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sixty hours Napoleon had conceived and completed three separate strategic movements: the withdrawal of the whole army toward Ingolstadt, the advance of his right to strengthen the incoming left, and the rearrangement of his entire line with the right on his enemy's base of operations.
In war you see your own troubles; those of the enemy you cannot see. You must show confidence,» wrote the French emperor about this time to Eugène. How true it was of his own course! On the morning of the 21st he declared that the enemy was in full retreat. This was over-confidence on his part, and not true; but it might as well have been. As a result of the preceding day's skirmishing and countermarching the Austrian army was itself entirely cut in two; one division, the right, under Charles, pressing on to Ratisbon, the other, under Hiller, marching aimlessly behind in a general northwesterly direction, the whole straggling line not less than twenty miles in length. Lannes, the sturdiest, most rough-and-ready of all the marshals, had arrived from Spain the night before. His very presence increased the army's confidence that they must win, and next day he commanded a division formed from the corps of Morand, Gudin, and Nansouty. Davout received orders to hold the enemy in his front; Masséna was to spread out along his rear from Moosburg down the Isar, ready to harass either flank or rear with half his strength, and to send the rest, under Oudinot, to Abensberg.
On the morning of the 20th the Emperor himself, with Lannes and Wrede, set out to cut the enemy's line in two. They had little difficulty. The thin column dispersed before them to the north and south. Hiller was driven back to Landshut, whence he fled to Neumarkt, leaving the Isar in possession of the French. Davout advanced simultaneously against the Archduke's army, which, although very much stronger than Hiller's division, nevertheless retired and occupied Eckmühl, standing drawn up on the highroad toward Ratisbon. At Landshut the Emperor became aware that the mass of the Austrian army was not before him, but before Davout. Leaving Bessières and two divisions of infantry, with a body of cavalry, to continue the pursuit of Hiller, he turned back toward Eckmühl at three in the morning of the 22d. Here, again, a great resolve was taken in the very nick of time and in the presence of the enemy. With the same iron will and burning genius, the same endurance and pertinacity, as of old, he pressed on at the head of his soldiers. It was one o'clock when the eighteen
mile march was accomplished and the enemy's outposts before Eckmühl were reached.
Meantime one of the Austrian divisions left in Bohemia had reached Ratisbon. Charles, strengthened by this reinforcement, had determined to take the offensive, and at noon his advance began. Vandamme seemed destined to bear the force of the onset, but in the moment before the shock would have occurred appeared Napoleon's van. Advancing rapidly with Lannes, the Emperor rode to the top of a slight rise, and scanning the coming Austrians, suddenly ordered Vandamme to seize Eckmühl, and then despatched Lannes to cross the Laber and circumvent the enemy. Davout, having learned the direction of the Austrian charge, threw himself against the hostile columns on their right, and after a stubborn resistance began to push back the dogged foe. In less than two hours the French right, left, and center were all advancing, and the enemy were steadily retreating, but fighting fiercely as they withdrew. This continued until seven in the evening, when Lannes finally accomplished his task.
This destroyed all resistance. The Emperor weakly yielded to his generals' remonstrance that the troops were exhausted, and did not order a pursuit. Charles withdrew into Ratisbon. During the night and early morning he threw a pontoon bridge across the stream, which was already spanned by a stone one, and next day, after a skirmish in which his outposts were driven into the town, he crossed the Danube; three days later he effected a junction with his second division, left in the Bohemian Forest, and stood at Cham with an effective fighting force of 80,000 men. The result proved that Napoleon's judgment had been unerring; had he pursued, in spite of all remonstrance and in disregard of the fatigue of his men, he would have had no mighty foe to fight a few weeks later at Aspern. Sometime thereafter he told an Austrian general that he had deliberated long, and had refrained from following Charles into Bohemia for fear the Northern powers would rise and come to the assistance of Austria. «Had I pursued immediately," he said at St. Helena, "as the Prussians did after Waterloo, the hostile army crowded on to the Danube would have been in the last extremity.»>>
«Labor is my element,» he remarked on the same dreary isle almost amid the pangs of dissolution. «I have found the limit of my strength in eye and limb; I have never found the limit of my capacity for work.» This was certainly true of this five days' fight. «His
Majesty is well,» wrote Berthier on the 24th, "and endures according to his general habit the exertion of mind and body.» Once more his enemy was not annihilated, but this contentment and high spirits seem natural to common minds, which recall that in a week he had evolved order from chaos, and had stricken a powerful, united foe, cutting his line in two, and sending one portion to the right-about in utter confusion. To the end of his life Napoleon regarded the strategic operations culminating at Eckmühl as his masterpiece in that particular line. Jomini, his powerful critic, remained always of the same opinion. French history knows this conflict as the Battle of Five Days; Thann, Abensberg, Landshut, Eckmühl, and Ratisbon being the places in or near which on each day a skirmish or combat occurred to mark the successive stages of French victory.
ened Archduke, and destroyed the bridge behind him. The forces of Charles and Hiller met and halted on the slopes of the great hill known as the Bisamberg, which overlooks Vienna from the north shore, and commands the fertile plains through which the great river rolls past the Austrian capital.
Day after day, with unimportant interruptions but no real check, the French ranks marched down the right bank of the stream. On May 10 they appeared before Vienna. Then, as now, it had no efficient fortifications, and its garrison consisted of a citizen militia, strengthened by a small detachment which Hiller had sent forward to reinforce and encourage them. The defenders were commanded by the Archduke Maximilian. There was a brave show of resistance; all the suburbs were evacuated, and the populace gathered behind the old brick walls which had been erected two centuries before against the Turks. At first Napoleon thought there would be a second instance of such embittered and desperate resistance as he had encountered at Madrid. But a feint of the French to cut
Its results were of the most important kind. In the first place, Austria's pride and confidence were gone. She had lost 50,000 men, and her warfare was no longer offensive, but defensive. Charles called for peace, but the Emperor would not listen. The Archduke off the communication of the town with John, moreover, was compelled to abandon the Tyrol, and when he found himself again in Italy, he was no longer confronted by Eugène alone, that excellent youth but feeble general, whom he had so easily defeated: Macdonald was associated with the viceroy in the command. In Poland, also, Ferdinand's easy successes had carried him too far in pursuit of Poniatowski, and he began to retreat. Lefebvre with the Bavarians was stationed at Salzburg to prevent an irruption of the Tyrolean mountaineers toward the north; all the rest of the Emperor's army was immediately ordered to march on the Austrian capital.
The advance was scarcely contested. Hiller, commanding Charles's left wing, had checked his retreat, crossed the Inn with his 30,000 men, and had successfully attacked Wrede at Erding. He had probably heard that Charles was marching to Passau, but the news was false. Learning the truth, he turned again and recrossed the Inn; thence he continued to withdraw, stopping an instant at the Traun to avail himself of a strong position and hold the line if Charles were perchance coming thither to join him. At Ebelsberg, on May 3, he made a splendid and momentarily successful resistance, but was overwhelmed by superior numbers. Hearing of his leader's slow advance, and being himself in despair, on the 7th he led his army at Mautern across to the left bank of the Danube in order to effect a junction with the disheart
the river, together with a few cannon-balls, quickly brought the unhappy capital to terms; Maximilian marched out at midnight on the 11th, and on the 12th Napoleon returned to the neighboring palace of Schönbrunn, where he had already established his headquarters. The news which arrived from day to day was most encouraging. Poniatowski was again in possession of Warsaw, which the Archduke. Ferdinand had evacuated in order to rejoin his brother Charles. The Archduke John, flying before Macdonald, had passed the Carinthian mountains into Hungary, where the liberal movement threatened Austrian rule. The Bavarians, under Lefebvre, had, after desperate fighting, driven the Tyrolese rebels from Innsbruck. It seemed a proper time to complete, if possible, the demoralization of the whole Austrian empire before crossing the Danube to annihilate its military force. Francis had sown the wind in his declaration of war: he must reap the whirlwind.
From the beginning Napoleon had made. the most of his enemy's being the aggressor. There were no terms too harsh for the «Moniteur» to apply when speaking of the hostile court and the resisting populations. The Emperor's proclamations reveled in abuse of the Tyrolese and of Schill, the Prussian partizan who, having distinguished himself after Jena, was now striving to use the Austrian war in order to arouse the North Germans. He had already gathered a few desperate patriots,