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city, notwithstanding its historic fame and its fifty occupying a line of about this.y milcdfron Jargeau thousand inhabitants.
to Beaugency, while his cavalry scoured the valley The army of the Loire retired into comparative of the Loire for provisions. obscurity after its misfortunes at Orleans, and Between Châteaudun and the capital were the removed its headquarters to Bourges, which, as large forests of Rambouillet, Batonneau, Gazeleau, a great depot and foundry for artillery, possessed and Bienonvienne. Extending to the very neighspecial advantages for strengthening the French bourhood of Versailles, these immense woods had in this most essential arm. Large reinforcements been haunted from the first by franc-tireurs, who were also daily coming in, which General d'Aur- constantly harassed the German patrols, and from elles des Paladines was energetically preparing their leafy retreats had in the course of the last for offensive operations. His first order of the few weeks shot at and killed many a solitary day to his troops was in substance as follows : vedette. Emboldened by impunity, these bands “ Soldiers, what I ask of you, above all things, is gradually attracted strong reinforcements from the discipline and firmness. I am, moreover, thoroughly south, until the whole district was infested by determined to shoot any one who hesitates before them. A small army was thus collected in the the enemy; and should I myself fail to do my rear of the besiegers, not dangerous, indeed, but duty, I tell you to shoot me.”
numerous and active enough to cause serious annoyA short time after the investment of Paris was
General von Moltke had recently taken completed, the German commanders seemed dis- vigorous means to clear the country of them near posed to abandon the system of “ requisitions,” Paris
, in consequence of which they fell back from which was better suited for an advancing army the neighbourhood of Versailles to the southern than for one needing regular supplies. The first outskirts of the forest, where they partially fortified steps in this direction, however, called forth pro- some of the towns, especially Chartres and Châclamations forbidding the sale of food to the teaudun. To prevent renewed annoyance to the Germans upon any terms; and the prefect of the besieging army of Paris, Von der Tann sent Eure announced that any one found disposing of General Wittich from Orleans with 7000 infantry, corn, hay, or provisions to the enemy, would be a detachment of cavalry, and three batteries of liable to be tried by court-martial and sentenced artillery towards these towns, which had now to death.
As the enemy, however, were not become the headquarters of the franc-tireurs. inclined to starve while there was anything to On the morning of the 18th of October the Pruseat, they helped themselves to what they needed. sians appeared before Châteaudun, which, though The region north of Orleans, the so-called Beauce, defended by only irregular troops, gave proof of was the most fertile district they had as yet the determined stuff of which these were made, entered. It supplied Paris with enormous quan- and of what might have been done by them had tities of excellent wheat, and abounded in steam they been combined under good leadership, instead and water mills. Of oats also, there was a large of being scattered in petty bands over the whole supply, a great acquisition for the German cavalry. country. About 4000 strong, they had blocked The conquest of Orleans, therefore, served a very up every entrance to the town, and so skilfully important double purpose for the Prussians. It posted themselves behind cover, that the Germans not only relieved the army investing Paris on the had to bombard the place for eight hours before south from any fear of being molested, but the they could venture on a more direct and effective rich provinces now occupied furnished such an attack. It was nine p.m. ere the thirty guns that abundance of provision as to materially relieve the had opened the work of destruction were ordered railway from Germany, which the invader was off to make way for the storming columns ; but now able to use more exclusively for bringing up the progress of the assaulting parties was stopped to Paris additional troops, siege guns, and all kinds by the most solid barricades yet encountered in of war matériel.
this war of sieges. Behind a thick layer of Von der Tann did not follow up his successes fascines, a wall of earth was heaped up five feet with the rapidity which might have been looked high and three wide. The earth was backed by for. He lay at Orleans for some days after stones and felled trees, to give additional solidity it was captured, the main body of his army to the whole, and to form a sort of breastwork
on the top.
This formidable obstruction, lined place since the commencement of the war, showed with dense rows of Chassepots, proved impreg- that the Germans were not unwilling to avoid nable to the infantry who advanced, drums beating, a repetition of the Châteaudun street fighting. with levelled bayonets. After one or two vain The Prussian troops entered and enthusiastically attempts to get at the defenders, the artillery was cheered Prince Albrecht, before whom they defiled. set to work again, with like results; its shells | It had been stipulated that all the shops should bursting in the earthworks and doing compara- be kept open, and that the town should be exempt tively little injury. Orders were then given by from requisitions. The streets were lighted up, General Wittich to beat in the side walls of the and the inhabitants, who collected in considerable houses, and thus penetrating from one dwelling to numbers, were perfectly quiet. On the following another, to take the barricades in the rear. But day the troops, whose demeanour was very beeven this did not discourage the French, who dis- coming, mustered in the famous crypt of the puted the possession of each house, and did tre- cathedral, and by lamp-light inspected every part mendous execution among the engineers, as with of that elaborate structure. pickaxe in hand they smashed in the walls. By The principal military operations during October, this time nearly half the town was in flames, and other than those between Paris and Orleans, were the defenders fought with the fury of despair. connected with the eastern department of France. At eleven o'clock the combat seems to have Along with another army, which entered French ceased by mutual consent. The Prussians drew territory across the Upper Rhine about Freiburg, off their troops, and camped outside the town; General von Werder, with the Prussian and Baden the French, collecting their forces and the inhab- troops released from Strassburg, co-operated in itants, retreated unmolested and in good order, occupying upper Alsace, and in besieging Belfort, a fact which shows the deep impression which Schlestadt, and Neu-Breisach. From an early the desperate defence must have made upon the period of the war a very considerable force, alterPrussians.
nately known as the army of Lyons and the The loss of the French in killed and wounded army of the Rhone, was said to be forming in the was about 300; that of the Germans probably south and south-eastern departments. According more, including Pastor Schwabe, chaplain to the to French reports this army now numbered 100,000 22nd Prussian division, who, while in attendance on men, and was stationed between Belfort and the wounded, was killed in the streets of Château- Langres. To disperse such a force, if it really dun. The gallant defence was duly recognized existed, the German operations in this quarter by the Tours government, which declared in a were pushed forward with considerable energy. decree of the 21st that Châteaudun deserved well On October 6 the Baden troops, under General of the country, and granted 100,000 francs in aid von Degenfeld, fell in with a French army under of the houseless inhabitants.
General Dupré, in the Vosges mountains between Chartres, the capital of the department of the Raon l'Etape and St. Diey, about thirty miles Eure and Loire, and having one of the largest corn
south-east of Luneville. An engagement ensued, markets in France, was invested on the morning which lasted from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m., when the of the 21st by the Prussian division which had at- French were defeated and driven back on Rambertacked Châteaudun, and detachments arriving from villers. Their force consisted of a few regular Rambouillet, Etampes, Angerville, and Patay. On troops and a large number of franc-tireurs, altofinding that the German artillery had been planted gether about 14,000 men.
The Germans were before the city, the curé of Morancy begged per- only about 7000 strong, but their superior morale mission to enter it in order to persuade the and the cavalry and artillery in which they vastly authorities to capitulate. General Wittich con- excelled gave them immense advantages. General sented to grant a respite till 1 p.m., but the invest- Dupré was wounded, and lost 1500 in killed and ment of the place was meanwhile proceeded with disabled, and 660 prisoners; the Germans lost Happily, the authorities agreed to a capitulation, about 450. The villages of St. Rémy and Nomby which half the garrison were allowed to retire; patelize and the wood of Jumelles were carried only 2000 mobiles being disarmed. The terms, at the point of the bayonet by the Baden troops, more favourable than those obtained by any other but their victory was by no means easy, as the
French fought gallantly and made three vigorous viewed by Cambriels as equivalent to superseding onslaughts.
him, and he was certainly not alone in regardThe beaten army retreated to Epinal, the princi- ing Garibaldi with disfavour. The acceptance pal town of the department of the Vosges, but was of his services by the government was looked driven out on the 12th; and the capture of Epinal upon by all good Catholics, especially those of cut off Lorraine from the rest of France. The Brittany, as the last bitter dregs of France's humilifranc-tireurs ran away, and the national guards ation. It is clear that momentary impulse rather made the best resistance they could after the mass than love or admiration had prompted the shouts of the army had abandoned the town. General von of " Vive Garibaldi!" for, from his first arrival in Werder then turned southward and gained Vesoul, the east, all manner of obstacles were placed in from which he drove the French so rapidly as to his way by those who should have assisted him. cut them in two, sending part on to Besançon and French officers viewed him with extreme jealousy, Dijon, and part to Belfort, in the opposite direction. and even his own Breton auxiliaries thwarted
Gencral Cambriels, recently appointed by the him on every opportunity. There was no doubt Tours government to the command of the French that General Cambriels stood his ground as well army of the east, now advanced with what miscel- as was possible with the material at his command; laneous forces he could obtain, as far as Belfort. but he doubtless thought that, had the forces of Fearing, however, to be cut off, he fell back on Garibaldi, which had done nothing at all, been Besançon, where he met with Garibaldi, who with him, his position would have been better. had been appointed to the command of the He shared largely, moreover, in the peculiar irregular troops of the east. Garibaldi shortly feelings of the Catholics towards Garibaldi, whose afterwards removed his headquarters to Dôle, appointment, indeed, was soon found to be far where he issued a proclamation reminding those more hurtful than advantageous to the French under his command, that "in the country occupied by the foreigner, every bush, every tree, The successor of General Cambriels was, howshould threaten him with a shot, so that his men ever, a more congenial colleague to the great may fear to leave their column or cantonments. guerilla chief. General Michel, who was now Numerous guerillas would render very difficult, if appointed to the command of the French forces not impossible, those requisitions which hitherto in the east, was in sentiment a republican and a simple enemy's corporal has presumed to make a freethinker, and was one of the superior officers wherever he sets his foot." The Italian hero who managed to evade the capitulation of Sedan, recalled, in conclusion, the defence of Monte Video by cutting his way through the Prussian lines at for nine years against 28,000 men inured to war, the head of 2000 horsemen. although that town had then but 30,000 inhabit- Part of the Baden corps which had driven the
“Monte Video sold its palaces, its temples, French before them at St. Rémy on the 6th, next its customs rights, present and to come, unearthed proceeded to invest Schlestadt, which was then the old cannon which served as boundaries in the subjected to a regular siege. After it had been streets, forged lances to supply the place of missing vigorously bombarded several times, preparations guns; while the women gave to the country their were made for taking it by assault. For this purlast jewel. A village of France has more resources pose
the south-west side was selected, as the water than Monte Video had then. Can we doubt of the from the Ill could be diverted from the fosses, the success of the national defence ?"
ditches laid dry, and the town more effectively There was no combined action between Gari- cannonaded. On the night of the 22nd the first baldi and Cambriels, whose forces the German parallels were easily raised at a distance of only general still pursued with relentless activity. 500 to 700 paces from the fortress, and the guns Indeed, so far from acting in concert, after his brought into position. But when the commandfirst interview with Garibaldi, General Cambriels ant saw the number of guns constantly increasing, tendered his resignation, which
was declined new troops coming up, and no chance of relief, by Gambetta ; but the government now accepted the avoiding of useless sacrifices became the subit. The appointment of the Italian leader to a ject of imperative consideration. Like his colleague command so important and apparently rival, was at Strassburg, he had no engineer detachment, the
artillerymen only sufficed for the manning of the who suddenly invested the high street of the guns; and he therefore capitulated on Monday faubourg. Amid a shower of bullets, the houses afternoon, October 24, surrendering 2400 prisoners occupied by the Prussians were set on fire, and the and 120 guns, with abundance of provisions and French, in order to dislodge the enemy, were war material.
obliged to break open the doors with the butt-ends The siege of Neu-Breisach was commenced of their muskets. At length an enormous column carly in the month; but as there was some appre- of smoke shot up, and in less than an hour were hension that all the disposable German force destroyed more than 200 dwelling-houses, a large might be needed in the field by General von sugar refinery, a foundry, a mill, and the houses Werder, operations were not pushed forward of the Sisters of Mercy, besides many fashionable against the little fortress with much vigour.
villas. Several of the inhabitants lost their lives. The chief interest of the war in the north cen- On October 12 the heavy guns of the Germans tered round the two towns of Soissons and St. opened in full force on the unfortunate city, and Quentin. Soissons occupies a strategic position for four days and nights poured an incessant and of the first importance, and its value, in a military furious stream of deadly missiles into it. The havoc point of view, as commanding a passage over the done to the people and their houses was greater Aisne, is shown by its fortunes in the campaign than to the fortifications, in which not more than of 1814, when it was besieged three times. On one hundred men were killed during the bombardthe 13th of February, the Prussian General Cher- ment. On the 16th the fortress capitulated, as two nicheff took it by a coup de main, when General breaches opened on the previous day, and the threat Rusca, its governor, was killed by a cannon-shot of an assault by the Prussians, accompanied with on its antiquated ramparts. But on the same day the offer of honourable terms, gave resistless force the French retook it, and Chernicheff was com- to the entreaties of the population for immediate pelled to withdraw. Napoleon, who attached the surrender. By its fall, 4700 prisoners, 130 guns, greatest importance to the possession of it, urged 70,000 rounds of ammunition, and a considerable its garrison to hold out to the last; and if the sum in the military chest, passed into the hands French governor had been an Uhrich, Marshal of the Germans. A still more important acquiBlucher and the army of Silesia, pursued by sition by the surrender was the opening of a second Napoleon across the Marne, would probably have line of railway from Châlons to Paris, as the direct been annihilated. But the governor capitulated, line along the valley of the Marne was interrupted Blucher escaped, all the emperor's plans were beyond Meaux by the destruction of the tunnels overthrown, and the surrender decided his fall. and bridges.
and bridges. Of the 22,000 Germans under the Owing to what it has suffered by wars, Soissons duke of Mecklenburg, which formed the besieging has a modern look, although it is one of the oldest force, the greater number marched at once to Paris. towns in France. It was here that Clovis estab- To St. Quentin, a town of some 40,000 inhabitlished the throne of the Franks, and his successors ants on the line between Paris and Lille, within were called kings of Soissons. The town and fort- ten miles of the fortress of Ham, in which the ress were dominated by heights which formerly ex-emperor of the French had been a prisoner for would have given no advantage to an assailant, six years, the Prussians sent a considerable party but from which an enemy with rifled cannon could to obtain provisions. On Saturday, October 8, now destroy the whole place. When Toul fell, a they were announced to be at a few kilomètres' number of the heavy guns which had been em- distance from the town, on the road to La Fère. ployed there were sent to Soissons; but though The drums beat to arms. The national guards invested, it was not seriously bombarded until the hastened to their posts. The prefect, M. Anatole 12th of October. The garrison made a stout de la Forge, wearing a plain uniform of the national resistance, sacrificing everything to the defence guard, appeared in the chief square of the town of the city. As one of the suburbs, the Faubourg with a broadsword in one hand and a revolver in of Rheims, covered the position of the Prussians, the other, and urged the population to fight. Four it was resolved to burn it, an operation which was formidable barricades had been constructed during effected on two successive evenings. The guns of the previous fortnight in the Rue d'Isle—one on the place protected the march of the incendiaries, I the banks of the canal; two at 200 mètres' distance