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in the art of war, his inspiration. than the enemy, but by nightfall I have a suspicion, moreover, that he was in greater force near Lützen my earliest acquaintance with the than they. The opposing forces remonarch was through the ci-devant mained till next day on the field; Ritt-meister; for I fell, while of and during the night the cavalry of tender age, among tales and legends, the Allies made an incursion on the and think that my historical reading weary French, by which the Emcan have extended little, if at all, peror was nearly captured. In the beyond the outlines of English his- morning the Allies, finding themtory, when I made acquaintance selves overmatched, retreated, withwith many a romancer's dreams. out being molested. The war was That by the way. Round this spot transferred to the Elbe, and the it seems that Napoleon's guard plains of Leipzig were left in peace bivouacked on the night of May 1, until October, when they heard the 1813, his army being then on its sound of cannon again. march to the Elbe, by Leipzig. The Lützen is properly described as Allied army were at this time close one of the most brilliant of Napoto his line of advance, and medi- leon's victories; and this because tating a stroke which he little ex- it was his generalship alone which pected. Having contrived to con- prevented it from being a defeat. ceal their position from him till next He, being in a great strait, by a day, they, soon after noon, fell upon wonderful intuition penetrated the his extended columns in a very enemy's plan, brought up all the masterly way, taking him by sur- force which he had in hand to make prise and at great disadvantage. If good the key of his position, and the execution of their attack could contrived to hold his ground until have equalled its conception, they more of his divisions, arriving from would have then and there finished distant points, made him of superior the campaign. But the valour and strength to the Allies, and the latter steadiness of the French troops, and found it necessary to retreat. But the skill of the French Emperor, though his abilities thus saved him were sufficient to ward off a disaster from disaster, the affair reflected which at one time was imminent. little credit on his prudence, and The villages of Great and Little showed that he was no longer to Görschen, of Kaja, Rahno, and Eis- have the initiative in war as of old. dorf, all a little to the south of Lüt- The action was planned by the zen, were held by the French with Allies, not by him. They lay for extreme tenacity and valour, or, if many hours quite close to his line lost for a time, were recovered again of march without his knowledge of by desperate efforts. Had these their design or of their exact posilittle points of vantage been lost, tion. They assailed him when his and the French been forced past divisions, being on the march, were them on to the open plain, the Cos- extended over thirty miles of counsacks and other splendid cavalry (in try from Weissenfels to Leipzig; which the Allies were rich) would and they went very near, indeed, speedily have wrought complete de- to cutting his army in two. His struction, for the French were weak victory was nothing like those in that arm. As it was, the villages, stunning overthrows by which he by supreme efforts, were held until had once been accustomed to paraNapoleon could in some sort concen- lyse his foes. The Allies retired trate his army on the point where he fighting, without the least disorder, was attacked. He lost more men and without the loss of a gun or a waggon, and Napoleon did not at plains around Leipzig, his chance of once pursue them. He had lost the retreat to the Rhine without ruinous power of controlling the campaign damage hanging on the issue of a and of driving his adversary before battle wherein his troops would be him, either because his qualities and matched against equal numbers, a his troops had deteriorated, or be- far stronger cavalry, and an opposcause his opponents had gained a ing force whose physical and moral new proficiency in the art of war. condition was superior to theirs : But the more that he ought to have and yet, standing in this jeopardy, been impressed by these considera- his mind was set upon aggression tions, the more incautious and wilful and vengeance, and making the did he become. He was possessed nobles of Prussia beg their bread ! by the idea of punishing Prussia So have I seen an old mastiff whose for joining Russia. He blustered teeth had been ground down by most unadvisedly about destroying work and time unable to compreBerlin, and making Frederick Wil hend that he was no longer the liam's realm a desert; and while champion that he had been, and he was uttering threats like these, challenging and fighting with the calculated to excite war to the knife avidity of old days, but getting against him if anything could do so, only defeats from younger and he was endeavouring to detach better-armed foes. separate States from the alliance It was during the months which which frowned so darkly on his for- elapsed between the two battles tunes. He should have forborne of Lützen and Leipzig fought by to threaten, or else saved himself Napoleon on these plains, that the the trouble of negotiating.
poet Körner was brought by stealth But all lessons, as we know, were wounded into the latter town. His lost upon him ; and although he regiment had been treacherously did not cease to win battles, he attacked by the French during an ceased to win decisive ones, and his armistice, and he, unarmed, had fortunes steadily deteriorated. Bad been cut down. It was a dannews came from Spain and Germany; gerous act then to harbour a soldier and at length Austria, feeling that of the Allied armies in a Saxon he had fallen low enough to warrant town; nevertheless, a humane and her in bazarding another stroke for patriotic medical man in the suburbs independence, threw her sword into of Leipzig received Körner into his the scale against him. His old house, and attended to him until renown, and the dread which he had he recovered. The poet then reuniversally inspired, would have turned to his regiment, and served enabled him at any time in this but a short time longer before he summer to make reasonable terms, received another and a fatal wound, by which he would have gained time He was slain during the unsuccessto reorganise his power, if he could ful attack made by the Allied army gain nothing else. But opportunity on Dresden in August. after opportunity was lost; nego- In the last-named city, before tiation after negotiation came to the grammar-school in the Georgsnought; he was even mad enough Platz, stands his statue, wherein to personally insult Prince Metter- the artist has endeavoured to glorify nich at a time when the retention the poet and the soldier; and so, in of the Austrian alliance was of the my opinion, has produced an unutmost moment to him; and the satisfactory effect. A military poet autumn saw him once more on the does not usually take his MS. with him when he charges the enemy, the conquerors, or a large portion nor wear his panoply when he is of them, back for some days, and composing or reciting his verses. materially retarded the pursuit. But our sculptured Körner, grasp- The Leipzigers have taken pains ing his sword with one hand—and to mark by a column each of the a warlike figure in all respects but principal points in the battles, so one, carries a literary roll in the that a stranger, after a short survey other hand. The statuary in one of the ground, finds his compreeffort can seize but a single epoch hension of the awful struggle pretty in the life of a man, and should clear, if he happens to have read a confine himself to that. Körner good account of the order of events. never immortalised himself as a The great plain of Leipzig exsoldier; and though he fell bravely tends in every direction from the fighting, as hundreds of other Ger- town as far as the eye can reach, mans did, he did not by that means Except by the rivers that flow earn his statue. The homage is through it, it is very little broken undoubtedly paid to the memory even in these days of railways and of the patriotic poet, and it would quarries. In 1813, it was probably, have been well, I think, if Herr in a general sense, unbroken ; and Hähnel had remembered this, and the fullest advantage was in that spared us the spurs and other year taken of its extent for fightarticles of war.
ing purposes ; for round the town, I think that it is supposed by there was not a point of the commost of those who have written of pass where the battle of 16th_to the battle of Leipzig that the town 19th October did not reach. The at the time of the battle was forti- principal struggle—where the genfied. This is a mistake. It was erals-in-chief on both sides were in the days of the Seven Years' War present, and where the great body surrounded by a continuous enceinte, of the forces was engaged-occurstrengthened by some outworks; red to the south-east of Leipzig on but immediately after that war thé the 16th and 18th. To the northlevelling of the ramparts com- east, Marshal Ney opposed Blucher's menced. They were removed very and Bernadotte's corps. The Allied gradually, the last curtain—that in forces, as the victory inclined to front of Schiller Strasse—having their side, extended towards each disappeared before the middle of other, and finally touched, thus the present century. Therefore, in stretching over more than a half1813 Leipzig was not fortified in circle from north-west to souththe sense of being in a condition to west by the east. On the west, by stand a siege. Any town may be Lindenau, a corps of Austrians defended by street and house fight- ceaselessly endeavoured to drive ing, and this was the sort of re- General Bertrand's corps off the sistance that was made to the Allied main road to Erfurth.
Thus was forces when they broke into Leipzig Leipzig literally “encompassed with on the 19th October. No doubt armies." It is impossible to conthe portions of the old cnceinte ceive that “glorious war," as and outworks then existing helped spectacle, could be more grandly the French rearguard a little in presented ; and if there were in their resistance; but the whole Leipzig at the time any spectator assault was an affair of only an whose affections and possessions hour or two. If the walls had been were untouched by the war, continuous they might have kept must have enjoyed scenes of un
he the prey ?
equalled magnificence on those efforts, and incline him to treat on autumn days.
terms favourable to the French. A
tremendous action had been fought; “By heaven ! it is a splendid sight to see, Napoleon's position was worse than (For one who hath no friend, no brother there),
it had been before ; he knew that Their rival scarfs of mixed embroidery, reinforcements for the enemy were Their various arms that glitter in the at hand, and yet he would decide
air ! What gallant war - hounds rouse them neither to retreat nor to make profrom their lair,
vision for his retreat on a future And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for day. It is so difficult to perceive
on what reasonable expectation, or All join the chase, but few the triumph
even on what chance, of advantage share ; The Grave shall bear the chiefest prize he resolved to fight again in front away,
of Leipzig, that we are compelled And Havoc scarce for joy can number to ascribe the second battle to mere
pride and wilfulness. Undoubtedly Spite of the magnitude and ex- the same kind of obstinacy had tent of the order of battle, you succeeded with Napoleon many realise its general features very times before, but those times were readily. There is a village about very different from 1813.
His four miles to the south-east, named method of making war took EuLiebervolkwitz, which represents rope by surprise in his early days ; about the centre of the French posi- his own abilities, and the fighting tion of the 16th. An arc drawn condition of his troops, were through this village, with Leipzig superior to what was to be found as a centre, and extending from the on the other side, that he might river on the right, to the ground in always be said to have a fair chance front of Halzhausen village on the of success even when things apleft, would pass through the posi- parently were against him. His tion of the troops handled by justification, then, for running great Napoleon in person. Of course, hazards was in his undoubted moral the position of the Allies fronted superiority. But things were sadly this. It was about the villages changed now.
The Allied army right and left of Liebervolkwitz was certainly commanded with as that the tremendous struggles took much ability as the French ; the place which make up the first day's Allies were encouraged to renewed battle of Leipzig, so far as the main exertions by the glorious impression armies were concerned. Napoleon's which they had made on the foe position from which he ordered the on the 16th ; they were provisioned battle on that day, is marked by a by a proper commissariat, properly pillar south-west of the village of sheltered in their camp, and wantProbstheida; and Probstheida ised for nothing that soldiers in the almost on the straight line, and field can have ; while the French, about half-way, between Leipzig having plundered and devoured all and Liebervolkwitz.
the goods and victual of Leipzig Furious as it was, the struggle and the surrounding country, and of the 16th was indecisive, and a having no magazine of their own drawn battle was to Napoleon as within reach to draw upon, could bad as a defeat ; for the object to turn the day's rest which they got be gained by fighting at all was to on the 17th to small account. deliver a blow that might seriously Buonaparte was certainly demented discomfit the enemy, paralyse his and devoted to destruction. He might yet have shown a sufficient his position, and brought the war front to make good his retreat close to the suburbs. Such a din with what was left to him. But of battle, such a pounding of firehe chose to risk everything upon arms as Leipzig heard next day, had the bare chance of beating to- never been heard in the world before. morrow that enemy to whom he A spectator inside it-let him look had yielded ground yesterday-an which way he might from a steeple, enemy in many ways strengthened monument, or point of vantage-saw since then; and he paid dearly for embattled hosts in deadly strife. his choice !
From nine in the morning until the The main armies did not engage fall of night the carnage continued. on the 17th ; and one may suppose, The whole of Napoleon's action in not unreasonably, that both sides this encounter may be described as were willing enough to take a little vainly beating himself to pieces breathing-time after theirexertionsof against a foe as obstinate and as the day before. The reasons respec- wary as himself, and in far better tively assigned for the pause are, on fighting trim than he was. In vain the part of the French Emperor, that he launched his masses of men on he hoped for an answer to proposals point after point of the enemy's line, which he had made to Austria the endeavouring to break it. He yielded night before, tempting her to with- rather than gained ground; and the draw from the alliance ; on the part firmness and superiority of the Allies of the Allies, that their reinforce- were so marked, that the Saxons and ments, which they knew to be at Würtemburgers who, against their hand, did not come up till after- inclinations, had been combating noon of the 17th, when it was too on the French side, went over on the late to begin fighting. There was a field to the other, and turned their severe cavalry combat away to the arms against him. north-east on the 17th ; but, except After a time it became so certain for this, it was a day of comparative that the day must end in the retreat, rest. Napoleon used it to distribute or attempted retreat, of the French, his troops in a fresh position. He that Schwarzenberg, the generaliscontracted his arc of defence, draw- simo of the Allied forces, got his men ing his forces nearer to Leipzig, and on the great field south-east of Leipmade all the preparation in his zig as much as possible into shelter, power for the mortal agony of the protecting them by a furious and 18th. Probstheida, which had before most powerful cannonade. The fire been his own station in rear of of the guns was sufficient to baffle his army, he now made his most the desperate attacks which Napoadvanced point of defence. His leon still persisted in making, for right, still resting on the river, was the Allied artillery was now superior at Connewitz; but his left was able to his both in numbers and position. to stretch further north than before, And he was soon obliged to direct being formed on the circumference his attention to a part of the field of a smaller circle. Thus he covered farther north, where his troops were Leipzig and his only way of retreat being forced back almost to the gates more effectually. His own station of Leipzig. Though the fighting with his reserves was at the tobacco- was most desperate in this northern mill on the Thonberg. It is now direction, nothing that the French marked by a pillar, the mill having Emperor could do sufficed to check been removed. He had yielded two the enemy; and when night fell, miles of ground in thus changing his position had become quite un