Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 887 pages of information about Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon Complete.
families, and which had been increased to more than ten thousand men, divided into two divisions under the simple title of regiments; one of which was commanded by General Count of Pully, and the other, if I am not mistaken, by General Segur.  These youths, but lately idlers given up to repose and pleasure, became in a short time most excellent cavalry, which signalized itself on various occasions, notably at the battle of Dresden, of which I shall soon have occasion to speak.

The strength of the French army has been previously stated.  The combined army of the allies amounted to four hundred and twenty thousand infantry, and its cavalry to hardly less than one hundred thousand, without counting a reserve army corps of eighty thousand Russians, in readiness to leave Poland under the command of General Beningsen.  Thus the enemy’s army outnumbered ours in the proportion of two to one.

At the time we entered into this campaign, Austria had just declared war openly against us.  This blow, although not unexpected, struck the Emperor deeply, and he expressed himself freely in regard to it before all persons who had the honor to approach him.  M. de Metternich, I have heard it stated, had almost certainly forewarned him of this in the last interviews this minister had at Dresden with his Majesty; but the Emperor had been entirely unable to bring himself to the belief that the Emperor of Austria would make common cause with the coalition of the north against his own daughter and grandson.  Finally all doubts were solved by the arrival of Count Louis de Narbonne, who was returning from Prague to Dresden, as bearer of a declaration of war from Austria.  Every one foresaw that France must soon count among its enemies all the countries no longer occupied by its troops, and results justified this prediction only too well.  Nevertheless, everything was not lost, for we had not yet been compelled to take the defensive.

CHAPTER XIV.

War recommenced before negotiations were finally broken, for the Duke of Vicenza was still in communication with M. de Metternich.  The Emperor, as he mounted his horse, said to the numerous generals surrounding him that he now marched to conquer a peace.  But what hope could remain after the declaration of war by Austria, and above all, when it was known that the allied sovereigns had incessantly increased their pretensions in proportion as the Emperor granted the concessions demanded?  The Emperor left Dresden at five o’clock in the afternoon, advancing on the road to Koenigstein, and passed the next day at Bautzen, where he revisited the battlefield, the scene of his last victory.  There the king of Naples, who did not wish royal honors to be rendered himself, came to rejoin the Emperor at the head of the Imperial Guard, who presented as imposing an appearance as in its pristine days.

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