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parte immediately perceived the error they had committed, and on it he founded his plan of the campaign. He was convinced, that if he could effect the passage of the Niemen at Kowno, he might push forward on the road to Wilna and Minsk, with such rapidity as to cut off such of the divisions of the Russian army as were to the south of the line between those two places. If he could not succeed in this part of his plan, his object would be next to attack the separate divisions, un. supported, and successively defeat them. In the former part of his plan he was completely successful; in the latter, the steady and persevering bravery of the Russians foiled him.
As soon as Bonaparte had crossed the Niemen, he pushed forward with great rapidity towards Wilna. On many accounts the occupation of this city was of the utmost consequence to him : the emperor Alexander was still in it; and tho' there was no chance of taking him, yet the circumstance of his flying'before the French would give eciat to the commencement of the campaign, and proba. bly Bonaparte was in hopes, that if he remained sufficiently long to witness the rapid advance and formidable numbers of the French army, he might be intimidated into a desire for peace. On the 28th of June, Bonaparte entered the capital of Russian Poland ; and from the measures which he immediately adopted, it was plain that the occupation of it was to him a desirable event, inasmuch, as it gave him an opportunity of exercising his usual talent of finesse. In the war in which he had just engaged with Russia, he expected consi. derable assistance from the Poles : he knew their enmity to Russia ; and though he had already deceived them, in the expectation which he had led them to form of his erecting Poland again into
a kingdom, yet he knew how to re-inspire them with confidence in him : as soon, therefore, as he entered Poland, he set about to establish the kingdom of Poland : his first public act was there to proclaim it anew. A diet was immediately assembled, and a constitution framed, and the name and form of liberty were restored to the Poles.
While Bonaparte himself continued at Wilna, the different divisions of his army advanced, but in a different direction from that in which they had first moved : instead of proceeding directly from Wilna to the Dwina, on which the Russians had retired, they stretched to the south, towards the province of Mojilhow. Their object in taking this route appears to have been partly the pursuit of prince Bragration, who with the second corps of the Russian army had been separated from the first, and was endeavouring to rejoin it, and partly the design or the hope of being able to turn the Russian posts on the Dwina, and thus avoid the necessity of attacking and forcing their entrenched camps on that river. Already had the bulletins which Bonaparte issued put on a different character and assumed a different tone from those with which he had favoured and delighted the Parisians in his former wars ; he boasted of no signal or decisive victory; of no route or confusion of the enemy; in no cannon or colours taken ; and during a pursuit which lasted nearly a fortnight, of very few prison. ers. On the other hand, by his repeatedly and emphatically asserting that immense quantities of provisions were arriving for his army, and by his explaining in a very minute and particular manner the route by which they were to be brought, it was evident that the country through which he was marching was not able to supply his troops. The climate of Russia also began to act against him, even in the month of July, and when he had not advanced further north than Wilna. A dreadful tempest arose ; torrents of rain fell; thousands of his horses perished ; and many pieces of artillery were buried in the mud. His disappointment and chagrin were likewise manifest : he broke out into invectives on the barbarity of the Russians for laying waste their country, and into ridicule on them for their cowardly and disgraceful flight, as he termed it.
Bonaparte, by his passage of the Niemen, had succeeded in separating two of the Russian divisions from the main army. The corps of Doctorrow, when this event took place, was stationed between Sida and Grodno. As soon as he was informed of the advance of the enemy, and that the main Russian army was proceeding towards theDwina, he put his corps in motion for that river. This movement was attended with great difficulties, as the French followed him closely, and in one part of his route had got so near him that he was obliged to turn to the right and undertake a circuitous route to the Dwina, where he at last arrived with the loss of a great part of his baggage. The Russian corps which had been separated from the main army was commanded by Prince Bragration. It was not so fortunate : this Prince in vain attempted to join the main army at Wilna, Minsk, and Bobruysk. The French, by the rapidity of their movements, always anticipated him, and it was not till he had crossed the Dnieper and reached Smolensk that he succeeded in his object. It is even probable that this corps would have been entirely cut off if Prince Poniatowski, who commanded the Poles in the servcie of Bonaparte, had pursued him with sufficient alacrity and vi. gour.
On the 17th of July Bonaparte left Wilna, and put himself again at the head of his army, for the purpose of attacking the Russian entrenched camp at Drisna on the banks of the Dwina. Previously to his arrival Marshal Oudinot crossed that river at Dunaberg, a considerable way below the Russian camp: he was not strongly opposed, and immediately after he reached the north bank he moved on to Drouga. The main body of the Russian army at Drisna amounted to about 120,000, the fortifications of their camp were very strong ; but, as Prince Bragration had not joined them, they resolved not to hazard a general battle. Before, however, they evacuated their camp they threw a bridge over the river, and surprised the corps of Sebastiani, who had reached the left bank, and drove him back with considerable loss. After this partial but encouraging success, they moved from Drisna towards Witepsk; and Bonaparte, having demolished the entrenched camps, in which he boasted that he found immense stores of provisions and ammunition, followed them so closely that his advanced posts had frequent skirmishes with the rear of the Russian army. On the 24th of July, the Russians arrived at Witepsk ; one of their corps having been previously dispatched to the north, to cover Petersburgh, which part of the French army seemed to threaten. On the 25th, 26th, and 27th, three several and successive actions took place, which were fought with great obstinacy, and with very partial and limited suc. cess on the side of the French. They took, indeed, some prisoners, but there was no route or confusion, no detachment cut off, no breaking of lines, nor intercepting of marches. In reality, in these battles, even by the French accounts of them, the Russians achieved all they intended and wish. ed, and the result of them, so far from injuring their cause, promoted and benefited it; so far from destroying the plan of the campaign, forwarded it, and proved its policy and soundness. The Russians fought, as long as they could fight, without risking a decisive engagement, and hav. ing inflicted as much destruction as they suffered, retired further into their own country, on their own reinforcements, and to other places equally strong as those which they had left." The French, on the other hand, could reasonably boast of nothing but the mere occupation of the ground which the Russians had so hardly yielded them, in consequence of what they called and claimed as a victory. They could, indeed, advance farther into Russia, but with what hopes! assuredly with none well founded ; they could only expect repetitions of the same hard-fought battles, while their own strength was diminishing, and their distance from their resources and rein. forcements increasing. As the Russians retreated they pursued their plan of laying waste, and their peasantry and slaves possessing the most profound detestation of the French, chearfully assisted in destroying their own habitations and Aed with the army. Thus the enemy entered on a desolate country. Bonaparte in vain endeavoured to persuade the Russian peasantry to wait his arrival, he in vain promised them freedom from their barbarous and oppressive masters ; they did not understand what he meant by freedom, or they doubted his promises ; be found the people as un. assailable by his intrigues as the Russian army was by his force. While the main body of the French under Bonaparte followed the main body of the Russians, Davoust was employed in the