[Illustration: LIEUT. GEN. SIR DOUGLAS HAIG Commanding one of Gen. French’s Corps (From Painting by John St. Helier Lander.)]
[Illustration: CROWN PRINCE WILHELM (Copyright, Photographische Gesellschaft, by permission of the Berlin Photographic Co., N.Y.)]
It will, however, be of interest to say here that, in spite of a very determined resistance on the part of the enemy, who is holding in strength and great tenacity a position peculiarly favorable to defense, the battle which commenced on the evening of the 12th inst. has, so far, forced the enemy back from his first position, secured the passage of the river, and inflicted great loss upon him, including the capture of over 2,000 prisoners and several guns. I have the honor to be your Lordship’s most obedient servant,
(Signed.) J.D.P. FRENCH,
Commanding in Chief, the British forces in the field.
The Battle of the Aisne.
8th October, 1914.
My Lord: I have the honor to report the operations in which the British forces in France have been engaged since the evening of Sept. 10:
1. In the early morning of the 11th the further pursuit of the enemy was commenced, and the three corps crossed the Ourcq practically unopposed, the cavalry reaching the line of the Aisne River, the Third and Fifth Brigades south of Soissons, the First, Second and the Fourth on the high ground at Couvrelles and Cerseuil.
On the afternoon of the 12th, from the opposition encountered by the Sixth French Army to the west of Soissons, by the Third Corps southeast of that place, by the Second Corps south of Missy and Vailly, and certain indications all along the line, I formed the opinion that the enemy had, for the moment at any rate, arrested his retreat and was preparing to dispute the passage of the Aisne with some vigor.
South of Soissons the Germans were holding Mont de Paris against the attack of the right of the French Sixth Army when the Third Corps reached the neighborhood of Buzancy, southeast of that place. With the assistance of the artillery of the Third Corps the French drove them back across the river at Soissons, where they destroyed the bridges.
The heavy artillery fire which was visible for several miles in a westerly direction in the valley of the Aisne showed that the Sixth French Army was meeting with strong opposition all along the line.
On this day the cavalry under Gen. Allenby reached the neighborhood of Braine and did good work in clearing the town and the high ground beyond it of strong hostile detachments. The Queen’s Bays are particularly mentioned by the General as having assisted greatly in the success of this operation. They were well supported by the Third Division, which on this night bivouacked at Brenelle, south of the river.
The Fifth Division approached Missy, but were unable to make headway.