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with trees at the foot of which the soldiers had attempted to light a fire, but the poor wretches had perished ere they could accomplish their object. We saw them stretched around the green branches which they had vainly endeavoured to kindle; and so numerous were the bodies, that they would have obstructed the road had not the soldiers been often employed in throwing them into the ditches and ruts. . to . . . . * ... “ These horrors, far from exciting our sensibility, only hardened our hearts. Our cruelty, which could no more be exercised on the euemy, was extended to our companions. The best friends no longer recognised each other. Whoever discovered the least sickness, if he had not good horses and faithful servants, was sure never to see his country again. Every one preferred to save the plunder of Moscow, rather than the life of his comrade. On all sides we heard the groams of the dying, and the lamentable cries of those whom we had abandoned. But all were deaf to their supplications, or, if any one approached those who were on the point pf expiring, it was to plunder, not to assist them; it was to search whether they had any remains of food, and not to afford them relief. - - * “Being arrived at Loubna, we were able to save only two miserable barns from destruction, one for the Viceroy, and the other for his staff. We had scarcely established ourselves there, when we heard a loud cannonade in our front. As the noise appeared to come from our right, some thought that it was an engagement with the ninth corps, which, not having been able to relieve Witepsk, was obliged to retreat before a superior force; but they who were best acquainted with the country, believed that it was the Emperor and his guard, who had been attacked before his ar. rival at Krasnoë, by Milloradowitch and Count Orloff Denisoff", who coming from Einia, had cut of the retreat of our army, during our stay at Smolensko. - . “We can scarcely imagine a picture more deplorable than the bivouack of the staff. Twenty-one officers confounded with as many servants, had crept together round a little fire, under an execrable cart-house scarcely covered. Behind them were the horses ranged in a circle, that they might be some defence against the wind, which blew with great violence. The smoke was so thick that we could scarcely see the figures of those who were close to the fire, and who were employed in blowing the coals on which they cooked their food. * The rest, wrapped in their pelisses or their cloaks, lay one upon another, as some protection from the cold; nor did they stir, except to abuse those who trod upon them as they passed, or to rail at the horses, which furiously plunged whenever a spark fell upon them.” P. 338.
* * These general, commanded the advanced-guard of the army pf Kutusoff.” From From this moment the whole French army marched fast to destruction. As the horses could no longer draw, they were obliged to abandon their cannon at the foot of the slightest hill, and the only duty which then remained to the artillery-men was to scatter the powder of the cartridges, and to spike the pieces, lest the Russians should turn them against their enemy; and Kutusoff having crossed the line of their march, both Napoleon and the Viceroy were obliged to cut their way through the Russian battalions, and when they both joined their corps the had no more than thirty thousand men, including the so guard, of whom eight thousand combatants only survived. In the mean time the army of Volhynia, joined to that of Moldavia had seized on the bridge of Borisov, to cut the French off from the passage of the Beresina, while Wittgenstein was also advancing to form a junction with Admiral Tschikacoff, and : Prince Kutusoff. This movement rendered, the position of Napoleon truly desperate, but he having found the means of being joined by the corps of reserve, attacked the Russians and forced them to retreat to the other bank of the river, after having lost two thousand men, six cannon, and a quantity of baggage. Arrived at the Beresina, on the very spot where Charles XII. had crossed that river on his march to Moscow, the French found that the Russians, in their flight, having destroyed the great bridge of Borisov, had lined all the right bank with numerous battalions, and defended the principal points whence the French could possibly attempt to pass. In this critical situation, Napoleon, always ready in resources, obtained possession of a
commanding place, and in the presence of the Russians, and
notwithstanding their utmost opposition, he constructed two bridges, and the corps under the Duke of Reggio put them to flight. - -
“What a frightful picture did this multitude of men present, overwhelmed with misfortunes of every kind, and hemmed in by a morass; that very multitude which, two months before, had exultingly spread itself over half the surface of a vast empire! ...Our soldiers, pale, emaciated, dying with hunger and cold, having nothing to defend them from the inclemency of the season but tattered pelisses, and sheep-skins half burnt, and uttering the most mournful lamentations, crowded the banks of this unfortunate river. Germans, Polanders, Italians, Spaniards, Croats, Portuguese, and French, were all mingled together, disputing and quarrelling with each other in their different languages:—finally, the officers and even the generals, wrapped in pelisses covered with dirt and filth, mingling with the soldiers, and abusing those who pressed upon them, or braved their authority, formed a scene of strange
strange confusions of which no painter could trace the faintest resemblance. - *
“They, whom fatigue, or ignorance of the impending danger rendered less eager to cross the river, were endeavouring to kindle a fire, and repose their wearied limbs. We had too frequently occasion to observe in these encampments to what a degree of brutality, excess of misery would debase human nature. In one place
we saw several of the soldiers fighting for a morsel of bread. If .
a stranger, pierced with the cold, endeavoured to approach a fire, those to whom it belonged inhumanly drove him away; or if tormented with raging thirst, any one asked for a single drop of water from another who carried a full supply, the refusal was aceompanied by the vilest abuse. We often heard those who had once been friends, and whose education had been liberal, bitterly. disputing with each other for a little straw, or a piece of horseflesh, which they were attempting to divide. This campaign was therefore the more terrible, as it brutalized the character, and stained us with vices to which we had before been strangers. Even those who once were honest, humane, and generous, became selfish, avaricious, dishonest, and cruel.” P. 373. : “ Although there were two bridges, one for the carriages, and the other for the foot-soldiers, yet the crowd was so great, and the approaches so dangerous, that the way was completely obstructed near the Beresina, and it was absolutely impossible to move. About eight o'clock in the morning, the bridge for the carriages and the cavalry broke down; the baggage and the artillery then advanced towards the other bridge, and attempted to force a passage. Now began a frightful contention between the foot-soldiers and the horsemen. Many perished by the hands of their comrades,
a great number were suffocated at the head of the bridge; and the
dead bodies of men and horses, so choked every avenue, that it was necessary to climb over mountains of carcasses to arrive at the river, Some, who were buried in these horrible heaps, still breathed, and struggling with the agonies of death, caught hold of those who mounted over them; but these inhumanly kicked them with violence, to disengage themselves, and remorselessly trod them under foot. During this contention, the multitude which followed, like a furious wave, swept away, while it encreased the number of victims.” P. 377. “ In the meantime the enemy, motwithstanding the valour of our soldiers, and the exertions of their commanders, briskly pressed the ninth corps which formed the rear-guard. We already heard the roar of the cannon, and the sound dismayed every heart. Insensibly it approached, and we soon saw the fire of the enemy’s artillery on the summit of the neighbouring hills, and we no longer doubted that the engagement would soon extend to that spot which was covered with thousands of unarmed men, sick and wounded, and with all our women and children.” P. 381.
“At length the Russians, continually reinforced by fresh troops, advanced in a mass, and drove before them the Polonese eorps of General Girard, which till then had held them in check. At the sight of the enemy, those who had not already passed mingled with the Polanders, and rushed precipitately towards the bridge. The artillery, the baggage-waggons, the cavalry, and the foot-soldiers, all pressed on, contending which should pass the first. The strongest threw into the river those whe were weaker, and unfortunately hindered their passage, or unfeelingly trampled under foot all the sick whom they found in their way. Many hundreds were crushed to death by the wheels of the cannon, Others, hoping to save themselves by swimming, were frozen in the middle of the river, or perished by placing themselves on pieces of ice, which sunk to the bottom. Thousands and thousands of victims, driven to despair, threw themselves headlong into the Beresina, and were lost in the waves. Another was seen hemmed in by the ice in the middle of the river. Being able neither to proceed nor. to retreat, she held her infant above the water, into whigh she was gradually sinking, and uttered the most piercing cries for assistance, - - * “The division of Girard forcibly made its way through all the obstacles that retarded its march; and, climbing over the mountain of dead bodies which obstructed the way, gained the other
side. Thither the Russians would soon have followed them, if they
had not hastened to burn the bridge.” P. 384,
The loss of the French in this affair was terrible, More than twenty thousand sick and wounded fell into the power of the Russians. Two hundred pieces of cannon were abandoned. All the baggage of the two corps which had joined them, was equally the prey of the conquerors, . . * * . * *
From the Beresina to Poland we find but a repetition of the same scenes. Pressed on all sides by the enemy, victims of hunger and cold, the French were obliged to leave behind the whole of their artillery and baggage, and at last divide amongst the soldiers the military chest, which contained about five millions of crowns. On the morning of the 13th of Đecember “ out of four hundred thousand warriors, who had crossed the Niemen at the opening of the campaign, scarcely twenty thousand men repassed it.” They were the victims not of the arms of the enemy, “but of the fatal imprudence of their chief, who, who, not satisfied with having subjugated the best half of Europe, wished to contend with the elements for the possession, of a country which consisted only of deserts.” . Arrived at the opposite batik, like ghosts returned from the infernal regions, they looked fearfully behind, and with horror beheld the savage. countries where, always victorious, they had suffered so much. Of the fourth corps, which was composed of forty-eight o:
said then, the Viceroy could “only collect eight hundred
wounded. - - ** Such is the result of this most memorable campaign, and indeed he must possess a heart of iron, who does not sympa
thise with the sufferings of so many hundred thousand of his
fellow creatures, however he may curse the infatuation of Na-
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ART. VI. A Sermon preached in the Parish Church of Lancaster, at the primary Visitation of the Bishop of Chester. By T. D. Whitaker, LL.D. &c. 4to. pp. 24. Murray. 1815.
MUCH notice has been already attracted by this Sermon