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and collected the Russian forces, to the number of 22,000 men, under the walls of Praga, the fortified suburb of Warsaw, situated on the right bank of the Vistula. The Polish troops amounted to 30,000, and were intrenched in a strong camp outside of the walls. To the success of an assault on Praga, the capture of a double barrier was thus necessary; but Suwarof could depend on the firmness of his men, and determined to act here as he had done at Ismail. Having made every preparation, the assault took place at daybreak, the 24th October 1793, and in four hours the intrenched camp, the town of Praga, and the remnant of the Polish troops, were in his possession. Half of the Polish army was killed, and the other half made prisoners, with a loss of only 1500 men on the part of the Russians. The inhabitants of Warsaw, astonished, opened their gates to the conqueror; and, in the course of a few weeks, the resistance of the Poles was at an end. Signal marks of honour were bestowed on Suwarof by the emperour of Germany and the king of Prussia, and Catherine created him a field-marshal, adding to this fresh title the gift of a domain of 7000 peasants. He remained a year in Poland, and passed it in assiduous endeavours to reconcile its inhabitants to the Russian government. Returning to Petersburg, he was treated with the greatest distinction, and was on the point of obtaining the fulfilment of the wish which he had long cherished, to take the field against the French, when the sudden death of the empress suspended the declaration of hostilities. Under such a master as Paul, it was not probable that a frank and independent character like Suwarof could remain long in favour. He made no scruple of ridiculing the fantastick innovations in the army, and his removal from command was the consequence. He retired first to
Moscow and afterward to the country, where he remained in obscurity till he was summoned again to arms by the second coalition against France. England, having engaged to subsidize 100,000 Russians, was entitled to name their general, and fixed on Suwarof. The emperour of Germany was persuaded to apply to Paul for the services of the aged warriour, who unexpectedly received in his retirement, the following letter from his master:
“I have taken the resolution of sending you to Italy, to the aid of the emperour and king, my ally and brother. Suwarof has no need of triumphs and laurels, but his country has need of Suwarof. My wishes are conformable to those of Francis II, who has conferred on you the command in chief of his army, and requests that you will accept it. It remains, therefore, only with Suwarof to yield to the prayers of his country, and the desire of Francis II.
(Signed) “ PAUL.”
Suwarof was transported at the receipt of this letter. He had always a lively sensibility to the attention of princes, and he was impressed with vehement antipathy to the principles of the French revolution.— Since the French had become so terrible to their neighbours, he had been accustomed to write to the empress Catherine, in the Russian style—“Mother and lady, order me, I entreat you, to march against the French.” He applied Paul’s welcome letter to his numerous scars, one after the other, and exclaimed that it had restored him to a new’ life. He hastened to yield compliance to the mandate, and proceeded to Vienna. He was received with great distinction by the emperour Francis. Arrangements had been made to render Italy the principal theatre of war, of which Suwatof approved: but no solicitation on the part of the Austrian government could prevail on him either to offer them his outline of the campaign, or to take into consideration the plans which they had already form-ed. He knew that Austria had paid dear for her predilection for these premature combinations, which never can be so framed as to provide for the contingencies resulting from the counter projects of the enemy. Invoking the divine aid, before an immense concourse of people in the cathedral of Vienna, and promising the emperour speedy news of victory, he set out for Italy, and joined the Austrian army, which had already commenced a successful career under general Kray. Suwardf now found himself in the delicate situation of commanding officer of another nation; a situation in which he, whom superficial observers have accounted a madman or a buffoon, acquitted himself with great dexterity. He paid a tribute of praise to each general, but particularly to Kray, to whom he said: “It is to you, sir, that I shall be indebted for the advantages which I hope to obtain over the enemy: it is you who have opened to me the road to victory.” The French, commanded by Moreau, were encamped beyond the Adda. Suwarof advanced with a superiour force, and, passing the river with great celerity and secrecy, defeated them in the first battle in which they and the Russians had ever met. Moreau retreated before the conqueror, who pushed on to Milan The situation of the various corps of adverse troops was at that time considerably complicated. The French were distributed three different ways. A distinct body of 40,000 men under Macdonald was marching from the south of Italy, another of 30,000 under Moreau was retreating before Suwarof, but still maintaining its communication with Macdonald through the medium of the Genoese territory; while the remainder of the French were distributed in the garrisons of Mantua, Peschiera, Tortona, Alessandria, and Turin, all places situated in the eountry which was overrun by Suwarof. The total of the allies
amounted to 80,000 men, a force inferiour to the aggregate of the French, but greater than any number which could be speedily united against them. In what manner was Suwarof to turn to account his present superiority? Was he to avoid beginning any sieges, and to march with a powerful army to meet Macdonald? Or was he to push the sieges in the interval with all possible rapidity, and trust to his own activity in combining an adequate force at the moment of Macdonald's arrival? Of these alternatives he chose the latter, and, contrary to his usual practice, divided his army to push the respective sieges. Each corps had orders to retard, by every means, the advance of Macdonald, but to fall back, and to fight no general action. Macdonald, on arriving from the south, had the option of either a bold or a cautious course. The cautious system would have consisted in marching silently along the whole extent of the Genoese coast, till he had effected a junction with Moreau; the other course was to cross the Appennines at once, and assail the allies from the east, while Moreau should collect his scattered troops, and advance against them from the west. Macdonald had been accustomed to success; he was confident in the vigour of his troops; and the dispersed situation of the allied forces offered a tempting prospect of successive advantages to such rapid assailants as the French. He remembered his triumphs over the Austrians in the former war, and he had yet to learn that any change of commander could make them different from what he had known them. Moreau, taught by recent experience, leaned to the cautious side: but Macdonald determined to judge for himself, and descended from the Appennines into the plain, trusting to his celerity for beating the allied troops in detail. No sooner had Suwarof learned this design, than he proceeded by forced marches to meet the French commander before he could advance sufficiently to cooperate with Moreau. Macdonald had passed Modena, Reggio, Parma, and Placenza, driving before him the light troops of the allies, and was on the point of forcing general Ott to relinquish his position near Placenza; when Suwarof arrived in the afternoon of the 17th June, and, joining his forces to the Austrians, obliged the French to retreat, after an obstinate and bloody struggle. Macdonald, however, although repulsed, was not overcome; and he drew his army, the next morning, in a compact position near the Trebia, the scene of the famous battle between Hannibal and Sempronius. Protected by a numerous artillery, and strengthened by woods and ditches, he calmly awaited the onset of his adversary. The French were in number 30,000, the allies 36,000. Suwarof saw the strength of the enemy's position and felt that it could not be turned. Little room was left for generalship; and the conflict was to be decided by obstinate perseverance and force. His plan of attack was simple, His troops marched in three columns, and assailed the enemy with the bayonet. Success was long doubtful; the Russians were repulsed at an important point, and were retreating when Suwarof laid himself down on the road, and declared that “he would die on the spot if his troops gave way.” They returned to the charge, and, after the most extraordinary efforts, drove the French from the field of battle: but they were too much fatigued to pursue the latter beyond the Trebia; and Macdonald, taking courage from their inaction, ventured, on the third day, to become the assailant. He attacked in front the right wing and centre of the allies, and had the hardihood to push forwards a column to turn their left. This column the allies charged with cavalry; and though such attacks are rarely suc
cessful against good troops, the fatigued state of the French obliged them to yield, and Macdonald, defeated at all points, sled to the Appennines with a loss of 20,000 men. Suwarof now came back on Moreau, who had advanced against his rear, but did not dare to await his return. The siege of Mantua next engaged his attention; and having supported it with 600 pieces of cannon, he soon forced it to surrender. Meanwhile, the French had collected a fresh army for the reconquest of Italy, and placed at its head general Joubert, a young man of great energy, in whom they believed that they saw a sceond Buonaparte, The hostile armies came in sight of each other at Novi, the French occupying a position on the heights, from which they proposed to descend on the next day to fight in the plain. Suwarof determined to anticipate their attack, and, detaching general Melas to turn them on the right, directed in person the assault on their centre. This battle, the last general action which he fought, was the most obstinate that he had ever witnessed. The French repulsed the allies on the left, and in the centre the Russian columns were three times driven back. Suwarof exclaimed: “Shall I then be beaten at the end of my career” and was on the point of rushing to put himself at the head of his grenadiers. At last, Melas having accomplished Suwarof's plan of turning the enemy's right, a fourth attack of the Russians proved successful in the centre; and Joubert having been killed, the French were completely defeated, with the loss of all their artillery, and 8000 men killed in the field. The loss of the allies was also considerable. Suwarof was now at the height of his fame. Honours flowed on him from all quarters, but particularly from Russia, Paul, having created him a prince of the empire, confer: red on him the surname of Italiski, and directed that his name should be joined with the imperial family in the publick prayers. The court of Vienna concurred, ostensibly, in the general congratulations: but its illiberal and selfish policy had already laid the seeds of disunion with Russia. Piedmont having been reconquered by their combined arms, Russia wished to restore that country to its former sovereign, but Austria coveted its retention for herself. Suwarof was of a character too inflexible and independent for a cabinet that was accustomed, like that of Austria, to implicit acquiescence from its agents. It was determined, therefore, that he should withdraw with the Russians from Italy; and that, joining them to the reenforcements recently arrived in Swisserland, he should command an army exclusively Russian. He accordingly set out on his march through the frightful defiles of Swisserland; after having warned the Austrians of the misfortunes which their tardy and indecisive tacticks would bring on them, and adding, that, notwithstanding their jealousy, he would return and cover their retreat in the hour of disaster. He entered Swisserland with a force of only 12,000 effective Russians, the remnant of 40,000—so wasteful to an army are even victories In this laborious and dangerous march, he displayed the same intelligence and activity in surmounting the obstacles of nature, which he had already shown in vanquishing his enemies; but while he was occupied in penetrating through these terrifick defiles, he received the alarming news that Massena had overthrown the Russian army at Zurich, that the Austrians, who were destined to support his march, had fled, and that the French had cut off his retreat in all directions. Never was a commander in a more perilous situation. With only a few days’ provisions, he was in the midst of rocks and mountains, from
TVor. I v. 2 I
which the only egress was by three paths; one towards Glarus on the east, occupied by the French under general Molitor; another at Attorf, on the south, where general Lecourbe had taken post with a strong corps; and a third at Schwitz on the north, whither Massena was advancing by forced marches, flushed with success and confident of his prey. The eyes of all Europe were fixed on Swisserland, and the aged warriour was given up for lost. He felt the danger of his situation, but he assumed a cheerful countenance to his troops. To retreat had never been his lot in war, and it cost him dear to resort to it at the close of his career. The necessity, however, was indispensable; and he yielded to that necessity, yet in a manner which bespoke the unsubdued vigour of his mind. He marched suddenly against Massena's vanguard, overthrew it, and destroyed its artillery; then turning rapidly to the east, he directed his course towards the path which led to Glarus. This path was so narrow as to admit only two men abreast; on the left was a perpendicular rock; and on the right a lake. Confined as it was by nature, it was still farther obstructed by stones and logs of wood. The French troops were in front; and their artillery on the opposite side of the lake, commanded it in flank. Here was no common danger, and a general who had not complete possession of the hearts of his soldiers would have been irretrievably lost. Suwarof first showed the Russians the path, and next pointed to himself and the emperour's son, Constantine, both about. to fall into the hands of the enemy, unless rescued by the valour of their own troops. The soldiers, affected with the scene, demanded with loud cries to be led on, and their intrepidity and impetuosity overcame every obstacle. The French were made to vanish from the path, as if swept off. by a superiour power; and they were pursued with such celerity that they
overthrew their own posts succes-
warof, and lighted by a lamp which is kept burning at all hours. This is his tomb.
M. Laverne concludes his work with a delineation of Suwarof's character, which, like some other parts of the volume, is considerably too diffuse. It conveys, however, when taken all together, a very clear representation of the warriour's disposition and habits. Passing over the remarks which appear to us superfluous, we have put together and translated the most interesting pasSages.
“Suwarof had been above fifty years in military service; he had been present in more than a hundred actions, and had commanded in sixty four, without ever being defeated. His predominant passion was the love of glory; indifferent to wealth, he gave up to others the spoils of the vanquished; and he shared with the private soldiers even those pecuniary rewards which were bestowed exclusively on himself. In person, he was small and thin; his body seemed to consist of sinews; his features were mean, his nose flat, his mouth wide, and his eyes were small, but discovered, by their animation, the fire of his temperament. His health was sound and vigorous. He rose regularly at daybreak, drenched himself with cold water, and took a repast between eight and nine o'clock. When in the field, he used the diet of a common soldier, which was generally broth and sour bread. In quarters, the only addition which he made to this plain food consisted in the use of cheese, butter, or salt meat. His drink was beer, with a little brandy after each meal; of which he ate two in the course of the day, with a keen appetite. His general custom was to sleep only three or four hours at night, and as many, when opportunity permitted, in the middle of the day. He was regular in his devotional exercises, and performed them before an image of St. Nicholas, the tutelary saint of Russia. When in quarters, he slept wrapt up in his cloak on a thin mattress or blanket, stretched on the floor; in the field, he slept on a board or on the bare ground. He never had guards, and his soldiers, as well as officers, had access to him at all hours. He was accustomed to traverse the camp on foot or on horseback alone; he descended to jocular familiarity and even to buffoonery with his soldiers,