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before Ratisbon, but now that the resolution of marching on the capital had been adopted, this corps was to be moved forward. On the 24th the advance of this Marshal's column, consisting of the light cavalry of Marulaz and the Bavarians under General Wrede, were attacked at Neumarkt, amidst the low grounds of the river Roth, by Hiller's army, in three columns. With his accustomed forethought of everything, Napoleon had judged that Bessières, who had already advanced as far as Villa Biburg, would not be strong enough to contend with Hiller, and had, therefore, ordered the division Molitor to follow him. Both Marulaz and Wrede were indeed driven back in the ardour of the conflict which now ensued, but Molitor coming up to their aid, re-established affairs, and Bessières was enabled to maintain the bridge over the Roth at Neumarkt. In the nights of the 24th and 25th, however, General Hiller became informed of the extent of the evil which had befallen the Archduke Charles before Echmühl, so, renouncing all further hostilities, he marched off across the Inn and the Traun, where he hoped to receive some instructions from his Commanderin-Chief. In the meantime, Massena with the divisions Boudet, Legrand, Carra-St.-Cyr, and Oudinot, marched on the 23rd to Staubing, having orders to secure the passages across the Danube at Passau and Lintz, and Bessières moved to the right in order to turn all the confluents of the great river; while Davoust was left at Ratisbon to follow on one side or other of the Danube hereafter, as might be found desirable, and was to be followed by Bernadotte.
So changed in every respect was the Archduke Charles from what he had been ever before, that his despondency at this unfortunate opening of the campaign induced him to propose to his brother the Emperor to make pacific overtures to Napoleon. Francis, however, saw the weakness of such a temporising policy, but did not absolutely decline his brother's proposal, who accordingly, of his own accord, wrote at this period to the conqueror to congratulate him upon his arrival at the command of his army, which he paid him the compliment of saying was visible in the immediate results ; but, with a view to lessen the evils of war, he proposed an exchange of prisoners. Napoleon was sufficiently versed in the world to guess the motive which could have suggested the Archduke's letter at this early period of the campaign, but kept His Imperial Highness in unpleasant uncertainty by making him no reply.
The French Emperor quitted Ratisbon on the 26th, and crossing the Inn at Mühldorf, placed his head-quarters on the 28th at Burghausen, on the Salza, where he remained two days to re-establish the bridge there, which had been burned. He now sent Lefebvre with the Bavarians into the Tyrol to turn the tide of affairs against the mountaineers. The Marshal forth with attacked them at Lauffer on the 28th, and scattered the division of Jellalich, who fled, sacri. ficing their magazines at Salzburg. Marshal Massena met with ni) obstacle at Passau, and the whole army passed the Inn between that and Braunau, and advanced upon the Traun. This position was on:
SANGUINARY AFFAIR AT EBENSBERG.
of the most important upon the road to Vienna, and Napoleon determined to force all opposition to his army by carrying it by Lintz, Mauthausen, and Ebensberg. He was aware that the great strength of this ground is at Ebensberg, where the river is crossed by a long wooden bridge. The army arrived opposite this position on the 3rd of May. Massena was ordered to seize Lintz, which is in advance of the river, and to push on vigorously to Mauthausen, where there is also a bridge across the Danube, as well as one over the Traun. Marshal Bessières on his right was to be ready to support him, and Lannes, marching on Wels, was to be at hand to turn towards Ebensberg, if any very considerable resistance should be met with there. As Massena advanced, he drove before him the rear-guard of the corps of Hiller, and he could see across the Danube the march of the Archduke's army coming down to Lintz. He accordingly pushed forward with his utmost activity, and at daybreak of the 3rd fell upon that town, which the division of Klenau and Stuttenheim had just entered. Indeed, these divisions had only just time to save themselves and destroy the bridge. Clearly, then, had not the Archduke dallied at Cham, he might yet have barred the approach of Napoleon to the capital. Massena, as soon as he saw himself in possession of Lintz, and that it was only 10 in the day, marched forward to Ebensberg, General Marulaz leading the column with the light cavalry. The two corps of the Archduke Louis and General Hiller had marched in the same direction, and occupied an advantageous position behind the Traun, across which they held the bridge at Ebensberg — a highly important position, because, as the bridge of Lintz over the Danube had been destroyed by the Austrians, it completely protected that of Mauthausen, which was two leagues behind, and was the true strategic point, as it secured the means to the Archduke Charles of reassembling his army for the protection of Vienna. Massena was not aware that Napoleon had fixed his head-quarters that night at Lambach, upon the Traun, with the express object of turning this position : but he well knew its importance, and was not deterred by its formidable nature from immediately assailing it. The narrow bridge, crossing over many islets, extended 200 toises in length; and on the plateau commanding it stood the little town with its castle. A force of nearly 40,000 men, with 80 guns, placed on such a position, were enough to check even the stout heart of Massena. The French advance, however, came upon the Austrian rear-guard as it was moving through the village of Klein München; and the Marshal, impatient to obtain possession of this important passage, immediately ordered forward the division Coehorn of the corps of Oudinot, who, regardless of the danger, dashed through the village with reckless bravery, broke down the barriers, and made their way good, contending with the enemy the whole length of the bridge. The French entered the town of Ebensberg in the face of three Austrian battalions, who were imprudently left for its defence without any support, and, encouraged by their success, attempted, but, ineffectually, to carry its castle.
216 UNACCOUNTABLE LETHARGY OF ARCHDUKE CHARLES. [A.D.
Clarapède, however, followed with 7,000 men in support of Coehorn, and Massena called up the divisions Legrand, Carra-St.-Cyr, and Boudet in haste, and placed batteries upon the most advantageous points to keep down the fire of the castle, which plunged its fire mercilessly into the little town; and now a frightful cannonade commenced on both sides, for General Hiller resolved to make a stubborn stand in this position. He first endeavoured to overwhelm Coehorn's advance, which he succeeded in stopping, when he re-entered the town of Ebensberg, driving the divisions Lesuire and Ficatier to take shelter in the houses. The artillery in the meantime set fire to the place, and the most dreadful carnage ensued among the assailants, both from the missiles and the flames.i At this opportune moment General Legrand came up at the head of his division, and was literally obliged to order his soldiers to clear away the corpses of the fallen, and to throw them into the river, to enable him to move forward. Some one coming up to the General endeavoured to give him advice on the state of affairs. « Je n'ai pas besoin des conseils,” said he, “mais de place pour ma division.” He was at length enabled to release Clarapède's surviving men from their little prison, and, having cleared the town, boldly attacked the castle, under a fearful fire, and succeeded in forcing the gates. Lannes had been sent forward by the Emperor from Lambach the same morning to march upon Steyer, and the great mass of French cavalry, under General Durousel, having crossed at Wels, were now seen swarning across the plain. The Austrian commander, therefore, finding his left flank thus turned, ordered a retreat. Napoleon, hearing the noisy cannonade, immediately rode up to Massena in the midst of the fight, and was somewhat displeased at the attempt he had made to take the bull by the horns with an unnecessary waste of blood, seeing that he had already made his dispositions for turning the position of the Traun without any such necessity; but Massena proved him his just apprehensions from the troops of the Archduke on the side of the Danube, and that the principle of Hiller's defence showed that he could not have been driven off by a mere demonstration. The Emperor, therefore, was satisfied, and complimented him upon his bravery and the success of his measures. He would not, however, establish his head-quarters in a town where every imaginable stench and horror invaded the senses, but bivouacked outside in the midst of his guard. The loss on both sides, in this bloody affair, is placed at 5,000 men killed, burned, or wounded on the part of the French, and 7,000 on that of the Austrians. About 4,000 Austrians were made prisoners, many of whom were with guns and colours.
The Archduke all this time was marching leisurely through Bohemia, and had his head-quarters at Budweis when bis lieutenant was gallantly endeavouring to stay the advance of Napoleon. The only hostile disposition he evidenced was the continued destruction of all the bridges over the Danube by his right wing. One point yet remained by which he could unite with Hiller to stop the march of the French army on the capital: this
ENERGY AND FORESIGHT OF NAPOLEON.
was at Krems, whither the Archduke Louis and Hiller now directed their steps, by Enns, Amstetten, and St. Polten, destroying the bridges over all the torrents descending from the Noric Alps on their march. The destruction of these bridges very much hindered the movements of the French, and it was accordingly the 7th before Napoleon established his head-quarters at the great Abbey of Mölk, upon the Danube, within a day's march of Krems. Still nothing stirred the Archduke Charles, who continued his abode at Budweis. At last, he set himself in motion and reached Zwettel, and there was even yet time for him to cross the Danube and occupy the Kahlenberg, a strong buttress of the Alps covering Vienna. But here also he allowed the French to take possession of the strong position of St. Polten, and therefore it was too late for him to cross the Danube, but still he might have ordered Hiller to get hold of the defile of Siegartskirchen, and here, at least, check for a time the French advance. Nevertheless, the only directions that issued from the Commander-in-Chief were an order to Kollowrath to effect a junction with the Archduke John and Jellalich, who were coming up with their divisions from the side of Italy, and the recall of Hiller's army to his own side of the Danube.
Napoleon accordingly took his own measures without any further opposition. He ordered the mass of his cavalry to advance by the lowlands on the side of the Danube, to watch the enemy on both banks; and that General Bruyère with a division of light troops, both infantry and cavalry, should flank the march on the right, and observe the passes of the Styrian mountains, keeping an eye upon the troops advancing out of Italy. Marshal Lannes opened the march on the 9th, followed by the corps of Marshal Massena and Marshal Davoust in succession, that the Emperor might be ready to oppose any attempts at recovering the means of communication across the Danube in his rear. Ever mindful and provident, Napoleon, at the Abbey of Mölk, ordered the most effectual measures to be adopted for bringing up, by the streams of the Danube, supplies of every kind, as well for the rank and file as for the transport of the sick and fatigued among his soldiers. He also established pontoon bridges at Lintz and Krems, so that if requisite he might, from his side, pass the Danube, to the disquiet or annoyance of the enemy, should it enter into his future plans to make a movement into Bohemia. On the 9th Oudinot took possession of Sieghartskirchen, and Napoleon, surrounded by his guard, proceeding with the advance, arrived at the very suburb of Maria Hilf. The young Archduke Maximilian was placed in command of the armed posse-comitatus of Vienna, which, with the landwehr and a few regulars, constituted a garrison of 11,000 or 12,000 men ; but nothing could less merit the name of garrison, if it were considered in the light of a protection for the capital. A summons, sent in on the 10th, was insulted and illtreated by the commonalty; but a Captain Roidot, marching forward, daringly escaladed the iron gate of the enceinte, sword in hand, and opened a way for Colbert's cavalry to enter the city at a gallop, followed by a division of the infantry under General Tharreau, who
THE FRENCH IN POSSESSION OF VIENNA.
was wounded in attempting to cross the esplanade. Napoleon, seeing that there might yet be some resistance, appointed General Andreossy governor of Vienna, and issued an assuring proclamation to the inhabitants dated from the palace of Schönbrunn, where he now established his head-quarters. It was one month exactly, to a day, since the Austrian army had passed the Inn to invade Bavaria.
A deputation from the city now came to implore the clemency of Napoleon, who referred them to the Archduke Maximilian; for, notwithstanding the exertions of Andreossy, the “old town” seemed resolved to hold out, and to animate the defence the inhabitants were reminded of the famous siege of Vienna by the Turks, and of the more recent defences of Zaragoza by the Spaniards. Napoleon therefore mounted his horse on the morning of the 11th, and reconnoitred the military defences of the city from the outside. He observed that by attacking from the side of the famous promenade of the Prater he could cut off the garrison from the side of the Danube and the bridge of Thabor, and oblige the Archduke to capitulate. He immediately ordered the construction of a battery of 20 howitzers to play upon the Landstrass, and at nightfall a heavy fire of shell was opened on the city, which set fire to it in several places. The besiegers sent out two battalions to spike the battery, but in vain, and accordingly the Archduke, leaving General Oreilly to make the best terms he could for the inhabitants, quitted the city on the morning of the 12th, and destroyed the bridge of Thabor, by which he crossed the Danube to unite himself at Arnspitz with the troops of General Hiller.
The French army took possession of Vienna on the 13th, and the divisions St. Hilaire, Davoust, Oudinot, Boudet, Carra-St.-Cyr, Molitor, Le Grand, with the guard, and the Marshals Massena, Lannes, and Bessières took up their quarters in the city. Marshal Davoust was sent back to Saint Polten with his corps of 30,000 men, to be prepared for any movement from the rear from Krems, and General Vandamme with 10,000 Würtembergers was left in a tête du pont at Lintz to watch and report upon the state of affairs at Bohemia. A corps of Saxons under Marshal Bernadotte had been ordered up to join the main army, and had marched along the confines of Bohemia to Ratisbon, whence they might now be expected to arrive to relieve these two detachments, who might then be brought to Vienna to strengthen the army which might have to oppose itself to 90,000 men in close observation at a short distance of the capital of Germany. Napoleon ordered the troops left in garrison at Ratisbon, Passau, and Lintz to occupy their time in the construction of strong defences, and sent them a considerable artillery, and supplies of all kinds, for the maintenance of their principal communications, while he directed forts to be erected at Īps, Waldsee, Mölk, and Mautern. It is well said by M. Thiers of Napoleon regarding these precautions : “ Car ce capitaine qui, dans la politique avait l'imprudence de ne jamais supposer la mauvais fortune, la supposait toujours à la guerre, et se precautionnait admirablement contre elle.”