Paris under the Commune eBook

John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.
Other troops, starting from this base-line of operation, were led up the heights of Montmartre, together with companies of Gardiens de la Paix (the former Sergents-de-Ville converted into soldiers).  At six o’clock in the morning the first orders were executed; the Gardiens de la Paix surrounded a hundred and fifty or two hundred insurgents appointed to guard the park of artillery, and the troops made themselves masters of all the most important points.  The success was complete.  Nothing remained to be done but to carry off the guns.  Unhappily, the horses which had been ordered for this purpose did not arrive at the right moment.  The cause of this fatal delay remains still unknown, but it is certain that they were still on the Place de la Concorde at the time when they ought to have been harnessed to the guns at Montmartre.  Before they arrived, agitation had broken out and spread all over the quarter.  The turbulent population, complaining in indignant tones of circulation being stopped, insulted the sentinels placed at the entrances of the streets, and threatened the artillerymen who were watching them.  At the same time, the Central Committee caused the rappel to be beaten, and towards seven o’clock in the morning ten or twelve thousand National Guards from the arrondissements of Batignolles, Montmartre, La Villette, and Belleville poured into the streets.  Crowds of lookers-on surrounded the soldiers who were mounting guard by the recaptured pieces, the women and children asking them pleadingly if they would have the heart to fire upon their brothers.

Meanwhile, about a dozen tumbrils, with their horses, had arrived on the heights of the Buttes, the guns were dragged off, and were quietly proceeding down hill, when, at the corner of the Rue Lepic and the Rue des Abbesses, they were stopped by a concourse of several hundred people of the quarter, principally women and children.  The foot soldiers, who were escorting the guns, forgetting their duty, allowed themselves to be dispersed by the crowd, and giving way to perfidious persuasion, ended by throwing up the butt ends of their guns.  These soldiers belonged to the 88th Battalion of the Lecomte brigade.  The immediate effect of their disaffection was to abandon the artillerymen to the power of the crowd that was increasing every moment, rendering it utterly impossible for them either to retreat or to advance.  And the result was, that at nine o’clock in the morning the pieces fell once more into the hands of the National Guards.

Judging that the enterprise had no chance of succeeding by a return to the offensive, General Vinoy ordered a retreat, and retired to the quarter of Les Ternes.  This movement had been, moreover, determined by the bad news arriving from other parts of Paris.  The operations at Belleville had succeeded no better than those at Montmartre.  A detachment of the 35th had, it is true, attacked and taken the Buttes Chaumont, defended only by about twenty National Guards; but

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Paris under the Commune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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