[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.
Captions marked with [TN] and the table of contents have been added while producing this file.]
GREAT MEN AND FAMOUS WOMEN
A Series of Pen and Pencil Sketches of
THE LIVES OF MORE THAN 200 OF THE MOST PROMINENT PERSONAGES IN HISTORY
Copyright, 1894, BY SELMAR HESS
edited by Charles F. Horne
New-York: Selmar Hess Publisher
CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.
SUBJECT AUTHOR PAGE
CHARLES XII. OF SWEDEN, General John Mitchell, 211 ROBERT, LORD CLIVE, W. C. Taylor, LL.D., 244 STEPHEN DECATUR, Edward S. Ellis, A.M., 318 GEORGE DEWEY, Major-General Joseph Wheeler, 402 PRINCE EUGENE OF SAVOY, G. P. R. James, 223 DAVID GLASCOE FARRAGUT, L. P. Brockett, A.M., 379 FREDERICK THE GREAT, Major-General John Mitchell, 237 GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI, 389 ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT, Oliver Optic, 343 SAM HOUSTON, Amelia E. Barr, 331 THOMAS JONATHAN JACKSON, Marion Harland, 373 PAUL JONES, 301 FRANCOIS KELLERMANN, MARSHAL OF FRANCE, 251 JAMES LAWRENCE, 313 ROBERT EDMUND LEE, General Viscount Wolseley, 363 Letter from Lee to his son on the subject of "Duty," 372 FRANCIS MARION, 296 JOHN, DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH, L. Drake, 217 FIELD-MARSHAL COUNT VON MOLTKE, 395 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, Colonel Clayton, R.A., 262 LORD HORATIO NELSON, 279 MICHEL NEY, MARSHAL OF FRANCE, Louise Chandler Moulton, 255 OLIVER HAZARD PERRY, 325 DAVID DIXON PORTER, 387 ISRAEL PUTNAM, 284 WINFIELD SCOTT, Hon. Theodore Roosevelt, 338 PHILIP HENRY SHERIDAN, 358 WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN, Elbridge S. Brooks, 352 TECUMSEH, James A. Green, 308 MARSHAL TURENNE, 205 ANTHONY WAYNE, O. C. Bosbyshell, 289 ARTHUR, DUKE OF WELLINGTON, L. Drake, 272 GENERAL JAMES WOLFE, L. Drake, 231
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ILLUSTRATION ARTIST TO FACE PAGE
REPULSED AT TORGAU—FREDERICK WAITING FOR MORNING, R. Warthmueller Frontispiece THE MARSEILLAISE, Gustave Dore 252 NAPOLEON AND THE SPHINX, Jean Leon Gerome 264 SHERIDAN'S RIDE, T. Buchanan Read 362 FARRAGUT AT MOBILE BAY, W. H. Overend 386 ADMIRAL DEWEY AT MANILA BAY, H. T. See 402 THE DEWEY TRIUMPHAL ARCH, 406
WOOD-ENGRAVINGS AND TYPOGRAVURES.
TURENNE AT THE BATTLE OF THE DUNES, Lariviere 208 CHARLES XII. AND AN UNWILLING RECRUIT, Thure von Cederstroem 212 PRINCE EUGENE AND THE MARSHAL DE VILLARS, P. Philippoteaux 226 GENERAL WOLFE LANDING AT LOUISBURG, Wild 232 FREDERICK AND THE AUSTRIANS AFTER LEUTHEN, A. Kampf 242 MARSHAL NEY RETURNING THE CAPTURED COLORS, Meynier 256 A REVIEW OF THE BRITISH ARMY BY WELLINGTON, 274 NELSON AT TRAFALGAR, W. H. Overend 282 MARION CROSSING THE PEDEE, W. Ranney 300 PAUL JONES AND LADY SELKIRK, W. H. Overend 304 TECUMSEH DEFENDS THE WHITES AT FORT MEIGS, Chapin 310 "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP," Alonzo Chappel 316 DECATUR'S CONFLICT WITH THE ALGERINE AT TRIPOLI Alonzo Chappel 322 JACKSON AT CHANCELLORSVILLE, A. R. Ward 378 MEETING OF VICTOR EMMANUEL AND GARIBALDI, C. Ademollo 394 MOLTKE AT VERSAILLES, 1870, Anton von Werner 400 ADMIRAL DEWEY LOVING CUP, 404
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, esteemed, after Napoleon, the greatest of French generals, was born September 16, 1611. He was the second son of the Duc de Bouillon, Prince of Sedan, and of Elizabeth of Nassau, daughter of the celebrated William of Orange, to whose courage and talents the Netherlands mainly owed their deliverance from Spain. Both parents being zealous Calvinists, Turenne was of course brought up in the same faith. Soon after his father's death, the duchess sent him, when he was not yet thirteen years old, into the Low Countries, to learn the art of war under his uncle, Maurice of Nassau, who commanded the troops of Holland in the protracted struggle between that country and Spain. Maurice held that there was no royal road to military skill, and placed his young relation in the ranks, as a volunteer, where for some time he served, enduring all hardships to which the common soldiers were exposed. In his second campaign he was promoted to the command of a company, which he retained for four years, distinguished by the admirable discipline of his men, by unceasing attention to the due performance of his own duty, and by his eagerness to witness, and become thoroughly acquainted with, every branch of service. In the year 1630, family circumstances rendered it expedient that he should return to France, where the Court received him with distinction, and invested him with the command of a regiment.
Four years elapsed before Turenne had an opportunity of distinguishing himself in the service of his native country. His first laurels were reaped in 1634, at the siege of the strong fortress of La Motte, in Lorraine, where he headed the assault, and, by his skill and bravery, mainly contributed to its success. For this exploit he was raised, at the early stage of twenty-three, to the rank of Marechal de Camp, the second grade of military rank in France. In the following year, the breaking out of war between France and Austria opened a wider field of action. Turenne held a subordinate command in the army, which, under the Cardinal de la Valette, marched into Germany to support the Swedes, commanded by the Duke of Weimar. At first fortune smiled on the allies; but, ere long, scarcity of provisions compelled them to a disastrous retreat over a ruined country, in the face of the enemy. On this occasion the young soldier's ability and disinterestedness were equally conspicuous. He sold his plate and equipage for the use of the army; threw away his baggage to load the wagons with those stragglers who must otherwise have been abandoned; and marched on foot, while he gave up his own horse to the relief of one who had fallen, exhausted by hunger and fatigue. These are the acts which win the attachment of soldiers, and Turenne was idolized by his.
Our limits will not allow of the relation of those campaigns in which the subject of this memoir filled a subordinate part. In 1637-38 he again served under La Valette, in Flanders and Germany, after which he was made Lieutenant-general, a rank not previously existing in France. The three following years he was employed in Italy and Savoy, and in 1642 made a campaign in Roussillon, under the eye of Louis XIII. In the spring of 1643 the king died; and in the autumn of the same year Turenne received from the queen-mother and regent, Anne of Austria, a marshal's baton, the appropriate reward of his long and brilliant services. Four years a captain, four a colonel, three Marechal de Camp, five lieutenant-general, he had served in all stations from the ranks upward, and distinguished himself in them not only by military talent, but by strict honor and trustworthiness; rare virtues in those turbulent times, when men were familiar with civil war, and the great nobility were too powerful to be peaceful subjects.
Soon after his promotion he was sent to Germany, to collect and reorganize the French army, which had been roughly handled at Duttlingen. It wanted rest, men, and money, and he settled it in good quarters, raised recruits, and pledged his own credit for the necessary sums. The effects of his exertions were soon seen. He arrived in Alsace, December, 1643, and in the following May was at the head of 10,000 men, well armed and equipped, with whom he felt strong enough to attack the Imperial army, and raise the siege of Fribourg. At that moment the glory which he hoped for, and was entitled to obtain, as the reward of five months' labor, was snatched from him by the arrival of the celebrated Prince de Conde, at that time Duc d'Enghien, to assume the command. The vexation which Turenne must have felt was increased by the difference of age (for the prince was ten years his junior), and of personal character. Conde was ardent and impetuous, and flushed by his brilliant victory at Rocroi the year before; Turenne, cool, calculating, and cautious, unwearied in preparing a certainty of success beforehand, yet prompt in striking when the decisive moment was come. The difference of their characters was exemplified upon this occasion. Merci, the Austrian commander, had taken up a strong position, which Turenne said could not be forced; but at the same time pointed out the means of turning it. Conde differed from him, and the second in command was obliged to submit. On two successive days two bloody and unsuccessful assaults were made; on the third Turenne's advice was taken, and on the first demonstration of this change of plan Merci retreated. In the following year, ill supplied with everything, and forced to separate his troops widely to obtain subsistence, Turenne was attacked at Mariendal, and worsted by his old antagonist, Merci. This, his first defeat, he felt severely; still he retained his position, and was again ready to meet the enemy, when he received positive orders from Mazarin to undertake nothing before the arrival of Conde. Zealous for his country and careless of personal slights, he marched without complaint under the command of his rival; and his magnanimity was rewarded at the battle of Nordlingen, in 1645, where the centre and right wing having failed in their attack, Turenne, with the left wing, broke the enemy's right, and falling on his centre in flank, threw it into utter confusion. For this service he received the most cordial and ample acknowledgments from Conde, both on the field and in his despatches to the Queen Regent. Soon after, Conde, who was wounded in the battle, resigned his command into the hands of Turenne. The following campaigns of 1646-47-48 exhibited a series of successes, by means of which he drove the Duke of Bavaria from his dominions, and reduced the emperor to seek for peace. This was concluded at Munster in 1648, and to Turenne's exertions the termination of the Thirty Years' War is mainly to be ascribed.
The repose of France was soon broken by civil war. Mazarin's administration, oppressive in all respects, but especially in fiscal matters, had produced no small discontent throughout the country, and especially in Paris, where the Parliament openly espoused the cause of the people against the minister, and was joined by several of the highest nobility, urged by various motives of private interest or personal pique. Among these were the Prince of Conti, the Duc de Longueville, and the Duc de Bouillon. Mazarin, in alarm, endeavored to enlist the ambition of Turenne in his favor, by offering the government of Alsace, and the hand of his own niece, as the price of his adherence to the Court. The viscount, pressed by both parties, avoided declaring his adhesion to either; but he unequivocally expressed his disapprobation of the cardinal's proceedings, and, being superseded in his command, retired peaceably to Holland. There he remained till the convention of Ruel effected a hollow and insincere reconciliation between the Court and one of the jarring parties of which the Fronde was composed. That reconciliation was soon broken by the sudden arrest of Conde, Conti, and the Duc de Longueville. Turenne then threw himself into the arms of the Fronde, and, at the head of eight thousand men, found himself obliged to encounter the royal army, twenty thousand strong. In the battle which ensued, he distinguished his personal bravery in several desperate charges; but the disparity was too great; and this defeat of Rhetel was of serious consequence to the Fronde party. Convinced at last that his true interest lay rather on the side of the Court, then managed by a woman and a priest, where he might be supreme in military matters, than in supporting the cause of an impetuous and self-willed leader, such as Conde, Turenne gladly listened to overtures of accommodation, and passed over to the support of the regency.
The value of his services was soon made evident. Twice, at the head of very inferior troops, he checked Conde in the career of victory; and again compelled him to fight under the walls of Paris; where, in the celebrated battle of the Faubourg St. Antoine, the prince and his army narrowly escaped destruction. Finally, he re-established the Court at Paris, and compelled Conde to quit the realm. These important events took place in one campaign of six months in 1652.
In 1654 he again took the field against his former friend and commander, Conde, who had taken refuge in Spain, and now led a foreign army against his country. The most remarkable operation of the campaign was the raising the siege of Arras, which the Spaniards had invested, according to the most approved fashion of the day, with a strong double line of circumvallation, within which the besieging army was supposed to be securely sheltered against the sallies of the garrison cooped up within, and the efforts of their friends from without. Turenne marched to the relief of the place. This could only be effected by forcing the enemy's entrenchments; which were accordingly attacked, contrary to the opinion of his own officers, and carried at all points, despite the personal exertions of Conde. The Spaniards were forced to retreat. It is remarkable that Turenne, not long after, was himself defeated in precisely similar circumstances, under the walls of Valenciennes, round which he had drawn lines of circumvallation. Once more he found himself in the same position at Dunkirk. On this occasion he marched out of his lines to meet the enemy, rather than wait, and suffer them to choose their point of attack; and the celebrated battle of the Dunes, or Sandhills, ensued, in which he gained a brilliant victory over the best Spanish troops, with Conde at their head. This took place in 1657. Dunkirk and the greater part of Flanders fell into the hands of the French in consequence; and these successes led to the treaty of the Pyrenees, which terminated the war in 1658.
When war broke out afresh between France and Spain, in 1667, Louis XIV. made his first campaign under Turenne's guidance, and gained possession of nearly the whole of Flanders. In 1672, when Louis resolved to undertake in person the conquest of Holland, he again placed the command, under himself, in Turenne's hands, and disgraced several marshals who refused to receive orders from the viscount, considering themselves his equals in military rank. How Le Grand Monarque forced the passage of the Rhine when there was no army to oppose him, and conquered city after city, till he was stopped by inundations, under the walls of Amsterdam, has been said and sung by his flatterers, and need not be repeated here. But after the king had left the army, when the princes of Germany came to the assistance of Holland, and her affairs took a more favorable turn under the able guidance of the Prince of Orange, a wider field was offered for the display of Turenne's talents. In the campaign of 1673 he drove the Elector of Brandenburg, who had come to the assistance of the Dutch, back to Berlin, and compelled him to negotiate for peace. In the same year he was opposed, for the first time, to the imperial general, Montecuculi, celebrated for his military writings as well as for his exploits in the field. The meeting of these two great generals produced no decisive results.
Turenne returned to Paris in the winter, and was received with the most flattering marks of favor. On the approach of spring he was sent back to take command of the French army in Alsace, which, amounting to no more than ten thousand men, was pressed by a powerful confederation of the troops of the Empire, and those of Brandenburg, once again in the field. Turenne set himself to beat the allies in detail, before they could form a junction. He passed the Rhine, marched forty French leagues in four days, and came up with the Imperialists, under the Duke of Lorraine, at Sintzheim. They occupied a strong position, their wings resting on mountains; their centre protected by a river and a fortified town. Turenne hesitated: it seemed rash to attack; but a victory was needful before the combination of the two armies should render their force irresistible; and he commanded the best troops of France. The event justified his confidence. Every post was carried sword in hand. The Marshal had his horse killed under him, and was slightly wounded. To the officers, who crowded round him with congratulations, he replied, with one of those short and happy speeches which tell upon an army more than the most labored harangues, "With troops like you, gentlemen, a man ought to attack boldly, for he is sure to conquer." The beaten army fell back behind the Neckar, where they effected a junction with the troops of Brandenburg; but they dared attempt nothing further, and left the Palatinate in the quiet possession of Turenne. Under his eye, and, as it appears from his own letters, at his express recommendation, as a matter of policy, that wretched country was laid waste to a deplorable extent. This transaction went far beyond the ordinary license of war, and excited general indignation even in that unscrupulous age. It will ever be remembered as a foul stain upon the character of the general who executed, and of the king and minister who ordered or consented to it.
Having carried fire and sword through that part of the Palatinate which lay upon the right or German bank of the Rhine, he crossed that river. But the Imperial troops, reinforced by the Saxons and Hessians to the amount of sixty thousand men, pressed him hard; and it seemed impossible to keep the field against so great a disparity of force; his own troops not amounting to more than twenty thousand. He retreated into Lorraine, abandoning the fertile plains of Alsace to the enemy, led his army behind the Vosges Mountains, and crossing them by unfrequented routes, surprised the enemy at Colmar, beat him at Mulhausen and Turkheim, and forced him to recross the Rhine. This is esteemed the most brilliant of Turenne's campaigns, and it was conceived and conducted with the greater boldness, being in opposition to the orders of Louvois. "I know," he wrote to that minister, in remonstrating, and indeed refusing to follow his directions, "I know the strength of the Imperialists, their generals, and the country in which we are. I take all upon myself, and charge myself with whatever may occur."
Returning to Paris at the end of the campaign, his journey through France resembled a triumphal progress; such was the popular enthusiasm in his favor. Not less flattering was his reception by the king, whose undeviating regard and confidence, undimmed by jealousy or envy, is creditable alike to the monarch and to his faithful subject. At this time Turenne, it is said, had serious thoughts of retiring to a convent, and was induced only by the earnest remonstrances of the king, and his representations of the critical state of France, to resume his command. Returning to the Upper Rhine, he was again opposed to Montecuculi. For two months the resources and well-matched skill of the rival captains were displayed in a series of marches and countermarches, in which every movement was so well foreseen and guarded against, that no opportunity occurred for coming to action with advantage to either side. At last the art of Turenne appeared to prevail; when, not many minutes after he had expressed the full belief that victory was within his grasp, a cannon-ball struck him while engaged in reconnoitring the enemy's position, previous to giving battle, and he fell dead from his horse, July 27, 1675. The same shot carried off the arm of St. Hilaire, commander-in-chief of the artillery. "Weep not for me," said the brave soldier to his son; "it is for that great man that we ought to weep."
His subordinates possessed neither the talents requisite to follow up his plans, nor the confidence of the troops, who perceived their hesitation, and were eager to avenge the death of their beloved general. "Loose the piebald," so they named Turenne's horse, was the cry; "he will lead us on." But those on whom the command devolved thought of anything rather than of attacking the enemy; and after holding a hurried council of war, retreated in all haste across the Rhine.
The Swabian peasants let the spot where he fell lie fallow for many years, and carefully preserved a tree under which he had been sitting just before. Strange that the people who had suffered so much at his hands should regard his memory with such respect!
The character of Turenne was more remarkable for solidity than for brilliancy. Many generals may have been better qualified to complete a campaign by one decisive blow; few probably have laid the scheme of a campaign with more judgment, or shown more skill and patience in carrying their plans into effect. And it is remarkable that, contrary to general experience, he became much more enterprising in advanced years than he had been in youth. Of that impetuous spirit, which sometimes carries men to success where caution would have hesitated and failed, he possessed little. In his earlier years he seldom ventured to give battle, except where victory was nearly certain; but a course of victory inspired confidence, and trained by long practice to distinguish the difficult from the impossible, he adopted in his later campaigns a bolder style of tactics than had seemed congenial to his original temper. In this respect he offered a remarkable contrast to his rival in fame, Conde, who, celebrated in early life for the headlong valor, even to rashness, of his enterprises, became in old age prudent almost to timidity. Equally calm in success or in defeat, Turenne was always ready to prosecute the one, or to repair the other. And he carried the same temper into private life, where he was distinguished for the dignity with which he avoided quarrels, under circumstances in which lesser men would have found it hard to do so, without incurring the reproach of cowardice. Nor must we pass over his thorough honesty and disinterestedness in pecuniary matters; a quality more rare in a great man then than it is now.
CHARLES XII. OF SWEDEN
By GENERAL JOHN MITCHELL
Charles XII., against whom it has been made a fault that he carried virtues to extremes, was born at Stockholm, on June 27, 1682, during a storm that
"Rived the mighty oak, and made The ambitious ocean swell, and rage, and foam, To be exalted with the threatening clouds."
Astrologers observed that the star called the "Lion's Heart" predominated at his nativity, and that the "Fox" was on the decline—omens and prodigies well suited to announce the birth of a prince who was himself a living tempest. Charles's infancy has nothing very remarkable. His education was strictly attended to, and he proved an attentive scholar. He acquired considerable knowledge of history, geography, mathematics, and the military sciences, and became perfectly familiar with several languages, though he never, after his accession to the throne, spoke any but Latin, Swedish, or German. The gallant Charles Stewart, the same who afterward led the king across the Duna, was his instructor in the art of war, and is said to have communicated to the young prince much of the fiery spirit for which he was himself distinguished. In his fifteenth year Charles ascended the throne, and, contrary to usual assertion, already evinced considerable ability and application to business, though no particular predilection for military affairs, unless his bear-hunting expeditions may be so considered, for they were more than "faint images of war," being attended with great danger. No arms were used in these encounters; the sportsman was provided only with a single doubly-pointed stick and a cast-net, like the one perhaps, used by the ancient gladiators. The object of these fierce combats was to capture and bind the bear, and to carry him in triumph from the scene of action! Charles was, it seems, a great proficient in this dangerous sport.
At the age of eighteen Charles was obliged to take the field against the four greatest powers of the North. Forced to contend with small means against vastly superior foes, he made genius and courage supply the place of numbers. Heroism was never more nobly displayed than by this gallant monarch and his followers. What men could do was done. For nine years he triumphed over constantly augmenting enemies. And when the "unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain" fell at last, crushed by the weight of masses, fortune more than shared with his innumerable adversaries the honor of his overthrow.
It was during the Polish campaign of 1703 that Max Emanuel of Wirtemberg, then only fourteen years of age, joined Charles. When introduced, the king asked him whether he wished to go to Stockholm for a time, or to remain with the army. The prince, of course, preferred the latter. "Well, then," said Charles, "I will bring you up in my own way," and immediately placed the boy, tired as he was from his journey, on horseback, and led him a long and fatiguing ride. From this period to the battle of Pultowa, Max continued to be his constant companion, shared his dangers, and attended him in all his adventures, many of which border almost on the fabulous. The affectionate kindness evinced by Charles toward his pupil could not be surpassed. When the boy, as sometimes happened, was worn down by sickness and fatigue, the monarch attended him with parental care; and when on one occasion he fell speechless from his horse, and his recovery was despaired of, the king never left his couch till he was pronounced out of danger.
The adventures they encountered together were endless. On inspecting the regiments before the opening of the campaign of 1706, they rode five hundred miles in six days, were never in bed, and hardly ever out of the saddle, and frequently reduced to milk and water as their only nourishment—
"Alike to Charles was tide or time, Moonless midnight or matin prime."
Having on another occasion lost their road and escort during a stormy night, they arrived in the midst of a tempest before the town of Tousha. Neither calling nor firing brought any one to the gates. The king at last dismounted and sought for an entrance, while the prince held the horses in the pelting rain. An entrance having at last been discovered, they took possession of a hut in which was a fire. The king threw himself, booted and spurred, on a bundle of straw, and fell fast asleep. The prince, less hardy, took off his boots, filled them with straw, and placed them by the fire. While sleeping, the flame caught and consumed the valuable gambodoes. The prince was next day obliged to get a pair of peasant's boots, in which he rode about for eight days; a proof that the princely wardrobe was but slenderly furnished.
And yet the camp was not without its gayeties either; for while the head-quarters were wintering at Rawitcz, the town became the scene of great festivities; balls and parties succeeding each other as rapidly as battles had done before. Charles was usually present, was always very polite, but made only a short stay, and retired as soon as he could.
During the stay of the army in this place, a fire broke out and consumed several houses. The king flew to aid in extinguishing the flames. He ascended to the top of a house that was already on fire, and continued working till the building was sinking under him. He escaped with difficulty, was thrown down by one of the beams, and for a moment believed to be dead. "It was discovered two years afterward," says Bardili, "that the place was set on fire by an incendiary bribed by Augustus II. to slay the king of Sweden in the confusion;" and a man actually came forward and denounced himself as the intended assassin, declaring that some unknown power had prevented him from stabbing the king when he got near his person. Charles said the man was mad, and sent him about his business. Napoleon would have sent him before a military commission and had him shot, as he caused the student at Schoenbrunn to be shot.
We regret that we cannot give a sufficient account of the Duke of Marlborough's visit to Charles's head-quarters at Altranstadt; for what Voltaire says on the subject is but an idle fable. That the English general should easily have penetrated the views of the Swedish conqueror, which the latter took no pains to conceal, is sufficiently probable; but that the conversation between two such men should have turned principally on the king's large boots, which, as Voltaire says, Charles told Marlborough "he had not quitted for seven years," is of course a mere puerility. Besides, we find from Max's "Memoirs," that Charles was not so coarse in his dress as is usually represented, for his clothes were made of fine materials. He always wore a plain blue coat with gilt buttons, buff waistcoat and breeches, a black crape cravat, and a cocked hat; a waist-belt, and a long cut-and-thrust sword. He never disfigured himself by the full-bottomed wig of the period, but always wore his own brown hair, combed back from his forehead. His camp-bed consisted of a blue silk mattress, pillow and coverlid; materials that would have suited even a dandy guardsman.
The invasion of Saxony occasioned great uneasiness at Vienna, Charles's arrival being considered alike dangerous to the Catholic states of the Empire and to the success of the Grand Alliance. It happened, under these unpleasant feelings, that at a party the Swedish Minister, Count Stralenghielm, proposed his master's health as a toast. An imperial chamberlain, a Count Zabor, a magnate of Hungary, refused to drink it, declaring that "no honest man ought to drink the health of the Turk, the devil, and of a third person." The Swede struck the offender, and swords were drawn; but the adversaries were of course separated. The ambassador demanded satisfaction for the insult; and Zabor was arrested, and sent in irons to Stettin, and delivered up to the Swedes. Charles instantly set him at liberty, simply desiring him to "be more guarded in his speeches for the future."
The Saxon nobility (Ritterschaft, chivalry) having been taxed to aid in defraying the Swedish contributions, applied to Charles, claiming their privilege of exemption from all taxation, except that of furnishing horses for the chivalry engaged in defence of the country. "Had the Saxon chivalry," said Charles, "acted up to the duties to which they owe their privilege, I should not have been here."
The King of Sweden left Saxony, and set out on his Russian expedition at the head of 43,000 men. Of these 8,000 remained in Poland; so that he undertook the march to Moscow with only 35,000—a force amounting to about one-fifteenth part of the army with which Napoleon set out on a similar expedition. The Russians followed the same system they afterward employed against the French, retiring and laving waste the country. The difficulties the Swedes had to encounter, in consequence of bad roads and want of provisions, are almost incredible. The soldiers were forced to contend, not only against the enemy, but against the localities also; roads for the advance of the army had to be opened through forests and morasses before the least progress could be made; and it often happened that a league a day was the greatest extent of march gained after immense toil. But nothing checked the ardor of these gallant soldiers. The Russians attempted to defend the passage of rivers and swamps that impeded the march of the foe. Their efforts were vain; no superiority of numbers, no strength of position, could arrest the indomitable valor of Charles and his troops. And the actions performed during this march would be deemed absolutely fabulous, were they not recorded on authority which cannot be doubted.
During the severe winter of 1709, the army suffered dreadfully from want and cold. When, early in spring, the thaw set in, the whole of those flat countries were overflowed, and long marches had to be made through complete inundations, by which quantities of stores were lost, and the powder greatly damaged. It was, as we now find, in consequence of the losses thus sustained that Charles accepted Mazeppa's proposal of marching into the Ukraine. Finding his army too much weakened to penetrate further into Russia, and not wishing to fall back upon Livonia, which he thought would look like a retreat and encourage his enemies, he determined to march to the south, and there await the supplies and reinforcements which his generals were to bring up.
The loss of the convoy which General Lewenhaupt was conducting to the army rendered further delay necessary, and obliged the king to undertake the siege of Pultowa, in order to gain a firm footing in the country, and to secure the supplies which the place contained. The Swedish battering-train was weak, the powder not only bad from having been frequently injured by the wet and dried again, but very scarce besides. Still, courage and energy were making progress, when, June 27th, on his very birthday, Charles, in repulsing a sally, was struck by a musket-ball that entered his left foot, above the root of the toes, and went out at the heel. The king continued in the field for an hour afterward, giving his orders as usual; but when he retired to his quarters, the leg was so much swelled that the boot had to be cut off, and the wound had so unfavorable an appearance as greatly to alarm the attendants.
Charles behaved heroically, as usual. He held his leg to the surgeon with his own hands, nor did a single groan escape him during the terrible operation which the cutting away of some of the fractured bones rendered necessary. At one time his life was despaired of, and a general panic seized the army, but though the wound proved decisive of his fate, the unhappy monarch had what may well be termed the misfortune to recover.
The foe drew near. The Czar, well aware of the importance of Pultowa, advanced to its relief with an army of 80,000 men, besides 40,000 irregulars, Kalmucks and Tartars. He brought 150 pieces of artillery along with him. Even with this vast superiority, and after the training of a nine years' war, the Russians did not venture to attack the Swedes, but drew closer and closer around them, till they began at last to intrench themselves within a league of the king's camp. Charles's illness gave them but too much leisure.
A hostile fortress on one side, a hostile army on the other, nothing but a victory could save the Swedes; and on the morning of the 8th of July, only ten days after Charles had been wounded, they marched out to battle. Their whole army did not amount to 20,000 men, 4,000 of whom were left in the trenches and with the baggage. Their artillery consisted of four field-pieces; and their powder was so bad that it did not, as Count Poniatowsky and Lewenhaupt both affirm, throw the musket-balls more than thirty yards from the muzzles of the pieces. And yet these brave soldiers balanced fortune even against such overwhelming numbers. Three out of the seven Russian redoubts were taken; on the left wing the cavalry were victorious, and it is really difficult to say what the result would have proved, had Charles been able to exert his usual energy and activity. Certain it is that errors were committed which could not have happened under his immediate command; for the cavalry of the left wing did not follow up their success, and the cavalry of the right wing lost their direction, and took no share in the action. The king, who was carried on a litter between two horses, was present in the hottest of the fire, and exerted himself as much as was possible for a man in such a situation. A shot broke the litter, and the wounded monarch was for some time left alone on the ground. A lifeguardsman brought him a horse, and he endeavored to rally the yielding troops. The steed was shot under him, and—
"Gierta gave His own, and died the Russian slave."
Having assembled and re-formed the remnants of his broken host round the forces which had been left for the protection of the baggage, the fainting monarch was placed in Count Piper's carriage, and conveyed toward the Turkish frontier. The exertions of the wounded Charles to rally his army at Pultowa contrast singularly with the total want of any such exertion displayed by the unwounded Napoleon at Waterloo. We take this want of exertion for granted, because had any been displayed, the world's echoes would have rung with praise bestowed upon the heroic effort.
The first result of the battle of Pultowa—its ultimate results are only now becoming apparent—was the entire destruction of the Swedish army, the famished and exhausted remains of which were some days afterward obliged to lay down their arms on the banks of the Dnieper, which they had no means of crossing.
With this battle, which opens a new era in European history, the history of Charles XII. may be said to end; for his subsequent career was only a succession of disappointments, his poor and thinly peopled country not affording him the means of recovery from a single 'defeat'.
On his arrival at Bender, the king learned of the death of his sister, the Duchess of Holstein; and he who had calmly supported the loss of his fame and his army yielded to the most impassioned burst of sorrow, and was during four days unable to converse with his most intimate attendants—a proof how unjust are the accusations of want of feeling so often brought against him. His long stay in Turkey is certainly evidence of obstinacy, or of that pride which could not brook the thought of returning, a vanquished fugitive, to his native land, which had done so much for him, and which his best efforts had failed to protect from unjust violence. In Charles's high and noble countenance it is seen at once that he was endowed with—
"The glance that took Their thoughts from others at a single look."
He knew the worthlessness of his enemies; and it is doubly galling to the generous and the brave when fortune, in her base fancies, obliges them to succumb to mean and malicious adversaries. And such was the fate of Charles. His defeat was no sooner known than Denmark, Poland, and Saxony again flew to arms. Hanover and Prussia joined the unworthy league against the fallen monarch, who had been so dreaded, and was therefore so much hated; for Charles had injured no one—he was the aggrieved from first to last. His return to Sweden, the defence of Stralsund, the invasion of Norway, call for no particular attention. He was killed at the siege of Frederickshall, in Norway, on November 30, 1718, under circumstances that long gave currency to the belief that he had been assassinated. Schott and Bardili positively assert the fact; but we are on this point disposed to agree with Voltaire, who, to save the honor of his countrymen, as positively denies it. After evening service, the king went out as usual to visit the trenches. He was attended by two French engineers, Megret and Siquier. A heavy fire was kept up by the enemy. Near the head of the boyau, or zigzag, he kneeled down, and, leaning against the parapet, looked toward the fortress. As he remained motionless for a long time, some one approached and found him perfectly dead, a ball having entered his right temple and passed through his head. Even in death the gallant hand had grasped the hilt of his sword; and this probably gave rise to the belief in the murder, which was afterward confirmed by Siquier's own confession. But this confession was only made while the pretended criminal labored under an attack of brain fever, and was retracted as soon as he recovered.
Thus fell, in the thirty-sixth year of his age, one of the most extraordinary men that ever acted a part on the great stage of the world. Endowed by nature with a noble person, "a frame of adamant, a soul of fire," with high intellectual powers, dauntless bravery, kingly sentiments of honor, and a lofty scorn of all that was mean and little, he became, from the very splendor of these gifts, perhaps one of the most unhappy men of his time. Less highly gifted, he would have been less hated and less envied; of humbler spirit, he would have been more pliant, and might possibly have been more successful.
JOHN, DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
By L. DRAKE
About noon, on June 24, 1650, John Churchill, afterward Duke of Marlborough, was born at Ashe, in Devonshire. His school-days were soon over; for his father, Sir Winston Churchill, having established himself at court soon after the restoration of Charles the Second, was anxious to introduce his children early into life, and obtained for his son the situation of page of honor to the Duke of York, at the same time that his only daughter, Arabella, became maid of honor to the duchess.
While at school, young Churchill had discovered in the library an old book on military subjects. This he read frequently, and conceived such a taste for a martial life, that he longed to distinguish himself as a soldier.
The Duke of York held frequent reviews of the guards. Churchill had not long been his page, before the duke noticed his eagerness to be present on these occasions. Pleased with this indication of military ambition, the duke suddenly inquired one day, "What can I do for you, Churchill, as a first step to fortune?"
The page threw himself on his knees before the duke. "I beseech your Royal Highness," he entreated, with clasped hands, "to honor me with a pair of colors."
"Well, well," said the duke, smiling at the lad's earnestness, "I will grant your request by and by;" and his young favorite had not long to wait before he got the post for which he had petitioned.
The youthful ensign, scarce fifteen years of age, first embarked for Tangiers; and although his stay was short, yet in the sallies and skirmishes with the Moors he showed that even now he possessed that courage and ability which in after years placed him at the head of all the heroes of his time.
Before the year in which he left England had expired, he was again in his native country. He then accompanied the Duke of Monmouth to the continent, to assist France against Holland. The Prince of Conde and Marshal Turenne, the greatest generals of that time, commanded the French army, so that Churchill had very favorable opportunities of improving his military talent and genius.
A French officer, during the siege of Nimeguen, had failed to retain a post of consequence, which he had been appointed to defend. The news of its loss was brought to Turenne.
"I will bet a supper and a dozen of claret," instantly exclaimed the marshal, "that my handsome Englishman will recover the post with half the number of men that the officer commanded who lost it."
Churchill was despatched with a small company, and, after a short but desperate struggle, retook the post, won the marshal his wager, and gained for himself the applause and admiration of the whole army.
Next year, at the siege of Maestricht, Captain Churchill again distinguished himself. At the head of his own company, he scaled the ramparts, and planted the banner of France on the very summit, escaping with a slight wound. Louis XIV. was so highly pleased with his conduct that he thanked him at the head of the army, and soon made him lieutenant-colonel. The Duke of Monmouth afterward confessed to the king, that he was indebted for his life, on this occasion, to our hero's gallantry and discretion.
On his return to England, he was made gentleman of the bedchamber and master of the robes to his earliest patron, the Duke of York. At this period he was captivated by the beauty of Miss Sarah Jennings, daughter of a gentleman of ancient family, and maid of honor to the duchess. Their marriage took place in 1678.
The services Colonel Churchill continued to yield the royal brothers did not pass unrewarded. He was created Baron Churchill of Agmouth, in Berwickshire; and a friendship sprung up between Lady Churchill and the Princess (afterward queen) Anne, who, when she married Prince George of Denmark, got her friend appointed lady of her bedchamber.
The day after James II. was proclaimed, he made his favorite, lieutenant-general. The battle of Sedgemoor, in which the ill-fated Duke of Monmouth with his rebel army was defeated, was won chiefly by Churchill's courage and decision. Till the closing scene of James's reign, there is little stated of Lord Churchill, although it is known that he used his influence with his royal master to prevent the arbitrary system of government the king endeavored to introduce. Finding the monarch determined to persist in his encroachments, Lord Churchill felt it his duty, however painful, to go over to the Prince of Orange, by whom he was received with distinguished marks of attention and respect; and, two days before his coronation, the prince raised him to the dignity of Earl of Marlborough.
The affection the earl still felt toward his late benefactor, the ex-king, led him into a correspondence with him. This, being discovered, brought the displeasure of King William upon him, and for some time he was deprived of all his appointments. At length a governor being wanted for the young Duke of Gloucester, son of the Princess Anne, the king, as an earnest of his returning favor, conferred this honor on Marlborough. "Teach him, my lord," said his majesty, "to be what you are yourself, and he will not want accomplishments."
On the accession of Queen Anne, Marlborough was made captain-general, master of the ordnance, and a knight of the garter. Soon after, he was sent to Holland to aid the Dutch against the French. He was appointed by them generalissimo of the forces, with a salary of L10,000 a year. With his army he crossed the river Meuse, and advanced to the siege of Rheinberg. "I hope soon to deliver you from these troublesome neighbors!" he exclaimed to the Dutch deputies who accompanied him on a reconnoitring party; and had it not been for the timidity of the Dutchmen he would have fulfilled his intentions. He however, took three towns out of the hands of the French, and the campaign ended by the taking of Liege.
Marlborough soon returned to England, when the queen created him Marquis of Blandford and Duke of Marlborough, an honor he reluctantly accepted, and chiefly because it would give him more consideration if again called upon to serve his country abroad.
In 1703 the duke was once more in Flanders, leading operations against the French with his usual success.
The celebrated Prince Eugene was appointed his colleague; and the first time these two generals met, they conceived that mutual esteem and confidence, which afterward rendered them partners in the same glory.
At the head of a noble army, the two generals penetrated into the heart of Germany, driving the Elector of Bavaria before them, ere his French allies could join him. It would take too much space to describe all the victories, and relate the details of the burning of three hundred towns, villages, and castles! These stern necessities of war were far from pleasing to Marlborough, who grieved to see the poor people suffering from their master's ambition. The Elector shed tears when he heard of these devastations, and offered large sums to prevent military execution on the land. "The forces of England," replied the duke, "are not come into Bavaria to extort money, but to bring its prince to reason and moderation. It is in the power of the Elector to end the matter at once by coming to a speedy accommodation."
But the Elector knew that Marshal Tallard, with a powerful French army, was approaching; and, buoyed up by expectation, replied, "Since you have compelled me to draw the sword, I have thrown away the scabbard!"
Prince Eugene had hastened from the Rhine to join Marlborough, with a force of eighteen thousand men, and reached the plains of Hochstadt by the time Tallard joined the Elector. As the prince and Marlborough proceeded to survey the ground, previous to taking up their position, they perceived some squadrons of the enemy at a distance. The two generals mounted the steeple of a church close by, and, with their glasses, discovered the quarter-masters of the enemy marking out a camp between Blenheim and Luetzingen. Charmed beyond measure, they resolved to give battle before the enemy could strengthen themselves in their new position. Some officers, who knew the strength of the ground selected by the enemy, ventured to remonstrate, and to advise that no action should be hazarded. "I know the dangers of the case," said Marlborough, who had not made up his mind without due consideration, "but a battle is absolutely necessary; and as for success, I rely on the hope that the discipline and courage of the troops will make amends for all disadvantages." Orders being issued for a general engagement, the whole army commenced preparations with cheerfulness and alacrity.
Marlborough showed that he was resolved to conquer or to die in the attempt. Part of the night he passed in prayer, and toward morning received the sacrament. Then, after taking a short sleep, he concerted the arrangements for the action with Prince Eugene, particularly pointing out to the surgeons the proper place for the wounded.
The forces of the duke and the prince formed an army of 33,500 infantry and 18,400 cavalry. They were opposed by a force of 56,000 men.
About six o'clock in the morning, Marlborough and Eugene took their station on a rising ground, and calling all the generals, gave the directions for the attack. The army then marched into the plain; and being formed in order of battle, the chaplains performed service at the head of each regiment.
The morning being hazy, the French and Bavarians did not even suspect the approach of their enemies, and were completely taken by surprise. A large gun boomed forth the signal for the onset; and as great a battle was fought as the memory of man ever heard of. A panic seized the whole of the troops which composed the right of the French army, and they fled like a flock of sheep before the victorious English,—deaf to the threats and entreaties of their commanders, and without observing whither their flight led them. A body of cavalry, the best and most renowned in the whole army, seized with fear, hurried away Marshal Tallard with them in their flight; and, void of all thought, threw themselves by squadrons into the Danube, men and horses, officers and troopers together. Some escaped; but the greater portion, who had sought to avoid an uncertain death on the field of battle and honor, found a certain and shameful death in the river. The poor marshal, after vainly endeavoring to stem this torrent of despair, was obliged to surrender himself a prisoner of war with several other general officers in his company. The defeat then became complete. Of all the infantry the marshal had brought to the assistance of the Elector, only two battalions escaped; eight and twenty battalions were taken prisoners; and ten were entirely destroyed!
The French, for many years, had never sustained any considerable defeat; and in consequence, had looked upon themselves, and had been regarded by other countries, almost as invincible. But now the charm was broken.
After the battle, when Marshal Tallard was brought into the duke's tent, the marshal exclaimed with emphasis, "Your grace has beaten the best troops in the world!"
"I hope," quickly rejoined the duke, "that you except the troops which defeated them."
The news caused great joy in England, except to a discontented party, who considered that "it would no more weaken the power of the French king, than taking a bucket of water out of a river." Marlborough's answer, when he heard this, was, "If they will allow me to draw one or two such buckets more, we may then let the river run quietly, and not much apprehend its overflowing, and destroying its neighbors." Queen Anne, however, as a monument of victory, commanded a splendid palace to be built for the duke, at her own expense, to be called Blenheim.
It would fill a large volume to relate all the victories of the Duke of Marlborough, none of which, however, exceeded the Battle of Blenheim in importance. One, some years afterward, called the Battle of Malplaquet, was a better contested fight, and perhaps ranks next; in truth, after this battle, France never again ventured to meet Marlborough in the field.
At three o'clock in the morning of September 11, 1709, the confederated troops (for Eugene, with his army, was still with Marlborough) began to raise their batteries, under cover of a thick fog, which lasted till half-past seven. When it cleared away, the armies found themselves close together, each having a perfect view of the other. Marshal Villars commanded the French army. He was adored by his troops, who placed unbounded confidence in him; and as he now rode along their ranks the air rang with "Long live the king!" "Long live Marshal Villars!" The right wing was commanded by Marshal Boufflers.
A discharge of fifty pieces of cannon from the confederates was the signal for battle, which commenced a little after eight. Each army had between ninety and one hundred thousand men, and the battle raged for some time with unexampled bravery. All the duties of a skilful general were performed by Marlborough; and late in the day the French army left the field in the possession of the allies, both armies having fought with almost incredible valor. The loss of the French was fourteen thousand men; the allies, though victory was on their side, lost nearly twenty thousand.
An officer of distinction in the French army, writing an account of this battle said: "The Eugenes and Marlboroughs ought to be well satisfied with us during that day; since, till then, they had not met with resistance worthy of them. They may say, with justice, that nothing can stand before them; for what shall be able to stem the rapid course of these two heroes, if an army of one hundred thousand of our best troops—posted between two roads, trebly entrenched, and performing their duty as well as brave men could do—were not able to stop them one day? Will you not, then, own with me, that they surpass all the heroes of former ages?"
With his usual humanity, Marlborough's first care, at the close of the action, was the relief of the wounded. Three thousand Frenchmen who lay on the field shared his attention, with the wounded of his own army; and he immediately arranged means for conveying them away. Still, next morning—the day set apart for burying the slain—notwithstanding his care, when riding over the field he saw among the heaps which covered the plain, not only the numerous bodies of the slain, but of the dying also. Nor did he feel only for the sufferings of his companions in arms; the groans of wounded enemies, and the sight of their mangled limbs, equally awakened his compassion. Learning also, that many French officers and soldiers had crept into the neighboring houses and woods, wounded, and in a miserable condition for want of assistance, he ordered them every possible relief, and despatched a messenger with a letter to the French marshal, humanely proposing; a conference to arrange the means of removing these wretched sufferers. By this humanity the larger portion of not fewer than thirty thousand men, to whose sufferings death would soon have put an end, were saved. The officers gave their word that they would not serve against the allies till they were regularly exchanged; and the common soldiers were to be considered as prisoners of war, for whom an equal number of allied troops were to be returned.
Many, many battles, too numerous to mention, were gained by this great commander. When he came back to England, at the peace, he for some time distinguished himself as an able statesman; but incurring the displeasure of the queen, and that of the party then in power, he found his situation so painful, that he determined to leave the country till the course of events should again run in his favor. He left Dover without any honors, as a private passenger, in a packet-boat; but on its arriving off Ostend, as soon as the townspeople knew that the Duke of Marlborough was on board, they made a salute of all the cannon toward the sea; and when the vessel entered the harbor, they fired three rounds of all the artillery on the ramparts. The people crowded round him, and shed tears at the ingratitude of his nation. Some, full of astonishment at the sight of him, said, "His looks, his air, his address, were full as conquering as his sword." Even a Frenchman exclaimed, "Though the sight is worth a million to my king, yet I believe he would not, at such a price, have lost the service of so brave a man."
Marlborough remained at Aix-la-Chapelle till the death of the queen. On August 1, 1714, the day George the First was proclaimed, the duke and duchess landed at Dover. Marlborough's reception was truly a contrast to his departure. Now the artillery thundered forth a welcome; while thousands of spectators hailed the return of the voluntary exile. Passing on to London, he was met at Southwark by a large body of the burgesses, who escorted him into the city; and thence, joined by many of the first merchants, the nobility, and gentry, he proceeded to St. James's, amid the joyful acclamations of the crowd, "Long live the king!" "Long live the Duke of Marlborough!"
Old age had now laid his withering hand on the duke. For nearly two years he continued to enjoy the favor and confidence of the new king, who, on one occasion, said, "Marlborough's retirement would give me as much pain as if a dagger should be plunged in my bosom." But he soon was obliged to retreat to Blenheim, where he spent six years of declining life among his family and friends. At length, after a violent attack of palsy, the disease from which he suffered, he lay for several days expecting death. Early in the morning of June 15, 1722, he resigned his spirit, with Christian calmness, into the hands of his Creator.
The duke was nearly seventy-three when he died. His remains were interred with every honor in Westminster Abbey, but soon after were taken up, and conveyed to the chapel at Blenheim, and laid in a magnificent monument, which the duchess had erected for this honorable purpose.
PRINCE EUGENE OF SAVOY
By G. P. R. JAMES
Prince Eugene, the most famed of Austrian generals, was the son of Eugene Maurice of Savoy (by the mother's side Count of Soissons) and of Olympia Mancini, niece of Cardinal Mazarin. His father intrigued, and was banished from the court of France; and his mother also quitted Paris not many years after, suspected of many vices of which she was very probably innocent; and guilty of a thousand follies, which were more strictly scrutinized than her crimes. Eugene was originally destined for the Church, and, according to a scandalous custom, then common in France as well as other Catholic countries, he obtained several benefices while but a child, of which he was eager to divest himself as soon as his mind was capable of discriminating between one profession and another. He seems soon to have felt within himself that ardent desire for military service, which is sometimes a caprice and some times an inspiration; but Louis XIV., at whose court he still remained, positively forbade his throwing off the clerical habit, notwithstanding all the entreaties of the young abbe, and by so doing, incurred the enmity of one who inherited from his mother no small faculty of hatred.
At length, various circumstances with which he was in no degree connected, brought about a change in the affairs of Europe that afforded him an opportunity of escaping from the restraint placed upon his inclinations, and of turning the genius they had despised against those who had contemned him. France and Austria had long been either secretly or openly at strife; but now the dilapidated state of the German empire, after tedious and expensive wars, together with the combination of external foes and internal insurrection, threatened the nominal successor of the Roman Caesars with utter destruction. The Hungarians in revolt, joined with the Turkish forces which they had called to their assistance, marched into Germany and laid siege to Vienna. Louis XIV. had hitherto taken care to foment the spirit of insurrection, and to aggravate the more pressing dangers of Germany; but at this moment, to cover the encouragement he had held out privately to the rebels, he permitted the nobility of his court to volunteer in defence of Christendom, which the fall of Vienna would have laid open to Infidels. A large body of young men set out immediately for Austria, among whom Prince Eugene contrived to effect his departure in secret. The famous, but unamiable minister Louvois, when he heard of the young abbe's escape remarked with a sneer, "So much the better, it will be long before he returns."
The speech was afterward repeated to Eugene, who replied, "I will never return to France but as a conqueror;" and he kept his word, one of the few instances in which history has been able to record that a rash boast was afterward justified by talents and resolution.
On arriving at Vienna, Eugene cast away the gown forever, and his rank instantly procured him a distinguished post near the person of the Duke of Lorraine, then commanding the imperial forces.
Shortly after he had joined the army, John Sobieski, the valiant King of Poland, advanced to the assistance of the emperor, and the Turks were forced to raise the siege of the Austrian capital. In the campaign that followed against the Infidels, Eugene distinguished himself greatly, both by a sort of light unthinking courage, and by a degree of skill and judgment, which seemed to show that the levity he was somewhat too fond of displaying, though perhaps a confirmed habit from his education in an idle and frivolous court, was no true type of the mind within. It was the empty bubble dancing on the bosom of a deep stream. This was felt by those who surrounded him; and promotion succeeded with astonishing rapidity. Before the end of three months he was in command of a regiment of horse.
Continual battles, sieges, and skirmishes, now inured Eugene to all the hardships and all the dangers of war, and at the same time gave him every opportunity of acquiring a thorough knowledge of his new profession, and of obtaining higher and higher grades in the service. In the course of a very few years he had been wounded more than once severely; but at the same time he had aided in the taking of Neuhausel, Vicegradt, Gran, and Buda; was the first who entered sword in hand into the intrenched camp of the Turks at Hersan; and had received a commission as Lieutenant-general in the Austrian service. The storming of Belgrade was the next great event in which Eugene was called to act; and here, in command of a body of reserve, he attacked the walls, after the first parties had been repulsed, and succeeded in forcing his way into the city. The regiments which had failed at first now rallied; and the path being open, the Imperial forces poured in in all directions, and Belgrade was taken after a most obstinate defence.
Victor Amadaeus, Duke of Savoy, was shortly after this persuaded by his cousin Eugene to embrace the interests of the house of Austria; and to enter into the great alliance which had been formed for the purpose of depressing France.
The vast power which Louis XIV. had acquired, and the evident disposition he displayed to extend that power to the utmost, had armed the fears of all the monarchs of Europe against him. At the same time, the armies which had conquered for him were dispersed, and the generals who had led them to victory had in most instances fallen into the grave. Perhaps these considerations might lead the Duke of Savoy to withdraw from an alliance which promised little support, and eminent danger; but he had soon reason to repent of having done so. Marshal Catinat, the best of Louis's living officers, was ordered to act against him; the whole of Piedmont quickly fell into the hands of the French; and on August 18th the duke was completely defeated by the adverse general. Eugene, who was present, though wounded with a spent ball, covered the retreat of the troops of Savoy; but the battle was nevertheless completely lost, and influenced for long the fate of Piedmont.
After various campaigns in Italy, where little was effected but a diversion of the French forces from his scene of war in Germany and the Netherlands, Eugene prevailed upon his cousin the Duke of Savoy, to lead his troops into France and to draw the French army from Italy, by carrying the war into their own country. The scheme was a bold one, but it proved most successful, and Embrun, Quilestre, and Gap, having fallen, the allied army, under Victor Amadaeus and Eugene, advanced rapidly into Dauphiny. Terror and consternation spread before them; and in revenge for the devastation committed by the French in the Palatinate, they now ravaged the whole of Dauphiny, burning the villages and hamlets, and laying the cities under heavy contributions. The heart of France was open to the invading army; but, fortunately for that country, a severe illness put a stop to the proceedings of Victor Amadaeus. Returning to Turin in haste, he left his army to the command of Prince Eugene; but the Italian generals contrived, by hesitation in their obedience, and opposition to his wishes, to defeat Eugene's best schemes, so that he was glad, by a rapid retreat, to bring his army in safety to Savoy.
Eugene was now created Field-marshal; and received the order of the Golden Fleece; but his gratification at these marks of approbation was bitterly alloyed by a severe defeat which he suffered near Pignerol, in company with his cousin the Duke of Savoy, who madly engaged the French forces in a position where his own discomfiture was a certain consequence.
Few movements of any import took place in Italy for some years after this, in which Eugene was concerned. Victor Amadaeus, partly from caprice, partly from fear, withdrew from his alliance with Austria, and, once more signed a treaty of neutrality with France. The Imperial troops, unable singly to keep the field against the French, abandoned Savoy; and Eugene, though his efforts had proved unsuccessful, was received at Vienna with the highest distinction.
The emperor, probably judging rightly in this instance, that the prince had failed from his energies being crippled by a divided power, now gave him the sole command of the army opposed to the Turks in Hungary.
Eugene immediately found himself menaced by the whole force of the Turkish Empire; but after some masterly manoeuvres he saved the city of Peterwaradin, on which the Ottoman forces were marching; and then, though with very inferior power, approached the intrenchments of the Grand Vizier, at Zeuta, with the intention of forcing him from his camp. At the very moment, however, that the army had advanced too far to retreat, a courier arrived, bearing the emperor's commands to Eugene, on no account to risk a battle. Eugene's measures were already taken; he put the letter in his pocket, attacked the Turks, defeated them completely, left twenty thousand Mussulmen dead on the field, and ten thousand drowned in the Danube; pursued his victory by burning Serai and securing the frontier line of fortresses, and then returned to Vienna in expectation of reward and honor.
The emperor received him coldly, and before the day was over he was put under arrest for disobedience of orders. The clamor, however, of the people, and some feeling of shame in the bosom of the proud, weak Leopold, soon caused him to restore Eugene to his rank, and to send him once more against the Turks. Success, however, did not follow the prince through the succeeding campaign; and before the season brought it naturally to a close, peace had been determined on between Austria and the Porte.
Some time previous to the period of which we now speak, Louis XIV. had endeavored to tempt Eugene back to his Court, by the offer of a Marshal's rank in the French army, the government of Champagne, and a considerable yearly pension. Eugene, who felt that, however flattering to himself, the offer originated alone in the selfishness of an ambitious monarch, refused it in terms sufficiently galling to the proud King of France. Nevertheless, after the peace of Westphalia, Villars, who was sent as ambassador to Vienna, is supposed to have been again charged with a mission of the same nature to Eugene. The fact, however, is not only doubtful, but very improbable, from the character of all parties concerned. Eugene was not a man to leave himself the possibility of changing; Louis was not a man meanly to solicit where he had once been refused; and Villars was not a man to undertake a mean commission, even for a king. It is probable that the courtesy which the prince evinced toward Marshal de Villars from a sense of his personal merit, at a time when the haughty Court of Vienna was mean enough to treat even an ambassador with cold disrespect, was the sole origin of the report. However that might be, Eugene remained for a length of time at Vienna, filling up his inactivity by trifling with many arts and many enjoyments, till at length the War of the Succession, as it was called, breaking out, he was appointed to the command of the army in Italy.
At length a general engagement took place at Luzara, at which Philip of Spain was present. The forces of the French have been estimated at forty thousand, those of the Imperial general did not much exceed one-half that number. The battle was long and fierce; and night only terminated the contest. Both parties of course claimed the victory. The French sung a Te Deum, but retreated; the Imperial army retained their ground.
Nevertheless, the fruits of victory were gathered by the French. Their immense superiority of numbers gave them the power of overrunning the whole country; and the Imperial court, either from indolence, heedlessness, or intrigue, failed to take any step to support its arms in Italy; so that all which Eugene had taken, sooner or later fell into the enemy's hands, and he himself, disgusted with the neglect he had met with, left his army under the command of another, and set out to see whether he could not procure some reinforcement, or at least some supply of money to pay or provide for his forces. At Vienna he found good reason to suspect that Count Mansfield, the minister of war, had by some means been gained to the interest of France. But, in the meanwhile Eugene was appointed minister of war; and sometime after, in this capacity, proceeded to confer with Marlborough on the united interests of England and Austria.
This negotiation was most successful; and here seems to have been concerted the scheme which Marlborough afterward so gloriously pursued for carrying on the war against France on the side of Germany, and of thus freeing the Empire. In a military point of view, also, Eugene's efforts, though supported by no great army, and followed by no great victory, were wise and successful. He foiled the Hungarian rebels in their bold attack upon Vienna, checked them in their progress everywhere, and laid the foundation of their after subjugation. Soon after this, Eugene took the command of the Imperial army on the Rhine; and after considerable manoeuvring singly, to prevent the junction of the French army with that of the Duke of Bavaria, finding it impossible, he effected his own junction with the Duke of Marlborough, and shared in the glories of the field of Blenheim.
Eugene was here always in the thickest of the fight, yet never for a moment forgot that he was called upon to act as a general rather than a soldier. His operations were planned as clearly and commanded as distinctly in the midst of the hottest conflict, as if no tumult had raged around him, and no danger had been near to distract his attention; yet his horse was killed under him in the early part of the battle; and at one moment, a Bavarian dragoon was seen holding him by the coat with one hand, while he levelled a pistol at his head with the other. One of the Imperialists, however, coming up at the moment, freed his general from this unpleasant situation; and Eugene proceeded to issue his orders, without the least sign of discomposure.
The following year Eugene returned to Italy, and once more began the war against Vendome. Notwithstanding all his skill and activity, however, the superiority of the French numbers, and the distinguished military genius of their chief, prevented Eugene from meeting with any very brilliant success. He surprised various detachments, relieved several towns, was successful in many skirmishes; but he failed in drawing the French out of Savoy, and was totally repulsed in endeavoring to pass the Adda.
In the attempt to do so, many men and several valuable officers were lost on both sides. The battle was long and furious. Both Vendome and Eugene displayed all their skill to foil each other; and perhaps so bravely contested a field was as honorable to each as a great victory. Neither, however, could fairly claim the battle as won; for though Eugene failed in passing the river, the French were the greatest sufferers in the contest, and they did not succeed in compelling the Germans to fly, though they prevented them from advancing to join the Duke of Savoy. Eugene, with his wonted reckless courage, exposed himself more than even was necessary, and in the very commencement of the engagement was wounded severely in the neck, notwithstanding which he remained a considerable length of time on horseback, till a second musket-ball, in the knee, forced him to absent himself for a time from the field. These wounds probably decided the failure of his attempt; but they did not prevent him from securing his army in good winter quarters, and checking all active operations on the part of Vendome.
The next campaign was more successful. Vendome, after defeating a body of Imperial troops at Calemato, was recalled, and the command of the French forces given to the Duke of Orleans and the Marechal de Marsin, who with an army of eighty thousand men invested Turin, the last hold of the Duke of Savoy.
Eugene immediately marched to form his junction with the duke; and no longer opposed by the genius of Vendome, passed the Adige unattacked, crossed the Tanaro, and the Po, joined his cousin near Carmagnola, and advanced to the succor of Turin. The French were dispirited; and uncertainty and divided councils pervaded their camp. On September 7th, the allied army, with less than half their numerical force, attacked them in their intrenchment, forced their position in every direction, and after one of the severest conflicts ever known, completely defeated them, and raised the siege of Turin. The battle, however, was at one time nearly lost to the allies by an accident which befell Eugene. In rallying a body of Imperial cavalry, the prince's horse received a ball in his chest, fell with the rider, and threw him into a ditch, where, stunned with the fall, he lay for several minutes among the dead and dying. The report spread through the army that he was killed; a general alarm was the consequence; and the infantry were beginning to give way, when, suddenly starting up, Eugene commanded the nearest German regiment to fire upon the French cavalry that were coming up to the charge. The effect was tremendous; the French went to the right about; and, though they rallied again and returned to the charge, the Imperial troops continued gradually to force their way on, till their adversaries fled in confusion.
The consequence of this victory was the evacuation of the north of Italy by the French. Eugene was now everywhere successful for some time. He forced the passage of the Col de Tende, carried the French intrenchments on the Var, and laid siege to Toulon. Here, however, he failed; the defence was long and obstinate, reinforcements arrived at the French city, and Eugene, together with the Duke of Savoy, agreed to raise the siege once more, and retire into Piedmont.
Eugene was now again called to join Marlborough, in company with whom he fought and conquered at Oudenarde, took Lille (where he was again severely wounded), Ghent, Bruges, Tournay, and Mons; and forced the French lines at Malplaquet, after a severe and long-protracted struggle, in which two hundred thousand men were engaged, and nearly sixty thousand fell.
If the victories of Blenheim and Oudenarde might more fairly be attributed to Marlborough than to Eugene, the success at Malplaquet was chiefly obtained by the prince, who had forced the intrenchments, taken the wood of Sart, and turned the enemy's flank, before Marlborough had made much progress against the other wing.
Eugene had strongly counselled the battle, though opposed by the States of Holland, and had in a measure taken the responsibility upon himself. On all occasions Eugene's impetuosity led him to expose his person more than mere duty required, and now, having staked his fame on the success of his attempt, he seems to have resolved not to survive a defeat. In the very first attack he received a severe wound behind the ear, which bled so profusely that all his staff pressed him to retire for the purpose of having it dressed.
"If I am beaten," replied Eugene, "it will not be worth while; and if we beat the enemy, I shall have plenty of time to spare for that."
After some short repose, we soon find Eugene once more acting against the Turks in Hungary. No sooner was war determined, than Achmet III. marched an immense force down to the frontiers of Hungary, to act against Eugene, who had just taken the command of the German forces at Peterwaradin. The Vizier Hali, commanding the Ottoman troops, full of confidence in his own skill, and in his immense superiority of numbers, advanced rapidly upon Eugene, and crossed the Save, which formed the boundary of the two countries, determined to crush his adversary by one great battle. Eugene was as desirous of such an event as the vizier, and therefore the troops were soon engaged, almost under the walls of Peterwaradin. The Turks fought bravely for many hours, and the battle was long undecided; but at length, Eugene's superior skill prevailed, and the enemy fled in every direction. The Grand Vizier struggled to the last, with long and desperate bravery, but after having received two severe wounds, he was borne away by the fugitives to Carlowitz, where he died the next day, muttering to the last imprecations against the Christians.
After the death of Hali from the wounds he had received at Peterwaradin, the command of the Turkish army was given to the Pacha of Belgrade, one of the most skilled officers in the Ottoman service. But Eugene was destined to destroy the Turkish power in Hungary. The campaign of the next year commenced with the siege of the often-captured Belgrade; and it was soon completely invested and reduced to sore distress. The Porte, however, was not unmindful of its preservation; and, in the beginning of August, the pacha appeared on the mountains surrounding the town, with an army of near two hundred thousand men. Thus shut up between a strong fortress and an immense army, with the dysentery in his camp, and his forces enfeebled by long and severe labors, Eugene's situation was as difficult as it is possible to conceive. Notwithstanding every disadvantage, his usual bold course of action was pursued in the present instance, and met with that success which is almost always sure to attend the combination of daring and skill. After a short delay, to enable himself to employ all his energies (having been himself greatly debilitated by the camp fever), he attacked the Turkish army in their intrenchments, and at the end of a very short but severe struggle, succeeded in defeating a force more than three times the number of his own.
Belgrade surrendered immediately; and the next year, without any great military event, put an end to the war.
After the conclusion of peace, Eugene, who had been appointed governor of the Austrian Netherlands, resigned that office, which he had never personally filled, and was appointed vicar-general for the emperor in his Italian dominions.
For many years after this Eugene spent his days in peace and tranquillity, endeavoring to raise up a spirit of commerce among the Germans, and to improve the finances of his sovereign, by whom he was appreciated and loved. His greatest efforts were in favor of Trieste, which he changed from a petty town to a great commercial city, and which remains to the present day the best and the noblest fruit of all his talents and all his exertions.
At first, everything promised that the old age of Eugene would have passed in peace, uninterrupted by any warlike movements; but he was once more called from his calmer occupations by the short war which broke out with France in 1733.
Perhaps, in point of military skill, the two campaigns which followed were the most brilliant of Eugene's life; but with only thirty thousand men, opposed to a force of double that number, he could alone act upon the defensive.
He did so, however, with more success than the scantiness of his resources promised. He prevented the French from penetrating into Swabia; and, though Philipsburg was taken notwithstanding all his efforts, he contrived, by turning the course of the neighboring rivers, to inundate the country on the German side of that city, and to render its possession unprofitable to France.
Peace soon succeeded, and with these two campaigns ended Eugene's life as a commander. He lived for some time after this, indeed, amusing himself with the embellishments of his palace and gardens, and employing a great many mechanics and laborers, during all seasons of dearth or scarcity; but the battle-field never saw him more. His health gradually and slowly declined, and on April 21, 1736, in the seventy-fourth year of his age, he was found dead in his bed, after having been slightly indisposed the night before.
GENERAL JAMES WOLFE
By L. DRAKE
General Edward Wolfe, an officer who distinguished himself under the Duke of Marlborough, was the father of James Wolfe, conqueror of Quebec. He was the eldest son of the general, and was born at Westerham, a small town in Kent, on November 6, 1726. As liberal an education as could be acquired before the early age of fourteen, was given to the future hero. He then went with his father to Flanders to study the profession of an officer amid active warfare; and, thus engaged, seven years soon passed. During this novitiate, he was not without opportunities of distinguishing himself; his name was on several occasions mentioned with honor; till at length, at the battle of Laffeldt, his courage and skilful conduct attracted the notice of his commander, the Duke of Cumberland, who, at the close of the day, thanked him in the presence of the army; and from that time he was marked out "as an officer of extraordinary merit and promise."
His merit, rather than any favor, brought Wolfe the rank of lieutenant-colonel when he was barely twenty-two. The battalion he commanded was soon distinguished by many and striking improvements in discipline, so that its superiority at exercise, and in the order of its quarters, gave sure proof of ability and temper in its young commander. "The men," it is said, "adored while they profoundly respected him; and his officers esteemed his approbation as much as they dreaded his displeasure."
Canada, with a portion of New Brunswick, and also the islands of St. John and Cape Breton, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, were at this time possessed by the French; while Nova Scotia and New Brunswick belonged to the English. The latter also claimed the tract of land called New England, lying (as will be seen on looking at a map of North America) to the west of New Brunswick, and south of the river St. Lawrence. The French, however, disputed their claim to this country; and constant quarrels arose between the rival settlers about their right to land, of which, in reality, the poor Indians were the proprietors. In virtue of a grant of parliament in 1750, a large body of English took possession of this "debatable ground;" but scarcely had they done so, when a superior force of French and Indians attacked them, and killing some, made prisoners of others, and drove the rest back. Many vigorous but unsuccessful efforts were made on the part of the colonists and their neighbors, during eighteen months, to regain their territory. A body of troops was then sent from England under General Braddock, but this attempt also failed; and, the struggle having now assumed some importance, an army of not less than sixteen thousand men, under Lord Loudon, renewed the contest of 1755 against the army under the Marquis de Montcalm, a most able and enterprising officer. His superiority as a commander had been shown in several instances, till, the slur which was being cast on the reputation of our country's arms having excited attention at home, Lord Loudon was recalled, and the army then in America was intrusted to General Abercrombie (not the celebrated Abercromby). At the same time a fresh force was raised at home, which put to sea in February, 1757. Wolfe accompanied this expedition as brigadier under Major-General Amherst. Its object was to reduce Cape Breton, the possession of which island, commanding as it does the grand entrance of the St. Lawrence, was felt to be of the greatest importance.
The town of Louisburg stands upon a small tongue of land, and at this period was carefully fortified, having heavy batteries toward the sea, and a strong defence of regular works on its land sides. Its harbor, which is considered the most magnificent in the world, was carefully guarded by five ships of the line extending quite across the mouth. Goat Island formed one extremity of the entrance, and Lighthouse Point the other; both these were surmounted by strong redoubts, having the largest cannon and mortars used in war; while a garrison of 3,000 soldiers, with 2,500 seamen to man the intrenchments, seemed to present an insuperable obstacle to a successful descent.
Four miles westward of the town, however, there was a little creek, called Freshwater Cove; and, after much deliberation, it was resolved to attempt a landing at this point. The frigates and lighter vessels accordingly moved thither as soon as the weather moderated, and anchored there one evening, with the wind still boisterous, and the surf running very high. Next morning, at daybreak, the first division of the troops entered their boats, Wolfe at their head.