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with the art of war. After having invested and reconnoitred the place, I
designed to open the trench and proceed according to the rules prescribed for sieges. The General having seen the commencement of the first parallel, fell into a strong fit of laughter, and asked if I was making graves to bury our troops alive? “I am waiting for fifty ladders that are to be sent from Rome,” said this stupid commander, “and the very evening they shall arrive, I will carry the place without removing a handful of earth;” he then ordered the workmen away. The ladders came; in vain had I represented to him, that the place was too strong to be taken by a scalade; my remonstrances were disregarded. The 62d regiment twice attempted to scale the ramparts, but was driven back with the loss of six hundred killed or wounded. Two days previous to this silly and rash operation, I had been sent for to Naples by General Championnet. All the environs of Salerno were occupied by the Neapolitan insurgents. After having subdued Cithara, a village upon the sea coast between Salerno and Amalfi, I marched upon Santa Lucia, near Nocera, in the high road from Lacava to Naples. 20,000 insurgents, half of them armed with fire
locks, were stationed upon the heights lying to the east of Santa Lucia. I
had only with me the 30th regiment of infantry, and the 19th regiment of horse chasseurs, with a company of light artillery. At the very moment I was going to attack them, a Neapolitan on horseback appeared at some distance, from our advanced posts, and laid down a basket, which I sent to take up; it contained the virile members of some French soldiers, with this written paper, “We are ten to one; before twenty-four hours are elapsed, you will all have experienced the same fate as the brigands of whom we herewith send you a sample.” I had no occasion to harangue the troops; it was quite enough to show then the contents of the basket. I forbade any firing till we were upon the heights, where the enemy was encamped, and which was ascended in a charging step: every thing that opposed us was overthrown; our cavalry stationed upon the highway to pursue the runaways, made them repent of their cruelty, the more so as those who had been so barbarously murdered, were almost all of the 19th regiment of Chasseurs. I was upon the point of taking Nocera by storm, when the principal inhabitants, with the bishop at their head in his pontifical robes, were announced to me. The troops requested orders to attack with loud outcries, that they might plunder the town guilty of the assassination of their comrades. I succeeded in calming their indignation, and it was agreed upon to allow a gratification to the soldiers. This event took place on the 1st of March, 1799. General Macdonald wrote me a very obliging letter upon the success of this operation, with orders to repair to the Pouille, a province of the kingdom of Naples, to replace General Broussier, recalled to France and implicated in the disgrace of General Championnet. When Broussier gave me up the papers of his command, he noticed to me a list of contributions, which he had required in consequence of his instructions; they were very exactly paid. These riches were likely to have been fatal to me, and to my troops. A man of war, called Le Genereur, which had escaped from the battle of Aboukir, had landed at Brindisi a battalion of the 8th regiment of light infantry, commanded by Colonel Godard. The very day this intellige
reached me, I received orders from General Macdonald immediately to evacuate La Pouille, and to repair to Naples, by forced marches. The disaster of Scherer upon the Adige, rendering the co-operation of the army of Naples necessary to make head against the Austro-Russians, I immediately wrote to Colonel Godard to hold himself in readiness to effect a junction with me, and to take proper measures to make a brisk sally either by day or night, as soon as he should hear the firing of six pieces of cannon, at the interval of a minute between each. I was at Bari, which is three good days' march from Brindisi. I took the choise of my column, consisting of three thousand infantry, six hundred dragoons, and the company of light artillery. I left the remainder with the treasure in garrison at Bari. The third day of the march being still within three leagues of Brindisi, whilst my troops were making a halt, in order to prepare for an engagement, I ordered the signal agreed upon to be given. It turned out that it was unnecessary, as at that moment the arrival was announced to me of the garrison with their Colonel Godard, who came to me with tears of joy from my having snatched him from inevitable death; they had been surrounded by 10,000 of the insurgents under the orders of Cardinal Ruffo, who had refused entering into any kind of treaty with them, replying to all their proposals, that they should all be put to the sword, to revenge the death of so many unfortunate people slaughtered at Trani and Andria, two considerable towns, which had been taken by storm, and pillaged under General Broussier. As I had not a moment to lose, I retrogaded to Bari. The troops of the cardinal, who upon news of my arrival had raised the blockade of Brindisi, conveyed themselves with rapidity towards Matera and Ponte de Bovino, to take possession of the passages of the Appenines, which General Oliver, who had occupied them, had abandoned, to join Macdonald. My letter, which was to inform him of my movement towards Brindisi, only reached him at Avellino, and he continued his march towards Naples. I was greatly blamed for not having executed my orders, as they then concluded me as lost with all my troops, who amounted to 6000 men. I was surrounded by 60,000 peasants, of whom 30,000 men were posted upon the Appenines. My position was critical. It was held out to me, that, if I would restore the contributions I had in possession, they would leave the road free for me to rejoin the army. The perspective they had given the garrison of Brindisi, made ine appreciate such a proposition at its just value; for, when they had received the money, it would only have rendered them more insolent, and more enterprising. I had recourse to stratagem. My conduct had made me friends. I had endeavoured, by mild proceedings, to obliterate the remembrance of my predecessor's barbarous conduct. I proposed to establish myself chief of the country, subordinate to the King of Naples, one of whose governors I meant to become, as soon as the grand army should have quitted the kingdom. I ordered a general meeting at Bitonto, of all the magistrates of provinces between the Appenines and the Adriatic Sea. Many chiefs of the insurgents repaired thither; they appeared to be sincere. The conferences lasted three days. That the deputies might not be frightened, I had only kept with me 400 dragoons, and three pieces of light artillery; the remainder of my column, with the treasure, was stationed at Trani and Braletta, associating with the inliabitants in the most cordial manner. The number of deputies was about two hundred. My design of getting them from guarding the entry of the Appenines was completed. I did not lose a moment in celebrating our reconciliation by a sumptuous feast, the honours of which I had done by four Neapolitan officers, who were not in my confidence. I quitted the guests under the pretext of accompanying a very handsome lady to her lodgings, whom they had destined for me in inarriage. My dragoons were on horseback outside of the town. It was near midnight, when we put ourselves in march. I rejoined my infantry, and we reached the entry of the Appenines, of which we took possession without touching a trigger, as the insurgents were fully persuaded that every thing was done with the friendly connivance of those of their chiefs who had repaired to Bitonto to negotiate. During this march I caused my column to halt upon the field of battle of Cannes, so celebrated for the victory obtained by Hannibal over the Roman consuls Varro and Paulus AEmilius. This ground is a vast plain, almost uncultivated, terminated on the east by the Adriatic sea, on the north by the plain of Foggia, on the west by the Appenines, and on the south by the river Ofanto, called by the ancients Aufidus. When my arrival was announced to Macdonald, he was very much astonished, and asked if it was I alone. The state of my troops was related to him, with my whole loss for a month, which did not amount to fifty men, and they, chiefly victims to their eagerness for plunder. What caused him perhaps as much pleasure as he had before experienced surprise, was the safe arrival of the contributions. This expedition gave him so favourableau opinion of me, that though so ill as not to be able to get on horseback, he charged me with the retaking of Castellamare, of which the English had possessed themselves on the 26th of April. I attacked the town on the 29th, which was taken after a brisk engagement, and the fort surrendered the same day. I marched upon Sorrento and Massa, which were carried without much resistance. During this expedition, which Macdonald had considered requisite to the more quietly effecting his retreat towards the north of Italy, the army took the direction of Capua, towards Rome. Our Inarch was slow, and our stay in Tuscany very badly calculated. The 13th of June, 1799, the army marched towards Modena. Macdonald appeared uneasy. The divisions which were to have made an attack, by the way of Bologna, did not arrive. Our troops, huddled together upon the high road, were very much incommoded by the cannonading of the enemy. I had got the ditches sounded which covered the position of the Austrians. I told Macdonald that if he would give me full liberty, I would in one hour be master of Modena; he had the goodness to answer me, that the manner in which he always treated me, rendered my request unnecessary, and that I might be sure that he would always previously approve whatever I might do, even should I not succeed. Thereupon I immediately ordered to beat the charge; I crossed the ditch with fifteen hundred grenadiers, commanded by Colonel Coutard. I forbade firing, but ordered them to make loud shouts. The Austrians made a charge of musketry, and retreated into the town, which we entered with them promiscuously. The 19th of June, second day of the battle of Trebia, a mere whim saved the army from a complete rout. Whilst I was gone reconnoitting, with the
7th and 19th regiments of horse chasseurs, General Oliver had stationed my infantry nearly upon the border of the Trebia, in a deep hollow. I was very much surprised at this disposition. General Macdonald, who felt that I was in the right, and who wished to excuse General Oliver, said jocularly, that they would be brought nearer again for the distribution of the provisions. After breakfast, which was taken in the open field, I observed that if the Russians were to attack us, in my present position, we should be either taken prisoners, or drowned, without being able to defend ourselves. The reply was, that it was my concern, and that I was free to do what I might conceive most advantageous for the defence of the left bank of the Trebia. It required a long time to get the stragglers together, and to put the arms in condition. It was three o'clock in the afternoon when I commenced my movement; I had not gone a quarter of a league, when I fell in with the Russian columns, marching to attack us. The Cossacks, who thought to surprise us, perceiving we were under arms, fell impetuously on us, making loud shouts. This was the first time I had seen the Russian troops, of which we had frequently received such a dreadful description. General Salm's column, which was upon the left, was attacked and overturned. General Salm was wounded, but his troops rallied on observing the steady countenance of mine. A brisk firing having commenced between the two vans, the Cossacks pursuing their favourite manoeuvre, marched themselves upon my rear, between meand the Trebia, with a view of cutting off my communication with the French army. I marched my two regiments of chasseurs in column, by squadrons, towards them in good order and in silence: it was essentially necessary to proceed cautiously, in order to begin with a success, and to re-animate the spirits of my troops, somewhat damped by the reports which had been circulated concerning the daringness, the cunning, and the cruelty of the Russians. The Cossacks were about 1500: I had 1200 chasseurs; as soon as we were within pistol shot, they wheeled about and retired at full gallop. The 7th regiment rushed into the midst of them, killed nearly 200, making but few prisoners, as they preferred being killed to surrendering. This action took place on the borders of the Trebia, in presence of the whole French artny, who did not fail to shout aloud for joy. The contest sustained by the infantry, wore a less satisfactory appearance: the Russians, after the first discharges, attacked us with the bayonet; and by their superior numbers, as also their audacity, caused us to lose some ground. The cavalry was under the necessity of charging the Russian * infantry, which was overthrown, but the second line obliged the cavalry to draw back and to re-pass upon the first line, which did it much injury: there might be seen Russian grenadiers mortally wounded, who yet found sufficient strength to take up their muskets, fire them off, or give strokes with their bayonets, till they were overpowered and killed outright. The engagement lasted till ten o'clock at night: we kept possession of the left bank of the Trebia. At the moment that all was nearly over, an howitzer, thrown by the Russians, fell by my side, killed my horse and two ordnance chasseurs, and wounded me in the right thigh. Macdonald, who had been informed that I was mortally wounded, came to me as some soldiers were carrying me to Placentia; he expressed his concern, and lest me with tears in his eyes. As soon as I learnt that the battle of the following day was
lost, I got myself conveyed to Leghoru, whence I proceeded to Genoa by sea : I obtained leave to go to France. Bernadotte had just then been nominated minister of war; he was anxious to have me near him, and intrusted me with the superintendance of the office for the movement of troops, as also for nominations.
Bernadotte's resignation of the ministry of war, the particular circumstances of the revolution of the 18th Brumaire, my letters of service for la Vendee, those for the army of the Rhine, under the orders of Moreau, and my command of the camp at St. Renan, near Brest, and at Amiens, would require details too long for the limits I have prescribed myself. I pass over with equal silence, my discussions with Murat, now king, my stay at Paris during the peace of Amiens, and my compaigns in America and Germany. I shall find occasion to speak of them elsewhere. The works which I bave published since my arrival in London, contain the principal particulars of my commands in 1807, 1808, 1809, and 1810, at Ghent, Bruges, Cadzand, and Boulogne; with the regard to my stay in England, and of the manner in which I am treated, I shall be able to speak definitively upon the motives of this conduct towards me, only after having obtained a decision from Parliament: till then, all my calculations must be uncertain, that alone excepted, which I ground upon the justice of the constituted authorities of the British
... AN ARMY IS a vast body, the soul of which is composed of a world of conflicting passions, which a skilful leader turns to the advantage of his country, and of his prince. It is a motley concourse of men, who swear implicitly to obey the orders of their Chief, with whose ultimate intentions they are totally unacquainted : it is a multitude consisting principally of untutored beings, who, perfectly careless of their individual reputation, achieve prodigies in order to establish and secure the fame of conquerors and of kings. In it are liber. tincs, who need the stern hand of martial discipline to keep them in check; cowards, who must be urged to battle; and stif-necked clowns, who in order to be rendered efficient, must be tamed and coerced to their duty. Leisure Moments in the Camp, &c. :
MILITARY BON MOT O A CLASSICAL Lieutenant of my acquaintance being asked what he thought of a very fine lady, who, though verging on her: eighth lustre, was far advanced in pregnancy, answered, “ She is like a stately orange tree, at once in bloom and bearing fruit."
Miscero autumni ac veris honoris:"__"parading at the same time autumnal and vernal honoura."