hungry and exhausted detachment alone was to cover the movements of the transport and of the whole army, by remaining stationary in face of an enemy eight times stronger numerically.

Kutuzov’s anticipations were correct both as to the proposals of capitulation, which bound him to nothing, giving time for part of the transport to reach Znaim, and as to Murat’s blunder being very quickly discovered. As soon as Bonaparte, who was at Schönbrunn, only twenty-five versts from Hollabrunn, received Murat’s despatch and projects of truce and capitulation, he detected the deception and despatched the following letter to Murat:

To Prince Murat.

Schönbrunn, 25 Brumaire, year 1805,

at 8 o’clock in the morning.

“It is impossible to find terms in which to express to you my displeasure. You only command my advance guard and you have no right to make any truce without my order. You are causing me to lose the results of a campaign. Break the truce immediately and march upon the enemy. You must make a declaration to them that the general who signed this capitulation had no right to do so, and that only the Emperor of Russia has that right.

“Whenever the Emperor of Russia ratifies the aforesaid convention, however, I will ratify it; but it is only a stratagem. March on, destroy the Russian army … you are in a position to take its baggage and artillery.

“The Emperor of Russia’s aide-de-camp is a … Officers are nothing when they have not powers; this one had none. … The Austrians let themselves be tricked about the crossing of the bridge of Vienna, you are letting yourself be tricked by one of the Emperor’s aides-de-camp.


Bonaparte’s adjutant dashed off at full gallop with this menacing letter to Murat. Not trusting his generals, Bonaparte himself advanced to the field of battle with his whole guard, fearful of letting the snared victim slip through his fingers. Meanwhile the four thousand men of Bagration’s detachment, merrily lighting camp-fires, dried and warmed themselves, and cooked their porridge for the first time for three days, and not one among them knew or dreamed of what was in store for them.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.