Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée
Dispatch to the King of Sweden on the French Army in Dalmatia: 15 October 1806
The dispatch intercepted from Mr. de Duben to the King of Sweden, dated, Vienna, October 15, 1806.
News arriving for a few days from Cattaro, which seems to be authentic, has said that, September 22, the French met with a considerable failure, and that the Russians and Montenegrins killed many men more than them and captured 18 pieces of artillery.(1) The truth of all this is partially acknowledged by the French embassy at this court, which adds only that the guns did not fall into the hands of the enemy, but that the French, indicating that it was impossible for them to save them, had thrown them into the sea. It appears that, for the moment, Bonaparte gave up any hope of making progress in Dalmatia,(2)and one knows, with enough certainty, that all his forces in this country are reduced to 6 or 7,000 men,(3) since a corps was detached again to go reinforce the army of Massena in Italy, which, according to all the intelligence, is in a pitiful state; so that if Bonaparte is not in a position to send a considerable reinforcement to it soon, all the Kingdom of Naples will be evacuated soon by the French, perhaps.(4) Also there is talk about a plan concerted by Joseph Bonaparte and Massena to withdraw themselves on the borders of the Papal States,(5) to concentrate their forces there, and to await help. In general, the situation of the French in all of Italy is very-critical, and if there are successes in Germany, revolution will add Calabria to the Alps.(6)
Bonaparte agreed to introduce conscription into the lately usurped Venetian States; but it will not succeed, and a detachment of gendarmerie that were sent there to facilitate the operations, was massacre. This event, very recently arrived, is not known by the public, because it has been hidden with all the possible care; but I know, on a sure account, that it is authentic.(7)
The French embassy at this court again sought to spread rumors of a friendly arrangement between France and Prussia. The absence of all news from the theatre of the war, deprives to us of all the means of refuting these noises, which with the remainder are not generally believed, and one hopes to learn the first news at any moment, of the beginning of hostilities.(8) What one knows about the position of the armies, is that a French corps entered the country of Bayreuth without any resistance on behalf of the Prussians, which had evacuated this province, in order to concentrate on the borders of Saxony.
Particularly letters from Hanover ensure that General Ruchel stopped the transport of a thousand horses coming from Holstein, to be delivered to the suppliers of the French Army.
It is ensured that the assent of the Elector of Würzburg to join the confederation of the Rhine, was extracted from him in this manner: on his arrival in Würzburg, Bonaparte started with the insurance that the Minister of the Elector in Paris had already signed the project that had been presented to him in this respect, and that he hoped that the Elector would not refuse his sanction. The presence of most of the army of Bonaparte in the states of the Elector, was perhaps the most persuasive argument to settle this affaire.(9)
The Turkish mail did not arrive yet; but a noise runs here since yesterday which says that in Constantinople there was a considerable change in the ministry, and that the Russian party gained upper hand. A Russian army also entered Valachie.
This after midday, we received the unpleasant news that an affair took place yesterday between the Prussians and the French, and that General Tauenzien was pushed back with some loss.(10)
(1) Mr. the minister of Sweden can very well wish the destruction of the French Army in Dalmatia. One cannot conceive however is the delusion that makes him wish that the Porte be invaded and destroyed by Russia. Are these his sentiments, are they? for him his connections in Vienna impose some on him. The General Marmont completely beat the Russians and the Montenegrins; he pushed them back just up to Castel-Nuovo, where he burned the suburbs, and crushed the garrison of Corfu, which was embarking on the intention to make a grand mission. These large missions were in works in the mountains, as all that comes from Russia.
(2) There is a lot of ignorance in the letter of this minister: what progress can the EMPEROR make in Dalmatia, when they are Master of all this country and the States of Ragusa?
(3) One recognizes there the way of the enemies of France! Before the war, they claim that France does not have troops. When then France gained victories, they were not due, save, that with the superiority of numbers: the French were ten against one. Incorrigible and foolish men, do you want finally to see thus your collapse without the return of your Masters to the throne?
(4) In truth, this minister of Sweden has singular reasoning! How can he believe that, when one is a Master of Bologna and Rimini, one cannot pass from Italy help to the army of Naples, and that one is obliged to send some from Zara. And here are the ministers whom the cabinets hold at hand in charge of the greatest interests of the nations! They do not even know geography.
(5) How does the Minister of Sweden know about the plans concerted between the King of Naples and his General? the French are at the bottom of Calabria. Eighty-thousand French are in the Kingdom of Naples: all the enemy army which will debark there, will find there defeat and death.
(6) Here are beautiful illusions! there is not much more than is needed to add some regiments of hussars, to take possession of Italy. But who said these beautiful things to the Minister of Sweden? here is what would be curious to know. When the files of the cabinets and the correspondences of the ministers are opened, one will always find there the same work and the same language, when it is about coalition. The prince should be felt sorry for who regulates their policy on similar information.
(7) The country of Venice is a country proud to have left oppression. It obeys the laws, without needing gendarmerie for compelling them. Mr. the Swedish Minister has well few hints of experience, if he thinks, indeed, that it is possible to hide enough notable events to have an influence in the political businesses of the World.
(8) Your wishes are fulfilled, some efforts, which France made to prevent the war with Prussia, were useless. As a military power, Prussia does not exist any more; as a political power, it is at the mercy of the winner. Sixteen hundred men, who form the fifth part of your Swedish armies, were taken. Your agents in Pomerania delivered the luggage and the fugitives who had taken refuge under the protection of your batteries. And it is a Swede who speaks, who wishes the destruction of France and the Ottoman Empire, glory and the prosperity of Russia, who prefers a feeling of unwise hatred to the most expensive interests of his fatherland.
(9) It is curious to see turning of the truth given to the accession of the Elector of Würzburg, to the Confederation of the Rhine. The treaty was signed in Paris before the war. The EMPEROR, by giving to this prince the duchy of Würzburg, by then admitting it in the confederation, made an act of personal affection and friendship for to the Grand-Duke. It is certainly not for other reasons that being in Vienna, he could give to an archduke such a beautiful possession! This ingratitude is revolting.
(10) Since the first success of the French are so unpleasant to Royal Swedish, we are annoyed to see that they will have to still pass from through more unpleasant moments, while waiting for the feeling of the defeats of its nation succeeds in its heart the impression of the defeats of the Prussians.
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