Prince Joseph Poniatowsky was nephew to Stanislaus Augustus, the last king of Poland, and there is no doubt that he was cajoled into a subservience to the views of the French emperor by the flattering prospect of the restoration of his country to its former rank among the nations of Europe. The circumstances attending his death, as related by his aid-de-camp, are as follow:—On the 19th of October, when the French army began to retreat, the prince was charged by Napoleon with the defence of that part of the suburbs of Leipzig which lies nearest to the Borna road. For this service he had only 2000 Polish infantry assigned him. Perceiving the French columns on his left flank in full retreat, and the bridge completely choked up with their artillery and carriages, so that there was no possibility of getting over it, he drew his sabre, and, turning to the officers who were about him, “Gentlemen,” said he, “it is better to fall with honour.” With these words he rushed, at the head of a few Polish cuirassiers and the officers surrounding him, upon the advancing columns of the allies. He had been previously wounded on the 14th and 16th, and on this occasion also received a musket-ball in his left arm. He nevertheless pushed forward, but found the suburbs full of the allied troops, who hastened up to take him prisoner. He cut his way through them, received another wound through his cross, threw himself into the Pleisse, and with the assistance of his officers reached the opposite bank in safety, leaving his horse behind in the river. Though much exhausted he mounted another, and proceeded to the Elster, which was already lined by Saxon and Prussian riflemen. Seeing them coming upon him on all sides, he plunged into the river, and instantly sunk, together with his horse. Several officers, who threw themselves in after him, were likewise drowned; and others were taken on the bank or in the water. The body of the prince was found on the fifth day (Oct. 24), and taken out of the water by a fisherman. He was dressed in his gala uniform, the epaulets of which were studded with diamonds. His fingers were covered with rings set with brilliants; and his pockets contained snuff-boxes of great value and other trinkets. Many of those articles were eagerly purchased by the Polish officers who were made prisoners, evidently for the purpose of being transmitted to his family; so that the whole produced the fisherman a very considerable sum.
In the battle of Leipzig the reflecting observer discovers something grand; but there is also much that puzzles one who is not a soldier, and is accustomed to find in all Napoleon’s campaigns a consistency of plan which he here looks for in vain. If in his earlier combinations he did not in every instance take all possibilities into the account, but overlooked some, this must be ascribed not so much to the want of military penetration, as to his firm confidence