Imagens das páginas


campaign of 1816-it has never been published ; the

Emperor was still alive, and in misfortune. The auPolitical and Miscellaneous-from 1798 to 1930—Drawn from thor, a general officer, commanding a corps of the army

the Portfolio of an Officer of the Empire ; and translated in in this campaign, desired to remain faithful to the end, Paris, from the French, for the Messenger.

to the man whom he had served : he sacrificed everyTHE HUNDRED DAYS.

thing to him, even to the publication of a truth, in

which his military reputation, and that of many other The most extraordinary event in our history, the Generals were interested.* return from the island of Elba, is already 20 years

This manuscript, so far as I am concerned, has not removed; perhaps the moment has arrived for speaking been a revelation, but the confirmation of a former the truth; in any event it can injure no one. Napo- opinion; it was only the opinion I had instinctively leon is no more, and the glory attached to his name is formed, supported by facts, theoretical principles, and great enough, to allow the impartial judgment of an exact calculations. During the hundred days there epoch in his life, without injury to his immense re was nothing superhuman, nothing supernatural, but the nown. His lieutenants have, for the most part, de journey from Elba to Paris. Everything which folscended to the tomb; and the few who are still alive, lowed that event re-entered the condition of humanity. ought ardently to desire, that a light thrown on facts It is man with his passions, his weakness, his limited hitherto viewed through the medium of passion, might faculties; and the disaster of Waterloo was but the indissipate those accusations of ignorance and treason, evitable result of a struggle too unequal, and of faults which have been published as a means of concealing which cannot be denied without refusing to listen to the faults of others.

evidence. Here 1 must explain myself. I am about to speak

The author will not permit me to copy the MSS. Now of military and political events ; I have been in ser- under my eyes. He wrote under the influence of recent vice, but I have not attained those exalted positions grief. The picture of the misfortunes of his country, from which one is allowed to observe and to appreciate the presence of foreigners, dictated bitter expressions, facts. I might perhaps, justly be denied the experience which he would at this day efface; but I shall borrow necessary to qualify me to pronounce with a mature from him the principal features of the examination to and certain judgment. But it must have been observed which I am proceeding. I do not pretend to present a from the commencement of this work, that I alone do complete recital of the military events of 1815, but a not speak—that I do not put forth my isolated opinious. summary of the most important facts of that short and Accident has placed me near a great number of distin-deplorable campaign. guished men; being anxious to acquire information, I In the first place, it must be confessed that the mic have been a witness to many things, have heard and raculous return from Elba was a misfortune both for have read much. I have sought after truth through the the Emperor and for France ; for the Emperor, inasmuch best sources, and I think I have secured its possession. as it changed his supportable exile to a frightful-trans

Being a young officer at the period of the battle of portation ; for France, in that it cost it an army and Waterloo, I judged of that fearful disaster, with the treasures, and brought about a second invasion and a ideas peculiar to my age, and felt the impressions which prolonged occupation. The Bourbons had proved in all my comrades partook. I also cried treason-against 1814, that they had learnt nothing, and had forgotten whom? I did not know; but it was absolutely impossi. nothing: the return from Elba made them confess a ble that we were not betrayed, for with the Emperor few faults, but even that event could not force them to who could conquer us? Besides, a defeat weighs as learn or to forget. The restoration carried in itself an heavily on the heart of the General, as on that of the original vice, a principle of destruction. It was conlowest soldier, that we dared not avow it, without demned to perish :-the return from the island of Elba seeking out some extraordinary cause, some excuse. Af- prolonged its existence a few years. terwards, and with a few more years added to my age, The first fault that the Emperor committed, was to I read everything that was written on the hundred days arrest his progress at Paris, on the 20th of March. I and the battle of Waterloo. My sincere conviction at copy the manuscript. this moment, is, that it would have required a miracle “The details given, by General Gourgaud, in his to have prevented the actual occurrence. Faults were history of the campaign of 1815, published at St. He. committed by everybody. The Emperor, the Gene-lena, on the situation of the armies of the coalition at rals (with some few glorious exceptions), the army, the moment that Napoleon, with an inconceivable boldwere no longer the Emperor, the Generals, the army of ness and unexampled good fortune, passed, as he himthe fine campaigns of the republic and the empire; and, self said, from steeple to steeple to Paris, will suffice to in conscience, could it have been otherwise ? All the convince us that the first fault which he committed was apologies published at St. Helena and elsewhere, when to arrest himself at the Tuileries, instead of continuing I read them over at this day, only seem to me lo prove, his march to the Rhine. It is probable that he would that we would have gained the battle of Waterloo if we have arrived there as easily as at Paris; and in such had not lost it.

enterprises it is always necessary to profit by the asIn my anxiety to inform myself correctly, I have apo tonishment and stupor of the enemy. Above all, he plied to every source of information-I have addressed should not have suffered the enthusiasm with which such myself to men placed in the best situations, for ascer- miraculous success had inspired his partizans, to grow taining and appreciating the facts. A precious manu- cold. Paris, for him, was not on the Seine-it was on script has been communicated to me, written in 1818, the Rhine. as a refutatian of General Gourgaud's history of the

See note at end of this volume.

“The moment that he paused, that he began to cal- | sabre-victory, was doublful; without this despotism, it culate his means, he should have considered himself was impossible. Time and means were wanting for a lost; for it cannot be thought that he seriously flattered regular war; it was necessary to undertake an irregular himself with being able to impose on the allies. His war—a war without money and without magazines a feigned moderation, and his pacific declarations, only war like the first campaign of Italy; and in desperate served to betray his weakness, and perhaps to cool the circumstances, these are sometimes successful. public enthusiasm. Undoubtedly Napoleon found it The apologists of the Emperor have said, as an exnecessary to reorganize his army, and to create means, cuse for his not having marched immediately to the but he might have done everything while marching Rhine, that he entertained the hope of peace; and that forward ; and the easy conquest of the Rhine would public opinion would have disapproved his course if he have furnished him an immense increase of resources, had acted before he had exhausted all means of conciof which he would at the same time have deprived his liation. The Emperor never believed in the continuenemies."

ance of peace ; he might have desired it, but he could The Bourbons had, during the few months of their not have expected it but as the consequence of a vicfirst sojourn in France, created some interests connected tory. The true secret of all this is, that Napoleon was with themselves. The representatives of royalist opin- no longer General Bonaparte. One cannot expend ions, weak and scattered, before 1814, were united and with impunity, in 20 years, the energy and activity strengthened. They formed in 1815, with the repre- that would have sufficed for ten first rate men. Every. sentatives of the new interests, a mass of formidable ad. thing wears out at last, and there are bounds to the versaries. On the other side, the friends of liberty, human faculties. fearing the return of the imperial despotism, only The second plan was, to fortify the frontiers, to act offered their support in exchange for strong guaranties on the defensive, to await the attack, to watch a faNapoleon, with only his own partizans, thus found vorable moment, or a fault of the enemy, and to profit himself thrown between two opinions-one his avowed by them. But such a course did not suit the character enemy, and the other armed against him with all its of Napoleon. The conduct and the delays of a defendistrust. It was necessary that despotism should re-ap- sive war were not adapted to his temperament; and it pear powerful, in order to restrain these two parties. must be confessed that this sort of warfare is but little The Emperor could do nothing but by men of action, in accord with our military spirit. This plan was more by the men who had brought him from the gulf of Juan in harmony than the two others, with the new system to Paris. It was necessary that he should reign as he which the Emperor had permitted to introduce itself in had reigned; he required that fascination of glory, by France; but this new system was supremely disagreeameans of which, he had for a long time caused every- ble to him. The sounds which echoed from the tribune thing, even liberty, to be forgotten. In the inevitable wounded his ears. Already he regretted the concesstruggle which was then coming on between a divided sions which he had been condemned to make; it was and exhausted nation, and all Europe combined against despotism which he hoped to reseize when he comher, a prompt and decisive march might have electrified menced hostilities. The acclamations of victory, had it men's spirits, and have produced the most brilliant and remained faithful to the imperial standard, would have unexpected results. In a word, there was wanting one soon controlled and silenced the importunate voices of of those miracles of the campaign of Italy; and such the tribune. miracles never spring from an acte additionel, or a champ The third plan, that which the Emperor adopted, de mai. To engage in a struggle of internal politics at was identically the same with the first, but with the enParis, without being able to deceive any one, was only thusiasm of the people cooled, and three great months to produce new enemies; and the Emperor had already lost : these three months were an age. During these enough whom there was a much more urgent necessity three months the coalition had not remained inactive, for combatting.

and an Anglo-Prussian army of two hundred and In the critical situation in which he found himself twenty thousand men, the avant-garde of six hundred after his triumph of the 20th of March, Napoleon had thousand Austrians and Russians, already menaced to choose between three plans. I have mentioned the our frontier. We had a hundred and fifteen thousand first; it was probably the best-not in June, but the men to oppose to them. 21st of March. It had the immense advantage of leav. If any doubts could remain about the immense ad. ing everything in the interior undecided. The return vantage the Emperor would have derived from comfrom the island of Elba had infamed men's imagina- mencing the war the morning after his arrival at Paris, tions. France should have been left under the empire the first results of the contest, so tardily commenced, of this first impression, and the national patriotism would suffice to remove them. If Napoleon, profiting should not have been suffered to evaporate in the vain by the first fault that was committed, that of a concendebates of the tribune. In Rome, during periods of tration too near the extreme frontier, was enabled to public danger, a dictator was appointed, and the senate surprise the enemy already on its guard, and obtain the and the tribunes of the people were silent before this first advantage, what might he not have hoped from supreme officer. The Emperor was a dictator, already his troops, suddenly turned loose upon a dispersed nominated. There was but one party on which he enemy, without any plans for the campaign, and decould confidently reckon ; this party neither asked for prived of its means of action! On the 15th of June, guaranties nor liberty, but war and battles—this party when two hundred and (wenty thousand men were could alone serve him; the others made demands of already nearly united, the Emperor desired to prevent him, but could give him nothing. To sum up the mato a greater assemblage of his enemies : his plan was to ter, with what has been called the despotism of thel surprise his adversaries, and to beat them in detail.

No plan could be wiser or better combined ; but Napo- | 1815, there was any possibility of beating the enemy, leon should have commenced two months earlier; he of making them suffer those checks which bring about would not then have found before him a force double his great results, it was undoubtedly on the day of the 16th, own.

and particularly at the left wing of the army. A great fault then was committed at this period—it In fact, it is probable that the position of Quatre-Bras was entirely the Emperor's. In pursuing the examina. might have been easily carried on the morning, and tion of facts, it will be easy to perceive the fatal influ- even as late as two or three o'clock in the afternoon, as ence of this error on subsequent events.

it was but feebly occupied until that hour, and thus the On the 15th of June the armies of the enemy might English army might have been separated from the still have been surprised. They were so in fact, but Prussians, and, perhaps its divisions might have been the corps of which they were composed, were already beaten one after the other, as they arrived on the field near enough to each other to prevent this surprise from of battle from different directions. Afterwards this being fatal. The plan of the campaign was then, as it became extremely difficult. The enemy had discovered should have been, to operate the disjunction of the the importance of this position, and had strengthened it English and Prussian armies, so as to be able to act by forces sufficient to render all chance of a successful separately against the one and the other.

attack nearly impossible; and yet the failure of a desThe details of the movements and engagements of the perate attack on this point would not have been fatal. 15th, on the passage of the Sambre, have nothing strik Marshal Ney had not called his troops to his aid with ing. The Prussians, who were first encountered by the sufficient promptness; and when they had successively French columns, gave way, and retreated before them. rejoined him, the enemy had already assembled the That was a success, but a success of little importance. greatest part of its own. It was then easily enabled to In the recitals that have been made of this short and resist the feeble attacks of Prince Jérôme, who was at deplorable campaign, it is at this point that the inten- the wood of Bouffé, while the right wing, though comtion is first disclosed of representing the conduct of manded by an officer whose ardor and intelligence on Marshal Ney, as the principal cause of the reverses of the field of battle were not less brilliant than his eloNapoleon. He is reproached for not having occupied quence at the tribune (General Foy), itself made no the position of Quatre-Bras. The accusasion against progress. the unfortunate Marshal has something plausible in it. At last, stimulated by the reiterated orders of NapoNey commanded the left of the army: the English were leon, the Marshal felt, but a little too late, all the imopposed to him—and the position of Quatre-Bras was portance of the position, and the error he had commitreally the point of junction between the English and ted, in not carrying it in time. He then made the Prussian armies.

greatest efforts to succeed, but it was in vain. The diMarshal Ney, I do not fear to say so, was beneath visions of Prince Jérôme and of General Foy were himself in the campaign of 1815. His adieux and his actively engaged without any result, when Colonel oaths to Louis XVIII, his affair of Lons-le-Saulnier, Forbin Janson, an ordnance officer of the Emperor, carhis return to Napoleon, whose abdication he had urged ried the Marshal the particular orders of Napoleon, in 1814-all these recollections overpowered him. Ney accompanied by these words: “ Marshal, the safety of had not the heart of a traitor ; it was in good faith that France is in your hands.In despair, at not being able he promised Louis XVIII to fight Napoleon. After to possess himself of this position, at seeing the forces wards he found himself too weak to resist the appeal of of the enemy increase every moment, and the efforts of him to whom he owed his fortune, under whose eyes he his infantry continue powerless, the Marshal sumhad served so gloriously, and all of whose labors he had moned the lieutenant-general, commanding the Cuiras. partaken. That judges could be found to condemn siers, and repeating the words of the Emperor, said to Marshal Ney, guilty, as he undoubtedly was, but pro- him—“My dear General, the safety of France is depend. tected by the capiculation of Paris, is a stain upon the ant upon the result; an extraordinary effort is required. peerage. It is an infamous stain upon the memory of Take your cavalry-throw yourself in the midst of the Louis XVIII, to have shed the blood of a man, who had | English army-crush it, and pass over its prostrate bodies." poured out so much for France.

It was the hottest moment of the day: it was beThe conduct of Ney at Lons-le-Saulnier had been tween six and seven in the afternoon. Such an order, openly condemned by his ancient comrades. His pre- like that of the Emperor's, was easier to give than to sence at the army had been observed with pain. He execute. The General represented to Marshal Ney felt all the difficulty of his situation; and this man, that he had but a single brigade of Cuirassiers with whose coup d'æl had before been so quick and certain, him, that the greater part of his corps had remained, in whose action had been so rapid, showed himself

, under compliance with the orders of the Marshal himself, two these circumstances, uncertain and weak. On the 16th, leagues in the rear, at Frasnes. In fine, that he had the day of the battle of Ligny, the fate of the army was not force enough for such an enterprise. “No matter," in his hands. His inaction compromised everything, replied the Marshal, "charge with what you have-crush for it was at the point which he commanded that the the English army-pass over its body: the safety of France greatest events were to be decided.

is in your hands. Proceed; you shall be followed by all the The battle of Ligny was an unfortunate success, becavalry present." cause it advanced nothing. The Emperor required a In fact, he had at hand more than four thousand victory; he yielded to the vain pleasure of driving horses of the guard, and of the division Pitré, which Blucher's army before him; but his purpose, which were half a cannon shot off. from the fault of Marshal Ney he failed to obtain, was There was no time for deliberation at such a moment. 10 separate the English from the Prussian army. If, in The General darted forward, as a victim devoted to

death, at the head of six hundred Cuirassiers, and With forces so inferior to an enemy, who trust less without giving them time to perceive or to calculate the than ourselves to chance, it was not necessary to have greatness of the danger, he drew them desperately into thus hurried a decision of the campaign ; but it would this gulf of fire.

seem that a fatality has in all times led us to precipitate The first regiment of the enemy which it encountered ourselves, in gaiety of heart, into the gulf, and always was the 69th infantry. This regiment, composed of to attack the English bull by the horns. It may be reScotch, fired at thirty paces; but without stopping the marked, that from the battle of Agincourt to that of Cuirassiers passed over the bodies of the men, utterly Waterloo, nearly all the victories gained over us by the destroyed it, and overthrew everytbing in their way. English have been in battles in which they acted on the Some even penetrated into the farm of Quatre-Bras, defensive. We rush headlong upon them, when in and were there killed. Lord Wellington had only time to formidable positions selected before hand, which they leap on a horse, and save himself from this terrible attack. know marvellously well how to defend. One may say

The charge of the Cuirassiers had succeeded against that we take pains to wage precisely that sort of war all probability ; a large breach was made ; the army of upon them which suits their courage. We may cite in the enemy was staggered; the English legions were modern times Vimiera, Talavera, Bussago, Salamanca, wavering and uncertain, awaiting what was to come and lastly, Waterloo. Whether it be the character, or next. The least support from the cavalry in reserve; the military genius of the English, or the spirit of their the least movement on the part of the infantry engaged government, that imposes greater circumspection on on the right, would have completed the success. No- their Generals, one would believe the English nation thing moved. This formidable cavalry was abandoned less suited for an offensive than a defensive war. In to itself; alone, dispersed, disbandoned by the very im- consequence of great superiority of force as at Toulouse, petuosity of its charge, it saw itself assailed by the or of absolute necessity as at Alknaer, they decided muskets of the enemy, then recovered from their as- with much difficulty to act on the offensive. It has tonishment and fright; it abandoned the field of battle been seen with what success they did so under the ciras it had carried it, and without being even pursued by cumstances of the last case in 1799. Why then at the enemy's cavalry which had not then arrived. The Waterloo, were they not forced to become the aggresGeneral himself had his horse shot, and returned on sors ? foot from the midst of the English, and at last encoun The day of the 16th resulted in the abandonment of tered near the point from which he had set out, a di- Fleurus, after an energetic resistance on the part of the vision which had just begun to take part in the action, Prussians. For the purpose of supporting the right orders having been given to it too late. The attacks of wing of the Prussians, the Duke of Wellington judged this division, directed against an enemy already reco- it necessary to retire during the night, leaving only a vered from its alarm, were as fruitless as they were tardy. weak rear-guard at Quatre-Bras to make this move.

In war a favorable moment cannot be neglected with ment. Marshal Ney had no knowledge of this maneuimpunity, and the numerous cavalry of the left wing vre, and, remained in his position, waiting further did not take advantage of the proper moment to pre orders. He was drawn from the inactivity into which cipitate itself upon the enemy. The distant position of he had been plunged by the little success of the previous three brigades of the reserve of Cuirassiers, was a great evening, by the arrival of the Emperor, who moving on misfortune for the army, and for France. If they had the morning of the 17th, with his columns upon Qualrebeen in the line, and ready to profit by this happy bold. Bras, obliged the rear-guard of Wellington to rejoin the ness, and to throw themselves in the midst of the main body of the army. enemy, perhaps in less than an hour the English army The Emperor thought he had finished with the Pruswould have been disposed off. It would have disap- sians; being ignorant, like Marshal Ney, of the movepeared under the feet of the horses and the swords of ment of the English army, he supposed that the two the cavalry, and this day would have secured us one of armies were separated. Entrusting then to Marshal those results which decide the destinies of empires. Grouchy, the care of pursuing the Prussians, and of In fact, the English army once destroyed, the Prussian pressing them without respite, and above all of prearmy would have found itself attacked in the flank, venting them from joining the English, he proceeded pressed upon in front, and would have been unable to with the greater part of his forces against the army of escape complete destruction; it would never have re- Wellington. A sort of fatality presided over the lot of passed the Rhine. The victory would have brought Napoleon. On the right, Marshal Grouchy lost the day back the Belgians to our standards, as well as the in- of the 17th, and the track of Blucher. On the left, habitants on the banks of the Rhine ; and we would fatigue and the want of order condemned the troops to have made cheap work of the Russians and Austrians. inaction. It was only at noon that the Emperor, arrive This dream might have been realized during nearly the ing at Quatre-Bras, set the troops of Marshal Ney in quarter of an hour ; it agitated more than one head. motion, for the purpose of following and firing on the

It cannot be concluded from these chances of success, retreating rear-guard of the English. that it was prudent to trust everything to chance, as Towards three o'clock a beating rain commenced, was done in this campaign. The success that we were which continued until the next morning. The army on the point of obtaining at Qualre-Bras would have took whatever position it could during the night, not been a miracle, and, in the disproportion between the without some disorder and confusion. The Anglocontending armies, a miracle was necessary. But war Belgic army, on the contrary, had effected its retreat has so many unexpected chances, that it was not im- without being disturbed, as no one was informed of the possible, that that which could alone save Napoleon movement; and it had been established since the might turn up; it was within an ace of doing so. morning in a camp which it had prepared for itself, and

did not suffer either from the bad weather or want of charge by all the cavalry, when at so great a distance food.

from the infantry. Such a movement must either be Too little attention is paid to the effect produced on successful or compromise everything: it had failed of men, especially on the evening preceding a battle, by success, and from that moment there was no further excessive fatigue and want of food and rest. Causes of hope of victory. The evil destiny of France seemed to physical exhaustion operate on the moral spirit of an preside over all the false measures of the day. A army, and produce discouragement and disgust. Rep. brigade of carabiniers, of a thousand horses, had been resent then to yourself, the French army, wearied by preserved from the fatal charge. Placed near a battery eight days of forced marches, wanting food, passing of the guard, the Major-General had received the most through a country covered with water, sleeping in the express orders not to make the least movement without mud, and without protection against constant rains. the order of his immediate chief. This brigade of You may then judge of the disadvantage under which carabiniers was then in the plain. Marshal Ney obit had lo encounter fresh troops, superior in number, served it, ran to it, showed great indignation at its and on ground selected by themselves, and carefully inaction, and ordered it to precipitate itself on seven or fortified.

eight thousand English, placed en echelon on the incliThe Emperor, after separating from Marshal Grou. nation of a hill, and flanked by numerous batteries of chy, whom he had perhaps suffered to remain at too artillery. The carabiniers were compelled to obey. great a distance from him on the evening of so impor- Whether from want of strength, or unskilfulness, their tant a battle, had not more than 55 or 60,000 men to charge was entirely unsuccessful; half of the brigade oppose to 90,000 English, Hollanders and Belgians.

was in an instant prostrate on the ground. When, as On the 18th, towards 11 o'clock, the weather cleared will be seen, the fate of the battle was afterwards off. It could then be seen that the movement effected determined by the charge of the English guards, one by the English on the preceding evening, was not a may comprehend the service this brigade of carabiniers retreat, but a change of position. At the moment that might have rendered, had it remained untouched. the Emperor was giving his orders to the Generals Towards three o'clock the heads of the columns of assembled around him, a cannon, fired from the English General Bulow were perceived, and Napoleon had to camp, gave the signal of combat. The engagement detach 10,000 men to face this attack. commenced with the left of the French army; the It has been asserted that the appearance of the heads second corps consumed itself in fruitless efforts to carry of the columns of the Prussian corps of Bulow caused a the wood, and entrenched chateau of Hougoumont. fatal error, and that these troops of the enemy were

In the centre of the army a corps, maneuvering with mistaken for the avant-garde of the body of Marshal a sort of hesitation, was charged by the English cavalry, Grouchy's army, to which numerous officers of ordnance and had one of its divisions compromised. This move- had been despatched. I do not know whether such an ment of the English cavalry necessarily brought on the error was committed, but there is little probability that engagement of our own, and unfortunately involved the it was. The indecision of Marshal Grouchy, under greatest part of the French cavalry in the action at a these circumstances, was undoubtedly a great misforvery unlucky moment.

tune; but it is doubtful whether the Marshal, had he This charge was neither skilfully nor successfully even acted with decision, could have presented himself executed. The masses of cavalry did not advance in in line. The arrival of Bulow's corps had a fatal inthat compact and imposing order which inspires confi- fluence on the result of the battle, but only in consedence, and gives promise of success. Instead of reserv- quence of the necessity which it produced, of withdrawing the great effort for the moment of meeting the ing ten thousand men from the main body of the army, enemy, the cavalry of General Milhaud was let loose already so much weakened. The attack of the Prusfirst, then that of the Imperial Guard, and lastly, the sians on this point was not only restrained, but repulsed right of the reserve cavalry of the 4th corps, which was with a vigor above all praise, by Count Lobau and imprudently involved by its General, in consequence of General Duhesme. This was, perhaps, the finest feat his not receiving the orders of his commander-in-chief; of arms of the day; it was a service of the highest and all arrived in disorder, pellmell, and out of breath, importance, for had the movement of Bulow been sucon the rideau occupied by the line of English artillery. cessful, the French army would have been divided, and The pieces were abandoned, but the horses might have the route of Charleroi would have been closed against us. been driven away. This, which it must be confessed, The old guard still remained untouched; the day was the only success during the day, is, perhaps, what drew to a close. The fighting grew more and more was called a victory. This pretended success had, it is feeble, but even while yielding, the field was not detrue, great effect on the distant positions of the enemy, serted by flight, and the corps were not seriously where movements for a relreat were commenced; but injured. If success was afterwards impossible, a retreat in the rear of the artillery there was a double line of might at least have been effected during the night infantry formed in a square. Our cavalry had to behind the Sambre, thus securing the only reserve remain several hours in this cruel position, unable to which remained. The Emperor did not, however, retire for fear of drawing the army after it, or to charge judge this expedient; the old guard was suffered to again for want of room. Without infantry and without take part in the engagement.

This was a decisive artillery to support it, in presence of the enemy's squares stroke-it might save or lose everything ; but, if it re(which, however, reserved their fire), but exposed to paired nothing, the army would be left without resource. a cloud of marksmen, whose every fire counted—thus The guard, with all its courage, and all its admirable receiving death without being able to return it. devotion, could not cut through the masses of English, Napoleon quickly recognized the imprudence of a land had soon to fall back before an impetuous charge

Vol. IV-5

« AnteriorContinuar »