
putting them to flight. We were almost all covered with wounds; but
for these we were amply rewarded by the praises that were bestowed on
us. The General made me promise to take all requisite care of myself,
and he delivered to me the most flattering attestation that ever a
soldier obtained. I mention this circumstance, not because it procured
me a pair of epaulettes, but because it obtained for me the friendship
of that great man, and was the origin of my fortune. The attestation
was as follows:


        “Head Quarters at Blotsheim, 30th Fructidor, year III. of the
          French Republic one and indivisible.

     “I, the undersigned General of Division, commanding the right
     wing of the above mentioned army, certify that citizen Jean Rapp,
     lieutenant in the 10th regiment of Horse Chasseurs, has served
     under my command with the said regiment during the two last
     campaigns; that on all occasions he has given proofs of singular
     intelligence, presence of mind and courage; that he has been
     wounded three different times; and that, on the 9th Prairial of
     the year II, at the head of a company of chasseurs, he attacked
     a column of the enemy's hussars, whose number was five times
     greater than his own force, with such devoted intrepidity, that
     he cut them to pieces, covering the retreat of a portion of our
     troops, and bearing away the honour of the victory. It cannot
     be too deeply regretted that he has been the victim of his
     valour, and has been dangerously wounded in such a way as to be
     deprived of the use of his arm. He is a worthy object of national
     gratitude, and well deserves to be appointed to some honorable
     post, should he be rendered incapable of more active service. I
     attest that citizen Rapp bears with him the friendship and esteem
     of all who know him.


Having become the aide-de-camp of the modest conqueror of Offenburgh,
I fought under him in the campaigns of Germany and Egypt. I was made
the chief of a squadron at Sediman; where I had the happiness, at the
head of two hundred brave troops, to carry off the last remnant of
the Turkish artillery, and I was promoted to the rank of Colonel, at
Samanhout, near the ruins of Thebes. I was severely wounded in this
last affair; but I was honorably mentioned in the dispatches of the

On the death of the brave Desaix, who was killed at Marengo, at the
moment when he had decided the victory, the First Consul deigned to
appoint me to a post about his own person. The favour which he would
have conferred on the conqueror of Upper Egypt was extended to me.
From that time I was in some manner permanently established, and my
connexions became more extended.

Zeal, frankness, and some degree of military talent, procured for me
the confidence of Napoleon. He frequently remarked to those about
him, that few possessed a greater share of natural good sense and
discernment than Rapp. These praises were repeated to me, and I
must confess I was flattered by them: if this be weakness, I may be
excused; every one has some foible. I would have sacrificed my life
to prove my gratitude to the First Consul. He knew this; and he often
repeated to my friends that I was a grumbler—that I had a poor head
but a good heart. He treated both me and Lannes familiarly, using the
pronoun _thou_ when he spoke to us; if he addressed us by _you_ or
_Monsieur le General_, we became alarmed, we were sure that we were
out of favour. He had the weakness to attach importance to a gossiping
police system which for the most part deceived him by false reports.
That odious system of police embittered the happiness of his life; it
frequently incensed him against his best friends, his relations, and
even his wife.

Napoleon attached but little importance to mere courage, which he
regarded as an ordinary kind of merit, common to all Frenchmen: he
set a higher value on intrepidity; and he was willing to pardon every
fault in an intrepid soldier. When any one solicited a favour, either
at an audience or a review, he never failed to enquire whether he had
been wounded. He declared that every wound was a quarter of nobility.
He honoured and rewarded the individuals who were thus distinguished,
and he had good reasons for so doing. However, he soon perceived
that they did not attend the antechambers, and he opened them to the
old nobility. This preference offended us; he remarked this, and was
displeased at our taking offence. “I see plainly,” said he to me
one day, “that these nobles whom I have placed in my household are
disagreeable to you.” I, however, very well deserved the privilege.
I had erased several gentlemen from the list of emigrants; I had
procured places for some, and had given money and pensions to others.
Some have remembered these favours, but the majority have forgotten
them; and consequently my purse has been closed since the return of
the King. Though my object was to relieve misfortune, and not to
obtain gratitude, yet I did not choose that the emigrants should
interpose between us and the great man whom we had raised on the

I had forgotten this disagreeable scene; but Napoleon did not forget
any offensive observations that might escape him. In vain he sought
to assume the mask of severity; his natural disposition subdued his
efforts, and kind feelings always gained the ascendancy. He called me
to him: he spoke to me of the nobles and the emigrants; and suddenly
recurring to the scene above alluded to, he said: “You think, then,
that I have a predilection for these people; but you are mistaken. I
employ them, and you know why. Am I connected with nobility? I, who
was a poor Corsican gentleman?”—“Neither I nor the army,” I replied,
“have ever inquired into your origin. Your actions are sufficient
for us.” I related this conversation to several of my friends, among
others to Generals Mouton and Lauriston.

Most of these same nobles, however, allege that they had yielded
only to compulsion. Nothing can be more false. I know of only
two who received Chamberlain's appointments unsolicited. Some
few declined advantageous offers; but with these exceptions, all
solicited, entreated, and importuned. There was a competition of zeal
and devotedness altogether unexampled. The meanest employment, the
humblest offices, nothing was rejected; it seemed to be an affair of
life and death. Should a treacherous hand ever find its way into the
portfolios of M.M. Talleyrand, Montesquiou, Segur, Duroc, &c., what
ardent expressions may be found to enrich the language of attachment.
But the individuals who held this language now vie with each other in
giving vent to hatred and invective. If they really felt for Napoleon
the profound hatred which they now evince, it must be confessed that,
in crouching at his feet for fifteen years, they did strange violence
to their feelings. And yet all Europe can bear witness, that from
their unrestrained manner, their never-varying smile, and their supple
marks of obedience, their services seemed to be of their own free
choice, and to cost them but little sacrifice.


Many persons have described Napoleon as a violent, harsh, and
passionate man; this is because they have not known him. Absorbed
as he was in important business, opposed in his views, and impeded
in his plans, it was certainly natural that he should sometimes
evince impatience and inequality of temper. His natural kindness
and generosity soon subdued his irritation; but it must be observed
that, far from seeking to appease him, his confidents never failed to
excite his anger. “Your Majesty is right,” they would say, “such a one
deserves to be shot or broken, dismissed or disgraced: I have long
known him to be your enemy. An example must be made; it is necessary
for the maintenance of tranquillity.”

If the matter in question had been to levy contributions on the
enemy's territory, Napoleon, perhaps, would demand twenty millions;
but he would be advised to exact ten millions more. He would be told
by those about him, “it is necessary that your Majesty should spare
your treasury, that you should maintain your troops at the expense of
foreign countries, or leave them to subsist on the territory of the

If he entertained the idea of levying 200,000 conscripts, he was
persuaded to demand 300,000. If he proposed to pay a creditor whose
right was unquestionable, doubts were started respecting the legality
of the debt. The amount claimed was perhaps reduced to one half, or
one third; and it not unfrequently happened that the debt was denied

If he spoke of commencing war, the bold resolution was applauded. It
was said war enriched France; that it was necessary to astonish the
world, and to astonish it in a way worthy of the great nation.

Thus, by being excited and urged to enter upon uncertain plans and
enterprises, Napoleon was plunged into continual war. Thus it was,
that his reign was impressed with an air of violence contrary to his
own character and habits, which were perfectly gentle.

Never was there a man more inclined to indulgence, or more ready to
listen to the voice of humanity: of this I could mention a thousand
examples; but I confine myself to the following.

Georges and his accomplices had been condemned. Josephine interceded
for M.M. Polignac, and Murat for M. de Rivière, and both succeeded in
their mediation. On the day of execution, the banker Scherer hastened
to Saint-Cloud, bathed in tears, and asked to speak with me. He begged
of me to solicit the pardon of his brother-in-law, M. de Russillon,
an old Swiss Major, who had been implicated in the affair. He was
accompanied by some of his countrymen, all relatives of the prisoner.
They observed that they were conscious the Major merited his sentence;
but that he was the father of a family, and that he was allied to the
most distinguished houses in the Canton of Bern. I yielded to their
entreaties, and I had no reason to regret having done so.

It was seven in the morning. Napoleon was up and in his closet with
Corvisart, when I was announced. “Sire,” said I, “it is not long
since your Majesty settled the government of Switzerland by your
mediation. But you know that the people are not all equally satisfied;
the inhabitants of Bern in particular. You have now an opportunity
of proving to them your magnanimity and generosity. One of their
countrymen is to be executed this day. He is connected with the best
families in the country; if you grant his pardon it will certainly
produce a great sensation, and procure you many friends.”—“Who is this
man? What is his name?” inquired Napoleon.—“Russillon,” I replied.
On hearing this name, he became angry.—“Russillon,” said he, “is
more guilty than Georges himself.”—“I am fully aware of all that
your Majesty now does me the honour to tell me; but the people of
Switzerland, his family, his children, will bless you. Pardon him, not
on his own account, but for the sake of the many brave men who have
suffered for his folly.”—“Hark ye,” said he, turning to Corvisart,
while he took the petition from my hand, approved it, and hastily
returned it to me; “immediately despatch a courier to suspend the
execution.” The joy of the family may be easily guessed: to me they
testified their gratitude through the medium of the public papers.
Russillon was imprisoned along with his accomplices; but he afterwards
obtained his liberty. Since the return of the King, he has several
times visited Paris, though I have not seen him. He thinks that I
attached but little importance to the act of service I rendered him;
and he is right.


No man possessed greater sensibility, or evinced more constancy in
his affections than Napoleon. He tenderly loved his mother, he adored
his wife, and he was fondly attached to his sisters, brothers, and
other relatives. All, with the exception of his mother, caused him
the bitterest vexation; yet he never ceased to overwhelm them with
riches and honours. Of all his relations, his brother Lucien proved
himself the most determined opposer of his views and plans. One day,
while they were disputing warmly on a subject which has now escaped
my recollection, Lucien drew out his watch, and dashing it violently
on the ground, he addressed to his brother these remarkable words:
“You will destroy yourself, as I have destroyed that watch; and the
time will come when your family and friends will not know where to
shelter their heads.” He married a few days after, without obtaining
his brother's consent, or even signifying his intention to him. This,
however, did not prevent Napoleon from receiving him in 1815; though
it was not without being urged to do so: Lucien was obliged to wait at
the out-posts; but he was speedily admitted to the Emperor's presence.

Napoleon did not confine his generosity to his relatives; friendship,
services, all met their due reward. On this I can speak from
experience. I returned from Egypt, in the rank of aide-de-camp to the
brave General Desaix, and with two hundred louis which I had saved,
and which constituted my whole fortune. At the time of the abdication,
I possessed an income of 400,000 francs, arising out of endowments,
appointments, emoluments, extraordinary allowances, &c. I have lost
five sixths of this income; but I do not regret it: that which I still
possess forms a vast contrast to my early fortune. But what I regret
is the glory acquired at the price of so much blood and exertion: it
is for ever lost, and for that I am inconsolable.

I was not the only one who shared the bounty of Napoleon; a thousand
others were in like manner overwhelmed with favours; and the injury
which he suffered, through the misconduct of some, proved no bar to
the exercise of his kindness. Whatever might be the depth of these
injuries, they were forgotten as soon as he was convinced that the
heart had no share in producing them. I could cite a hundred instances
of his indulgence in this respect; but the following will suffice.

When he took the title of Emperor, the changes that were made in his
household, which had been hitherto exclusively military, gave umbrage
to several of us. We had been accustomed to enjoy the intimacy of the
great man, and we felt displeased at the reserve imposed upon us by
the imperial purple.

Generals Regnier and Damas were at that time in disgrace: I was
intimate with both, and I was not in the habit of abandoning my
friends in misfortune. I had exerted every effort to remove Napoleon's
prejudices against these two general officers; but without success.
I one day resumed my intercession in favour of Regnier; and Napoleon
becoming impatient and out of humour, told me, dryly, that he wished
to hear no more about him. I wrote to inform the brave General, that
all my endeavours had proved unavailing: I entreated him to have
patience; and added a few phrases dictated by the disappointment
of the moment. I was so imprudent as to entrust my letter to the
conveyance of the post; and the consequence was, that it was opened
and sent to the Emperor. He read it over three or four times, ordered
some of my writing to be brought to him for the purpose of comparing
it, and could scarcely persuade himself that I had written it. He flew
into a violent rage, and despatched a courier from Saint Cloud to the
Tuileries, where I was lodged. I thought I was summoned for a mission,
and set out immediately. I found Caulincourt in the saloon of the
household with Cafarelli, and I asked him what was the news. He had
heard the whole affair; he seemed much vexed by it: but he said not a
word about it to me. I entered the apartments of Napoleon, who came
out of his closet, with the letter in his hand, in a furious rage. He
darted upon me those angry glances, which so often excited dismay. “Do
you know this writing?” said he.—“Yes, Sire,”—“It is yours?”—“Yes,
Sire.”—“You are the last person I should have suspected of this. Is it
possible that you can hold such language to my enemies? You, whom I
have treated so well! You, for whom I have done so much! You, the only
one of all my aides-de-camp, whom I lodged in the Tuileries!”—The door
of his closet was ajar: he observed this, and he threw it wide open,
in order that M. Menneval, one of the secretaries, might hear what
passed. “Begone,” said he, scanning me from head to foot, “begone;
you are an ungrateful man!”—“Sire,” I replied, “my heart was never
guilty of ingratitude.”—“Read this letter,” said he, presenting it to
me, “and judge whether I accuse you wrongfully.”—“Sire, of all the
reproaches that you can heap upon me, this is the most severe. Having
lost your confidence, I can no longer serve you.”—“Yes, you have
indeed forfeited my confidence.” I bowed respectfully, and withdrew.

I resolved to retire to Alsace, and I was making preparations for
my departure, when Josephine sent to desire me to return and make
my best apologies to Napoleon. Louis, however, gave me contrary
advice, and I was not much inclined to obey the directions of the
Empress, as my resolution was formed. Two days elapsed, and I heard
no news from Saint Cloud. Some friends, among whom was Marshal
Bessières, called on me. “You are in the wrong,” said the Marshal,
“you cannot but acknowledge it. The respect and gratitude you owe to
the Emperor render it a duty to confess your fault.” I yielded to
these suggestions. No sooner had Napoleon received my letter, than
he desired me to attend him in one of his rides on horseback. He was
out of humour with me for some time; but one day he sent for me very
early at Saint Cloud. “I am no longer angry with you,” said he, with
exceeding kindness of manner; “you were guilty of a great piece of
folly; but it is all over—I have forgotten it. It is my wish that you
should marry.” He mentioned two young ladies, either of whom, he said,
would suit me. My marriage was brought about; but unfortunately it did
not prove a happy one.

Bernadotte was in the deepest disgrace, and he deserved it. I met him
at Plombières, whither he had been permitted to go, accompanied by
his wife and son, for the benefit of the waters; and I had visited
the place for the same purpose. I had always admired Bernadotte's
kind and amiable disposition. I saw him frequently at Plombières. He
communicated to me the circumstance that most distressed him, and
begged that I would use my influence to bring about his reconciliation
with the Emperor, whom he said he had never ceased to admire, and
who had been prepossessed against him by calumnious reports. On my
return I learned that his friends, his brother-in-law, and Madame
Julie herself, had uselessly interceded in his behalf. Napoleon would
hear nothing they had to say; and his irritation against Bernadotte
continually increased. But I had promised to do what I could for
him; and I was bound to keep my word. The Emperor was preparing to
set out for Villiers, where Murat was to give a _fête_: he was in
high good-humour, and I determined to avail myself of this favourable
circumstance. I communicated my design to Marshal Bessières, who,
with myself, was to attend the Emperor: he tried to dissuade me from
my intention. He informed me that Madame Julie had that very morning
been at Malmaison, and that she had departed in tears for the ill
success of her suit. This circumstance was not calculated to inspire
me with confidence; but I nevertheless ventured on my mediation. I
informed Napoleon that I had seen Bernadotte at Plombières, that he
was dejected and deeply mortified by his disgrace. “He protests,”
added I, “that he has never failed in his love and devotion for
your Majesty.”—“Do not speak of him; he deserves to be shot,” said
Napoleon; and he set off at full gallop. At Murat's _fête_, I met
Joseph and his wife; and I told them how unlucky I had been. The
affair came to the knowledge of Bernadotte, who thanked me for my
good intentions. Notwithstanding his numerous misunderstandings with
Bernadotte, Napoleon subsequently forgave all his past offences, and
loaded him with wealth and honours. The Prince Royal is now about to
ascend the throne, while the author of his fortune is exiled to a rock
in the midst of the ocean.


It has been affirmed that Napoleon was not brave. A man who, from the
rank of lieutenant of artillery, rose to be the ruler of a nation like
France, could not surely be deficient in courage. Of this his conduct
on the 18th Brumaire, on the 5th Nivose, and during the plot of Arena,
are sufficient proofs, if proofs were wanting. He was well aware how
numerous were his enemies among the jacobins and the chouans; yet
every evening he walked out in the streets of Paris, and mingled with
the different groups, never accompanied by more than two individuals.
Lannes, Duroc, Bessières, or some of his aides-de-camp usually
attended him in these nocturnal excursions. This fact was well known
throughout Paris.

The affair of the infernal machine has never been properly understood
by the public. The police had intimated to Napoleon that an attempt
would be made against his life, and cautioned him not to go out.
Madame Bonaparte, Mademoiselle Beauharnais, Madame Murat, Lannes,
Bessières, the aide-de-camp on duty, and lieutenant Lebrun, now duke
of Placenza, were all assembled in the saloon, while the First Consul
was writing in his closet. Haydn's Oratorio was to be performed that
evening: the ladies were anxious to hear the music, and we also
expressed a wish to that effect. The escort picquet was ordered out;
and Lannes requested that Napoleon would join the party. He consented;
his carriage was ready, and he took along with him Bessières and the
aide-de-camp on duty. I was directed to attend the ladies. Josephine
had received a magnificent shawl from Constantinople, and she that
evening wore it for the first time. “Allow me to observe, Madame,”
said I, “that your shawl is not thrown on with your usual elegance.”
She good humouredly begged that I would fold it after the fashion of
the Egyptian ladies. While I was engaged in this operation, we heard
Napoleon depart. “Come, sister,” said Madame Murat, who was impatient
to get to the theatre; “Bonaparte is going.” We stepped into the
carriage: the First Consul's equipage had already reached the middle
of the _Place Carrousel_. We drove after it; but we had scarcely
entered the _Place_ when the machine exploded. Napoleon escaped by a
singular chance. Saint-Regent, or his French servant, had stationed
himself in the middle of the _Rue Nicaise_. A grenadier of the escort,
supposing he was really what he appeared to be, a water-carrier, gave
him a few blows with the flat of his sabre, and drove him off. The
cart was turned round, and the machine exploded between the carriages
of Napoleon and Josephine. The ladies shrieked on hearing the report;
the carriage windows were broken, and Mademoiselle Beauharnais
received a slight hurt on her hand. I alighted, and crossed the _Rue
Nicaise_, which was strewed with the bodies of those who had been
thrown down, and the fragments of the walls that had been shattered
by the explosion. Neither the Consul nor any individual of his suite
sustained any serious injury. When I entered the theatre Napoleon was
seated in his box, calm and composed, and looking at the audience
through his opera-glass. Fouché was beside him. “Josephine,” said he,
as soon as he observed me. She entered at that moment, and he did not
finish his question. “The rascals,” said he, very coolly, “wanted to
blow me up. Bring me a book of the Oratorio.”

The audience soon learned the danger he had escaped, and they saluted
him with testimonies of the deepest interest. These, I think, are
unequivocal proofs of courage. The men who have followed him on the
field of battle, cannot be at a loss to quote many more.


Napoleon, whatever his detractors may say, was neither overbearing
nor obstinate in his opinions. He was eager to obtain information,
and he wished to hear the opinions of all who were entitled to
hold any. Among the members of the Council, the wish to please him
sometimes superseded every other consideration; but when he perceived
this, he never failed to restore the discussion to its proper tone.
“Gentlemen,” he would say to his lieutenants, “I summoned you here,
not to bring you over to my opinion, but to let me hear your's.
Explain to me your views; and I shall see whether the plans which you
propose are better than my own.”

While we were at Boulogne, he gave a lesson of this kind to the
minister of the Marine. He had proposed some questions, to which M.
Decrès replied only by a string of compliments. Napoleon wrote to him
thus:—“I beg you will send me, in the course of to-morrow, a memorial
on the following question: _In the present state of affairs, what is
most proper to be done, should Admiral Villeneuve remain at Cadiz?_
Raise your mind to the importance of present circumstances, and the
situation in which France and England are placed. Send me no more
letters like that which you addressed to me yesterday; they can answer
no purpose. I have but one wish, and that is, to succeed; for which, I
pray God,” &c.

Two days before the battle of Austerlitz, a portion of the army was
stationed in an unfavourable position, and the general who occupied
it exaggerated its disadvantages. However, when the Council was
assembled, he not only admitted that the position was tenable, but he
even promised to defend it. “How is this, Marshal?” said the Grand
Duke of Berg. “What has become of the doubts you expressed but a
short while ago?—“What signifies flattering, when we have met for the
purpose of deliberating?” said Marshal Launes, in his turn. “We must
represent things in their true light to the Emperor; and leave him to
do what he may deem expedient.”—“You are right,” said Napoleon; “those
who wish to win my good graces must not deceive me.”

But though he was always ready to receive advice from those who
were qualified to give it; yet he could not endure remarks made by
individuals who might happen to be ignorant of the subject of which
they were speaking. Fesch was one day about to make some observations
on the Spanish war. He had scarcely uttered two words, when Napoleon,
leading him to a window, said, “Do you see that star?”—It was noon,
and the archbishop replied that he saw none. “Well,” said Napoleon,
“so long as I am the only one who perceives it, I will pursue my own
course, and will hear no reflections on my conduct.”

On his return from the Russian campaign, he was lamenting, with deep
emotion, the death of the many brave men, who had been sacrificed, not
by Cossack spears, but by the rigours of cold and hunger. A courtier,
who wished to throw in his word, said, with a very doleful air, “We
have, indeed, sustained a severe loss!”—“Yes,” replied Napoleon,
“Madame Barilli[1] is dead.”

[1] A celebrated opera singer.

He always sneered at folly; but he never shewed himself averse either
to pleasantry or frankness.

Madame Bachioci one day brought to the Tuileries her relation, M.
d'A * * * *. She retired after introducing him to the saloon of the
household, and he was left alone with me. This M. d'A * * * *, like
many of his countrymen, had a very unprepossessing countenance. I was
distrustful of him; but, nevertheless, I informed the Emperor he was
waiting, and he was introduced. He had doubtless something important
to communicate. Napoleon, by a motion of his hand, directed me to
return to the saloon. I pretended not to observe him, and I remained,
for I was apprehensive for his safety. He advanced towards me, and
said that they wished to be alone. I then withdrew, but I left the
door of the chamber partly open.

When Napoleon had dismissed M. d'A * * * *, he asked me why I had
been so reluctant to withdraw. “You know,” replied I, “that I am
not officious; but I must frankly confess that I do not like your
Corsicans.” He himself related this anecdote, which displeased some of
the individuals of his family. However, I am persuaded that he would
rather not have heard me speak of his countrymen in this way.

One evening, after the battle of Wagram, we were playing at
_vingt-et-un_. Napoleon was very fond of this game: he used to try
to deceive those he was playing with, and was much amused at the
tricks he played. He had a great quantity of gold spread out upon the
table before him. “Rapp,” said he, “are not the Germans very fond of
these little Napoleons?”—“Yes, Sire, they like them much better than
the great one.”—“That, I suppose,” said he, “is what you call German


I was at the camp of Boulogne when the third war with Austria broke
out. The French were passing the Rhine. The remnants of the enemy's
army, which had been beaten and nearly cut to pieces, shut themselves
up in Ulm, and they were immediately summoned to surrender. The
account of this negotiation, which was conducted by M. de Segur, so
well pourtrays the confusion and anxiety of the unfortunate general,
that I cannot refrain from inserting it here. The following is M. de
Segur's own statement.

“Yesterday, the 24th of Vendemiaire (16th of Oct.), the Emperor
desired me to attend him in his closet. He directed me to proceed to
Ulm, and to prevail on General Mack to surrender in five days, or, if
he absolutely required six, I was to allow him that time: I received
no other instructions. The night was dark; a terrible hurricane arose
and the rain poured in torrents: it was necessary to travel by cross
roads, and to adopt every precaution for avoiding the marshes, in
which man, horse, and mission, might all have come to an untimely end.
I had almost reached the gates of the city without finding any of our
advanced parties. All had withdrawn: sentinels, videttes, out-posts,
all had placed themselves under shelter. Even the parks of artillery
were abandoned; no fires, no stars were visible. I wandered about for
three hours before I could find a general: I passed through several
villages, and interrogated all whom I met; but without receiving any
satisfactory answer.

“At length I found an artillery trumpeter, beneath a cassoon, half
buried in mud, and stiff with cold. We approached the ramparts of
Ulm. Our arrival had doubtless been expected; for M. de Latour, an
officer, who spoke French very well, presented himself on the first
summons. He tied a bandage over my eyes, and made me climb over the
fortifications. I remarked to my guide that the extreme darkness of
the night rendered it unnecessary to blindfold me; but he replied
that it was a custom that could not be dispensed with. We seemed to
have walked a considerable way. I entered into conversation with my
guide; my object was to ascertain what number of troops were shut up
in the city. I inquired whether we were far from the residences of
General Mack and the Archduke. 'They are close at hand,' replied my
guide. I concluded that all the remains of the Austrian army were
in Ulm, and the sequel of the conversation confirmed me in this
conjecture. At length we reached the inn where the general-in-chief
resided. He was a tall elderly man, and the expression of his pallid
countenance denoted a lively imagination. His features were disturbed
by a feeling of anxiety which he endeavoured to conceal. After
exchanging a few compliments, I told him my name; and then entering
upon the subject of my mission, I informed him that the Emperor
had sent me to invite him to surrender, and to settle with him the
conditions of the capitulation. These words evidently offended him;
and at first he seemed disinclined to listen to me further: but I
insisted on being heard; and I observed that having been received,
I, as well as the Emperor, might naturally suppose that he knew
how to appreciate his condition. But he replied, sharply, that his
situation would soon be changed, as the Russian army was advancing
to his assistance; that we should be placed between two fires, and
it would then be our turn to capitulate. I replied, that situated
as he was, it was not surprising he should be ignorant of what was
passing in Germany; but that I must inform him Marshal Bernadotte was
in possession of Ingolstadt and Munich, and that he had his advance
posts on the Inn, where the Russians had not yet shewn themselves.
'May I be the greatest ——,' exclaimed General Mack, angrily, 'if I
am not positively informed that the Russians are at Dachau! Do you
think to impose on me thus? Do you take me for a boy? No, Monsieur de
Segur, if I receive not assistance within eight days, I consent to
surrender my fortress, on condition that my troops shall be prisoners
of war, and my officers prisoners on parole. Eight days will allow
time for affording me assistance; and I shall thus fulfil my duty.
But I shall receive aid, I am certain!'—'Allow me to repeat, General,
that we are masters not only of Dachau, but of Munich also: besides,
allowing your supposition to be correct, if the Russians be really
at Dachau, five days will enable them to advance and attack us, and
these five days his Majesty is willing to grant you.'—'No, Sir,'
replied the Marshal, 'I demand eight days. I can listen to no other
proposition; I must have eight days; that period is indispensable to
my responsibility.'—'Then,' resumed I, 'the whole difficulty consists
in settling the difference between five and eight days. But I cannot
conceive why your Excellency should attach so much importance to this
point, seeing that the Emperor is before you, at the head of 100,000
men; and that the corps of Marshal Bernadotte and General Marmont are
sufficient to retard for three days the advance of the Russians, even
supposing them to be where they are really very far from being.'—'They
are at Dachau,' repeated General Mack.—'Well, Baron! be it so: and
even allowing them to be at Augsburgh, we should only be the more
ready to come to an agreement with you. Do not force us to carry Ulm
by assault; for then, instead of waiting five days, it will be but
a morning's work for the Emperor to gain possession of it.'—'Sir,'
replied the General-in-chief, 'do not imagine that fifteen thousand
men are so easily subdued. The conquest will cost you dear.'—'Perhaps
a few hundred men,' I replied; 'while Germany will reproach you with
the loss of your army and the destruction of Ulm; in short, with
all the horrors of an assault, which his Majesty seeks to prevent,
by the proposition which he has charged me to make to you.'—'Rather
say,' exclaimed the Marshal, 'that it will cost you ten thousand
men! The strength of Ulm is known.'—'It consists in the heights
which surround it, and which are in our possession.'—'Come, come,
Sir, it is impossible that you can be ignorant of the strength of
Ulm!'—'Certainly not, Marshal; and I am the better able to appreciate
it, now that I am within the walls of the city.'—'Well, Sir,' resumed
the unfortunate General, 'you see men ready to defend themselves to
the utmost extremity, should your Emperor refuse to grant them an
armistice of eight days. I can hold out for a considerable time. Ulm
contains 3000 horses, which, rather than surrender, we will eat,
with as much pleasure as you would were you in our place.'—'Three
thousand horses!' I exclaimed: 'alas, Marshal! you must look forward
to dreadful misery before you can think of trusting to so pitiful a

“The Marshal eagerly assured me, that he had provisions for ten
days; but I believed no such thing. Day was beginning to dawn, and
the negotiation was no farther advanced than at the commencement of
our interview. I might have granted six days; but General Mack so
obstinately insisted on eight, that I concluded the concession of a
single day would be useless. I would not incur the risk, and I rose
to depart, saying, that my instructions required me to return before
day-light; and, in case my proposition should be rejected, to transmit
to Marshal Ney the order for commencing the attack. Here General Mack
complained of the conduct of the Marshal towards one of his flags
of truce, whose message he had refused to hear. I availed myself of
this circumstance to remark, that the Marshal's temper was hasty,
impetuous, and ungovernable; that he commanded the most numerous
corps, and that which was nearest the city; that he impatiently
awaited the order to commence the assault, which order I was to
transmit to him on my departure from Ulm. The old General, however,
was not intimidated; he insisted on being allowed an interval of eight
days, and urged me to make the proposal to the Emperor.

“Poor General Mack was on the point of signing his own ruin, and that
of Austria. But notwithstanding his desperate situation, in which he
must have suffered the most cruel anxiety, he still refused to yield:
he preserved his presence of mind, and maintained the dispute in
an animated way. He defended the only thing that he could defend,
namely, time. He sought to retard the fall of Austria, of which he had
himself been the cause, and wished to procure her a few days longer
for preparation: when lost himself, he still contended for her. His
character, which was political rather than military, led him to exert
cunning in opposition to power. He was bewildered amidst a crowd of

“About nine in the morning of the 25th, I rejoined the Emperor at
the Abbey of Elchingen, where I rendered him an account of the
negotiation. He appeared quite satisfied; and I left him. He however
desired me to attend him again; and finding that I did not come at
the very moment, he sent Marshal Berthier to me, with a written copy
of the propositions which he wished me to induce General Mack to sign
immediately. The Emperor granted the Austrian General eight days,
reckoning from the date of the 23d, the first day of the blockade;
thus their number was in reality reduced to six, which I might at
first have proposed, but which I would not concede.

“However, in case of obstinate refusal, I was authorized to date the
eight days from the 25th, and thus the Emperor would still have gained
a day by the concession. The object was to enter Ulm speedily, in
order to augment the glory of the victory by its rapidity; to reach
Vienna before the town should recover from the shock, or the Russian
army could be in a situation to act; and, finally, our provisions were
beginning to fail us, which was another reason for urging us on.

“Major-General Marshal Berthier intimated to me, that he would
approach the town; and that if the conditions were agreed on, he
should be glad if I would procure his admittance.

“I returned to Ulm about noon. The precautions which had been observed
on my first visit were again repeated; but on this occasion I found
General Mack at the gate of the city. I delivered to him the Emperor's
ultimatum, and he withdrew to deliberate upon it with several of his
Generals, among whom I observed a Prince of Lichtenstein, and Generals
Klénau and Ginlay. In about a quarter of an hour, he returned, and
again began to dispute with me respecting the date. He mistook some
particular point in the written propositions, and this induced him
to believe that he would obtain an armistice of eight whole days,
reckoning from the 25th. In a singular transport of joy, he exclaimed,
“M. de Segur! my dear M. de Segur! I relied on the Emperor's
generosity; and I have not been deceived. Tell Marshal Berliner
I respect him. Tell the Emperor, that I have only a few trifling
observations to make; and that I will sign the propositions you have
brought me. But inform his Majesty, that Marshal Ney has behaved ill
to me—that he has treated me most disrespectfully. Assure the Emperor,
that I relied on his generosity.” Then, with increased warmth of
feeling, he added, “Monsieur de Segur, I value your esteem: I attach
importance to the opinion that you may entertain of me. I wish to show
you the paper I had signed; for I assure you my determination was
fixed.” So saying, he unfolded a sheet of paper, on which were written
these words: _Eight days, or death!_ signed, _Mack_.

“I was thunderstruck at the joyful expression which animated his
countenance. I was unable to account for the puerile triumph he
evinced at so vain a concession. When on the point of sinking, to what
a frail twig did the poor General cling, in the hope of preserving
his own reputation, the honour of his army, and ensuring the safety
of Austria! He took my hand, pressed it cordially, and suffered me to
depart from Ulm without being blindfolded: he moreover allowed me to
introduce Marshal Berthier into the fortress without the observance
of the usual formalities; in short, he appeared perfectly delighted.
He started, in the presence of Marshal Berthier, another argument
respecting the dates. I explained the mistake that had occurred; and
the matter was to be referred to the Emperor. In the morning the
General assured me that he had provisions for ten days; but I had
already intimated to his Majesty, that he appeared to have a very
short supply; which, indeed, proved to be the case, for that very day
he solicited permission to have provision conveyed to the fortress.

“Mack, on finding that his position was turned, conceived, that by
throwing himself into Ulm and remaining there, he would draw the
Emperor beneath the ramparts, where he hoped to detain him, and thus
favour the flight of his other corps in different directions. He
thought he had sacrificed himself, and this idea served to uphold
his courage. When I entered upon my negotiations with him, he was of
opinion that our army was drawn up before Ulm, and unable to move. He
made the Archduke and Werneck secretly quit the city. One division
attempted to escape to Memmingen; another was flying to the mountains
of Tyrol: all were either actually made prisoners, or were on the
point of being taken.

“On the 27th, General Mack came to see the Emperor at Elchingen: all
his illusions had vanished.

“His Majesty, to convince him of the uselessness of detaining us
longer before Ulm, described to him all the horrors of his situation.
He assured him of our success on every point; informed him that
Werneck's corps, all his artillery, and eight of his Generals had
capitulated; that the Archduke himself was in danger, and that no
tidings had been received of the Russians. All this intelligence
came like a thunderbolt on the General-in-chief: his strength failed
him, and he was obliged to support himself against the wall of the
apartment. He was overpowered by the weight of his misfortune. He
acknowledged the extremity to which he was reduced; and frankly told
us, that the provisions in Ulm were exhausted. He however said, that
instead of 15,000 men, there were 24,000 fighting men, and 3000
invalids; but that all were plunged into the deepest confusion,
and that every moment augmented the dangers of their situation. He
added, that he was convinced all hope had vanished, and he therefore
consented to surrender Ulm on the following day (the 28th) at three

“On quitting his Majesty's presence, he saw some of our officers; and
I heard him say, 'It is mortifying to be disgraced in the estimation
of so many brave men: however, I have in my pocket my opinion, written
and signed, in which I refused to have my army parcelled out. But I
did not command; the Archduke John was there.' It is very possible
that Mack was obeyed only with reluctance.

“On the 23th, 33,000 Austrians surrendered themselves prisoners.
They defiled before the Emperor. The infantry threw down their arms
on the other side of the ditch; the cavalry dismounted, laid down
their arms, and delivered up their horses to our cavalry on foot. The
troops, while surrendering their arms, shouted 'Vive l'Empereur!' Mack
was present: he said to the officers, who had addressed him without
knowing who he was, 'You see before you the unfortunate Mack!'”

I was at Elchingen with Generals Mouton and Bertrand when Mack came to
present his respects to Napoleon. “I flatter myself, Gentlemen,” said
he to us, as he passed through the saloon of the aide-de-camp on duty,
“that you do not cease to regard me as a brave man, though I have been
obliged to capitulate with a force so considerable: it was difficult
to resist the manœuvres of your Emperor; his plans have ruined me.”

Napoleon, who was overjoyed at his success, sent General Bertrand
to examine the returns of the army that was in Ulm. He brought
intelligence that there were 21,000 men in the city: the Emperor
could not believe this. “You speak their language,” said he to me;
“go and ascertain the truth.” I went; I interrogated the commanders
of corps, the generals, and the troops; and, from the information
thus collected, I learned that the garrison contained 26,000 men fit
for service. Napoleon, on hearing this, said, “I was mad, and that
the thing was impossible.” However, when the army defiled before us,
its number, as M. de Segur had stated, amounted to 33,000 men, and
nineteen generals: the cavalry and artillery were superb.


We had not been able to shut up all the Austrian force in Ulm. Werneck
escaped by the way of Heidenheim, and the Archduke hastened after him.
They were both in full flight; but Fate had pronounced her decree,
and against that there is no appeal. Napoleon being informed, in the
middle of the night, that they were advancing on Albeck, immediately
summoned the Grand-duke. “A division,” said he, “has escaped from
the garrison, and threatens our rear; pursue and destroy it: let not
one escape.” The rain descended in torrents, and the roads were in
a dreadful condition; but fatigue and danger were forgotten in the
triumph of victory. Our troops hastened onward intent on conquest.
Murat came up with the enemy, attacked and routed him. He pursued him
closely in his flight for the space of two leagues, scarcely allowing
him time to take breath. Some masses occupied Erbrectingen with
cannon. Night had set in and our horses were exhausted: we halted. The
9th light arrived about ten o'clock. We then advanced; the attack
was resumed; village, artillery, caissons, all were taken. General
Odonel endeavoured to keep his ground with his rear-guard; but he was
observed by one of our quarter-masters, who wounded him and made him
prisoner. It was midnight, our troops were overcome with fatigue, and
we pursued our triumph no farther.

The enemy fled precipitately in the direction of Nordlingen, where
we possessed artillery and depôts. It was important to prevent his
reaching that point. Murat detached some parties, who, by harassing
and impeding him in his march, forced him to take up a position, that
is to say, to lose time. On the other hand, General Rivaud was to
put the bridge of Donnavert in a state of security, and to proceed
with the surplus of his force to the Wiesnitz. Every passage was
intercepted. These arrangements being made, the Prince began his
march and came up with the Archduke, who was deploying on Neresheim.
We attacked him with the enthusiasm inspired by victory: the shock
was irresistible; the cavalry fled, and the infantry laid down
their arms. Guns, standards, troops, all were taken in a mass: the
most terrible disorder prevailed. Klein, Fauconet, and Lanusses,
continued the pursuit, intercepted the enemy on every side, and
dispersed him in every direction. Werneck was summoned to surrender;
he hesitated; but a combination of extraordinary circumstances at
length induced him to do so. The officer appointed to escort the
French flag of truce crossed several plains in quest of his chief. He
met the Prince of Hohenzollern, to whom he communicated the object
of his mission. The Prince accompanied him, not doubting that the
Field-Marshal would accept the conditions. They directed their course
to Nordlingen, which they found occupied, not by the Austrians, but
by French troops. On the other hand, General Lasalle had advanced on
Merking, and had taken a thousand men. The fugitives spread alarm in
the enemy's head-quarters. These accounts staggered Werneck, and he
shewed himself disposed to treat. He detained the French officer and
sent as a hostage the Major of the regiment of Rannitz. He deferred
the negotiation until next day; for he wished to try the chances of
the night. As soon as it was dark, he proposed to combine his forces
with those of the Archduke; but the French intercepted the road, and
General Rivaud drove back Lichtenstein, and penetrated the great park,
which our hussars attacked in the rear. Werneck dared not go farther;
he thought himself surrounded, and he negotiated. Our troops occupied
the heights in order to be prepared against a surprise: but night
advanced; and Hohenzollern, who on the preceding day had regarded
the capitulation as inevitable, now availed himself of darkness to
elude it. General Miskiery followed his example: they escaped with
the cavalry and a few infantry troops, which had formed a part of the
corps that had laid down arms. It might have been supposed that they
were bound by the engagements of their chief; but no such thing; at
least they thought so, for they rejoined the wrecks of the Archduke's
force, with which they threw themselves on the Prussian territory. We
came up with them at Gunderhausen, and demanded the fulfilment of the
convention. The Prince of Schwartzenberg referred to orders, wished to
clear up doubts, to write, to explain; in a word, to gain time.

The Prussians insisted on their neutrality; they required that the
city should not be attacked, and that the enemy's column should
evacuate it. A person in magisterial robes came, escorted by a party
of the Archduke's officers, to threaten us with the displeasure of
King William. Klein was not the man to be intimidated by this kind
of masquerade: he sent to the Grand Duke the magistrate in the
Austrian interest, and gave the signal for the attack. The Prince of
Schwartzenberg was quite disconcerted: he had not imagined that the
General was so near at hand. He protested against the violation of
the Prussian territory, and proposed that we should respect it and
not occupy Gunderhausen. Klein told him to set a good example, and he
would follow it. We continued to advance, and yet Schwartzenberg came
to no decision. Murat, tired of being taken for a dupe, gave orders
for terminating the discussions and marching forward. The enemy's
rear-guard then set off at full gallop, and left us in possession of
the place. We pursued him for several leagues, without being able to
come up with him. It was night, and we took a position. We resumed
our march at daybreak; but the Archduke had fled so rapidly that we
did not overtake the rear of his baggage until we reached Nuremberg.
A piquet of our advance-guard charged him, and obliged the escort
battalion to lay down their arms. The piquet then pressed forward,
and entered a woody road, thronged with artillery and baggage,
pursuing some hundreds of dragoons, who vainly endeavoured to rally
themselves. The great body of the Austrian force was awaiting us in
an advantageous position. Our chasseurs were obliged to fall back;
but the hussars and carabiniers advanced, and the army was completely
routed. The Archduke himself narrowly escaped being made prisoner.
This was a finishing stroke to the corps who had escaped from Ulm. In
the short space of five days, 7000 brave men marched over forty-five
leagues, destroyed an army of 25,000 men, took their military chest
and baggage, carried off 128 pieces of cannon, 11 standards, and made
from 12 to 15,000 prisoners. Of all the Archduke's force nothing now
remained but a few thousand unfortunate men scattered about in the

Klein, however, persisted in his demands, and Werneck himself urged
the fulfilment of the conditions that had been entered into. They
required that the officers included in the capitulations should
surrender themselves prisoners. The French General addressed his
remonstrances to the Archduke, or, in his absence, to the General
commanding the Austrian army; but such disorder prevailed, that
the flag of truce was obliged to advance into the very heart of
Bohemia before he could find an officer to receive his dispatches.
The answer was long expected; but it at length arrived. It was a
letter from General Kollowrard, who transmitted to us the following


     “You have submitted Lieutenant-general Werneck's letter to my
     consideration. I must inform you that, according to the rules
     of war and the law of nations, I regard the pretensions of the
     French General as very illegal.

     “Consequently I declare that you, and the troops with whom
     you have returned, cannot be included in the capitulation. I
     therefore order you as well as them to continue to serve as

                            _Signed_, FERDINAND.
                      _Countersigned_, MORVAHL. Major and Aide-de-Camp.

     “Egra, Oct. 23, 1805.”

By this document the capitulation was rendered no capitulation; and
thus Hohenzollern had fled without any violation of honour. He seemed
astonished at being required to surrender in a mass troops which he
was losing no less effectually in detail. His letter was curious; it
was as follows:


     “Dear Comrade,

     “I cannot conceal my astonishment at the proposition that has
     been made to me to surrender with the cavalry which formed part
     of your corps. When I left you, you in my presence refused to
     enter into any capitulation; and, for my part, I intended to
     bring back the cavalry to the army at all hazards, if you could
     not extricate yourself with the infantry. I endeavoured to do
     this, and I succeeded. I do not understand by what law I can be
     accounted a prisoner of war, not having been present at your
     arrangements, in which I should never have suffered myself to be
     included. Having been separated from you since yesterday, I no
     longer conceive myself bound to fulfil your orders: I receive the
     commands of his Royal Highness our General-in-chief.

     “I have the honour to be your very humble and obedient servant,

                               _Signed_, LIEUT.-GEN. HOHENZOLLERN,
                                     Privy Counsellor.”

Napoleon was satisfied with himself, with the army and with every
body. He expressed his approbation of our conduct by the following

“Soldiers of the Great Army!

“In the space of fifteen days we have finished the campaign. All that
we proposed to do has been accomplished. We have driven from Bavaria
the troops of the House of Austria, and restored our ally to the
sovereignty of his States.

“That army which, with equal presumption and imprudence, came to
station itself on our frontiers, has been annihilated.

“But what does it signify to England? Her object is fulfilled. We are
no longer at Boulogne, and her subsidy will be neither more nor less.

“Of the 100,000 men who composed that army, sixty thousand are
prisoners: they will supply the place of our conscripts in
agricultural labours.

“Two hundred pieces of cannon, the whole park, ninety standards, and
all their Generals, are in our hands. Scarcely 15,000 men have escaped.

“Soldiers! I announced to you a great battle; but thanks to the ill
concerted plans of the enemy, I have obtained all the success I
anticipated without encountering any risk; and it is a circumstance
unparalleled in the history of nations that so great a triumph should
have diminished our force only by 1500 men rendered unfit for service.

“Soldiers! this success is due to the full confidence you reposed in
your Emperor, to your patience under fatigue and privation of every
kind, and to your singular intrepidity.

“But we shall not stop here. You are eager to commence a second

“The Russian army, which English gold has transported from the further
extremity of Europe, will experience a similar fate.

“The present campaign is particularly connected with the glory of
the French infantry; the question which has already been determined
in Switzerland and Holland, will now be decided for the second time;
namely, whether the French infantry be the first or the second in

“There are among the Russians no Generals over whom I can hope to
obtain glory. All my care will be to gain the victory with the least
possible effusion of blood: my soldiers are my children.”


We had now done with the Austrians, and we advanced to meet the
Russians. Kutusoff affected resolution, and we thought him disposed
to fight. We congratulated ourselves on this new opportunity
of augmenting our glory. But all this was mere pretence on the
part of Kutusoff; he abandoned the Inn, the Traun, and the Ems,
and disappeared. We pressed forward on Vienna; we advanced with
inconceivable speed: never was a movement executed with such rapidity.
The Emperor became apprehensive; he feared lest by this precipitancy
our rear might be endangered, and our flank exposed to the Russians.
“Murat,” said he to me, “runs on like a blind man; he presses forward
as though the only object were to enter Vienna. The enemy has nobody
to oppose him; he may dispose of all his forces and destroy Mortier.
Direct Berthier to stop the columns.” Berthier came; Marshal Soult
received orders to fall back as far as Mautern. Davoust took up his
position at the junction of the roads of Lilienfeldt and Neustadt,
and Bernadotte stationed himself at Mælck. But these arrangements
did not prevent the engagement of which Napoleon feared the issue.
Four thousand French were attacked by the whole of the enemy's force;
but skill, courage, and the necessity of conquering, made amends
for our inferiority of numbers: the Russians were driven back. The
intelligence of this astonishing victory set our whole force in
motion: the Emperor pursued his march with even more eagerness than
he had before evinced in suspending it. He wished to come up with the
Austrians, to take the passage of the Danube, to turn and cut off
their allies, and beat them before they could receive reinforcements.
He hastily dispatched orders: men and horses, all were immediately
in motion. “The field is open,” said Napoleon, “Murat may yield to
his natural impetuosity; but he must take a wider range, he must
surprise the bridge.” He immediately wrote to him as follows:—“The
grand object at the present moment is to pass the Danube, in order
to drive the Russians from Krems by attacking their rear. The enemy
will probably destroy the bridge of Vienna; and yet, if there should
be any possibility of gaining it undamaged, that must be done. This
consideration alone can induce the Emperor to enter Vienna; and in
that case you must introduce into the city only a portion of your
cavalry and the grenadiers. It is necessary that you should ascertain
the force of the civic guard in Vienna. The Emperor presumes that you
have planted some pieces of cannon to intercept the passage across
the Danube between Krems and Vienna. Some parties of cavalry should
be stationed on the right bank of the river; but you mention nothing
of this to the Emperor. His Majesty thinks it necessary to know what
he has to trust to; so that if it should be possible to intercept the
Danube below Vienna, it may be done. General Suchet's division will
remain with a portion of your cavalry on the great road leading from
Vienna to Bukersdorf, at least if you be not master of the bridge
across the Danube, and if it has not been burned. In that case,
Suchet's division must repair thither, in order to be enabled to cross
the river with your cavalry and grenadiers, and to march on as rapidly
as possible to fall on the communications of the Russians. I think it
probable that the Emperor will remain all the day at Saint-Polten.

“His Majesty recommends you, Prince, to transmit to him frequent
accounts of your proceedings.

“When you arrive at Vienna, provide yourself with the best maps that
can be procured, of the environs of that city and of Lower Austria.

“Should General Count Giulay, or any other individual, wish to have an
interview with the Emperor, send him hither with all speed.

“The civic guard on duty at Vienna must amount to upwards of five
hundred men.

“When once you reach Vienna you may easily obtain intelligence of the
arrival of the other Russian columns, as well as of the design of
those who have established themselves at Krems.

“You will have your own cavalry, together with the corps of Marshals
Lannes and Davoust, in the operation of turning the Russians and
falling on their rear. As to the corps of Marshals Bernadotte and
Soult, they cannot be disposed of until we shall definitively know
what course the Russians may adopt.

“After ten o'clock in the morning, you may enter Vienna. Endeavour
to surprise the bridge of the Danube, or, if it should be destroyed,
adopt the most speedy means of crossing the river: that is the grand
affair at present. But if, before ten o'clock, M. de Giulay should
present himself with proposals for negotiating and inducing you to
suspend your march, you may stop your movement on Vienna, but you must
nevertheless direct your attention to the best means of crossing the
Danube at Klosterburgh, or some other favourable point.

“The Emperor directs that between Seghartz-Kirchen and Vienna you
shall station, at the distance of two French leagues from each other,
posts of cavalry consisting of ten men each, whose horses will serve
as relays to the officers whom you may send with accounts of your
movements. The men forming these posts may bear despatches from
Seghartz-Kirchen to Saint-Polten. Marshal Bessières will station posts
of the Emperor's guard.”


We were at Saint-Polten. Napoleon was riding on horseback on the
Vienna road, when he perceived an open carriage advancing, in which
were seated a priest and a lady bathed in tears. The Emperor was
dressed as usual in the uniform of a colonel of the chasseurs of
the guard. The lady did not know him. He enquired the cause of her
affliction, and whither she was going. Sir,” she replied, “I have
been robbed at about two leagues from hence by a party of soldiers,
who have killed my gardener. I am going to request that your Emperor
will grant me a guard. He once knew my family well, and lay under
obligations to them.”—“Your name?” enquired Napoleon—“De Brunny,”
answered the lady; “I am the daughter of M. de Marbœuf, formerly
governor of Corsica.”—“I am delighted to meet with you, Madam,”
exclaimed Napoleon, with the most charming frankness, “and to have
an opportunity of serving you. I am the Emperor.” The lady was
amazed. Napoleon consoled her, and directed her to wait for him at
head-quarters. He treated her with the utmost attention, granted
her a piquet of chasseurs of his guard, and sent her away happy and

Napoleon had received a report, which he was reading with an air
of satisfaction. I entered his closet. “Well, Rapp,” said he, “do
you know that we have parties of our troops in the very heart of
Bohemia?”—“Yes, Sire.”—“Do you know what sort of cavalry has beat
the Houlans, captured posts, and taken magazines?”—“No, Sire.”—“Our
infantry mounted on draught horses!”—“How?”—He handed me the report.
Some of our detachments who had penetrated into Bohemia, suddenly
found themselves in an open tract of country: they had but twenty
dragoons; they would not fall back, and they dared not advance
further. In this perplexing situation, the commander thought of an
expedient. He collected together all the baggage horses, mounted his
infantry, and thus equipped, led them through the thick forests in
the neighbourhood of Egra. Some parties of the enemy's cavalry who
advanced to oppose them were driven back; we took men, horses and
provisions; the latter were committed to the flames. I returned the
report to the Emperor. “Well,” said he, “what think you of this new
kind of cavalry?”—“Admirable, Sire.”—“Men who have French blood in
their veins,” observed he, “always know how to deal death among the
enemy's ranks.”

We marched close upon the enemy's rear-guard. We might easily have
taken it; but we avoided doing so. We wished to lull his vigilance:
we did not press him closely, and we circulated reports of peace.
We suffered both troops and baggage to escape us; but the loss of a
few men was of little consequence. The preservation of the bridges
was the important point: if they should be broken, it was determined
that we should repair them; we took our measures accordingly. The
troops, who were posted in _echelon_ on the road, were warned to
allow no demonstration to escape them that was likely to put the
enemy on his guard. No one was permitted to enter Vienna; but every
thing being examined, and every arrangement completed, the Grand Duke
took possession of the capital, and directed Lanusses and Bertrand
to make without delay a _reconnaissance_ on the river. They found at
the gates of the suburb a post of Austrian cavalry. There had been no
fighting for upwards of three days. It appeared as though an armistice
had been entered into. Lanusses and Bertrand accosted the Austrian
commandant, commenced a conversation with him, followed him closely,
and would not suffer him to quit them. On reaching the banks of the
river, they still persisted in following him, in spite of his wish to
get rid of them. The Austrian became impatient; the French generals
asked leave to communicate with the general commanding the troops
stationed on the left bank of the river. They obtained permission to
do so; but the 10th hussars were not allowed to accompany them, and
they were consequently obliged to halt and take a position. Meanwhile
our troops were advancing, led by the Grand Duke and Marshal Lannes.
The bridge still remained undamaged; but the trains were laid, and
the gunners held their matches in readiness: the least sign that
might have indicated the intention of passing by force would have
ruined the enterprize. It was necessary to resort to artifice; and
we succeeded in imposing on the simplicity of the Austrians. The two
marshals dismounted, and only a small detachment entered upon the
bridge. General Belliard advanced, walking with his hands behind
his back, accompanied by two officers of the staff: Lannes joined
him with some others; they walked about, talking together, and at
length joined the Austrians. The officer commanding the post, at
first directed them to stand back; but he at length permitted them to
advance, and they entered into conversation together. They repeated
what had already been affirmed by General Bertrand, namely, that
the negotiations were advancing, that the war was at an end, and
that there would be no more fighting and slaughter. “Why,” said the
Marshal, “do you keep your guns still pointed at us? Has there not
been enough of bloodshed? Do you wish to attack us, and to prolong
miseries which weigh more heavily on you than on us? Come, let us
have no more provocation; turn your guns.” Half persuaded and half
convinced, the commanding officer yielded. The artillery was turned in
the direction of the Austrians, and the troops laid down their arms in
bundles. During this conference the platoon of our advance-guard came
up slowly, and at length it arrived, masking sappers and gunners,
who threw the combustible matters into the river, sprinkled water on
the powder, and cut the trains. The Austrian commander, who was not
sufficiently acquainted with the French language to take much interest
in the conversation, perceived that the troop was gaining ground, and
endeavoured to make us understand that he could not permit it. Marshal
Lannes and General Belliard tried to satisfy him; they observed that
the cold was severe, and that our men were only marching about to
warm themselves. But the column still continued to advance, and it
was already three quarters over the bridge. The commander lost all
patience, and ordered his troops to fire: they instantly took up their
arms, and the artillerymen prepared their guns. Our situation was
terrible: a little less presence of mind on our part, and the bridge
would have been blown up, our troops in the river, and the campaign
at an end. But the Austrian had to deal with men who were not easily
disconcerted. Marshal Lannes seized him by the one arm and General
Belliard by the other. They threatened him, and drowned his voice
when he attempted to call for help. Meanwhile the Prince of Hogsberg
arrived accompanied by General Bertrand. An officer set off to render
an account of the state of affairs to the Grand Duke; and on his way
transmitted to the troop an order to quicken their march and arrive
speedily. The Marshal advanced to meet the Prince, complained of the
conduct of the commander of the post, requested that he might be
punished and removed from the rear-guard, where he might impede the
negotiations. Hogsberg fell into the snare: he deliberated, approved,
contradicted, and lost himself in a useless conversation. Our troops
made the most of their time; they arrived, debouched, and the
bridge was taken. Reconnaissances were immediately ordered in every
direction; and General Belliard led our columns on the road leading
to Stockrau, where they took a position. Hogsberg, mortified at his
ill-timed loquacity, proceeded to the Grand Duke, who, after a short
conversation, referred him to Napoleon, and also crossed the river.

The Austrian piquet still kept guard on the bridge. We bivouacked
in confusion: the troops were mingled together at Stockrau as on
the banks of the river. Napoleon found that this interspersion was
not convenient, and he sent the Houlans to Vienna, where they were

We arrived at Austerlitz. The Russians had a force Superior to ours.
They had repulsed our advance-guard, and they thought us already
subdued. The attack commenced; but instead of that easy conquest
which had been obtained merely by their guard, they every where
experienced the most obstinate resistance. The battle had already
lasted an hour, and it was still far from being decided in their
favour. They resolved to make a last attempt on our centre. The
Imperial guard deployed; infantry, cavalry, and artillery, advanced
on the bridge, without the movement being perceived by Napoleon; for
the nature of the ground screened it from his observation. A discharge
of musketry was soon heard: a brigade, commanded by General Schinner,
had been penetrated by the Russians. Napoleon ordered me to take the
Mamelukes, two squadrons of chasseurs, and one of grenadiers of the
guard, and to go forward to reconnoitre the state of things. I set off
at full gallop, and it was not until I came within gun-shot of the
scene of action, that I discovered the disaster. The enemy's cavalry
was in the midst of our square, and was sabring our troops. A little
further back we discerned masses of infantry and cavalry forming
the reserve. The enemy relinquished the attack, and turned to meet
me. Four pieces of artillery arrived and were placed in battery. I
advanced in good order; I had the brave Colonel Morland on my left,
and General Dallemagne on my right. “Do you see,” said I to my troop,
“our friends and brothers trampled on by the enemy: avenge them,
avenge our colours.” We rushed on the artillery, which was taken. The
cavalry, who awaited us, was repulsed by the same shock; they fled in
disorder, and we, as well as the enemy, trampled over the bodies of
our troops, whose squares had been penetrated. The men who had escaped
being wounded were rallied. A squadron of horse grenadiers arrived
to reinforce me; and I was enabled to receive the reserves, who came
up in aid of the Russian guard. We resumed the attack, which was
maintained with terrible fury. The infantry dared not venture to fire;
all was confusion; we fought man to man. Finally, the intrepidity
of our troops triumphed over every obstacle. The Russians fled and
dispersed. Alexander and the Emperor of Austria witnessed the defeat.
Stationed on a height, at a little distance from the field of battle,
they saw the guard, which was expected to decide the victory, cut to
pieces by a handful of brave men. Their guns and baggage had fallen
into our hands, and Prince Repnin was our prisoner. Unfortunately we
had a great number of men killed and wounded. Colonel Morland was no
more, and I had myself received a sabre wound in the head. I went
to render an account of this affair to the Emperor. My broken sabre,
my wound, the blood with which I was covered, the decided advantage
we had gained with so small a force over the enemy's chosen troops,
inspired Napoleon with the idea of the picture which was painted by

The Russians, as I have already mentioned, hoped to defeat us with
their guard alone. This presumption offended Napoleon, and it was long
before he forgot it.

After the battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon made me a General of
Division, and sent me to the Castle of Austerlitz until I should
recover from my wound, which, however, was not dangerous. The Emperor
visited me several times; once on the day on which he granted an
interview to the Emperor of Austria. He put into my hands two letters
which had been intercepted by our advanced posts; one was from Prince
Charles, and the other from a Prince Lichtenstein. Their contents were
rather important; and I got them translated. On his way back in the
evening, Napoleon came and had these letters read to him. He talked
to me a great deal about Francis II., his complaints and regrets; and
told me many curious circumstances respecting him.

We set out for Shœnbrunn; and in about a fortnight after our arrival
thither, Napoleon sent for me: “Are you able to travel?” said
he:—“Yes, Sire.”—“Well, then, go and give an account of the battle of
Austerlitz to Marmont, in order to vex him for not having come; and
observe the effect that it will produce on the Italians.” He then gave
me the following instructions:

     “Monsieur General Rapp, you will proceed to Gratz, where you will
     remain as long as may be necessary to communicate to General
     Marmont the details of the battle of Austerlitz. Inform him that
     the negotiations are open, but that nothing is concluded; and
     that he must therefore hold himself in readiness for any event
     that may occur. You must also make yourself acquainted with
     General Marmont's situation, and ascertain what number of the
     enemy's force is before him. Tell him, that I desire he will
     send spies into Hungary; and that he will communicate to me all
     the information he may collect. You must next repair to Laybach,
     where you will find Marshal Massena, who has the command of the
     eighth army corps; and transmit to me a correct report of his
     situation. You will inform Massena, that if the negociations are
     broken off, as it is possible they may be, he will be sent to
     Vienna. Let me know what amount of the enemy's force Marshal
     Massena has before him; and report to me the situation of his
     corps in every point of view. You will next proceed to Palmanova,
     after strongly urging Marshal Massena to arm and provision the
     fortress in an effectual way, and you will inform me of the
     state in which it is. Next proceed and examine the posts which
     we occupy before Venice, and ascertain the state of our troops.
     Thence you will repair to the army of General Saint-Cyr, who is
     about to march on Naples: you must ascertain the nature and the
     amount of his force. You will return by the way of Klagenfurth,
     where you will see Marshal Ney, and then rejoin me. Do not fail
     to write to me from every place at which you stop. Despatch
     estafettes to me from Gratz, Laybach, Palmanova, Venice, and the
     place where the army of Naples may be stationed. I pray God to
     take you into his holy keeping.


     25 Frimaire, year XIV.”

I rejoined Napoleon at Munich, whither he had gone to be present
at the marriage of Prince Eugène. The Prince came from Italy, and
I accompanied him. During my absence, peace had been concluded at
Vienna. The Emperor had an interview with Prince Charles: he intended
to have presented him with a magnificent sword; but he was displeased
with the Archduke, and the sword was not given.

We set out for Paris. Acclamations resounded on every side: Napoleon
was never received with so much enthusiasm.


During our stay at Ulm, the Prussians suddenly conceived the idea
that they had an ancient inheritance of glory to defend. They were
roused, and they took up arms. Haugwitz came to inform us of this
sudden reminiscence. But the battle of Austerlitz had taken place in
the interim. When the Minister arrived, nothing was thought of but
alliance and devotion. Napoleon was not the dupe of these diplomatic
protestations: he was aware of the intrigues and the chivalric scenes
that had been resorted to for the purpose of exciting the multitude.
Previous to the action he had said; “If I am beaten, they will march
upon my rear; if I am victorious, they will say that they wished to
have taken part with me.” They knew not how to make choice either of
peace or war; and they watched the progress of events. This indirect
policy was not without its effect; it cost them Anspach, Bareuth, a
part of the grand duchy of Berg, and their possessions in Westphalia.
They became enraged. I was sent to Hanover, which we had abandoned to
them. The ostensible motive of my journey was the delivering up of the
fortress of Hameln; its real purpose was to learn the state of the
public mind. I was directed to discover what was the general opinion
with regard to the Prussians, whether war was spoken of, whether
the army wished for it, and finally, to buy up at Hamburgh all the
pamphlets against Napoleon and France which I could procure.

My mission was not difficult of execution. The Prussians were
exasperated and insolent; the Hanoverians detested them. The north
of Germany, however, relied on Prussia, whose power remained
undiminished. The Count of Schulemburgh was governor of King William's
new acquisition: he gave me rather a cold reception. Our success
at Ulm and Austerlitz appeared to him but indifferent. The latter
battle he affirmed was indecisive. He said it was like the battle
of Zorndoff, which was fought by Frederick the Great against the
Russians, and in which Count Schulemburgh had himself been engaged.
“What sort of victories would he have?” said the Emperor, when I told
him this anecdote.

I went from Hanover to Hamburgh, where I found Bourienne. Here I was
well received, and I knew the reason why.

I returned to France, and on my way passed through Munster, where I
saw General Blucher, whom I had known some years before. I paid him a
visit. He was not well disposed towards the French; yet he received me
with a great deal of civility.

I remained a week with Augereau at Frankfort, in order to see and hear
all I could; for such were my instructions. Napoleon had just made
a demand for contributions on that town, and the inhabitants were
alarmed lest they should be obliged to pay them.

We occupied Darmstadt. Marshal * * * * * * *, who had established
his head-quarters in the capital of that principality, was neither a
favourite with the Court nor with the people; and his staff was still
less liked. The Grand Duchess sent me an invitation, through Augereau,
who seemed to be partial to that country; I declined it, not having
any instructions to that effect. She commissioned him to transmit to
me her complaints. They were very severe.

I departed for Wesel. I was to examine the state of feeling in that
quarter, which was already occupied by our troops.

On my return, I gave Napoleon an account of all that I had seen and
heard. I concealed nothing from him. I spoke particularly in behalf
of Darmstadt; but he was enraged against the Duchess. She had written
a terrible letter to the King of Bavaria, relative to what she termed
the ill-assorted union of her niece Augusta with Prince Eugène. Among
other insulting expressions she made use of the words _horrible
marriage_. The Emperor, who conceived that the glory of having
achieved great deeds was well worth the advantage of having descended
from those who probably had no glory to boast of, could not pardon the
feudal prejudices of the Duchess. He was on the point of depriving her
of her states; but Maximilian interceded for her, and she escaped with
the punishment of a six months' occupation by our troops; that is to
say, her people were obliged to atone for the offence which her vanity
had led her to commit.

Scarcely a fortnight had elapsed since my return to France. The Court
was at Saint-Cloud, and Napoleon was at the theatre. In the middle of
the performance he received a despatch from the Grand Duchy of Berg.
He opened it. It contained an account of an attack made on our troops
by some Prussian detachments. “I see,” said he, “they are determined
to try us. Mount your horse and seek the Grand Duke at Neuilly.”
Murat was already acquainted with the affair; he came immediately.
Napoleon conversed with him for an instant, and gave me orders next
day to take the command of the military division at Strasburg; to
organise battalions and marching squadrons at that place; to direct
them in succession upon Mentz, and to send to the latter place a large
quantity of artillery. The infantry embarked on the Rhine in order to
arrive earlier at the place of their destination.

I corresponded directly with Napoleon. I employed couriers,
telegraphs, and all the most speedy modes of communication. I could
not venture to put a hundred men in motion, to change the place of
a gun, or to move a musquet, without informing him. I had been two
months engaged in these preparations, when he arrived at Mentz,
whence he wrote to me to join him at Wurtzburg. He sent me a letter
for the Grand Duke of Baden, and directed me to deliver it to the
Prince myself. The object of this letter was to request him to send
his grandson, the present Grand Duke, to the army. I found the
venerable old man in his ancient castle of Baden; he seemed at first
much affected by the contents of the letter; but he soon made up his
mind to send the young Prince, and he ordered preparations for his
departure. He did me the honour to recommend his grandson to me in
a very affectionate manner. The Prince set out on his journey two
days afterwards, and joined us at Wurtzburg. The King of Wirtemberg
was already there. He had just determined on his daughter's marriage
with Jerome. Napoleon was in particularly good humour. The alliance
pleased him. He was no less satisfied with the Grand Duke; for Murat
had singularly prepossessed him in favour of that Prince. In a letter
which Murat addressed to the Emperor some days before, he said;—“I
waited on the Grand Duke of Wurtzburg, whom the letter, and the news
which I communicated to him, that the treaty admitting him into
the confederation had been signed at Paris, have relieved from the
greatest anxiety; for he very much dreaded not being received into
the Confederation. He seemed particularly affected by the sentiments
of good will on the part of your Majesty which I expressed to him.
He evinces the greatest readiness to contribute every thing in his
power to the service of the army. To-day his admission into the
Confederation of the Rhine was proclaimed. Every preparation has been
made for receiving your Majesty at the Castle, where nothing seems to
be neglected which may render your stay here convenient and agreeable.”

We had yet received no positive information with regard to the
Prussians; we knew not whether they were on the road to Magdeburg,
in Saxony, or at Gotha; or even what was the amount of their force.
We had, however, a sufficient number in the field. Gentlemen are
not more scarce on the other side of the Rhine than elsewhere: but
the reports were so contradictory, that it was impossible to form
any distinct idea on the subject. At one time it was said that the
enemy's advance-guard was at Hoff; that Coburg and Memmingen were
occupied; that the Prussians avoided partial actions, and wished
to try their fortune in a pitched battle. At another time it was
affirmed that Hohenlohe was advancing on Schleitz; that Ruchel had
formed his junction; that the Queen had gone to Erfurt; and that the
head-quarters were removed from Hoff to Nauenburgh. This arrangement
did not correspond with the nature of the places. It seemed
inconceivable. We were as uncertain with respect to the extent of the
enemy's forces as we were concerning their line of operations. Amidst
all these various accounts we learnt that Cronach was occupied. The
Grand Duke sent to inform us, that that citadel was under repair, and
would soon be in a state of defence. Napoleon was astonished that
the Prussians had not made themselves masters of it. “What could
have prevented them,” said he, “since they absolutely wanted war?
Was it the difficulty of the attempt?—The place was destitute both
of provisions and artillery. They had sufficient courage for the
enterprize. Did they not consider the place of sufficient importance
to try to secure it? That fort commands three great outlets; but these
gentlemen care little about positions, they are reserving themselves
for grand strokes; we will give them what they want.”

Napoleon every moment received accounts of the Prussian army. Ruchel,
Blucher, and the Duke of Brunswick, were impatient to commence
the war, and Prince Louis was even more so. He urged and hastened
hostilities, and feared to let the opportunity escape. He was,
besides, a man of great courage and talent; all accounts agreed on
this point. Napoleon, who did not dislike this petulant eagerness,
was conversing with us one evening respecting the generals of the
enemy's army. Some one present happened to mention Prince Louis. “As
for him,” said he, “I foretell that he will be killed this campaign.”
Who could have thought that the prediction would so soon have been

Prussia at length explained herself. She required us to abandon our
conquests, and threatened us with her displeasure if we refused to
evacuate Germany and recross the Rhine. The demand was modest, and
worthy of those who urged it. Napoleon could not finish reading the
document; he threw it away contemptuously. “Does he think himself in
Champagne?” said he. “Does he want to give us a new edition of his
manifesto? What! does he pretend to mark out a route for our march
back. Really, I pity Prussia, I feel for William. He is not aware what
rhapsodies he is made to write. This is too ridiculous. Berthier,
they wish to give us a rendezvous of honour for the 8th; a beauteous
Queen will be a witness to the combat. Come, let us march on; and shew
our courtesy. We will not halt till we enter Saxony.” Then turning
immediately to his secretary, he hastily dictated the following


     “The order for your return to France was issued. You were already
     within a few days' march of your homes: triumphal fêtes awaited
     you, and the preparations for your reception had commenced in the
     capital; but while we thus too confidently resigned ourselves to
     security, new plots were hatching under the mask of friendship
     and alliance. Cries of war have been raised at Berlin, and for
     two months we have been provoked with a degree of audacity which
     calls for vengeance.

     “The same faction, the same headlong spirit, which, under favour
     of our internal dissensions, led the Prussians fourteen years
     ago to the plains of Champagne, still prevail in their Councils.
     If they no longer wish to burn and destroy Paris; they now boast
     their intention to plant their colours in the capital of our
     allies. They would oblige Saxony, by a disgraceful transaction,
     to renounce her independence, by ranking her in the list of their
     provinces. They seek, in fine, to tear your laurels from your
     brows. They expect us to evacuate Germany at the sight of their
     army. What madness! Let them learn that it would be a thousand
     times easier to destroy the great capital, than to sully the
     honour of the children of the great people and their allies. In
     their former attempt the plans of our enemies were frustrated.
     They found in the plains of Champagne only shame, defeat, and
     death; but the lessons of experience are forgotten, and there
     are men in whom the feelings of hatred and jealousy never become

     “Soldiers, there is not one of you who would wish to return to
     France by any other path than that of honour. We ought not to
     return except by passing beneath triumphal arches.

     “What! have we braved the inclemency of the seasons, the ocean
     and the desert, have we subdued Europe often united against us;
     have we extended our glory from East to West, only to return now,
     like deserters, after having abandoned our allies, and to be told
     that the French Eagle has fled in dismay before the Prussians.

     “But they have already arrived at our advance posts. Let us,
     then, march upon them, since forbearance will not check their
     infatuation. Let the Prussian army experience the fate which it
     shared fourteen years ago. Let us teach them that if it is easy
     to obtain an increase of territory and power with the friendship
     of the great people, their enmity (which can only be provoked by
     the neglect of prudence and reason) is more terrible than the
     storms of the ocean.”

Our soldiers only wished to fight. The Prussians occupied Saalfeld and
Schleitz; we charged them, routed them, and made a thousand prisoners.
These were the two first engagements which we had with them. I quitted
Murat, whom I had been ordered to follow, and went to render an
account of the affair of Schleitz to Napoleon, who had established
his head-quarters some leagues in the rear, at the residence of a
Princess of Reus-Lobenstein. On my arrival I found Napoleon engaged
with Berthier. I informed him of the success of the Grand Duke, and of
the defeat of Tauenzien. “Tauenzien!” exclaimed Napoleon, “one of the
Prussian intriguers! It was well worth our while to urge on the war
to such a length.” He told me I might retire and take some rest, as I
should be roused in a few hours to set out on a mission. I had no idea
whither I was to go. I was called about 5 o'clock. The Emperor gave
me a letter for King William, who at that time, I believe, held his
head-quarters at Sondershausen. “You must go,” said he, “as fast as
you can after the King of Prussia, and deliver to him this letter from
me. I ask him once more for peace, though hostilities have already
commenced. You must endeavour to convince the King of the danger of
his situation, and the fatal consequences which may result from it.
You will return immediately and bring me his answer: I shall now march
on Gera.” Our baggage was still in the rear. I had no carriage; but I
procured one from the coach-house of the Princess of Reus-Lobenstein,
put four good horses to it, and started about six o'clock. Before
I had proceeded a league on my journey, Napoleon sent after me. I
returned and went to his study, where he had been occupied the whole
of the night. He desired me to deliver the letter to Berthier. “Upon
reflection,” said he, “I will not have one of my aides-de-camp charged
with such a message. You are persons of too great importance to be
exposed to the chance of meeting with a bad reception.” The letter was
sent two days after by M. de Montesquiou: he started, I believe, from
Gera. The treatment he experienced is well known: he was stopped by
the Prince de Hohenlohe, at that time general-in-chief of the Prussian
army, who obliged him to be present at the battle of Jena, and did not
send the letter, as it is affirmed, until after the action.

Several persons in Napoleon's suite were of opinion, that if I had
executed the commission with which I was at first charged, I should
have come up with the King of Prussia, and the war perhaps would
not have taken place. I do not think so. The gauntlet was thrown,
there was no alternative but to take it up. I do not even think that
Napoleon was more inclined for peace than King William.


We were now in possession of the whole course of the Saale, and in
a fair way to turn the enemy's army. The calculations of the Duke
of Brunswick were completely frustrated. He had formed the idea of
coming up with us on the Mainc, of occupying our wings by detached
corps, and penetrating our centre before we could concentrate our
forces. He still possessed all the threads of that vast spy system
which had harassed France since the emigrations. He knew the force
and the route marked out for several corps which were marching from
Meudon, and he did not doubt of anticipating us. Napoleon took a
pleasure in cherishing this illusion; he made preparations, and caused
reconnaissances to be taken through the whole of that line. The Duke
had no longer any doubt of having penetrated our intentions; we were
to debouch by Kœnigshaften; he made certain of that; he felt perfectly
convinced of it. Our movements on his centre were only a snare, a
_ruse de guerre_; we wished to deceive him, in order to prevent him
from debouching by the forests of Thuringen, whilst we proceeded
towards Coburg and Memmingen, in woody and mountainous countries,
where his cavalry would have no opportunity of acting, or at least
would be deprived of its advantage. It was of the utmost importance to
anticipate us, and he hurried to Kœnigshaften.

The enemy were engaged in the woods; Napoleon marched on Schleitz,
sixty leagues from the presumed point of attack. The third corps
quietly reposed on the 10th at Nauenburgh, in the rear of the Duke
of Brunswick. Hostilities were of only two days' date, and that
Prince, who was already uncovered on his left, was on the eve of
being entirely cut to pieces. His communications with the Elbe were
in danger; and he was nearly reduced to the same extremities as Mack,
whom he had so violently censured. His advance-guard, on arriving
on the Mainc, found the field unoccupied. This circumstance seemed
incomprehensible; but still it never led him to suspect the danger to
which he was exposed. The rout of Saalfeld alone shook the confidence
which he had placed in his own safety. He hastily retraced his course.
Weimar and Hohenlohe were directed to come up speedily, and the army
of reserve was ordered to make a forced march. But some parties
mistook their route, and others did not use sufficient despatch, so
that a portion of the troops were not engaged in the battle. The Duke,
who was disconcerted at a system of movements so novel to him, knew
not what determination to adopt. All these marches and arrangements,
so rapidly succeeding each other, formed a mass of confusion, in
which he could discern neither plan nor object. The occupation of
Nauenburgh relieved him from this perplexity: he saw his left wing
about to be turned, or at least exposed; he would not wait longer; he
hastily rallied his army of reserve, which was advancing upon Halle,
and left Hohenlohe at the camp of Capellendorf to mask the retrograde
movement. His troops, who had not shared the disasters of Saalfeld
and Schleitz, ridiculed the beaten corps; they shouted “The King for
ever! the Queen for ever!” &c. They resolved to avenge the affront
offered to the Prussian arms: there were not enough Frenchmen for
them. The Duke himself had resumed his confidence. On the Auerstadt
road be found not more than thirty chasseurs. His communications
were free; it was impossible they could be intercepted: it was not
easy to surprise a skilful manœuvrer like the Duke. Hohenlohe's
Prussians were encamped behind the heights of Jena: their masses
extended as far as the eye could reach; they were prolonged beyond
Weimar. Napoleon reconnoitred them on the evening of the 13th, and
fixed the attack for the following day. In the night he distributed
orders for the movements of the different corps. “As to Davoust, he
must march on Apolda, so as to fall on the rear of the enemy's army.
He may take whatever route he may deem most expedient; I leave that
to himself, provided he take part in the battle: if Bernadotte be at
hand he may support him. Berthier, issue instructions accordingly.”
It was ten o'clock at night; all the arrangements were made, and yet
the general commanding the enemy's force flattered himself with the
hope that we could not debouch. But the axe of the pioneers removed
every obstacle; the rock was cut, and trenches were opened: the action
commenced on the right and the left; the conflict was terrible.
Davoust, in particular, was placed in a situation in which a man
of less firmness might have found his courage fail him. Bernadotte
refused to support him; he even forbade two divisions of the reserve
cavalry, which, however, were not under his command, from taking
part in the action. He paraded round Apolda, while 26,000 French
troops were engaged with 70,000 picked men, commanded by the Duke of
Brunswick and the King of Prussia. But this circumstance only added
to the glory of the commander, whom it might have ruined. Davoust's
plans were so well laid, his generals and his troops deployed with
such skill and courage, that Blucher, with his 12,000 cavalry, had
not the satisfaction to cut a single company. The King, the guards,
and the whole army, attacked our troops without obtaining better
success. Amidst the deluge of fire that surrounded them on all sides,
the French preserved all their national gaiety. A soldier, whom his
comrades had nicknamed _the Emperor_, impatient at the obstinacy
of the Prussians, exclaimed, “On with me, grenadiers!—Come, follow
the Emperor!”—He rushed into the thickest of the battle, the troop
followed him, and the Prussian guards were penetrated. He was made a
corporal: his friends remarked that he only wanted the protectorate.

At Jena the victory had been no less brilliant: the rout was complete
and general; the enemy fled in the utmost confusion.

In the evening I was directed, together with the Grand Duke, to
pursue the wrecks of the Prussian army. We took some Saxon battalions,
and we entered _pêle-mêle_ with them into Weimar. We stationed our
posts before the town, despatched some parties of cavalry on Erfurt
road, and presented ourselves at the castle. M. de Pappenheim, whom I
recollected having seen in Paris, came out to meet us. He was quite
alarmed; but we assured him he had no cause for apprehension. All
the Court, with the exception of the Grand Duke and his family, were
at Weimar. The Duchess received us with perfect politeness. I was
acquainted with several ladies of her suite, one of whom has since
become my sister-in-law. I endeavoured to calm their fears. They
took courage. Some few disorders took place; but they were of little

Murat took up his quarters at the castle. I set out to join Napoleon
at Jena, in order to render him an account of the events of the
evening. He did not think that they would go beyond Weimar. He was
highly satisfied. The courage of the Duchess astonished him. He did
not imagine that the Court would have waited for him. He did not
like the family; this he often repeated. The night was far advanced,
and Napoleon had just received despatches from the second corps.
“Davoust,” said he to me, “has had a terrible engagement: he had
King William and the Duke of Brunswick opposed to him. The Prussians
fought desperately: they suffered dreadful slaughter. The Duke has
been dangerously wounded; and the whole army seems to be in terrible
disorder. Bernadotte did not behave well. He would have been pleased
had Davoust been defeated; but the affair reflects the highest honour
on the conqueror, and the more so as Bernadotte rendered his situation
a difficult one. That Gascon will never do better.”

The battle was lost. The Russians were no longer eager to carry on
the war; they wished for and invoked peace. They were anxious to
terminate a contest in which they had had such ill success. By dint
of wishing for an armistice, they at length persuaded themselves
that one had been granted. Kalkreuth announced it: Blucher swore
that it was concluded: how could it be discredited. Soult, however,
was not to be caught in the snare. The imprudent generosity evinced
at Austerlitz had rendered him distrustful. He refused to afford a
passage to the troops whom he had cut off. “The convention you speak
of is impossible!” said he to the Field Marshal. “Lay down your arms.
I must receive the Emperor's orders. You shall retire if he permit
it.” Kalkreuth was unwilling to resort to this kind of expedient. It
always has somewhat the appearance of a defeat: and he would rather
have experienced one in good earnest. Some other columns were more
fortunate. But it was only deferring the evil moment: they were
obliged to surrender some leagues further on. It was not worth while
to resort to the deception.

The King himself was disheartened by his misfortunes. Our hussars gave
him neither truce nor respite. He recollected all that Napoleon had
done to avoid hostilities; and he addressed a letter to him. It was
rather late to reply to overtures which had been so ill received. “It
would have been better,” said Napoleon, “had he explained himself two
days sooner; but no matter, I am willing to accede to any thing that
is compatible with the dignity and interests of France. I will send
Duroc to the King of Prussia. But there is something still more urgent
yet. Duroc, set out immediately. Proceed to Nauenburgh, to Dessau,
wherever we have wounded troops. See that they want for nothing: visit
them for me, each man individually. Give them all the consolation
their situation requires. Tell them—tell the Marshal, that he, his
generals and his troops, have acquired everlasting claims on my

He was not satisfied with this message. He wrote to assure him how
much he was pleased with his conduct. His letter was inserted in
the order of the day. The troops were transported with it: even the
wounded men could not refrain from expressing their delight.

The Emperor established his head-quarters at Weimar. He shewed every
possible mark of respect to the Duchess, whom he found to be an
amiable and sensible woman, and of very dignified manners.

Meanwhile the enemy was rallying on Magdeburg. The wrecks of the army
that had been engaged at Jena, the army of reserve, and the troops
of Old and New Prussia, hastily repaired to that place. The Duke of
Wirtemberg had already taken a position at Halle; and Bernadotte
proceeded thither. His corps had not been engaged at Auerstadt; and he
was eager for an opportunity to compensate the portion of glory he had
lost. He attacked the Prussians with the bayonet; killing and routing
all that opposed him. The carnage was dreadful. On the following day,
Napoleon visited the field of battle. He was struck with the sight of
the heaps of dead which surrounded the bodies of some of our soldiers.
He approached; and, observing on their uniform the numbers of the
32d, “So many of that regiment,” said he, “have been killed in Italy,
in Egypt, and elsewhere, that I should think none can now remain.”

He proceeded to Dessau, and shewed every consideration to the old
Duke, who was there with his son. Some months before, a M. de Gussau,
who was attached to the Court of Baden, had said to me in Paris, “You
will probably go to war with the Prussians. Should that be the case,
and should you advance in this campaign as far as Dessau, I charge
you to respect its venerable sovereign, who is the father of his
subjects.” M. de Gussau must have been very much astonished to find,
that the French, instead of going only to Dessau, advanced as far as
the Niemen, and subsequently to twenty leagues beyond Moscow.


The Prussians fled at full speed; but the more rapidly they retreated,
the more eagerly we maintained the pursuit. Being overtaken within
sight of Magdeburg, they took refuge behind the entrenchments,
where they were soon forced to lay down their arms. The garrison
was invested; and William, who was there, thought himself happy in
escaping. All around him had crouched beneath the storm. Prussia was
no longer the valiant nation which entertained the idea of driving us
back upon the Rhine. A reverse of fortune had overthrown her; a single
blow had levelled her with the dust. She flew to meet defeat: she
yielded, and delivered herself up. Never was a nation laid so low. Her
fall was about to be completed: all our corps were preparing to march
on Berlin, and to take possession of the city. Napoleon, however,
reserved that honour for the corps which had most contributed to the
victory; namely, that commanded by Davoust. The following are the
instructions which he addressed to the Marshal:


         “Wittenberg, Oct. 23d, 1806.

     “If the parties of light troops, which you have of course
     despatched on the roads leading to Dresden and the Spree, inform
     you that you have no enemies on your flanks, you will direct your
     march so as to be able to make your entry into Berlin on the 25th
     of the present month, at noon. You will cause the General of
     Brigade, Hullin, to be acknowledged as commander of the garrison
     of Berlin. You may leave whatever regiment you think fit to do
     duty in the city. You will despatch parties of light cavalry on
     the roads to Kustrin, Langsberg, and Frankfort on the Oder. You
     will station your army corps at the distance of a league or a
     league and a half from Berlin; the right supported on the Spree,
     and the left on the road to Langsberg. Fix your head-quarters on
     the road to Kustrin, at some country residence in the rear of
     your force. It is the Emperor's intention to afford his troops
     a few days' repose; and therefore you will construct for them
     huts of straw and wood. Generals, staff-officers, colonels, and
     others, must be lodged in the villages in the rear of their
     divisions, and no one in Berlin. The artillery must be stationed
     in positions which cover the camp; the artillery-horses at the
     piquets, and all in the best military order.

     “You will cut, that is to say, intercept, as early as possible,
     the navigation of the Spree by a strong party, so as to stop all
     the boats that may attempt to proceed from Berlin to the Oder.

     “To-morrow our head-quarters will be at Potsdam. Send one of your
     aides-de-camp to inform me where you may be on the nights of the
     23d and 24th.

     “If Prince Ferdinand should be in Berlin, present your
     compliments to him, and give him a guard, with entire freedom
     from quartering.

     “Publish immediately the order for disarming the troops in
     Berlin, leaving only 600 militia for the police-duty of the city.
     The arms of the citizens must be conveyed to some place that may
     be determined on, to be at the disposal of our army.

     “Make known to your corps that the Emperor, in directing it to be
     the first to enter Berlin, gives a proof of his satisfaction of
     the excellent conduct of the troops at the battle of Jena.

     “Be careful to direct that all the baggage, and particularly that
     which is in bad condition, shall halt at the distance of two
     leagues from Berlin, and rejoin the camp, without passing through
     the capital, but by proceeding along another road on the right.
     Finally, make your entrance into Berlin in the best possible
     order, and by divisions, each division having its artillery, and
     marching at the interval of an hour after each other.

     “The camp being formed, give orders that the troops proceed to
     the city only by thirds, so that there may be always two-thirds
     at the camp. As his Majesty expects to make his entrance into
     Berlin, you may provisionally receive the keys of the city,
     informing the magistrates that they must nevertheless deliver
     them up to the Emperor on his arrival. You must require the
     magistrates and persons of distinction to receive you at the
     gates of the city, in all due form; and direct your officers to
     make the best appearance that circumstances will permit. The
     Emperor proposes that you shall make your entrance by the high
     road of Dresden.

     “The Emperor will probably take up his abode in the palace of
     Charlottemburgh. Give orders that every thing may be prepared for
     his reception.

     “There is a little rivulet which falls into the Spree, at the
     distance of a league and a half or two leagues from Berlin, and
     which intersects the road leading to En.”


We set out for Potsdam; and we were overtaken by a storm: it was so
violent and the rain fell in such torrents, that we took refuge in a
neighbouring house. Napoleon was wrapped in his grey military great
coat, and, on entering the house, he was much astonished to see a
young female, who seemed to be much agitated by his presence. She
proved to be a native of Egypt, and she evinced for Napoleon all the
religious veneration which he had been accustomed to receive from
the Arabs. She was the widow of an officer of the army of the East;
and fate had conducted her to Saxony, and to the very house in which
the Emperor was now received. Napoleon granted her a pension of 1200
francs, and undertook to provide for the education of her son, who
was the only dowry her husband had left her. “This,” said Napoleon,
“is the first time I ever took shelter against a storm. I felt a
presentiment that a good action awaited me.”

We found Potsdam uninjured. The Court had even fled so precipitately
that nothing had been removed. Frederick the Great's sword and belt,
and the cordon of his orders, all were left. Napoleon took possession
of them. “I prefer these trophies,” said he with enthusiasm, “to all
the King of Prussia's treasures. I will send them to my veterans who
served in the campaign of Hanover. I will present them to the governor
of the Hospital of Invalids, by whom they will be preserved as a
testimony of the victories of the great army, and the revenge it has
taken for the disasters of Rosbach.”

No sooner had we entered Potsdam than we were besieged by deputations;
they came from Saxony, from Weimar, and from all quarters. Napoleon
received them with the utmost affability. The envoy of the Duke of
Brunswick, who recommended his subjects to the generosity of the
French, was, however, received less courteously than the rest. “If,”
said Napoleon to the person who presented the deputation, “I were to
demolish the city of Brunswick, if I were to leave not a stone of the
walls standing, what would your Prince think of me? And yet would not
the law of retaliation authorize me to do in Brunswick what the Duke
would have done in my capital? To announce the design of destroying
cities may be the act of a madman; but to attempt to sully the honour
of a whole army of brave troops, to wish to mark out a course for us
to quit Germany merely on the summons of the Prussian army, is a fact
which posterity will with difficulty credit. The Duke ought not to
have attempted such an outrage. When a general has grown grey in the
career of arms, he should know how to respect military honour. It was
not, certainly, in the plains of Champagne that the Duke acquired the
right of insulting the French standard. Such a proposition can reflect
dishonour only on him who made it. The disgrace does not attach itself
to the King of Prussia; but to the general to whom, in the present
difficult circumstances, he resigned the care of his affairs; in
short, to the Duke of Brunswick, whom France and Prussia will blame
for the calamities of the war. The violent example set by the old
General served as an authority for impetuous youth, and led the King
to act in opposition to his own opinion and positive conviction.
However, Sir, you may assure the inhabitants of Brunswick, that the
French will prove themselves generous enemies; that it is my desire,
as far as regards them, to alleviate the miseries of war; and that the
evils which may arise from the passage of the troops through their
territory, is contrary to my wish. Tell the Duke of Brunswick that he
shall be treated with all the consideration due to an enemy's officer;
but that I cannot acknowledge one of the King of Prussia's generals as
a sovereign. If the House of Brunswick should forfeit the sovereignty
of its ancestors, the blame must rest with the author of the two wars;
who, in the one, wished to sap the very foundation of the great French
capital; and, in the other, attempted to cast disgrace on 200,000
brave troops, who, though they may perhaps be defeated, will never
be found to depart from the path of glory and honour. Much blood has
been shed within a few days. Prussia is the victim of great disasters;
and she may justly blame the man who, with a word, might have averted
them, if, like Nestor, raising his voice in the Council, he had said:—

“Inconsiderate youths, be silent! Women, return to your domestic
duties. And you, Sire, listen to the companion of the most illustrious
of your predecessors. Since the Emperor Napoleon does not wish to
maintain hostilities, do not oblige him to chose between war and
dishonour. Do not engage in a dangerous conflict with an army, which
prides itself in fifteen years of glorious achievements, and whom
victory has accustomed to subdue every thing.

“Instead of holding this language, which would have been so well
suited to the prudence of his age and the experience of his long
career, he was the first to raise the cry of war. He had even violated
the ties of blood, by arming a son (Prince Eugène of Wirtemberg)
against his father. He threatened to plant his standard on the palace
of Stuttgard; and accompanying all these acts by imprecations against
France, he declared himself the author of that wild manifesto, the
production of which he had disavowed for the space of fourteen years,
though it was out of his power to deny having affixed his signature to

Spandau had been surrendered to Marshal Lannes. Napoleon visited the
fortress, and inspected it minutely. He sent me to Berlin, which had
been entered by Davoust, and directed me to present his compliments
to old Ferdinand and his wife. I found the Prince very melancholy
and dejected: he had just lost his son. The Princess appeared more
calm and resigned. I also went to pay compliments to the Prince Henry
and the Princess of Hesse, sister to the King of Prussia. The former
appeared very sensible to the attention evinced by Napoleon; the
latter had retired to a wing of the castle, where she lived tranquilly
in the society of her grand-children. The situation of this Princess
inspired me with interest and veneration. She appeared to take
courage, and she begged me to recommend her to Napoleon, who paid her
a visit immediately on his arrival. She inspired him with the same
favourable sentiments which I had conceived for her.

The Emperor fixed his head-quarters at Charlottemburgh. On the
following day, he made his entrance into the capital, and addressed
the following proclamation to the army:—


     “You have fulfilled my expectations, and fully justified the
     confidence of the French people. You have endured privation and
     fatigue with courage, equal to the intrepidity and presence of
     mind which you evinced on the field of battle. You are the worthy
     defenders of the honour of my crown, and the glory of the great
     French people. So long as you continue to be animated by the
     spirit which you now display, nothing can oppose you. I know not
     how to distinguish any particular corps.... You have all proved
     yourselves good soldiers. The following is the result of our
     exertions in this campaign.

     “One of the first powers in Europe, which lately proposed to us
     a dishonourable capitulation, has been overthrown. The forests
     and defiles of Franconia, the Saale, and the Elbe, which our
     fathers would not have crossed in seven years, we have traversed
     in seven days; and in that short interval we have had four
     engagements, and one great battle. Our entrance into Potsdam
     and Berlin has preceded the fame of our victories. We have made
     60,000 prisoners, taken sixty-five standards, (among which are
     the colours of the King of Prussia's guards), six hundred pieces
     of cannon, and three fortresses. Among the prisoners, there are
     upwards of twenty generals. But notwithstanding all this, more
     than half our troops regret not having fired a single musket. All
     the provinces of the Prussian monarchy, as far as the Oder, are
     in our power.

     “Soldiers! the Russians boast of coming to meet us, but we will
     advance to meet them; we will save them half their march: they
     will meet with another Austerlitz in the midst of Prussia. A
     nation which can so soon forget our generous treatment of her,
     after that battle, in which the Emperor, his court, and the
     wrecks of his army, owed their safety only to the capitulation
     we granted them, is a nation that cannot successfully contend
     with us.

     “While we march to meet the Russians, new corps, formed in
     the interior of our empire, will repair hither, to occupy our
     present stations, and protect our conquests. My people all
     rose indignantly on hearing the disgraceful capitulation which
     the Prussian ministers, in their madness, proposed to us. Our
     frontier roads and towns are filled with conscripts, who are
     burning with eagerness to march in your footsteps. We will not
     again be the dupes of a treacherous peace. We will not lay down
     our arms until we compel the English, those eternal enemies of
     France, to renounce their plan of disturbing the Continent, and
     to relinquish the tyranny which they maintain on the seas.

     “Soldiers! I cannot better express the sentiments I entertain for
     you, than by assuring you that I bear in my heart the love which
     you daily evince for me.”


Napoleon next proceeded to the camp, and reviewed the third corps;
and every individual who had particularly distinguished himself was
rewarded, either by promotion or by a decoration. The generals,
officers, and subalterns, were assembled round the Emperor. “I wished
to call you together,” said he “in order to express my satisfaction of
your brilliant conduct in the battle of the 14th. I lost many brave
men, whom I looked upon as my sons; I deeply regret them; but, after
all, they fell on the field of glory—they perished like true soldiers!
You have rendered me a signal service on this memorable occasion. We
are, in particular, indebted to the excellent conduct of the third
corps, for the great results we have obtained. Tell your men that I am
satisfied with the courage they have displayed. Generals, officers,
subaltern officers, and privates, you possess eternal claims on my
gratitude and kindness.” The Marshal replied, that the third corps
would always prove itself worthy of the Emperor's confidence; that it
would constantly be to him what the 10th legion was to Cæsar.

M. Denon was present at this interesting scene, which his pencil will,
perhaps, commemorate: but, whatever be the talent of the artist, he
can never convey an idea of the satisfaction and kindness which beamed
in the features of the sovereign; or the devotedness and gratitude
expressed in the countenances of all present, from the Marshal down to
the meanest soldier.

The proclamation which Napoleon had addressed to the troops inspired
them with new ardour. They rushed forward to pursue the wrecks of
the forces, which had been engaged at Halle and Jena. The Prince of
Hohenlohe had rallied a considerable mass, with which he might have
escaped us; but he was not sufficiently speedy, he lost time, and
these delays afforded us the hope of seeing him cut off. Napoleon
impatiently looked for this event. “Bernadotte,” said he to me, as we
were entering the palace, “must by this time be at Bremen. He will
surely have come up with the Prussians; Murat will attack them with
his usual impetuosity; both together must have a greater force than is
necessary to beat them. In a few days hence the Prince of Hohenlohe,
with all his corps, will be in my hands; and I shall soon after have
all their artillery and baggage. But we must act together; for it is
not probable that they will suffer themselves to be taken without
coming to an engagement.”

Every thing happened as Napoleon had foretold. The Prussians, who were
thrown into disorder by the attack of our cavalry, and the showers of
grape shot, were summoned to surrender by General Belliard, and they
laid down their arms. Twenty-five thousand picked troops, forty-five
standards, seventy-four pieces of artillery, defiled before us: it was
another conquest of Ulm. The Emperor was transported with his success:
“This is well,” said he; “but we have not yet got Blucher, who is so
clever at making extempore armistices. We must have him also.” He
immediately addressed the following lines to Murat: “Nothing is done,
so long as any thing remains undone. You have turned General Blucher's
cavalry; let me soon hear that his force has experienced the fate
of Hohenlohe's.” Berthier also wrote to him as follows, to call his
attention to the Duke of Weimar: “Independently of the little detached
columns, there are three principal ones: 1st. That commanded by Prince
Hohenlohe, which you have taken at Prentzlow; 2d. Blucher's column,
which at daybreak on the 28th quitted Wissemberg, and which you must
certainly have fallen in with to-day at Passelwalch; and 3d. The Duke
of Weimar's column, which escaped Marshal Soult, and effected the
passage of the Elbe, as it would appear, near Saudon and Havelsberg,
on the 26th, whence it proceeded in the direction of Wursterhausen,
Newrupin, Grausee, or Furstemberg. From Havelsberg to Furstemberg
is a distance of twenty-five leagues; consequently the Duke of
Weimar cannot reach Furstemberg on the 28th. But from Furstemberg
to Passelwalch is only twenty leagues distance; and if the enemy's
column should take that route, you will certainly fall in with it at
Passelwalch on the 30th or 31st. Thus it may be presumed that nothing
can escape between you and Marshals Lannes and Bernadotte. Such is the
information which I am enabled to communicate to you from the accounts
that have reached the Emperor.”

But the Duke was tired of sharing the disasters of the Prussian army.
He negotiated and transferred the command of his troops to Blucher,
who, intent on his retreat, fled without caring or even knowing where
he went. His route disconcerted Napoleon. “What does he intend?” said
he; “whither is he going? I cannot imagine that he will throw himself
into Holstein; for when once there, he will find no means of retreat.
He cannot recross the Elbe; he will be driven up, and his troops
will be drowned. He will never think of making such an attempt. We
shall soon have him here.” Blucher laid down arms some days after.
He had passed through the whole of Prussia, and had violated the
Danish territory, with no other object than to defer for a few days
the surrender of between 20 and 25,000 men, the standards, and last
artillery of the Prussians. With a little more skill, Blucher might
have turned his obstinacy to better account. “Well,” said Napoleon, on
learning this news, “they are now advancing with the Austrians. They
will be more reserved in future; they will say nothing more about Ulm.
In three weeks they have four times renewed it. Blucher must be sent
to France, to Dijon; there he may amuse himself in forging armistices.
Write to General Belliard.” The following despatch was sent off:

                                        “Berlin, Oct. 13, 1806.


     “It is the Emperor's intention that the greatest care be taken
     that all the prisoners belonging to the column of General
     Blucher and the Duke of Weimar, should be sent to France. His
     Majesty wishes that all the generals and officers should also
     proceed to France. General Blucher will be conducted by an
     officer to Dijon. The young Prince of Brunswick must also be
     escorted by an officer to Chalons-sur-Marne. All the other
     officers must be conveyed to the different quarters of France
     fixed upon by the minister Dejean for the prisoners of war.”

We did not venture to interrupt the Emperor until he had finished
dictating the despatch; but when he had concluded it we interceded
in favour of General Blucher. We represented that he had laid down
arms, that he was no longer dangerous, and that it was necessary to
make some allowance for his hussar habits. Napoleon acknowledged the
justice of our suggestions, and Blucher retired to Hamburgh.


Prince Hatzfeld had come to Potsdam as a deputy from the city of
Berlin, and had been well received. He rendered an account of his
mission, as well as I can recollect, to Count Hohenlohe, and reported
to him the state of the troops, artillery, and ammunition, that
were in the capital or which he had met on the road: his letter was
intercepted. Napoleon delivered it to me, with orders immediately
to arrest the Prince, and send him to the head-quarters of Marshal
Davoust, which were two leagues distant. Berthier, Duroc, Caulincourt,
and I, vainly endeavoured to appease the anger of Napoleon. He refused
to listen to our representations. M. de Hatzfeld had transmitted
reports relative to military affairs which were quite unconnected with
his mission: he had evidently been acting the part of a spy. Savary,
who, in his quality of commander of the military gendarmerie, usually
took cognizance of affairs of this kind, was then on a mission. I was
obliged to assume his functions during his absence. I gave orders for
the arrest of the Prince; but instead of having him conducted to the
head-quarters of Davoust, I placed him in the chamber of the officer
commanding the palace guard, whom I directed to treat him with every
mark of respect.

Caulincourt and Duroc withdrew from the Emperor's apartment. Napoleon
was left alone with Berthier, and he directed him to sit down and
write the order by which M. de Hatzfeld was to be arraigned before a
military commission. The Major-general made some representations in
his favour. “Your Majesty will not, for so trivial an offence, shoot a
man who is connected with the first families in Berlin. The thing is
impossible, you will not think of it.” The Emperor grew more angry.
Neufchatel persisted in his intercession; Napoleon lost all patience,
and Berthier quitted the room. I was called in. I had overheard the
scene that had just taken place. I was afraid to hazard the least
reflection: I was in a state of agony. Besides the repugnance I felt
in being instrumental to so harsh a measure, it was necessary to write
as rapidly as the Emperor spoke; and I must confess I never possessed
that talent. He dictated to me the following order:—

“Our cousin Marshal Davoust will appoint a military commission,
consisting of seven colonels of his staff, of which he will be the
president, to try the Prince of Hatzfeld on a charge of treason and

“The sentence must be pronounced and executed before six o'clock in
the evening.”

It was about noon. Napoleon directed me to despatch the order
immediately, and to send with it the Prince of Hatzfeld's letter. The
latter part of the instruction I did not however obey. My mind was
racked by the most painful emotions. I trembled for the Prince, and
I trembled for myself; since, instead of sending him to Davoust's
head-quarters, I had lodged him in the palace.

Napoleon wished to have his horse saddled, as he intended to visit
Prince and Princess Ferdinand. As I was going out to give the
necessary orders I was informed that the Princess of Hatzfeld had
fainted in the antichamber, and that she had previously expressed a
wish to speak to me. I went to her. I did not conceal from her the
displeasure of Napoleon. I told her that we were going to ride out on
horseback, and I directed her to repair to Prince Ferdinand, and to
interest him in favour of her husband. I know not whether she did so;
but on our arrival at the palace we found her in one of the corridors,
and she threw herself in tears at the feet of the Emperor, to whom I
announced her name.

The Princess was in a state of pregnancy. Napoleon was moved by her
situation, and directed her to proceed to the castle. He, at the
same time, desired me to write to Davoust, to order the trial to be
suspended:—he thought M. de Hatzfeld had departed.

Napoleon returned to the palace, where Madame de Hatzfeld was waiting
for him. He desired her to enter the saloon: I was present. “Your
husband, Madam,” said he, “has brought himself into an unfortunate
scrape. According to our laws he deserves to be sentenced to death.
General Rapp, give me his letter. Here, Madam, read this.” The lady
trembled exceedingly. Napoleon immediately took the letter from
her hand, tore it, and threw the fragments into the fire. “I have
no other proof against the Prince of Hatzfeld, Madam; therefore he
is at liberty.” He ordered me immediately to release him from his
confinement at head-quarters. I acknowledged that I had not sent him
there; but he did not reproach me; he even seemed pleased at what I
had done.

In this affair, Berthier, Duroc, and Caulincourt, behaved as they did
on all occasions, that is to say, like gallant men: Berthier's conduct
was particularly praiseworthy.

No sooner had the Prince of Hatzfeld returned to his family, than he
was made acquainted with all that had passed. He wrote me a letter
expressive of his gratitude and the emotions by which he was agitated.
It was as follows:—

     “My dear General,

     “Amidst the sensations of every kind which I experienced
     yesterday, I was not unmindful of the marks of your sensibility,
     and the interest you evinced for me. Yesterday evening I devoted
     wholly to the society of my family; and therefore I could not
     until to-day discharge the debt I owe to you.

     “There are moments in life, the recollection of which can never
     be effaced; and if you attach any value to the profound gratitude
     and esteem of an honest man, you will be rewarded for the
     interest you have shewn for me.

     “Accept the assurance of my high consideration, and of those
     sentiments which render it impossible I can ever forget you.

                            “I have the honour to be,
                                “My dear General,
     “Your very humble and very obedient servant,
                            “PRINCE DE HATZFELD.”

     “Berlin, Sept. 30, 1806.”

Envoys soon arrived at Berlin from all the courts of Germany,
petitioning Napoleon to shew favour to their respective Princes.
The Duchess of Weimar deputed to us a M. de Müller, who prayed for
a reduction of imposts, and for the return of the Duke, who was, I
believe, at Hamburgh. The Emperor did not like the formality of the
diplomatist. He found him troublesome, and he sent him to me. “I
have,” said he to me, “directed Talleyrand to refer this gentleman to
you; as I wish you to settle the affairs of the Court of Weimar.” He
would not hear the name of the Duke mentioned; he was as indignant
against him as he was favourably disposed towards the Duchess.
However, his anger became a little appeased, and he styled the Duchess
his cousin;—a distinction which was then of some importance. The Duke
received permission to return to his states. On his way thither he
requested to be presented to Napoleon; but that very day we set out
for Poland. He did me the honour to write me a letter, thanking me
for what I had done for his family; to whom, I believe, I had indeed
rendered some service. At a subsequent period, I again proved useful
to the Duke of Weimar, as I shall hereafter have occasion to mention.
The following is the letter he addressed to me. I quote documents of
this kind, because they describe the events of the period to which
they refer, and also because they are honourable to him to whom they
are addressed.


     “Inspired with the warmest gratitude for the many favours you
     have shewn to my family, and for the feelings of kind interest
     which you have evinced for us, I was anxious for an opportunity
     to assure you by word of mouth how much I am sensible of your
     goodness; and at the same time to express to you, by the
     particular desire of the Duchess, the high esteem she entertains
     for you. Unfortunately, the precipitate departure of his Majesty
     the Emperor and King prevented me from personally presenting my
     respects to you this day. But I flatter myself that the period is
     not far distant, when I shall enjoy the happiness of giving you
     a verbal assurance that the high consideration I bear to you is
     unalterable, and that I shall never cease to be,


                           “Your very humble and very obedient servant,

                                        “THE DUKE OF WEIMAR.”

     “Berlin, Nov. 24, 1806.”


The Elector of Hesse, also, wished to treat; but the Emperor was so
much offended with that Prince, that he would not receive his envoy.
“As to him,” said he, “his reign is ended.”

The gates of Magdeburgh were opened to Marshal Ney. Along with the
keys, there was brought to the Marshal a little box, containing some
valuables belonging, as it was said, to the Elector. They were found
in the fortress.

Colbert, Custrin, and Stettin, were capitulating. The Grand Duke had
detached the light cavalry from Prentzlow, and they unexpectedly
appeared before the garrison. Evening was advancing. General Lasalle
announced that troops were following him. He summoned, threatened, and
intimidated the Governor, and induced him to come to overtures; but
General Belliard arrived, broke off the negotiation, and declared,
that if the fortress were not surrendered in the space of an hour, he
would overwhelm it with cannon-balls. The Prussians took the alarm:
they imagined that the army, the park, all was ready to destroy
them, and they surrendered to our hussars. Custrin was managed still
better. Our troops made a movement to cross the Oder. In course of
their march they fell in with some hundreds of Prussian troops, whom
they dispersed. The garrison fired upon them, and balls were flying
among our ranks. General Gudin intimated, that if the useless firing
were not discontinued the garrison should be immediately blown up.
The governor, becoming alarmed, proposed arrangements; but they were
rejected: he was told that none could be made. He persisted; but
the General continued his march, and there was no one to receive
his propositions. A despatch was sent off to General Petit, who was
a considerable distance off. The flag of truce still persisted in
coming to arrangements. “What arrangement would you have me listen
to?” said the General, gravely. “My instructions are positive. If the
garrison be not surrendered in two hours, I am ordered to destroy
it. We are preparing our batteries; forty mortars or howitzers will
immediately vomit a deluge of fire on your ramparts. There is the
colonel of the artillery;” (it happened, however, to be the colonel
of the eighty-fifth regiment of the line who at that moment came
forward;) “you shall see whether I am exaggerating. Colonel, are
your guns mounted, are your preparations completed?”—“All is ready,
General; I only await your orders.”—“But stay for one moment, Sir; we
will offer terms of peace. You see,” said he to the Prussian officer,
“your town is about to be destroyed. You may as well avert misfortunes
which cannot change the state of affairs. Whether we be defeated
or victorious, we will nevertheless make the most of our present
advantages. A capitulation or a siege, we care not which. Choose,
but choose quickly; and observe, that I will treat with none but the
Governor.” The latter soon appeared upon the Oder.

General Gauthier went to receive the Governor, and conducted him to a
neighbouring house. General Petit joined them, and the capitulation
was signed. Four thousand Prussians, with stores of provisions and
ammunition, surrendered to a regiment of infantry who had not even
summoned them, and who could not go forward to attack them. These
men were justifiable in asking us to cross the Rhine: they found us
dangerous neighbours.

Napoleon sent Duroc to the King of Prussia; but nobody believed there
would be peace.

As Caulincourt and I were walking about in the court-yard of the
Castle, a tall young man, with fair hair, came up to us and saluted
us. This was Prince Paul of Wurtemberg. He had just quitted the
Prussian army, in which he had served contrary to the wish of his
father, with whom, as well as with the Emperor, he was much out of
favour. “What is your Highness's errand here?” enquired Caulincourt.
The Prince replied, that he wished to be restored to the good graces
of the Emperor, and he requested the General to announce him. The
Duke de Vicenza agreed to do so; but Napoleon would not receive the
Prince. He ordered him to be arrested, and escorted by an officer
of gendarmerie to the States of the King his father, where he was
detained for several years. Caulincourt exerted every effort to soften
the rigours of his captivity.

Our head-quarters were transferred to Posen. The spirit of
insurrection which had manifested itself on the first appearance
of our troops, burst forth with new violence. Kalisch had disarmed
the Prussian garrison, and the example was followed in many other
fortresses. Nothing was heard but imprecations upon the authors
of the division. Villages, towns, and even the city of Warsaw,
though occupied by the Russians, sent deputations, and demanded the
proclamation of the independence of Poland. “I would willingly
consent to it,” said Napoleon; “but, if the match were once kindled,
who knows where the conflagration might end? My first duty is to
attend to the interests of France: I must not sacrifice her for
Poland. We must leave the fate of the latter to time, the sovereign
who rules all; he alone can shew us what we ought to do.”

Duroc rejoined us at Posen. We set out for Warsaw. On the way the
Grand Marshal's carriage was overturned, and his clavicle was broken
by the fall. Napoleon was very much concerned for the accident: Duroc
was a man whose services were almost indispensable to the Emperor. He
always enjoyed the highest favour and the greatest confidence, which
he in every respect deserved. Few men were so distinguished for tact,
spirit of business, and skill, as Duroc; and at the same time few were
so remarkable for modesty. His devotion to the Emperor was without
bounds. He had a good heart, and he was an honest man: his only fault
was his fear of displeasing, and his excessive timidity.

At length we entered the Polish capital; the King of Naples had
preceded us, and had driven the Russians from the city. Napoleon was
received with enthusiasm. The Poles thought the moment of their
resuscitation had arrived, and that their wishes were fulfilled. It
would be difficult to describe the joy they evinced, and the respect
with which they treated us. The French troops, however, were not quite
so well pleased; they manifested the greatest repugnance to crossing
the Vistula. The idea of want and bad weather inspired them with the
greatest aversion to Poland: they were inexhaustible in their jokes
and epigrams on the country. They nevertheless beat the Russians in
the marshes of Nasielsk, at Golymin, at Pultusk, and subsequently at

At a review, during which the Poles were pressing upon our troops, a
soldier, in a loud tone of voice, vented imprecations on the country
and the bad weather. A young female who was standing by said:—“You
are very ungrateful to dislike our country; for we like you very
much.”—“You are very kind,” replied the soldier; “but if you wish
me to believe you, you must give a good dinner to me and my comrade
here.” The friends of the young woman took the two soldiers home and
regaled them.

The French soldiers were particularly fond of passing their jokes at
the theatre. One evening, when the curtain was very late of rising,
a grenadier, who was among the spectators, became impatient at the
delay. “Begin!” he called out, from the further end of the pit; “begin
directly, or I will not cross the Vistula.”

M. de Talleyrand, who was driving in his carriage at a short distance
from Warsaw, stuck in the mud, and twelve hours elapsed before he
could be extricated. The soldiers who were much out of humour,
enquired who he was. The minister for foreign affairs replied an
individual of his suite. “Why does he come to a country like this with
his diplomacy?” said one of the soldiers.

The French troops used to say that the four following words
constituted the whole language of the Poles:—_Kleba? niema; vota?
sara_: (some bread? there is none; some water? we will go and fetch
it.) This was all that was to be heard in Poland.

Napoleon one day passed by a column of infantry in the neighbourhood
of Nasielsk, where the troops were suffering the greatest privations,
on account of the mud, which prevented the arrival of provisions.
“Papa, kleba?” exclaimed a soldier. “Niema,” replied the Emperor. The
whole column burst into a fit of laughter: they asked for nothing more.

I relate these anecdotes, because they show the kind of spirit which
animated our troops. These brave veterans deserved more gratitude
than they obtained.

Napoleon was amused with these jokes, and he smiled whenever allusion
was made to the reluctance of the army to cross the Vistula. Some
Generals augured unfavourably of the disposition of the troops, and
expressed their regret to find that disgust had succeeded enthusiasm.
“Have you spoken to them of the enemy?” said the Emperor; “are they
without enthusiasm when they face him?” Those men, said he to me
afterwards, know not how to appreciate my troops. They do not know
that they burn with ardour whenever the Russians and victory are
spoken of: I will rouse them. He called one of his secretaries, and
dictated to him the following proclamation.


     “This day twelvemonth, at this very hour, you were on the
     memorable field of Austerlitz: the Russian battalions were
     dismayed, and fled in disorder, or were surrounded and compelled
     to lay down their arms to the conquerors. On the following day
     they circulated reports of peace; but these were false. No sooner
     had they, through generosity that was perhaps reprehensible,
     escaped the disasters of the third coalition, than they plotted
     a fourth. But the ally, on whose tactics they founded their
     principal hope, is no longer what he was: his citadels, his
     capitals, his magazines, his arsenals, 280 standards, 700 pieces
     of cannon, five great garrisons, are in our power. The Oder,
     the Warta, the deserts of Poland, the severity of the weather,
     have not for a moment impeded your advance: you have braved
     every danger, and surmounted every obstacle; your enemies every
     where fled at your approach. In vain did the Russians attempt
     to defend the capital of ancient and illustrious Poland. The
     French eagle hovers over the Vistula. At your approach the brave
     and unfortunate Poles fancied they again beheld the legions of
     Sobieski returning from their memorable expedition.

     “Soldiers! we will not lay down our arms until a general peace
     shall have established and secured the power of our allies, and
     restored to France her freedom of trade and the possession of her
     colonies. On the banks of the Elbe and the Oder we have conquered
     Pondicherry, our establishments in India, the Cape of Good Hope,
     and the Spanish Colonies. What should give the Russians the right
     of deciding the fate of Europe? What should give them the right
     of defeating our just designs? Are not they, as well as we, the
     men who fought at Austerlitz?”

The troops were assembled in the square of Saxony. It was the
anniversary of the coronation, and the Russians occupied the suburb
of Prague. These circumstances, these recollections, this perspective
of glory, were hailed by loud acclamations. Our troops were inspired
by the prospect of victory, and all their prejudices vanished. The
enemy covered the left bank of the river. All the vessels had been
towed away; but one of our quarter-masters, in defiance of the Cossack
lances, succeeded in getting possession of a boat. This was enough:
the enemy raised his camp during the night, and we passed without any
impediment. The Bug presented greater difficulties; its left bank is
flat and marshy, and well calculated for defence; but Benigsen knew
not how to avail himself of his advantages. We threatened his flanks,
and we succeeded in floating the boats that had been sunk. The enemy
hesitated, and the river was crossed. The Russians returned to the
charge: they endeavoured to carry the head of the bridge, which we
had raised at Okuniew; but all had been foreseen; Davoust had adopted
every necessary precaution, and the enemy was routed, beaten, and
compelled to repass the Wkra.


Meanwhile old Kaminski had taken the command of the Russian army, and
had fixed his head-quarters at Pultusk. His Generals concentrated
their forces, and every thing denoted the design of removing to this
side of the river. Napoleon hastened forward with the view of driving
them from their position. He visited the entrenched camp of Okuniew,
reconnoitred the river, the position of the Russians, and the plain
which it was necessary to cross in order to come up with them. This
plain, which was covered with trees, cut down wood, and marshes,
was almost as difficult to carry as the redoubts, behind which the
Cossacks had sheltered themselves. The Emperor examined it for a
considerable time. Some clumps of trees intercepted his view; but he
called for a ladder, and mounting on the roof of a hut, he was enabled
to observe the nature of the position occupied by the Russians, and
the movements that were taking place on the opposite bank of the
river. “We will pass,” said he; “send an officer hither.” The second
chief of the staff of the 3d corps presented himself, and wrote down
to the Emperor's dictation the following arrangements.

“The first division is to proceed to the island, and to form itself at
as great a distance as possible from the enemy.

“All the troops of the 3d division must remain at the head of the
bridge; and are to take no share in the attack: they are to remain in

“Battalions are to be formed with the eight companies of voltigeurs,
which, with the battalions of the 13th light, will form three columns.
These three columns are to proceed as secretly as possible to the
three extremities of the canal, and will halt in the centre of the
island, so as to be beyond reach of the fusillade. Each of these
columns will have three pieces of cannon in its rear.

“Each company will detach its cannon, escorted by a company of
voltigeurs. These companies will commence the fusillade, covering
themselves with the hedges. Meanwhile the artillery officers will
plant their batteries, and fire grape-shot on the battalions and
troops with which the enemy will not fail to oppose our passage.

“Bridges may be constructed under the protection of this artillery.

“The three columns are to cross the river; and as soon as they shall
be stationed on the opposite side, three piquets of horse chasseurs,
each consisting of sixty men, will cross to charge the enemy, pursue
him speedily, and make prisoners.

“The 17th regiment will cross immediately after, and range itself
in the order of battle, leaving between each battalion a space of
twenty-five toises; in the rear of which will be stationed three
squadrons of light cavalry. The remainder of the division will
afterwards cross, and form itself in the rear.”

We advanced towards the heights occupied by the enemy, whom we
attacked on the right and the left: he was unable to resist the shock,
and was repulsed. Our troops evinced unexampled valour: Napoleon
applauded their courage; and he called Generals Morand and Petit, on
whom he bestowed the most flattering compliments. He wished to afford
some repose to the corps, who had just been engaged; and he detached
Friant's division in pursuit of the Russians. Our voltigeurs came up
with them at Nasielsk, attacked their left wing, routed, cut them up,
and took three pieces of cannon: they pursued them into the woods;
the fusillade commenced on both sides, and we experienced obstinate
resistance. We had no artillery, and we could not drive from their
position, columns which were protected by the nature of the ground,
and the grape-shot; but the courage of our troops made amends for
their deficiency of artillery. The signal for the attack was given:
the 48th, led on by the intrepid Barbanegre, rushed headlong upon the
enemy's masses, and routed them. Night approached, and the darkness
enabled them to escape from the thrusts of our bayonets. We collected
several pieces of cannon, which had stuck in the mud on the road.

Some formidable masses of the enemy's force were before us; but they
did not venture to wait until we came up with them: they fled, some
towards Golymin and others towards Pultusk. I pursued those who fled
in the former direction, with the division of dragoons which the
Emperor had entrusted to my command. The Marshal detached Daultane
to cover the rear of the 5th corps, which he knew had proceeded to
Pultusk. There had been a complete thaw for the space of two days;—a
circumstance which was uncommon in Poland at that season of the
year. The ground over which we passed was a clayey soil, intersected
with marshes: the roads were excessively bad: cavalry, infantry, and
artillery stuck in the bogs; and it cost them the utmost difficulty to
extricate themselves. We advanced only a short league in the space of
two hours. Many of our officers stuck in the mud and remained there
during the whole of the battle of Pultusk. They served as marks for
the enemy to shoot at.

The third division had no sooner debouched from the village than it
was informed by its pioneers that a considerable mass of cavalry
covered, at some distance a column of artillery and baggage. General
Friant ordered them to be watched by detachments of cavalry, as he
was well convinced that the cloud of Cossacks would disperse on
the appearance of the infantry. They fled, and we took artillery,
ammunition, carriages and cassoons of every kind. The General, pleased
with these advantages, went to take up a position for the night, when
a heavy cannonade was heard; it proceeded from Marshal Lannes' forces,
who were driven by the Russians from Pultusk. We had our turn on the
following day: they occupied a wood whence we wished to dislodge them;
our columns advanced, the voltigeurs were in front, and the infantry
were disposed _en echelon_ behind them. We experienced obstinate
resistance on the part of the enemy. He attacked us: we charged with
the bayonet; and our battalions drove him back on his own masses. We
remained masters of the field: it was covered with the bodies of the
dead, and with bags which the Russians had thrown down in order to fly
with the greater speed. The infantry was dislodged, and the cavalry
now advanced. I went forward to meet them and drove them back. But the
voltigeurs, who were dispersed about in the marshes, overwhelmed us
with their balls: I had my left arm broken.

I had been four times wounded in the first campaigns of the army of
the Rhine, under Custine, Pichegru, Moreau, and Desaix; twice before
the ruins of Memphis, and in Upper Egypt before the ruins of Thebes;
at the battle of Austerlitz and at Golymin. I also received four other
wounds at Moscow, as I shall hereafter have occasion to mention.

From Golymin I was removed to Warsaw. Napoleon arrived there on the
1st January, and he did me the honour to come and see me. “Well,
Rapp,” said he, “you are wounded again; and on your unlucky arm too.”
It was the ninth wound which I had received on my left arm, and the
Emperor therefore called it my unlucky arm.—“No wonder, Sire,” said I,
“we are always amidst battles.” “We shall perhaps have done fighting,”
he replied, “when we are eighty years old.”

MM. Boyer and Yvan dressed my wound in his presence. When Napoleon saw
that the bone was really broken, he said, “His arm must be amputated.
He is now very ill; and this wound may be his death.” M. Boyer smiled
and said, “Your Majesty would go too hastily to work: the General is
young and vigorous; we shall cure him.”—“I hope,” said I, “this is not
the last time you will have occasion to make me suffer martyrdom.”

Napoleon soon left Warsaw for the battle of Eylau, and established his
head-quarters at Osterode. Here I was appointed to the government of
Thorn, whither I was directed to proceed to complete the restoration
of my health. I forwarded provisions, artillery, and ammunition, to
carry on the siege of Dantzic.

I was now the Providence of the Prussian Generals. They wrote to me
intreating my intercession in their behalf. Blucher himself did not
disdain to solicit the _grace_ of his Majesty the Emperor and King
of Italy. He was at first to have been conducted to Dijon, as has
been already mentioned; but he had laid down arms, and therefore
it signified little whether he was at Dijon or elsewhere. He was
permitted to retire to Hamburgh; but he soon grew tired of that city,
and begged to be allowed to go to the neighbourhood of Berlin. The
following is the letter which he addressed to me on this subject:—

     “Monsieur General,

     “Your Excellency will probably remember that I had the honour of
     becoming acquainted with you some years ago, on your journey to
     Munster; and the marks of attention you then condescended to show
     me induce me to hope, that the unfortunate situation in which
     I am now placed will not be absolutely indifferent to you. I
     take the liberty of addressing your Excellency, to intreat your
     intercession with his Majesty the Emperor of France and King of
     Italy, that he may graciously order passports to be granted for
     myself, the two officers my sons, and the rest of my family, to
     enable us to retire to the environs of Berlin, or into Pomerania,
     to one of my estates. Having lost my all by the chances of war, I
     find it impossible to support the expenses attending a residence
     in a city where every thing is so enormously dear as in Hamburgh.
     Moreover I am in ill health, and I feel that it is only by living
     in the bosom of my family, and leading a very retired life, that
     I shall be able to recover myself.

     “These reasons, and the generosity of his Majesty the
     Emperor, induce me to hope that he will deign to relieve my
     painful situation by permitting me to make choice of a place
     of residence; and the protection which your Excellency may
     condescend to grant me in this affair will add feelings of the
     deepest gratitude to the sentiments of high consideration, with
     which I have the honour to be,

                                        “Your Excellency's
                              “Very humble and very obedient Servant,
                                        “BLUCHER, Lieut.-Gen.

     “Hamburgh, November 15, 1806.”

The Emperor refused to grant the request, but the General cannot have
forgotten the manner in which I treated him. It is in his power to say
whether the French know how to respect misfortune.

On the surrender of Dantzic, I was appointed Governor of the city,
with the rank of General-in-chief.

Napoleon arrived at Dantzic on the 29th of May, and he spent two days
there. He expected that this new acquisition would afford immense
resources, particularly in specie. I received the strictest orders
to collect the contributions, which amounted to twenty millions,
and which were extended to thirty in provisions by the treaty which
I sometime after entered into with the town. I was furnished with
a _carte blanche_, and was authorized to adopt any means I chose
for effecting the collection; but I found the thing impossible.
It occasioned me the greatest annoyance. Sometimes one measure of
severity was resorted to, and sometimes another. The common people,
as well as the richest and most considerable of the citizens, were
all threatened in their turns. I constantly used my utmost endeavour
to elude these violent orders; I spared the inhabitants of Dantzic
many causes of discontent. At the peace, they still owed 17,000,000 of

Napoleon was present at the battles of Heilsberg, and Friedland. Eight
days after his departure he wrote to me as follows:—

“M. de Talleyrand will proceed to Dantzic, and will stay with you some
time. You will receive and treat him like a prince. You are aware of
the esteem and attachment I entertain for that Minister,” &c. He might
have escaped many misfortunes had he never quarrelled with Talleyrand.

After the treaty of Tilsit, Napoleon sent me private instructions.
He informed me of the probability of peace, and ordered me to keep
a vigilant eye over Prussia and the Royal family. He was still
incensed against William and his subjects. I could not guess the
reason. Berthier explained it to me; and I did not think it a just
one. Berthier came to Dantzic to deliver me fresh instructions, and
to remind me of the directions I had received, to be on my guard
against the plots which might be hatching around me. I was to remain
at Dantzic until the cessation of hostilities. The Russians were for
us. We had fine sport with the English; in less than two years those
islanders were to be obliged to sue for peace.

In fine, I remained at Dantzic. I corresponded directly with
Napoleon: most of his letters evinced an extraordinary degree of
dissatisfaction, in which I must confess I myself participated for a
considerable time.

The language and conduct of some Prussian officers contributed to keep
up the prejudice against them. I treated them with great severity;
the least fault was punished to the utmost; but at the same time I
always rendered them justice, and never allowed them to be molested.
Tranquillity, however, was restored. Each party mutually laid aside
their animosity, and confidence was re-established. I saw and received
the Prussians; and I may say, that from the first year after I
obtained the command, all the reports which I forwarded to Paris were
distinguished by moderation and truth. I represented to Napoleon that
it was difficult for the Prussians so soon to forget their former
greatness; that the public mind was becoming tranquil, and that the
King, the ministers, and the Royal family never ceased to recommend to
the people that resignation which misfortune renders indispensable.

I always wrote to this purport. I had no cause to complain of any one;
for my own part, I was on very good terms with the civil and military
authorities. I saw them frequently; and all of them, I may say, placed
the greatest confidence in me. They were sensible of the justice of my

All the commandants, however, did not act in the same way: their
reports, and the disasters of Baylen, excited fresh doubts in
Napoleon's mind with regard to the conduct of Prussia. He charged me
to double my vigilance: “Overlook nothing in the Prussians,” he said
to me in one of his letters; “they must not be allowed to raise their

The news of the disasters which we had experienced in the peninsula at
length spread over Germany, and awakened new hopes; the public mind
was violently agitated. I informed Napoleon of this; but he disliked
the revival of painful recollections, and was still more averse to
unpleasing anticipations of the future. He replied to me: “Germans are
not Spaniards; the character of the German bears no resemblance to
that of the fierce Catalonian.”


The interview of Erfurt took place. Napoleon set out for Spain; he
attacked and dispersed all that were opposed to him; and the English
army would have been destroyed had he been enabled to pursue it
himself; but the fourth Austrian war broke out, and he was obliged to
hurry to the assistance of Bavaria. Prince Berthier sent me orders
to rejoin the army. The Emperor was already with it; I found him at
Landshut, just after he had gained the battle of Ratisbonne; I was
not well pleased with my reception: he asked me drily, “How do your
Prussians and Dantzickers get on? You ought to have made the latter
pay me what they owe me. You see we have not all been killed in Spain;
I still have men enough left to beat the Austrians.” I felt the

We marched on Vienna. The Emperor became more good-humoured, and
treated me more kindly. The battle of Esslingen took place. Thousands
of brave men lost their lives; Marshal Lannes was disabled; the
cavalry and artillery were destroyed; and the village of Esslingen,
the most important point that remained for us to defend, was inundated
by twenty battalions of Hungarian grenadiers. We could no longer
maintain our station: the enemy had already penetrated into the
square-work which Napoleon had directed to be fortified the day
before. Count Lobau advanced to meet them, and checked their progress;
but they immediately received reinforcements. The Emperor perceived
this, and I was directed to take two battalions of the young guard,
and to hasten to the assistance of our troops: I was to disengage
them, to effect a retreat with them, and to take a position between
the village and the remainder of the guard, on the banks of the
Danube, near the bridge which had been broken. The Austrian columns
advanced from all quarters on this point: our position became most
hazardous. On our left, Massena still occupied Gros Aspern; he had
lost great numbers of his force, but he still maintained his ground.
I placed myself at the head of my two battalions and entered the
village. I drew up my troops in the rear of General Mouton, and went
to deliver to him the Emperor's orders; but the whole of the enemy's
reserve, under the command of the Archduke Charles, deployed at some
distance. “You have,” said I to Count Lobau, “astonished those masses
by your resistance; let us charge them with the bayonet, and drive
them back upon the columns that are advancing: if we succeed, the
Emperor and the army will give us credit for our success; if we fail,
the responsibility will rest with me.”—“With both of us,” replied
the General. Our five battalions moved forward, charged, repulsed,
and dispersed the enemy at the point of the bayonet. We were masters
of the village. The Archduke endeavoured in vain to recover it: five
times he led his troops to the charge, and five times he was defeated.
He experienced immense loss: ours was also considerable. Generals
Mouton and Grosse were wounded; several other officers were killed.
Napoleon was delighted with this affair; he complimented me very
highly, and added, “If ever you did well in not executing my orders,
you have done so to-day; for the safety of the army depended on the
taking of Esslingen.”

Napoleon thought that the people of Vienna were more unfavourable
to us than in our preceding campaigns; he made the remark to me. I
replied that despair had contributed greatly to produce the feeling;
that the people were every where tired of us and of our victories. He
did not like this sort of reflections.

Schill was then traversing Saxony: Napoleon was informed of the
circumstance, and was vexed at it. This was a mode of sounding the
public opinion. Prussia was making a prelude to that insurrectionary
war, which she afterwards maintained against us. I confess, I did
not believe the fact when I heard of it; I entertained too high an
opinion of the national loyalty. I endeavoured to subdue the Emperor's
prejudices; but his suspicions were stronger than any thing I could
say to remove them. Another circumstance contributed to render him
distrustful;—the conduct of the Russians was not more frank than
that of the Prussians; they were shuffling. This want of good faith
rendered him furious: he resolved to be revenged on them; but he
required time for it.

The battle of Wagram took place: I was not engaged in it. Three days
before the battle, I had accompanied Napoleon to the island of Lobau:
I was in one of the Emperor's carriages with General Lauriston. We
were overturned, and I had one of my shoulders dislocated, and three
ribs broken.

The Emperor pursued the enemy as far as Znaim, and returned to
establish himself at Schoenbrunn; where he afterwards learnt the
defeat and death of Schill. This news gave him satisfaction, though
he would have been better pleased had that partisan been taken

During the negotiations there were several conspiracies at Vienna.
Some persons, who were convicted of having been engaged in them, were
condemned to death; two citizens and a Jew were to be executed; I was
fortunate enough to obtain their pardon.

Napoleon was pretty generally in good humour; but the reports
forwarded to him by the police occasionally interrupted his gaiety.
His enemies had spread a ridiculous report of his insanity, which
vexed him. “It is the fauxbourg St. Germain,” said he, “which invents
these fine stories; they will provoke me at last to send the whole
tribe of them to _la Champagne pouilleuse_.”

One day I was soliciting him for the promotion of two officers: “I
will not make so many promotions,” said he; “Berthier has already made
me do too much in that way.” Then, turning to Lauriston; “Lauriston,”
said he, “we did not get on so fast in our time; did we? I continued
for many years in the rank of Lieutenant!”—“That may be, Sire, but
you have since made up famously for your lost time.”—He laughed at my
repartee, and my request was granted.


Meanwhile the negotiations for peace were proceeding very slowly,
and Germany was still suffering. A young man, instigated by a blind
feeling of patriotism, formed the design of delivering his country
from him whom he regarded as the cause of its misfortunes. He
presented himself at Schoenbrunn on the 23d October, while the troops
were defiling: I was on duty; Napoleon was standing between the Prince
de Neufchatel and me. The young man, who was named St. * * *, advanced
to the Emperor. Berthier, conceiving that he was about to present a
petition, stepped forward and told him to deliver it to me. He replied
that he wished to speak to Napoleon; but he was again told, that if
he had any communication to make, he must apply to the aide-de-camp
on duty. He withdrew to a short distance, repeating that he would
speak with Napoleon only. He came forward again, and approached very
near the person of the Emperor. I drew him back and told him in
German that he must withdraw: that if he had any thing to solicit,
he would be heard after the parade. His right hand was thrust into
a side-pocket under his great-coat, and he held a paper, one end of
which was visible. I was struck with the expression of his eyes when
he looked at me: his decided manner roused my suspicions. I called to
an officer of gendarmerie who was on the spot, and ordered him to be
put under arrest and conducted to the Castle. The attention of every
one present was so occupied with the parade, that nobody noticed what
was going forward. I was soon after informed that a large carving
knife had been found on St. * * *. I told Duroc what I had learnt,
and we went together to the place to which he had been conducted. We
found him sitting on a bed, on which were laid the portrait of a young
female, a portfolio, and a purse containing a few old louis-d'or. I
asked his name.—“I can tell it only to Napoleon,” was his reply.—“What
did you intend to do with the knife that was found upon you?”—“That
I can tell only to Napoleon.”—“Did you propose to assassinate
him?”—“Yes, Sir.”—“Why?”—“That I can tell only to him.”

I went to communicate this singular circumstance to the Emperor. He
desired that the young man might be conducted to his closet. I went
out to give this order; and on my return I found Bernadotte, Berthier,
Savary, and Duroc, with the Emperor. St. * * * was brought in by two
gendarmes, with his hands tied behind him. He appeared perfectly
composed. The presence of Napoleon made not the least impression on
him, but he saluted him respectfully. The Emperor asked him whether
he could speak French, and he replied in a firm tone: “Very little.”
Napoleon then directed me to ask him, in his name, the following

“Where were you born?”—“In Naumburgh.”—“What is your father?”—“A
protestant minister.”—“How old are you?”—“I am eighteen years of
age.”—“What did you intend to do with the knife?”—“To kill you.”—“You
are mad, young man; you are an _illuminato_.”—“I am not mad; and I
know not what is meant by an _illuminato_.”—“You are sick, then.”—“I
am not sick; on the contrary, I am in good health.”—“Why did you wish
to assassinate me?”—“Because you have caused the misfortunes of my
country.”—“Have I done you any harm?”—“You have done harm to me as
well as to all Germans.”—“By whom were you sent? Who instigated you
to this crime?”—“Nobody. I determined to take your life, from the
conviction that I should thereby render the highest service to my
country and to Europe.”—“Is this the first time you ever saw me?”—“I
saw you at Erfurt at the time of the interview.”—“Did you then intend
to assassinate me?”—“No; I thought that you would no longer wage war
in Germany; I was then one of your most ardent admirers.”—“How long
have you been in Vienna?”—“Ten days.”—“Why did you so long defer the
execution of your design?”—“I came to Schoenbrunn a week ago; but
the parade was over when I arrived, and I postponed the execution
of my design until this day.”—“I tell you, you are either mad or
sick.”—“Neither the one nor the other.”—“Desire Corvisart to come
here.”—“Who is Corvisart?”—“He is a physician,” I replied. “I have
no need of him.” We remained silent until the doctor arrived. St. *
* * evinced the utmost indifference. At length Corvisart made his
appearance. Napoleon directed him to feel the young man's pulse. “Am
I not quite well, Sir?”—“He is in very good health,” said the doctor,
addressing himself to the Emperor.—“I told you so,” said St. * * *,
with an air of satisfaction.

Napoleon was embarrassed by the unconcerned manner of the offender.

“You are a wild enthusiast,” said he; “you will ruin your family. I
am willing to grant your life, if you ask pardon for the crime which
you intended to commit, and for which you ought to be sorry.”—“I want
no pardon,” replied St. * * *, “I feel the deepest regret for not
having executed my design.”—“You seem to think very lightly of the
commission of a crime!”—“To kill you would not have been a crime,
but a duty.”—“Whose portrait is that that was found upon you?”—“It
is the portrait of a young lady to whom I am attached.”—“She will be
very much distressed to hear of the unhappy situation in which you
are placed!”—“She will regret to hear that I have not succeeded. She
detests you no less than I do.”—“Would you not be grateful were I to
pardon you?”—“I would notwithstanding seize the first opportunity of
taking your life.”

Napoleon was confounded. He ordered the prisoner to be led away; and
then entered into conversation with us, and said a great deal on
the subject of the _illuminati_. In the evening he sent for me, and
said: “The circumstance that occurred to-day is very extraordinary.
The plots of Berlin and Weimar are at the bottom of this affair.”—I
repelled these suspicions. “Women are capable of any thing,”
resumed Napoleon.—“Neither man nor woman connected with those two
courts,” I replied, “would ever conceive the idea of so atrocious a
crime.”—“Recollect the affair of Schill.”—“It bears no resemblance
to a crime like this.”—“You may say what you please, General, but I
know I am no favourite either at Berlin or Weimar.”—“That's very true:
you cannot reasonably expect to be a favourite at either of those
courts. But because they dislike you, does it follow that they would
assassinate you?” He communicated the same suspicions to * * * * *.

Napoleon ordered me to write to General Lauer, directing him to
interrogate St. * * *, with the view of obtaining some confession
from him. But he made none. He persisted in asserting that he had
acted entirely from the impulse of his own mind, and not from the
instigation of any one.

The departure from Schoenbrunn was fixed for the 27th of October.
Napoleon rose at five in the morning and sent for me. We walked out to
the great road to see the Imperial Guard pass along on its departure
for France. We were alone. Napoleon again spoke to me of St. * * *.
“That a young man of his age,” said he, “a German, a protestant, and
well educated, should attempt the commission of such a crime, is a
thing unparalleled. Enquire how he died.”


A heavy fall of rain obliged us to return from our walk. I wrote to
General Lauer, requesting that he would give us an account of the
last moments of St. * * *. He informed me that the prisoner had been
executed at seven in the morning of the 27th; that he had taken no
sustenance since the 24th; that food had been offered to him, but that
he had constantly refused it, because, as he said, he had sufficient
strength to walk to the place of execution. He was informed that peace
was concluded; and this intelligence seemed to agitate him. His last
words were:—_Liberty for ever! Germany for ever! Death to the Tyrant!_
I delivered the report to Napoleon. He desired me to keep the knife
that had been found upon the criminal: it is still in my possession.

Napoleon informed me that the preliminaries of the peace were not
yet signed, but that the articles of the treaty were all drawn up,
and that it would be ratified at Munich, where we were to stop. We
arrived at Nymphenburgh: the Court of Bavaria was residing there
at the time. I had not had the honour of seeing the King since the
campaign of Austerlitz. He lodged me in his palace, and gave me many
proofs of his confidence and kindness. He described to me the unhappy
situation of his subjects; and added, that if another state of things
were not speedily established, he should be obliged to put the key
under the door and set off. These were the expressions he used.

I bore this last conversation in mind; for I was determined to report
it, not with the view of injuring the King, but for the sake of
proving to Napoleon that all the indemnities which he granted to his
allies were far from satisfying them and compensating for the burthens
imposed on them by the war.

Peace was ratified. We left Nymphenburgh and arrived at Stuttgard.
Napoleon was received in a style of magnificence, and was lodged in
the palace, together with all his suite. The King was laying out a
spacious garden, and men who had been condemned to the galleys were
employed to labour in it. The Emperor asked the King who the men were
who worked in chains: he replied that they were for the most part
rebels who had been taken in his new possessions. We set out on the
following day. On the way Napoleon alluded to the unfortunate wretches
whom he had seen at Stuttgard. “The King of Wurtemberg,” said he, “is
a very harsh man; but he is very faithful: of all the sovereigns in
Europe he possesses the greatest share of understanding.” We stopped
for an hour at Rastadt, where the Princes of Baden and Princess
Stephanie had arrived for the purpose of paying their respects to
the Emperor. The Grand Duke and Duchess accompanied him as far as
Strasburg. On his arrival in that city he received despatches which
again excited his displeasure against the Faubourg St. Germain. We
proceeded to Fontainbleau: no preparations had been made for the
Emperor's reception; there was not even a guard on duty: but shortly
after, the whole court arrived, as well as the different members of
Napoleon's family.

The Emperor had several long conferences with the Minister of
Police. He complained of the Faubourg St. Germain. The contrast of
humility and boldness alternately displayed by the old nobility, in
the anti-chambers and saloons, disconcerted him: he could scarcely
conceive that these men were so base and perfidious as to destroy with
the one hand while they solicited favours with the other. He appeared
inclined to severity; but Fouché dissuaded him from that course.
“It is a traditionary remark,” said he, “that the Seine flows, the
Faubourg intrigues, solicits, devours, and calumniates. This is in the
order of nature; every thing has its attributes.” Napoleon yielded;
he avenged himself only on men. It was proposed that he should make a
solemn entry into the capital; but this he declined: the conqueror of
the world was superior to the triumphs which transported the Romans.
On the following day the court left Fontainbleau. The Emperor rode
to Paris without stirrups: he outstripped all his escort; none but a
chasseur of the guard was able to keep up with him. In this manner he
arrived at the Tuileries.

Napoleon was now approaching one of the most important epochs of his


The Imperial divorce was publicly spoken of in Paris, but opinions
varied with regard to the choice of the future Empress. The Princesses
of Russia and Saxony, and the Archduchess of Austria, were talked of.
The Russian alliance first became the subject of consideration. M. de
Metternich learnt this and made overtures which were accepted. All the
members of the Imperial family were, however, averse to the Austrian
alliance. They dreaded the subtlety of the Vienna court, and foresaw
that it would consent and lend itself to any thing the Emperor might
require, until a favourable opportunity should occur, when the mask
would be thrown off, and Austria would be foremost in bringing about
his ruin; but the marriage was determined on, and remonstrances were
useless. I was appointed to be present at the ceremony: this was no
trifling favour, for a great part of the court was obliged to mingle
with the crowd. I must confess, however, that I had no right to expect
it, as I had indulged in some reflections on the divorce, which had
been reported to the Emperor. I felt for Josephine, who had always
proved herself amiable, simple, and unassuming. She was banished to
Malmaison: I frequently visited her, and she made me the confidant of
her sorrows. I have seen her weep for hours together; she spoke of her
attachment for Bonaparte, for so she used to call him in our presence.
She regretted the close of her splendid career: this was very natural.

The day after the marriage we received orders to attend and make the
three bows to the Imperial couple, who were seated on the throne.
I could not obey the summons, being confined by a headache, which
attacks me pretty regularly every week; I sent to inform the Grand
Marshal of this circumstance. Napoleon did not believe I was unwell;
he thought I was unwilling to submit to the etiquette, and he was
therefore displeased with me. He gave orders that I should return to
Dantzic. The Duke de Feltre met me on the Boulevards, and communicated
to me the Emperor's intentions. I applied for instructions: Napoleon
answered drily, that I had only to keep watch over Prussia, to treat
the Russians with respect, and to give an account of what was going on
in the ports of the Baltic; adding that I might dispense with passing
through Berlin. I stayed a few days at Strasburg, and Frankfort, and
arrived on the 10th of June at Dantzic.

I was very well received by the troops and the inhabitants. They
complained very much of General Grabowski: the Dantzickers did not
like him, but they were in the wrong, he was an excellent man.

The garrison was soon increased. It received an augmentation of Saxon,
Baden, Wurtemburgh, Westphalian, and Hessian troops: they formed
a complete army. This increase of force displeased me, because it
imposed a heavy burthen on the citizens: for my own part, I had no
reason to complain. The sentiments of the troops were by no means
equivocal, and their respective sovereigns, with but few exceptions,
seized that opportunity of assuring me of their good will. I shall
content myself with the insertion of the King of Bavaria's letter.

                                        “Munich, April 15, 1811.

     “My dear Rapp,

     “You are about to have my 14th regiment of infantry under
     your command: I recommend it to your kindness and attention.
     The Colonel is a brave man, who will fulfil his duty. The
     Lieutenant-colonel and the two Majors are valuable men, as are
     all the officers of the regiment. The troops are excellent, and
     in good condition: they are very well pleased, my dear General,
     to be placed under the command of an officer like you; _und noch
     dazu ein Elsasser_, (and moreover a native of Alsace.)

     “Address yourself directly to me whenever you may have any thing
     to communicate relative to the welfare of my troop, if you have
     any complaint to make, or if it fails in the discharge of its
     duty—a circumstance which I hope will not occur. I eagerly seize
     this opportunity, my dear Rapp, to repeat to you the assurance of
     my constant friendship.

                                        “MAXIMILIAN JOSEPH.”

I received instructions to close the port of the town, and to watch
those of Prussia. Davoust came to take the command of Hamburgh: I was
not under his orders, but I was to correspond with him, and with M. de
St. Marsan. Though I was not acquainted with the latter gentleman, yet
I esteemed him greatly; his letters proved him to be a worthy man, who
was desirous of seeing harmony restored between the two nations. This
was also my wish.

Our opinions perfectly agreed. * * * * * * * frequently wrote to
advise me not to place confidence in that diplomatist, whom he
described as a traitor sold to King William and his ministers. He
doubtless wrote to the same effect to Napoleon; but fortunately,
when that prince had once formed his opinion with respect to any
individual, he paid little attention to the reports that were
addressed to him. Nothing short of finding him, as Napoleon himself
expressed it, with his hand in his pocket, could induce him to
withdraw his confidence.

My situation, however, became disagreeable. On the one side, the
Dantzickers complained of the maintenance of the troops, of the
burthens that were imposed upon them, and of being deprived of
their trade. On the other, the ministers urged me to collect the
contributions in order to meet the expenses of a secret expedition and
the extension of the fortifications. The contractors threatened to
stop the supplies. I knew not what to do. I derived some funds from
the taxes raised on Prussia; but these were insufficient. However, by
dint of perseverance and representations, I succeeded in obtaining the
sums necessary for paying the supplies, and by degrees the town was
relieved from that burthen.

Funds were assigned to me for completing the fortifications, and
making the necessary preparations for the secret expedition, which
however was no longer a secret.

The French ministers once proposed to Napoleon to have the garrison
maintained by the Prussian government. A letter was written to me
for my advice on this subject, and I replied, that if ever such
a determination should be entered into, I would immediately quit
Dantzic, in spite of every consideration. I must do justice to Marshal
Davoust, who was likewise consulted in this business. He showed that
the measure was dangerous and impracticable. The idea was abandoned.

I cannot pass over in silence a strange misunderstanding in which I
became involved at Dantzic.

I gave a dinner to which I invited the Prussian and Russian residents.
I placed the former on my right hand and the latter on my left. The
Russian resident took offence at this arrangement. He imagined I
intended to affront him, the Russian court, and all the Russians
in the world. He complained of my conduct; and his complaint was
transmitted from St. Petersburgh to M. de Champagny, who communicated
it to Napoleon. I was blamed; I was said to have been wanting in the
respect due to the resident of a great nation, in assigning the post
of honour to the resident of Prussia, and I was called upon to make
reparation for the error I had committed. I confess I felt hurt at
this. My reply to the minister was that I did not give diplomatic
dinners; that the foreign Consuls were not accredited with the
Governor but with the Senate; that I might place beside me at my own
table whomsoever I pleased; that I conceived the complaints of the
resident to be ridiculous, and that I would not receive him again.
I kept my word, and here the affair ended. I consider it proper to
relate this anecdote, because it proves the attempts which were making
even at that period to conciliate the good graces of Russia.


Nothing could have been more repugnant to the wishes of the
Dantzickers than having among them French custom-house officers, whom
for some time there had been an idea of establishing at Dantzic. I
repelled the proposition as strenuously as I possibly could. The
presence of these officers would have destroyed the small portion
of trade which I still tolerated, notwithstanding the outcries of

This measure would have been felt as no less a grievance along the
whole coast of the Baltic, which, I frankly confess, I did not
watch with the vigilance that was prescribed to me. Complaints were
in consequence poured out against me; but I knew from whence they
proceeded, and I did not concern myself much about them. Napoleon
was, however, enraged at my indulgence; he reproached me for it. “To
allow the Prussians and Dantzickers to carry on trade,” said he, “is
to betray me,” * * * * * wrote to the same effect, and sent spies
in every direction. Napoleon became tired of reports and complaints.
He directed Bertrand to inform me how much he was dissatisfied with
me. That General wrote to me, “The Emperor knows, my dear Rapp, that
you permit contraband trade in Prussia and at Dantzic; I must inform
you that he is displeased with you,” &c. Outcries were raised, but
I paid no regard to them, and continued to exercise my power with
moderation. The Custom-house establishment was set on foot. It is
well known how severely it was felt, particularly in the conquered
countries. The individuals connected with this department in Dantzic
aped independence, and refused to obey any orders save those of the
Minister Sucy. In support of these pretensions reference was made
to the example of the Custom establishment of Hamburgh. I cut the
matter short, by sending the Director of the Customs to Weichselmunde,
where he underwent six days' imprisonment. Such an act of severity
was unexampled; it was accounted as great a crime as high treason.
The minister complained of it; but, to his great surprise, Napoleon
replied, that if I had inflicted punishment I had reasons for doing
so. “Besides,” said he, “Dantzic is in a state of siege, and in that
case a Governor is omnipotent.” The officers of the Customs learnt
that they had presumed too much on their credit; they became more
circumspect, and behaved themselves better to the Dantzickers. Trade
recovered a certain degree of security, which was augmented by my
releasing several ships that had been captured by our pirates. Fresh
remonstrances were made, but with no better success than before.

I received orders to commit all articles of English merchandize to the
flames. This measure would have been most disastrous: I evaded it, and
notwithstanding the presence of the officers of the Customs, Dantzic
lost no more than what amounted to two hundred francs, and Kœnigsberg
still less. I do not speak of the merchandize procured by captures.

The continental system, and the rigorous measures employed by Napoleon
in the North of Germany, excited more and more dissatisfaction. The
people were exasperated. I was frequently applied to for reports on
their situation: I described them such as they really were—oppressed,
ruined, and driven to the last extremity. I pointed out those secret
societies, in which the whole nation was enrolled, where hatred
brooded on vengeance, and despair collected and combined her plans.
But Napoleon looked upon those societies with contempt. He little
knew the character of the Germans. He thought they possessed neither
vigour nor energy; he compared them and their pamphlets to “those
little dogs who bark but dare not bite.” At a later period we learned,
by experience, what they were capable of.

I was also frequently called upon for reports respecting the affairs
of Russia and the army which was assembling at Wilna. I was applied
to for my opinion as to what course France or Germany would adopt,
in case of an expedition to the other side of the Niemen turning
out unfortunate, or failing altogether. My answer was literally as
follows. It will be difficult to give credit to a prediction which has
unfortunately been so fully realised:—

“If your Majesty should experience reverses, you may be assured that
the Russians and Germans would all rise in a mass to throw off the
yoke. A crusade would be set on foot. All your allies would abandon
you: even the King of Bavaria, on whom you place so much reliance,
would join the coalition. I make an exception only in favour of the
King of Saxony; he, perhaps, would remain faithful to you; but his
subjects would compel him to make common cause with your enemies.”

Napoleon, as may be supposed, was not well pleased with this
communication. He sent it to Marshal Davoust, directing him to peruse
it, and to write to inform me that the Emperor was greatly astonished
that one of his aides-de-camp could have presumed to address such
a letter to him,—that my reports resembled the pamphlets published
on the other side of the Rhine, which I appeared to find pleasure
in reading,—that, finally, the Germans should never be treated as
Spaniards. The Marshal executed his commission, and I was for a long
time out of favour with Napoleon. Experience has proved whether or not
my judgment was correct; and I took the liberty to make that remark to
the Emperor, as I shall state hereafter.

When he obliged the King of Prussia to send to Magdeburgh all the
prohibited merchandize which had been confiscated at Kœnigsberg, I
addressed him in the most urgent tone: I represented to him how much
that measure was calculated to excite discontent, and to exasperate
the nation. M. de Clerambaut, who was then Consul General, wrote to
him in the same strain; but our representations were not attended to.

The war with Russia was on the eve of breaking out; Napoleon
deliberated as to the course he should pursue with regard to Prussia.
To enter into an alliance with King William would not have been
the means of subduing the doubts and prejudices of that monarch.
To dethrone him would have been a violent measure; but it was one,
however, which was advised by many persons whom I will not name. The
Emperor was urged to deprive the Prussian monarch of his States, and
to keep possession of them himself. Perhaps William has never yet been
made fully acquainted with the danger which threatened him; I knew
its full extent: I pitied the King of Prussia and his subjects, and I
opposed the design to the utmost of my power.

Instructions had already been sent to * * * *. That general expected
to commence his march immediately. What was his astonishment when,
instead of an order for invading Prussia, he received information of a
treaty of alliance with that country? The intelligence of that event
afterwards reached me, and it afforded me great satisfaction.


The grand army was already on the Vistula. Napoleon quitted Paris,
repaired to the capital of Saxony, and thence to Dantzic. He had
been preceded by the King of Naples, who had solicited permission to
go to Dresden, but without success. The refusal had mortified him
exceedingly: he told me that the Emperor caused him great vexation and
unhappiness; such, at least, was his own account. We were the first
persons whom the Emperor received. He began the conversation with me
by a rather odd question—“What do these Dantzickers do with their
money; they gain a good deal, and I spend a good deal among them?” I
replied that their situation was far from being prosperous—that they
were suffering greatly; in short, that they were at their last gasp.
“There will be a change soon,” he replied, “that is agreed upon; but I
will keep them to myself.”

He was fatigued, and in consequence the King of Naples and I withdrew.
I was recalled in a moment, and I remained with the Emperor while
he dressed. He asked me several questions respecting the duty of the
fortress. When he was dressed, and his valet-de-chambre had left the
room, he said, “Well, General Rapp, the Prussians have become our
allies, and the Austrians will shortly be so too.” “Unfortunately,
Sire,” replied I, “we do a great deal of mischief as allies; I receive
complaints against our troops from all quarters.” “That is merely
a passing cloud,” said he: “I shall see whether Alexander really
intends to go to war; I will avoid it if I can.” Then, changing the
conversation all at once, he said, “Did you observe how queer Murat
looked? he seems ill.” I replied, “No, Sire, he is not ill, but out of
humour.”—“Why out of humour?” said he; “is he not satisfied with being
a King?”—“He says, he is not a King.”—“Why, then, does he act so like
a fool? He ought to be a French man, and not a Neapolitan.”

In the evening I had the honour to sup with Napoleon, the King of
Naples, and the Prince de Neufchatel. Before we sat down to table
we conversed on the subject of the war with Russia: we were in the
saloon. The Emperor suddenly perceiving a marble bust on a bracket,
said, “Whose head is that?” “Sire,” I replied, “it is the Queen of
Prussia's.” “So, General Rapp, you keep the bust of the fair Queen in
your house: She did not like me.” “Sire,” I replied, “I presume I may
be allowed to possess the bust of a pretty woman: besides she is the
wife of a King who is now your ally.”

Next morning we went out on horseback; Napoleon visited the fortress,
and did not appear satisfied with the works. When he perceived that I
was not aware what object displeased him, he flew into a passion and
said, before a number of persons, “That he did not understand why his
governors took upon themselves to act the part of sovereigns, and that
he wished his orders to be executed.” There had, indeed, been a little
deviation from the strict letter of his commands; but it was trifling,
and was not worth the words that were made about it. The King of
Naples said to me, in a low tone of voice, “Do not vex yourself about
these reproaches; the Emperor is out of temper. He received letters
this morning which put him in an ill humour.” We afterwards returned
home. Napoleon received the generals and officers under my command,
as well as the civil authorities. To the latter he put many questions
respecting trade and finances. They deplored the state of their
affairs. “It will change soon,” said he, “I will keep you to myself;
it is a thing determined upon: none but the great families prosper.”
Then perceiving M. de Franzins the elder, he said, “You do not
complain, M. de Franzins; your affairs are in a thriving condition;
you have amassed a fortune of at least ten millions.”

In the evening I had again the honour of supping with Napoleon, the
King of Naples, and the Prince de Neufchatel. Napoleon maintained
silence for a long time: at length he suddenly asked how far it was
from Dantzic to Cadiz. “Too far, Sire,” I replied. “Ah! I understand
you, General,” said he; “but we shall be further off a few months
hence.”—“So much the worse,” I added. The King of Naples and the
Prince de Neufchatel did not speak a word. “I see, Gentlemen,” said
Napoleon, “that you do not wish for war. The King of Naples does not
like to leave his beautiful kingdom, Berthier wishes to hunt at Gros
Bois, and General Rapp longs to be back to his superb hotel in Paris.”
“I must confess,” I observed, “Sire, that your Majesty has not spoiled
me; I know very little of the pleasures of the capital.”

Murat and Berthier continued to observe profound silence: they seemed
to be piqued at something. After dinner they told me that I had done
right to speak as I did to Napoleon. “But,” replied I, “you should not
have allowed me to speak alone.”


Napoleon quitted Dantzic, and proceeded to Kœnigsberg. Murat
accompanied him, and General Belliard was also there. He spoke to
them a great deal about Spain, and his brother, with whom he was
dissatisfied. General Flahaut returned from a mission on which he
had been sent to Prince Schwartzenberg. He rendered an account of
the devotedness of the Prince, and of his impatience to attack the
Russians. The Emperor did not appear to place perfect reliance on the
sincerity of the Prince; however, he allowed himself to be persuaded
that, at length, his protestations might become sincere, and that
benefits might inspire sentiments of gratitude. He explained his plan
and intentions as follows:—“If Alexander,” said he, “persists in his
refusal to execute the conventions which we have mutually entered
into, if he will not accede to the last proposals I made him, I will
pass the Niemen, defeat his army, and possess myself of Russian
Poland. This last territory I will unite to the Grand Duchy: I will
convert it into a kingdom; where I will leave 50,000 men, whom the
country must support. The inhabitants wish to form themselves again
into a national corps. They are a warlike people, and will soon
possess a numerous and disciplined force. Poland wants arms: I will
supply them: she will be a check upon the Russians; a barrier against
the irruptions of the Cossacks. But I am embarrassed on one point; I
know not what course to adopt with regard to Galicia. The Emperor of
Austria, or rather his Council, is reluctant to part with it: I have
offered ample compensation for it, but it has been refused. I must
await the course of events, which alone can show us what ought to be
done. Poland, if well organized, may furnish 50,000 cavalry,—what say
you, General Belliard?” “I think so, Sire,” replied the General; “if
your Majesty would mount the infantry of the Vistula on horseback, it
would make excellent light cavalry, and might thus be successfully
opposed to the cloud of Cossacks which precede the Russian
forces.”—The Emperor said, “We shall see what can be done. You will
return with Murat and leave your Swiss: by the by, what do you think
of the Swiss?”—“They will march, Sire; they will fight. They have
improved greatly; they would not be known for the same troops that
they were six weeks ago. I will go and see them to-morrow.”—“Well,”
observed the Emperor, “rejoin Murat and inspect all the cavalry in
company with him.”

The proposals which the Emperor had spoken of were not accepted. The
Russians complained of our forces and our commercial measures, and
they required that we should evacuate Germany. We marched forward
and arrived on the banks of the Niemen, which five years before had
been the scene of our victories. The troops raised shouts of joy.
Napoleon proceeded to the advanced posts, disguised as a chasseur, and
reconnoitred the banks of the river, in company with General Axo. He
afterwards spoke for a few moments with the King of Naples; pointing
out to him the points at which it would be proper to throw bridges
over the river, and directing him to concentrate his troops, in order
that the passage might be rapidly effected. The cavalry was mounted;
the infantry was under arms; never was there a grander spectacle.
Eblé set to work; the pontoons were laid at midnight: at one o'clock
we were on the right bank of the Niemen, and General Pajol was at
Kowsno, which had been evacuated by Bagawouth, and we took possession
of it without striking a blow. We continued to press on; we marched
incessantly, but we perceived only a few Pulks of Cossacks blending
with the line of the horizon. We arrived at Wilna, and found its
immense magazines in flames. We extinguished the fire, and the greater
part of the provisions were saved.


The conflagration, the sight of the ground which had been so often
trodden by the Polish legions on their return from their glorious
expeditions, excited fresh ardour; the troops were inspired by the
force of their recollections. We dashed on in pursuit of the enemy;
but the rain fell in torrents and the cold had become severe. We were
now in the bogs and quagmires of Pultusk, and we were destitute both
of shelter and clothing. All this, however, would have been nothing,
had the Russians ventured to let us come up with them; but they
reached the Borysthenes and crossed the Dwina, flying and ravaging
the country which they passed through: we were maintaining a racing
contest, rather than carrying on a war. They had now lost all unity
and connexion, and we abandoned the hope of coming to an engagement.
The enemy, however, having gained ground by dint of speed, succeeded
in rallying his forces, and he took refuge in the works which he had
constructed at Drissa. But he was soon in danger of being attacked
in his intrenchments and of having his retreat cut off. He did not
venture to incur this double risk, and therefore fled. He would
have been lost, had he delayed for a few hours: all the necessary
arrangements were made for attacking his flank and intercepting him.
He owed his safety to a _coup de main_. Some of our advanced corps,
not being sufficiently vigilant, were surprised by Wittgenstein.
Napoleon concluded that the Russians were marching upon us, and halted
his columns. This delay saved them: when we arrived at Beszenkownzi
they had effected their retreat. The King of Naples followed them. He
came up with them, and attacked them at Ostrowno. He charged them some
leagues further on and routed all their rear-guard. The following is
his report, which I insert because it is characteristic of the manner
of this prince, who deserved to die only on the field of battle:—

“I ordered the first corps of the reserve of cavalry and two
battalions of light infantry to advance. They were followed by
Delzons' division. We came up with the enemy's rear-guard about two
leagues from Ostrowno. It was advantageously posted behind a deep
ravine, with a great mass of artillery, and having its front and
flanks covered by thick woods. A little firing took place on both
sides; I sent the battalions to check the enemy's infantry who were
repulsing our hussars. Delzons' division arrived and the cavalry had
nothing farther to do. The Viceroy made his arrangements, and we
marched upon the enemy and crossed the ravine. The foreign cavalry
which lined the bank of the Dwina protected our left, and debouched in
the plain. The rest of the light troops advanced along the high road
in proportion as the enemy's infantry retrograded. The cuirassiers
were left in reserve behind the ravine, and the batteries were
mounted. My right was covered by immense woods, and I had numerous
parties of pioneers. The enemy was driven to the second position in
the rear of the ravine, where the reserve was stationed. He brought
us back into the ravine, and he was again repulsed: he drove us back
a second time, and was on the point of taking our guns, which had got
entangled in a defile, through which they were passing in order to
take a position on the heights. Our left was repulsed, and the enemy
made a bold movement on our right: the foreign brigade was on the
point of being dispersed. In this state of things nothing but a charge
of cavalry could enable us to recover ourselves; I attempted it. We
advanced to meet the enemy's infantry, which was marching boldly along
the plain. The brave Poles rushed on the Russian battalions: not a man
escaped, not a single prisoner was made; all were killed, not even
the wood protected them from the sabres of our cavalry. At the same
time the squares were broken by the charge. General Girardin, who was
leading the battalions on the left, made a movement on the right, and
advanced along the high road on the enemy's rear; the troops on the
right performed the same manœuvre. General Piré supported them; he
charged at the head of the eighth hussars. The enemy was routed, and
owed his safety only to the ravines which retarded our advance. The
whole division followed the movement: the infantry advanced along the
high road and the cavalry debouched on the heights. I gave orders for
firing on five or six cavalry regiments that were before us. In this
situation your Majesty came up with me; you ordered me to pursue the
enemy, and I drove him to a league and a half beyond Witepsk. Such,
Sire, is the narrative of our late engagement with the Russians. The
enemy has had about three thousand killed and a great number wounded;
we have scarcely lost a man. This result was, in a great measure, the
work of Count Belliard, who on this occasion gave new proofs of his
devotedness and courage. To him we are indebted for the preservation
of the artillery of Delzons' division.”

Fatigue and even lassitude have, in the long run, the effect of
inspiring courage. Barclay experienced this. He several times
entertained the design of risking the fate of a battle; but a
foreboding of defeat constantly possessed him at the sight of our
troops. Whenever he found them within sight, he hurried his retreat;
he beheld without concern his magazines, his guns, and his works
fall into our hands. He had but one object in view, which was to
keep constantly a few leagues in advance of us. Bagration imitated
this example, but he occasionally evinced resolution. He had several
engagements with our advance-guard. Marshal Davoust pursued him
vigorously; but the King of Westphalia advanced but slowly. A dispute
arose between this sovereign and Vandamme; and, in consequence, the
orders were not executed. This circumstance saved the Russian Prince.
He gained ground, reached Mohiloff, and was beaten: he certainly would
have fared worse but for the dispute between Vandamme and the King of
Westphalia, which Napoleon of course could not foresee. The Russians,
who were dispersed along the banks of the Niemen, combined their
forces on the shores of the Borysthenes. They were preparing for the
defence, and we for the attack of Smolensko.


I had left Dantzick, and I traversed Lithuania; the country was
dreary, it was made up of woods and steeps—an unlimited picture of
poverty and desolation. It was at that season of the year when Nature
displays her riches, yet vegetation was weak and drooping, every thing
in those fatal countries depicted wretchedness, every thing foretold
the disasters which were to overwhelm us.

The rain still continued, the roads were broken up, and impassable,
the men were losing themselves in the mud, and perishing from fatigue
and hunger: ten thousand horses lay lifeless on the ground that we had
gone over within these two days; never had such a frightful mortality
before signalized the commencement of a campaign; our soldiers,
continually sliding on the clayey ground, were exhausted in fruitless
exertions: most of them were unable to keep up, they lagged behind;
the allied troops especially had a prodigious number in arrear. It was
easy to foresee that the issue of the war would be disastrous: we had
in our favour force and courage, but Nature took part with them;—we
were to fall. However, I arrived at Wilna; I found there the Duke
de Bassano, whose prognostics were less gloomy, General Hogendorp,
Napoleon's aide-de-camp, with whom I was yet unacquainted, and General
Jomini, who afterwards deserted our colours. All augured better than
myself of the struggle in which we were engaged. It presented itself,
indeed, under specious auspices: all Poland was in motion; men, women,
peasants, citizens, gentlemen, all were animated with the most noble
enthusiasm; troops were organising, administrations were forming,
resources were collecting, and the people were preparing themselves
to drive oppression beyond the Borysthenes. The Diet of Warsaw had
opened; the Polish nation, which had so long been beaten by the
tempest, thought that it had at last reached a port; no sacrifice
seemed too much for it. The speech of the President had excited
general acclamations, every where it had been received with joy. I
was curious to read it; M. de Bassano gave it me. “It might have been
better,” he observed, “but still it is tolerable.” The Emperor would
have wished it stronger in facts, and its expressions less tinged with
the affectation of learning. It was the energy of the patriot, and not
the measured movements of the orator, that was necessary in so serious
a juncture; nevertheless it produced its effect.

“For a long time there had existed in the centre of Europe a
celebrated nation, mistress of an extensive and fruitful country,
brilliant with the double glory of war and arts, protecting for ages,
with an unwearied arm, the barriers of Europe against the barbarians
who raged around its frontiers. A numerous people prospered in this
land. Nature repaid their labours with liberality. Often had her kings
taken a place in history by the side of those who had most honoured
the supreme rank.

“This country is Poland; you are that people: but what are you become?
How has the dilaceration of our country been effected? How has this
family, which even when it was divided did not separate, which had
remained united through ages of divisions, how has this powerful
family seen itself dismembered? What have been its crimes, who its
judges? By what right has it been attacked, invaded, effaced from the
list of states and nations? Whence have the oppressors come, whence
the chains? The indignant universe would answer us—every state, every
people would tell us that it thought that it saw its tomb open by the
side of that of Poland; and that in the audacious profanation of the
laws on which all societies alike repose, in the insulting contempt
which was manifested for them to accomplish our ruin, the world
might think itself put in subjection to the temporary purposes of
monarchs, and that now it would have no other law. Europe, alarmed and
threatened, would point out to our just resentment the empire which,
while it caressed us, was particularly preparing to press upon her
with an increased force. It is Russia that is the author of all our
evils. Within a century she advances with gigantic stride towards a
people who before were ignorant of her name.

“Poland perceived immediately the first effects of this increase of
the Russian power. Placed in her immediate vicinity, she received
her first, as her last blows. Who could enumerate them from the time
when, in 1717, Russia tried her influence by the disbanding of the
Polish army? Since that epoch, what moment has been exempt from her
influence or her outrages? If this crafty power joined herself to
Poland, it is to impose on her, as in 1764, that fatal guarantee which
made the integrity of our frontiers dependent on the perpetuation of
anarchy; to make that anarchy the means of accomplishing her ambitious
designs. The world knows what they have been since that unlucky
epoch. It is since then that, by partition after partition, Poland
has been seen completely to disappear, without crime and without
vengeance; it is since that time that the Poles have heard with
indignation the insulting language of the Repnins, of the Sivers; it
is since then that the Russian soldier bathed himself in the blood of
their fellow-citizens, as a prelude to that for ever execrable day,
must we recall it, in which, in the midst of the shouts of a savage
conqueror, Warsaw heard the cries of the population of Prague, which
was destroyed by fire and murder. Pole, for it is time to make that
name which we should never lose resound in your ears, these are the
hateful means by which Russia has succeeded in appropriating to
herself our fine provinces; these are the claim, the only claim, she
possesses on us. Force alone could enchain us, force may also break
the fetters which she alone has forged. These fetters shall be broken.
Poland, then, shall exist,—what do we say? She exists already, or
rather she has never ceased to exist. How can the perfidy, the plots,
the violence, under which she has fallen—how can they have affected
her right? Yes, we are still Poland; we are so by the title that we
hold from nature, from society, from our ancestors, from those sacred
titles which the universe recognizes, and which form the safeguard of

I was carried away by enthusiasm. I had so often seen the brave Polish
legions in Italy, in Egypt, and elsewhere! They were right indeed,
they were still Poland. “In point of courage,” I said to the Duke,
“nothing will surprise me on the part of this brave people; but I own
I did not suspect it of this sort of talent.” “You are right,” replied
M. de Bassano, “they have plenty of other things to do than to make
harangues!” “Who, then, is the writer?” “The Abbé.” “What Abbé? Do
you think the Emperor has a predilection for churchmen?” “No; but in
fine, at the present time, it is not without powerful considerations
that an embassy is confided to a priest.” “Is it the Archbishop?”
“The very man; we have sent him to Warsaw to intoxicate the Poles by
his eloquence. I do not think him very skilful in business, but he is
entirely devoted to the Emperor;—that is the main affair. His enemies
accuse him of being ambitious and restless, without steadiness in his
affections, or in his ideas of praising white and black; of being the
mere creature of circumstance. I believe this picture a caricature. I
myself am persuaded that, if events compromise the glory of our arms,
he will not be seen among the ranks of our detractors.” “I firmly
believe it; he has abused the Cossacks too much ever to become their

The deputation of the Diet was still at Wilna. I was acquainted with a
few of the members. I saw them; they talked to me of their hopes, of
their means, of their rights. These ideas struck me, I gave an account
of them to the Duke.—“You are admirable!” said he in reply. “What!
do you not recognize the Archbishop? Do you not see with what art he
betrays himself? and these biblical reminiscences, to whom would you
have them occur but to a priest. Besides I will give you the document.”

“Sire, the Diet of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, assembled at the
approach of the powerful armies of your Majesty, recognized at the
outset that it had rights to reclaim and duties to fulfil; with an
unanimous voice, it has constituted itself a general confederation
of Poland; it has declared the kingdom of Poland re-established in
its rights; and, at the same time, that the acts of usurpation and
arbitrary power, by which its existence had been destroyed, were null
and of no effect.

“Sire, your Majesty labours for posterity and for history. If Europe
cannot mistake our rights, she can still much less mistake our
duties. A free and independent nation, since the remotest times, we
have not lost our territory and our independence, either by treaties
or by conquest, but by perfidy and treachery. Treachery has never
constituted rights. We have seen our last king dragged away to St.
Petersburgh, where he perished; and our nation torn to shreds by
princes with whom we were not at war, and by whom we have not been

“Our rights appear thus evident to the eyes of God and men. We, Poles,
we have the right to re-establish the throne of the Jagellons and
Sobieskis, to re-assert our national independence, to re-assemble our
divided members, to arm ourselves in defence of our native country,
and to prove, by fighting in its defence, that we are the worthy
descendants of our ancestors.

“Can your Majesty disown us or blame us, for having done that which
our duty, as Poles, demanded of us; and for having resumed our rights?
Yes, Sire. Poland is proclaimed from this day; she exists by the laws
of equity, but she ought to exist in fact; right and justice proclaim
our resolution to be legitimate; but it ought to be supported on our
part. Has not God punished Poland enough for its divisions? will he
perpetuate our misfortunes? and must the Poles, after having cherished
the love of their country, go down to the tomb wretched and without
hope? No, Sire. You have been sent by Providence, power is placed in
the hands of your Majesty, and the existence of the Grand Duchy is due
to the power of your arms.

“Say, Sire, Let the kingdom of Poland exist! and the decree will be
to the world equivalent to the reality. We are sixteen millions of
Poles, among whom there is not one whose blood, arms, and fortune,
are not devoted to your Majesty: every sacrifice will appear to us
light, if it has for its object the reestablishment of our native
country. From the Dwina to the Dniester, from the Borysthenes to the
Oder, one word only from your Majesty will command every arm, every
effort, every heart. This unexampled war which Russia has dared to
declare, notwithstanding the recollections of Austerlitz, Pultusk,
Eylau, Friedland; in spite of the oaths taken at Tilsit and at
Erfurth, is, we have no doubt, an effect of Providence, which, moved
by the misfortunes of our nation, has determined to bring them to a
termination. The second Polish war has only just begun, and already
we pay our homage to your Majesty in the capital of the Jagellons.
Already are the eagles of your Majesty on the Dwina, and the armies of
Russia, separated, divided, cut up, wander in uncertainty, and seek in
vain to unite and to form themselves, &c.”

“It is well.—Yes, undoubtedly; but he is so enchanted with the
_chef-d'œuvre_, that he would think himself wanting to his glory if he
did not publish to the world that his genius protects Poland. Twenty
times a-day I am obliged to moderate these excesses of self-love. This
very morning I have been remonstrating with him on the impropriety
of his freaks of vanity. He _Ossianizes_; do you recollect the word?
It describes him admirably. But now, if his style goes well, his
embassy scarcely moves. But for Duroc, who covers him with his wing,
I would have already sent him to his flocks. What the devil has the
almonership in common with embassies? Why should he put himself to the
trouble of so much exertion, to do nothing of any possible use?”


I resumed my route: it was through forests, steeps, every thing that
is most wild in nature; but I met at every step officers who were
going on missions; they gave me news of my friends, of the army. I
forgot the scenes that I was passing through; I discussed the probable
chances of the war; they talked to me of the valour of the troops, of
the prodigious activity of the Emperor. It was indeed inconceivable,
the movements, the administrations, the measures of security and
precaution; he embraced every thing, he was equal to every thing. The
instructions that were given to M. d'Hautpoult are an example of it.
They merit preservation.

     “The orderly officer d'Hautpoult will go to Ostrowno, and
     from thence to Beszenkowiczi. He will see at Ostrowno whether
     the village is inhabited, and whether it has an engineer to
     re-organize it; he will see at Beszenkowiczi whether the bridges
     are erected, and if a bridge of rafts has been substituted for
     the fixed one, which would not stand the first swelling of the
     river; he will see whether the _tête-du-pont_ is in progress; he
     will see also the hospital, the workhouse, the magazines, and
     in fine, if the country begins to be re-organized. He will give
     me an account of the troops that he may meet, whether cavalry,
     artillery, or military equipages. He will see at Beszenkowiczi
     the fourth regiment of the chasseurs of the guard, and the
     battalion of Hesse Darmstadt, which I have commanded to remain
     there till farther orders. There should also be there several
     pieces of artillery; he must take care that every thing be in
     its proper position, and that the works at the _tête-du-pont_ be
     proceeded with in order to finish it. He will inform himself if
     there are any news of the Cossacks, and, if it is necessary, he
     will remain one day at Beszenkowiczi in order to see every thing,
     and draw up his despatch. He will write to me from that quarter,
     taking care to send his letter by the first estafette that may
     pass through Beszenkowiczi. He will continue his road to Polozk,
     from whence he will send me his second despatch; he will see the
     functionaries of the town, hospital, and workhouse. He will
     inform me how many prisoners the Duke de Reggio has taken in the
     different affairs which have just taken place; how many wounded;
     all that he can learn on this matter, and on the situation of
     the Duke de Reggio's corps. The Duke de Tarentum having taken
     Dünabourg, the orderly officer d'Hautpoult will learn whether
     the communication between the two corps has been effected. He
     will get every information which can make me acquainted with
     the nature of the forces opposed to the Duke de Reggio; he will
     remain with this Marshal (to whom he will send the inclosed
     letter) till he shall have attacked the enemy, cleared the right
     bank of the river, and effected his communication with Dünabourg.


But all this vigilance did not remedy the evil. The soldiers who were
unable to keep up with their corps increased visibly; they encumbered
our rear. I gave an account to the Emperor, whom I joined at the
_bivouac_ three leagues on this side of Smolensko, of the melancholy
picture that I had had incessantly before my eyes during the whole of
my journey. “It is the effect of long marches; I will strike a great
blow, and every one will rally. You come from Wilna. What is Hogendorp
doing? he is wallowing in indolence. Has he not his wife with him?”
I knew nothing about it; I could not answer. Napoleon replied, “If he
had his wife, she must go back to France, or at least that he must
send her to Germany on the rear. Berthier is going to write to him.”
Some papers were brought in that had just been translated; some were
the accounts of the victories in which some handfuls of Cossacks had
beaten us all; others were proclamations and addresses, in which we
were designated as a troop of missionaries. “See,” said Napoleon
to me, “you had no suspicion that we were apostles; but here it is
proved that we are coming with damnation for the Russians. These
poor Cossacks are going to become idolators. But here is another of
a different kind; here, read, it is pure Russian. Poor Platoff! All
are of equal strength in these dreary climates!” I read it; it was
a long rhapsody with which the patriarch seasoned a relic of St.
Sergius that he offered to the Emperor Alexander. He ended it with
this paragraph: “The city of Moscow, the first capital of the empire,
the new Jerusalem, receives its Christ, as a mother, in the arms of
her zealous sons; and through the mist which is rising foreseeing the
brilliant glory of his power, it sings in transports, Hosanna, blessed
be he who cometh! Let the arrogant, the brazen Goliath carry from the
borders of France mortal terror to the confines of Russia; pacific
religion, this sling of the Russian David shall suddenly bow the
head of his sanguinary pride. This image of St. Sergius, the ancient
defender of the happiness of our country, is offered to your Imperial


The affair of Smolensko took place. The battle was obstinate, the
cannonade violent. The Russians, taken in flank and enfiladed, were
defeated. They could not defend those walls which so many times had
witnessed their victories; they evacuated them; but the bridges and
public buildings were a prey to the flames. The churches in particular
poured out torrents of fire and smoke. The domes, the spires, and the
multitude of small towers which arose above the conflagration, added
to the effect of the picture, and produced those ill-defined emotions
which are only to be found on the field of battle. We entered the
place. It was half consumed, of a barbarous appearance, encumbered
with the bodies of the dead and wounded, which the flames had already
reached. The spectacle was frightful. What a train is that of glory!

We were obliged to turn our views from these scenes of slaughter. The
Russians were flying; our cavalry rushed to the pursuit, and soon
came up with the rear-guard. Korff attempted to make a stand; he was
overwhelmed. Barclay came forward with his masses. We, on our side,
received reinforcements; the action became terrible: Ney attacked in
front, Junot on the flank: the enemy's army would have been cut off
if the Duke had pressed forward. Wearied with not seeing him appear,
Murat ran to him, “What are you about? Why do you not come on?” “My
Westphalians are wavering.” “I will give them an impetus.” The King
of Naples put himself at the head of a few squadrons, charged, and
overthrew every thing that opposed him. “There is thy Marshal's staff
half gained; complete the work, the Russians are lost.” Junot did
not complete it; whether from fatigue or distrust, the brave of the
brave slumbered amidst the sound of the cannon, and the enemy, who
were coming up to support their rear, again fell back on their line.
The engagement became terrible; the brave Gudin lost his life, and
the Russian army escaped us. Napoleon visited the places where the
battle had been fought. “It was not at the bridge—it is there—at the
village, where the eighth corps ought to have debouched—that the
battle hinged. What was Junot doing?” The King of Naples endeavoured
to extenuate his fault: the troops, the obstacles, all the customary
commonplaces were employed. Berthier, who had always loved the Duke,
interested himself for him; Caulincourt did the same. Every one
pleaded to the utmost in favour of a brave man who could be reproached
with nothing but a moment of forgetfulness. But the advantages we
had lost were too great. Napoleon sent for me. “Junot has just
lost for ever his Marshal's staff. I give you the command of the
Westphalian corps: you speak their language, you will show them an
example, you will make them fight.” I was flattered with this mark
of confidence, and expressed my sense of it; but Junot was covered
with wounds, he had signalized himself in Syria, in Egypt, every
where; I begged the Emperor to forget a moment's absence of mind on
account of twenty years' courage and devotion. “He is the cause of
the Russian army not having laid down its arms. This affair will,
perhaps, hinder me from going to Moscow. Put yourself at the head
of the Westphalians.” The tone with which he pronounced these last
words was already much softened. The services of the old aide-de-camp
extenuated the inactivity of the 8th corps. I resumed: “Your Majesty
has just talked to me of Moscow. The army is not in expectation of
such an expedition.” “The glass is full, I must drink it off. I have
just received good news: Schwartzenberg is in Wolhinia, Poland is
organizing, I shall have every kind of assistance.”

I left Napoleon to make known to the Prince of Neuchâtel and the
Duke de Vicenze the disgrace with which Junot was threatened. “I am
afflicted,” said the Prince to me, “to see his troops taken from him;
but I cannot but own that he has caused the failure of one of the
finest operations of the campaign. See on what the success of war
depends; on the forgetfulness, on the absence of a moment: you do not
seize the occasion in its flight, it disappears, and returns no more.
No one has more courage or more ability. He adds to the qualities of
the soldier the most extensive knowledge; he is intrepid, clever,
agreeable, and good-natured. He forgot himself for an hour; he has
made himself many enemies. However, I and Caulincourt will see what
is to be done.” They managed so well that Junot kept his post. I was
very glad of it; first, because it saved him from disgrace, and next
because I did not much like his troops. Unfortunately, lassitude had
succeeded the impetuosity of his youth. He did not show at the battle
of Moscowa that elasticity, that energy, of which he had so many times
given an example; and the affair of Vereia raised to its height the
dissatisfaction of the Emperor.

We learnt, some days after, the irruption of Tormasoff. We were
uneasy; we discussed these long points, on the dangers to which one is
exposed in advancing to an excessive distance beyond the line of one's
operations. Without doubt Napoleon heard us. He came to us, talked a
good deal of the manner in which he had secured the rear, of the corps
which formed our wings, and of that chain of posts which extended
from the Niemen to our actual position. “Tormasoff,” he said to us,
“has put all the children at Warsaw in alarm. They saw him already
officiating at Prague; but see, he is sent back quicker than he came.”
He went into his closet, and began to dictate with indifference, but
loud enough to prevent us losing a word, instructions for the Duke de


     “Dorogobuj, August 26, 1812.

     “My cousin, write to the Duke de Belluno to go in person to
     Wilna, in order that he may see there the Duke de Bassano,
     and inform himself of affairs and the state of things; that
     I shall be the day after to-morrow at Wjaezma, that is, five
     days' march from Moscow; that it is possible that, in that
     situation, communications will be intercepted; that some one
     then must take the command, and act according to circumstances;
     that I have ordered the 129th regiment, the Illyrian regiment,
     the Westphalian regiment which was at Kœnigsberg, and the two
     Saxon regiments, to march for Minsk; and that, moreover, I have
     placed between Minsk and Mohilow the Dombrowski division, twelve
     battalions strong, with a brigade of light cavalry; that it is
     important for his corps to approach Wilna, and that he must
     guide himself according to circumstances, in order to be in a
     condition to support Smolensko, Witepsk, Mohilow, and Minsk; that
     the Dombrowski division ought to be sufficient to keep up the
     communications from Minsk by Orza as far as Smolensko, since it
     has only to watch the Russian division of General Hetzel which
     is at Mozyr, from 6 to 8000 men strong, most of them recruits,
     and against which, moreover, General Schwartzenberg can act;
     that the new reinforcements which I shall send to Minsk will
     also be able to assist against all accidents; and at all events
     the movement of the Duke de Belluno to Minsk and Orza, and from
     thence to Smolensko, appears to me calculated to support our
     rear; that I have four towns and men in garrison at Witepsk, and
     as many at Smolensko; that the Duke de Belluno taking position
     thus, between the Dnieper and Dwina, can easily communicate with
     me, will be able quickly to receive my orders, and will find
     himself in condition to protect the communications from Minsk
     and from Witepsk, as well as those from Smolensko to Moscow;
     that I suppose that General Gouvion Saint-Cyr has sufficient of
     the second and sixth corps to keep in check Witgenstein, and to
     have nothing to fear from him; that the Duke de Tarentum can
     march on Riga and invest the fortress; in fine, that I order
     the four demi-brigades, making 9000 men, who formed part of the
     Lagrange division, to march for Kowno; that also it should only
     be in case General Gouvion Saint-Cyr should be beaten by General
     Witgenstein, and obliged to pass the Dwina, that the Duke de
     Belluno is to march to his support in the first instance; that,
     this case excepted, he is to follow his course for Smolensko. On
     this, &c.

                           (Signed)     “NAPOLEON.”


The army continued its movements, always driving before it the troops
it had defeated at Valontina. _Te Deums_ were often sung in Russia;
they are sung for every thing in that happy country: but the victories
after Tolly's fashion did not calm the anxiety of the nation; she
perceived that this mode of conquering would soon drive her into
Siberia; she resolved to put her destinies into other hands. Kutusow
drew from the feet of images his military inspirations; he fasted,
he prayed, he flattered the priests and the nobility; Heaven could
not refuse him its assistance: he was appointed. Admirable in courts,
pasquinades are not sufficient on the field of battle; all religious
mummeries are of no avail against a good manœuvre: he experienced
it. The King of Naples, who had a soldier's contempt for amulets,
attacks him and cuts his troops to pieces. He wished to make a stand
at Chevarino, but the cavalry is put in motion, the charge is sounded,
he is overturned, and thrown back on his intrenchments; courage
overpowers the saints of Russia. This beginning did not augur well;
Heaven answered coldly to the zeal of the Cossacks. Supplications
were redoubled; Kutusow displayed his images; the army defiled before
the virgin of Smolensko, of which we wished to dispossess the devout
nation: prayers, vows and offerings were made, and the orators of the
Calmucks uttered the following homily:—


     “You see before you, in this image, the object of your piety, an
     appeal addressed to Heaven that it may unite with men against the
     tyrant who disturbs the universe. Not content with destroying
     millions of creatures, images of God, this arch-rebel against
     all laws, both divine and human, penetrates into our sanctuaries
     with an armed hand, defiles them with blood, overturns your
     altars, and exposes the very ark of the Lord consecrated in this
     holy image of our church to the profanations of fortune, of the
     elements, and of sacrilegious hands. Fear not, then, but that
     God, whose altars have been thus insulted by this worm which his
     almighty power has drawn from the dust, will be with us; fear not
     that he will refuse to extend his buckler over your ranks, and to
     fight his enemy with the sword of Saint Michael.”

     “It is in this belief that I wish to fight, conquer, and die,
     certain that my dying eyes will see victory. Soldiers, do your
     duty: think on the sacrifice of your cities in flames, and
     on your children, who implore your protection; think on your
     Emperor, your lord, who considers you as the nerve of his power,
     and to-morrow, before the sun shall have gone down, you will have
     traced your faith and your fidelity on your country's soil with
     the blood of the aggressor and his warriors.”

The sword of Saint Michael is undoubtedly a formidable sword, but
active soldiers are of still more consequence; Kutusow did not
therefore spare libations; he proportionably increased the fervour of
the Cossacks. As for us, we had no inspired men, no preachers, not
even subsistence; but we bore the inheritance of a long glory; we
were going to decide whether the Tartars or ourselves were to give
laws to the world; we were on the confines of Asia, farther than any
European army had ever gone. Success was not doubtful: thus Napoleon
saw, with the most lively joy, the processions of Kutusow. “Good,”
he observed to me, “they are now busy with pasquinades, they shall
not escape us again.” He reconnoitred, despatched orders for moving,
and prepared himself for the battle of the morrow. The King of Naples
thought these preparations superfluous; he had made himself master of
the principal redoubt; the left of this position was turned: he did
not believe that the Russians would accept battle; he thought that
they would withdraw during the night. This was not their project;
they dug, they threw up the earth, they strengthened their position.
The next day we perceived them all at work. It was eleven o'clock;
Napoleon sent me to reconnoitre; I was charged to approach as near as
possible to the enemy's line. I rid myself of my white feathers, I
put on a soldier's cloak, and examined every thing with the greatest
care possible; I was only accompanied by one chasseur of the guard. In
several places I passed by Russian sentinels: the village of Borodino
was only separated from our posts by a narrow but a deep ravine: I
advanced too far; they fired at me two discharges of grape-shot. I
withdrew, and returned about two o'clock; I came and gave an account
of every thing I had seen. Napoleon was discoursing with the King of
Naples and the Prince of Neuchâtel; Murat had entirely changed his
opinion; surprised to see at daybreak the enemy's line unmoved, he had
thought action approaching, and had prepared for it. Other generals
still maintained that the Russians would not dare to run the risk: as
for me, I asserted the contrary. I observed that they had plenty of
men, in a very good position; I was convinced that they would attack
us, if we did not prevent them. Napoleon did me the honour to be of my
opinion, which was also that of Berthier: he called for his horses,
and made the same reconnoissance in person. He was received as I had
been before Borodino; the grape-shot obliged him to withdraw. What he
saw effectually convinced him that he had not been deceived: on his
return he gave orders in consequence.

Night came on. I was in attendance; I slept in Napoleon's tent. The
part where he slept was generally separated by a partition of cloth
from that which was reserved for the aide-de-camp in attendance. The
Emperor slept very little: I waked him several times to give him in
reports and accounts from the advanced posts, which all proved to him
that the Russians expected to be attacked. At three in the morning
he called a valet de chambre, and made him bring some punch; I had
the honour of taking some with him. He asked me if I had slept well;
I answered, that the nights were already cold, that I had often been
awaked. He said, “We shall have an affair to-day with this famous
Kutusow. You recollect, no doubt, that it was he who commanded at
Braunau, in the campaign of Austerlitz. He remained three weeks in
that place, without leaving his chamber once. He did not even get
on horseback to see the fortifications. General Benigsen, though as
old, is a more vigorous fellow than he. I do not know why Alexander
has not sent this Hanoverian to replace Barclay.” He took a glass of
punch, read some reports, and added, “Well, Rapp, do you think that
we shall manage our concerns properly to-day?”—“There is not the
least doubt of it, Sire; we have exhausted all our resources, we are
obliged to conquer.” Napoleon continued his discourse, and replied:
“Fortune is a liberal mistress; I have often said so, and begin to
experience it.”—“Your Majesty recollects that you did me the honour to
tell me at Smolensko, that the glass was full, that it must be drunk
off.”—“It is at present the case more than ever: there is no time
to lose. The army moreover knows its situation: it knows that it can
only find provisions at Moscow, and that it has not more than thirty
leagues to go. This poor army is much reduced, but what remains of it
is good; my guard besides is untouched.” He sent for Prince Berthier,
and transacted business till half past five. We mounted on horseback:
the trumpets sounded, the drums were beaten; and as soon as the troops
knew it, there was nothing but acclamations. “It is the enthusiasm of
Austerlitz. Let the proclamation be read.”


     “This is the battle that you have so long wished for! Henceforth
     victory depends on you; we want her; she will give us abundance
     of good winter-quarters, and a quiet return to our country.
     Behave yourselves as at Austerlitz, at Friedland, at Witepsk, at
     Smolensko; and let the remotest posterity quote your conduct on
     this day, and let it be said of you, 'he was at that great battle
     under the walls of Moscow.'”

The acclamations redoubled, the troops were incessantly demanding to
fight, the action soon began.


The wings were composed of Italians and Poles; Napoleon acted on the
left of the enemy's masses. Beyond this we had no precise information;
women, children, old people, cattle, all had disappeared; there
was not a person left who could give us the least information. Ney
marched towards the enemy, and broke through them with that force,
that impetuosity, of which he had given so many proofs. We carried
the three redoubts which supported the enemy. He came up with fresh
troops; confusion began in our ranks; we gave up two of these works;
the last even was in danger. The Russians already crowned the crest of
the ditches. The King of Naples sees the danger, flies to the spot,
alights from his horse, enters, mounts the parapet; he calls and
animates the soldiers. The redoubt is strengthened, the fire becomes
terrible, the assailants dare not try the assault. Some squadrons
appear; Murat mounts his horse, charges, routs the columns scattered
over the plain. We retake the retrenchments, and finally establish
ourselves in them. This trait of boldness decided the fate of the day.

General Compans had just been wounded; I went to take the command of
his division. It made a part of the corps d'armée of Marshal Davoust.
It had already taken one of the intrenched positions of the enemy;
it had also suffered much. I consulted, on my arrival, with Marshal
Ney, whose right I supported. Our troops were in confusion, we rallied
them, we rushed headlong on the Russians, we made them expiate their
success. Neither discharges of cannon nor musquetry could stop us.
The infantry, the cavalry, charged with fury from one extremity of
the line to the other. I had never before seen such carnage. We had
inclined too much towards the right; the King of Naples remained
alone, exposed to the havoc of the batteries of Seminskoe. He had
nothing but cavalry; a deep ravine separated him from the village:
it was not easy to take it, but it was necessary to do so under
pain of being swept away by the grape-shot. General Belliard, who
only perceives a screen of light cavalry, conceives the design of
driving it off and moving by the left on the redoubt. “Run to Latour
Maubourg,” Murat said to him; “tell him to take a brigade of French
and Saxon cuirassiers, to pass the ravine, to put all to the sword,
to arrive at full gallop at the back of the redoubt, and to spike all
the cannon. If he should fail, let him return in the same direction.
You shall place a battery of forty pieces of cannon and a part of
the reserve to protect the retreat.” Latour Maubourg put himself in
movement, routed, dispersed the Russians, and made himself master of
the works. Friant came up to occupy them. All the reserve passed,
and established itself on the left of the village. There remained a
last retrenchment, which took us in flank and commanded our position.
The reserve had taken one, it thought that it could take another.
Caulincourt advanced, and spread far and wide confusion and death. He
falls suddenly on the redoubt, and gets possession of it. A soldier
hidden in an embrasure stretched him dead. He slept the sleep of the
brave; he was not a witness of our disasters.

Every thing was in flight; the fire had ceased, the carnage had
paused. General Belliard went to reconnoitre a wood situated at
some distance. He perceived the road which converged on us; it was
covered with troops and convoys, which were retreating. If they had
been intercepted, all the right of the enemy's army had been taken in
the segment in which it was placed. He came and informed Murat of
it. “Run and give an account of it to the Emperor,” said the Prince.
He went, but Napoleon did not think the moment come. “I do not see
sufficiently clear on my chess-board; I expect news from Poniatowski.
Return, examine, come back.” The General returned, indeed, but it
was too late. The Russian guard was advancing; infantry, cavalry,
all were coming up to renew the attack. The General had only time to
collect a few pieces of cannon. “Grape-shot, grape shot, and nothing
but grape shot,” he said to the artillerymen. The firing began; its
effect was terrible; in one instant the ground was covered with dead.
The shattered column was dissipated like a shadow. It did not fire one
shot. Its artillery arrived a few moments after; we got possession
of it. The battle was gained, but the firing was still terrible. The
balls and shots were pouring down by my side. In the space of one
hour I was struck four times, first with two shots rather slightly,
then with a bullet on the left arm, which carried away the sleeve of
my coat and shirt close to the skin. I was then at the head of the
sixty-first regiment, which I had known in Upper Egypt. There were a
few officers present who were there; it was rather singular to meet
here. I soon received a fourth wound; a ball struck me on my left hip
and threw me headlong from my horse:—it was the twenty-second. I was
obliged to quit the field of battle; I informed Marshal Ney of it, his
troops were mixed with mine.

General Dessaix, the only general of that division who was not
wounded, succeeded me; a moment after he had his arm broken; Friant
was not wounded till afterwards.

I was dressed by the surgeon of Napoleon, who also came himself
to visit me. “Is it, then, always your turn? How are things going
on?” “Sire, I believe that you will be obliged to make your guard
charge.” “I shall take good care not to do so. I do not wish to see it
destroyed. I am sure to gain the battle without its taking a part.”
It did not charge in effect, with the exception of thirty pieces of
cannon, which did wonders.

The day ended; fifty thousand men lay on the field of battle. A
multitude of generals were killed and wounded: we had forty disabled.
We made some prisoners, took some pieces of cannon: this result did
not compensate for the losses which it had cost us.


The Russian army retreated towards the capital: it made some
resistance at Mojaisk, and arrived at Moscow. We took this city
without striking a blow. Murat entered it in the train of the
Cossacks, discoursed with their chiefs, and even gave a watch to one
of them. They were expressing the admiration which his courage excited
in them, and the dejection that a series of misfortunes produces, when
some discharges of musquetry were heard: it was from a few hundred
citizens who had taken arms. They themselves put an end to this
useless firing, and continued their retreat.

Napoleon entered the next day. He fixed his quarters in the Kremlin,
with a part of his guard, and the persons of his household; but we
were so badly accommodated that I was obliged to take another lodging.
I settled myself at some distance, in a house which belonged to a
member of the Nareschkin family. I arrived at four o'clock in the
afternoon. The town was still complete: the custom-house alone was a
prey to the flames, which devoured it before any Frenchman appeared;
but night came on—it was the signal for the fire. Left and right,
every where there was a blaze; public buildings, temples, private
property, all were in flames. The conflagration was general—nothing
was to escape. The wind blew with violence; the fire made rapid
progress. At midnight the blaze was so terrific, that my aides-de-camp
waked me; they supported me; I reached a window from which I beheld
the spectacle, which was becoming frightful. The fire was advancing
towards us: at four o'clock I was informed that I must remove from
my quarters. I left them; a few moments after, the house was reduced
to ashes. I ordered them to conduct me in the direction of the
Kremlin; every thing was in confusion. I returned back and went to the
quarters of the Germans. A house belonging to a Russian General had
been appointed for me; I hoped to be able to stay there to recover
from my wounds; but when I arrived, volumes of fire and smoke were
already issuing from it. I did not go in; I returned once more to the
Kremlin. On the road I perceived some Russian artisans and soldiers,
who were dispersed about in the houses, and were employed in setting
fire to them: our patroles killed some of them in my presence, and
arrested a considerable number. I met Marshal Mortier. “Where are you
going?” said he to me. “The fire drives me out from wherever I fix
my quarters: I am now determined to go to the Kremlin.”—“Every thing
there is in confusion, the fire is increasing in every direction;
rather go from it.”—“Where can one retreat?”—“To my hotel; my
aide-de-camp will conduct you.” I followed him; the house was close to
the foundling hospital. We got there with difficulty; it was already
in flames. I determined again to go to the Kremlin. I passed the
Moskowa to fix myself opposite to the palace, which was yet untouched.
I met in my road General Laribossière, accompanied by his son, who
was ill; Talbouet joined us: we all quartered ourselves in the houses
placed on the banks of the river. My landlord was an honest hatter,
who felt for my situation, and bestowed all possible care on me. I was
just settled with this worthy artisan, when the fire shewed itself
on every side. I quitted in haste: the quays are narrow; if I had
delayed, I could not have escaped with my carriage. We crossed the
water, and established ourselves in the open air behind the walls of
the Kremlin; this was the only means of getting any rest. The wind
was still blowing with increasing violence, and it fed the flames. I
removed once more, for the last time: I withdrew to the neighbourhood
of one of the barriers; the houses were detached and scattered,
the fire could not reach them. The one that I occupied was small,
convenient, and belonged to a Prince Gallitzin. I supported while I
remained there, during fifteen days, at the least a hundred and fifty
refugee inhabitants.

Napoleon was, in his turn, obliged to retreat before the flames. He
quitted the Kremlin, and fixed his head-quarters out of the town,
in a palace where he took up his residence. He did not stay there
long; he returned to the palace of the Czars as soon as the fire was
extinguished. He sent, almost every morning, General Narbonne to
inquire after me. This General, like many others of our army, was very
uneasy. He often said to me, that the Emperor was wrong in calculating
on peace; that we were not in a condition to dictate conditions;
that the Russians had not sacrificed their capital to accept of
disadvantageous terms. “They are amusing us, in order to take their
revenge, and to have fairer sport.”


Moscow was destroyed: the occupation of its ruins was neither safe nor
advantageous: we were too far removed from our wings; we could not
procure subsistence, and we had no interest in guarding the ruins.
Every one was of opinion that we must not remain there, but it was not
agreed what it was best to do. The King of Naples proposed to march
towards Kaluga, to destroy there the only establishments which Russia
possessed, and to return and go into cantonments on the Boristhenes.
The Cossacks could not be followed to the extremity of the world; the
longest flight must have its end; we were ready for fighting, but we
did not wish to persevere longer in a chase. Such was the purport
of the proclamation that he recommended before putting the army in
motion. The Viceroy thought, on the contrary, that we should march
towards the Russians, give them battle, and push them on Petersburg,
and then march for Riga: we could thus have rejoined Macdonald, and
afterwards established ourselves on the Dwina. Others presented
other plans; all were good—all were practicable; but the Emperor
had some particular information; he would have judged correctly,
if the Russians had not received inspirations from England. Much
fault has been found with this delay: it is an error, since events
have condemned it; but those who exclaim against it were not in the
secret of our affairs or negotiations; they may, without too much
modesty, believe that the sagacity of that great man was not below
that which Nature has given to them. He was deceived; we have felt
the consequences; perhaps one day it will be known what combinations
misled him. However that may be, we delayed, we negotiated, we gave
battle; we decided nothing. The army of Moldavia was continuing its
movement; it was advancing, but it was not yet known in what line it
was to act. Some pretended that it would unite with Kutusow, others
feared that it would march upon our rear. We were uncertain of what
was preparing; the Emperor himself was not free from uneasiness, but
he knew to a man what troops he had in _echelon_ from the Rhine to
Moscow; he thought his calculations safe; he confined himself to the
despatching of instructions: those that he addressed to the Duke de
Belluno are worth citing. They prove what kind of _slumber_ it was
that he has been reproached with.


     “My cousin, inform the Duke de Belluno that I have not yet given
     orders for his movement, because that depends on the movement
     of the enemy: that the Russian army from Moldavia, consisting
     of three divisions, or twenty thousand men strong, infantry,
     cavalry, and artillery included, passed the Dnieper in the
     beginning of September; that it may march towards Moscow to
     reinforce the army under the command of General Kutusow, or
     towards Volhinia to reinforce that of Tormasoff; that General
     Kutusow's army, beaten at the battle of Moskowa, is at present
     on the Kaluga, which would lead us to believe that it expects
     reinforcements which might come from Moldavia, by the road of
     Kiow; that, in this case, the Duke de Belluno would receive
     orders to join the great army, either by the road of Jelnia
     and Kaluga, or any other; that if, on the contrary, the twenty
     thousand men from Moldavia relieve Tormasoff, this reinforcement
     will raise Tormasoff's force to forty thousand men; but that
     our right, under the command of Prince Schwartzenberg, would be
     still of equal force—as that Prince, with the Austrians, Poles,
     and Saxons, has about forty thousand men; that moreover I have
     demanded of the Emperor of Austria, that the corps which the
     Austrian General Reuss commands at Leinberg should move; and
     that Prince Schwartzenberg should receive a reinforcement of ten
     thousand men; that, on the other side, the Emperor Alexander
     reinforces as much as he can the garrison of Riga, and the corps
     of Wittgenstein, in order to dislodge Marshal Saint-Cyr from
     Polozk, and the Duke of Tarentum from Riga and Dünaburg; that
     letters which came from Prince Schwartzenberg, dated the 24th,
     would tend to prove that the army of Moldavia, instead of coming
     towards Moscow, has reached the army of Tormasoff and reinforced
     it; that it is necessary then to know what will be done; that,
     in this state of things, I desire that the Duke de Belluno will
     canton his corps from Smolensko to Orsza; that he will keep up
     an exact correspondence by all the estafettes with the Duke de
     Bassano, in order that that Minister may write to him and give
     him all the news that he shall have from different parts; that
     he will send a steady, discreet, and intelligent officer to
     General Schwartzenberg and General Regnier; that this officer
     shall learn from General Schwartzenberg what is passing, and
     from General Regnier the true state of affairs; that he will
     regularly correspond with the Governor of Minsk; and lastly,
     that he will send agents in different directions to know what is
     passing; that the division of Gerard shall be placed on the side
     of Orsza, where it will be four or five days' march from Minsk,
     three from Witepsk, four or five from Polozk; that the other
     division, which shall be between Orsza and Smolensko, shall be
     in a condition to give it speedy assistance; and that lastly,
     the third division shall be near Smolensko. That, by this means,
     his corps d'armée will rest itself, and be able easily to find
     subsistence; that it will be necessary to station it above the
     route, in order to leave the great communications free for the
     troops which arrive; that in this position he will be equally
     able to march upon Minsk, or upon Wilna, if the centre of our
     communications and of our depôts be threatened; or if Marshal
     Saint-Cyr should be driven from Polozk, or to execute the order
     that he might receive to return to Moscow by the road of Jelnia
     and of Kaluga—if the taking of Moscow and the new state of things
     should determine the enemy to reinforce himself with a portion of
     the troops from Moldavia; that the Duke de Belluno will thus form
     the chief reserve, to go either to the relief of Schwartzenberg
     and cover Minsk, or to the assistance of Marshal Saint-Cyr and
     cover Wilna, or to Moscow to reinforce the main army. That
     General Dombrowski, who has a division of 8000 infantry, and
     12,000 Polish horse, is under his orders, which will increase
     his corps d'armée to four divisions; that the brigade of reserve
     from Wilna, composed of four Westphalian regiments, of two
     battalions from Hesse-Darmstadt, which towards the end of the
     month will arrive from Swedish Pomerania, and of eight pieces
     of cannon, will also be under his orders; that, in fine, in the
     course of November, two new divisions will assemble;—the one
     at Warsaw, that is, the thirty-second division, which will be
     augmented by three battalions from Wurtsburg, and will remain
     under the command of General Durutte; the other at Kœnigsberg,
     that is, the thirty-fourth, which was in Pomerania under the
     orders of General Morand, and which, also increased by some
     battalions, will be commanded by General Loison. Thus, whether it
     be necessary to march to the assistance of Prince Schwartzenberg,
     or to the assistance of Marshal Saint-Cyr, the Duke de Belluno
     will always assemble a mass of forty thousand men; that, as the
     correspondence by estafette is quick, I always give my orders;
     and that it would only be in the event of Minsk or Wilna being
     threatened or menaced, that the Duke de Belluno should march
     of his own authority to protect these two grand depôts of the
     army; that the Duke de Belluno, having the general command over
     all Lithuania and the governments of Smolensko and of Witepsk,
     should every where accelerate the progress of the administration,
     and especially take efficacious measures that the requisitions
     for corn and forage be carried into effect; that there are
     ovens at Mohilow, at Orsza, at Rasasna, and at Dubrowna; that
     he must get a great deal of biscuit ready, and put himself in
     a situation to have thirty days' provisions secured for his
     corps, without taking any thing from the military transports, or
     from the convoys which may be passing for the army. The Duke de
     Belluno will take care to keep up a correspondence at Witepsk:
     he is at liberty to send troops to support that point, and to
     maintain himself there; he can then go in person to Mohilow,
     to Witepsk, or Smolensko, to know the ground, and to expedite
     the administration. If, by any accident, the communication with
     Moscow should be intercepted, he would take care to send cavalry
     and infantry to open it again.”

We had no longer either food or forage; men and horses were alike
exhausted; retreat became indispensable. A question arose as to the
means of carrying away our wounded. I began to be able to walk; on
the 13th I went to the palace: Napoleon asked with kindness in what
state my wounds were, how I was going on. He showed me the portrait of
the King of Rome, which he had received at the moment we were going
to begin the battle of the Moskowa. He had shown it to most of the
Generals. I had to carry orders; the battle began; we had other things
to attend to. He wished now to make me amends; he looked for the
medallion, and observed, with a satisfaction which betrayed itself in
his eyes:—“My son is the finest child in France.”

A moment after, a memorial was brought from the Intendant-general,
who required forty-five days to remove the wounded. “Forty-five days!
he is deceived. If nothing were done, part would get well and part
would die; there would only be the remainder to remove; and experience
proves, that three months after a battle there remains but the sixth
part of the wounded. I wish to remove them; I will not let them remain
here exposed to the brutality of the Russians.” We perceived from
the saloon the workmen who were busy in taking away the cross of the
great Ivan. “Do you see what a flock of ravens hover around that lump
of old iron? Do they think to hinder us from taking it away? I will
send that cross to Paris, I will have it placed on the dome of the

It was the 18th of October; the departure was fixed for the 19th. My
wound was not quite closed up. I mounted on horseback to see if I
could bear the motion.


The next day I went early to the Kremlin. Scarcely had I reached
the palace, when Napoleon came out of it to leave Moscow for ever;
he perceived me. “I hope that you will not follow me on horseback,
you are not in a fit state to do it; you can get into one of my
carriages.” I thanked him, and replied that I thought I should be in a
condition to accompany him. We quitted this capital, and we took the
road of Kaluga; when we were about three leagues distance, the Emperor
stopped to wait for news from Mortier, who had orders to destroy the
Kremlin on leaving the place. He was walking in a field with M. Daru;
this gentleman left him; I was called. “Well, Rapp, we are going to
retreat to the frontiers of Poland by the road of Kaluga: I shall take
up good winter-quarters. I hope that Alexander will make peace.”—“You
have waited a long time, Sire; the inhabitants foretel that it will
be a severe winter.”—“Poh! poh! with your inhabitants. It is the 19th
of October to-day, you see how fine it is. Do you not recognise my
star? Besides, I could not leave without sending on all the sick and
wounded. I was not to give them up to the rage of the Russians.”—“I
believe, Sire, that you would have done better to have left them at
Moscow; the Russians would not have hurt them; whilst they are exposed
for want of aid to die on the road.” Napoleon was not of that opinion;
but all that he said to me in the way of encouragement did not deceive
even himself; his countenance bore the marks of uneasiness.

At last an officer despatched from the Marshal arrived: it was my
aide-de-camp Turkheim, who informed us that Moscow was tranquil;
that some pulks of Cossacks had appeared in the environs, but they
took care not to approach the Kremlin, or any of the quarters still
occupied by the French troops. We proceeded on our march. In the
evening we arrived at Krasno Pachra. The look of the country was not
encouraging to Napoleon. The hideous aspect, the wild air of the
slaves, was revolting to eyes accustomed to other climates. “I would
not leave a man there; I would give all the treasures of Russia not
to leave a single wounded man behind. We must take horses, waggons,
carriages—every thing to carry them on. Send me a secretary.” The
secretary came; it was to write to Mortier what he had just been
telling me. It is of use to copy the despatch: these instructions are
not unworthy to be known. Those who have so often declaimed against
his indifference should study them.


     “Acquaint the Duke de Treviso, that as soon as his business in
     Moscow is finished, that is, on the 23d at three o'clock in
     the morning, he is to begin to march, and that he must come on
     the 24th to Kubinskoe; and from that place, instead of going
     to Mojaisk, he is to proceed to Vereia, where he will arrive
     on the 25th. He will serve as an intermediate force between
     Mojaisk, where the Duke d'Abrantes is, and Borowsk, where the
     army will be. It will be right for him to send officers to
     Fominskoe to inform us of his march; he will take with him the
     Adjutant-commandant Bourmont, the Bavarians, and the Spaniards
     who are at the palace of Gallitzin. All the Westphalians of the
     first and second posts, and all the Westphalians that he can
     find, he must assemble and direct towards Mojaisk: if they are
     not in sufficient number, he will protect their passage with the
     cavalry. The Duke de Treviso will inform the Duke d'Abrantes of
     every thing relative to the surrender of Moscow. It is necessary
     that he write to us to-morrow the 22d, not by the road of Desma,
     but by that of Karapowo and Fominskoe. On the 23d he will send us
     a letter by the road of Mojaisk: his officer will leave the road
     at Kubinskoe to come to Fominskoe, as the head-quarters on the
     23d are likely to be at Borowsk or at Fominskoe. Whether the Duke
     de Treviso perform his operation at three o'clock in the morning
     of to-morrow the 22d, or on the 23d at the same hour, as I have
     since ordered him, he is in either case to follow these same
     directions; by these means the Duke de Treviso may be considered
     as the rear-guard of the army. I cannot too strongly recommend
     to place on the waggons belonging to the young guard, or those
     belonging to the dismounted cavalry, in short, on all that can
     be found, the men who remain still in the hospitals. The Romans
     gave civic crowns to those who saved citizens; the Duke will
     deserve as many as he may save soldiers. He must mount them on
     his horses, and on those of all his people.

     “This is what the Emperor did at the siege of Saint-Jean d'Acre.
     He ought the rather to take this step, because as soon as the
     convoy shall have joined the army, it will have waggons and
     horses, which the consumption of provisions will have rendered
     useless. The Emperor hopes that he shall have the pleasure of
     thanking the Duke de Treviso, for having saved five hundred men.
     He ought, as is but just, to begin with the officers, then the
     sub-officers, and to give the French the preference. He must
     assemble all the generals and officers, under his command, to
     make them sensible of the importance of this measure, and how
     much they will gain the Emperor's esteem, by saving for him five
     hundred men.”

We marched on towards Borusk, where we arrived on the fourth day: the
town was completely abandoned. In the mean time, Kutusow was peaceably
engaged in issuing his proclamations: he was quite at ease in his camp
at Tarentino; he kept up no watch, either on his front or wings;
he had no idea at all of the movement we were making. He learned at
last, that we were marching towards Kaluga; he soon broke up his
cantonments, and appeared at Malojaroslawitz at the same time as our
columns. The action began: we heard from Borusk a distant cannonade. I
was suffering greatly from my wound, but I would not leave Napoleon:
we mounted horse. We arrived towards evening in sight of the field
of battle: they were still fighting; but the firing soon ceased.
Prince Eugène had forced a position, which must have been defended to
extremity. Our troops had covered themselves with glory. It is a day
that the army of Italy ought to inscribe in its calendar. Napoleon
bivouacked at a league and a half from the scene. The next day we took
horse at half-past seven in the morning, to visit the ground on which
the battle had been fought; the Emperor was placed between the Duke
de Vicenza, Prince de Neuchâtel, and myself. We had scarcely quitted
the huts where we had passed the night, when we perceived a cloud of
Cossacks; they proceeded from a wood in advance on our right. They
were drawn up in pretty regular files: we took them for French cavalry.

The Duke de Vicenza was the first who recognised them. “Sire,
these are Cossacks.”—“That is impossible,” replied Napoleon. They
rushed upon us shouting with all their might. I seized the Emperor's
horse by the bridle; I turned it round myself. “But these are our
troops?”—“They are the Cossacks; make speed.”—“They are Cossacks,
indeed,” said Berthier.—“Without doubt,” added Mouton. Napoleon gave
some orders and withdrew. I advanced at the head of the squadron on
duty: we were overthrown; my horse received a wound six inches deep,
from a lance, and fell, with me under him: we were trampled under
foot by these barbarians. Fortunately they perceived at some distance
a troop of artillery; they ran towards the spot. Marshal Bessières
had time to come up, with the horse grenadiers of the guard; he
charged them, and retook from them the covered waggons and the pieces
of cannon, which they were carrying away. I raised myself again on
my legs; I was replaced in my saddle, and proceeded as far as the
bivouac. When Napoleon saw my horse covered with blood, he feared that
I had again been wounded: he asked me whether I was. I replied that
I had got off with a few contusions. He then began to laugh at our
adventure, which, nevertheless, I did not find very amusing.

I was well repaid by the account which he published of this affair; he
loaded me with eulogiums: I never before experienced pleasure compared
to that which I felt on reading the flattering things which he said
of me. “General Rapp,” says the bulletin, “had one horse killed under
him in this charge. The intrepidity of which this general officer has
given so many proofs, is manifested on all occasions.” I repeat with
pride the praises of this great man: I shall never forget them.

We returned to the field of battle: Napoleon wished to visit the place
which had been the theatre of Prince Eugène's glory. He found that the
position of the Russians had been excellent; he was astonished that
they had allowed it to be forced. He perceived, from the appearance of
the dead bodies, that the militia had been confounded with the troops
of the line, and that if they had not fought with skill, they had gone
to it at least with courage. The enemy's army retired some leagues, on
the road to Kaluga, and encamped.

The retreat was intercepted: we threw ourselves to the right on
Vereia; we arrived there early the next day, and slept there: it was
in that town that Napoleon learned that the Kremlin had been blown up.
General Winzengerode had not sufficiently restrained his impatience;
he had ventured into this capital before our troops had evacuated it.
They cut up his retreat; he tried to make them believe that he came to
treat with them. He was born on the territory of the Confederation; he
had no inclination to be made a prisoner; he was taken nevertheless,
in spite of the white handkerchief that he was waving. Napoleon sent
for him, and fell into a violent passion, treated him with contempt,
branded him with the name of traitor, and threatened to punish him;
he even told me that a commission must be named to proceed with the
trial of the gentleman immediately; he had him escorted by chosen
gendarmes, and ordered him to be confined _au secret_. Winzengerode
sought several times to exculpate himself; but Napoleon would not
hear him. It has been pretended in the Russian army that this general
spoke with courage, and said very strong things to the Emperor. It
is not the fact:—anxiety was marked on his countenance, every thing
expressed the disorder of mind into which the Emperor's anger had
thrown him. Each of us endeavoured to appease the Emperor; the King
of Naples, the Duke de Vicenza particularly, suggested to him how
much, in the present situation of things, any violence towards a man
who hid his origin under the quality of a Russian general, would be
to be lamented: there was no council of war, and the affair rested
there. As for us, Winzengerode ought not to complain of our treatment:
his situation inspired us all with interest. His aide-de-camp was
treated with much kindness. Napoleon asked him his name. “Nareschkin,”
replied the young officer.—“Nareschkin! one of that name is not made
to be the aide-de-camp of a deserter.” We were hurt at this want of
consideration; we sought every means imaginable to make the general
forget it.


We set off the next day; and reached the great road from Moscow by

The cold, the privations, were extreme; the hour of disasters had
come on us! We found our wounded lying dead on the road, and the
Russians waiting for us at Viasma. At the sight of these columns the
soldiers collected a remnant of energy, fell upon them, and defeated
them. But we were harassed by troops animated by abundance, and by
hope of plunder. At every step we were obliged to halt, and fight; we
slackened our march over a wasted country, which we should have gone
over with the greatest rapidity. Cold, hunger, the Cossacks,—every
scourge was let loose upon us. The army was sinking under the
weight of its misfortunes; the road was strewed with the dead: our
sufferings exceeded imagination. How many sick and wounded generals
did I meet in this terrible retreat, whom I believed that I should
never again see! Of this number was General Friant, whose wounds were
still open; General Durosnel, who travelled with a nervous fever,
almost continually delirious; and the brave General Belliard, who was
wounded by a gun-shot, in the battle of the Moskowa. He had formerly
penetrated nearly into Ethiopia; he had carried our colours farther
than ever the Roman eagles had flown; he must have found a difference
between the two climates.

We marched for Smolensko: it was to have been the end of our miseries;
we were to have found there food and clothing, wherewith to defend
ourselves from the pests which were consuming us: we were not more
than eighteen leagues from it. Napoleon lodged in one of those
little block-houses that had been constructed to receive detachments
from fifty to sixty men, employed to protect the correspondence
and communications. I was on duty: some time had elapsed since any
despatches had arrived; at last one came. I delivered it to the
Emperor. He opened the parcel with haste; a _Moniteur_ was uppermost.
He ran it over; the first article which caught his eye was the
enterprise of Mallet; he had not read the despatches, he did not
know what it was. “What is this! what! plots! conspiracies!” He
opened his letters, they contained the detail of the attempt: he was
thunderstruck. That police which knew every thing, which guessed at
every thing, had suffered itself to be taken by surprise. Napoleon
could not recover himself. “Savary in _La Force_! The minister of
the police arrested, carried to a prison, and there shut up!” I went
to transmit some orders. The event had already transpired. Surprise,
astonishment were depicted on every countenance; and some reflections
were made which till then had been withheld. The carelessness of the
agents of the police was manifest. They are only alert because there
is a general belief in their vigilance. Napoleon was not astonished
that these wretches who frequent saloons and taverns, who obstruct
every thing, who insinuate themselves every where, should not have
found out the plot; but he could not conceive the weakness of Rovigo.
“Why did he not rather let them kill him, than be arrested! Doucet and
Hullin showed much more courage.”

We proceeded on our journey; we crossed the Borysthenes. The Emperor
fixed his head-quarters in a country-house that had been laid waste,
twelve leagues from Smolensko, and one and a half behind the river.
The banks, on the water-side, are very step in this part; they were
covered with hoar frost. Napoleon was afraid that the artillery would
not be able to get over them; he charged me to join Ney, who commanded
the rear-guard, to remain with him till every thing was out of danger.
I found the Marshal engaged in giving chase to the Cossacks: I
communicated to him the orders that I had to transmit to him, and we
retired to a block-house which was to support the passage, and where
the head-quarters were fixed.

A part of the infantry crossed over, the remainder bivouacked in a
little wood, on the bank where we were. We were engaged all night
in getting the cannon across. The last was on the ascent, when the
enemy appeared. They attacked immediately, with considerable masses;
we received their charges without being shaken; but our end was
attained: we had no object in fighting; we retreated. We left behind
a few hundreds of men, whom wounds and exhaustion had put out of a
condition to follow. Poor creatures! they complained, they groaned,
and called for death; it was a heart-rending sight; but what could we
do. Every one was bending under the burthen of life, and supported
it with difficulty; no one had sufficient strength to share it with
others. The Russians pursued us, they wished to pass by main force.
Ney received them with that vigour, that impetuosity, which he always
displayed in his attacks: they were repulsed, and the bridge became a
prey to the flames. The firing ceased, we withdrew during the night.
I joined Napoleon at Smolensko the day after the next in the evening.
He knew that a ball had grazed my head, and that another had killed
my horse; he observed to me: “You may be at ease now, you will not be
killed this campaign.”—“I hope that your Majesty may not be deceived;
but you often gave the same assurance to poor Lannes, who nevertheless
was killed.”—“No! no! you will not be killed.”—“I believe it; but I
may be still frozen to death.” The Emperor bestowed eulogiums on
Marshal Ney. “What a man! what a soldier! what a vigorous fellow!”
He only talked thus by exclamations; he could not find words to
express the admiration which this intrepid Marshal inspired him with.
The Prince de Neuchâtel entered; the conversation again turned on
Mallet and Savary. Napoleon was merry at the expense of the Duke; his
surprise, his arrest, were the subject of a thousand pleasantries; of
which the burthen always was, that he should rather have been killed,
than have allowed himself to be taken.


The retreat had been disastrous. Every scourge that Nature has
in store we had experienced; but every day brought us nearer to
Smolensko: we were to find in that town repose and abundance. We
were marching, hope sustained us; she too was going to abandon us;
our misfortunes were to be as unheard-of as our victories. The
fourth corps lost its cannon; Augereau's brigade was destroyed, and
Witepsk taken; we had no more ammunition, or means of subsistence;
we were in a frightful situation: it was necessary to be resigned.
We put ourselves in motion; we arrived the following day at Krasnoi.
Kutusow, who was bearing on us with all his forces, had already an
advanced-guard there; it retired at the sight of our soldiers, and
took post a league farther on, halting on the left on the borders
of a forest, which it covered with fires. Napoleon sent for me, and
said—“We have the Russian infantry quite close to us; it is the first
time that they have shown so much boldness. I command you to charge
them with the bayonet about midnight, surprise them, teach them not
to be so desirous to approach so near to my head-quarters. I place at
your disposal all that remains of the young guard.” I had made all the
preparations, I was waiting near the fire of a Polish bivouac till
the hour should arrive, when General Narbonne came and said, “Give
up your troops to the Duke de Treviso; his Majesty does not wish you
to be killed in this affair; he reserves for you another destiny.” I
received this counter-order with pleasure, I did not conceal it. I
was weakened by fatigue, by sufferings, and cold. I was not inclined
to march against the enemy; moreover, his Cossacks had already given
him the alarm; he was prepared; he received us as well as he could.
He was nevertheless beaten and thrown back on his masses, which were
in positions parallel to the road, and extended in some sort from
Smolensko to Krasnoi; they attacked us in flank, they ought to have
been able to defeat us. Fortunately the illusion of our glory still
continued; we were protected by the remembrance of our victories.
Kutusow saw from a distance our columns which were defiling on the
road, but did not venture to attack them. He decided at last on
running the risk; but a peasant informed him that Napoleon was at
Krasnoi, that the guard occupied all the neighbourhood. This news
damped his courage: he revoked the orders that he had despatched.

We had long before taken the measure of his capacity; we always
took it into our account; it was one of our resources; he might
nevertheless change his mind, rush to arms, and destroy us. We all
perceived it; but we had no news from Eugène. Davoust and Ney were
in the rear; we could not leave them. The temperature moreover
became every day more severe; the Russians also suffered; they had
slumbered hitherto, they might slumber still. Napoleon resolved to
take the chance of it; he waited. Every thing turned out as he had
foreseen. Milloradowitz wished to intercept the fourth corps, but he
could not reach it. Five thousand infantry, who had neither horses
to clear away the assailants, nor cannon to defend themselves with,
constantly repulsed the multitudes of soldiers which were rushing on
them, made head against all this advanced-guard, and escaped. Davoust
followed; the enemy flattered themselves that they could take their
revenge on the Marshal, but the Emperor prevented it. He extended his
line on the left of Krasnoi, brought some troops into action, and
opened a pretty well sustained fire of artillery. Kutusow, alarmed
at the sight of the 14 or 15,000 men who had been drawn together,
recalled his detached corps: the Marshal passed over, and came to
take part in the action. The end was attained, the firing ceased,
and the retreat commenced. The enemy tried to prevent it; but the
first regiment of the voltigeurs of the guard repulsed all their
attacks; neither the cavalry, the infantry, nor grape shot could
move it: it perished on the spot. This heroic resistance struck the
Russians; they discontinued the pursuit. As soon as we were out of one
embarrassment, we fell into another. We in number from 14 to 15,000
men, had ventured to place ourselves in line against Kutusow's 20,000;
we had extricated ourselves, without a reverse, from a situation
where we ought to have been all taken; but our provisions, our rear
was lost. Minsk had been surprised; the army of Moldavia covered
the Beresina; Ney was still behind: never had our situation been so
terrible. Napoleon, who was astonished at this disastrous complication
of affairs, despatched orders to resume the offensive, and to take
Polosk. Success appeared to him easy. “If the Duke de Belluno shew
energy, the enterprise cannot fail; the character of the troops that
he commands ensures it. It is Ney that I am uneasy about; what is to
become of him.” This Marshal was in an unparalleled situation; all the
valour, the _sang froid_, and perseverance of that intrepid warrior
were necessary to extricate him; he had received on the night of the
16th or 17th news of Eugène's battle, and Davoust's departure. These
two events could not move him. “All the Cossacks of Russia,” said he,
on learning it, “should not hinder me from executing my instructions;
I will not depart from them a tittle.” He concluded his arrangements,
and proceeded to march: 6,000 infantry, three hundred horses, and
twelve pieces of cannon composed all his force. He was annoyed by
the light troops of the enemy which hovered round his flanks; he
was marching in close order, ready to receive any attack. At three
o'clock, his vanguard reached Katowa, and halted in sight of the corps
of Milloradowitz. The weather was foggy; neither party could see what
troops were before them. Ney crosses a ravine which separated him
from the enemy's troops, breaks through the first line, routs the
second, and would have defeated the whole army if the ravages of the
artillery had not prevented him. He was obliged to sound a retreat;
but his attack had been so impetuous that they dared not pursue him.
He lighted night-fires, as if he intended to stop all night: the
Russians imitated him. As soon as he had taken some rest, he removed
his quarters, and resolved to interpose the Borysthenes as a line of
separation between him and the enemy's troops, which were too numerous
for him to be able to force: he rushed into the stream, on the ice,
and reached the opposite bank; but new dangers were awaiting him there.

The Cossacks covered the plain; they charged us, and kept up a furious
fire of grape shot. Ney, who could not make any return to this
destructive cannonade, hastened his march, dispersing, overthrowing
every thing that dared oppose him. He marched for a wood which was not
far distant; he was on the point of reaching it, when a battery was
unmasked on him and disorganized his column. The soldiers waver and
throw down their arms, but the Marshal soon restores them to their
courage; his words, his voice, his example, encourage the most timid:
they rush on; the enemy's artillery fly; we are masters of the wood.
But there were neither roads nor paths through this thicket; it was
intersected by so many ravines, and there were so many obstacles, that
it was with infinite difficulty that it was traversed: nearly all
the _matériel_ was left in it. The Cossacks became the more daring;
for two days they never ceased renewing their attacks: but they had
themselves been obliged to make a circuit, their cannon was in arrear,
they had no artillery; a few voltigeurs did justice on them. Ney was
close upon Orsza: the night was advanced; he marched in silence: he
flattered himself that he had at last ridded himself of the enemy. On
a sudden he perceives the fires of bivouacs, he discovers the camp
of a numerous army. He did not know whether he should rejoice or
tremble, whether they were Russians or French, when a fire opened upon
him removes his uncertainty: the reconnoitring parties are received
with discharges of musquetry; explosions, cries, drums, are mingled
and confounded together; one would have thought that we were to give
battle to all Russia. Furious at seeing danger return at the moment
when he thought that he had escaped from it, the Marshal makes an
effort to open a passage; he rushes towards the fires—but the camp is
deserted: it is a trick, a stratagem. Platoff had, it appears, taken
us for his own troops; he had thought to frighten us with shadows. The
Duke disdained to follow a few Cossacks, who had been employed in this
phantasmagoria; he continued his march, and three leagues further on
reached the fourth corps.


While this was going on, we had left Krasnoi. Napoleon marched on foot
at the head of his guard, and often talked of Ney; he called to mind
his _coup d'œil_, so accurate and true, his courage proof against
every thing, in short all the qualities which made him so brilliant on
the field of battle.—“He is lost. Well! I have three hundred millions
in the Tuileries, I would give them if he were restored to me.”—He
fixed his head-quarters at Dombrowna. He lodged with a Russian lady
who had the courage not to abandon her house. I was on duty that
day: the Emperor sent for me towards one o'clock in the morning; he
was very much dejected; it was difficult for him not to be so; the
scene was frightful. He observed to me, “My affairs are going on very
badly; these poor soldiers rend my heart; I cannot, however, relieve
them.”—There was a cry of “To arms!”—Firing was heard; every thing
was in an uproar. “Go, see what it is,” Napoleon said to me with
the greatest _sang froid_; “I am sure that they are some rogues of
Cossacks who want to hinder us from sleeping.” It was in reality a
false alarm. He was not satisfied with some personages whom I abstain
from naming.—“What a set of tragedy-kings, without energy, courage,
or moral force! Have I been able to deceive myself to such a degree?
To what men have I trusted myself? Poor Ney! with whom have I matched

We set off for Orsza, and fixed our quarters at a Jesuits' convent.
Napoleon despaired of ever seeing the rear-guard. Neither did we see
any more the Russian infantry; it was probable that they had taken
some position: they ought to have let nothing escape. The next day we
pushed on two leagues farther; we halted in a wretched hamlet. It was
there that the Emperor learnt, towards the evening, of Ney's arrival,
and his having joined the fourth corps. It may be easily conceived
what joy he experienced, and in what manner he received the Marshal
on the next day. We reached Borisow; Oudinot had beaten Lambert; the
fugitives had joined Tchitschagoff, and covered the right bank of
the Beresina. Napoleon was uneasy: we had neither a bridge-train nor
subsistence. The main army was advancing, and the troops from Moldavia
blockaded the passage: we were surrounded on every side: the situation
was frightful, and unheard-of. Nothing less than the talents and the
great decision of the Emperor was necessary to extricate us from so
great a difficulty: no Frenchman, not even Napoleon, could expect to

This prince stopped a short time at Borisow, gave orders for the false
attack which saved us, and marched towards Oudinot's head-quarters a
few leagues distant. We slept a little on this side of the place, at
a country house which belonged to a Prince Radzivill. General Mouton
and myself passed the night there on a handful of straw; we thought on
the morrow, and our reflexions were not cheerful. We set off on our
journey at four o'clock: we were in one of the Emperor's calèches. We
perceived the fires of the Russians; they occupied the opposite bank;
the woods, the marshes, were full of them; they reached beyond our
range of sight. The river was deep, muddy, all covered with floating
pieces; it was here that we were to cross or surrender. We augured
badly of success. The General explained himself with frankness: he had
often done it before Napoleon, who treated him as a malcontent, but
nevertheless liked him much.

We arrived at Oudinot's head-quarters: day was just beginning to
dawn; the Emperor conversed a moment with the Marshal, took some
refreshment, and gave orders. Ney took me apart; we went out together;
he said to me, in German, “Our situation is unparalleled; if Napoleon
extricates himself to-day, he must have the devil in him.” We were
very uneasy, and there was sufficient cause. The King of Naples came
to us, and was not less solicitous. “I have proposed to Napoleon,” he
observed to us, “to save himself, and cross the river at a few leagues
distance from hence. I have some Poles who would answer for his
safety, and would conduct him to Wilna, but he rejects the proposal,
and will not even hear it mentioned. As for me, I do not think we
can escape.” We were all three of the same opinion. Murat replied,
“We will all get over; we can never think of surrendering.” While
conversing, we perceived the enemy were filing off; their masses had
disappeared, the fires were extinguished, nothing more than the ends
of the columns, which were lost in the wood, were seen, and from five
to six hundred Cossacks that were scattered on the plain. We examined
with the telescope; we were convinced that the camp was raised. I went
to Napoleon, who was conversing with Marshal Oudinot.—“Sire, the enemy
have left their position.”—“That is impossible.” The King of Naples
and Marshal Ney arrived, and confirmed what I had just announced. The
Emperor came out from his barrack, cast his eye on the other side
of the river. “I have outwitted the Admiral (he could not pronounce
the name Tchitschagoff); he believes me to be at the point where I
ordered the false attack; he is running to Borisow.” His eyes sparkled
with joy and impatience; he urged the erection of the bridges, and
mounted twenty pieces of cannon in battery. These were commanded by
a brave officer with a wooden leg, called Brechtel; a ball carried
it off during the action, and knocked him down. “Look,” he said, to
one of his gunners, “for another leg, in waggon No. 5.” He fitted it
on, and continued his firing. The Emperor made sixty men swim across,
under the command of Colonel Jacqueminot. They ventured imprudently
in pursuit of the Cossacks; one of them was taken and questioned,
and informed the Russians where Napoleon was. Tchitschagoff retraced
his steps, but it was too late; Napoleon, his guard, Ney, Oudinot,
and all the troops which these Marshals retained, had passed. The
Admiral, confused by having been duped, forgot the marshes of Lemblin.
The bridge, which extended a league and a quarter over this swampy
ground, was our only escape; if it had been destroyed, he would have
had our fate still in his hands: but Witgenstein commenced the firing
on the left bank; he occupied the right; his soldiers were wallowing
in plenty; a handful of men, sinking under the burthen of a wretched
life, might have been trampled under foot. He neglected the defile,
Eugène hastened to get possession of it; we were sure of our rear, we
waited for Tchitschagoff.

We were 8000, fainting from fatigue and hunger: he had the army of
Moldavia. The issue of the combat did not appear doubtful to him; he
advanced with the ardour of victory; the action commenced; the troops
were intermixed; the ground was heaped with the dead. Ney directs,
animates the charges; every where the Russians are surrounded.
They rally; they bring up fresh forces: but Berkeim comes up; the
cuirassiers rush on their columns—all are cut to pieces.

Napoleon was surrounded by his guard, which he had drawn up in order
of battle at the entrance of the forest; it was still fine, and of
an imposing appearance. Two thousand prisoners defiled before them;
we were intoxicated with so noble a result: our joy was but of short
duration, the account given by some Russians damped it. Partonneau had
been taken; all his division had laid down their arms; an aide-de-camp
of Marshal Victor came to confirm this sad news. Napoleon was deeply
affected with so unexpected a misfortune—“Must this loss come to spoil
all, after having escaped as by a miracle, and having completely
beaten the Russians.” The combat was still very warm on the left
bank: from four to five thousand men opposed to the enemy's army an
obstinate resistance. “Go and see what is the state of things; ascend
the right bank, examine what is passing on the left, come and give
me an account of it.” I went and saw brilliant charges of infantry
and cavalry; those which General Fournier conducted were particularly
conspicuous by their simultaneousness and impetuosity. But the
disproportion was immense; we were forced to give way; the horrors of
the bridge began: it is useless to recall this scene of desolation.

We left the dreary banks of the Beresina, where we had acquired so
much glory and experienced so many misfortunes: we marched on towards
Wilna. We discoursed of nothing, we were occupied with nothing, but
the arrival of the Austrians; the lowest soldier, dreamed of nothing
but Schwartzenberg. Where is he? What is he doing? Why does he not
appear? I will not permit myself any reflexion on the movement of this
prince, then our ally.

For a long time we had no news from France; we were ignorant of what
was going on in the Grand Duchy; we were informed of it at Malotechno.
Napoleon received nineteen despatches at once. It was there, I
believe, that he determined on the plan of quitting the army, but he
did not execute it till at Smorgoni, eighteen leagues from Wilna. We
reached that place. The Emperor sent for me towards two o'clock; he
carefully closed the doors of the apartment that he occupied, and said
to me: “Well, Rapp, I set out this night for Paris; my presence is
necessary there for the good of France, and even for the welfare of
this unfortunate army. I shall give the command of it to the King of
Naples.”—I was not prepared for this mark of confidence, for I frankly
avow that I was not in the secret of the journey.—“Sire,” I answered,
“your departure will cause a melancholy sensation among the troops;
they do not expect it.”—“My return is indispensable; it is necessary
to watch over Austria, and keep Prussia within bounds.”—“I am ignorant
of what the Austrians will do; their sovereign is your father-in-law:
but for the Prussians, you will not keep them: our disasters are too
great; they will profit by them.”—Napoleon walked up and down with
his hands behind his back; he kept silence for a moment, and replied:
“When they know that I am at Paris, and see me at the head of the
nation, and of 1,200,000 men which I shall organize, they will look
twice before they make war. Duroc, Caulincourt, and Mouton, will set
off with me, Lauriston will go to Warsaw, and you will return to
Dantzic; you will see Ney at Wilna, with whom you will stop at least
four days: Murat shall join you; you shall try to rally the army as
well as you are able. The magazines are full, you will find every
thing in abundance. You will stop the Russians; you shall strike a
blow with Ney, if it is necessary. He will have already the Loyson
division, composed of 18,000 fresh troops; Wrede also is bringing
up to him 10,000 Bavarians; other reinforcements are on the march.
You will go into cantonments.” Napoleon departed. I received orders
from the Major-general, who informed me in a letter what Napoleon had
already told me himself; he sent me at the same time a private letter
from the Emperor, in which he repeated, “Do all you can to rally the
army at Wilna, remain there four days at least; then you will go to
Dantzic.” The next day I set off. The cold was so intense, that when
I arrived at Wilna, I had my nose, one of my ears, and two fingers
frozen. I stopped at General Hogendorp's, and went straight to Marshal
Ney's quarters; I informed him of Napoleon's orders, and of the
conversation which I had with him at the moment of his departure. The
Marshal was greatly astonished at Napoleon's estimate of the number of
his troops. “Just now,” he said to me, “I beat the call to arms, and
I was not able to raise five hundred: every one is frozen, fatigued,
and discouraged; no one will make any further effort. You have the
appearance of being in pain; go and rest yourself; to-morrow we shall
see.”—The next day I went to him: the King of Naples had just arrived
with the guard. We conversed much about our situation. Ney wished for
a retreat, he thought it indispensable. “It is forced on us: there
are no means of stopping a day longer.” He had not ended before the
report of cannon was heard. The Russians arrived in force; they were
fighting at the distance of half a league from us. All at once we
saw the Bavarians returning in confusion: they were _pêle-mêle_ with
those of our troops that had been dragging behind: confusion was at
its height; as Ney had foretold, it was impossible to do any thing
with our troops. The King of Naples came to us: he still hoped to make
some resistance; but the reports which he received from the heights of
Wilna undeceived him. He immediately ordered a retrograde movement,
and went towards the Niemen. “I advise you,” said the Prince, “to
set off without delay for Dantzic, where your presence will soon
be wanted. The least delay may cause you to fall into the hands of
the Cossacks: that would be an untoward accident, which would be
profitable neither to the army nor to the Emperor.”

I followed this advice: I hired two Jews who conducted me to the
Niemen. My equipages, which had hitherto fortunately escaped all
disaster, were already on the road.

We soon arrived at the fatal heights where we were obliged to abandon
all the remainder of our _matériel_. It was impossible to ascend
it.—Our horses were worn out in unsuccessful attempts; we assisted
them, we urged them, but the ground was so slippery, so steep, that
we were obliged to give up the undertaking. I consulted with my
aide-de-camp on the steps which it was best to take. My Israelites
proposed that we should follow a cross road, which had, besides other
things, the advantage of being shorter: they begged me to trust to
them; they would answer for me. I believed them: we sat off; on the
next evening we were across the Niemen. I suffered horribly; my
fingers, my nose, my ear, were beginning to give me great uneasiness,
when a Polish barber pointed out a remedy, rather disagreeable, but
which succeeded. I arrived at last at Dantzic; the King of Naples
followed at some days march distance; Macdonald, whom the Prussians
had so unworthily betrayed, was coming after us. “It is only by a
miracle,” he informed me, “that myself, my staff, and the seventh
division, have not been destroyed: we were delivered up; our legs
saved us.” He sent me his troops, which were incorporated with those
that I had under my orders. The Russians appeared almost immediately.
General Bachelet had a very smart engagement with them. They spread
themselves around the place, and the blockade began.


Dantzic appears made by nature for a fortress: washed on the north by
the Vistula, protected on the south-west by a chain of precipitous
heights, it is defended on all other sides by an inundation, which is
spread by means of two rivers which traverse it, the Radaune, and the
Mottlaw. Struck with the advantages of so fine a situation, Napoleon
had resolved to render it impregnable; he had caused some immense
works to be began. _Têtes-de-pont_, forts, intrenched camps, were
to protect it from insult and overlook the course of the river; but
time had been wanting, and most of the works were either imperfect
or scarcely traced out. No magazine was bomb-proof, no shelter
sufficiently solid to keep the garrison in security; the casemates
were uninhabitable, the quarters were in ruins, and the parapets
tumbling down. The cold, still very severe, had frozen the waters; and
Dantzic, the situation of which is naturally so happy and so strong,
was nothing more than a place open at every point.

The garrison was not in a better state; it was composed of a confused
mass of soldiers of all kinds and of all nations: there were French,
Germans, Poles, Africans, Spaniards, Dutch, and Italians. The greater
number, worn out or diseased, had been thrown into Dantzic because
they were unable to continue their march: they had hoped to find
some relief there; but destitute of all medicines, of animal food
and vegetables, without spirits or forage, I was obliged to send
away those who were not absolutely incapable of leaving the place.
Nevertheless I had 35,000 left, out of which there were not above 8
or 10,000 fighting men; even these were nearly all recruits who had
neither experience nor discipline. This circumstance, indeed, did not
much alarm me; I was acquainted with our soldiers; I knew that for
them to fight well they only wanted an example. I was resolved not to
spare myself.

Such was the deplorable state in which the place and the troops
charged with defending it were found. It was necessary first to
provide for the most important point—to shelter ourselves from
attack. The thing was not easy; the snow covered the fortifications;
it obstructed all the covert ways, all the avenues: the cold was
extreme; the thermometer was more than twenty degrees below zero[2],
and the ice was already several inches thick. Nevertheless there was
no time for hesitation; it was necessary to resolve to be carried by
assault, or to submit to fresh fatigues almost as excessive as those
we had experienced. I concerted with two men whose devotedness was
equal to their intelligence; these were Colonel Richemont and General
Campredon, both were attached to the engineer corps of which the
latter had the command.

[2] Of Reaumur. _Translator._

I gave orders to raise new works, and to clear the waters of the
Vistula. This undertaking appeared impracticable, on account of the
severity of the season; nevertheless the troops undertook it with
their accustomed zeal. Notwithstanding the cold which overwhelmed
them, they never suffered a murmur or a complaint to escape them. They
executed the tasks which were prescribed to them with a devotion and
constancy beyond all praise. At last, after unparalleled difficulties,
they surmounted every obstacle; the ice, broken by hatchets and moved
with levers towards the sea, assisted by the force of the stream,
opened in the middle of the river a channel from sixteen to seventeen
metres broad, and two leagues and a half in length. But we were
destined to see difficulties return as soon as they were overcome:
scarcely had an unexpected success crowned our efforts, when the cold
set in with redoubled severity; in one night the Vistula, the ditches,
were covered with a sheet of ice almost as thick as the one we had
broken. In vain were boats moved up and down incessantly, to keep up
by agitation the fluidity of the water; neither these precautions
nor the rapidity of the river could preserve it. It was necessary to
resume those labours, which had cost us so much, and which a moment
had destroyed. Day and night were employed in breaking the ice; we
could not nevertheless prevent its forming again a third time: but
more obstinate even than the elements which combined against us,
our soldiers opposed their courage to these obstacles, and at last
succeeded in triumphing over them.

On all the remainder of the front of the plain the same zeal was
shown and the same difficulties occurred: the earth, frozen several
feet deep, resisted the spade and braved the efforts of the pioneers;
nothing could separate this compact mass;—even the axe rebounded. It
was necessary to have recourse to fire to melt it; great piles of
wood, placed at distances from each other, and kept up for a long
time, were the only means which enabled us to make excavations and to
raise the necessary palisades. With great labour and perseverance, we
had at last the satisfaction of seeing in a state of defence works
that had only just been begun. The Holm, Weichselmunde, the entrenched
camp of Neufahrwasser, and the multitude of forts which protect the
approaches of Dantzic, were put in a situation to be able to offer
a noble resistance; and, if this town was not raised to the degree
of strength of which it was susceptible, it was at least capable of
supporting a siege, the duration and adventures of which are not
amongst those events which do most honour to foreign arms.

These fatigues were more than human power could support. Bivouacking,
privations, continual service, aggravated their severity: disease,
consequently, was not slow in making its appearance. From the first
days of January every sun took from us fifty men: at the end of the
following month we were losing as many as a hundred and thirty; and
we counted more than 15,000 sick. From the troops, the epidemic had
passed to the inhabitants: it committed among them the most dreadful
ravages; no age nor sex was spared; those who were afflicted by
poverty, and those who were surrounded by ease and luxury, were alike
its prey. All gave way, all perished; the young, first entering on
the path of life—the old, whose career was nearly run. Grief reigned
in every family; consternation was in every breast. Dantzic, at other
times so lively, now plunged in a melancholy silence, only offered
in every direction to the saddened eye the pomp and processions of
funerals. The sound of the bells, the hearses, the images of death
reproduced under every form, aggravated a situation already so
deplorable. The minds of the troops began to be shaken. I hastened to
cut up the evil by its root; I interdicted these funeral solemnities
which the piety of the living consecrates to the dead.

I had not waited for the epidemic to rage in all its violence before
I opposed it. As soon as the first symptoms had been observed, I
had caused hospitals to be opened, medicines, beds, and every thing
which is necessary for this part of the service to be purchased. A
wholesome and plentiful food would have been more efficacious; but
we were so badly provisioned, that we could scarcely furnish for
each day's allowance two ounces of fresh meat. A little salt meat,
some dried beans, composed all that we had in our power to offer to
men worn out by long privations. This state of things was cruel; I
could not, however, remedy it any way. I had, in vain, despatched a
vessel for Stralsund, in order to draw from Swedish Pomerania, which
we still possessed, food and medicines; the sloop, charged with my
despatches, assailed by a violent tempest, was driven on shore. We
were approaching the Equinox: the Baltic was already agitated by
storms: it was not possible to make a second attempt.

Courage was the only resource we had left. It was only at the point of
the sword that we could obtain the means of subsistence; but, whatever
was the devotedness of the troops, prudence did not warrant conducting
them against the enemy, exhausted as they were by disease and misery.
It was necessary to resign ourselves to fate, and patiently hope
that the gentle influence of the fine season would come to recruit
our strength: this was not far distant; all the signs which announce
it were already showing themselves The weather was milder, the ice
was beginning to melt, the breaking up of the frost was near, and we
flattered ourselves that the inundation would relieve, to a certain
degree, the fatigues that we were suffering; but that which was
expected to solace our misfortunes was always that which raised them
to their height.

The Vistula cleared itself with violence: since 1775 there had never
been an example of such impetuosity in the current: the finest part
of Dantzic, its magazines, its arsenals, became a prey to the waves;
the country was covered with water; nothing presented itself, for the
extent of several leagues, but the afflicting spectacle of trees torn
up by their roots, of houses in ruins, of men, of cattle floating
lifeless and in confusion among the loose ice. Our destruction
appeared inevitable: all our works were demolished; our palisades
carried away, our sluices broken, our forts opened and undermined by
the waves, left us without the means of defence before a numerous
enemy. We could no longer communicate with the Holm, a position so
important, and of which the fortifications were nearly annihilated.
The island of Heubude was in a deplorable state: our posts of the
Werder, those of the Nerhung, had been submerged. To complete our
misfortunes, we were threatened, when the Vistula should resume its
course, with seeing the inundation which habitually surrounded the
place dried up.


But the Allies did not well second the elements which were fighting
for them. Instead of at once coming to the attack, they wasted
their time in miserable intrigues: there were proclamations on
proclamations, some for the magistracy, some for the inhabitants,
some for the soldiers. Some were excited to revolt, others to
desert: the brave Poles, the Westphalians, the Bavarians, were,
in turns, solicited, pressed, and menaced. This paper-war gave me
little uneasiness; I knew the fidelity of my troops; I had the
greatest confidence in them. I gave them a proof of it; as soon as
the proclamations reached us, I had them read at the head of the
regiments. This open conduct pleased them; they were grateful for it;
they only had the greater contempt for an enemy who seemed to hold
their honour more cheap than their courage, and they themselves often
brought to me these fine productions of Russian genius, without having
even read them.

The besiegers persisted in remaining inactive before the place: I
occasionally roused them from the lethargy into which they were
plunged. These gentlemen threatened us rather insolently with an
assault; they had even, towards the end of January, ordered a great
number of ladders in the villages of the Werder. I resolved to make
them see that we were not yet reduced so low. On the 29th I put
some troops in motion in the direction of Brantau; General Granjean
debouched from Stries with four battalions, a troop of cavalry, and
two field-pieces; he routed, in his excursion, some bands of Baskirs
and Cossacks: this was the prelude to a more serious action.

I knew that fresh troops had arrived before the place, and that they
were spread about in the Nerhung, and occupied in force Bohnsack and
Stries: I sent to reconnoitre them. General Detrées was charged with
this expedition. He routed, at first, every thing which presented
itself in his way; but his riflemen abandoned themselves too much
to the pursuit, and had nearly become victims of their rashness: a
cloud of Cossacks fell on them, and would have cut them to pieces if
Colonel Farine had not saved them. We were less fortunate at another
point: our advanced posts had orders to keep under arms, to observe
the movements of the enemy, but not to engage in action: Colonel
Heering, who commanded at Stolzenberg, could not contain himself;
he imprudently descended into the plain, and attacked the Cossacks
with thoughtless impetuosity; his troops, surprised in a defile,
could not withstand the shock of the cavalry, and were broken. This
piece of folly cost us 250 men. The enemy grew warm: this trivial
success had given them confidence. Towards three in the afternoon,
their columns presented themselves before Langfuhr, and succeeded in
establishing themselves there. Thirty men posted in front of this
village were taken prisoners: they had gone into a house, and had made
a long resistance; the ground was heaped with dead, but, seeing no
chance of relief, they were obliged to lay down their arms, for want
of ammunition. I immediately gave orders to retake this position:
General Granjean began to march with eight battalions, four pieces of
artillery, and some cavalry: the attack was completely successful; the
Russians were routed and put to flight. They endeavoured to return to
the charge, but, always broken, always overwhelmed by our cavalry,
they appeared at last decided on retreating. We were not slow in
following their example. The field of battle was nearly deserted, when
the Neapolitans left in Langfuhr were suddenly assaulted by swarms
of Cossacks, supported by a numerous infantry. General Husson and the
Commandant Szembeck came up rapidly with a Polish battalion, charged
the enemy with the bayonet, and made a dreadful slaughter of them.

This check calmed the petulance of the Allies; there was no more
question about ladders or assaults. On my side, I left them quiet: I
was not in a condition to give them frequent alarms. My troops were
exhausted: on their legs night and day, worn out by disease, pierced
with cold, badly clothed, still worse fed, they could with difficulty
sustain themselves:—nothing equalled their wretchedness but the
resignation with which they supported it. Soldiers with their noses
and ears frost-bitten, or wounds still open, cheerfully performed the
service of the advanced posts. When I saw them defiling on parade,
muffled up in furs, their heads wrapped in bandages, or walking with
the help of sticks, I was affected even to tears. I should willingly
have given some relief to men so unfortunate, but yet so constant: the
Russians did not suffer it. They had imagined that their proclamations
had produced all the effect they expected from them; that we were
fighting among ourselves, and that the people were in a state of
revolt: they resolved to profit by such a fine conjuncture, and to
take us.

It was now the month of March; on the 5th, at daybreak, they poured
like swarms on my advanced posts, they covered, they inundated all my
line, and spread themselves in multitudes in the villages which it
included. At the report of so sudden an attack, I gave the necessary
orders, and proceeded towards Langfuhr with the General of division
Granjean. We had scarcely gone a few steps when we heard the charge
furiously sounded: it was the chiefs of battalion Claumont and Blaer,
who were charging with the bayonet a column of Russians of 3 or 4000
men, and dispersing them. We doubled our speed in order to assist
them, but the attack had been so impetuous that we could not arrive in
time: we reached the village just as the acclamations of the soldiers
announced their victory. I hastened to congratulate them on this fine
feat of arms, which it really was, as less than 800 men had completely
routed four times their number of infantry and cavalry. They had even
nearly got possession of their cannon; three Neapolitan voltigeurs
were already cutting the traces of the horses that had been killed,
when they were charged in their turn and obliged to leave their prize.

Fortune was less favourable to us in other points: General Franceschi
supported himself with difficulty in advance of Alt-Schottland, he
gave ground, defending it, however, foot by foot: he followed his
instructions, and saved time. The brave Colonel Buthler came in
haste to his assistance. Scarcely had the Bavarians arrived at the
first houses of the village, when they rushed with impetuosity on
the enemy, repulsed him, charged him with the bayonet, and succeeded
in preventing his advance; but while they were making a resistance
on one side, the Russians threatened them on the other. After three
unsuccessful attacks, they had at last triumphed over the fine
resistance of the chief of battalion Clement, and had made themselves
masters of Stolzenberg: they were already debouching from this
village, and were about to take us in flank. This movement should
have been decisive; I hastened to prevent it. I gave orders to the
sixth Neapolitan regiment to occupy on the right a small hill which
strengthened our position. General Detrées conducted the attack,
charged, and took the summit; the enemy hastily attempted to retake
it, but could not succeed. Quite covered with bruises, with his
clothes full of holes from bullets, Colonel Dégennero opposed an
invincible resistance, and forced them to retreat. In the mean time,
General Bachelu, with four battalions under his orders, mounted
the heights on the right of Schidlitz: on a sudden he rushes on the
Allies, attacks them in flank, and overthrows them. In vain they
endeavour to fortify themselves in the houses; our voltigeurs, led on
by Lieutenant Bouvenot and the sub-officer Tarride, break through the
window-frames, destroy the doors, kill, take, or disperse all that
they meet, and get possession of one piece of artillery: a Russian
General animated his troops to defend it, but the impulse was given;
three brave fellows, the sub-lieutenant Vanus, the Quarter-masters
Autresol and Hatuite, rush furiously upon it, and get possession of it.

It was three o'clock in the afternoon, and the Allies still occupied
Schottland and Ohra; notwithstanding his courage, the chief of
battalion Boulan had not been able to dislodge them. I resolved to
try a second time a manœuvre which had so well succeeded;—I turned
them. While I led on a false attack by the head of Schottland, General
Bachelu masked his march, and went towards Ohra; he was followed by
three battalions of infantry, a hundred and fifty horses and a light
battery. Our troops boiled with impatience; as soon as they heard
the charge begin, they uttered cries of joy, sprang forwards against
the enemy, broke his ranks, and completely routed him. He rallied,
and returned to the charge; but the grape-shot was redoubled: the
bayonet carried disorder among his ranks. He flies, he endeavours to
escape through every outlet, but finds none that are not intercepted.
Necessity rouses his courage, he rallies, debouches, and rushes on us.
The confusion becomes terrible. He struggles to escape from disgrace,
our soldiers to consummate the victory; on either side, they press
on; they attack with fury. An adjutant-major of the 29th of the line,
Delondres, rushed into the middle of the Russians; a few brave fellows
followed him: death and confusion waited on his steps; but soon
overpowered by their number, exhausted by large wounds, he is obliged
to lay down his arms: but his spirits return; he recovers himself;
indignation gives him strength: he attacks his escort, takes it, and
comes to bear a part in the victory: it was no longer disputed. Our
troops, who had come forth at the noise of the firing, had ranged
themselves in front of Ohra, and commenced a destructive firing, which
overpowered the enemy:—he gave way, broke his ranks, and only escaped
death by invoking the clemency of the conqueror.

In a moment the streets were heaped with the dead. Five hundred men
laid down their arms: most of them belonged to that army of Moldavia
which we had almost destroyed at the passage of the Beresina.

The enemy fled in every direction. In the Nerhung, at Neufahrwasser,
every where, he expiated by defeat the success which he had gained
by surprise. Major Nongarède had only to shew himself, to disperse
clouds of Cossacks who were skirmishing without success with some
weak Neapolitan posts which we had in the rear. Some detachments of
dragoons gave chase to the Russians who had ventured in front of
Saspe, and took Brasen.

We again occupied the positions that we held before the attack:
unfortunately they had cost us dear. We had 600 men _hors de combat_;
it is true that most of these soon recovered from their wounds. Of
this number was Major Horadam, Colonel d'Egloffstein, and General
Devilliers, who will be found to figure so often in this narrative.

The enemy had suffered more; 2000 of their troops lay on the dust, we
had between 11 and 12,000 prisoners in our hands, and one piece of

This day was one of the most glorious of the siege: it was a fresh
example of what courage and discipline may effect. Under the walls of
Dantzic, as at the passage of the Beresina, worn out by want or by
disease, we were still the same; we appeared on the field of battle
with the same ascendancy, the same superiority.


The Russians might have been _satisfied_. It was not likely that they
would return soon to the charge. However, the transactions of the
5th had convinced me of the necessity of different measures, which
I was unwilling to take. They had only succeeded in penetrating as
far as the foot of Bichofsberg, where Colonel Figuier was keeping a
strict look out, by the protection of an old convent of Capuchins:
this neighbourhood was too dangerous; I caused the old edifice to be
pulled down. Some houses in several villages, and particularly in
Schottland, were fortified. We had retaken this place, but with great
difficulty: the resistance had been so great, that it was at one
time a question whether we should not burn it. I rejected this cruel
expedient: I could not make up my mind to ruin inhabitants who had
already suffered so much during the first siege. I thought it more
honourable to drive off the Russians at the point of the bayonet, and
I succeeded; but I did not like to run this perilous risk again.

In the mean time the epidemic was far from subsiding: it appeared, on
the contrary, to gather fresh strength every day. Six thousand men had
already perished; 18,000 men were lying inanimate in the hospitals.
General Franceschi, whom death had spared so many times on the field
of battle, had just expired. Every hour, every minute, increased our
losses, and carried off our most valiant soldiers. Substantial food
would have saved them; but our provisions were coming to an end. We
had no longer any quantity of animal food or cattle; straw even was
wanting for the beds of our sick: I resolved on seeking for some
remedy for evils which so many brave men were enduring. The attempt
was dangerous; but they well deserved that I should expose myself to
some dangers in order to relieve them.

For a long time I had purposed sending an expedition against
Quadendorf, where it was supposed there were abundant resources. I
had hitherto deferred it because the troops which were at my disposal
appeared to me insufficient; but necessity spoke more forcibly than
all these considerations: I hesitated no longer. General Devilliers
crowned the heights of Wonneberg and of Pitzendorf; his right
supported on Zigangenberg, and the left by the brigade of General
Husson. He commenced without delay an alternate fire of artillery and
musquetry. While the enemy returned this harmless fire as well as
they could, General Heudelet debouched by the valley of Matzlaw, and
got possession of the post charged with its defence. General Bachelu
marched in front. Twelve hundred men, and six pieces of cannon, under
the command of General Gault, were advancing in the second line,
and formed the reserve. Five hundred Russians wished to prevent our
entrance into Borgfeld. They were trampled under foot: all who escaped
the bayonet perished by the edge of the sabre: all were put to death.
The enemy came up with their masses, and were not more successful.
Overpowered, broken before they were in a state of defence, they
found safety only in flight. They were not allowed time to place
their artillery in battery; pursued without intermission, they were
obliged to leave the field without firing a single round: the Poles
were irresistible; chiefs and soldiers, all rushed on the Russians
with a determination and boldness of which there is no example. A
drummer, the brave Mattuzalik, knocked down one of the enemy with his
drumsticks, and compelled him to surrender.

While we drove them before us, General Heudelet threatened their
rear. As soon as the enemy perceived this movement, it was no longer
a flight, it was disorder, confusion, of which it is difficult to
form an idea. They deserted their wounded and their hospitals; they
evacuated, with all speed, Schweiskopff, Saint-Albrecht, and did not
halt till they reached the other side of Praust, which our voltigeurs
entered pell-mell with them.

On arriving at Saint-Albrecht, I learned that the Russians were
still maintaining their ground on the banks of the Mottlaw. I made
arrangements to prevent their receiving any relief while we attacked
them. Major Scifferlitz, with a battalion of the 13th Bavarian,
assisted by a company of Westphalians and the flotilla, was charged
with this attack. It took place with perfect concert and great
impetuosity: 300 Russians were laid in the dust with their chief, who
had fallen under the blows of the brave Zarlinwski; the remainder
were drowned or taken. A hundred of them were escaping through the
inundation, when they were overtaken by Lieutenant Faber, who charged
them at the head of some brave troops, up to the neck in water, and
brought them back. A mere boy, young Kern, animated our soldiers; he
went before them; excited them; he threw himself into the thickest
of the fight. His comrades paused, and hesitated to follow him. He
turned to them with the boldness which courage inspires; “Forward!
Bavarians!” he exclaimed, and they were carried away by his impulse.

The day was drawing to a close: the Russians displayed such large
numbers of troops in front of Quadendorf, that I did not judge it
right to continue the attack. We returned to Dantzic, after having
caused the enemy an immense loss, and having taken from them 350 men.
This was almost the only result of so brilliant a sally. Scarcely did
it procure us a hundred head of cattle. We had been anticipated: all
that the villages had contained had been removed to the rear.

Independently of the attempt to procure provisions, I had another
object in view, which did not succeed better. Since the commencement
of the blockade I had no channel of communication with the French
army: I was not aware of its force, or of its fortune. I had put
every means in operation in order to get some information on these
points; but the hatred was so general and so rooted, no bribery had
been able to overcome it. I hoped that the burgomasters would be more
tractable, but they knew nothing but the reports that were circulated
by the Russians. I remained in a state of the most complete ignorance
of every thing that was going on around me.

After all, whatever might be the course of events, the place was to
be defended, and defended to the very last moment; that is to say,
we had to live as long as possible with the resources that we still
possessed. I redoubled my economy; and, as something is generally
gained by an interchange of ideas, I formed a commission which was
exclusively charged with the care of the provisions. Count Heudelet
was the president; it was of very great service. It applied itself in
a particular manner to ameliorate the condition of the hospitals. It
made purchases of linen, of medicines, and substituted for butter,
which was no longer to be procured, gelatine. All the wine and fresh
meat we had was reserved for the sick; and in order that they might
not fail us, the commission seized, after a valuation on both sides,
the cellars and the cattle which were found in the place. The troops
no longer received any animal food but the flesh of horses, which had
been obtained in the same way. But all the cares of the commission
could not subdue the epidemic: it might be said that this cruel pest
was inflamed in proportion to the opposition it met. Continually more
violent, more irremediable, it burst forth with fresh strength in
those places that it had already attacked, and assailed those that had
before escaped. Weichselmunde, Neufahrwasser, previously free from its
attacks, now became a prey to its ravages. The troops, the population,
from one extremity of our lines to the other, struggled in the agonies
of a cruel disease. Those who escaped, and those who fell, equally
deserved pity. Given up to all the convulsions of delirium, they wept,
they groaned, they dwelt on the remembrance of their battles and their
pleasures, which no longer existed but in their dreams.—Now calm, now
furious, they called on their country, their parents, the friends of
their childhood; they prayed for, they shuddered at, the destiny of
the brave men who had perished;—torn alternately by contrary passions,
they breathed out the remnant of life in the horrors of despair.

The more remedies were lavished, the more the sufferings increased.
The evil spread by means of those very efforts which were used to
destroy it. Every day of the last fortnight of March carried off more
than 200 men. The epidemic gradually ceased to be so destructive; but
it was not till the end of May that it was subdued altogether. It had
by that time swept away 5500 inhabitants, and 12,000 brave soldiers.
Among this number was General Gault: an excellent officer, a soldier
full of courage—he deserved a better lot.

Disease was making war on us for the benefit of the Russians, while
they themselves disturbed us but very little. The expedition of
Borgfeld had cooled their courage; they made intrenchments, they
fortified themselves, they were only engaged in defensive measures.
Nevertheless, as it was absolutely necessary to give some signs of
life, they every now and then endeavoured to surprise my advanced
posts. Annoyed by these insignificant attacks, I wished in return
to break their slumbers as they were breaking ours. They had above
Brentau a signal which furnished me with the means. Our business was
to burn it: I intrusted the management of it to two officers, whose
intelligence and courage I had experienced. They were the chiefs
of battalion Zsembeck and Potocki. On a dark night they went forth
from Langfuhr, and marched for a long time without being perceived:
discharges of musquetry at length apprised them that they were
discovered; they immediately rushed on and overthrew the enemy.
Potocki advanced towards Brentau, and dispersed a numerous body of
infantry which opposed his passage. Forty men threw themselves into
a kind of block-house: a voltigeur followed them, and summoned them
to surrender; he was killed. The Poles, quite furious, immediately
inundated the redoubt, and exterminated all the Russians that it

Whilst these things were going on in the village, Zsembeck made
himself master of the signal. He set fire to it, and immediately
descended into the plain, overthrew and cut to pieces the detachments
which he found in his way, and pushed on as far as the walls of Oliwa,
where he threw some shells. At the same time the brave Devillain,
quarter-master to the eighth, swept, with a dozen hussars, all that
part of our advanced posts. He charged with so much boldness that
the Cossacks were terrified and broken. Success encouraged him; he
extended himself to the right, reconnoitred, searched the wood, and
did not join our troops till the moment they were retiring.

Meanwhile all the signals were on fire. The Russian army ran to arms,
and expected every moment to see itself attacked; it passed in this
state the rest of the night and the whole of the next day. We repaid
them in a mass the alarms which they had given us in detail.

The political horizon became every day more cloudy. Prussia had thrown
aside the mask; she made war against us by insurrection. This event
could not be hidden from the soldiers, the Russians had too great an
interest in informing them of it. I consequently threw no obstacle in
the way of its being made known. Immediately attempts to seduce the
soldiers again began to be resorted to. The enemy thought that the
confidence and attachment of our troops were shaken. The disproportion
between the means of attack and defence, money, promises, every thing
was brought into play to engage them to desert. A bounty was offered
as a recompense for shame: I was justified in offering one as a reward
for fidelity. I promised a reward of 200 francs to any one who should
deliver up a man convicted of seducing our soldiers. This measure had
its effect. Most of the emissaries that the besiegers had in the place
were pointed out to me. According to our laws they had incurred the
pain of death; but men in general are less wicked than unfortunate.
Nearly all of them were fathers of families who had yielded to
necessity. I delivered them up to the derision of the soldiers; I
ordered their heads to be shaved, and dismissed them. This device
kept them at home; I was freed from them without having recourse to

The garrison appeared very little disturbed by the increase which
it had learned the enemy had received. Nevertheless I wished it to
judge of itself what it was still capable of. It was near Easter.
The weather was mild, the sky clear. I appointed a review; it took
place in the face of the army which was besieging us. At daybreak
the inhabitants, the sick even, occupied the heights of Langfuhr;
they spread themselves on the glacis and avenues, and crowned all the
ascents from the plain which separates Stries from Oliwa. The troops
were not long before they appeared. Seven thousand men, followed by a
numerous artillery, all in magnificent condition, successively ranged
themselves in order of battle. They manœuvred, they defiled, with
unparalleled precision. The Russians, astonished at so much boldness,
did not venture to trouble us: they, also ranged in order of battle,
were spectators of our movements, without throwing any obstacle in the
way. It would have been, however, a fine opportunity for them; not a
piece was loaded; I had particularly prohibited the use of cartridge.
The bayonet alone was to punish them, if they were rash enough to
give the slightest insult. This measure was, perhaps, rather a bold
one, but it was necessary to exalt the courage of the soldier, and to
convince him of the contempt that the boasting of foreigners deserved.


After parading, the question was how we should subsist; this was much
less easy. The enemy had rifled all the villages, and had left neither
forage nor cattle; no more resources were to be had, unless we sought
them at the distance of several leagues. I had gained experience at
Borgfeld, and I acted accordingly. I had obtained exact information on
the facilities and the obstacles which an expedition into the Nerhung
presented; I knew the number, the position of the troops, and their
complete security. I made my arrangements. Twelve hundred chosen
men, three hundred and fifty horse, a company of light artillery
with eight pieces of cannon, commanded by General Bachelu, advanced
towards Heubude. The enemy, driven in, endeavoured in vain to defend
Bonhsack. Bachelu does not give him time to recollect himself, charges
him, routs him, and drives him back in confusion as far as Woldern.
The enemy's principal forces occupy this village. Near five thousand
men receive him and support him; but, always carried forward by the
same impetuosity, our troops come up running, and prevent him from
deploying. They presently commence the attack: a part of them spread
as sharpshooters, over the downs and the plain, the rest remain in
line and commence a destructive fire. Our artillery, our cavalry, come
up, and complete the defeat: it was so prompt and so decided, that the
artillery did not attempt to fire a single round; it escaped with all
speed from the field of battle. A column of Lithuanians ventured to
stem the torrent. Colonel Farine rushed on it with his dragoons, and
compelled it to lay down its arms. The reserve was still untouched.
The brave Redou marches towards them; he watches them, seizes the
moment when they are retiring, charges them, and takes them prisoners:
at the same time Captain Neumann goes in pursuit of the fugitives,
flies from left to right, scatters confusion in all directions, and
with a handful of soldiers gathers up some hundreds of the Allied
troops, whom he obliges to surrender. This advantage cost him two
wounds. The sub-lieutenant Schneider was still more hurt, and alone
received twelve lance-wounds.

I had myself followed the movement of General Bachelu: I advanced as
far as Woldern; but the Russians were flying in such disorder, that
it appeared to me useless to follow them any farther. The troops that
had defeated them, were quite sufficient to pursue them. As soon as
I learnt that they had driven them back more than twelve leagues,
I stopped their march. They fixed their quarters, and employed
themselves in taking away the forage and cattle that we found in the
places that we had got possession of.

The reserve that I had with me was useless, owing to the promptitude
and dexterity with which General Bachelu had conducted this
expedition. I ordered it to cross the Vistula. It landed in front of
the fortress of Lacosta, and marched towards the dyke, which the enemy
still occupied. At the same time the gun-boats came up the river and
commenced the attack. The Russians soon gave way, and dispersed. We
extended ourselves without any obstacle over the whole extent of the

We remained four days in these different positions. General Bachelu,
on the right bank of the river, rifled that part of Nerhung that he
had taken; whilst with the aid of our boats we drew, from the left
side, all the resources that we could get. Five hundred head of horned
cattle, four hundred head of sheep, twelve hundred quintals of hay,
eight hundred of straw, and two thousand three hundred decalitres of
oats, were the result of this expedition. The enemy tried to intercept
our convoys; but the _sang-froid_ and dexterity of Lieutenant
Hoékinski and of the Commissary Belisal, triumphed over all obstacles.
The attacks of the Russians even turned to our advantage, and brought
us a hundred head of oxen, which the intrepid Brelinski took from
them after having defeated them. The army employed in the siege did
not attempt to disturb us. Immoveable in its lines, it only appeared
occupied with the demonstrations our troops were making on the side
of Langfuhr, and Newschottland. Its uneasiness was so great, that
the noise of a heavy shower of rain was mistaken for our advance;—it
thought itself attacked, set on fire its signals on the left, and
spread alarm as far as Pitzendorf.

We had revictualled our hospitals; but our own situation was not
changed. Two ounces of horse-flesh, and one ounce of salt beef, still
formed our daily ration. As soon as I was out of one difficulty I
fell into another. I had procured some provisions, but the military
chest was exhausted; it had not been able to meet the expense of
paying for the provisions we had carried off. I was obliged to issue
bills payable on the raising of the blockade. Nevertheless it was
necessary to secure the pay of the soldiers, to cover the expenses of
the artillery, and the engineer department; without which the place
would fall of itself. To what expedient, what means to have recourse
in this extremity? There was but one. I was unwilling to adopt it; but
every thing gave way to necessity: I demanded a loan of 3,000,000 from
the inhabitants.

The inhabitants of Dantzic were indignant at this measure. They
complained, murmured, and threatened some commotion. The enemy became
more pressing. The fleet, the land forces, all assumed a more hostile
attitude. It was at this conjuncture that Baron Servien, condemned to
death for decoying soldiers, accused the senator Piegeleau, of being
at the head of a conspiracy formed in the interest of Russia. The
reputation of this magistrate was untarnished, but the charges were
so detailed, so precise, and the consequences of imprudent security
so serious, that I ordered him to be arrested. His innocence was
soon established. I had for a short time doubted the honesty of this
respectable man: it was my duty to make him an acknowledgment. I made
it in the way which appeared to me best fitted to calm the impression
of this unpleasant adventure. The citizens had remained quiet, and the
frequent skirmishes, which had appeared to me suspicious, were owing
to the increase of troops which had arrived before the fortress.

The Duke of Wurtemburg had just taken the command of it. More
enterprising, more restless, than General Levis, he did not allow my
advanced posts breathing-time; if he failed in one point, he tried
another. Driven back at Langfuhr, put to flight at Zigangenberg, he
threw himself on Ohra. As badly received in that position as in the
former ones, he did not the less return to the charge; he attacked at
one time Stolzenberg, Schidlitz, and the post of the barrier: defeated
at all these points, he tried again, and again was defeated. No check
discouraged him; he tried a last effort; he rushed during the night on
my troops, who were refreshing themselves after their fatigues, and
took some houses, which he set fire to; but at the sight of the two
battalions which ran to arms, he was alarmed, and retreated.

The patroles and sentinels were continually engaged. These combats,
in which individual courage is put most to the test, were all to our
advantage. The Cossacks did not shine at all in them. Three of them
combined for the purpose of overpowering a dragoon of the 12th, called
Drumes: this brave fellow waits for them with firmness; knocked down
by a blow from a lance, he rises, seizes the end of the weapon, draws
his adversary to him, and lays him dead on the spot. Héquet, another
dragoon of the same regiment, resisted four of these barbarians:
although wounded, he knocked down one, killed another, and put the
rest to flight. I could cite a thousand traits of the same kind.

These continual attacks harassed my soldiers. I could not suffer
them to be insulted by the Cossacks. We took arms: General Granjean
commanded the right, General Devilliers the centre, and the left was
under the direction of Count Heudelet. The unexpected appearance of
our columns froze the enemy with dread. Their horses were grazing
freely on the plain, their infantry was at rest in the camps: they
did not expect this attack. At the moment we were beginning to move,
I received the authentic news of the immortal victories of Lutzen and
Bautzen: I communicated it, I proclaimed it, I spread it abroad. Joy,
intoxication, enthusiasm, are at their height; all these sentiments
are shewn at once; our troops are impatient for the fight they burn to
conquer. From left to right the cry of “Forward!” is re-echoed. The
signal is given. Immediately the artillery is unmasked: the troops
approach the enemy, the combat begins, the ground is covered with
heaps of dead. Captain Preutin pours his fire upon the enemy, and
forces them to evacuate Schœnfeld. The Polish horse-artillery comes
up at a gallop, places itself within half gun-shot distance, and
overthrows every thing in its way. Major Bellancourt and the chief of
battalion Duprat press on and bear down the fugitives: they disperse
them as often as they rally. Defeated at the centre, the enemy throws
himself on our left, and threatens Ohra. Major Schneider opposes
a stout resistance. This excellent officer defends himself at one
point, while he attacks at another, and makes up by his courage for
the insufficiency of the means at his disposal. Generals Brissau and
Husson run to his assistance. The Russians, overpowered, cannot stem
the torrent; they are put to flight, and do not stop till they reach
the heights behind Wonneburg. They soon change their plan, and rush on
our right wing, which receives them with admirable firmness. Colonel
d'Engloffstein, Major Horadam, Lieutenant-colonel Hope, emulate one
another in exertions. Sergeants Vigneux and Auger also set an example
of courage. I rush to the midst of this bloody contest: I order the
Poles of the 10th to advance, with five pieces of cannon which were in
reserve. The combat grows warmer, and becomes more and more terrible.
The Russians at last give way, and escape in confusion from the camp
of Pitzkendorf. I did not think it right to pursue them: sufficient
for the day are the evils thereof. They had about 1800 men put _hors
de combat_. I caused the firing to cease. On our side we reckoned four
hundred killed or wounded.

The Allies, conquered in two consecutive battles, had solicited an
armistice. The war had been carried back to the Oder. We were once
more the arbiters of fortune. Our glory was so much the more pure, as
it was entirely the result of that impetuous courage which supplies
the want of experience, and does not give way before any obstacle.
Mere recruits had triumphed over the combined forces of Prussia and
Russia. Captain Planat brought us the news of it at the moment when
the defeated besiegers were seeking safety in flight. Napoleon had
added to his despatches proofs of his munificence: he condescended to
grant me the ribbon of the order of _La Réunion_. He authorised me
to make promotions, to confer marks of honour, and to point out the
superior officers that I thought fit for advancement. His victories
had exalted the courage of the troops; the soldiers once more swore by
his genius; they saw him again triumphing on the banks of the Vistula.
His despatch was conceived in the following terms.

     “Monsieur le Comte Rapp,

     “The Major-general acquaints you with the situation of affairs.
     I hope that peace will be concluded in the course of the year;
     but if my expectations are disappointed, I shall come to raise
     your blockade. Our armies have never been more numerous or in a
     finer condition. You will see by the journals all the measures
     which I have taken, and which have secured me 1,200,000 men
     under arms, and 100,000 horse. My relations with Denmark are
     very amicable, where Baron Alquier still continues my minister.
     I need not recommend you to be deaf to all insinuations, and at
     all events to keep the important fortress which I have confided
     to you. Inform me by the return of the officer what soldiers have
     most distinguished themselves. The promotion and the decoration
     which you shall think they have deserved, you may consider
     as conferred; and you may bestow decorations of the Legion of
     Honour to the number of ten crosses of officers, and a hundred
     of knights. Make choice of the men that have rendered the most
     important services, and send me the list by return of the
     officer, in order that the Chancellor of the Legion of Honour may
     be instructed of the appointments. You may also fill up in your
     ranks all the vacant appointments, as far as the rank of Captain
     inclusive. Send also an account of these promotions. On this I
     pray God, &c.


     “Neumark, June 5, 1813.”


The sovereigns had fixed on the conditions of the armistice. Every
fortress was to be revictualled once in five days, and to have a
league of ground beyond its lines; but the Duke of Wurtemberg took on
himself to elude this engagement. He contested my statement of our
positions; he disputed about the limits. After several conferences,
we came to a provisional arrangement, and we remitted the question to
persons appointed to settle it. There then arose new difficulties;
at one time they alleged want of provisions, at another want of
conveyance. The allowances, at all times incomplete, were constantly
in arrears; at last they were entirely suspended. The Duke stood in
need of a pretext; he found one: he pretended that we had broken the
truce, because we had done justice on some band of robbers which
infested our rear. His letter, which could have been transmitted to me
in two hours, was two days before it reached me. So many subterfuges
made me indignant: I went straight to the point; I told him that I
would have no more tergiversation, and that he must fight or fulfil
the conditions stipulated on. He replied by talking of the cause of
nations and of kings. This language was curious; I expressed to him
how much it astonished me, coming from the mouth of a prince, whose
sovereign had been our ally for five years, and whose brother was
still fighting for us. This last example touched him a little. He
replied peevishly, “That a Russian General-in-chief did not think
himself inferior in any respect to a king of the Confederation, since
it only depended on the Emperor Alexander to raise him to that
dignity, and that then he might be a king as well as another; that he
would, however, only be so under this slight condition, that it should
not be at the expense of any power or person.”

The troops ran to arms: but the Duke was unwilling to take the
consequences of this rupture. He offered to continue the supplies.
They ought to have been sent on the 24th, but they did not come
till the 26th, and were never complete. Tainted meat, and flour so
very bad that we did not venture to make any use of it till we had
made experiments on it, were the only provisions that the Russians
furnished us with. They were not more faithful as to the quantity: we
did not receive above two-thirds of what was guaranteed to us by the

The Prince de Neuchâtel told me that it was necessary to hold out till
the month of May following. The thing was quite impossible; I had
neither provisions nor troops sufficient for so prolonged a defence. I
pointed it out to him; my despatch was precise. Every thing that was
possible we were ready to undertake, but good intentions do not create

     “Dantzic, June 16, 1813.

     “My Prince,

     “I received the letter which your Highness did me the honour to
     write me from Neumark, of the 5th of June. M. Planat has also
     sent me a collection of _Moniteurs_, containing the detail of the
     decisive battles gained by Napoleon over the combined forces. I
     had had, from the day before M. Planat's arrival, intelligence
     of the brilliant successes of the armies of Napoleon. This good
     news has produced on the garrison the best effect: it has seen
     that I had not flattered it with vain hopes; and the patience and
     courage of which it has given proofs have found the reward that
     they were entitled to expect.

     “The armistice has also been transmitted to me, and I write
     to your Highness particularly on this subject. I ought not to
     conceal that this suspension of arms, in the state things are in,
     must be more disadvantageous than advantageous to the garrison;
     for disease still occasions us a loss of 1100 men a month, the
     consequence of which will be that by the 1st of August we shall
     have lost 1700 men.

     “Our provisions, moreover, will be consumed; and, if the Duke of
     Wurtemberg does not show a better disposition towards us than he
     has done, we shall not be able to save, as otherwise we should
     have done, a part of the provisions that he is bound to furnish
     us. Till the month of October my situation will not give me any
     uneasiness, but beyond that period it will be a painful one
     indeed; for we shall want men to defend the immense range of our
     fortifications, provisions for the defenders, and we shall have
     no more to hope for from resources within or without.

     “The account of the composition for the rations since the
     blockade will shew your Highness that I have carried into
     execution, in the distribution of the provision, the rigid
     economy which our situation demanded, and that to this end I
     have employed all the resources of which I could avail myself:
     but these resources are exhausting; and it would be useless to
     reckon on those which might be derived from the expulsion of
     the inhabitants; indeed, it is only necessary, in order to be
     convinced of this painful truth, to recollect that two years ago
     Napoleon called by requisition on the inhabitants of Dantzic,
     for 600,000 quintals of corn—an order which was most rigorously
     carried into execution. At that time only 23,000 quintals were
     left for the subsistence of its inhabitants. Since that period
     they have lived on this quantity, and some trifling portions
     which had been concealed from the strictest searches.

     “I have given above an account of the loss which disease still
     produces every month. The accounts of the situation of the
     troops present an effective force of 20,558 men; which supposes,
     according to the estimates (but too accurate) which I have
     already given, that the garrison will be reduced, at the end of
     the armistice, to 20,000 men, from which number must be deducted
     at least 2,000 who will be in the hospitals, even supposing that
     want does not increase the ravages of disease. What would be
     our condition, then, by the month of May, when the progress of
     mortality which the actual state of things supposes will have
     mowed down so many of our men? It results from the calculation
     which we are able to make, (admitting that winter diseases do
     not materially increase the number of deaths, and allowing for
     a loss of 1000 only per month,) that the sum total of the loss
     would be, by the 1st of May, 8000 men, omitting altogether those
     who may perish in actions, or who may die from the consequence
     of their wounds. There would only remain, then, by the month
     of May, an effective force of 11,000 men, of whom there will
     certainly be 3000 in the hospitals: how is it possible to defend
     fortifications so extensive with so feeble a garrison?

     “I have already given orders for the construction of works
     intended to defend the entrance of Mottlaw, an extremely weak
     point when the rivers are frozen. I am going on besides with
     every thing which can secure my communication, but, I repeat, men
     are wanting for the defences. Your Highness must not doubt that,
     if it becomes necessary, I will do every thing which honour and
     my devotion to the Emperor can suggest, to maintain myself in
     some point or other of Dantzic.

     “The state of the magazines will prove to your Highness that
     our resources are very limited. You will, no doubt, think that
     I shall manage them with all the care which the desire to make
     an honourable defence inspires me with: it is with this object
     in view that I have added to the commission for the management
     of provisions, which the law has appointed in places in a state
     of siege, a considerable number of members in addition to those
     which it requires.

     “I have put them under the presidency of the General of the
     division Count Heudelet. This commission is instructed to lay
     before me all the measures which may tend to economy and to the
     welfare of the soldiers; it has rendered great service, and I am
     sorry that I did not give it at an earlier period the attributes
     which it now possesses.

     “The article of finances merits very particular attention on
     the part of the Emperor and your Highness. All the funds which
     have been left at my disposal have been consumed, and I have been
     obliged to have recourse to a forced loan, which I imposed on
     all those who were still able to yield any thing. This loan has
     been put into execution with great severity towards those who
     pretended not to be able to contribute to the common defence;
     but notwithstanding all the pains which were taken in respect
     to this, and all the measures which were resorted to in order
     to conduce to similar results, up to the present time, only
     1,700,000 francs have been raised, and there will be great
     difficulty in levying the rest.

     “The expenses of the pay of the army, those of the constructions
     in the engineer department, as well as those which concern
     manual labour (for all the materials which are in the place
     will be taken, as has been done for these two months past, by
     requisition, to be paid for on demand at the raising of the
     blockade); the sums for the artillery; those for the hospitals,
     for the different branches of the service, for provisions, that
     is to say, in short, for every thing that is necessary for manual
     and daily labour; for the constructions in the marine department,
     clothing—all these expenses, of which I have ordered an estimate
     to be made, amount to more than 900,000 francs per month.

     “A foreign commercial house has offered to provide funds here,
     provided that the paymaster-general guarantee him reimbursement
     at Paris. It would be a great security of tranquillity, if I saw
     this affair settled; but I should prefer that the funds were sent
     to me, for otherwise some circumstance might happen which would
     stop the stipulated payment in the second month. Your Highness is
     well aware that there are no means of dispensing with punctual
     payment of all the expenses alluded to above, especially with a
     garrison composed like the one which I command; I beseech you,
     then, to solicit from his Majesty measures which may secure the
     payment of the sums which I stand in absolute need of.

     “I ought not to close without observing to your Highness that
     the quantity of powder which now remains in our magazines is not
     nearly in proportion to what would be necessary for a siege.

     “To conclude, Monseigneur, I have thought it right to make
     beforehand all the observations which occur to my mind on the
     insufficiency of men for the defence, on the inadequacy of
     the means of subsistence, on the funds necessary to meet our
     expenses, in short, on our supplies in every department which
     are at all in proportion to our approaching wants. I beseech your
     Highness, then, to lay before the Emperor the painful situation
     in which we shall be placed, if his Majesty does not come to our
     aid. What remains of the garrison is in other respects excellent,
     and the performance of its part may be relied on, by means of a
     few rewards well applied for unlimited devotion. It will do all
     that the Emperor can expect from his best soldiers, and will
     justify the confidence which his Majesty has placed in it, and
     the favour which he has bestowed on it by placing it among the
     number of the corps of his Grand Army.

                              “I am, &c.

                         (Signed)       “COUNT RAPP.”

The armistice was meanwhile approaching its termination. The troops,
the ammunition, the artillery for the siege were arriving in abundance
before the place. We soon had 300 pieces of cannon of large calibre,
and 60,000 fighting troops before us. The disproportion was immense;
but we had conquered when enfeebled by disease, we might hope to
conquer again. Nothing but the means of subsistence was wanting.
The Russians were so convinced of this that they gave chase to the
smallest craft which went fishing. Their gun-boats had even captured
some of the craft which had not gone beyond the limits. I immediately
despatched a flag of truce to the Admiral. I represented to him that
the sea ought to be free for a league from the shore, and that I
should know how to make the conditions of the armistice respected,
if they again attempted to infringe them. He promised to conform to
the conditions, and no more to molest our boats. He did not, indeed,
molest them; but that very evening he carried off our unfortunate
fishermen, who had retired, without suspicion of what was to happen,
to their huts. He dreaded the abundance which a few pounds of fish
would produce in the fortress. The peasants and the course of the
waters were not better treated. They entrapped the former, and turned
the latter in another direction. It appeared to them as if every
thing was put in motion to get us food; that it was coming on us in
every direction. It was in vain for me to protest; indeed, never
were pretences or excuses wanting. At last the Prince of Wolkonski
announced to me the recommencement of hostilities; I received this
news with sincere satisfaction. Our relations were too disagreeable
for me not to desire to see them ended.


The enemy was full of confidence; he fought, he intrigued, he
flattered himself with the hopes of taking the place by storm or
reducing it to ashes; but through the vigilance and intrepidity of
my soldiers all his attempts failed. His incendiary rockets were
wasted on our ramparts; his attacks were repulsed, and his emissaries
discovered. Several of these wretches had already introduced
themselves into our magazines, and were preparing to set them on
fire. I perhaps ought to have made an example of them; but I dreaded
lest this example might be dangerous: I feared that it would give a
knowledge of the crime to those who were then ignorant of it, and that
it would spread alarm amongst the troops. I pretended to believe that
they had endeavoured to pilfer some provisions, and I dismissed them;
but I issued such severe proclamations against theft, that I kept
malevolence at a distance.

After three days of humiliation and fatigue the besiegers succeeded
at last in getting possession of the wood of Ohra. Driven from it
almost immediately, they re-appear with new forces, and drive in our
detachment. The battalion on duty takes a second time its arms, and
rushes to its relief. Major Legros attacks the wood; two companies
of grenadiers march on the village; the troops meet each other, they
charge, they drive, they overthrow: the struggle becomes frightful.
Captain Capgrau seizes by the hair a Prussian officer: whilst he
throws him on the ground, he himself is on the point of being killed;
a soldier already touches him with his bayonet. Lieutenant Sabatier
turns aside the blow, closes on the Cossack, and runs him through with
his sabre; but at the moment he saves his chief, he receives in the
throat a wound which compels him to quit the field of battle. In the
wood, in the village, every where, the Russians are defeated: Captain
Duchat kills four himself; Commandant Charton, Lieutenants Devrine and
Blanchard, mow them down in heaps; a crowd of brave fellows rush into
the midst of them and increase the disorder. Francou, whose valour
a short time afterwards was so famous, Martin, Couture, Rochette,
Schlitz, Lepont, Bennot, Soudè, Paris, Belochio, all sub-officers of
the light troops, the carabineer Richida, the drummer Breiquier rush
even to the centre of their columns, and give them up to the swords of
our soldiers.

Fresh troops take the place of those who are defeated, and establish
themselves in the wood; our heroes led on by Lieutenant Joly Delatour,
rush forward, attack and defeat them. The enemy, nevertheless, do not
lose courage; they form again into ranks, and present themselves a
third time: but always overcome, always cut in pieces, they at last
discontinue their attacks.

Early the next day the enemy throw themselves on Stries and
Heiligenbrun, and take possession of Langfuhr. Our advanced posts
fall back on two block-houses, situated on the right and left of the
village. The Russians pursue them, and prepare to attack them; but
the Poles fire on them with such rapidity and precision that they are
forced to retreat. They return in greater force, they cover, they
inundate the defiles of the Jesch Kental; they threaten Heiligenbrun,
they debouch by Stries; all my line is under fire. These manœuvres
left no doubt as to their intentions; it was clear that they had
serious views on Langfuhr; I determined to anticipate them, and march
out to meet them. I assembled my troops, the left in the village, the
centre in the ravines of Zigangenberg, and the right extending as far
as Ohra. Twenty-four pieces of cannon, commanded by General Lepin,
are placed in the middle between the two wings. They immediately
commence a firing: the enemy's redoubts, his masses, his camp at
Pitzkendorf, every thing is ploughed up by our ball, we dismount two
of his pieces. The Poles, the Bavarians, the Westphalians, and 250
horse, commanded by General Farine, debouch at the same time. The
brave Szembeck, already engaged with the Russians, was driving them
from Duvelkam; as soon as our soldiers perceive this defeat, they
grow warm, and they are encouraged; they rush on the redoubts at
Pitzkendorf. The allies, driven back on their works, endeavour in vain
to defend themselves; young Centurione at the head of his hussars,
overcomes every obstacle, but falls covered with wounds. At the sight
of this excellent officer carried off at so tender an age, the thirst
for vengeance kindles the courage of our men: infantry and cavalry
pour pell-mell on the redoubts. The trumpeter Bernardin, the chasseur
Olire, the Quarter-master Boucher, throw themselves into the midst of
the Russians; Lieutenant Tirion, already wounded, goes straight to the
officer who commands them, and takes him prisoner. From that moment
it is no longer a battle—it is slaughter, it is carnage, all perish
at the point of the bayonet, or only owe their lives to the mercy of
the conquerors. Whilst our soldiers are giving themselves up to the
fire of their courage, a cloud of Cossacks rush on them, and threaten
to cut them in pieces; but General Cavaignac moves up so promptly
with the reserve of cavalry, the troops charge with such zeal, the
Commanding-Adjutant de Erens, the chiefs of squadrons Bel and Zeluski,
Captains Gibert, Fayaux, Vallier, Pateski, and Bagatho, display so
much intelligence and skill that the enemy is completely routed, and
disperses in the most frightful confusion.

The cannonade grew warmer and warmer. The Russians still occupied
the Johanisberg, the ground in front of Pitzkendorf, and made a
furious attack on Langfuhr. I detached against them a battalion of
the Vistula, which was supported by the Neapolitans commanded by
General Détrées, having under his orders General Pépé, who has since
been rendered so famous by the events which have occurred in his own
country. The brave Szembeck commenced the attack; it was made with
great regularity and impetuosity. The Russians, routed at the point of
the bayonet, overthrown by destructive charges, seek safety by flight.
The Poles pursue them with increased boldness; the drummer Hhade
seizes one of them by the cartouche-box, pulls him from the ranks and
disarms him. Captain Fatczinsky forgets that he is wounded, rushes
into a house which they occupy, kills their chief, and makes thirty of
them prisoners.

The Neapolitans are not less impetuous; they press forward in pursuit
of the fugitives, drive them on and fire upon them. General Pépé,
Colonel Lebon, the Commandants Balathier, and Sourdet, Captains
Chivandier and Cianculli direct and excite their courage, and give at
once both precept and example.

On the opposite side of the mountain the conflict was not less
obstinate or bloody. At the appointed signal, Colonel Kaminsky had
marched on the Russians and had dislodged them; he drove them before
him—the pursuit was hot. Reinforcements arrive; our adversaries
endeavour to stem the torrent, but the Poles pursue them with
impetuosity. Roseizensky, Drabizclwsky, Doks, Zaremba, Zygnowicz,
followed by men devoted to their leaders, rush on them and cut them in

We were masters of Johanisberg. The weather was terrible; the enemy
was flying at a distance. I ordered a retreat to be sounded—it was
done in the most perfect order. At six o'clock every thing was
tranquil. But the Russians were not long before they made their
appearance again. They attack at the same time the Belvedere and the
heights of Heiligenbrun; they keep up a very smart firing; but they
are nevertheless unable to obtain the slightest advantage. Colonel
Kaminsky, and Commander Szembeck display a courage and skill which
disconcert them. They withdraw, but at the same time two battalions,
supported by a numerous cavalry, march on the village of Stries.
Kaminsky rushes to its defence. The Russians return immediately to
the charge; they scale the heights, they attack the Belvedere, push
on, and press their attacks. All their attempts fail against the
excellent arrangements of Major Deskur, and the valour of the chiefs
of battalion Johman and Robiesky.

This was not the first diversion they had tried. They had already
driven in our advanced posts from Schidlitz to Ohra: Major Schneider,
attacked in front and flank, only maintained this suburb by courage.
He perceived a numerous column which imprudently entered the great
broad-street: he charged it, poured a shower of grape-shot on it, and
destroyed it. General Husson came up with the reserve. We resumed the
offensive; in an instant the wood and the village are taken, and the
Russians thrown into dreadful confusion. The chief of battalion,
Boulanger, disarmed eight of them; a sergeant who had been wounded
by a musquet-ball, the brave Vestel, disarmed three: the sub-officer
Cornu rescued one of our men, and took his escort prisoners.

I was once more master of the Johanisberg and of Langfuhr, but this
success could not be durable; it was evident that the Russians,
continually returning to the charge with fresh troops, must in the
end succeed. Moreover, these two positions were so far separated from
each other, that they could neither injure me much, nor be of much use
to me. I gave, in consequence, orders to evacuate them, if the Allies
presented themselves in force. But their audacity had given place to
timidity. They were afraid of removing from the heights; they dared
not take possession of a village that had been abandoned. Impatient,
nevertheless, to get possession of it, they engage in a general action
to make themselves masters of a post which I had resolved not to
defend. The troops take arms; the fleet supports them. The whole of
my line is attacked: eighty gun-boats fire in concert, and pour their
shot on Neufahrwasser. Schelmulle, New-Schottland, Ohra, Zigangendorf
became a prey to the flames. The enemy's troops spread themselves as
a torrent in the plain; they overthrow or set fire to every thing
that opposes their passage: I came up in the midst of this terrible
confusion. But already the courage of the Russians had declined; they
were repulsed by a handful of brave men under the command of Major
Poyeck, and left the approaches of Kabrun filled with heaps of dead
bodies. I gave orders to pursue them: the impetuous Gibert rushed
forward with his chasseurs. Captain Maisonneuve joined him; they
charged: the disorderly multitude was repulsed and driven back on
Schelmulle. This party of the Russians, joined by the troops which
occupied the village, received, without being broken, the destructive
vollies of Captain Ostrowsky; but almost immediately turned by Captain
Marnier, one of the bravest officers in the French army, they fled,
disbanded themselves, and sought for refuge amidst the ruins of
buildings which they had given to the flames.

The struggle was not less warm at Langfuhr: attacked by 12,000
Russians, our posts fought and struggled in the very midst of the
immense columns of the enemy. Sergeant Szhatkowsky stood in need of
all his courage to escape from the Cossacks. Employed on a work in
front of the village, with thirteen men, he was surrounded by these
irregular troops; he immediately rallied his workmen, faced on one
side, attacked on the other, and constantly marching and fighting, at
last disengaged himself without losing a man.

The Russians, humiliated by their losses, marched on the village.
Two houses, which I had put in a state to resist a _coup de main_,
defended its entrance: our adversaries attacked them in flank, pressed
on, and attempted an escalade; but a destructive fire threw them
into confusion, and compelled them to retreat. To increase their
misfortunes, the Neapolitans appear, and attack them. Colonels Lebon
and Dégennero pressed on, broke through the cavalry, and penetrated
into Langfuhr. The cavalry returned to the charge with greater numbers
and audacity; it took advantage of impediments, seized the right
moment, and charged our battalions as they were scattered up and
down the streets. A bloody conflict ensued; the brave Paliazzi fell,
pierced with ten lance wounds: Captains Nicolaü, Angeli, Dégennero,
are covered with wounds, and are compelled to leave the field of
battle. In vain the intrepid Grimaldi, in vain Lieutenants Amato,
Legendre, Hubert, Pouza, Gomez, and Zanetti endeavoured to stem the
torrent; numbers prevailed: we were compelled to retreat. A few brave
fellows, engaged too far in front, were unable to follow, and were
cut off; but far from giving way to despair, their courage increased
at the sight of danger; they rallied round the Adjutant-major Odiardi.
They advance, they turn, they retrograde, and at last reach the
fortified houses. Already were they attacked for the second time;
the Allies, enraged at the resistance, threw themselves on the
pallisadoes; tore them from the ground, and appeared about to triumph
over all these obstacles: but, laid in the dust as soon as they were
open to our fire, they soon despaired of success: unable to take the
houses, they set fire to them. Our brave fellows are not disconcerted:
some continued the firing, others subdue the flames; and the enemy is
not advanced farther than before. A thick smoke hid from our view the
two houses; I was still ignorant whether our troops occupied them,
or whether the Allies had made themselves masters of them. Reports
announced the latter; I resolved, nevertheless, to make an attempt
to know; but the balls, fired from off the houses, were falling on
us in showers: I concluded that they were lost. One circumstance
in particular rendered it probable: the firing had ceased, while
the flames were still raging. I was unwilling, however, to believe
that they had been given up; I ordered a fresh reconnoissance. The
neighbourhood of these two posts was heaped with dead bodies, clad
in white capotes. Deceived by the colour of the dress, the officers
whom I had sent were persuaded that the Bavarians had perished; all
asserted it, all were convinced of it. The loss of such brave men was
melancholy, and deserved not to be admitted on appearances. I charged
one of my aides-de-camp, Captain Marnier, to ascertain the real state
of the case: this mission could not be disagreeable to him; he had,
at the battle of Uclès, summoned a Spanish division to lay down its
arms, and had taken it: the spears of the Cossacks would not stop
him. At daybreak he set out from Kabrun, with eight men who requested
to follow him; he proceeded, running, to the house on the right.
Immediately the barriers were opened, the detachment joined him, and
made its retreat, in spite of the Russians who rushed forward to
intercept it.

That on the left still remained; but the greatest difficulty was
overcome. I was certain that it still existed: I issued orders
that it should be relieved. A battalion advanced; no sooner was it
perceived by these admirable soldiers, than they placed their wounded
in the midst of it, and rushed forth on the Allies. Several received
wounds; the brave Dalwick was struck by a ball, which shattered his
left shoulder, but he continued to fight with ardour. The contest
became more and more bloody. The Bavarians, inflamed with the noble
desire to save their countrymen, and animated by the example of two
intrepid officers, Adjutant-major Seiferlitz and Lieutenant Muck,
threw themselves precipitately on the enemy, broke through them, and
at last brought off in safety this handful of devoted soldiers. They
made a kind of triumphal entry: every one was anxious to see them, and
to congratulate them: all spoke of their constancy, and boasted of
their resignation. Alone, abandoned to their own resources, without
provisions, without ammunition, parched with thirst, suffocated
by the smoke, they had braved the threats, repulsed the summons,
and rejected with disdain the insinuations of the enemy. Captain
Fahrebeck in particular was loaded with encomiums; his _sang-froid_
was admired, his courage extolled; his firmness and his prudence
were the subject and the theme of every one's conversation. It was
natural that I should testify to these brave fellows how much I was
satisfied with them: I inserted in the order of the day the perils
that they had faced, the risks they had run; and I lodged the wounded
in my own hotel. Every day I visited them; every day I made myself
acquainted with their situation, and assured myself that their wants
were supplied. An officer, who was in my confidence, M. Romeru, was
moreover instructed to lavish on them the cares and the consolation
which I was not able to give them myself.

As soon as the enemy was master of Langfuhr, he began to labour; works
upon works were constructed: his exertions were unremitted. His design
was to narrow my position more and more, and ultimately to compel me
to shut myself up in the fortress. This plan was admirable; the only
question was how to execute it; this was a more difficult affair.
I had covered the fronts of Oliwa and Hagelsberg by a formidable
entrenched camp; nine works composed it: the lunette of Istria
occupied the culminating point of the heights, which command the fort
and defile of Hagelsberg; it was flanked by the batteries Kirgeur
and Caulincourt. A selection was afterwards made among the hillocks
situated between these works and the road of Langfuhr, of those
which were most advantageously situated, and they were fortified.
The following was the arrangement of these redoubts: going on the
right from Caulincourt, the redoubt Romeuf, the battery Grabowsky,
the redoubt Deroy, the battery Montbrun. In fine, to complete this
line of fortifications and to extend it as far as the Vistula, two
batteries more were established; the one called Fitzer, across the
road of Langfuhr, the other known by the name of Gudin, was little
farther distant; it rested on an artificial inundation, which extended
as far as the dyke on the left of the Vistula, and formed the right
of all our line, which still enclosed two batteries which were placed
on the other side of the river. All these works were palisadoed,
provided with barracks, and powder magazines. I ordered moreover two
barrack camps to be erected; the one to hold four hundred men, towards
the extreme left behind Kirgeur, and the other a hundred and fifty,
behind Montbrun. The part of this line which extends from Montbrun to
Gudin was connected by a kind of covered road; that which extended to
the left was sufficiently protected by the badness of the ground. I
thought, moreover, that it was necessary to secure the power of acting
on the offensive in a part of these works.

Ohra was also put in a state of defence. A mass of houses, which
communicated with each other, and the doors and windows of which had
been carefully walled up; parapets and palisadoes, which had no other
outlet but a tongue of land, bounded by two beds of water, rather
deep, formed an advanced retrenchment, known under the name of the
_first entrenchment_ of Ohra; the second, situated four hundred yards
in its rear, was composed of the same materials, and was supported on
a large Jesuit's convent, which had been fortified. The heights and
defiles which approach the suburb were fortified; the redoubt with
which they were surmounted prevented the enemy from turning us, and
soon became famous under the name of the batteries and lines of Friuli.

Whilst we were executing these works the enemy frequently skirmished
with our advanced posts: Schidlitz, Ohra, Stolzenberg, were in turn
the object of his attacks, Repulsed at every point, he attempted to
surprise Heubade; but he there met with more than his match. The
Commandant Carré, an old soldier, full of vigilance, and acquainted
with all kinds of stratagems, perceived his columns, succeeded in
making them engage each other, and retired without loss from a
critical situation.

Quite ashamed at this cruel mystification, the Russians flatter
themselves with the prospect of taking revenge at Kabrun. They
surround it, they scale it, but received by a destructive firing,
directed by Captain Nazzewski, they withdrew leaving the ditches
filled with dead. They march once more on Schidlitz: put to
flight the first time, they return to the charge with fresh vigour
and impetuosity; but Adjutant-major Bouttin, Captains Kleber and
Feuillade, raise to such a degree the courage of our soldiers, that
they throw themselves on the Allies, and defeat them.

The fleet also was not idle: on the 4th, at daybreak, it appeared,
drawn up in line of battle; it had failed two days before in two
consecutive attacks, and completely wasted more than seven thousand
rounds of cannon-shot. Shame, thirst after vengeance, every thing
incited it to fight: it was the explosion of a volcano. The frigates
and the gun-boats thundered forth at once, and covered us with a
shower of shells: but far from being discomposed, our batteries are
managed with increased coolness and regularity. Officers and soldiers,
all soar above danger, and only think on victory. A gunner, engaged
in spunging a gun, had an arm carried off; Captain Pomerenski takes
up the spunging-rod and performs duty. Sergeant Viard serves a piece
which fires red-hot balls, and points it as at the polygon; Lieutenant
Milewski manages and superintends his own, sinks one gun-boat, damages
others, and compels them to leave the scene of action. Captain
Leppigé, Sergeant-major Zackowski, Sergeant Radzmiski, Corporal
Multarowski, set the most admirable examples of coolness and skill.
Captain Henrion, Lieutenant Hagueny, Captain of the frigate Rousseau,
the seamen Despeistre and Costo, the Corporals Davis and Dubous stick
to their cannon, and do not cease to fight them till the enemy fly.
The fleet, convinced of the inutility of its efforts, makes to sea,
with the satisfaction of having fired nine thousand rounds in order
to kill two men. It had also dismounted two of our pieces; but it
had lost two gun-boats, nine others were seriously damaged, and its
frigates were full of holes from our shells and ball.

We very soon had a more formidable enemy to contend with. The Vistula
suddenly rises, overflows, or breaks down the dykes, and escapes
with impetuosity. The place, the fortifications, become a prey to
the waves. The bridges are carried away, the sluices destroyed, and
the banks broken up; the waters, now without impediment, rush into
the ditches, and undermine the bastions. Those of Bœren, and Braunn
Ross were in ruins, and it was to be feared, that, when the Vistula
should return to its natural bed, the inundation could not be kept
up; but the engineer department was not negligent in this critical
juncture, they succeeded in re-establishing the breaches, by means
of great dexterity and perseverance; and when the water subsided,
the inundation kept up by the branches which run through the Werder
scarcely experienced any change of level.

The turn of the Russians had now arrived: they had profited by the
embarrassment which the swelling of the waters caused us; they had
raised battery on battery; and on the 15th of November they unmasked
a score lined with guns of the largest calibre. The fleet also came
up to try its powers against our forts. Masses of infantry were ready
to give the assault as soon as the palisadoes should be destroyed;
three bomb-vessels and forty gun-boats pour in a dreadful fire
upon Newfahrwasser. Danger, far from dejecting, only animates our
soldiers; they swear they will conquer, they swear they will punish
the assailants. The troops of the line keep close to the cannon, the
artillery points them, as at a review; they damage and dismast a crowd
of gun-boats. Of a sudden, a terrible explosion is heard: a ball had
pierced the Sainte-Barbe, the sloop disappeared. The same explosion
was repeated. We congratulate, and encourage each other, we are eager
to imitate the heroes who fire with such admirable precision. Three
vessels become nearly at the same time a prey to the flames, and the
first line of ships retires all covered with wreck. The second takes
its place, without being more successful, and the divisions thus
succeed each other every three hours, without slackening the fire.
At last, disheartened by the obstacles which were opposed to it, by
the courage of our soldiers, the excellent arrangements of Colonel
Rousselot, and the vigilance of Major François, the fleet retires to
repair its losses. Twelve hours fighting, and 20,000 discharges of
cannon, had no other result than the killing and wounding of half a
dozen of our men, and the damaging of three of our gun-carriages.
This was the last attempt. A few months earlier it would have been
infallible, but in war the very moment should be seized.

The troops were more successful. They attacked our posts in advance
of Ohra, and got possession of that of the Etoile on the heights at
the right of the village. Major Legros does not allow them time to
establish themselves; four chosen companies, under the command of
Captains Valard and Aubry, march without delay to the point of attack.
They take the Russians by surprise, and cut them in pieces. In vain do
they appear with fresh troops; repulsed, put to flight, they disperse,
though without losing courage; they make a fresh attempt, but met
by a destructive discharge of musquetry, they disband and fall under
the fire of two companies placed in the village of Stadtgebieth which
annihilate them.


The season became every day more severe. The rains were incessant,
and produced a fetid fog which the sun, without heat, could scarcely
dissipate. But what was still worse, the scarcity still continued to
increase. Horses, dogs, cats were eaten, we had exhausted all our
resources, our salt even failed us. It is true that industry supplied
the deficiency. Some soldiers conceived the idea of boiling some
old planks which had formerly belonged to a storehouse; the trial
succeeded. We sprung this new mine, and the hospitals were supplied.
The population was reduced to the last extremity, it lived on nothing
but _malt_ and _bran_, and it had not even enough of these to satisfy
its wants. In this state of distress I thought the philanthropic
allies would not repulse their fellow-countrymen. I drove out of
the fortress the prisoners and the beggars, all, in a word, who had
no provisions. But the Prussians were inexorable, and but for the
inhabitants of Saint-Albrecht, they would have left them to perish
from want. Others went to the quarters occupied by the Russians,
and were not better received. Without shelter, without food of any
kind, they would have perished under the eyes of these liberators
of humanity, if I had not taken pity on their wretchedness. I gave
them some relief, and sent them to their homes. Several begged to be
employed in the fortifications, and they received half or a quarter
of a loaf of ammunition bread for their wages. In the mean time
the enemy had completed their works. From time to time they tried
their batteries, and seemed to perform a prelude to a more serious
action. On the 10th, accordingly, they all began to fire towards
the close of the day. The town, the Holme, the entrenched camp of
Newfahrwasser are inundated with shells, grenades, and red hot balls.
The fire breaks forth, and consumes the convent of the Dominicans.
The Russian prisoners who were kept in the building were on the point
of perishing, when our soldiers rushed in and saved them from death.
The flames continuing to increase in violence, wreathed round the
neighbouring houses, and threatened to reduce them to ashes. At the
same time the Allies presented themselves in strength before our
posts of Ohra, and drove them back as far as Stadtgebieth. I came
up with Count Heudelet. The enemy, overthrown at the point of the
bayonet, attempted in vain to return to the charge; General Husson
and Major Legros repulsed all their attacks. A mistake augmented
their losses. Two of their columns took each other for the enemy, and
engaged accordingly. They recognised their friends by the cries of the
wounded, but more than 300 men were already laid in the dust. On our
side we had a hundred _hors de combat_.

Early the next day the enemy appeared before the houses beyond
Stadtgebieth. Driven back twice, he set fire to them. Although twice
wounded, Captain Basset was unwilling to give them up, but it was
not long before the progress of the flames compelled him; he retired
fighting all the way. The Allies, being masters of the village, pushed
on, without halting, to the level of the Etoile, and took it. The
posts which remained on the descent of the hill were henceforth too
weak, and I called them in. The enemy at last took possession of this
position, but he paid sufficiently dear for a mere embankment of

The farther he advanced towards Langfuhr, the more perilous his
situation became; taken in flank and in rear, thundered on by the
batteries of the Holme, he was soon unable to debouch from the
redoubts he had raised at Kabrun. Confused at having mistaken the
true point of attack, he concentrated his forces, and marched on the
heights of Ohra. He tried every means to get possession of them, and I
neglected none to defend them. I improved, I extended my works. I made
every one contribute his skill and information. Superior officers of
each department of the army, under the presidency of General Granjean,
consulted on the measures which the security of the place required.
They put our provisions and our ammunition out of the reach of the
ravages of fire. They portion out the provisions, and organize the
engine department, and get mills in readiness; so that if the shells
should destroy what we already possessed there were others to supply
their loss. In the mean time the Allies continued their bombardment.
Fire succeeded fire, and threatened to reduce every thing to ashes.
On a sudden the batteries ceased, the firing was suspended. At this
unexpected silence, the inhabitants resumed their courage; they ran,
they fled to the relief of the quarters that were on fire. Poor
people! there was nothing to save from the flames but a few walls; the
place was on the brink of its ruin.

The enemy had only stopped the firing in order to resume it with
greater fury. As soon as his arrangements were made, he opened it with
violence. The batteries of the Etoile, those of Johannisberg, Kabrun,
Schellmule, Langfuhr, fire rounds upon rounds, and overwhelm us with
shells, rockets, and red hot balls. Fires break out, the edifices
are falling to ruins. Dantzic presents the appearance of a volcano
whose eruptions issue forth, disappear, and again shew themselves
in every direction. The two banks of the Mottlaw, the Butter-Marck,
the Poggenful, the Speicher-Insell, all are destroyed. In vain do
the troops run to their assistance, an unintermitting shower of
projectiles triumphs over their efforts, and a loss of several
millions aggravates the misfortunes of this wretched population.

Our forts and our villages were not in a better condition. Ohra in
particular was nothing but a heap of ashes. Five batteries were
blazing against it without intermission; clouds of riflemen, sheltered
by the inequalities of the ground, overwhelmed us with shot, and
impeded the working of our guns. The first entrenchment, almost
annihilated by fire and balls, still held out. Major Schneider
defended it with a degree of valour and prudence which still
promised a long resistance; but it was on the point of being taken
by approaches and I gave it up. I also relinquished the head of
Schidlitz. The enemy had tried some days before to make themselves
masters of it. Three companies had presented themselves before our
posts, but being vigorously charged by Captain Leclerc and Lieutenant
Kowalzky, they were routed, and sought their safety in flight. This
lesson was not thrown away; the Allies returned with more considerable
forces, and established themselves there. A very serious accident
befell us soon after. A shell burst in a magazine of wood, and set
it on fire. Powder is not quicker; in an instant every thing is in
a blaze. The flames, propagated by a strong wind, spread themselves
from point to point, and present a heap of fire which no effort can
extinguish. A sad spectator of so cruel a disaster, I hoped at least
to save the distant buildings. My expectation was still deceived,
and we had the misfortune to see the greatest part of our provisions
consumed before our eyes. Officers and soldiers, all were plunged in
mournful silence, all beheld with amazement this scene of desolation,
when of a sudden a terrible discharge of musquetry is heard. The
enemy were attacking the lines of Frioul, and were getting possession
of them. Captain Chambure flies to their relief. This valiant officer
commanded a chosen troop called the _free company_, or the _enfants
perdus_; he rushes into the redoubt, and cuts the Russians in pieces.
Not a man escapes: those who avoid the bayonet perish under the fire
of the chiefs of the battalion, Clauron and Dybowski. Lieutenant
Conrad gives a proof on this occasion of singular firmness. With a
shoulder fractured by a ball, he throws himself into the thickest
of the fight; Chambure extricates him: “You are wounded,” he said
to him, “this is no longer a place for you, go, and announce to the
general that we are in the redoubt.”—“Captain,” replied the intrepid
lieutenant, “I have still my right-hand, you have only your left,”—and
he continues to fight.

Defeated on the left, our assailants throw themselves on the right,
and drive us back as far as our forts. I did not judge it right to
resume the attack, in a dark night; I waited till the next day. Two
columns, commanded by Generals Breissau and Devilliers, marched at
the same time on Stolzenberg and Schidlitz; the Russians occupied
them in force; but our troops fought with so much zeal—Major Deskur,
the Chiefs of the battalions, Poniatowski, Crikicowski, and Carré,
Captains Fahrebeck, Perrin, Kalisa, and Rousin, led them on with so
much skill and valour, that the Allies were broken, and left the
field of battle heaped with their dead. Unfortunately, our success
was dearly bought: General Breissau, so estimable for his talents
and courage, was dangerously wounded. In vain all the aid of art was
lavished on him; he expired after a month of acute suffering.

Our troops were victorious; but what a spectacle awaited them
within the fortress; rubbish and ruins were the only remains of our
magazines. One alone had escaped the fury of the flames. Indebted for
its preservation to Colonel Cottin, and the second in command of the
staff Marquessac, it had only been secured by dint of their zeal and
perseverance. The chief of squadron Turckheim, who had also given so
many proofs of zeal, and Lieutenant Fleurz, had also succeeded in
saving 4000 quintals of corn: all the rest was in flames; every thing
else had perished. We did not preserve two months' provisions, which
the flames, continually more active, and an unceasing bombardment,
threatened with destruction.

The Russians advanced slowly, but yet they advanced.—They had got
possession of different posts, and marched in mass on Stolzenberg.
Too weak to offer an effectual resistance, our soldiers had evacuated
it. General Husson assembled a few troops, and sounded the charge.
It took place with remarkable impetuosity. Captain Milsent, and
Adjutant-Major Rivel, moved forwards at the head of some of our
bravest soldiers, came up with the enemy and defeated him.

Captain Chambure was preparing a more severe lesson for our
assailants. He embarked in a dark night, deceived the vigilance of
the fleet, and landed opposite to Bohnsack. He surprises the village,
sets fire to the habitations and magazines, slaughters the men and
horses, and returns to his boats. They were no longer on the shore.
The trumpets were sounding, the call to arms was heard; death appeared
inevitable. Nevertheless, he does not lose courage, he calms the
soldiers, throws himself across the enemy's entrenchments, and arrives
safe and sound at the moment it was thought he was destroyed. He soon
begins another march, and proceeds to Brœsen; he falls unexpectedly on
the troops which occupy it, defeats them, and does not retire till he
has burnt their camp. Scarcely has he returned, when he rushes upon
a more perilous enterprise.—He penetrates into the enemy's trenches,
defeats and drives in their posts, and returns to shelter himself
behind our batteries. Lieutenant Jaimebon, seriously wounded at the
beginning of the attack, fought as if he had not been affected by the
pain; it was so acute that the fear alone of discouraging the soldiers
was capable of stifling his groans. He died five days afterwards:
honour be to his memory!

The _free company_ became every day more audacious. Trenches,
palisadoes, were trifling obstacles; it penetrated every where. In
the middle of a dark night, it stole along from tree to tree, the
whole length of the avenue of Langfuhr, without being perceived by the
Russians. On a sudden it leaped into their works, killed some of the
Russians, drove out the others, and pursued them as far as Kabrun.
The brave Surimont, the intrepid Rozay, Payen, Dezeau, Gonipet, and
Francore, threw themselves on the redoubt, and carried it. A hundred
men were put to the sword, the others owed their escape only to flight.

We carried on with our besiegers a war of surprise and bravery; they
combated us by stratagems and proclamations. Their batteries were
unceasing, and our magazines were destroyed. Our troops, wasted
and harassed by labour and want of sleep, had nothing to renew
their strength but a little bread and an ounce of the flesh of our
horses; if we might give that name to the wretched skeletons of
animals, which, rejected by the cavalry and waggon train, had turned
the mill, till being unable to stand any longer they were led to
the slaughter-houses. It was to men so fatigued with fighting and
suffering, that the Russians promised repose and abundance. Every
attempt to decoy them was used. Gold, silver, threats, the anger
of their sovereigns, the voice of their country, were offered and
invoked. The Duke assisted his emissaries;—he wrote, intreated,
protested, assailed officers, and soldiers. Desertion began to
prevail among our foreign troops, they even refused to do any duty.
The Bavarians, the Poles themselves, too well acquainted with our
misfortunes, feared to make a sacrilegious use of their arms, and
remained in a state of inaction. We were reduced to our mere national
troops, that is to say, to less than 6000 men; and we had an extent
of more than two leagues to defend. I resolved to inform the Emperor
of this painful situation. This was not an easy task; all Germany
was in a state of insurrection; the sea was covered with the enemy's
squadrons. But no dangers, no obstacles, deterred Captain Marnier; he
undertook this adventurous expedition, captured a vessel, sailed along
with the English fleet and escaped from it.

The Duke of Wurtemburg attempted to seduce every one. I was not
myself free from his attempts. He exalted his resources, depreciated
mine, spoke of France, of Siberia, and proposed to me to give up
the fortress.—His threats and his offers were addressed to a wrong
quarter: I convinced him of this, and I heard no more of them. More
suitable means were brought into play; the fires were increased,
and the bombardment, continually growing more furious, was kept up
night and day. The town, the Bischfberg, the redoubts of Frioul were
battered to pieces. Supported by so tremendous a fire of artillery,
the Russians expected to carry us by assault. They advanced provided
with hatchets and ladders, and rushed on the Gudin battery. Captain
Razumsky commanded it; he received them with discharges of grape-shot,
and overthrew them. They nevertheless rallied, and attempted an
escalade; but overpowered by a destructive firing, they dispersed
at the sight of Major Deskur, and left their arms and ladders in
the possession of the valiant Captains Zbiewski, and Propocki. They
attempted, with as little success, to make themselves masters of the
Fitzer battery, in the avenue of Langfuhr. Colonel Plessman, Captain
Renouard, and Adjutant Stolling, made a resistance which they could
not overcome: three times they return to the charge, as often are they

The redoubts of Frioul were meanwhile in a deplorable condition;
without parapets and mines, overwhelmed by shell and grape-shot,
they presented no means of defence: I ordered them to be deserted.
The greatest part of the fortifications was still untouched, but our
provisions were approaching to their termination.

The season when the ice appears was arrived. Twenty thousand men would
have been necessary for me to withstand the progress of the besiegers,
to guard the forts, to secure the inundation, and to keep the course
of the water free. The contest was too unequal; to have continued the
defence would merely have been to spill blood for the pleasure of
spilling it.

I conceived I had found a plan which was consistent both with my duty
and with humanity. I calculated the number of days that the remainder
of our provisions would last us; I proposed to suspend hostilities,
and to surrender the fortress at the end of that term, if the course
of affairs did not alter the arrangement. Negotiation began, the
firing ceased. General Houdelet and Colonel Richemont went to the
enemy's camp and concluded a capitulation, in which the power of
returning to France was particularly guaranteed to us. A part of the
articles had been already executed; the Russian prisoners had been
sent back, the forts had been given up, when I learnt that the Emperor
Alexander refused his ratification. The Duke of Wurtemberg offered
me to put things in their former condition. This was a mockery: But
what could we do? We had no more provisions. It was necessary to be
resigned. He managed things as he wished, and we took the road to

Affected by our misfortunes, our allies wished to have suffered them
in common with us. The Poles broke their arms in pieces; the Bavarians
swore never to turn them against us. But duty bids the affections be
silent. It became necessary to separate. General Prince de Radziwill
and Colonel Butler, both so distinguished by their character and by
their achievements, led them back to their country.

Thus ended, after one year's fighting, a defence, in which we had to
encounter every calamity and every obstacle;—a defence, which is not
one of the least proofs of what the courage and patriotism of French
soldiers are able to effect.


We were conducted to Kiow. We were there informed of the prodigies
performed by that handful of brave men who had not despaired of the
safety of their country. They had triumphed at Montmirail, at Sézanne,
at Champaubert, in every part where the enemy had dared to await
them. All Europe fled before them; the coalition was dissolved. The
obstinacy of a soldier snatched from us the fruits of victory. It
became necessary to fight and conquer again; but ammunition failed us;
the corps did not arrive, the generals were haranguing the troops to
make them capitulate. Every thing was lost; our glory, our conquests
vanished as a shadow; even the signs of them were repudiated.

The end of the coalition was attained. Our captivity was no longer
profitable; we were set at liberty. We returned to France: what a
spectacle did she present! The body of emigrants had invaded the army
and the anti-chambers; they were bending under the ensigns of command
and decorations. The first person that I met at the Tuileries was a
chief of a battalion, whom I had formerly assisted and protected: he
was become lieutenant-general; he did not know me again. Another,
who was with me a long time at Dantzic, had not a better memory.
This last person I had received at the recommendation of the Duke
de Cadore, I had experienced his sickening adulations: he used to
style me _Monseigneur_, your _Excellency_; he would willingly have
called me the _Eternal_. In proportion as I told him how much these
fooleries displeased me, he increased them; he even conceived the idea
of attending at my _levee_. If it had depended on him I must have
conceived myself a sovereign. His malversations delivered me from this
obstinate flatterer; they became so glaring that the government was
on the point of proceeding against him. I saved this gentleman from
the shame of punishment; but I made him retire: he went to exercise
his industry at.... He soon became acquainted with our reverses, was
alarmed, took post, and never stopped till he was on this side of the
Rhine: his fear had served him better than courage could have done. He
had large epaulets, and four or five decorations. This was well for
the opening of his career:—promotion does not go on so quickly on
the field of battle. He withdrew as soon as he saw me: apparently his
costume embarrassed him. I met a third, who, also, did not feel quite
at ease in my presence. Formerly attached to Josephine, he had given
proof of a truly exquisite foresight; in order to be provided against
all unforeseen cases which might occur in promenades and journeys, he
had provided himself with a silver gilt vessel. When a circumstance
required it, he drew it from his pocket, presented it, took it,
emptied it, wiped it, and put it away with care. This shewed the very
instinct of domesticity.

But all these worthies, so ardent for the treasury, for decorations
and commands, soon shewed the amount of their courage. Napoleon
appeared, they were eclipsed. They had flocked to Louis XVIII., the
dispenser of favours; but they had not a trigger to pull for Louis
XVIII. in misfortune. We tried a few dispositions; but the people, the
soldiers had never been accomplices of the humiliations of France;
they refused to fight against the colours that they adored, and the
Emperor peaceably resumed the reins of government.

Generals Bertrand and Lemarrois wrote to me to come to the Tuileries;
I returned to Paris. A new invitation was waiting for me at my hotel;
the grand-marshal informed me that his Majesty wished to see me. I
did not like to keep him waiting; I went just as I was, quite sure
that Napoleon would know how to appreciate duty and affection. I was
introduced immediately.

_Napoleon._ “You are there, Monsieur General Rapp; you have been much
wanted? Whence do you come?”

_Rapp._ “From Ecouen, where I have left my troops at the disposal of
the minister of war.”

_Napoleon._ “Did you really intend to fight against me?”

_Rapp._ “Yes, Sire.”

_Napoleon._ “The Devil!”

_Rapp._ “The determination was compulsory.”

_Napoleon._ (In an animated tone.) “F....! I was very well aware that
you were before me. If an engagement had taken place, I would have
sought you out on the field of battle: I would have shewn you the head
of Medusa: Would you have dared to fire at me?”

_Rapp._ “Undoubtedly,—my duty ...”

_Napoleon._ “This is going too far. But the soldiers would not have
obeyed you; they have preserved more affection for me. Besides, if you
had fired a single shot, your peasants of Alsace would have stoned

_Rapp._ “You will agree, Sire, that the situation was a very painful
one: you abdicate, you leave us, you engage us to serve the King; you
return. All the power of old recollections cannot deceive us.”

_Napoleon._ “How is that? What do you mean to say? Do you think that I
have returned without alliance, without an agreement?... Moreover, my
system is changed: no more war, no more conquests; I wish to reign in
peace, and promote the welfare of my subjects.”

_Rapp._ “You are pleased to say so; but your anti-chambers are already
full of those flatterers who have always encouraged your inclination
for arms.”

_Napoleon._ “Bah! bah!... Did you often go to the Tuileries?”

_Rapp._ “Sometimes, Sire.”

_Napoleon._ “How did those folks behave to you?”

_Rapp._ “I have no reason to complain of them.”

_Napoleon._ “The King appears to have received you well on your return
from Russia?”

_Rapp._ “Quite so, Sire.”

_Napoleon._ “Without doubt. Cajoled first, then sent about your
business. This is what would have befallen you all;—for, after all,
you were not their men; you could not suit them: other titles, other
rights were necessary to please them.”

_Rapp._ “The King delivered France from the Allies.”

_Napoleon._ “Very true; but at what price! and his engagements, has he
kept them? Why did he not hang Ferrand for his speech on the national
domains? It is that, it is the insolence of the nobles and priests
which made me leave the island of Elba. I might have come with three
millions of peasants who ran to me to tell their grievances, and offer
their services. But I was certain of not finding resistance in my
way to Paris. The Bourbons are very fortunate that I have returned:
without me they would at last have had a dreadful revolution.

“Have you read Chateaubriand's pamphlet, which does not even allow me
courage on the field of battle? Have you not sometimes seen me stand
fire? Am I a coward?”

_Rapp._ “I have felt, in common with all honourable men, indignation
at an accusation as unjust as it is mean.”

_Napoleon._ “Did you sometimes see the Duke d'Orleans?”

_Rapp._ “I only saw him once.”

_Napoleon._ “He is the only one who has discretion and tact! The
others have bad men about them and are very ill-advised. They do not
like me; they will now be more furious than ever; there is good reason
for it. I am arrived without striking a blow. They are now about to
cry me down as _ambitious_; that is their eternal reproach: they have
nothing else to say.”

_Rapp._ “They are not the only persons who accuse you of ambition.”

_Napoleon._ “How ... am I ambitious? When people are ambitious are
they as fat as I am?” (He struck his stomach with both hands).

_Rapp._ “Your Majesty jokes.”

_Napoleon._ “No: I have wished that France should be what she ought
to be; but I have never been ambitious. Besides, what do these folks
think of? It becomes them well to assume importance with the nation
and the army. Is it their courage on which they pride themselves?”

_Rapp._ “They have occasionally shewn some—in the army of Condé for

_Napoleon._ “What is that order that I see on you?”

_Rapp._ “The Legion of Honour.”

_Napoleon._ “The Devil! They have had, however, the sense to make a
handsome decoration of it. And these two crosses here?” (He touched

_Rapp._ “Saint Louis and the Lily.” (He smiled).

_Napoleon._ “What do you think of that ... Berthier, who did not
like to remain. He will return; I forgive him all; on one condition
however—it is, that he will wear his _garde du corps_ uniform to
appear before me. But enough of this. Well, General Rapp, we must
serve France once more, and we shall rescue ourselves from the
condition in which we are.”

_Rapp._ “Confess, Sire, (since you have had the goodness sometimes to
permit me to speak to you freely), confess that you were wrong in not
making peace at Dresden? every thing was repaired if you had concluded
it. Do you recollect my reports on the spirit of Germany? you treated
them as pamphlets; you blamed me.”

_Napoleon._ “I could not make peace at Dresden; the Allies were not
sincere. Besides, if every one had done his duty at the renewal of
hostilities, I should again have been the master of the world. I had
already gained to my side 32,000 Austrians.”

_Rapp._ “It is only a moment since your Majesty had no ambition, and
now we hear again of the sovereignty of the world.”

_Napoleon._ “Ah! well, that's true.—Besides, Marmont, the senators....
My plan was arranged so as not to let a single ally escape.”

_Rapp._ “All these misfortunes are the consequence of the reverses at
Leipsic: you might have prevented them by accepting peace at Dresden.”

_Napoleon._ “You are ignorant what such a peace would have been:” (and
suddenly growing warm,) “Would you be afraid to go to war again; you,
who have been my aide-de-camp for fifteen years? On your return from
Egypt, at the death of Desaix, you were nothing but a soldier; I have
made a man of you: now you may pretend to any thing.”

_Rapp._ “I have never let slip any opportunity of shewing my gratitude
to you for it; and if I am yet alive, it is not my fault.”

_Napoleon._ “I shall never forget your conduct in the retreat from
Moscow. Ney and you are of that small number who have the soul
thoroughly well tempered. Besides, at your siege of Dantzic you did
more than impossibilities.”

Napoleon fell on my neck and pressed me with vehemence against him for
at least two minutes, He embraced me several times, and said to me,
pulling my mustachios—

“Come, come, a hero of Egypt and Austerlitz can never forsake me.
You shall take the command of the army of the Rhine, while I treat
with the Austrians and Russians. I hope that, in a month's time, you
will receive my wife and son at Strasburg. It is my pleasure that from
this evening you perform the duty of my _aide-de-camp_. Write to Count
Maison to come to embrace me; he is a brave man, I wish to see him.”

Napoleon related a part of this conversation to some persons about
him. He told them that I had spoken to him with too great liberty,
and that he had pulled my ears. Fortune smiled on him. The courtiers
came round him in multitudes:—it was enthusiasm, devotion: they boiled
with zeal. These protestations had not, however, all the effect they
had promised themselves. Many were rejected; one particularly, who
persisted in obtruding his services, was repulsed with severity.
Loaded with favours, gold, and dignities, he had overwhelmed his
unfortunate benefactor with insults; he was treated with loathing
and contempt. These gentlemen boast at present of an incorruptible
fidelity. They find fault with the indulgence of the King in the
saloons of the Faubourg Saint-Germain. They would like to see all
those who were employed during the hundred days led to the scaffold.
Chance has served them, appearances are for them; let it be so:
but the generals, the ministers of Napoleon, the officers attached
to his person, know full well what to think of these stoics of
the ante-chamber. Sooner or later the royal government will be
enlightened: there is wherewithal to supply the place of the red book.

Napoleon sent for me on the 29th of March, and informed me that I
must set out for the army of the Rhine. He gave me the grand eagle
of the Legion of Honour, which he had destined for me after the
siege of Dantzic. He told me that within fifteen days my forces
should be raised to 40,000 men, (I had 15,000 at the commencement
of hostilities); I observed to him that this was very little in
comparison with those that we were going to have on our hands; that
the Congress (its declaration was already known) threatened us with
a deluge of soldiers. “The declaration you allude to is false,” he
replied angrily; “it was fabricated at Paris: however, go. Lecourbe
will command in Franche Comté; Suchet in the Alps; Clausel on the
Garonne. We have great chance of success. Gerard goes to Metz: he has
just tormented me to give him that Bourmont, I yielded to him with
regret: I never liked that man's countenance.”

“The propositions I have made to the Sovereigns have been coldly
received. Nevertheless all hopes of arrangement are not destroyed.
It is possible that the energy with which opinion is pronounced,
may incline them to sentiments of peace. I am going to make another
attempt. This is the letter that I write to them:

     “Sir, my Brother.

     “You will have learnt in the course of the last month, my return
     to the coasts of France, my entry into Paris, and the departure
     of the family of the Bourbons. The true nature of these events
     must already be known to your Majesty. They are the work of an
     irresistible power, the work of the unanimous wish of a great
     nation which knows its duties, and its rights. The dynasty, which
     force restored to the French people, was not made for them. The
     Bourbons have not consented to link themselves either to their
     opinions or their manners. France had a right to separate herself
     from them. Her voice called for a liberator. The hope which
     prompted me on to the greatest of sacrifices had been deceived.
     I came, and from the point at which I reached the shore, the
     love of my people has borne me even to the bosom of my capital.
     The first wish of my heart is to repay so much kindness by the
     maintenance of an honourable peace. The reestablishment of the
     Imperial Throne was necessary for the happiness of the French:
     my most earnest wish is to render it, at the same time, useful
     to the consolidation of the repose of Europe. Enough glory has
     shone by turns around the colours of different nations; the
     vicissitudes of fortune have often enough made great calamities
     follow great successes. A finer arena is open to-day to
     Sovereigns, and I am the first to descend into it: after having
     presented to the world the spectacle of great combats, it will
     be more pleasant henceforth to know no other rivalry than that
     of the advantages of peace; and no other struggle than the holy
     contest, whose people shall be most happy. France hastens to
     proclaim with frankness this noble end of her wishes. Jealous
     of her own independence, the invariable principle of her policy
     will be the most unbounded respect for the independence of other
     nations. If, happily, such are, as I trust they are, the personal
     sentiments of your Majesty, a general calm is secured for a long
     time, and justice seated on the confines of the different states,
     will suffice alone to guard their frontiers.

                                        “I am with esteem, &c.”

But all overtures were useless. He was above human stature; he secured
the supremacy of France; this was the grievance which nothing could
counterbalance; I was convinced of it. His destruction was resolved on.

I set out for Alsace: the hostile attitude of foreign courts had
excited general indignation in that province: all generous minds,
all who abhor a foreign yoke, were preparing themselves to repulse
this league of kings, who, under pretext of fighting with one man,
only sought to enrich themselves with our spoils. The inhabitants,
by concert and by a spontaneous movement, had rushed to the heights
which command the defiles, to the roads or passages, and laboured
at the construction of entrenchments; women and children put their
hands to the work. They diverted and animated each other, by singing
patriotic songs. There was between all the citizens a rivalry in
zeal and devotion; some raised redoubts, others cast balls, mounted
old muskets, and fitted the cartouches. In fine, every hand was in
movement, every one wished to labour in the common defence.

An affecting scene, and worthy of ancient times, took place at
Mulhausen, when I arrived there. A ball was given, the most
distinguished persons of the town were met, the assembly was
brilliant and numerous. Towards the close of the evening, war and
invasion of the territory were talked of; every one communicated his
advice, every one told his hopes and his fears.

The ladies were talking together, and conversed on the dangers of
their country. On a sudden one of the youngest proposed to her
companions that they should swear, never to marry any Frenchman who
had not defended the frontiers. Cries of joy, clapping of hands,
resounded from every part of the room. The looks of all present were
directed towards the ladies; the rest of the company came up, and
crowded round them. I went with the throng, I applauded this generous
proposal, I had the honour of administering the oath, which every one
of the fair patriots came to receive at my hands.

This trait recalls the marriage of the Samnites, but it has something
perhaps still more admirable in it: that which was an institution
among the people in question, was with us the effect of a spontaneous
resolution; with them patriotism was in the law, with us it was in the
hearts of our fair countrywomen.


All this zeal however did not fill up my ranks; the time was passing
away, and the recruits did not come in. The allies formed themselves
in corps on the left bank of the river; they could cross at any time;
my situation was become very critical. I communicated to the Emperor
the accounts of my number and situation. He could not conceal his
surprise. “So few men! Alsace, the patriotism of which is so ardent!
No matter—victory will soon raise battalions. There is nothing to
despair of; war has its chances, we shall get through it!”—Napoleon
had ordered me, four days before, not to leave a single soldier of
the line in the fortified places; to take from the depôts all who
were in a condition to serve; to inundate and make good the lines of
Weissembourg, and to keep up carefully my communications with Bitche.
I was engaged in these measures; but he found that I did not proceed
with sufficient celerity; he wrote to me.

     “Monsieur General Rapp,

     “I have received your letter of the 12th of May; I see by the
     statement you have annexed, that the 18th regiment of the line,
     of which your army has two battalions, 1200 men strong, can
     furnish you with a third battalion, of 600 men; order it to set
     off immediately from Strasburg to join you. The 32d can only
     supply a reinforcement of 200 men to your active battalions,
     which will raise them to 1200 men. The 39th and 55th can furnish
     you their third battalions; order them to join you. The 58th can
     furnish you with 200 men, to make its two battalions complete.
     The 103d can complete its two first battalions to 1200 men; the
     104th the same. The 7th light regiment can furnish you with its
     third battalion; in the same manner the 10th light regiment. You
     can then, with a little activity, reinforce your infantry with
     4000 men. I am surprised that there has not been more voluntary
     enlistment in Alsace for these regiments. The 39th of the line
     is recruited in the Upper Rhine; that department ought at least
     to have furnished 2000 veteran troops, which, divided between
     the 39th, 32d, and 18th, ought to raise the third, and even the
     fourth battalions, to their full numbers. The 10th light, which
     is recruiting in Upper Saône, ought to receive many recruits. The
     57th, which is recruiting in the Doubs, ought also to receive
     a great number. The 7th light, the 58th, and the 104th, which
     recruit in the Lower Rhine, ought to be complete. Inform me
     for what reason all the men that you have at your depôts, are
     not immediately clothed, and do not fill up your ranks. Let me
     also know what men are announced for these regiments, from the
     different departments. Do you expect that by the 1st of June your
     third battalions will be complete, and that each regiment will
     amount to 1800 men, which will make 7000 men for each of your
     divisions? Are you satisfied with the generals of division, and
     of brigade, under your command? What will be the condition of
     the 2d chasseurs, the 7th and 19th dragoons, all of which have
     their depôts in your division, by the 1st of June? These three
     regiments had at their depôt 400 men, and 300 horses: they must
     have received an increase since. By the 1st of June, with active
     measures, this division ought to have 1500 horse. The third
     division has also all its depôts in your arrondissement: it has
     1200 men at its depôt; it ought, then, to furnish you with 2000

     “Paris, May 14th 1815.”      “NAPOLEON.”

I immediately replied to the questions which he had put to me; I
explained to him the deplorable state into which the army had fallen:
arms, horses, clothing, it was necessary to have every thing renewed.
I could not have more than 22,000 men at my disposal by the 1st of
June. The picture was not brilliant, but the Emperor made so admirable
an use of his resources, that we were never justified in despairing.
He put fresh funds at my disposal; he stimulated my zeal, begged me
to neglect nothing to increase my forces, and to reconnoitre all the
defiles. His despatch deserves to be known.


     “I received your letter of the 18th of May. I have allotted
     13,000,000 francs for clothing in the distribution of May. Orders
     for considerable sums have been sent to each corps of your army:
     be assured that they will be paid. I cannot reconcile to my mind
     that you will not be able to have at your disposal by the 1st
     of June more than 22,000 men, when the force at the depôts is
     4000 men. Send for the third battalion of the 18th regiment, the
     third of the 39th, the third of the 57th, the third of the 7th
     light, the fourth of the 10th light, which will raise you one
     regiment of four battalions, four of three battalions, and four
     of two battalions, or twenty-four battalions in all. Hasten the
     clothing; money is in the course of being transmitted to you, and
     will not be wanting. The enumeration of your cavalry, which you
     have sent me, is not correct. How is it that the 6th cuirassiers
     has only its third and fourth squadrons at the depôt? What is
     then become of its fifth squadron? The same observation for the
     19th dragoons. You have 1787 men, and only 427 horses; but you
     do not inform me how many men there are in detachment to take
     the horses of the gendarmes, how many there are to be remounted
     at the depôt of Versailles, how many horses the regiment is
     to receive from the contracts it has made, or how many the
     departments are to furnish. If you are sufficiently active, you
     ought soon to have 1500 or 1600 of these 1700 men mounted, which,
     joined to those now composing the squadrons, will increase your
     cavalry to near 4000 men. You look at these matters too lightly;
     remove the obstacles by your own exertions; see the depôts,
     and augment your army. Keep spies on the look out to know what
     is passing on the other side of the Rhine, and principally at
     Mentz and Thionville; and make yourself acquainted with all the
     openings of the Vosges.

     “Paris, May 20th 1815.”


I went to occupy the lines of the Lauter. Twenty-three years before we
had defended them; but then they were in a good condition, the left
bank of the river was protected; we had 80,000 fighting men, a corps
of reserve, and the army of the Upper Rhine assisted us. Nothing of
that sort existed now. The lines were merely a heap of ruins: the
banks and the sluices, which formed their principal strength, were
nearly destroyed, and the places which supported them were neither
armed nor even secure against a _coup de main_. We scarcely reckoned
15,000 infantry, which were divided into three divisions, under the
orders of Generals Rottembourg, Albert, and Grandjean. Two thousand
horse, under Count Merlin, composed all our cavalry. From Weissemburg
as far as Huninguen on one side, and to Belgium on the other, the
frontiers were completely unprotected. In this state of things
Germesheim became an important position; defended by a considerable
garrison, and twenty-four pieces of cannon, it could not be carried
but by main force. I despaired not of success, and I made, as soon as
the news of hostilities reached me, a general reconnoissance, in which
I got possession of Haun, of Auwailler, and of all the villages of
the Queich. The chief of squadron Turckheim took at a gallop that of
Gottenstein, and the Bavarian detachments which occupied it.

On the 21st, towards midnight, all the arrangements were made, and the
columns of attack were already in march, when news of the disaster
of Waterloo was announced. The columns were immediately recalled. I
well knew that the enemy would lose no time in crossing the river;
I hastened to take the administrative measures that circumstances
required, and to put in a state of defence the fortresses which were
under my command. I threw a battalion of the line into Landau, whither
I ordered the treasuries of the country to be removed. But already,
as I had foreseen, the troops of the coalition had passed the Rhine
at Oppenheim and at Germesheim, and had spread themselves in every
direction; our soldiers were obliged to fight their way in order to
arrive at their destination. We retreated behind the Lauter; and the
rumour of the invasion of the Upper Rhine by the Grand Army under
the command of Schwartzenberg having reached me at the same time, I
despatched, post haste, two battalions to reinforce the garrisons of
Neuf Brisack and of Schelestadt.

The Russians, Austrians, Bavarians, Wurtemburgers, Badeners, and
a multitude from other nations, assembled to the number of more
than 60,000 men, under the orders of the Prince-Royal, now King of
Wurtemburg, soon outfronted the feeble corps under my command.

I had first determined to defend Alsace foot by foot, retiring
towards the Vosges, the Meurthe, the Moselle and the Marne: but I
learnt that the army of the Moselle, which supported me on my left,
had marched towards the north; that the enemy's columns already
occupied Sarrebruck, and inundated Lorraine: this movement then was
no longer practicable. On the other hand, a hasty decision, in such
an unexpected juncture, might be attended with the most serious
consequences. I temporized, in hopes of receiving orders to regulate
my movements. But after the despatch which informed me of our
misfortunes, I did not receive another till the entry of Louis XVIII
into Paris.

In the evening of the 24th the Wurtemburg cavalry attacked my advanced
posts, the chasseurs of the 7th and the dragoons of the 11th took
arms, rushed on the enemy, and cut them in pieces. The next day the
army continued its movement of concentration; I fixed my quarters in
advance of the forest of Haguenau, the right of the army at Seltz, the
centre at Surbourg, and the left, being my cavalry, on the road to
Bitche, which the enemy had already invested.

This position was only a temporary one—it was too extended: I
only took it to avoid retiring suddenly behind the town, and thus
allowing the enemy to penetrate between that place and Saverne, which
Lieutenant-general Desbureaux occupied with a battalion of the line,
some partisans, and a few lancers.

General Rottembourg was intrusted with the task of observing the
Rhine on our rear and on the right.—I had only been able to allow him
a brigade, which I had left at Seltz; out of this I was obliged to
withdraw the 40th regiment the moment the Austrians appeared. There
only remained with him the 39th, whose second battalion formed the
advanced posts, and the reserve. The first, a company of sappers and
eight pieces of cannon, composed the line of battle for more than
half a league of ground. The situation, without being bad in itself,
had nothing particularly encouraging in it. The small town of Seltz,
supported on the Rhine, is situated on the two banks of the Seltzbach.
This river is pretty secure for about 400 yards, but farther up it is
fordable every where, and the woods on its banks render the passage of
it still more easy. On the other hand, I feared a landing which the
enemy could easily effect behind the right, and to which I could make
but a feeble opposition, whilst all my attention was wanted to the
front, which, as I have said, extended to a great distance.

In this alternative General Rottembourg decided on keeping a watch
on the Rhine only by means of patroles, and he sent a company to
guard the fords from the mill at Seltz to Nideradern. He placed his
artillery on a small eminence on the right bank, to the left of the
town; and what remained of his soldiers he sent forward to support the
second battalion, which occupied the advanced posts and the wood.

At eleven o'clock the enemy, having assembled his masses, commenced
the attack by a well-sustained fire of musquetry, which he supported
with eight pieces of cannon. The opposition of our troops was
obstinate, and for a long time was effectual, but at last this small
advanced post was compelled to retreat into the wood. It maintained
itself there with heroic courage, and resisted for a long time the
efforts of from 8 to 9000 men, aided by a numerous artillery. In
fine, after a few hours of the finest resistance, this handful of
valiant troops retreated in the greatest order, and rejoined the first

Emboldened by this success our adversaries brought down their masses.
They debouched by the main road, and marched on Seltz, of which they
thought to get possession without difficulty. We allowed them to come
up under the fire of our batteries; as soon as they could play, a
tremendous discharge carried death into their ranks. Encouraged by
their numbers, they nevertheless continued to advance, and the combat
recommenced with more vigour than before. But, constantly repelled by
the valour of our soldiers, and mowed down by the French artillery,
the Austrians in the end gave way, and retired in confusion into
the wood. Their movements from that time became uncertain, and they
hesitated a long time what they should do. Our cannon continued to
carry destruction into their ranks. Attack was not more dangerous than
inaction; they again advanced, and succeeded in getting possession
of the part of the town situated on the left bank. But this triumph
cost them dear: a few shells, thrown on the houses of which they
were in possession, compelled them to leave them, and to regain, in a
great hurry, their first place of shelter: our batteries fired with
increased fury, and the fugitives suffered an immense loss.

This was not the only attack in which they failed. At the commencement
of the action they had advanced by the main road from Weissembourg
to Haguenau on Surbourg, which was occupied by a battalion of the
18th, under the command of Colonel Voyrol. This village was valiantly
defended: for more than two hours the enemy could not penetrate into
it; but they at last brought up forces so considerable, that under the
apprehension of seeing the position turned, General Albert ordered it
to be evacuated. Our soldiers withdrew behind the Saare, where they
joined the remainder of the regiment. Attacked in this position by
some chosen troops of the Austrian army, they remained immoveable.
Wearied with so many fruitless attacks, and convinced that they could
not succeed in forcing men who appeared determined to die at their
post, nor in getting possession of the avenues of the forest, the
Allies at last decided on retreating.

We had three hundred men killed and wounded. The Austrians, by
their own account, had lost 2000 men, and had two pieces of cannon

Our troops had scarcely taken a few hours rest, when I was obliged to
put them again on their march. The Allied army of the Upper Rhine was
advancing on Strasburg; I had received this news during the action. I
had not a moment to lose: I marched immediately towards that place,
and the result has shewn whether this measure was proper.


It was during this retreat that the soldiers heard of the disastrous
battle of Waterloo, and the Emperor's abdication, which, to that
moment, I had carefully concealed from them. These events produced an
universal discouragement, and desertion soon found its way among them.
Fatal projects entered the minds even of those who were least carried
away by passion. Excited by malevolence, some wished to return to
their homes; others proposed to throw themselves as partisans into the

I was immediately informed of these intentions. I directly foresaw
what terrible consequences they might produce. I issued an order
of the day; it succeeded; their minds were tranquillized, but it
was not long before anxiety revived. When we reached Haguenau, the
... regiment, formerly so illustrious, loudly proclaimed the design
of quitting the army, and of repairing with its artillery into the
mountains. The cannon were already harnessed, and one battalion had
taken up its arms. I was informed of it; I rushed to the spot; I took
in my hand the eagle of the rebels, and placing myself in the midst of
them, “Soldiers,” I cried, “I learn that it is proposed among you to
desert us. In an hour's time we shall fight; do you wish the Austrians
to think that you have fled from the field of honour? Let the brave
swear never to quit their eagles or their general-in-chief. I grant
permission to the cowards to depart.” At these words, all exclaimed,
“Long live Rapp! long live our general!” Every one swore to die by his
standard, and tranquillity was restored.

We immediately began our march, and reached the Souffel, two leagues
in advance of Strasburg. The fifteenth division had its right on the
river Ill, its centre at Hoenheim, its left at Souffelweyersheim, and
extended to the road from Brumpt; the sixteenth occupied Lampertheim,
Mundolsheim, the three villages of Hausbergen, with its left resting
on the road from Saverne: lastly, the seventeenth was in columns on
the road from Molsheim, with two regiments of cavalry; two others
were placed in the rear of the fifteenth division at Bischeim. Such
was the situation of our troops on the morning of the 28th, when the
enemy attacked with impetuosity the village of Lampertheim, which was
occupied by a battalion of the 10th, under the command of General
Beurmann. This battalion alone sustained for a long time the attacks
of 8000 infantry, and the continued firing of six pieces of cannon.
However, as the number of the assailants was continually increasing,
it withdrew behind the river, and, conformably to its orders,
stationed itself at Mundolsheim.

The enemy's columns, from 40 to 50,000 men strong, advanced
immediately by the roads from Brumpt and Bishweiller. All these
arrangements, and the masses of cavalry which covered the first
of these roads, announced that their project was to separate the
divisions of Generals Rottembourg and Albert, in order to overwhelm
the latter. I did not mistake the design of the Allies, but I had not
the power of uniting my troops, which had deployed in an immense
plain, and were already engaged throughout the whole line. There only
remained one expedient; I adopted it immediately, fortunately it was a
most fatal one for the enemy. I closed the 10th regiment into columns,
in the very midst of the firing; I ordered the 32d to advance; and
I moved it _en echelon_ after having formed it into a square. The
rest of the division of Albert remained in reserve on the height of

Defending the ground foot by foot, General Rottembourg changed
the front of his division, throwing his left wing into the rear,
and proceeded to cover the villages of Hoenheim, Bischeim and
Schittigheim, threatening the flank of the troops which were engaged
between these two divisions. This was according to his orders.

The 103d was placed on the road from Brumpt, and the 36th left
Souffelweyersheim to support it; but scarcely had it begun to march
when the Allies attacked the village. I immediately despatched a
company to defend this important position. Our soldiers advanced to
it, running, but our adversaries had taken possession of it before
they could arrive. Captain Chauvin supported with extraordinary
courage the fire of a cloud of sharpshooters, and thus gave time for
General Fririon to come up. This officer left a battalion and four
pieces of cannon to cover the road, and advanced in charging time with
the rest of his forces. General Gudin seconded this movement, and
manœuvred on the road from Bischweiller: the Austrians gave way, and
withdrew; but the reinforcements which they every moment received left
our troops no chance of maintaining their position. On the other hand,
the assailants had outflanked the 10th, and the moment had arrived
for effecting the movement which I had ordered. Consequently the 16th
division wheeled back its left wing perpendicularly to the rear, while
it preserved the head of Hoenheim, from whence our artillery raked
the enemy in flank and rear. At the same time the gallant General
Beurmann, attacked on every side and already surrounded, sallied
forth from Mundolsheim at the head of the 10th, and retreated without
disorder towards the division.

The Austrians on their side advanced on the road from Brumpt with
enormous masses of cavalry and infantry, supported by a formidable
artillery. They penetrated between the two divisions, and arrived
without obstacle on four pieces of cannon which had been continually
pouring discharges of grape-shot on their columns. They were
taken; but the enemy presented his flank to the troops of General
Rottembourg, and to two regiments of cavalry which were on his front.
I took advantage of this circumstance: put myself at the head of the
11th dragoons, and the 7th horse chasseurs. I made a rapid charge:
I routed the first line, penetrated the second, and overthrew every
thing that offered me any resistance. We made a dreadful slaughter of
the Austrian and Wurtemburg cavalry. At the same time the 32d came up
at the charge in close columns, and prevented them from rallying. They
were thrown back on their own infantry, whom they put to flight.

General Rottembourg, on his side, pushed forward his right wing, and
opened on the enemy, who defiled in confusion before his columns,
a most destructive fire of artillery and musquetry; in an instant
the field of battle is covered with the slain, and the immense army
of the Prince of Wurtemburg is routed. The defeat was so complete
that baggage, which was two leagues in the rear, was attacked and
plundered, and the Prince himself lost his equipages. The confusion
extended itself as far as Haguenau, and would have gone still farther
if 30,000 Russians, who came up from Weissembourg, had not by their
presence encouraged the fugitives. The night which came on, and the
risk that there would have been in adventuring against forces so
superior to our own, prevented us from profiting by our successes. We
could not retake our artillery, the enemy had made haste to remove it
to his rear.

It cost him very dear to keep it. He had from 1500 to 2000 men killed,
and a still more considerable number wounded. On our side there were
about 700 killed and wounded. Of this number were two Captains of
light artillery, Favier and Dandlau, both wounded in defending their
cannon, and Colonel Montagnier, who performed such signal service on
this occasion.

The enemy's General revenged himself for this defeat by
devastation. The day after the battle he set on fire the village
of Souffelweyersheim, under pretext that the peasants had fired on
his troops. This was not the fact, and the name of the Prince of
Wurtemburg will remain for ever sullied by an action which plunged a
multitude of families into misery.

Whether the vigour with which we had repulsed all their attacks had
given them a distaste for making new ones, or from some other motive,
our adversaries remained some days without undertaking any thing. I
took advantage of this repose to provision Strasburg, and to fortify
myself in my positions. I also had time to give to all commanders of
places, who were under my command, the most precise instructions.

Meantime the allied army continued to increase; fresh corps arrived
every day to swell its numbers: very soon 70,000 men deployed before
us, and pressed us on every side. Flags of truce came one after the
other, without having any marked object in view. I proposed to the
enemy's General a suspension of arms, during which I might send an
officer to Paris, and receive orders from the government. The Prince
of Wurtemburg refused, without however renouncing the system of
communication that he had adopted.

It was about this time that he sent for the pastor of Wendenheim, a
respectable man and an excellent patriot. “Are you acquainted,” he
said to him, “with General Rapp?”—“Yes, my Lord.”—“Will you undertake
a mission to him?”—“Assuredly, if its object is in no respect contrary
to the interests of my country.”—“Well then, go, and tell him that
if he will deliver up Strasburg to me for the King of France, wealth
and honours shall be showered on him.”—“My Lord, General Rapp is an
Alsacian, and consequently a good Frenchman; never will he consent to
dishonour his military career. I consequently beseech your Highness
to entrust some one else with this message.” At these words the
venerable pastor bowed and departed, leaving the Prince astonished
and confused at having proposed in vain this piece of meanness.
Nevertheless, his Highness was not discouraged. On the 3d of June, he
despatched General Vacquant to me, with a flag of truce, to demand
of me in the name of the King of France the surrender of Strasburg.
In order to inspire more confidence, the Austrian officer wore an
enormous white ribband and the decoration of the lily. I asked him
whether he came from the King; he replied that he did not. “Well
then,” I said to him, “I will not give up the place till my soldiers
shall have eaten the thighs of Austrians, as those I had at Dantzic
ate those of Russians.” Importuned by the insignificant communications
which the commander of the allied forces was every day sending me, I
endeavoured to penetrate into his motives. With this object a general
_reconnoissance_ was made on the 6th on the Austrian positions.
Our soldiers took some posts of cavalry, cut others to pieces, and
returned to the camp, after having made all the enemy's army get under

Having heard, two days after, a heavy cannonade in the direction of
Phalzburg, I resolved to make a second reconnoissance, as well to make
myself precisely acquainted with the forces that I had before me,
as to hinder the Prince of Wurtemburg from detaching troops against
that place. Albert's division and the cavalry marched against the
entrenched camp, which the Austrians had formed all the way from the
strong position of Oberhausbergen to Hiderhausbergen. The attack
commenced at three o'clock in the morning: it was impetuous, and
crowned with the most complete success. The enemy's cavalry were
repulsed and put to flight by the brigade of General Grouvel; the
principal villages were taken at the point of the bayonet, and the
entrenchments carried by force. Several officers were taken in their
beds, and others at the very moment they were rushing to arms. Some
generals escaped in their shirts, and owed their safety only to the
darkness which protected them.

The 10th light infantry, commanded by the gallant Colonel Cretté,
displayed in this affair the same valour as at the battle of the 28th.
The 18th, under the orders of Colonel Voyrol, one of the most intrepid
officers in the French army, made itself master of the village of
Mittelhausbergen, where he withstood for a long time numerous forces,
and incessant attacks on every point.

The signal for retreat having been given, General Albert ordered the
57th to form in _echelon_ towards the attack on the right, and the
32d towards that on the left. We retired in the best order. The
enemy endeavoured to disturb us; he attacked our troops. The 57th
received him without wavering, and opened a fire at musquet-length
which disorganized his columns. Twice the allied cavalry returned to
the charge, twice was it repulsed with loss. General Laroche, who led
it on, was wounded, and fell under the feet of the horses; he would
have perished if the French had not come to his assistance. “Friends,”
cried he, “I once served in your ranks, save me.” He was immediately
taken up, and restored to his own men. A troop of cuirassiers had
nearly surprised the 18th in its retrograde movement, but the chief
of the staff, Colonel Schneider, having skilfully opposed to it
a battalion that he had by him, broke their shock, and saved the
regiment from an inevitable defeat.

The Allies, convinced that they could not succeed in cutting us off,
left us peaceably to continue our march. Our troops returned to their
camp, after having accurately ascertained the immense superiority of
the forces that they had to contend with. Both parties entered into
cantonments. A military convention was signed a few days afterwards,
and hostilities ceased throughout all Alsace.


Inactivity soon engendered sedition. Other armies, other corps, which
had not the excuse of being misled by a political combination, had
trampled under foot military discipline. Is it strange that, in the
midst of the general effervescence, my soldiers should for a moment
have forgotten themselves? this episode is painful to me. I ought
neither to write it, nor omit it. I can well bear the blame which
Joubert, Massena, and so many other Generals, whom I do not pretend
to equal, have incurred. The following are the terms in which this
act of disobedience is related by an anonymous writer:—he has not
thought proper to tell every thing, but it is my own conduct that is
concerned; I must imitate his reserve. I submit, moreover, to the
judgment which he has delivered.

“The Austrians, despairing of ever getting possession of Strasburg by
force of arms, endeavoured to form an understanding with a party in
the town. They succeeded by their sagacity in the application of the
two means which act the most powerfully on the heart of men—gold and
terror. They decoyed some by the attraction of riches, they subdued
others by making them dread the vengeance of the government. When they
were in this manner assured of all those whom they thought open to
seduction, they hastened to execute their perfidious designs.

“From the commencement of the campaign our soldiers had been in a
state of irritation, well calculated to promote the secret views
of the enemy: they were acquainted with the disastrous affair of
Waterloo, they knew all the details of it; but they had too much
confidence in the skill of that celebrated man, with whom they had
five times triumphed over all Europe—they had too often seen him, by
sudden inspirations, regain his hold of victory when she was escaping
from him, to believe that his military genius had on the sudden
abandoned him; they were perpetually thinking of this disaster, and
they could never think of it without rage. Persuaded as they were
that our troops had continued the same, and that they had to do with
the same enemies, such a defeat appeared to them inconceivable. Not
knowing the true cause of it, they attributed all our misfortunes to
treason. Traitors had given intelligence of our plans; traitors had
commanded false manœuvres, traitors had raised the cry of _sauve qui
peut!_ There were traitors among the generals, among the officers,
among the soldiers; and who knew whether there were none but in the
army of the north? Who knew whether the corps, of which they were a
part, their regiment, their company, were not infested with them?
Could they reckon on their chiefs, on their comrades? Every one was
suspected, it was necessary to distrust every one!

“Such was the language in which anger found vent, which malevolence
caught up, magnified, envenomed, and which every soldier in the end
repeated and believed. This idea soon became the medium through
which every thing was explained. Accustomed to keep the field, they
saw themselves with pain compelled to retreat before an enemy whom
they despised. It would have been natural to attribute his progress
to an immense numerical superiority. They chose to explain it
otherwise; their chiefs were in correspondence with the Austrians.
Several circumstances, as unfortunate as they were unavoidable,
concurred to give to this opinion an appearance of probability, in
the prejudiced eyes of these soldiers. The first of these was the
order which General Rapp received, to disband the army, and to
dismiss each soldier separately, without money and without arms. The
next was, an injunction sent to him by the government to deliver
to the Russian commissioners ten thousand musquets taken from the
arsenal at Strasburg. These two despatches obliged him to enter
into a correspondence with the Allies. The frequent interchange of
messengers which took place on this occasion produced a bad effect on
their minds. The mystery which the General was obliged to observe,
to conceal from the troops the removal of the firearms, increased
the irritation; malevolence raised it to its height. It was loudly
said that Count Rapp had sold himself, that he had received several
millions of francs from the Austrians to introduce them into the
fortress, and that if he discharged the soldiers individually, and
without arms, it was in consequence of an agreement to deliver them up
to the enemy.

“As soon as these seeds of discontent had been once sown in the
different corps, they were developed of themselves; the instigators
had nothing more to do than to observe their progress, to combine
the incidents calculated to augment the disorders, and to render
inevitable the catastrophe which they were preparing.

“Although General Rapp was far from suspecting such a plot, he had
taken, in some way, all the measures that he could take to frustrate
it. As soon as the ministerial despatch relative to the disbanding
the troops reached him, he had despatched with all speed to Paris one
of his aides-de-camp, the chief of squadron Marnier. This officer saw
the ministers repeatedly, and represented to them into what violence
the army would be led, if the whole amount of the pay due to it was
not discharged; but he could only obtain, notwithstanding the most
earnest solicitations, a bill for 400,000 francs, on the chest of the
war department. His return with this trifling sum, destroyed all the
hopes that had been excited. The General-in-chief, who saw the troops
getting more and more exasperated, left nothing untried to allay the
storm. The want of money was the principal cause of dissatisfaction.
To put an end to this source of discontent, Count Rapp endeavoured
to raise a loan in Strasburg. The inhabitants having demanded of him
a security, he solicited from the minister of Finance authority to
pledge the stores of tobacco in the town: the minister refused it.
Nevertheless, by the interposition of General Semelé, who commanded
the fortress, a sum of 160,000 francs was obtained. Such slight
supplies could not satisfy the soldiers, who were inflamed by false
reports, and among whom the insurrection was not slow in breaking out.
It was sudden and general, and presented a character quite peculiar. I
will enter into all the details of it, because they will serve to make
the spirit of the French soldiery better known.

“On the 2d of September, about eight in the morning, about sixty
subaltern officers of different regiments met in one of the bastions
of the place. They agreed on a plan of obedience to the orders for the
disbanding of the army, but on conditions, from which they resolved
not to swerve. This declaration began in the following manner.

     “In the name of the army of the Rhine, the officers,
     sub-officers, and soldiers, will obey the orders issued for the
     disbanding of the army only on the following conditions:

     “Art. I. The officers, sub-officers, and soldiers, will not leave
     the army till they have received all the pay that is due to them.

     “Art. II. They will set out all on the same day, carrying their
     arms, baggage, and fifty cartridges each,” &c. &c.

“As soon as this document was drawn up, they repaired to the
General-in-chief to communicate it to him. The General, who was at the
time unwell, was taking a bath. Astonished at this unexpected visit,
he gave orders that they should be admitted. Five officers immediately
entered the bathing room; they explained the object of their mission,
and declared that the army would not submit to be disbanded till those
conditions should have been fulfilled. At the word conditions the
General in a rage sprang out of the bath, and tearing the paper out of
the hands of the speaker, cried, “What, Sirs, do you wish to impose
conditions on me? you refuse to obey! conditions on me!”

“The tone of his voice, the look of Count Rapp, and perhaps the
attitude in which he presented himself, struck the deputation. It
retired in confusion, and each of the officers returned to give an
account to his regiment of the bad reception they had met with.

“The sub-officers, who were assembled to the number of about 500,
were waiting for the General's answer. They clearly perceived, when
they were made acquainted with it, that such a man was not easily
intimidated, and that they were not likely to be more successful in
such an attempt than their chiefs. But their determination was taken;
they came and ranged themselves in line of battle in the palace-yard,
and demanded to be introduced to the General-in-chief. An aide-de-camp
came down to know the purpose which brought them there; they refused
to enter into any explanation with him. 'Who is the chief of the
troop?' asked the officer.—'No one! Every one!' they all replied
together. He called into the centre of the court the oldest of each
regiment; he remonstrated with them on the act of disobedience that
they were rendering themselves guilty of. A thousand voices at once
interrupted him. 'Money! money!—we will be paid what is due to us; we
know how to get ourselves paid!'

“The chief of the staff Colonel Schneider, whose courage they had so
often admired in the midst of danger, arrived at this conjuncture,
and endeavoured, but with as little success, to quiet them. 'Money!'
they again repeated, 'money!' Wearied with uttering their cries,
and holding out useless threats, and not being able to get at the
General-in-chief, they dispersed, after having fixed on a rendezvous.
The greatest part went to the parade, where they immediately proceeded
to the election of the new chiefs whom they had determined on having.
One of them, called Dalouzi, sergeant in the 7th light regiment,
well known for his ability, his courage, and particularly for a
soldier-like oratory which was peculiar to him, was unanimously
elected. 'You want to be paid,' he said to his comrades, 'and it
is for this that you are here.'—'Yes!' they replied with a common
voice.—'Well then! if you will promise to obey me, and to abstain from
all confusion, to respect property, to protect persons, I swear by my
head that you shall be paid within twenty-four hours.' This speech was
received with cries of joy, and the sergeant was appointed General.
He immediately chose for the chief of the staff the drum-major of the
58th; a second sub-officer was charged with the office of governor of
the fortress; a third with the command of the first division; another
with that of the second, and so on. The regiments had colonels, the
battalions and squadrons chiefs, and the companies captains; in short,
a complete staff was formed.

“The other sub-officers had returned to the barracks, where the
soldiers were waiting with impatience for the result of the step
that had been taken. The drum was immediately beat to arms, and all
the corps, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, marched in order and in
double quick time to the parade. The organization was scarcely ended
when they arrived there. As soon as they appeared, the new chiefs went
and took command, and marched the troops to the points they had orders
to occupy.

“In the mean time General Rapp, astonished to see so serious an
insurrection break out, had dressed himself in haste, in hopes
of ascertaining the motives of these seditious movements, and of
succeeding in quieting them. But the different operations of which we
have just given an account had been effected with such celerity, that
at the moment when he set out, accompanied by his adjutant-general and
a few officers, several columns, followed by a numerous populace, were
already debouching through all the streets leading from the square
of the palace. As soon as they perceived the General, the troops
hastily put themselves in order of battle, and charged bayonets to
hinder him from passing. Immediately furious cries were heard in the
rear ranks. “Fire! he has sold the army.—Fire then!” Some wretches,
scattered among the troops, excited them by their gestures and voices
to massacre this brave man. Rage spread from man to man, and confusion
was soon at its height. The soldiers, enraged, loaded their musquets;
the ranks were doubled, eight pieces of cannon arrived at a gallop,
and were immediately loaded with grape-shot.

“Every time that General Rapp addressed those who menaced him,
vociferations commenced, and irritating cries were uttered with
increased violence. Musquets were repeatedly levelled at him, and the
pieces of cannon were constantly directed against his person, and the
gunners followed all his movements. 'Stand aside!' they exclaimed,
'that we may fire on him.' A howitzer was constantly kept so directly
pointed at the group which surrounded the General, that he perceived
it. He ran to the cannoneer who was holding the match, 'Well! what
would you do, wretched man? (he said to him) do you wish to kill me?
Fire then, here I am at the mouth of your gun.' 'Ah, General,' the
soldier exclaimed, letting the match fall from his hand, 'I was at the
siege of Dantzick with you, I would give you my life; but my comrades
will be paid, and I am obliged to do as they do and he resumed his

“Wearied with senseless questions, with appeals without any object,
deafened by the clamours of the multitude, the mass of which was
continually increasing, the General decided at last on returning to
the palace.

“The troops followed him, and the different avenues were immediately
occupied by eight pieces of cannon, a thousand infantry, and a
squadron of cavalry. This guard called itself the Exterior guard of
the palace. A battalion came and established itself in the court,
and took the name of Interior guard. Nearly sixty sentinels were
placed in pairs at all the gates, and on the stair-case which led to
the apartment of Count Rapp; there were also some for a few moments
at the door of his bed-chamber. The telegraph and the mint were
immediately taken possession of. To shew that they had no bad designs,
a detachment was sent to the hotel of the Austrian General Volkman,
who was in the place, and was put at his disposal. The drawbridges
were raised, and there was no communication with any one out of
the fortress without a permission signed by the new commander. The
drum-major of the 58th repaired with a trumpet to the head-quarters of
the Allies, and signified to them that if they respected the truce,
the garrison would not commit any act of hostility, but that if they
endeavoured to take advantage of the misunderstanding which existed
between the chief and the soldiers, it would know how to oppose a
noble resistance.

“Meanwhile Dalouzi had established his staff at the Parade, and had
appointed two commissions, the one for the provisions, composed of
quarter-master-sergeants, and the other for the finances, composed of
sergeant-majors: they constituted themselves permanent, deliberated on
the measures best calculated to maintain the public tranquillity, and
to put the town in a state of security against surprise. The posts of
the citadel and those of the interior were doubled; guards were even
placed at some old posterns, which, till then, had been neglected; the
outer line was strengthened, the troops bivouacked in the squares,
and in the streets; in fact no precaution was omitted which the most
suspicious prudence could suggest. In order to prevent the excesses to
which malevolence might excite the soldiers, it was forbidden, under
pain of death, to enter any of the places where brandy, wine, or beer,
was sold. The same punishment was denounced against all who should be
guilty of plunder, riot, or insubordination. Lastly, still better to
secure the public tranquillity, it was resolved that the army should
be informed of its situation every six hours.

“These arrangements having been made, the receiver-general, and the
inspector of reviews, were sent for. The latter made a calculation
of the sums necessary for the present year's pay, the other presented
the account of what he had in the chest; after which, Dalouzi convoked
the town council, to whom he declared the motives which had made the
garrison take arms, and requested the mayor to take means to get funds
necessary to pay the arrears.

“He then despatched to Count Rapp a deputation, composed of the new
governor and of five or six general-sergeants: 'Well, what do you
want of me again?' cried the General in a tone of indignation and
contempt.—'You are unworthy to wear the French uniform. I believed
that you were men of honour; I am deceived. You allow yourselves to
be seduced by wretches. What do you wish to do? Why do these guards
surround the palace? Why is this artillery pointed against me? Am I
then so formidable? Is it believed that I wish to escape? Why should
I escape? I fear nothing—I do not fear you. But to the point, what do
you want of me?' He repeated this question. The agitation of Count
Rapp while pronouncing these words was a striking contrast to the
melancholy air of the deputation. These sub-officers, ashamed of
keeping a chief whom they loved, and whose valour and fidelity were
so well known to them, a prisoner, kept a profound silence. They were
on the point of withdrawing, when one of them spoke: 'General', he
said, 'we have learned that the other corps of the army have been
paid; our soldiers also are resolved to be paid; they are in a state
of revolt, but they obey us. We only ask what is due to us, the slight
indemnification for so much blood and so many wounds; we only ask for
what is indispensable to enable us to perform our march and withdraw
to our homes. The troops will not return to order, it is a thing
firmly resolved on, until every one be paid.'—'There is not enough
money in the chest,' replied the General. 'It was my intention to have
you paid, stoppages and all. I despatched an aide-de camp to Paris;
he saw the ministers, but they could only give him 400,000 francs. It
is this sum, together with that in the chest of the paymaster, which
I will order to be divided among the different regiments.'—'The army
will be paid, my General.'—'I have told you all that I have to say
to you; withdraw, and return as soon as possible to order.—If the
enemy unfortunately should be acquainted with what is going on here,
what will become of you?'—'All this has been foreseen, my General:
a regiment of cavalry and twelve pieces of cannon, have set out to
reinforce the division which is at the camp. It is easy for you to get
us paid; and you have every thing to fear on the part of the soldiers,
if in twenty-four hours from this time their request is not complied
with.'—'What is it to me what you and your soldiers may do? I repeat
that you shall only have the funds which are destined for you. Do
not hope that whatever happens, you can compel me to do what my duty
prohibits.—'General, the soldiers can conduct you to the citadel, they
can even shoot you; we answer for them now, but if you do not cause us
to be paid....'—'I have nothing more to say to you, quit my house. If
you shoot me, so be it; I prefer death to shame. You are the enemies
of order, you are the instruments of malevolence and of a conspiracy
which you yourselves are not acquainted with. The enemy perhaps is in
concert; I make you responsible for every thing that may happen. You
have heard me; begone! I am ashamed to converse with rebels!'

“The word conspiracy made a very deep impression upon them: they
remained silent for some time. They began again, however, and one
of them said, that if there were among them any who had secret
intentions, they were ignorant of it; that for themselves they only
wanted their pay; but that paid they would be, and that they were
going to bring to him the civil authorities, in order that he might
give directions for raising the funds: after which they withdrew.

“Whilst the council was consulting on the means of securing public
tranquillity, and of liquidating the pay in arrear, the army had
effected different movements; it had marched and counter-marched,
always at a running pace, without uttering a word, without venting
a threat against the officers whom it had put under arrest. This
silence, rather extraordinary for French soldiers, had something
sinister about it at which the inhabitants were alarmed. Nevertheless
the troops at last became calm, but they held no communication with
the towns-people; they even refused to answer their questions. In the
streets, in the squares, groups were continually seen forming, which
dispersed after they had communicated in a very low tone either orders
or opinions. The whole town was plunged in melancholy disquietude:
fatal epochs were recalled to their recollection—they feared to see
them revive: every one trembled for his property—for his life. Never
was there a more terrifying scene than that which this large city then

“The General-in-chief having learned that the inhabitants had
consented to raise the necessary funds, and that they yielded to fear
what they had for so long a time refused to his entreaties, despatched
the adjutant-general to the civil authorities to settle with them
about the distribution of the loan. This officer was conducted to the
town-hall by a corporal and six men who did not quit him. He finished
his accounts, and returned to the palace under the same escort.

“In the mean time, the Generals and chiefs of corps, employed in turn
threats and entreaties to bring back the mutineers to their duty.
The men, who loved their superiors, and who would not have dared to
fail in duty before their faces, had recourse to artifice to escape
from the ascendancy and the representations which they dreaded. When
an officer went in one direction, care was taken to oppose to him in
the front rank soldiers of a different corps and description, and
while he harangued these, the others vociferated from behind. If,
in spite of this tactic, he succeeded in getting at one of his own
men, and reproached him: 'Me, my Officer,' the other replied with
hypocritical mildness, 'I am not doing any thing, I am not speaking a
word;' and he immediately buried himself in the crowd. The troops soon
adopted a general measure to free themselves from these importunate
solicitations, and all those who had any important command were
ordered to keep to their homes.

“The alarms of the citizens were soon tranquillized, the retreat
was sounded a long time before night, and from that moment patroles
succeeded one another without interruption. Several orders of the day
were read at each post. They recommended tranquillity and obedience,
and promised that the payments should be made within twenty-four
hours. One of these orders was thus worded:

     'Every thing is going on well, the inhabitants are raising the
     money, and the payments have begun.

                          (Signed,)      GARRISON.'

“The town was ordered to be illuminated, in order that it might be
more easy to keep up a strict watch.

“The secret instigators of the insurrection did not fail to perceive
that a degree of wisdom presided in all the councils, which rendered
their case desperate, that their end was baffled if they did not
succeed in again inflaming the minds of the soldiery, and in exciting
some commotion in which blood might be spilt.

“With this view, about five o'clock in the afternoon, a horse
chasseur arrived at full gallop on the parade, announcing that three
waggons full of gold had just been stopped belonging to General
Rapp, who was sending them out of the city under the protection of
the Austrians. 'These three waggons,' he added, 'have been taken
to the covered bridge, and here is the receipt I am bearing to our
commander-in-chief;—General Rapp must be shot; he is a traitor, he has
sold us to the enemy.'

“Whatever irritation still remained, this speech produced little
effect. The troops used their chief roughly to compel him to levy
contributions, but they did not entertain any suspicion against him.
His reputation as a man of honour remained unblemished, and his
integrity was no more doubted by them than his courage. Such open
provocations to murder excited distrust, and the soldiers became more
circumspect. Some, however, propagated alarms, and wished that his
person should be secured; but the army had the good sense to repel
suggestions the complete perfidiousness of which it did not perhaps at
first perceive.

“As soon as one expedient failed, the conspirators attempted another,
and left nothing untried to spill blood, persuaded that if it had
once flowed, it would be easy to make it flow again. The General's
coachman was driving from the palace to the stables a cart laden
with straw. The sentinels made some objections to allow it to pass:
it however went on, but scarcely was it out, when some ill-disposed
persons cried, Treason, and pretended that under the pretext of
removing straw the military chest was carried off. Immediately the
multitude rushed on the cart and on its load, in order to search
it the better. Nothing was found; they loaded it again, demanding
nevertheless that it should go back: the horses took fright, set off,
and ran over a child.

“At this sight fury redoubled, the guards were forced, the multitude
rushed tumultuously into the court of the palace, seized the coachman,
and massacred him without pity in the hands of an officer who had
come forth to defend him. The disorder was not meant to stop at the
death of a servant; but groupes of soldiers came up, forced the most
infuriated to restrain themselves, and thus the blow once more failed.

“All the attempts to get General Rapp massacred by the hands of
his troops having failed, recourse was had to extraordinary means
of assassinating him. As soon as night was come, a multitude of
individuals succeeded each other, and used force to introduce
themselves into his bed-chamber. But the aides-de-camp and some
officers defended the door with courage, and preserved their chief
from insult.

“In the midst of this effervescence an event suddenly happened to
cool the soldiery, and contributed to restore them to order. The
enemy's line drew its cantonments closer round the town, at the very
moment the insurrection broke out, and also received considerable
reinforcements. This coincidence of the measures adopted by the
Austrians with an event which they ought not to have been acquainted
with, gave much room for conjecture: thus the outer division
immediately doubled their main guards; fresh troops and artillery came
from the town.

“The enemy, intimidated, durst not make any attempt. Perhaps he
was also awaiting the result of the plots which he had framed in
Strasburg; perhaps he feared to enter into an engagement with an army
so much the more formidable, as it had put itself under the necessity
of conquering; and as it continued, for all that related to the
military arrangements, to receive its orders from General Rottembourg,
whose courage and skill the Austrians had experienced more than once
during this campaign. The enemy, therefore, remained in position, and
appeared to be waiting till the favourable moment should arrive. On
its side, the army was on its guard against the tricks prepared for
it, and pursued, with calmness and firmness, the only end which it had
in view, the discharge of the pay in arrear.

“General _Garrison_ redoubled his vigilance to preserve public
tranquillity, and went forth attended by his staff, all dressed in
their uniform and on horseback, to secure the execution of his orders.
As soon as he appeared the drums beat to arms, the guards were turned
out, and rendered him all the honours due to a Commander-in-chief.

“Thus Strasburg presented the appearance of the most perfect order in
the midst of disorder; and the most severe discipline reigned in an
army in a state of revolt.

“The loan having been raised, the pay-officers, according to the
numerical order of the regiments, were conducted under a good escort
to the pay-master-general, where they received the sums necessary
for the pay of their corps. But they were enjoined not to make any
individual payments until all the regiments should have received what
was owing to them. Thus passed the first day: there was less agitation
on the second. Still there was an attempt to make the troops believe
some rumours calculated to produce disturbance, but little attention
was paid to them. Towards evening, the orders given to the sentinels
of the palace became less strict; the aides-de-camp had leave to go
out under escort. A file of grenadiers was appointed to escort them
where they wished, and to conduct them back again.

“During the night the posts were all renewed. Individuals, in the
uniform of sub-officers, presented themselves once more to penetrate
into the General's apartments, to satisfy themselves, as they said,
that he had not escaped. The altercations between them and the
officers of the staff were warmer than ever; the latter, nevertheless,
in the end prevailed. In fine, the division of the funds was effected
towards nine o'clock in the morning. Immediately the call to arms was
sounded, the army assembled, withdrew its posts, raised the siege of
the palace, and repaired to the parade. General Garrison, accompanied
by all his staff, drew up the troops in line, and addressed to them
the following proclamation. We give it _verbatim_.

     “'Soldiers of the Army of the Rhine,

     “'The bold step which has just been taken by your sub-officers
     to obtain justice, and the complete discharge of your pay, has
     compromised them with the civil and military authorities. It
     is in your good conduct, your resignation, and your excellent
     discipline that they hope to find safety; that which you have
     maintained up to the present time is the best guarantee of it;
     and of this they hope for a continuance.

     “'Soldiers, the pay-officers have in their possession all that is
     owing to you; the garrison will return to its former situation,
     the posts will remain till the General-in-chief shall have
     given orders in consequence. On their return from the parade,
     the sergeant-majors and quarter-masters shall repair to their
     pay-officers, and shall take note before paying the troops from
     MM. the Colonels, in order to keep back what is not due.

     “'The infantry is to be disbanded—it will take superior orders;
     and the cavalry, still having no order, will wait its lot, in
     order to give up, at least before setting off, the horses, arms,
     and all that belongs to the Government, in order that it may be
     said they are Frenchmen: they have served with honour, they have
     obtained payment of what was due to them, and have submitted to
     the orders of the King, under the glorious title of the Army of
     the Rhine.

               “'By order of the Army of the Rhine.'”

“The Sergeant-General, after having delivered this speech, which
the army heard in silence, made the two divisions of infantry,
the cavalry, and artillery defile before him, and went in great
pomp to display at the offices of the Prefect and Mayor the white
flags that had been made by his orders. The troops then returned to
their barracks, and submitted themselves to the authority of their
respective officers.

“As soon as they were restored to liberty, the Generals, Colonels, and
superior officers were anxious to repair to Count Rapp, to express to
him the pain they had experienced at seeing the army thus unmindful
of the rein of discipline. They even caused a protest against the
seditious movements which the army had given way to, to be printed,
which they all signed, and which contained expressions very flattering
to the General-in-Chief.

“Two days after, they laid down their arms at the arsenal, and all the
corps were disbanded. Dalouzi, as leader of the revolt, had incurred
the penalty of death; but he was pardoned on account of the good order
that he had maintained in the midst of the insurrection.”[3]

[3] Summary of the Operations of the Armies of the Rhine and Jura,

The army was dissolved; my command having expired, there was nothing
to keep me any longer in Alsace. But the good souls of the Faubourg
Saint-Germain had imagined that we were a source of terror to Europe.
On the field of battle I believe we were, and the Allies did not
disallow it. In other respects this was thinking too highly of us.
With regard to plots and conspiracies, it is not we who deserved the
palm. I, nevertheless, went to meet that which they wished to allot to
me. I wrote to the King, I did not attempt to disguise my sentiments
from him. If I had been able to throw the whole coalition into the
Rhine I would have done it; I did not conceal it. My letter was thus


     “I do not endeavour to justify my conduct. Your Majesty knows
     that the bent of my mind and my military education have always
     led me to defend the French territory against all foreign
     aggression: I could not, above all, hesitate to offer my life in
     defence of Alsace, which gave me birth.

     “If I have preserved the esteem of your Majesty, I desire to
     finish my career in my own country; if it were otherwise, I
     should be the first to demand to go and pass my days abroad: I
     could not live in my country without the esteem of my sovereign.”

     “I only ask this; I have need of nothing more.”

This letter was of use. Marks of regard that had escaped the Monarch
kept malevolence within bounds. I passed some months at Paris without
being disturbed; but the race of emigrants had filled the chambers
and harangued at the tribune. Their vociferations against all the men
distinguished for their talent and courage whom France can boast of,
gave me such a disgust that I withdrew. I went into Switzerland, where
at least aristocracy did not present the scandalous spectacle of the
rage of the present time combined with the meanness of the past. The
ordinance of the 5th of September was issued a short time afterwards:
I returned to Paris, where I live quietly in the bosom of my family,
and where I have experienced happiness which till then was unknown to

       *       *       *       *       *

Here the Memoirs terminate. We will only add a few words.

Become a member of the House of Peers, the General was called into
the presence of the King. This favour did not make him unfaithful to
old recollections. So many immortal days were too deeply engraved in
his mind! He could not forget our victories, or him who had conducted
them, or those who had obtained them! He had often taken so glorious a
part in them! Courage does not disinherit herself. In like manner the
brave soldiers who were persecuted by men whom they had eclipsed on
the field of battle always found in their General a devoted protector.
His purse, his credit were open to them. Never did he repel the
unfortunate. Those who had none of the privileges which the standard
gives, participated in his benefits; it was sufficient if they were in
distress. Misfortune was something sacred in his eyes.

The state of inactivity into which on a sudden he had fallen, after a
life of alarms and fatigue, hastened to a fatal termination the wounds
with which he was covered. His health was gone; he soon ended the
term assigned him by Nature. He beheld death without emotion, ordered
himself to be put in a position so as to front the enemy, whom he had
always looked in the face, and expired, offering up his prayers for
France and his family.



     _Letter from General Rapp to the Duke of Wurtemberg._

     _June 14th, 1813._

     Colonel Richemont has communicated to me the letter which your
     Royal Highness honoured him with, the ... of this month. I learn
     with pain that the very conciliatory proposals made, in my name,
     by M. Richemont, have not been accepted, and that discussions
     have arisen on points which appeared to afford no room for any
     debate whatever.

     I must observe to your Royal Highness, generally, that the
     armistice was not demanded by the Emperor Napoleon, which
     supposes that all the articles ought to be construed favourably
     to the French army; but since the intentions of the treaty are
     disputed, I see no other means of attaining the object of your
     Royal Highness, and my own, than by proposing to your Excellency
     to leave, as regards the limits, things in their present state,
     and to inform the commissioners appointed by articles 9 and 12
     of the armistice, of the difficulties which have arisen in the
     execution of article 6. I therefore beg your Highness to name,
     conjointly with myself, two officers who shall be instructed
     to repair to those commissioners, and who can speedily bring a
     report of the solution we are to expect.

     I also consent that the article relative to supplies be only
     settled provisionally, that is to say, that if your Royal
     Highness would not take upon yourself to allow us 30,000 rations
     of victuals, reckoning from the day of the armistice, which,
     according to the returns of the force of the garrison, is
     necessary, Colonel Richemont will be able to settle with the
     Russian commissioners, the quantities which shall be supplied
     to us on account, to be deducted from the amount which shall be
     definitively appointed by the commissioners of the armistice, to
     whom it will be referred, as well as the article of limits.

     The officer who brought the armistice would have been able to
     notify at the Imperial head-quarters the discussions which have
     arisen, if his instructions did not oblige him to delay his
     departure till after the first distribution which is to be made
     to the garrison by the directions of the General commanding the

     I should have greatly desired that we could have come to an
     understanding, on the execution of the treaty, as I have reason
     to fear that false inferences may be drawn from the delay of
     this officer, as to the good understanding which the armistice
     supposes to exist between us; a contingency which I should the
     more lament, as it appears to me that your Highness might have
     acceded to the proposals of Colonel Richemont, which I should
     most certainly have done in your place, without fearing the least
     reproach for it from my sovereign.

                        (Signed,)       COUNT RAPP.


     _Sulmin, June 15th, 1813._

     I received the letter which your Excellency did me the honour to
     write to me, dated the 14th of June, and I must frankly confess
     that it is my duty to enter into the fullest explanation of
     the cause of the misunderstandings which exist relative to the
     literal execution of the articles of the truce.

     This treaty having laid down fixed principles, in order to avoid
     every subject of dispute, it appears to me, that it would be
     infinitely more simple and natural to adhere strictly to it. I
     confess to your Excellency that it is with sincere pain that I
     agree to depart from it according to your proposition. It appears
     to me that by this arrangement, which you wish, both of us, to
     a certain degree, exceed the limits of our powers, and that it
     would be much better to settle between us the line of neutrality
     according to the literal sense of the armistice. Nevertheless,
     to avoid all farther discussion, I consent to let things remain
     on their present footing: I will even order the commanders
     of my advanced posts to come to an understanding with yours
     about making some arrangements, which may be agreeable to your
     Excellency, in respect to sentinels and piquets, to prevent any
     collision between our light troops.

     Respecting what concerns the article of provisions, the
     commission assembled for that purpose has already commenced its
     sittings, and I hope that Colonel Richemont will soon be able to
     announce that this article has been definitively settled.

     As to what regards the two officers whom your Excellency would
     send to the commissioners appointed definitively to settle
     all the difficulties which appear to arise respecting the
     stipulations of the truce, I must observe, that it is not in
     my power to grant them the necessary passports: the article of
     provisions, which will be forthwith settled, will allow, in the
     course of a few days, Captain Planat to undertake this commission.

     Be persuaded, moreover, General, that accustomed, in the course
     of twenty-five years' service to fulfil with exactness the orders
     of my sovereign, I should have acted in a very different manner,
     if I had agreed to the propositions which have been made to me
     by Colonel Richemont, and which deviated so essentially from the
     articles of a truce, the simple and natural expressions of which
     leave no room for the least discussion.

     Your Excellency, moreover, will always find me ready to do
     whatever may be agreeable to you, and which at the same time may
     not be inconsistent with my duty. I shall eagerly seize all the
     opportunities that I can to convince you that nothing equals the
     high consideration with which I have the honour to be, &c.

                   (Signed,)      ALEXANDER, DUKE OF WURTEMBERG.

     _Letter from the Duke of Wurtemberg to his Excellency Count Rapp._

                    _From my head-quarters, July 12, 1813._

     (Received on the 14th, though the Duke was but two leagues from


     A messenger, who has just arrived from head-quarters, brings me
     an order for suspending the allowances which have been hitherto
     made to the garrison of Dantzic. The corps of Volunteers under
     the orders of the Prussian Major Lutzow having been attacked,
     during the continuance of the truce, without the least cause,
     is announced to me as the reason which has caused this
     determination, and which is not to be varied from until this
     affair shall be definitively settled.

     In communicating the orders which I have received to you, I
     announce at the same time that this affair, which will probably
     soon be settled, does not however change the other articles of
     the truce, which are to remain in full force.

                             I have the honour be, &c.

                        (Signed,) ALEXANDER, DUKE OF WURTEMBERG,

                                    General of Cavalry.


     _Dantzic, July 14, 1813._

     Monsieur le DUC,

     From the commencement of the arrangements agreed upon between us,
     in consequence of the armistice, I have seen, with much pain,
     that your Royal Highness does not fulfil them with that exactness
     which such stipulations demand.

     I have perceived, in the delay of all the deliveries, a secret
     war which was destroying in detail the spirit of the armistice.
     In spite of my continual protests, a great part of the provisions
     has been left in arrear; you have not even supplied what is due
     at present, and it is in this state of things that I receive,
     to-day, the 14th, the letter from your Highness, dated the 12th,
     which informs me that you have orders to suspend the provisions.
     This suspension has actually taken place these four days past,
     that is to say, since the 10th; and as our correspondence may
     reach each other in two hours, I will not conceal from your
     Highness with what sentiments I must look at the difference
     between the date and the arrival of your despatch.

     The conditions of an armistice, my Lord Duke, are alike binding
     on both the parties; and as soon as one of them allows himself
     to annul one of the principal and most essential clauses, the
     armistice is from that moment broken, and he puts himself in
     a state of war against the other. It is in this light, that I
     consider from henceforth the declaration you have made; and
     although your Highness informs me that the other articles of the
     truce shall remain, you must perceive that I cannot accept such
     modifications but by the orders of my sovereign. It only remains
     to me, then, to beg you to acquaint me whether the six days
     which are to precede the recommencement of hostilities are to be
     reckoned from the 12th at one o'clock in the morning, or from the
     14th at twelve.

     I must declare to you, that I account you responsible for
     the rupture of an armistice that was concluded between our
     sovereigns, and that I cannot listen to any evasive explication
     until after the reception of all the provisions which are due to

                              (Signed,) COUNT RAPP.

     _Letter from the Duke of Wurtemberg to General Count Rapp._

     _From my head-quarters, July 15, 1813._

     I have just received the letter which you have addressed to me,
     and I cannot conceal from your Excellency that I have been more
     than ordinarily surprised at its contents.

     It would be absolutely useless again to repeat to your Excellency
     what MM. Generals Borozdin and Jelebtzou have not failed to
     observe to you repeatedly, that is to say, that the momentary
     delays which the garrison of Dantzic has experienced in being
     revictualled have only been occasioned by the sudden change
     of the arrangement that was proposed and demanded by your
     Excellency, of buying the provisions by your own commissaries,
     which has necessarily produced the greatest embarrassment;
     the Prussian commissaries having excused themselves on the
     state of entire destitution of the provinces contiguous to
     Dantzic, which have been already charged for so long a time
     with the provisioning of my troops. If, as I have several times
     requested, there had been at my head-quarters, conformably to
     the stipulations of the truce, a French commissary permanently,
     he would have been able to convince himself of the extreme
     embarrassment that the Prussian commissaries have felt in
     procuring waggons, and the necessary provisions for revictualling
     Dantzic, and for the maintenance of my own troops; so that it
     is not the army forming the blockade which has thrown obstacles
     in the way of revictualling the place. Moreover, it is only my
     sovereign, the august Emperor Alexander, to whom I must render an
     account of my actions.

       *       *       *       *       *

     I now come to an article of far greater importance, since it may
     be attended with the most serious consequences; for it appears,
     according to the letter of your Excellency, that you are decided
     on recommencing hostilities on your own authority, whilst the
     places, Stettin and Custrin, are also temporarily deprived,
     as well as Dantzic, of the provisions stipulated for in the
     armistice. I hope, however, that you will seriously consider
     what you are about to do, and I render you responsible for all
     the measures you may take, and which may prevent the belligerent
     powers from coming to an adjustment of their differences.

     I send you an exact copy of the letter which I received from
     the Commander-in-chief of all the armies, Barclay de Tolly; you
     will see, that far from there being any thoughts of recommencing
     hostilities, I am expressly prohibited from doing so.

     If, in spite of all my observations, which I have had formally
     certified by my Generals, commanders of corps, you do not think
     fit to wait patiently till the affair of the legion of Lutzow,
     which has caused the temporary cessation of the revictualling of
     Dantzic, (of which the arrears, by the way, are only suspended,)
     and of the other fortresses, is amicably settled, and you
     attack my forces, I will prove to you that my brave Russians
     do not stand in dread of the menaces of any one, and that they
     are moreover ready to shed their blood for the cause of all
     sovereigns and all nations.

                              (Signed,) ALEXANDER, DUKE OF WURTEMBERG.


     _Dantzic, July 16, 1813._

     I received the letter which your Royal Highness did me the honour
     to write to me on the 15th of this month. I will not again touch
     on the different observations which you make on the non-execution
     of the conditions of the armistice; they have been constantly
     brought forward, and always victoriously refuted; and therefore
     present nothing new. General Heudelet, whom I sent to the
     conference that was demanded by General Borozdin, has made known
     on my part the only expedient for a provisional arrangement which
     could again take place between us.

     In a letter of the 14th instant, I intreated your Royal Highness
     to appoint at what precise time the six days between the rupture
     and the commencement of hostilities were to begin; to this I have
     had no positive answer. I must, therefore, acquaint you, that as
     the letter of your Royal Highness, dated the 12th, only reached
     me on the 14th at noon, and I can consider your positive and
     official refusal to continue the supplies as nothing else than
     a rupture of the armistice, hostilities will recommence on the
     20th; I owe this determination to the Emperor and to my corps
     d'armée. Six guns fired from the different forts of Dantzic, at
     noon, shall leave no doubt on this subject. I beg your Royal
     Highness not to consider as a threat the obligation which I am
     under to interpret the violation of one of the articles of the
     treaty as a formal declaration, annulling the armistice; I know
     the brave Russian troops, whom I have often fought with, and I
     know that they are worthy to be opposed to our own.

     Here, my Lord, my letter would close, were I not compelled to
     make a remark to your Royal Highness on some expressions of
     your letter of the 15th, that I also am only accountable to my
     sovereign for my determinations; that, as for what your Highness
     calls the cause of all sovereigns and all nations, these are
     very extraordinary phrases in the letter of a prince, who knows
     better than any one that the Emperor Alexander, his sovereign,
     was engaged during five years, in our alliance against the
     despotism of a maritime power, which would make all the Continent
     tributary to it; and that his august brother, the King of
     Wurtemberg, has been for a long time past one of the most staunch
     supporters of this same cause.

                              (Signed,)      COUNT RAPP.

     _Letter from the Duke of Wurtemberg to General Rapp._

     _From my head-quarters, July 17, 1813._


     I should have nothing more to add to the letter which I wrote
     to your Excellency, dated the 15th of July, if the formal
     declaration of war which you make to me, as from one power to
     another, did not oblige me still to make a few important remarks,
     before the commencement of hostilities which you axe about to

     I will observe to you, then, (although it is absolutely
     impossible for me, officially, to accept the declaration, that
     you are about to begin hostilities, and though I must declare
     you, once more, responsible for all the consequences that this
     event may produce) that if, in spite of my observations, you,
     nevertheless, persist in a determination which, as I believe,
     will not even be approved by the Emperor Napoleon, the period
     for the rupture which you fix for the 20th of July at mid-day,
     is contrary to the 2d and 3d articles of the armistice; since,
     after the 20th of July, the term of the expiration of the truce,
     hostilities should not take place, according to article 9th,
     till six days after the 20th of July, which will bring us to the
     26th of the month; and it would be really singular for us to be
     the only two chiefs of corps on the theatre of war to recommence

     I am convinced, that with a little patience we shall soon hear
     that the affairs of the Cabinets are taking a different turn.
     What would be then the regret of your Excellency if, by too much
     precipitation, you should once more create difficulties between
     the two Courts, of which my own has nothing to reproach itself
     with, since it was very natural that it should for the time take
     measures of retaliation, after it had learnt the destruction of
     the corps of Lutzow in the midst of the armistice;—as it is not
     possible to bring to life the men so destroyed, while it will,
     on the other hand, be very possible to furnish the garrison of
     Dantzic with the provisions in arrear.

     I now close my letter, General, compelled to make an observation
     or two on the last phrases in yours, which have appeared to me
     extremely strange. All Europe, and, I dare say, France also, is
     perfectly acquainted with the reasons which caused the rupture
     of the peace that was signed at Tilsit. It also knows the
     dictatorial tone which the ambassador Count Lauriston assumed in
     the heart of the capital of Peter the Great. The august Emperor
     Alexander was compelled, by such an excess of audacity, to appeal
     to his sword; he was obliged to surround himself with his valiant
     soldiers to open the churches, and to confide himself to a
     generous and faithful people, who have proved to him what may be
     done by a nation happy in its own territory, but who have not
     hesitated a moment to arm themselves in defence of their honour
     and of their sovereign.

     As to what concerns my brother, the King of Wurtemberg, whom your
     Excellency calls one of the most staunch supporters of the cause
     which you defend, I can assure your Excellency that a Russian
     General-in-chief does not think himself inferior in any respect
     to a King of the Confederation, since it only depends on the
     Emperor Alexander to elevate me to that dignity, if he thinks
     fit; and then I shall be king like any other; I should, however,
     premise one small condition, that is, that it should not be at
     the expense of any power, or any person.

                         (Signed,)      ALEXANDER, DUKE OF WURTEMBERG.


     Capitulation of the fortress of Dantzic under special conditions,
     concluded between their Excellencies Lieutenant-general Borozdin,
     Major-general Welljaminoff, in quality of chief of the staff,
     and the Colonels of Engineers, Manfredi and Pullet, intrusted
     with full powers by his Royal Highness the Duke of Wurtemberg,
     Commander-in-chief of the troops besieging Dantzic, on one part;

     And their Excellencies Count Heudelet, general of division, the
     General of Brigade d'Hericourt, Adjutant-general; and
     Colonel Richemont intrusted with full powers from his Excellency
     Count Rapp, aide-de-camp of the Emperor, Commander-in-chief of
     the 10th corps d'armée, on the other part.

     ARTICLE I. The troops forming the garrison of Dantzic, and of
     the forts and redoubts thereunto belonging, shall leave the town
     with their arms and baggage on the 1st of January, 1814, at ten
     o'clock in the morning, by the gate of Oliwa, and shall lay down
     their arms before the battery of Gottes-Engel, if by that period
     the blockade of the garrison of Dantzic is not raised by a corps
     d'armée, equivalent in force to the besieging army, or if a
     treaty concluded between the belligerent powers shall not by that
     time have fixed the fate of the city of Dantzic. The officers
     shall retain their swords, in consideration of the vigorous
     defence and distinguished conduct of the garrison. The company
     of the Imperial guard, and a battalion of six hundred men, shall
     retain their arms, and shall take with them two six-pounders,
     with the ammunition waggons belonging to them. Twenty-five
     horsemen shall also preserve their arms and their horses.

     ART. II. The forts of Weichselmunde, the Holm, and the
     intermediate works shall, together with the keys of the outer
     gate of Oliwa, be given up to the combined army, on the morning
     of the 24th Dec. 1813.

     ART. III. Immediately on the signature of the present
     capitulation, the fort La Corte, that of Neufahrwasser, with its
     dependencies, and the left bank of the Vistula, as far as the
     height of the redoubt Gudin, and the line of redoubts extending
     from this last-mentioned work on the Zigangenberg, as well as the
     Mowenkrugschantz shall be surrendered in their present condition,
     without any deterioration, into the hands of the besieging army.
     The bridge which at present connects the _tête-du-pont_ of
     Fahrwasser with the fort of Weichselmunde, shall be removed and
     placed at the mouth of the Vistula, between Neufahrwasser and the

     ART. IV. The garrison of Dantzic shall be prisoners of war, and
     shall be escorted to France. The governor, Count Rapp, formally
     engages that neither officers nor soldiers shall serve again,
     until their perfect exchange, against any of the powers now at
     war with France. There shall be drawn up an exact muster-roll of
     the names of the generals, officers, and soldiers composing the
     garrison of Dantzic, without any exception. There shall be two
     copies of this roll. Each of the generals and officers shall sign
     a promise and give his word of honour not to serve against Russia
     or her allies till his perfect exchange. An exact muster-roll
     shall be also made of all the soldiers who are actually under
     arms, and another of those who are sick or wounded.

     ART. V. The governor, Count Rapp, engages to accelerate as
     much as possible the exchange of the individuals forming the
     garrison of Dantzic, rank for rank, for an equal number of
     prisoners belonging to the allied powers. But if, contrary to all
     expectation, this exchange should not take place for want of the
     necessary number of Russians, Austrians, Prussians, or other
     prisoners belonging to the courts allied against France, or if
     the said courts should throw obstacles in the way of it, then at
     the end of a year and a day, dating from Jan. 1, 1814, new style,
     the individuals forming the garrison of Dantzic shall be released
     from the formal obligation contracted in Art. IV. of the present
     capitulation, and may be again employed by their government.

     ART. VI. The Polish troops and others belonging to the garrison
     shall be at full liberty to follow the lot of the French army,
     and in that case shall be treated in the same manner, excepting
     those troops whose sovereigns may be in alliance with the
     coalition against his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon, who shall
     be forwarded to the states or armies of their sovereigns,
     according to the orders which they shall receive from them, and
     which orders they shall send officers or messengers to request,
     immediately after the signature of the present capitulation. The
     Polish and other officers shall give each his word of honour in
     writing not to serve against the allied powers till his perfect
     exchange, conformably to the explanation given by Art. V.

     ART. VII. All prisoners, of whatever nation they may be, who
     belong to the powers at war with France, and who are at present
     in Dantzic, shall be set at liberty without exchange, and sent
     to the Russian advanced posts by the gate Peters-Hagen, on the
     morning of the 12th of December, 1813.

     ART VIII. The sick and wounded belonging to the garrison shall
     be treated in the same manner, and with the same care as those of
     the allied powers; they shall be sent back to France after their
     perfect recovery, under the same conditions as the rest of the
     troops forming the garrison of Dantzic. A commissary of war, and
     medical officers shall be left with these invalids to attend to
     them and to claim their removal.

     ART. IX. As soon as a certain number of individuals belonging to
     the troops of the allied powers shall have been exchanged for an
     equal number of individuals belonging to the garrison of Dantzic,
     then the latter may consider themselves free from their preceding
     engagement, contracted formally in Art. IV. of the present

     ART. X. The troops of the garrison of Dantzic, with the exception
     of those who, according to the terms of Art. VI. are to receive
     orders from their sovereigns, shall proceed by ordinary marches
     in four columns, at two days march distance one from the other,
     and according to the route annexed, and shall be escorted to the
     advanced posts of the French army. The garrison of Dantzic shall
     be supplied on its march according to the statement annexed. The
     1st column shall begin its march the 2d Jan. 1814; the 2d on the
     4th Jan. and so on.

     ART. XI. All Frenchmen being non-combatants, and not in the
     service of the army, may follow, if they think fit, the troops
     of the garrison; but they cannot claim the rations fixed for
     the soldiery: they are, moreover, at liberty to dispose of the
     property which may be recognized as belonging to them.

     ART. XII. On the 12th December, 1813, shall be delivered up
     to the commissioner appointed by the besieging army, all the
     cannon, mortars, &c. &c., arms, military stores, plans, drawings,
     sketches, the military chests, all the magazines of every
     description, the pontoons, all effects belonging to the engineer
     corps, to the marine, to the artillery, to the train, to the
     waggon department, &c. &c. without any exception; and a duplicate
     inventory shall be made of them, which shall be forwarded to the
     chief of the staff of the combined army.

     ART. XIII. The generals, officers of the staff, and other
     officers, shall retain their baggage, and the horses they are
     entitled to under the regulations of the French army, and shall
     receive the necessary forage during their march.

     ART. XIV. All details respecting the means of conveyance to be
     furnished, whether for the sick and wounded, or for the corps and
     officers, shall be regulated by the heads of the staff of the two

     ART. XV. There shall be reserved to the senate of Dantzic, the
     right of urging on the Emperor Napoleon all its rights to the
     liquidation of such debts as may exist on any part, and his
     Excellency the governor engages to give those to whom the debts
     have been contracted, acknowledgments certifying the justice of
     their claims, but under no pretext shall hostages be retained on
     account of these debts.

     ART. XVI. Hostilities of all kinds shall cease on both sides from
     the signature of the present treaty.

     ART. XVII. Every article on which a doubt may arise shall always
     be interpreted in favour of the garrison.

     ART. XVIII. Four exact copies of the present capitulation shall
     be made, two in the Russian, and two in the French language, to
     be transmitted in duplicate to the two Generals-in-chief.

     ART. XIX. After the signature of these official documents the
     governor, General Count Rapp, shall be at liberty to send a
     courier to his government; he shall be accompanied to the
     advanced posts of the French army by a Russian officer.

     Done and agreed to at Langfuhr, this 29th of November, 1813.


     The General of Division Count HEUDELET, General d'HERICOURT,
     Colonel RICHEMONT, Lieutenant-General Chevalier BOROZDIN,
     Major-General WELLJAMINOFF, in quality of Head of the Staff, the
     Colonel of Engineers MANFREDI, Colonel of Engineers PULLET.

                               Seen and approved,

                                        COUNT RAPP.

     _Letter from the Duke of Wurtemberg to General Rapp._

     _From my head-quarters at Pelouken, December 23, 1813._
     _11 o'clock at night._


     I am bound to inform you that I have just received a despatch
     from his Imperial Majesty, which acquaints me, that the
     capitulation concluded between your Excellency and myself has
     been approved by the Emperor; excepting the part which concerns
     the return of the garrison to France. Although it does not belong
     to me to examine whether an apprehension lest the garrison of
     Dantzic might be forced, like that of Thorn, to resume active
     service before it should be perfectly exchanged, and after it
     should have passed the Rhine, may have had its weight, I am
     nevertheless obliged to acquaint your Excellency with the precise
     will of his Majesty, being at the same time persuaded that none
     of the Generals or Officers, forming part of the brave garrison
     of Dantzic, would permit themselves in any case to be wanting
     to their engagements, of which I myself would be willingly the
     guarantee. His Majesty has also formally authorized me to declare
     to you, General, that the garrison shall not be sent into the
     distant provinces of Russia, if your Excellency gives up the
     fortress without further injury, according to the terms of the
     capitulation. You may choose for your particular abode and for
     that of the Generals and Officers, any one of the towns of Revel,
     Pleskow, Zaliega and Orel, to remain there till the garrison is
     exchanged. Besides, it is understood of itself, that the Generals
     and Officers will preserve all the advantages which have been
     secured to them under the capitulation. As to what concerns the
     Polish troops who are at present in Dantzic, the pleasure of his
     Majesty is, that they be sent quietly to their homes on quitting
     the fortress, and in like manner the German troops.

     I must believe, General, that your Excellency certainly will not
     hesitate to consent to these arrangements, since it is to be
     believed that the war will not last a year, and then every one
     will immediately return to his own country; and I am so much the
     more persuaded that your Excellency will take this determination,
     because in the opposite case I should not be able to spare you,
     or your garrison, any of the inevitable rigours which a perfectly
     useless resistance would carry in its train, the infallible
     consequence of which would be transportation of the garrison
     to the most distant provinces of the Russian empire, without
     the possibility of their enjoying the least of those advantages
     which are now perfectly secured to them; together with all the
     conveniences necessary for the route stipulated for in the

     If, however, your Excellency, contrary to all expectation,
     should take a determination as unexpected as prejudicial to
     the interests of the garrison, I will then restore to you, the
     day after to-morrow, Saturday, at noon, all the works which
     have been surrendered to the besieging army, except the fort of
     Neufahrwasser, since the supreme will of his Majesty is that your
     Excellency should previously send out of the fortress all the
     German troops at present in Dantzic with their arms and baggage,
     as the Confederation of the Rhine exists no longer, and all the
     states which composed it have become our allies; and in this
     case Neufahrwasser also shall be given up to you immediately and
     without the smallest difficulty. I will send also to Dantzic
     by the gate of Oliwa, all the stragglers as soon as they shall
     have returned; and in the event in question, hostilities shall
     recommence the day after they are given up, at nine o'clock in
     the morning.

                              (Signed)      The Duke of WURTEMBERG.

     P. S. I beg your Excellency to be so good as to let me have your
     answer to-morrow morning. If General Heudelet or any other of
     the Generals were sent to my head-quarters, it would infinitely
     facilitate the conclusion of an affair which may terminate to
     your satisfaction.

     I have written on this subject to his Majesty by a Courier.


     MY LORD,

     I made a capitulation with your Royal Highness:—to-day you
     announce to me that, without having any respect for it, the
     Emperor Alexander orders that the garrison of Dantzic shall be
     sent into Russia as prisoners of war, instead of returning to

     The 10th Corps d'Armée leaves it to Europe, to history, to
     posterity, to decide on so extraordinary an infraction of the
     faith of treaties, against which I solemnly protest.

     In consequence of these sacred principles, I have the honour to
     inform your Royal Highness that, holding strictly to the text of
     a capitulation, which I must not consider as annihilated because
     it is violated, I will execute it punctually; and that I am ready
     this very day to give up to the troops of your Highness, the
     forts of Weichselmunde, Napoleon, and the Holm, as well as all
     the magazines, and to leave the fortress with my garrison on the
     1st of January next.

     At that period, force, and the abuse of power, may drag us to
     Russia, to Siberia, or wherever they please. We shall submit to
     suffer, to die even if it be necessary, victims of our confidence
     in a solemn treaty. The Emperor Napoleon and France are powerful
     enough, sooner or later, to avenge us.

     In this state of things, my Lord, there remains no arrangement
     for me to make with your Royal Highness; referring myself
     entirely to the capitulation of the 29th of November, which, I
     repeat, may be infringed, but cannot be annihilated.

                              (Signed,)      COUNT RAPP.

     _Dantzic, December 23, 1813._

     _Letter from Count Rapp to the Duke of Wurtemberg._

     MY LORD,

     My aide-de-camp delivered to me yesterday the letter which your
     Royal Highness has done me the honour to address to me.

     By your return of the letter which you received from me, I
     imagine your Royal Highness imputes to me exasperated feelings.
     Your Highness does not render me justice: I have been a soldier
     twenty-two years; I am habituated to good and to evil fortune.

     Your Highness does me the honour to say, that it was quite to
     be expected that the Emperor Alexander should have the power
     of ratifying, or not ratifying, the capitulation. Either your
     Highness was furnished with full powers or you were not; under
     the last supposition my conduct would have been very different
     from what it has been.

     Marshal Kalkreuth, after a very short defence, obtained a very
     honourable capitulation. I even recollect that the Emperor
     Napoleon, who was not twenty leagues from the fortress, was
     dissatisfied with it, but he would not put his commander-in-chief
     in an unpleasant position by annulling the capitulation. It was
     impossible to perform it with more fidelity and delicacy than
     it was executed with, by Marshal Lefebvre and myself. Marshal
     Kalkreuth is still living, and has preserved the remembrance
     of our proceedings. There are Prussian officers at your
     head-quarters who can also bear witness to them.

     Your Highness does me the honour to say that his Majesty orders
     that all things shall be put upon their previous footing, if I
     wish to recommence hostilities. Your Highness knows perfectly
     well that the advantages were at the time of entering on the
     capitulation on our side, for you had constantly made us offers
     which you pretended to be favourable; you know that now it is
     quite the contrary: this assertion stands in no need of proofs.

     Besides, my Lord, it is you who have always proposed to me
     to enter into an arrangement to stop the effusion of blood;
     offering, as the fundamental condition, our return to France. The
     correspondence of your Highness attests this fact.

     Your Highness knows well in what situation we are placed, and
     that it is altogether impossible, in all respects, to prolong our
     defence. The choice which you leave me becomes perfectly illusory.

     I pray your Highness to cause to be occupied to-day
     Weichselmunde, the Holm, and the intermediate works. I have only
     left in them small detachments to prevent waste. I desire also
     that your Highness will send commissaries to receive inventories
     of our magazines of all kinds. I attach importance to this, that
     there may be no complaints, and that we may not be reproached
     with having deteriorated any thing; not in the fear of going to
     Russia with fewer conveniences, which your Highness insists on
     in your letter, but through the desire of religiously fulfilling
     all my engagements.

     I have the honour again to declare to your Highness, that
     the garrison of Dantzic will leave the fortress on the 1st
     of January, in the morning, in execution of Art. I. of the
     capitulation of November 29; to which I entirely adhere, and
     to which it is quite useless to add any other arrangement.
     Circumstances will, after the evacuation, place us entirely at
     the disposal of your Highness.

                              I have the honour, &c.

                                        COUNT RAPP.


     _December 26, 1813._

     MY LORD,

     General Manfredi has delivered to me your Royal Highness's letter
     of yesterday, the 25th instant. Having had already the honour to
     treat with you on the first articles of this letter, the last is
     the only one that seems to require an answer. Your Royal Highness
     declares to me that you cannot allow me to leave Dantzic without
     a previous arrangement. On my part, thinking it impossible to
     open again the capitulation of November 29, approved of by your
     Royal Highness and by me, I have the honour to declare that,
     having no means of prolonging my defence, I put myself from the
     31st of December at your disposal, together with the troops under
     my orders. This arrangement, my Lord, is very simple: it is for
     your Royal Highness to regulate the fate of the garrison.

     I content myself with recommending to your generosity, the
     soldiers, especially those who, by their infirmities and wounds,
     more particularly claim my solicitude.

     I recommend to you also the non-combatants, the women, the
     children, and the Frenchmen, resident in Dantzic.

                              (Signed,)      COUNT RAPP.




  │ Transcriber's Note:                                               │
  │                                                                   │
  │ The original spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation have been     │
  │ retained, with the exception of apparent typographical errors     │
  │ which have been corrected.                                        │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.             │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters,          │
  │ _like this_.                                                      │
  │                                                                   │
  │ Errors corrected:                                                 │
  │   Charlottemberg (p. iii) and Charlottemburgh (pp. 96, 98)        │
  │     changed to Charlottenburg.                                    │
  │   Wittemberg (p. 90) changed to Wittenberg.                       │
  │   Cremen (p. 102) changed to Bremen.                              │
  │   Konigsberg (pp. iv, 162, 168, 218) changed to Kœnigsberg.       │
  │   Saint-Albretch (p. 324) changed to Saint-Albrecht               │
  │   Weljaminoff (p. 423) changed to Welljaminoff.                   │

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