« PreviousContinue »
on the ground which Marlborough had won beyond the Nebel with such difficulty, that the crisis of the battle was to be decided.
Like Hannibal, Marlborough relied principally on bis cavalry for achieving his decisive successes, and it was by his cavalry that Blenheim, the greatest of his victories, was won. The battle had lasted till five in the afternoon. Marlborough had now eight thousand horsemen drawn up in two lines, and in the most perfect order for a general attack on the enemy's line along the space between Blenheim and Oberglau. The infantry was drawn up in battalions in their rear, so as to support them if repulsed, and to keep in check the large masses of the French that still occupied the village of Blenheim. Tallard now interlaced his squadrons of cavalry with battalions of infantry; and Marlborough, by a corresponding movement, brought several regiments of infantry, and some pieces of artillery, to his front line at intervals between the bodies of horse. A little after five, Marlborough commenced the decisive movement, and the allied cavalry, strengthened and supported by foot and guns, advanced slowly from the lower ground near the Nebel up the slope to where the French cavalry, ten thousand strong, awaited them. On riding over the summit of the acclivity, the Allies were received with so hot a fire from the
French artillery and small arms, that at first the cavalry recoiled, but without abandoning the high ground. The guns and the infantry which they had brought with them, maintained the contest with spirit and effect. The French fire seemed to slacken. Marlborough instantly ordered a charge along the line. The allied cavalry galloped forward at the enemy's squadrons, and the hearts of the French horsemen failed them. Discharging their carbines at an idle distance, they wheeled round and spurred from the field, leaving the nine infantry battalions of their comrades to be ridden down by the torrent of the allied cavalry. The battle was now won. Tallard and Marsin, severed from each other, thought only of retreat. Tallard drew up the squadrons of horse that he had left, in a line extended towards Blenheim, and sent orders to the infantry in that village to leave it and join him without delay. But long ere his orders could be obeyed, the conquering squadrons of Marlborough had wheeled to the left and thundered down on the feeble array of the French marshal. Part of the force which Tallard had drawn up for this last effort was driven into the Danube; part fled with their general to the village of Sonderheim, where they were soon surrounded by the victorious Allies, and compelled to surrender. Meanwhile, Eugene had renewed his attack
upon the Gallo-Bavarian left, and Marsin, finding his colleague utterly routed, and his own right flank uncovered, prepared to retreat. He and the Elector succeeded in withdrawing a considerable part of their troops in tolerable order to Dillingen; but the large body of French who garrisoned Blenheim, were left exposed to certain destruction. Marlborough speedily occupied all the outlets from the village with his victorious troops, and then, collecting his artillery round it, he commenced a cannonade that speedily would have destroyed Blenheim itself and all who were in it. After several gallant but unsuccessful attempts to cut their way through the Allies, the French in Blenheim were at length compelled to surrender at discretion: and twenty-four battalions, and twelve squadrons, with all their officers, laid down their arms, and became the captives of Marlborough.
“Such," says Voltaire, “was the celebrated battle which the French call the battle of Hochstet, the Germans Plentheim, and the English Blenheim. The conquerors had about five thousand killed, and eight thousand wounded, the greater part being on the side of Prince Eugene. The French army was almost entirely destroyed : of sixty thousand men, so long victorious, there never reassembled more than twenty thousand effective. About twelve thousand killed, fourteen thousand prisoners, all the cannon, a prodigious number of colours and standards, all the tents and equipages, the general of the army, and one thou
, sand two hundred officers of mark in the power of the conqueror, signalized that day ! ”
Ulm, Landau, Treves, and Traerbach surrendered to the Allies before the close of the year. Bavaria submitted to the emperor, and the Hungarians laid down their arms. Germany was completely delivered from France; and the military ascendancy of the arms of the Allies was completely established. Throughout the rest of the war Louis fought only in defence. Blenheim had dissipated for ever his once proud visions of almost universal conquest.
SYNOPSIS OF EVENTS BETWEEN THE BATTLE OF
BLENHEIM, 1704, AND THE BATTLE OF PULTOWA, 1709.
A.D. 1705. The Archduke Charles lands in Spain with a small English army under Lord Peterborough, who takes Barcelona.
1706. Marlborough's victory at Ramillies.
1707. The English army in Spain is defeated at the battle of Almanza. 1708. Marlborough's victory at Oudenarde.
THE BATTLE OF PULTOWA, 1709.
Dread Pultowa's day,
No more to combat and to bleed.
NAPOLEON prophesied, at St. Helena, that all Europe would soon be either Cossack or Republican. Three years ago, the fulfilment of the last of these alternatives appeared most probable. But the democratic movements of 1848 were sternly repressed in 1849. The absolute authority of a single ruler, and the austere stillness of martial law, are now paramount in the capitals of the Continent, which lately owned no sovereignty save the will of the multitude, and where that, which the democrat calls his sacred right of insurrection, was so loudly asserted and so often fiercely enforced. Many causes have contributed to bring