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now blockaded in Piedmont, affembled the whole of his forces between Aleffandria and Tortona, in order to cruth by one froke the enemy, or open hinfelf a way across the French army, to join the Auftrian divifions on the Mincio. After detaching different corps from the main army to ftrengthen various pofts and keep the paffages of the rivers, Bonaparte, with the remainder, marched to meet the Austrians at Aleffandria. The French met the advanced guard of the Auftrians at St. Juliano, which they evacuated in order to take poft at Marengo: from this poft they were alfo driven, and forced to retire beyond the Bormida.
The French were at firft furprised at feeing the Austrians abandon the plain between St. Juliano and Marengo, in which they had fo much fuperiority from their numbers; and it was conjectured that they had the intention either of paffing the Po or the Teffino, or of marching by the territory of Genoa and Bobbio. But while difpofitions were taken to fruftrate these attempts, the advanced guard of the French was attacked, and the Auftrians, by the difplay of their forces, difcovered their intention of giving battle. The troops under the orders of general Victor were immediately ranged in line of battle; a part formed the centre which occupied the village of Marengo, the other compofed the left wing which extended to the Bormida, and general Lannes' divifion the right wing. The army, formed on two lines, had its wings fupported with a heavy body of cavalry.
The Auftrians, who had drawn out the whole of their forces, began the engagement on all points. Gardanne fupported for two hours the attack of the Austrian right and
centre, without losing ground, notwithstanding the fuperiority of the affailants' artillery, while the cavalry under Kellerman fupported general Victor's left. The centre of the French was at length compelled to fall back, and the Auftrians advanced upon Marengo. A dreadful carnage followed this movement; but the Auftrians, reinforced, continued to advance, and gained poffeffion of the village. Part of the centre of the French gave way; and fled from the field of battle in diforder. The right wing ftill refifted, but was too vigoroufly at tacked itfelf to yield any affiftance, General Victor, finding the ground no longer tenable, gave orders for a retreat on the corps de referve.
The right wing thus infulated was attacked by two lines of infantry, which marched against it with a formidable artillery. On the point of being flanked by a confiderable body, they were fupported for a moment by a brigade of dragoons; but the retreat of the centre obliged it at length to follow the fame movement. Nothing could fave the army but the body of referve under general Defaix. This divifion was not yet ready for action, Bonaparte, feeing the neceffity of gaining time, advanced towards the right wing, in order to retard its movement. The retreat was however made under the fire of eighty pieces of artillery. The carnage was again horrible, but the French kept their ranks, and instantly replaced those who fell by fresh troops.
Victory now feemed to declare itfelf in favour of the Auftrian's, whofe excellent and numerous cavalry covered the plain, fupported by feveral fquadrons of light artillery, and threatened to turn the army. It was at this critical moment that the grenadiers of the confular
fular guard marched to fupport the right, the only column that had held firm. They advanced, and like a wall of granite, as they were called at the time, fuftained three fucceffive charges. At the lame inflant came up Monnier's divifion, which made part of the corps de referve. This divifion was ordered to attack the battalions which protected the Auftrian cavalry, part of which were in purfuit of the centre and left of the French.
At the plain of St. Juliano, the referve under Defaix was drawn up on two lines, fupported on the right and left by the artillery under Marmont, and by the cavalry under Kellerman. Behind this corps the fugitives of the centre and left formed the prefence of Bonaparte, who flew from rank to rank, re-animated the foldiers, and at four in the afternoon the battle, which had raged for seven hours, was about to re-commence.
The Auftrians, fecure of the victory, fince they had routed two thirds of the French army, and were about to furround the remainder, had not laid their account for a divifion yet unattacked. They had improvidently wafted their ftrength, and icattered their battalions in the eagerness of puriuit. Bonaparte perceived in an inftant the advantages which this eagernefs gave him. Defaix, at the head of his legion, rufhed forward with impetuouty among the victorious battalions, whom he charged with the bayonet. The remainder of the divifion followed this movement, and the whole army catching the enthusiasm, advanced at the pas de charge, The Auftrians, overwhelmed with astonishment at this fudden explosion, withdrew their artillery, and the infantry began to give way.
At this moment Defaix fell. The lofs of this brave officer, instead of difconcerting, raifed the ardour of the troops into a fury to avenge his death. The bayonet, which had driven back the first line of the Aufirians, could not pierce the fecond. The refiftance of the Auf trians ftopt for a moment the French in their career, and the event of the day, notwithstanding this rekindled enthufiafm, was ftill doubtful; but its fate was at length fixed by general Kellerman, who, ordering a charge of cavalry, threw the Auftrians into diforder, and made a whole divifion prifoners, to the number of 6000 men, among whom was the general Zagg, general Sr. Julian, feveral other generals, and almost all the officers of the staff.
A third line of infantry yet re mained as a corps de referve, fupported by the reft of the artillery, and the whole of the cavalry. Against this laft divifion the right wing of the French advanced with the grenadiers of the confular guard, and part of the referve under Baudet, and fupported by the artillery under the command of Marmont, The Auftrian line still held its ground; but the French cavalry under Murat having charged the Auftrian cavalry, this latter gave way precipitately, and was com pletely routed. Night fcarcely put a ftop to the purfuit and carnage.
The French boaft of having wounded, killed, and taken prifoners, 15,000 men; the victory was fignal on their part, but their lofs was not lefs than that of the army they had to combat. As far as gory belongs to actions of this kind, hiftory will record this battle as equally honourable to both parties. It were endlefs to enumerate the particular traits of heroitin which
Smith, had been daily expected, and the Ifle of Hyeres had been defignated for the performance of quarantine. No doubt had been entertained but the English cabinet would readily affent to the terms agreed on, and figned by its plenipotentiary; and although the inftructions which lord Keith had received and tranfmitted deftroyed, or at leatt fufpended, this hope, the grand vizier and Kleber till remained on good teans, believing that the English court would not perfevere in its determination. They had even concerted provi, fionary meafures, but a difficulty took place which hindered the effect of thofe reciprocal difpofitions. The grand vizier, already the mafter of the places of Salahich, Catichoh, Belbeis, Damietta, of a part of the Delta, and Upper Egypt, evacuated in virtue of the convention, required the French to deliver up to him the citadel of Cairo, of which they were fill in poffeffion. Kleber refufed to give up the only fortified place which was left him after Alexandria. His refufal was notified to the grand vizier, with his determination to refume hoftilities; for which he prepared his army, by communicating to them the ignominious propofitions contained in the letter of lord Keith.
which this day, for ever to be celebrated in the annals of hiftory, exhibited.
The general of the imperial army in Germany had fought to take advantage of this armiftice in Italy to ftop the progrefs of the troops under Moreau, but the French ge: neral had not listened to the propofition. On the contrary, finding himfelf in poffeffion of the capital, and the principal part of Bavaria, Moreau detached Lecourbe towards the Tyrol to feize upon the Voalberg and the Grifons, and form a junction with the army of Italy. The reiteration of the offer of a fufpension of arms having been made, and count St. Julian having arrived at Paris with propofals for peace, as was fuppofed, from the imperial cabinet, an armiftice was at length concluded for the armies in Germany, leaving for the line of demarcation the pofts occupied, at the time of its formation by the refpective armies.
It was about the period of thefe great events that news arrived in Europe of the fudden and extraordinary change of affairs in Egypt. The arrival of the troops, according to the terms of the capitulation agreed on between general Kleber, the grand vizier, and fir Sidney
The next day Melas, finding his fituation no longer tenable, propofed an armistice, which was accepted by Bonaparte. The principal conditions of this armiftice were the free paffage of the Auftrians into the territory of Mantua, Tufcany, and Ancona, and the furrender of the whole of Piedmont and Genoa to the French. The armiftice, which was concluded for Italy alone, was to laft till an answer agreeing to the conditions could be returned from the court of Vienna.
The French army partook of the indignation of their general; and notwithstanding the fuperiority of the numbers they had to combat, and the difficulty of their pofition, being as it were furrounded, the republican troops, on the 20th of March, at break of day, began to cannonade the Turkish advanced pofts at Maturia, two leagues from Cairo. The grand vizier drew out his army, and occupied the ground between that poft and the village Elhauca,
Elhauca. The French army, confifting of about 15,000 men, comprehending the cavalry and dromedaries, was ranged in two lines, and extended half a league towards Boulac, with its right flanked by a wood of paim-trees. The Turkish cavalry made at first some partial attacks on the French infantry, but without much effect. The janif. faries opposed to the left wing of the French advanced next, and attacked with great bravery; but wanting ammunition, and being ill feconded by their artillery, they were forced in a fhort time to fall back. Towards noon the French advanced on the whole line with a terrible fire of artillery and mufketry; this brifk attack threw the Turks into diforder, and in an inftant the whole army, confifting of 40,000 men, took flight in all directions, notwithstanding the efforts on the part of the grand vizier to ftop or rally them. The grand wizier withdrew to his camp; but
was forced to abandon it the fame day, the French having advanced in two oblique lines to cut off his retreat. The route then became general. Nineteen pieces of cannon, and a part of the camp, fell into the hands of the conquerors, whofe lofs was but trivial, fince they met but with a feeble refiftance. The lofs of the Turks was about 8000 men killed or wounded, befides thofe who perished in the defert. At the beginning of the action, Nazouf Pacha and Murad Bey paffed the rear of the republican army by Boulac into Cairo, where they maffacred whatever French they found, and flaughtered numbers of the Greeks and Copts. Kleber returned from purfuing the Turkish army, invefted the city which was in revolt against him, and, having taken poffeffion, punished in an exemplary manner the cruelties and horrors which had been exercifed against the partisans of the French.