Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée
Passage of the Sonna
The General Gardannes, that the Emperor had sent with 30 men of his guard, by reconnoiter the movements of the enemy, reported that they passed the river of Sonna at Lopackzin, and moved to Tycockzin.
The grand-duke of Berg, who had remained sick in Warsaw, had not been able to resist his impatience to take part in the events which being prepared. He left Warsaw, and joined the Emperor. He took two squadrons of the chasseurs à cheval of the guard to observe the enemy column movements. The brigades of light cavalry of the reserve, and the divisions of Klein and Nansouty pressed hard to join him. Arrived at the bridge of Lopackczin, he found a regiment of Russian hussars that held it. This regiment at once was charged by the chasseurs of the guard, and it was collapsed into the river, without another loss on behalf of the chasseurs that a wounded warrant officer.
However, half of this column had not crossed yet, but it crossed higher up the river. The grand-duke of Berg ordered it charged by colonel Dalhmann, at the head of the chasseurs à cheval of the guard, which took three pieces of canon gun to him, after having put several squadrons to rout.
While the column which the enemy had so imprudently thrown on the right, sought to gain the Narew to get to Tykoczin, the place of rendezvous, Tykoczin was occupied by marshal Davoust who took there 200 wagons of luggage and a great quantity of carriages that one collected from all sides.
All the Russian columns are cut, wandering haphazardly in a disorder difficult to imagine. The Russian General made the mistake to camping his army with the French Army on his flanks, separated it is true by the Narew, but there being a bridge on this river. If the season were beautiful, one could predict that the Russian army could not retreat and would be lost without battle; but in a season when it grows dark at four o’clock, and where it dawns only at eight, the enemy who does so, has all the chances to run away, especially in a difficult and wooded country. Moreover the ways are covered with four feet of mud and the thaw continues. The artillery cannot make more than two miles in one day. It is this that provides for the enemy to withdraw from the annoying position where it is; but it will lose all its artillery, all its carts, all its luggage.
Here was the position of the French Army on the 25th in the evening.
Left, made up of the corps of the marshal prince of Ponte-Corvo and the marshals Ney and Bessières, going to Biezun on the road of Grodno.
The marshal Soult arriving at Ciechanow. The marshal Augereau going on to Golymin. The marshal Davoust between Golymin and Pultusk. The marshal Lannes In Pultusk.
In these two days, we made fifteen to sixteen hundred prisoners, taken twenty-five to thirty pieces of cannon, three flags and a standard. The time is extraordinary here, it is hotter than in October in Paris; but it rains, and in a country where there are no roadways, one is constantly in mud.
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