To the right of these two armies were three others. They had orders to cover themselves to the north and to debouch toward the west on the flank of the enemy, which was operating to the west of the Argonne. But a wide interval in which the Germans were in force separated them from our centre. The attack took place, nevertheless, with very brilliant success for our artillery, which destroyed eleven batteries of the Sixteenth German Army Corps.
On the 10th inst. the Eighth and Fifteenth German Army Corps counter-attacked, but were repulsed. On the 11th our progress continued with new successes, and on the 12th we were able to face round toward the north in expectation of the near and inevitable retreat of the enemy, which, in fact, took place from the 13th.
The withdrawal of the mass of the German force involved also that of the left. From the 12th onward the forces of the enemy operating between Nancy and the Vosges retreated in a hurry before our two armies of the East, which immediately occupied the positions that the enemy had evacuated. The offensive of our right had thus prepared and consolidated in the most useful way the result secured by our left and our centre.
[Illustration: Map showing the successive stages of the Battle of the Marne.]
Such was this seven days’ battle, in which more than two millions of men were engaged. Each army gained ground step by step, opening the road to its neighbor, supported at once by it, taking in flank the adversary which the day before it had attacked in front, the efforts of one articulating closely with those of the other, a perfect unity of intention and method animating the supreme command.
To give this victory all its meaning it is necessary to add that it was gained by troops which for two weeks had been retreating, and which, when the order for the offensive was given, were found to be as ardent as on the first day. It has also to be said that these troops had to meet the whole German army, and that from the time they marched forward they never again fell back. Under their pressure the German retreat at certain times had the appearance of a rout.
In spite of the fatigue of our men, in spite of the power of the German heavy artillery, we took colors, guns, mitrailleuses, shells, more than a million cartridges, and thousands of prisoners. A German corps lost almost the whole of its artillery, which, from information brought by our airmen, was destroyed by our guns.
“THE RUSH TO THE SEA.”