Page images
[graphic][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

I am

foolish panics, multiply our partizans, offer traps vigilance, and escaping to France in what was and ambushes to harass the enemy, and inaugurate there known as a yack. He arrived in Tours the a national war. The republic demands the co- same day as Gambetta (October 9), and so unexoperation of all; it will utilize the courage of all pectedly, that no preparations had been made its citizens, employ the capabilities of each, and for his reception. On the news of his arrival according to its traditional policy will make young becoming known, however, a large number of men its chiefs. Heaven itself will cease to favour franc-tireurs assembled before the prefecture winour adversaries; the autumn rains will come, and dow, at which the general presented himself, and detained and held in check by the capital, far from in reply to the enthusiastic cheers with which he their homes, and troubled and anxious for the was greeted, said :" My children, your welcome future, the Prussians will be decimated one by one and that of your brothers overwhelms me. by our arms, by hunger, and by nature. No, it is only a soldier like yourselves. I come to place not possible that the genius of France should be myself among you, to fight for the holy republic !” for evermore obscured; it cannot be that a great Garibaldi brought with him a name, but little nation shall let its place in the world be taken more, to the aid of the republic he loved. The from it by an invasion of 500,000 men! Up then liberator of Italy, whose kindly face, loose grey in a mass, and let us die rather than suffer the shame cloak, and scarlet shirt, were familiar to every child of dismemberment! In the midst of our disasters in Christendom, more fitly represented the idea of we have still the sentiment left of French unity, a republic than any other man in Europe; and it and the indivisibility of the Republic. Paris, sur- was hoped that his presence in France at this rounded by the enemy, affirms more loudly and time would give to the popular rising throughout more gloriously than ever the immortal device the country an impetus, such as the appeals and which is dictated to the whole of France:---Long proclamations of the new government had failed live the Republic! Long live France! Long live to impart. The state of his health, however, totally the Republic, one and indivisible.""

unfitted him for regular warfare; he knew little While the minister of the new French republic of the duties of a general in command of a large was careering through the clouds in a balloon, army; and he was looked on as the most dangerous another and more celebrated republican was hast- and wicked of men by a large portion of the ening from an opposite direction to meet him. French, and by such persons as Colonel Charette Till lately Garibaldi had been virtually a prisoner and the pontifical zouaves, whose aid in this in his island home, the Italian government keeping moment of need had also been tendered to and a vigilant eye on him. Ever since the fall of the accepted by the French government. Singularly empire, however, it had been his anxious desire enough, Colonel Charette was also at Tours on to come to the assistance of the newly declared this memorable day, exercising his troops, fresh republic. His services in the field were at once from the defence of the pope. offered, but the reply of the delegate government To General Cambriels, who commanded in the to his offer had been delayed. A brief but charac- east, Garibaldi was despatched to Besançon, to teristic letter to his son-in-law, M. Canzio, explains take command of the free corps and of a brigade his position in the meantime:

of mobiles in the Vosges. He carried a strong “CAPRERA, September 13, 1870.

letter of recommendation from Gambetta, and he

seems to have been received with the utmost “My dear son—From the French government consideration by the civil and military authorities, I have not received any reply, and that rubbish

as well as with great enthusiasm by the people. (quella robàccia) which calls itself the govern

M. Gambetta at the head of affairs, issuing comment of Italy, holds me prisoner.”

missions to parties so antagonistic as Garibaldi "G. GARIBALDI."

and the champions of the temporal power, offered The pope's temporal power, however, had fallen to the imagination a strange, if not grotesque, before the soldiers of Victor Emmanuel Rome combination of circumstances.

Rome combination of circumstances. But although he had become the Italian capital; and if the Italian and his curious allies or subordinates were all cruisers still hovered round Caprera, at least animated with the most intense desire to benefit Garibaldi found no great difficulty in eluding their France, it seemed impossible that elements so dis



ever his

cordant should long cohere, unless welded together 10,000 men against the German foraging forces. for a time by a success which they shared in An engagement took place at Toury, which lasted common. At present a bright spot in the fortunes from seven a.m. till twelve. _The German artillery of France was nowhere visible; but the courage dismounted several of the French guns, but by and resources of her people were great, and their his great superiority of numbers General Reyan feelings of hatred against the invaders intense; and obtained an easy victory, and pursued the enemy in these circumstances it was impossible to say for several hours. About fifty prisoners were what change to the better might not yet take taken, and a number of cattle and sheep, which place. Even a small advantage gained over a the Germans were unable to carry with them. German force in a fair fight, might have the effect Such a sign of life on the part of the army of the of reviving the confidence of the French, and Loire gave some little uneasiness to the German inciting them to put forth the great power they commander at Paris ; and to extinguish this first undoubtedly possessed. With all the energy gleam of success, which was already exciting new of which he was capable, M. Gambetta set enthusiasm in the country, the first corps of about organizing armies in all the provinces Bavarians under Von der Tann, which had arrived of France, admonishing prefects, displacing and last at Paris from Sedan and had been purposely appointing generals, and showing himself where held in reserve, was now therefore ordered to

presence could stimulate flagging patriot- march southwards to discover the movements of ism or remove the depression caused by reverses.

the enemy.

It was strengthened by half the He issued a decree, establishing four military infantry of the twenty-second Prussian division, régions: 1, the Northern, to be commanded by and by the cavalry divisions of Prince Albert and Bourbaki, at Lille; 2, the Western, with General Count Stolberg, which were already in the district. Fiereck commander, and Le Mans for head- There was a more direct line of railroad than quarters; 3, the Central, commanded by General that through Orleans to Tours, diverging to the Polhès, at Bourges; 4, the Eastern, commanded westward of it at Bretigny, and running through by General Cambriels, at Besançon. Besides these, Châteaudun and Vendôme. This line it was General La Motte Rouge on the Loire, General necessary to watch with cavalry, in order to cover Esterhazy at Lyons, Count Keratry in the west, the right of Der Tann. It was the advanced guard and Garibaldi in the east held distinct commis- of a column sent for this purpose which, on the sions; eight in all, acting independently of each night of the 7th, was surprised and cut up by the other. The wonderful energy thus displayed by franc-tireurs at Ablis, about thirty-three miles M. Gambetta had a very inspiriting effect on the from Paris, and which led to the destruction of country, and the despair almost universally de- that village on the following day, as stated in the picted on the countenance of French patriots early part of the chapter. shortly before gave way to hope.

Von der Tann marched from his late quarters Meanwhile the Prussians, on their part, were about Longjumeau on the 6th, and on the 8th carrying out a preconcerted programme in their gained Etampes, which had been held for some movements to the north and south of Paris, and days previously by the foraging party driven out in the east of France. The whole district between from Toury, twenty miles further off, by General Paris and Orleans was daily scoured by them for Reyan, on the 5th. The latter had fallen back a requisitions. At Toury a large force under Prince day's march from Toury, after the trifling success Albert of Prussia protected the operations for reported, and left his advanced guard of a brigade supplying the army of Paris, and an immense of troops at Artenay, the next large village to quantity of provisions, sheep, and cattle had been the south. The officer in command, General de collected here from the plains of La Beauce. Longuerue, seems to have kept no better look-out

Early in October the efforts of the French to than those who suffered for their carelessness at raise an army behind the Loire had produced some Wissembourg and Beaumont. Early on the mornlittle result; and on the 5th General Reyan, ing of the 10th the Bavarians were close upon having re-occupied Orleans, which General Polhès him, and soon began to drive his troops southhad abandoned so hastily some ten days before, wards. Ignorant of the enemy's strength, he pushed northwards to Arthenay and Toury with | hastened to support his advanced guard with



about 10,000 men, all that he had ready to his They occupied the villages of Le Vieux, Cercottes, hands. Probably Der Tann's advance was mis- Salan, and the château of Les Quatre-cheminées taken for a separate and isolated detachment. At and that of La Vallée, nearly reaching Orleans. any rate, the raw French troops were soon engaged The two armies were soon engaged along their with a body of Germans of immensely superior whole line, and the fighting was well sustained strength, and although they fought desperately by both. The Bavarians, however, gradually for several hours, they were of course overcome, gained ground. Their artillery, the arm in and, with the loss of many prisoners and some

which the French were deplorably weak, apguns, forced back towards Orleans, twelve miles proached nearer and nearer, and occupied the from the scene of the morning's action. General best positions. The woods between Cercottes Longuerue and a large body of the fugitives and Chartan and the village of Salan were gained the forest of Orleans, where, awaiting rein- fiercely contested, but ultimately captured. The forcements, they resolved to defend themselves. bloodiest part of the day was the afternoon.

The army of the Loire, now under the chief About 3 p.m. the French were giving way on command of General La Motte Rouge, numbered all sides towards Orleans, but at St. Jean de la at least 60,000 men. Of these, 15,000 had been Ruelle, a far-stretching suburb on the north, they left the whole of this day to withstand a force made a last and desperate stand. From four till three times their numerical strength, and pos- seven the fighting went on; and it can only be sessing six times their effective value as a mili- compared to the storming of Bazeilles. The Gertary body, while 45,000 were idle, within easy man troops were fired on from the interior and reach of the battle-field. Although it was well the roofs of all the dwellings, and from the church known that the Germans were coming south- tower; and several houses at different points were wards by forced marches, no

set on fire. While the great body of the Bavarians to have been taken to signal their approach, now advanced in front, the Prussian infantry divior to assemble reinforcements on any particular sion undertook a flank movement, supported by spot. The roar of the artillery in the battle of the cavalry, who could not, however, get speedily the 10th was distinctly heard in Orleans, and to through the vineyards and narrow roads. When bring out the mobile guard the tocsin was rung the bulk of the French, mobiles and franc-tireurs, all day. In the course of the afternoon and saw the danger they were in of being outflanked, throughout the night La Motte Rouge arranged most of them discharged their guns at haphazard, to get together about 40,000 troops of all descrip- and a panic set in, during which 3000 prisoners tions, including regulars, garde mobile, the foreign were made, and three guns taken. legion, and the pontifical zouaves; and with these As the conflict drew close to the city of Orleans, he determined to prevent, if possible, the further the shells reached the houses, and the confusion advance of the enemy.

and terror was extreme. Soldiers and artillerymen The renewed engagement began early on the crossed the Boulevards close to the railway. Their morning of the 11th, and lasted nearly all day. The route was stopped by mobiles, but they continued occupation by the French of the forest of Orleans, their retreat, and the terrified inhabitants ran in by which they obtained the cover of the wood, all directions, exclaiming, “Les Prussiens ! Les proved some compensation against the superior Prussiens !" Reinforcements arrived in the town artillery of the Germans, and towards evening gave while the battle was going on; but instead of the affair the character of a skirmish rather than proceeding to the field, they idled in the streets of a battle. At eleven o'clock the Prussian van- and cafés, the officers playing cards and the men guard was in position at La-Croix-Briquet, between roaming at discretion. When the flying army Artenay and Chevilly, close to the railway line and began to pass, those men hastened to join the the main road, which passes through the village. rout, flung away their arms or broke them, and The other corps were placed towards Artenay, crossed the bridge over the Loire. Fortunately facing the borders of the forest of Orleans. the principal columns of the French force had

The French, advancing from Chevilly and Cer- already retreated without confusion on La Ferté cottes, took up a line to cover their retreat on the St. Aubin, at Olivet, on the little river Loiret. forest, and extending in the direction of Orleans. During the battle the regulars behaved very ill, throwing away their weapons and scampering off | victorious army, which it was deemed impossible as if in panic; the mobiles, the foreign legion, to accept? The restitution of provinces which and the pontifical zouaves fought nobly, having belonged to Germany, and in which the German contended for nine hours continuously with forces language still prevails, in the towns as well as in in every way superior.

the country, viz., Alsace and German Lorraine. At eight o'clock the Germans entered the city. Is this claim an exaggerated one? What claims The municipal council was sitting at the Hotel would victorious France have made? You have de Ville, intent on taking some decisive steps; been told that the aim of the operations of the the prefect Pereira, and the bishop, Monseigneur German armies was to degrade France. This is Dupanloup, met the Germans at the Faubourg simply a lie, invented in order to excite the pasBannier, and tried to arrange a basis for negotia- sions of the masses. It is, on the contrary, your tions. All the works of defence prepared during government which, by its way of acting, brings the last few days had now been abandoned at the German armies necessarily into the heart of the approach of the enemy, and it was evident France, brings ruin thither, and will succeed, if that peaceful arrangements alone could save the it persists, in really degrading La Belle France, place from devastation.

which might be the best friend of the very nation On the 13th, the morning after the occupation, whom she has forced to fight her. General von der Tann demanded from the mayor “The General of Infantry, a contribution of 1,000,000 francs in specie, to be paid in twenty-four hours, but subsequently

“ BARON VON DER TANN. consented to accept provisionally 600,000 francs.

“ ORLEANS, October 13, 1870." Monseigneur Dupanloup wrote to the king of Prussia, praying for the remission of the remain- With quickness and energy the German general ing 400,000, in which, however, the prelate was had thus struck the only force that could venture not successful. Another demand was made of to the relief of the capital, and inflicted on the 600 cattle, 300,000 cigars, and all the horses in army of the Loire a severe, though not fatal blow. the town. The soldiers were billeted on the inhab- Its commander would seem to have been insensible itants, and the jewellers’ shops and objets de luxe to the lessons of experience, which should have were strictly respected.

taught him that the Prussian tactics were not to On the following day the German commander rest on a defeat, trifling perhaps, as in the case of issued the following proclamation :

Toury on the 6th ; and that after a repulse or dis

advantage large bodies would certainly be moved “ French Citizens,— As I wish to alleviate as up, to take a decisive revenge. And yet, instead far as in my power the fate of the population of a combined advance of the whole army on and visited with the evils of war, I appeal to their beyond Orleans, isolated columns were sent, and a good sense, in the hope that the sincerity of my few brigades left to sustain for a whole day an words will not fail to open their eyes to the exist-overpowering attack. General La Motte Rouge was ing state of things, and determine them to range now relieved of his command, and the army of the themselves on the side of the reasonable party, Loire looked forward to a brighter future under desirous of making peace. Your late government D'Aurelles des Paladines, a general on the retired declared war against Germany. Never was a de- list, but with the reputation of a resolute soldier claration of war more frivolous. The German and stern disciplinarian, qualities much needed at armies could do nothing else than reply to it by the time, and of the possession of which he soon crossing the frontier. Another government suc

gave proof. ceeded. It was hoped that it would restore peace. At Orleans, the Germans had reached the line It has done nothing of the kind. And why? It usually regarded as marking the boundaries between feared to render itself impossible, and under the northern and southern France. The provinces pretence that the conditions proposed by the Ger- bounding on the Loire--Touraine, Orleanois, man army were not acceptable, it preferred to Anjou, Poitou—have been styled the garden of continue a war which can only lead to the ruin France. “ C'est le pays de rire et de ne rien faire;" of France. And what are the conditions of the but Orleans is a comparatively poor and decaying

« PreviousContinue »