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was publicly installed as Dictator in the Champ de Mars, in presence of the army, the senators, all the prominent patriots, and more than a hundred thousand persons met to witness the spectacle, before whom he made oath to defend the rights and liberties of Poland. It is generally thought by the Poles, at the present time, that this was an injudicious step; but the opinion is founded on the errors committed by Chlopicki, rather than on the fact that a Dictator was appointed.
although the universal cry of the indignant nation was to be led to battle, yet the enrolments remained incomplete.
Owing to the dissatisfaction which these circumstances occasioned, the Diet put an end to the dictatorship, conferring the chief command of the army on Prince Radzivil, and leaving the control of civil affairs to the Senate, in which Czartoriski presided. But although Chlopicki failed to satisfy the expectations of the nation, he was a sincere and zealous patriot and true Pole, and did not hesitate to serve as an inferior in that army, of which he had previously been commander in chief-Radzivil, in accepting the command of the army, declared that he did so only for awhile, until events should disclose some military genius, competent to direct the energies of the nation.
Orders were immediately issued for the enrolment of new forces, and the construction of fortifications at various points. The army already in existence was estimated at 25,000 men, 19,000 of infantry, and 7,200 of cavalry, with 72 pieces of cannon. The Dictator proposed to increase the force so as to make a total of 69,200 men, including 54,000 of infantry, and adding 24 pieces of cannon. This augmentation of the army was to have been completed by the 20th of January 1831; but effective arrangements for that purpose were not made; and the organization proceeded slowly. Nor were the proposed fortifications constructed so extensively as had been designed. Nothing was omitted, however, at Warsaw and Praga, where the zeal of the people supplied every deficiency. But in fact the Dictator seems to have expected from negociations more than was reasonable; and thus lost much time, which, in regard to military preparations, was invaluable. When, therefore, the proclamations of the inevitable necessity of the Nicholas were received at Warsaw, crisis; and Prince Radzivil made
Two months had now elapsed, and a numerous Russian force was gathering under Marshal Diebitsch, surnamed Zabalkanski, from his successful passage of the Balkan. If the Poles had assumed the offensive at the first moment of the revolution, they might have carried on the war in the territory of Russia, or at least in the Polish provinces of the Empire, where the diffusion of the revolutionary movement could have been prornoted, at the same time that the war made progress. By acting on the defensive, the Poles suffered the war to be brought home into their own territory, and to the very neighborhood of Warsaw. This was found to be
his preparations accordingly. We
the kingdom, addressed long and separate proclamations to the Poles and Polish soldiers, which only had the effect of irritating the latter, and rendering them more eager for battle. The Russians were commanded, under Diebitsch, by the Grand Duke Constautine, and Generals Rosen, Pahlen, Geismar, Kreutz, Prince Wirtemberg, and Witt; with General Toll for chef d'état major. They passed the Polish frontier at four points, covering a space of ninety-six miles in extent, their separate detachments being spread out over so large a tract of country, with the design of bearing down in force upon the centre of the Polish army, and outflanking the rest; and they expected thus to push on to Warsaw. The Poles prepared for them by concentrating their troops into a narrow line of operation, so as to compensate for inferiority in numbers. It is very difficult to follow military operations understandingly without constant inspection of accurate and very full maps and plans; but a few explanations may render, it easy to comprehend the brief sketch, which alone we shall attempt, of the various movements of the hostile armies.
The Polish troops left Warsaw towards the end of January, it being decided to concentrate them at points in the line of march of the Russian army, and after gradually drawing the latter on to the environs of Warsaw, there to fight, a decisive battle. The Russians began to assemble on the frontier at Grodnow and Bialystok, simultaneously with the marching of the Poles. Diebitsch, upon entering
Warsaw, it will be observed, is situated on the Vistula, not far above its junction with the Bug. The town or suburb of Praga occupies the opposite bank of the Vistula, the two places being united by a bridge and having the same relative position as London and Southwark, or Boston and Charlestown. Through the scene of the Polish war, the Vistula
would be a shorter line drawn across the triangle near to its apex, so as to be fairly interposed between Warsaw and the enemy;
and by forming or conceiving a diagram of this kind, the system of operations on both sides will be readily apprehended.
The first encounter occurred on the 10th of February, it being a skirmish of outposts at Mendzyrzec in advance of the right wing of the Poles, and the latter having the advantage. Other skirmishes took place on the 11th, near Siedlce, between the Polish outposts, and the advancing centre of
flows from the southeast until it meets the Bug coming from the northeast, after the latter river has received the Narew descending by a circuitous route also from the northeast, but considerably to the north of the Bug. Previously, however, to its uniting with the Narew, the Bug forms an abrupt curve, having commenced its progress far to the south towards the Carpathian mountains, and flowing northerly to the town of Brzesc, when it assumes more of a westerly direction, until it makes the sudden bend before mentioned, and thus continues on southwesterly to the Vistula. At the the Russians under Diebitsch most abrupt and marked portion himself. On the 14th a more seof this curvature is found the rious engagement took place in small river Lieviec, which joins the same quarter. General Dwertogether the two extremities of nicki had been posted with his the curvature, and thus forms a corps beyond the right wing of kind of island or marshy tract of the Poles, as a covering force. land between the two rivers. His small corps of 3,800 men Bialystok is on a small branch of was attacked near Stokzek by the Narew, near where it enters General Kreutz with 15,000 RusPoland, and Wlodawa is on the sians, and gained a complete vicBug to the south of Brzesc; and it tory, the enemy losing nearly a was along the line of frontier from third part of their number, and Wlodawa on the south to Bialy- being driven back in great disorstok on the north, that the Rus- der. It being then requisite that sian forces entered Poland. The Dwernicki should retire and cross line of the Poles was directly in the Vistula, in order to prevent front of that of the Russians, their the advance in that direction of a left wing being at Pultusk on the Russian corps under prince WirNarew above its juncture with temberg, the Polish right was althe Bug, and their centre and so drawn back to prevent its beright wing extending across the ing outflanked; and the conseBug, and along the marshes of the quence was the battle of Boimie Lieviec, to the south of Siedlce on on the 15th, between the Polish the latter stream. Supposing right under General Zymirski, Warsaw to be at the apex or top and the Russian centre still comof a triangle having its two sides manded by Diebitsch in person. equal, the Russian army might be This affair consisted of multiplied considered as forming the base of but unsuccessful attempts of the the triangle, while the Polish Russians to force the passage of
a dyke which the Poles held until the Russians had retired, when the former retired to a new position in the rear. Meanwhile the Polish centre, under General Skrzynecki, had successfully executed a similar evolution, so that on the 17th the right wing of the Poles was at Minsk, the centre in the environs of Dobre, and the left at Zegrz.
The 17th was a day of continued fighting along the greater part of the Polish line, the right being attacked at Minsk, by General Rosen, and the centre in two successive positions at Makowiec and Dobre, by the Grand Duke and Marshal Diebitsch. In all these successive combats, the Russians sustained immense loss, their aim being to drive back the Poles at any sacrifice and by mere strength of numbers, and the object of the Poles being to occasion them all the loss possible, and then retire from time to time towards Warsaw. It was in the battle of Dobre, that Skrzynecki first attracted the attention of his countrymen to those great military talents, which subsequently caused his elevation to the supreme command.—As indicative of the conduct and effects of the battle, it is sufficient to state that, while the Poles lost only 800 men, the loss of the Russians amounted to 6,000 in killed, wounded, and prisoners.
The next day the Poles again retrograded along their whole line, and, as on the preceding day, Diebitsch devoted his troops to a dreadful but needless and fruitless carnage in the forests of Milosna and Jablonna, by con
stantly bringing up his ranks to the attack without any assignable object, suffering, himself, a loss of 10,000 men, without occasioning a loss of one tenth part that number to the Poles. At night fall, the latter began to display upon the plains of Wavre and Bialolenka near Praga. The thunder of their cannon at Milosna, which was plainly audible at Warsaw, had announced their approach, and the whole population of the city went out to welcome the defenders of their country, continuing with them the following days, during the battles which ensued, to furnish supplies, and relieve the wounded. For Diebitsch persisted in his old tactics, pushing the attack without any change of plan on the 19th and 20th of February. During those two days, the Poles maintained their position unyieldingly, in spite of the enormously disproportioned forces, which Diebitsch brought to bear upon their whole line. It was a mere wanton sacrifice of lives on his part, without any definite end or aim.
In fact, for ten days past, the two armies had been continually engaged in a succession of sanguinary battles, with 42,000 Poles only against 200,000 Russians, where the result had been uniformly the same in every case. The Russians attacked the Polish position every day, and were every day repulsed; it thus appearing how much may be effected by a handful of men excited by some strong moral inducement, when they differ from their antagonists neither in discipline, physical force, nor any other res
pect, but only in the mighty stimulus of a good and a glorious cause. Had the Poles been directed by some great master of the art of war, like Napoleon, had the defensible points of their country been suitably prepared by the requisite fortifications,-the loss of the Russians, great as it already was, would have been incalculably greater. But neither Chlopicki nor Radzivil, although both honorable and patriotic men, were fully equal to the emergency; and therefore much of the success of the Poles was owing to the unconcerted dispositions of the several generals of division, who, as it often happened in the engagements along the line, each fought his own battle. It needed only a master mind to combine the Polish forces, and to give direction to the intense patriotism which animated officers and privates alike, to have doubled or trebled the injury sustained by the Russians.
For three days, from the 21st to the 23d of February inclusive, the Russians remained inactive, awaiting the arrival of a new corps of 20,000 men, under Prince Sczachowski. They were occupied by the Poles in a manner as remarkable as the struggle itself in which they were engaged. The people assembled in the churches to offer up prayers for the welfare of their country, while the army were employed in the same way in the field of battle, the first line remaining in position while the rest of the troops were engaged in devotional exercises. At each collection of troops, the ministers of religion
administered patriotic oaths, and, by their addresses, animated the soldiers to perseverance in the holy struggle.' These sacred ceremonies were followed by hymns, which were sung along the whole line, mingled with the solemn sounds of the bells of Warsaw tolling for the assembly of the people in the churches. These exercises ended in the general shout of 'Poland forever!
Before recommencing hostilities, Marshal Diebitsch sent General Witt with a flag of truce, to propose submission. Witt was stopped at the Polish outposts, where General Krukowiecki went to meet him in behalf of the Poles, and told him that negociations must be entered into between them, if at all, on the banks of the Dnieper, the ancient and the only true frontier of Poland.
The brief respite enjoyed by the hostile armies was but preparatory to a desperate conflict on the 25th. Indeed, on the 24th, a battle was fought at Bialolenka, of the same description with those which had preceded it. But the celebrated battle of Grokow, on the 25th, deserves, from its desperation and its importance, to be more particularly described. The entire forces, on each side, were engaged in this combat. The Russians had in the field eight divisions, consisting of 126,000 infantry, 42,000 cavalry, and 280 pieces of cannon, with three divisions of reserve, composed of 16,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry, and 32 pieces of cannon, covering altogether a line of three miles in length. To oppose this mighty host, the little