페이지 이미지
PDF

glorious day for the Emperor and the Prussian arms.

The MARshal Duke of TARENTUM.

Thirteenth Bulletin of the Grand Army.— Smolensko, Aug. 21.

It appears that in the battle of Mohilow gained over Prince Bagration on the 23d July, the loss of the enemy has been considerable; we here give the Report of the Prince of Eckmuhl respecting this affair. The Duke of Tarente found 20 pieces of cannon in Dunabourg, in place of 8, as had been announced; he obliged, several ships laden with more than 40,000 bombs, and other projectiles to retire—an immense quantity of ammunition was destroyed by the enemy. The ignorance of the Russians in constructing fortifications is apparent in the works of Dunabourg and Drissa; His Majesty gave the command of his right to the Prince of Schwartzenburg, by placing under his orders the 2d corps. This Prince marched against General Tormasow; met and defeated him on the 12th ; he pays the highest compliments to the Saxon and Austrian troops: the Prince Schwartzenburg shewed in these circumstances equal activity. The Emperor has requested promotion and rewards for the Officers of his Corps d'armee who have distinguished themselves. On the 8th, the Grand Army was placed in the following manner. The Prince Vice Roi was at Souria with the 4th corps, his advanced guards occupying Vilys, Ousveath and Potulsop. The King of Naples was at Mkoulmo, his cavalry occupied Lukovo. —Marshal the Duke of Echingen, Commandant of the 3d corps, was at Loozna. Marshal the Prince of Echmuhl, Commandant of the 1st corps, was at Doubrouva. The 5th corps, commanded by the Prince Poniatowski, was at Mohilow. —The head-quarters were at Witepsk. The 2d corps, commanded by the Duke of Reggio, was upon the Drissa. The 10th corps, commanded by the Duke of Tarente, was upon Dunabourg and Riga. —On the 8th 12,000 of the enemy's cavalry marched upon Inkovo, and attacked General Count Sebastiani's division, which for half a league was obliged to fight retreating all the day, suffering and causing equal loss to the enemy. A company of voltigeurs of the 24th Regiment of light infantry, forming a part of a battalion of that regiment which had been confided to the cavalry to maintain a position in the

wood, was taken.

z [406 We had about 200: killed and wounded; the enemy may have lost the same number of men. On the 12th the enemy's army, having united at Smolensko, marched by different points with equal slowness and hesitation upon Boreitch and Nadra. The Prince of Eckmuhl collected all his troops in order to march against the enemy and take possession of Smolensko, by proceeding thither by the other side of the Borysthene. The King of Naples and Duke of Elchingen set out from Liozna and marched upon the Borysthene, near to the embouchier of Berezina, opposite Khomeno, where on the night between the 13th and 14th they threw two bridges over the Borysthene. The Viceroy set out from Soniaj, and marched by Janovitshi and Lienvawitsch to Rasasna, where he arrived on the 14th. General Count Crouchy collected the 3d corps of cavalry at Rasasna, on the 12th. The Prince of Eckmuhl collected all his corps at Doubrowna, on the 13th. General Count Eble threw three bridges over Rasasna, on the 13th. The head-quarters set out on the 13th from Witepsk, and arrived at Rasasna on the 13th. Prince Poniatowski set out from Mohilow, and on the 13th arrived at Romanzo. On the 14th, at break of day, General Grouchy marched upon Leaobri, chased two regiments of Cossacks from it, and there found the corps of General Count Nansouty. The same day the King of Naples, supported by the Duke of Elchingen, arrived at Krasnoi. The 27th enemy's division, consisting of 5,000 infantry, supported by 2,000 cavalry and 12 pieces of cannon, was in a position before that town: it was attacked and forced in an instant by the Duke of Elchingen. The 24th regiment of light infantry attacked the small town of Krasnoi with the bayonet, with great intrepidity: the cavalry executed some admirable charges. Baron Bordesoult, General of Division, and the 3d regiment of chasseurs, distinguished themselves. The taking of eight pieces of cannon, 14 caissons, 1,500 prisoners, with a field covered with more than 1,000 Russian corpses, were the advantages of the battle of Krasnoi, in which the Russian divisionconsisting of 5,000 men, suffered a loss of half its number. His Majesty, on the 15th, had his head quarters at Kovonitnia. —On the 16th, in the morning, the heights of Smolensko were commanded.

The town presented to our view an en closure of walls of 4,000 toises, ten feet thick and 25 high, intersected with towers, several of which were armed with cannon of a heavy caliber. Upon the right of the Borysthene, we perceived and knew that the enemy faced about, and hastily retraced their steps to defend Smolensko. We knew that the enemy's Generals had received reiterated orders to give battle and save Smolensko. The Emperor reconnoitred the town, and placed his army in its position on the day of the 16th. The Marshal Duke of Elchingen had the left, bearing on the Borysthene; the Prince of Eckmuhl, the centre; Prince Poniatowski, the right; the guard was placed in reserve in the centre; the Viceroy, in reserve on the right, and the cavalry, under the orders of the King of Naples, at the extremity of the right; the Duke of Abrantes, with the 8th corps, lost their way and had made a false movement. The 16th and half of the 17th was passed in observation. A fire of musquetry was kept up along the line. The enemy occupied Smolensko with 30,000 men, and the remainder of their army was formed upon the fine positions upon the right bank of that river opposite to the town, and communicating by three bridges. Smolensko is considered as a strong town by the Russians, and the Bulwark of Moscow. On the 17th at two in the afternoon, seeing that the enemy had not debouched; that they were fortifying themselves in Smolensko, and that they refused battle, notwithstanding the orders they had received, and the fine positions they might have taken, their right upon Smolensko, and their left upon the course of the Borysthene, the enemy's General wanting resolution, the Fmperor marched upon the right, and ordered Prince Poniatowski to change his front, the right in advance, and to place his right to the Borysthene, occupying one of the suburbs by posts and batteries to destroy the bridge, and interrupt the communication of the town with the right bank. —During this time the Prince of Eckmuhl received orders to attack two of the suburbs, which the enemy had entrenched, at 200 toises distance from the town, and which were each defended by 7 or 8,000 men, and heavy cannon. General Count Friant had orders to complete the investment, in leaning his right towards Prince Poniatowski's corps, and his left to the right of the attack made by the Prince of Eckmuhl. At two in the afternoon, Count Bruyere's division of cavalry, after having driven away the Cos

[ocr errors]

sacks' and enemy's cavalry, approached the bridge highest up the river; a battery of 10 pieces of artillery was established upon this ground, and fired with grape shot upon that part of the enemy's army which was upon the right bank of the river, and quickly obliged the Russian masses of infantry to evacuate that position. The enemy then placed two batteries, of 20 pieces of cannon, in a convent, to annoy the battery which played upon the bridge. The prince of Eckmuhl intrusted the attack of the right suburbs to Count Morand, and that of the left to General Count Guden. At three the cannonade commenced; at half past four a very brisk fire of musketry began, and at five the divisions of Morand and Gudin carried the intrenched enemy's suburbs, with a cool and rare intrepidity, and pursued them to the covered way, which was covered with Russian dead. Upon our left the Duke of Elchingen attacked the position which the enemy had without the town, seized upon it, and pursued the enemy to the glacis. At five o'clock the communication of the town with the right bank became dif

ficult, and could only be accounplished by

isolated men. Three batteries of breaching, 12 pounders, were placed against the walls at six in the evening; one by Friant's division, and the two others by Morand and Guden's divisions. We drove the enemy from all the town by howitzers, which played upon them. The General of artillery, Count Sorbier, rendered the occupation of the covered way by the enemy impossible, by two enfiladed batteries. Nevertheless the enemy, who from two in the afternoon perceived we had serious intentions against the town, sent two divisions and two regiments of infantry of the Guard, to reinforce the four divisions which were in the town. These united forces composed half of the Russian army. The battle continued the whole night; three breaching batteries played with the utmost activity. Two companies of miners were attached to the ramparts. The town was now on fire in the middle of a fine August night. Smolensko offered the French a spectacle similar to that which an eruption of Vesuvius presents to the inhabitants of Naples. An hour after midnight the enemy abandoned the town, and retired across the river. At two o'clock the grenadiers who first led to the attack, no longer found resistance; the place was evacuated; 200 pieces of cannon and one of the first towns in Russia were in our power, and that, too, in sight of the whole Russian army. The combat of Smolensko, which we might justly term a battle, an hundred thousand men having been engaged on the different sides, caused the Russians a loss of 4,700 men left dead on the field of battle, of 2,000 prisoners, the greater part of which are wounded, and of 7 to 8,000 wounded. Amongst the dead were found five Russian Generals. Our loss amounts to 700 killed and 3,100 or 3,200 wounded. The General of Brigade, Grabouski, was killed, and the Generals of Brigade, Grandeau and Dalton, wounded. All the troops have rivalled each other in intrepidity. The field of battle has offered to the view of 200,000 persons, who can attest it, the sight of one French corpse laying upon the dead bodies of seven or eight Russians, meanwhile the Russians were protected by the musketry fire from their trenches during a part of the days of the 16th and 17th. On the 18th, we established the bridges over the Borysthene which the enemy had burnt, but did not succeed in quenching the fire which consumed the town until the day of the 18th, the French sappers having worked with great activity. The houses in the city were filled with Russians, dead and dying. Of twelve divisions which composed the Grand Russian Army, two divisions have been broken and defeated in the combats of Ostrowna; two have met with the same fate in the battle of Mohilow ; and six in the battle of Smolensko. They have only two divisions of the Guards which remain entire. The deeds of bravery which reflect honour on the army, and which have distinguished such numbers of soldiers in the battle of Smolensko, shall be the subject of a particular report. Never has the French army shewn greater intrepidity than in this campaign.

Fourteenth Bulletin of the Grand Army. Smolensko, Aug. 23.

Smolensko may be considered as one of the finest cities of Russia. Had it not been for the circumstances of the war, which has carried thither the fire, and consumed immense magazines of colonial merchandise and goods of all kinds, this city would have been a grand resource for the army. ... Even in its present state it may be of the greatest utility in point of a military view. There are still large houses remaining, which offer fine places for the establishment of hospitals.-The province

of Smolensko is very fine and very fertile, and furnished with great resources, for subsistence and forage. The Russians intended, according to the events of the war, to raise a Militia of Peasant Slaves, whom they have armed with bad pikes. They had already united about 5,000 of them at this place ; it was an object of raillery and derision even to the Russian army itself. They had already stated as the Order of the Day, that Smolensko was to be the grave of the French, and that although it had been deemed convenient to evacuate Poland, yet it was necessary to give battle at Smolensko, to prevent this barrier of Russia from falling into our hands. The Cathedral of Smolensko is one of the most celebrated Grecian Churches in all Russia. The Episcopal Palace forms a kind of town by itself. The heat is excessive, the thermometer having risen to 26 degrees: the weather is much hotter here than in Italy.

Battle of Polotsk.

After the Battle of Drissa, the Duke of . Reggio, knowing that the enemy's General Wittgenstein had been reinforced by twelve third battalions from the garrison of Dunaburg, and willing to draw him to an engagement near the defile below Polotsk, caused the 2d and 6th corps to be arranged in order of battle below Polotsk. General Wittgenstein followed him, attacked him on the 16th and 17th, and was vigorously repulsed. The Bavarian division of De Wrede, of the 6th corps, has distinguished itself. At the moment when the Duke of Reggio was making his dispositions to profit by the victory, and to close the enemy in the defile, he was struck on the shoulder by a Biscayen. His wound, which is of a serious nature, obliged him to cause himself to be transported to Wilna, but it did not appear that he made himself in any wise unquiet concerning the consequences. The General Gouvion Saint Cyr has taken the command of the 2d and 6th corps. On the 17th, in the evening, the enemy retired through the defile. General Verdier was wounded. General Maison has been recognized as General of Division, and has succeeded him in the command of his division. Our loss is estimated at 1,000 men killed and wound

ed. The loss of the Russians is triple to ours. We have taken 500 prisoners from them. On the 18th, at four o'clock in

the afternoon, General Gouvion Saint Cyr; commanding the 2d and 6th corps, opened

on the enemy, by causing his right wing to be attacked by the Bavarian Division of Count de Wrede. The battle extended the whole length of the line, and the enemy were thrown into complete rout, and pursued for two leagues, as long as day-light permitted. Twenty picces of cannon and 1,000 prisoners have remained in the power of the French army. The Bavarian General Deroy was wounded.

Battle of Valenlina,

On the 19th, at break of day, the bridge being finished, the Marshal Duke of Elchingen crossed over to the right bank of the Borysthene, and pursued the enemy. At one league from the town he encountered the last column of the enemy's rearguard. men, stationed on fine heights.—He caused

them to be attacked with the bayonet, by

the 4th regiment of infantry of the line, and by the 72d ditto. The position was carried, and our bayonets covered the field of battle with dead: 3 or 400 prisoners fell into our hands. retired on the second column, which was posted on the heights of Valentina. The first position was carried by the 10th of the line; and towards four o'clock in the asternoon, the musketry fire was kept up against the whole of the enemy's rearguard, which presented about 15,000 men. The Duke of Abrantes had passed the Borysthene at 2 o'clock to the right of Smolensko, and he sound himself close upon the rear of the enemy; he might, therefore, by marching with his division, have intercepted the great road to Moscow, and rendered the retreat of the rear-guard disficult: but mean-time, the other columns of the enemy's army which remained to be forced, being insormed of the success, and of the rapidity of the first attack, returned back the way they came. Four divisions then advanced to support their rear-guard, and among others the divisions of grenadiers, which, until now, had not come forward, 5 or 6,000 men, cavalry, formed their right, whilst their left was covered by woods, filled with Tirailleurs. It was of the greatest consequence to the enemy to keep this position as long as possible, it being a very fine one, and apparently impregnable; on our part we attached no less importance to it. Thus arose the battle of Valentina, one of the finest seats of arms in our military history. At six o'clock in the evening the division of Gudin, which

It was a division of 5 or 6,000

The flying enemy

had been sent forward to support the third corps, from the moment when we perceived the great succours that the enemy had sent to his rear guard, pushed forward a column on the centre of the enemy's position, supported by the division of General Ledru. After an hour's combat our troops forced the position. General Count Gudin arriving with his division, was, at the commencement of the action, struck by a bullet, which carried off his thigh; he died gloriously. This loss was sensibly felt. General Gudin was one of the most distinguished officers in the army; he was estimable for his moral qualities, as much as for his bravery and intrepidity. General Gerard has taken the command of the division. We reckon that the enemy have had eight Generals killed or wounded : one of their Generals is taken prisoner. On the following day the Emperor distributed recompenses on the field of battle to all the regiments which had distinguished themselves, and as the 127th, which is a new regiment, had behaved itself well, . His Majesty granted this regiment the right of carrying an eagle, a privilege it had not before enjoyed, never having until this time been present in any battle. These recompenses, given on the field of battle in the midst of the dead, the dying, the wounded, and the trophies of victory, alforded a spectacle truly military and imposing. The enemy, after this battle, has precipitated his retreat in such a manner that on the day of the 20th our troops marched 20 leagues without being able to find the Cossacks, and every where picking up the wounded and the stragglers. Our loss in the battle of Valentina has been 600 killed and 2,600 wounded., That of the enemy, as the field of battle shews, is triple. We have taken 1,000 prisoners, mostly wounded. Thus the only two Russian divisions which had not suffered by the preceding combats of Mohilow, of Ostrovno, of Krasnoi, and of Smolensko, have now done it by the battle of Valentina. All the intelligence received, confirms the account of the enemy running full drive for Moscow, and that his army has suffered much in the preceding engagements, and besides this experiences a great desertion. The Poles say to them when deserting, you have abandoned us without sighting, what right then can you have to expect from us to remain under your colours? The Russian soldiers of the provinces of Mohilow and Smolensko

likewise take advantage of the proximity of

their villages to desert, and return to repose themselves in their own countries. The division of Gudin attacked with so much intrepidity, that the enemy were persuaded it was the Imperial Guards. This is in one word to pronounce the finest eulogy on the 7th regiment of light infantry, and on the 12th, 21st, and 127th of the line who composed this division. The combat of Valentina may likewise be called a battle, as more than 80,000 men were engaged. It was at least an affair of the van-guard of the first rank. General Grouchy, who was sent with his corps on the route to Donkovichina, found all the villages filled with dead and wounded, and has taken three carriages, containing 900 wounded. The Cossacks have surprised at Leozno an hospital of 200 sick Wirtemburgh troops, which, through negligence, had not been forwarded to Witepsk. For the rest, in the midst of all these disasters, the Russians never cease to chaunt Te Deums; they convert every thing into a victory; but in spite of the ignorance and brutality of these people, this begins to appear ridiculous to them, and even too gross.

Report to the Major General.

Monseigneur, I suppose that the Duke of Reggio will have rendered your Highness an account of the day of the 17th, cr at least up to the moment when his wounds forced him to quit the field of battle; during the remainder of that day the troops continued their successes, and at nine in the evening the Russians were repulsed at every point, after having suffered the most considerable losses, having attempted, in the course of the day, six or seven attacks, which were repulsed with a bravery superior to the infatuation which brought them thither. This affair reflects the highest honour on the division of Le Grand, which was placed at the branching of the roads to Jebei and to Nevil; and on the Bavarian corps, placed on the left bank of the Polota, in the rear of the village of Spas, which the enemy was determined to retake, notwithstanding his having been driven out of it five or six times; and the 20th division, as also General De Wrede, who commanded it, have covered themselves with glory. The Bavarian General Vincenti, who is entitled to praise for the manner in which he conducted himself, was there wounded.— In the evening of that day, I felt the necessity of attacking the enemy. I took my measures for making the attack on the 18th,

at four o'clock in the afternoon. I have performed impossibilities to deceive the enemy concerning my intentions. Towards one o'clock I caused the equipage of the army, which were in the rear of Polotsk, to file off on the left bank of the Dwina, on the road to Oula. I made an appearance as if I would cause this movement to be covered and protected by the troops which Marshal the Duke of Reggio had caused to repass to the left bank. In the night between the 16th and 17th, they re-united behind Polotsk, at the rear of the equipages, the division of cuirassiers arrived there from Semeneta, and the brigade of light cavalry of General Castex, from Roudina. At three in the afternoon the column and baggage had filed in sight of the enemy, and the troops above-mentioned repassed the Dwina with the greatest part of the French artillery, and entered Polotsk. About five o'clock all the troops and artillery were in a position to ... upon the enemy without their even having observed our preparations. At five precisely all the artillery opened its fire, and our columns of infantry debouched under its protection to attack the enemy's left and centre. Wrede's division debouched to the right of the village of Spas, and attacked with great bravery and skill the enemy's left; General Deroy's division debouched by the same village of Spas; Le Grand's division on the left of that village, connecting itself by its left to Verdier's division, a brigade of which observed the enemy's right, which was placed upon the road of Gehinzeleva. Merle's division covered the front of Polotsk, and part of its rear. The enemy, though completely surprised, quite confident in their superior force and immense artillery, composed of 180 pieces, at first received our attack with infinite calmness and sang froid; but in the end, before night, their left was completely forced, and their centre totally routed, after having defended their position with much bravery and great slaughter. We should have made a very great number of prisoners, if the woods had not been so near their position. The enemy abandoned to us the field of battle, covered with an immense number of their killed, 20 pieces of cannon and 1,000 prisoners. On our side we have had some killed and wounded—among the latter are Generals Deroy and Raclovitsch, and Colonel Colonge, commanding the Ba. varian artillery. I cannot sufficiently eulogize Legrand, Wrede, Deroy, Raclo(To be continued./

« 이전계속 »