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During these various transactions, the necessity of dividing his attention to a multiplicity of objects, of providing the means to carry on different enterprizes, and, above all, to continue the blockade of Mantua, had left the Austrians leisure to make new military arrangements. They recruited the shattered army of marshal Wurmser, and, by drawing reinforcements from the neighbouring provinces of the Austrian dominions, they formed a new one, with which they again indulged the hope of being able to take the field, and repair their losses.

They now moved their cantonments behind the Lavisio and the Piava, and advanced against the French, who, after ineffectually striving to oppose their passage of these rivers, yielded to their superior force, and fell back to the Adige.

General Davidovich, who commanded the Austrians in this quarter, was thereby enabled to recover Trent, and other towns in its vicinity; while marshal Alvinzi proceeded as far as Vicenza, in the Venetian territories, where he was sure of meeting with every clandestine aid which that state could afford.

From the beginning of November, a variety of actions took place between the Austrians and the French, who were generally successful and made a number of priso ners: not, however, without suffering on their side.

The plan of marshal Alvinzi, who had the chief command, was, to form a junction with the Austrian troops that were on their march from the Tyrol, and with those that had forced the French to retire from Trent. To this intent, he drew near to Verona, where, he hoped, they would have joined him. Buonaparte, apprised of this movement, crossed the Adige, on the fourteenth of November, and approached the Austrians posted at Caldaro. Alvinzi, judging that he would be vigorously attacked, and that the day would probably prove decisive, disposed his troops with great skill. The village of Arcola, through which the French were to pass, was situated in the 'middle of a marsh, and accessible only by a causeway. This post he occupied in great force, lining with troops every spot on each side, from whence the French could be annoyed in their march. They suc ceeded, however, by dint of intrepidity and perseverance, and penetrated to a bridge on a canal that flauked the village: here stood a numerous body of chosen men, who repulsed them in repeated attacks: they had also to encounter a tremendous fire from the houses near the bridge, which were filled with troops that kept up a continual discharge of musketry. The French generals, who saw the necessity of carrying this post, placed themselves at the head of their men, who seemed to lose courage at the numbers


that fell, and to despair of success. ing upon them, and whom they now Augereau, who had the chief com- could not have withstood. mand in this desperate attack, seeing most of those generals carried off wounded, advanced himself, with a standard in his hand, to the foot of the bridge. He had the good for tune to escape unwounded, but his men could gain no ground. Buonaparte, on receiving intelligence of this ill-success, came himself to the spot, and reminding his troops of their passage over the bridge of Lodi, dismounted, and, seizing a standard, rushed towards the bridge at the head of the grenadiers, crying out, "follow your general." The troops advanced again to the bridge, but were not able to stand the fire of the Austrians. Two other generals were wounded, and Buonaparte's aid-de-camp was killed at his side; he himself, who had again mounted to rally his men with the more speed, fell from his horse into marshy ground; after extricating himself he continued to press forward his men but still they made no impression upon the Austrians, who, nevertheless, did not dare to move from their position, in order to improve their advantage.

Buonaparte had, in the mean time, dispatched general Guiaux, a remarkable bold officer, at the head of a strong body, with orders, by a circuitous march, to proceed to Arcola, and assail it upon the rear of the Austrians, where it was more accessible. This officer executed his orders with the completest success. He carried the villages, taking seve ral pieces of cannon, and making a great number of prisoners. This he effected the more readily, that while he fell upon their rear, the Austrians were threatened by the troops in their front, who were again advanc

Thus terminated the action of the fifteenth, which, though it ended successfully for the French, was undecisive. On the sixteenth, at break of day, the Austrians made a general attack upon the French. They were vigorously repulsed every where but at Arcola, of which they had retaken possession on the seventeenth. It was again assailed, in the same manner as on the two preceding days, by general Auge. reau, who commanded the right wing, facing which stood this celebrated spot. The centre of the French army was, in the mean time, so furiously charged that it gave way; but Buonaparte, while it was retreating, placed a large body in a wood that flanked it, which, as soon as the Austrians, pressing on the centre, were preparing to turn it, sallied forth upon them unexpect edly, and routed them with vast slaughter. The left wing of the Austrians, covered with marshes, stood its ground a long time, through the advantage of its position, and the superiority of its numbers. order to make an impression upon this, a party of horse was detached round the marshes that protected it, and directed to sound a large number of trumpets, as soon as they had reached its rear. This stratagem succeeded, and the left wing precipitately retired, imagining it was turned by a considerable force. Still, however, Arcola remained untaken, notwithstanding the skill and bravery employed in attacking it. The same manoeuvre that prevailed against it in the first engagement was again practised with the like success. A strong column came round upon the rear of those who


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defended it, while general Massena, with the left wing, after defeating the right of the Austrians, united with the centre, and both, with general Augereau on the right, advanced on the causeways leading to it, when it was carried. The Austrian army was closely followed till night put an end to the pursuit.

This was the most obstinate battle that had yet been fought between the French and the Austrians. Valour and skill were conspicuously displayed on each side, but the genius and good fortune of Buonaparte overcame all obstacles, and gave him a victory, of which, on the first onset, he had every reason to doubt. The losses of the Austrians, in this terrible battle, were truly ruinous. It was computed that eight thousand of them were killed and wounded, and near five thousand taken, besides an immense quantity of warlike stores. The loss of the French was also very considerable, especially in officers, who felt themselves obliged, on this critical occasion, to expose their lives in the brunt of the battle, the gain of which may be chiefly ascribed to the personal intrepidity displayed by the commanderin-chief and his other generals. In a letter to the directory, Buonaparte acknowledged, that, what with slain, or disabled, he had hardly a general left him fit for duty.

Early in the morning of the eigh teenth, Buonaparte set his army in motion to prosecute the success of the foregoing day. It was foreseen that Alvinzi would retire either towards the Piava, on the frontiers of the Austian dominions, or endeavour to strengthen himself by a junction with the forces under general Davidovich, who had been more for

tunate than himself, and still kept the field in considerable force.

Celerity in his movements was now become more indispensible than ever to the French general. The continual supplies of recruits arriving from the Tyrol, and the parts con tiguous to it, enabled the Austrians, however frequently defeated, to return, as it were, immediately to the charge; and such was their strength, that, had it been concentrated in the late actions, there was little doubt but the French must have yielded to its superiority.

Buonaparte had now been completely victorious over four hostile armies, composed of troops equal at least to any in Europe. The inference naturally was, that his own troops, and those who commanded them, were superior in military talents to those whom they had defeated; but the Austrians were not of this opinion; and such was the confidence they reposed in their own prowess, that they attributed the successes of the French to fortunate casualties, and neither to bravery nor better tractics. The subjects ofthe emperor, particularly those of the counties usually styled hereditary, were so fully of this persuasion, that they entertained no doubt of being able finally to chace the French out of all their Italian conquests. Hence they readily repaired to the Imperial standard, eager to recover the reputation they had, in some degree, lost, by the. continual advantages of the French over them.

The inhabitants of the Tyrol were remarkably zealous in testifying their readiness on this occasion. They felt themselves greatly offend. ed by the proclamation that Buona


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parte had issued to them, after he had defeated marshal Wurmser, and was preparing to invade the Tyrol. It was filled with the severest threats, to such of them as belonged to the districts of which he should take possession, if they did not forthwith leave the Imperial service and return to their homes. This they considered as a violation of their native right, to act in defence of their sovereign.

From motives of this nature, they flocked to the different bodies that were assembling to reinforce the defeated army of Alvinzi, and that division under Davidovich, which, after forcing the French forces, under general Vaubois, to abandon their position, was advancing towards Mantua.

In order to oppose his progress, a large force was immediately dispatched against him, which effectually succeeded in putting him to the rout, with so considerable a loss, that his designs upon Mantua were totally frustrated.

The intelligence of these various advantages, but especially of the great victory at Arcola, was received, as usual, by the directory, with the highest satisfaction. The presentation of the standards, taken on that memorable day, and in the other engagements with Alvinzi's army, took place on the thirtieth of December. It was accompanied with a speech from the officer who presented them, remarkable for the devotion it expressed in the army of Italy, to the republican constitution of France, and its determination to support it against every attempt, either from foreign or domestic ene


A declaration of this kind was the more acceptable to the republican

party, that its enemies in France were, at this time, extremely active in their endeavours to render it odious to the nation, and to excite a disapprobation of the measures of government, particularly of the prolongation of the war. They represented it as wholly unnecessary for the honour or the interest of France, and continued merely to indulge the ambition of persons in power. By such an arrangement of their conduct they hoped to bring the nature of the power they exercised into disgust, and to prove it inconsistent, both with peace abroad and tranquillity at home.

These adversaries to the ruling system, were the friends to the ancient monarchy, and the adherents to the first constitution, by which the power of the crown was limited. These latter were incomparably more in number than the former, and included a large proportion of the noblesse, and many of the clergy. But both these parties together, however numerous, were inferior in strength to the republican, which comprehended all the common classes, and dreaded a renovation of that oppressive authority which the upper ranks had exercised over the lower. But what principally weakened the two first parties was their disunion: they hated each other as much as they did the republicans. The nonjuring clergy, in particular, would not divest itself of the least attachment to their primitive tenets, and anathematized all that differed from them. As these two parties agreed, however, in their detestation of republicanism, they exerted all their abilities and influence in undervaluing it, and all its supporters. Buonaparte's great actions protected him

from those who might have been inclined to depreciate his merit, but he could not escape the insinuations against his fidelity to the commonwealth. These were industriously propagated by its enemies, in order to breed suspicions in the government, and to induce it to diminish its confidence in him, and thereby to set both at variance with each other.

But the intrigues and publications to this intent were ineffectual. It was to remove all jealousies of this nature that Buonaparte directed his aid-de-camp, Lemarois, on presenting the colours, taken at Arcola, to the directory, to assure them of the inviolable attachment of his army to the interest of the republic.

The mass of the nation, pleased with the glory accruing to it from so many victories, was strongly prepossessed in favour of a system un der which its arms had so wonder fully prospered. The staunch asserters of a commonwealth were continually, reminding the public of the disproportion between the people at large and those who formerly possessed an exclusive authority over them. The noblesse did not exceed one hundred thousand individuals, nor the clergy, with the monastic orders, twice that number. Were they entitled, in justice and reason, to assume a sovereign authority over twenty-four millions of people, containing a far greater number of persons, possessing worth and capacity, equal at least, if not superior, to what they could boast? Was it not among the plebeians, as they insultingly styled all but themselves, that the nation counted the men of talents in all professions? Was it equitable that these should bow the neck to the others, and submit

to that feudal vassalage which had so long oppressed and disgraced the people of France? Having emancipated themselves from this slavery, was it to be expected that they should return to it, with their eyes open to the contemptible character of those who arrogated the-right of again becoming their tyrants, and, after paying the price of so much blood, to secure themselves against their pretensions, and the iniquitous combination of those foreign despots, who abetted them, in hope of sharing the spoils of the French nation, after having again reduced it to servitude?

Reasonings of this kind were more acceptable to the generality than the arguments employed by the anti-republicans, who, though they widely differed in opinion among themselves, were considered as forming but one party, to which their enemies gave, in common, the name of royalists; meaning thereby to involve all the opponents of the commonwealth in the indiscriminate imputation of being foes to liberty, and asserters of arbitrary power.

The conflicts of opinion upon these various subjects were, at this period, increasing daily, and threat ened to produce internal convulsions in various parts of France, through the invincible activity and courage of the party in opposition to govern ment. But the vigilance of the directory repressed every movement that had the least tendency to insur rection, and the decided resolution of all the armies, to support the pre sent measures, kept the discontented in awe.

No class of men had signalized their attachment to republican prin ciples with such fervour and con stancy as the French soldiery. It


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