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his front occupying the pass of Chiusa and the main road into Italy. After having convinced himself that the enemy was unassailable in his position, he surveyed the valley round in every direction, and by skilful manoeuvres concealing his designs from the enemy, with the aid of the people of the country made a road for his troops across mountains hitherto deemed impassable even by the natives themselves, and conveyed his artillery, baggage, and armaments over precipitous heights with incredible exertions. On the 24th of May, 1701, he set forth from Roveredo; on the 4th of June he had transported his whole army to the rear of Catinat's position, twenty-five miles from Verona. Catinat's troops, although superior to Eugene's in numbers, were now insufficient to keep the whole line of the Adige. By a series of skilful manœuvres, Eugene induced the French marshal to scatter his forces along the line of the river; then by dexterous feints he entirely deceived his adversary as to the direction of his march, and the latter was suddenly surprised with the news that a detachment of his forces was entirely routed at Carpi, and the line of the Adige forced. Catinat then retired, and was driven back from position to position till he had crossed the Mincio and Chiese, followed by the Prince till he had planted himself behind the line of the Oglio. These were the commencements of a campaign, which, though not of any great magnitude, yet revealed to the world a new, daring and brilliant military genius, who had in mere strategy outwitted the most cautious and experienced marshal of France.
The Court of Versailles was astounded at the successive retreat of the French troops, and Marshal Villeroi was sent to repair the faults of Catinat. Catinat without a murmur submitted to be deprived of his command and to act under the orders of Villeroi. Villeroi was the evil genius of the armies of France in the last years of Louis XIV. He had a greater talent for defeat than any general who has a place in history. For the misfortune of France he was brought up as a child with the King, and thus acquired an ascendancy over the monarch which was never impaired by any disaster incurred by his incompetency and fatuity. He was a greater fop than de Vardes or de Guiches, and was known in the salons of Versailles as le charmant. A man made, wrote Saint Simon, to be the hero of an opera, if he had a voice, but nowhere else. der this mixture of frippery and folly the Duke of Savoy, though nominally the generalissmo of the French-Spanish army, agreed to serve, but undoubtedly in a Machiavellian spirit, for Victor Amadeus II., though he was now corporeally with the
French, was in spirit with the Imperialists. Villeroi, the hero of the Court, confident in his power of beating Eugene out of Italy, gave battle, in opposition to the wishes of Catinat, at Chiari. The French suffered a sanguinary defeat, with the loss of 4,000 men. Catinat, who had observed the excellent position of the Prince, sought death on this occasion as a remedy for his dishonour. The Duke of Savoy had a horse killed under him, and exposed his life with immense bravery in order to prove his attachment to the cause he was on the point of deserting. The battle of Chiari took place on the 1st September, 1701. A few months after, when the troops were still in their winter quarters, on the morning of the 1st of February, 1702, Eugene attempted perhaps the most singularly audacious achievement of modern warfare-the surprise of the strongly fortified town of Cremona, situated on the Po, then the head-quarters of Villeroi Had Eugene succeeded in his project, he would have been in the very centre of the communications of the French army and become master of the Milanese. He introduced about 3,000 of his troops at dead of night into the very centre of the city through an ancient aqueduct; but after an incessant and desperate conflict of twelve hours, he was obliged to retreat by the light of burning houses and magazines, carrying off with him Villeroi, 90 officers, 400 soldiers, and 700 horses. Villeroi was sent to Innsbruck, there kept prisoner for some time, and then released without ransom, as it was imagined that Villeroi was of more service to the allies at the head of the French armies than as a prisoner.*
After the affair of Cremona, the Duc de Vendôme was sent to repair the disasters of Villeroi; he was the grandson of Henri IV. and Gabrielle d'Estrées, the son of Mercœur and Laura Mancini, and, consequently, the cousin of Eugene. This strange character was distinguished at the same time for his shameless debauchery, the filthiness of his manners, the cynical effrontery of his life, and the besotted indolence of his habits as well as for undoubted military genius, an indomitable spirit when thoroughly roused, immense presence of mind and rapidity of judgment in the hour of danger, together with the power of inspiring the soldier with great enthusiasm, founded principally
* The following epigram on the occasion was first current in the army, and then throughout France :
'Par une faveur de Bellone,
Et un bonheur sans égal,
on the license and familiarity with which his inferiors were indulged. Philip V., King of Spain, whose accession to that crown was the whole cause of the war, now joined Vendôme. The Franco-Spanish and Piedmontese forces, with the new reinforcements, amounted to 80,000 men, while Eugene had but 28,000 to oppose them. Vendôme, by skilful manœuvres, forced Eugene to abandon the blockade of Mantua, and the two armies encamped opposite to each other on either side the Mincio, near to Montanara. Here Eugene, who was always too much addicted to partisan warfare, made an attempt to kidnap Vendôme by night out of the centre of the French camp. The plan was on the point of succeeding, and only failed by the disobedience to orders of those sent to carry it out. Vendôme was so enraged at this violation of military etiquette, that he directed the fire of his artillery for a whole day on Eugene's quarters, and the Prince was obliged to leave them. Not long after, at Luzzara, Eugene nearly surprised Vendôme's army in the act of encamping. He had pushed the Imperial forces forward, behind one of the dikes with which the country is intersected, and his advance was only discovered sufficiently soon to give Vendôme time to throw his forces in order of battle, and to display the whole energy of his nature and resources. The bloody but indecisive action of Luzzara took place on August 13. 1702, both sides claimed the victory, and Te Deums were sung at Vienna and Versailles. In this battle Prince Eugene lost his brave friend and general the Prince Commerci.
At the end of the campaign he returned to Vienna, to infuse new life into the Emperor's councils and military administration, and to draw closer the bonds of the Grand Alliance. For now the war of the Spanish Succession was about to assume European dimensions. On the news of the acceptance of the fatal legacy of Charles II. by the French King, the Imperial troops had marched into Italy and engaged in hostilities without war being declared. Leopold I. had in vain appealed to the great Powers of Europe for assistance; and the diplomacy of Louis XIV. had procured the recognition of his grandson, the Duke of Anjou, as King of Spain by England, Holland, and the chief Powers of Germany. But the successes of Eugene in Italy revived the spirit of the Grand Alliance; and the death of James II., followed by the recognition by the French King of his son as James III., united all parties in England in a desire for war. Leopold left no means unemployed to enlist the states of the Empire in his cause, and made a firm ally of Frederic, Elector of Brandenbourg, by acknowledging
him as King of Prussia. The Elector of Bavaria only, who had fought on the side of the Imperial forces in many a campaign in Hungary, though still apparently on the side of Austria, had a secret understanding with France. On May 15. 1702, the declaration of war took place against France at London, the Hague, and Vienna. During the year 1703, while Marlborough was gaining back fortress after fortress of the chain of strongholds in the Spanish Netherlands, which had fallen into the hands of the French through the treachery of the Elector of Bavaria, Eugene was occupied with the duties of the war ministry and the suppression of a revolution in Hungary, which had carried terror to the capital.
The affairs of Austria, indeed, at this crisis were on the very brink of ruin; and the Emperor Leopold, with his Spanish formality and his infatuation for Jesuits and astrologers, music and buffoons, was utterly incompetent to bear the weight of a falling empire. His neglect of some of the great magnates of Hungary had driven them into a rebellion; the advice of the Jesuits, religious persecution, a cruel policy, and sanguinary tribunals had lit again the flames of insurrection, and now French intrigue was lending secret assistance to the insurgents. Moreover, Count Carolyi, one of their chief nobles, having been unable to obtain redress for the insult of an official, broke into open revolt, headed the insurgents, and led them to the gates of Vienna. At the same time, the Elector of Bavaria openly declared for Louis XIV., and Villars, the commander of the French army of the Rhine, had been ordered to effect a junction with him. The Margrave of Baden, with 40,000 Imperialist troops, had endeavoured to prevent the union, but in vain: the daring and brilliant Villars, in the first campaign, gave him a severe defeat and won a marshal's staff at Friedlingen; in his second campaign he induced the slow and methodic German commander to scatter his troops,-then suddenly crossing the Rhine, drove the German forces before him, passed under the cannon of Freyburg in a fog, broke up the quarters of the Margrave, made himself master of fifty forts on the Rhine, took Kehl, and defeated an attack of the Austrians under Counts Schlick and Styrum. Villars then, by a most daring march, penetrated the defiles of the Black Forest, scaled the crests of the mountains which separate the basin of the Rhine from the basin of the Danube, and effected the junction with the Elector of Bavaria on May 8. 1703, at Tuttlingen. Had the ambition and the advice of Villars now been listened to, the Franco-Bavarian army might have marched to Vienna. The Emperor Leopold was seized with terror and prepared to leave the capital. With
the Hungarian insurrection on the one side and the FrancoBavarian army on the other, the empire seemed indeed to be in the last extremity. But in this emergency Austria was saved by the irresolution of the Elector of Bavaria. When Villars was expecting to hear that the Elector had taken the road to Vienna, the news came that the Prince, who, brave as he was in the field, was entirely governed by the intrigues of his wife, his mistresses, and his love of the most frivolous amusements, had put off the invasion of Austria and gone to the Tyrol, proposing to join Vendôme in Italy, and then with their united forces to come down upon Vienna. The peasants of the Tyrol, however, rose in arms against him, and, after losing half his army, the Elector again joined Villars. In these emergencies Prince Eugene remained at Vienna to direct the whole measures of defence as minister of war, and relinquished the command of the army of Italy to his lieutenant, Guido Stahremberg, the nephew of the brave defender of Vienna against the Turks, a man of great ability and, next to Eugene, the most capable of the Austrian generals. To Count Heister, another able leader, was committed the charge of suppressing the insurrection in Hungary; and Eugene directed the whole of his attention to the dispersion of the Franco-Bavarian army which threatened Vienna.
Villars, indeed, at one moment, had he been properly supported even by the Court of Versailles, might have marched to Vienna and dictated what terms he chose; but the intrigues of the courtiers at Versailles continued, as well as the folly of the Elector of Bavaria, to stay his progress; disgusted at the loss of the great prize which he saw within his reach, he shortly after threw up his command and returned home; and his place was fortunately taken by two of the most incompetent men who ever led an army, Marsin and Tallard. But next to the folly of its enemies, the wisdom. of Eugene saved the Court of Vienna on this occasion, by concerting with Marlborough that famous campaign which was crowned by the victory of Blenheim. From the first moment of their engaging in the same cause, the two leaders regarded each other with mutual esteem and admiration, and had entered into correspondence. To Eugene appears to be due the honour of having first conceived the campaign of 1704, and of the first invitation to Marlborough to leave the Netherlands, now sufficiently protected by his late conquests and by the Dutch army, and to effect a junction with the Imperial forces under himself and the Margrave of Baden, in order to sweep the French and Bavarians out of Bavaria, and deliver Vienna from the fear of