On May 10th., 1812, the Moniteur published the following note: "The emperor has left to-day to inspect the Grand Army united at the Vistula." In France, in all parts of the Empire, the lassitude was extreme and the misery increasing, there was no commerce, with dearth pronounced in twenty provinces, sedition of the hungry had broken out in Normandy, the gendarmes pursuing the "refractories" everywhere, and blood was shed in all thirty departments.

There was the complaint of exhausted population, and loudest was the complaint of mothers whose sons had been killed in the war.

Napoleon was aware of these evils and understood well their gravity, but he counted on his usual remedy, new victories; saying to himself that a great blow dealt in the north, throwing Russia and indirectly England at his feet, would again be the salvation of the situation.

Caulaincourt, his ambassador to the Tzar, had told him in several conversations, one of which had lasted seven hours, that he would find more terrible disaster in Russia than in Spain, that his army would be destroyed in the vastness of the country by the iron climate, that the Tzar would retire to the farthest Asiatic provinces rather than accept a dishonorable peace, that the Russians would retreat but never cede.

Napoleon listened attentively to these prophetic words, showing surprise and emotion; then he fell into a profound reflection, but at the end of his revery, having enumerated once more his armies, all his people, he said: "Bah! a good battle will bring to reason the good determination of your friend Alexander."

And in his entourage there were many who shared his optimism. The brilliant youth of that new aristocracy which had begun to fill his staff was anxious to equal the old soldiers of the revolution, the plebeian heroes.

They prepared for war in a luxurious way and ordered sumptuous outfits and equipages which later on encumbered the roads of Germany, just as the carriages of the Prussian army had done in 1806.

These French officers spoke of the Russian campaign as a six months' hunting party.

Napoleon had calculated not to occupy the country between the Vistula and the Niemen before the end of May, when the late spring of those regions would have covered the fields with green, so that the 100 thousand horses marching with the army could find feed.

He traversed Germany between a double lane of kings, and princes bowed in an attitude of adoration.

He found them at Mainz, at Wuerzburg, at Bamberg, and his advance might be compared to the royal progress of an Asiatic potentate.

Whole populations were turned out to salute him, and during the night the route over which the imperial carriages passed was illuminated by lighted piles of wood - an extensive line of fire in his honor.

At Dresden he had the attendance of an emperor (that of Austria) and of kings and reigning princes, who were present at his levees, together with their prime ministers (the better to catch, to report, the words he said, however insignificant) while high German dignitaries waited on him at the table.

The Emperor and the Empress of Austria had come at their own desire to salute their daughter and their son-in-law and to present their good wishes for the success of the great expedition.

Twelve days in succession he had at dinner the Emperor and Empress of Austria, the King and Queen of Saxony, the Saxon princes, the Prince Primate of the Confederation of the Rhine - even the King of Prussia was present; he offered his son for adjutant, which offer, however, Napoleon was tactful enough not to accept.

All the kings and reigning princes from the other States of Germany presented their best wishes and pledged faithfulness to Napoleon in his war against Russia.

Around the French emperor and empress at Dresden there was a court the like of which Europe had never seen and never will see again.

A Te Deum was sung to thank heaven for his arrival; there was a magnificent display of fireworks, but the climax of all was a great concert with an apotheosis showing, as the principal figure, the sun with the inscription: "Less great and less beautiful than He." "It appears that these people take me for very stupid," said Napoleon to this, shrugging his shoulders.

In speaking to one of his intimates he called the King of Prussia a sergeant instructor, une bete, but openly he treated him with great courtesy.

He made rich presents: gold and enameled boxes, jewelry and portraits of himself enriched with costly stones. During the happy days of Dresden he enjoyed for once an intimate family life.

On one occasion he held a long conversation with his father-in-law, during which he developed his plans of the Russian campaign, with minute and endless military details of which the emperor of Austria, being no strategist at all, understood nothing and said afterward: "My son-in-law is alright here," pointing to the heart, "but here" - pointing to the forehead - he made a significant gesture.

This criticism of Napoleon by the Emperor of Austria became popular and has been accepted by many writers. All reproaches about Cesarian insanity which were cast at the great man and his whole life date from that time. Some have said that he wanted to conquer England and Russia because these two he considered the arch enemies of Europe, that he foresaw the threatening growth of these two countries as dangerous, and if he did not take advantage of the good opportunity the future of Europe would be at the mercy of Russia and England.

The conquest of Russia was the keynote of his universal policy.

The much calumniated blocus, say other writers, would finally have been the greatest blessing for continental Europe; its aim had already been attained in so far as many London houses failed, and famine reigned on the British islands in consequence of the high cost of living.

And these writers say Napoleon had by no means become insane, but, on the contrary, frightfully clear. Another explanation given was that he worried about his dynasty, his child, entertaining fear that his empire might fall to pieces after his death, like the empire of Charles the Great.

Although he was enjoying good health, he had been warned by his physician, Corvisart, of cancer of the stomach, from which Napoleon's father had died. Some suspicious black specks had been observed in the vomit. Therefore no time was to be lost, all had to be done in haste.

The rupture originated with Russia, for at the end of the year 1810 the Tzar annulled the blocus and even excluded French goods or placed an inordinate duty on them - this was, in fact, a declaration of war. Russia wanted war while the Spanish campaign was taxing France's military forces.

The only reliable report of Napoleon's communications at St. Helena has been given by General de Gourgaudin the diary which he kept while with the Emperor from 1815 to 1818, and which has been published in the year 1898. Here is what Napoleon said on this subject:

On June 13th., 1816, he remarked in conversation with Gourgaud, "I did not want the war with Russia, but Kurakin presented me a threatening note on account of Davout's troops at Hamburg. Bassanoand Champagny were mediocre ministers, they did not comprehend the intention which had dictated that note. I myself could not argue with Kurakin. They persuaded me that it meant declaration of war. Russia had taken off several divisions from Moldavia and would take the initiative with an attack on Warsaw. Kurakin threatened and asked for his passports. I myself believed finally they wanted war. I mobilized! I sent Lauriston to Alexander, but he was not even received. From Dresden I sent Narbonne, everything convinced me that Russia wanted war. I crossed the Niemen near Wilna.

"Alexander sent a General to me to assure me that he did not wish war; I treated this ambassador very well, he dined with me, but I believed his mission was a trick to prevent the cutting off of Bagratian. I therefore continued the march.

"I did not wish to declare war against Russia, but I had the impression that Russia wanted to break with me. I knew very well the difficulties of such a campaign."

Gourgaud wrote in his diary a conversation which he had with Montholon on July 9th., 1817. "What was the real motive of the Russian campaign? I know nothing about it, and perhaps the Emperor himself did not know it. Did he intend to go to India after having dethroned the Moscowitic dynasty? The preparations, the tents which he took along, seem to suggest this assumption."

Montholon answered: "According to the instructions which I, as ambassador, received I believe that His Majesty wanted to become Emperor of Germany, that he aimed to be crowned as 'Emperor of the West'. The Rhenish Confederation was made to understand this idea. In Erfurt it was already a foregone conclusion, but Alexander demanded Constantinople, and this Napoleon would not concede."

At another conversation Napoleon admitted "I have been too hasty. I should have remained a whole year at the Niemen and in Prussia, in order to give my troops the much needed rest, to reorganize the army and also to eat up Prussia."

All these details, Napoleon's admission included, show that nobody knew and nobody knows why this gigantic expedition was undertaken. Certain is, however, that England had a hand in the break between Napoleon and Alexander.

When Napoleon called on the generals to lead them into this expedition they all had become settled to some extent, some in Paris, others on their possessions or as governors and commanders all over Europe, which at that time meant France; in consequence there existed a certain displeasure among these officers, especially among the older ones and those of high rank.

The high positions which he had created for them and the rich incomes which they enjoyed had developed their and their wives' taste for a luxurious and brilliant mode of living. Besides, most of them, as well as their master, had attained the age between forty and fifty, their ambition gradually had relented, they had enough; and the family with which they had been together for very brief periods only between two campaigns, clung to them now and held them tightly.

Notwithstanding these conditions, they all came when the Emperor called; after they had shaken off wife and children and had mounted in the saddle, while the old veterans and the young impatient soldiers were jubilant around them, they regained their good humor and went on to new victories, the brave men they always had been.

Especially at first when, at the head of their magnificent regiments, they marched eastward through the conquered lands, from city to city, from castle to castle, like masters of the world, when in Dresden they met their comrades in war and their friends, and when they saw how all the crowned heads of Europe bowed before their Emperor, then the Grand Army was in its glory.

As we know from history the Grand Army had contingents from twenty nationalities: Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Austrians, Swiss, Spaniards, Portuguese, Poles, Illyrians, etc., and numbered over half a million men, with 100 thousand horses, 1,000 cannon.

According to Bleibtreu (Die grosse Armee, Stuttgart, 1908), and Kielland (Rings um Napoleon, Leipzig, 1907) the Grand Army was made up as follows:

First Corps - Davout, six divisions of the best troops under the command of Morand, Friant, Gudin. In this corps were, besides French, Badensian, Dutch, and Polish regiments. Davout commanded also 17 thousand Prussian soldiers under General Grawert. Among the generals were Compans and Pajol, the engineer Haxo, and the handsome General Friederich 67,000

Second Corps - Oudinot with the divisions of Generals Merle, Legrand, Maison, Lannes' and Massena's veterans 40,000

Third Corps - Ney with two divisions of veterans of Lannes; to this corps belonged the Wuerttembergians who had served under Ney before 49,000

Fourth Corps - Prince Eugene with Junot as second commander, and the Generals Grouchy, Broussier, the two brothers Delzon. In this corps were the best soldiers of the Italian army 45,000

Fifth Corps - Prince Poniatowski. Soldiers of all arms, mostly Poles 26,000 Sixth Corps - General St Cyr. Mostly foreigners who had served in the French army since 1809 25,000

The Sixth Corps - General St Cyr. Mostly foreigners who had served in the French army since 1809 25,000

The Seventh Corps - General Reynier. Mostly Saxons and Poles 17,000

The Eighth Corps - King Jerome. Westphalians and Hessians 18,000

Besides, there were four corps of reserve cavalry distributed among the corps of Davout, Oudinot, and Ney; the rest, excellent horsemen, marched with the Imperial Guard 15,000

The Imperial Guards were commanded by the Marshals Mortier and Lefebvre and were divided into two corps, the old guard and the young guard 47,000

There was the engineer park, composed of sappers, miners, pontooneers and military mechanicians of all descriptions, the artillery park, and train of wagons with attendants and horses. To these two trains alone belonged 18 thousand horses.

In the active army which marched toward Russia there were 423 thousand well drilled soldiers; namely, 300 thousand infantry, 70 thousand cavalry and 30 thousand artillery with 1 thousand cannon, 6 pontoon trains, ambulances, and also provisions for one month.

As reserve, the ninth corps - Marshal Victor - and the tenth corps - Augereau - were stationed near Magdeburg, ready to complete the army gradually.

The whole army which marched to Russia consisted of 620 thousand men.

The question of subsistence for this immense body occupied Napoleon chiefly. He felt the extraordinary difficulty and great danger, he knew that at the moment of coming in contact with the enemy all the corps would be out of supplies in twenty or twenty-five days if there were no great reserves of bread, biscuit, rice, etc., closely following the army.

His system was that of requisition. To secure the needed supplies the commanders of the corps were ordered to seize in the country all the grain which could be found and at once to convert it into flour, with methodic activity.

Napoleon himself superintended and hastened the work. At twenty different places along the Vistula he had the grinding done unceasingly, distributing the flour thus obtained among the corps and expediting its transport by every possible means. He even invented new measures for this purpose, among which the well-known formation of battalions of cattle, an immense rolling stock destined to follow the columns to serve twofold: for transportation of provisions, and finally as food.

With the beginning of June these supreme preparations had been made or seemed to have been made. In the lands through which the troops were to march before they reached the Niemen, the spring had done its work; there was abundance of forage.

Napoleon had impatiently awaited this time during ten months of secret activity.

It was the hope of Russia and the fear of those Frenchmen who understood the Russian climate that the campaign would drag into the winter.

Russians already told of the village blacksmith who laughed when he was shown a French horseshoe which had been found on the road, and said: "Not one of these horses will leave Russia if the army remains till frost sets in!" The French horseshoes had neither pins nor barbed hooks, and it would be impossible for horses thus shod to draw cannons and heavy wagons up and down hill over frozen and slippery roads.

The annihilation of the Grand Army is not to be attributed to the cold and the fearful conditions on the retreat from Moscow alone, the army was in reality annihilated before it reached Russia, as we shall see by the following description which I have taken from a Latin dissertation (translated also into German) of the surgeon of a Wuerttembergian regiment, Ch. Io. von Scherer, who had served through the whole campaign and in the year 1820 had submitted this dissertation, "Historia Morborum, qui in Expeditione Contra Russiam Anno 1812 Facta Legiones Wuerttembergicas invaserunt, praesertim eorum qui frigore orti sunt," to the Medical Faculty, presided over by F. G. Gmelin, to obtain the degree of doctor of medicine.

The diseases which befell the soldiers in Russia extended over the whole army. Von Scherer, however, gives his own observations only, which he had made while serving in the Wuerttembergian corps of fourteen to fifteen thousand men.

The expedition into Russia in the year 1812 was divided into ten divisions, each of these numbering fifty to sixty thousand men, all healthy, robust, most of them hardened in war. The Wuerttembergians were commanded by General Count von Scheeler and the French General Marchand; the highest commander was Marshal Ney.

In the beginning of May, 1812, the great army of Napoleon arrived at the frontier of Poland, whence it proceeded by forced and most tiresome marches to the river Niemen, which forms the boundary between Lithuania and Poland, arriving at the borders of the river in the middle of June.

An immense body of soldiers (500,000) met near the city of Kowno, crossed the Niemen on pontoons, and formed, under the eyes of the Emperor, in endless battle line on the other side.

The forced march continued day and night over the sandy soil of Poland. The tropical heat during the day and the low temperature at night, the frequent rainstorms from the north, the camping on bare and often wet ground, the ever increasing want of pure water and fresh provisions, the immense masses of dust, which, cloudlike, hung over the marching columns - all these difficulties put together had sapped the strength of the soldiers already at the beginning of the campaign. Many were taken sick before they reached the Niemen.

The march through Lithuania was hastened as much as the march through Poland. Provisions became scarcer all the time, meat from cattle that had suffered from starvation and exhaustion was for a long time the soldiers' only food. The great heat, and the inhalation of sand and dust, dried the tissues of the body, and the thirsty soldiers longed in vain for a drink of water. Often there was no other opportunity to quench the thirst than the water afforded by the swamps. The officers were powerless to prevent the soldiers from kneeling down at stagnant pools and drinking the foul water without stint.

Thus the army, tired to the utmost from overexertion and privation, and disposed to sickness, entered the land of the enemy. The forced marches were continued during the day, through sand and dust, until stormy weather set in with rain, followed by cold winds.

With the appearance of bad weather, dysentery, which had already been observed at the time of the crossing of the Niemen, showed itself with greater severity. The route the army had taken from camp to camp was marked by offensive evacuations. The number of the sick became so great that they could not all be attended to, and medical treatment became illusory when the supply of medicaments was exhausted.

The greater part of the army fought in vain, however courageously, against the extending evil. As everything was wanting of which the sick were in need, there was no barrier against the spread of the disease, while at the same time the privations and hardships which had caused it continued and reached their climax.

Some of these soldiers would march, equipped with knapsack and arms, apparently in good spirits, but suddenly would succumb and die. Others, especially those of strong constitution, would become melancholy and commit suicide. The number of deaths increased from day to day.

Marvelous was the effect of emotion on the disease. Surgeon-General von Kohlreuter, during and after the battle of Smolensk, witnessed this influence. Of four thousand Wuerttembergians who took part in that battle, there were few quite free from dysentery.

Tired and depressed, the army dragged along; but as soon as the soldiers heard the cannon in the distance, telling them the battle was beginning, they emerged at once from their lethargy; the expression of their faces, which had been one of sadness, changed to one of joy and hilarity. Joyfully and with great bravery they went into action. During the four days that the battle lasted, and for some days afterward, dysentery disappeared as if banished by magic. When the battle was over and the privations were the same again as they had been, the disease returned with the same severity as before - nay, even worse, and the soldiers fell into complete lethargy.

The necropsy of those who had died from dysentery revealed derangement of the digestive organs; the stomach, the large intestine, mostly the rectum, were inflamed; the intima of stomach and duodenum, sometime the whole intestine, were atonic. In some cases there were small ulcers, with jagged margins, in the stomach, especially in its fundus, and in the rectum; in other cases dysentery had proceeded to such an extent that pretty large ulcers had developed, extending from the stomach into the small and from there into the large intestine, into the rectum. These ulcers were of sizes varying from that of a lentil to the size of a walnut. Where the disease had been progressive the intima, the mucosa and submucosa - very seldom, however, the serosa - were perforated by ulcers; in many cases there were gangraenous patches in the fundus of the stomach and along the intestinal tract. The gastric juice smelled highly acid, frequently the liver was discolored and contained a bluish liquid, its lower part in most cases hardened and bluish; the gall bladder, as a rule, was empty or contained only a small amount of bile; the mesenteric glands were mostly inflamed, sometimes purulent; the mesenteric and visceral vessels appeared often as if studded with blood. Such patients had suffered sometimes from gastralgy, had had a great craving for food, especially vegetables, but were during that time entirely free from fever.

Remarkably sudden disaster followed the immoderate use of alcohol. Some Wuerttembergian soldiers, who during the first days of July had been sent on requisition, had discovered large quantities of brandy in a nobleman's mansion, and had indulged in its immoderate use and died, like all dysentery patients who took too much alcohol.

The number of Wuerttembergians afflicted with dysentery, while on the march from the Niemen to the Dwina, amounted to three thousand, at least this many were left behind in the hospitals of Malaty, Wilna, Disna, Strizzowan and Witepsk. The number of deaths in the hospitals increased as the disease proceeded, from day to day, and the number of those who died on the march was not small. Exact hospital statistics cannot be given except of Strizzowan, which was the only hospital from which lists had been preserved; and here von Scherer did duty during six weeks. Out of 902 patients 301 died during the first three weeks; during the other three weeks when the patients had better care only 36 died.

In the hospitals established on the march, in haste, in poor villages, medicaments were either wanting entirely or could be had only in insufficient quantity. All medical plants which grew on the soil in that climate were utilized by the surgeons, as, for instance in the hospital of Witepsk, huckleberries and the root of tormentilla. Establishing the hospital in Strizzowan von Scherer placed some of his patients in the castle, others in a barn and the rest in stables. Not without great difficulties and under dangers he procured provisions from the neighborhood. As medicaments he used, and sometimes with really good results, the following plants which were found in abundance in the vicinity: 1. Cochlearia armoracia; 2. Acorus calamus; 3. Allium sativum; 4. Raphanus sativus; 5. Menyanthes trifoliata; 6. Salvia officinalis.

In the course of the following three weeks General Count von Scheeler handed him several thousand florins to be used for the alleviation of the sufferings of the soldiers under his care, and von Scherer procured from great distances, namely, from the Polish cities Mohilew, Minsk and Wilna, suitable medicines and provisions. The proper diet which could now be secured, together with best medicines, had an excellent effect. This is seen at a glance when perusing the statistics of the first three and the last three weeks. In some cases in which the patients had been on the way to recovery, insignificant causes would bring relapse. Potatoes grew in abundance in the vicinity of the hospital, and patients would clandestinely help themselves and eat them in excessive quantities, with fatal result.

In some the intestinal tract remained very weak for a long time. Emaciation of the convalescents improved only very slowly. Remarkable was a certain mental depression or indolence which remained in many patients. Even in officers who von Scherer had known as energetic and good-humored men there was seen for a long time a morose condition and very noticeable dulness. Whatever they undertook was done slowly and imperfectly. Sometimes, even with a kind of wickedness, they showed an inclination to steal or do something forbidden. Sometimes it was difficult to induce them to take exercise. Von Scherer, in order to cheer up the convalescents, ordered daily walks under guard, and this was the more necessary as oedemata developed on the extremities in those who remained motionless on their couches.

How injurious the immoderate use of alcoholic beverages proved to be was demonstrated in three cases of convalescents, who were still somewhat weak. They had secretly procured some bottles of brandy from the cellar of the hospital, and with the idea of having a good time had drunk all of it in one sitting. Very soon they had dangerous symptoms: abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting followed by lachrymation from the protruding and inflamed eyes. They fell down senseless, had liquid and highly offensive evacuations and died, in spite of all medical aid, in six hours. On the abdomen, the neck, the chest and especially on the feet of the corpses of these men there were gangraenous spots of different sizes, a plain proof that the acute inflammation, gangraene and putrefaction had been caused by the excessive irritation of the extremely weak body. Circumstances forbade necropsy in these cases.

Among different publications on the medical history of Napoleon's campaign in 1812, which I happened to find, was a dissertation of Marin Bunoust, "Considerations generales sur la congelation pendant l'ivresse observee en Russie en 1812." Paris, 1817 (published, therefore, three years before publication of von Scherer's dissertation), in which the author wishes to show that the physiological effect of drunkenness on the organism is identical with that of extreme cold.

Von Scherer, after the hospital of Strizzowan had been evacuated, again joined his regiment. The French army in forced marches pursued the enemy on the road to Moscow over Ostrowno, Witepsk and Smolensk. Dysentery did not abate. In the hospitals of Smolensk, Wiasma and Ghiat, von Scherer found, besides the wounded from the battles of Krasnoe, Smolensk and Borodino, a great number of dysentery patients; many died on the march. The whole presented a pitiful sight, and the soldiers' contempt of life excited horror.

We shall return to von Scherer's dissertation when describing the retreat from Moscow.

While the dissertation of von Scherer treats on the fate of the Wuerttembergian corps of Napoleon's grand army, a memoir of First Lieutenant von Borcke who served as adjutant of General von Ochs in the Westphalian corps relates the fate of the Westphalians in the grand army of 1812.

The Westphalians, 23,747 men strong, left Cassel in the month of March, 1812, to unite with the French army. One of the regiments was sent later and joined the corps while the army was on the retreat from Moscow at Moshaisk. This regiment, like another, which followed still later and joined the army on the retreat at Wilna, was annihilated. Of the 23,747 men a few hundred finally returned. On March 24th., the Westphalians crossed the Elbe, von Borcke (it is a common error in American literature to spell the predicate of nobility von with a capital V when at the beginning of a period, while neither von nor the corresponding French de as predicate of nobility should ever be spelled with a capital) at that time suffered from intermittent fever, but was cured by the use of calisaya bark. I mention this to call attention to the fact that quinine was not known in the year 1812. When the corps marched into Poland the abundance of provisions which the soldiers had enjoyed, came to an end.

There were no magazines from which rations could have been distributed, and the poor Polish peasants, upon whom requisitions should have been made, had nothing for the soldiers. Disorder among the troops who thus far distinguished themselves by strictest discipline, made its appearance. How the army was harassed by the plague of dysentery, how the soldiers were marching during great heat, insufficiently supplied in every way, and how they suffered from manifold hardships, has been described in von Scherer's dissertation. The Westphalian corps was in as precarious a condition as the Wuerttembergian, as in fact the whole army and the Westphalian battalions were already reduced to one-half their former number. Many soldiers had remained behind on account of sickness or exhaustion, and officers were sent back to bring them to the ranks again.

The whole army would have dissolved if the march had not been interrupted. Napoleon ordered a stay. An order from him called for a rally of the troops, for the completion of war material, ammunition, and horses and provisions; but where to take all these things from? The war had not yet begun, and the troops were already in danger of starvation. Only with sadness and fear could the soldiers, under these circumstances, look into the future.

In what way, says Ebstein, can this great want, this insufficient supply of provisions, which made itself felt even at the beginning of the campaign, be explained? It has been shown how Napoleon exerted himself to meet the extraordinary difficulty of supplying the grand army of half a million of men and 100,000 horses with provisions, how well he was aware of the great danger in this regard, how he superintended and hastened the work of providing for men and horses by every possible means, that he understood all the circumstances surrounding the march of the grand army through a vast country populated by few, and these mostly serfs who had barely sufficient food for themselves and no means to replenish their stock in case it should have been exhausted by Napoleon's system of requisition, not to speak of the marauding to which the French soldiers were soon forced to resort. Ebstein says that the cause of the sad, the wretched condition concerning supplies was due to the fact that incompetent officers had been appointed as commissaries of the army; they held high military rank, were independent and could not be easily reached for their faults. It happened that soldiers were starving near well filled magazines, such magazines at Kowno, Wilna, Minsk, Orcha being not only well, but over, filled, while the passing troops were in dire need. We shall later on come to frightful details of this kind.

The miserable maintenance had from the beginning a demoralizing effect on the men, manifested by desertion, insubordination, marauding, vandalism. General Sir Robert Wilson, British commissioner with the headquarters of the Russian army, quoted by Ebstein, says: "The French army, from its very entrance into the Russian territory (and this cannot be repeated too often to lend the proper weight to the consequences resulting therefrom), notwithstanding order on order and some exemplary punishments, had been incorrigibly guilty of every excess. It had not only seized with violence all that its wants demanded, but destroyed in mere wantonness what did not tempt its cupidity. No vandal ferocity was ever more destructive. Those crimes, however, were not committed with impunity. Want, sickness, and an enraged peasantry, inflicted terrible reprisals, and caused daily a fearful reduction of numbers."

But this description of the Englishman will apply to every army in which there are such difficulties in obtaining the necessary supplies as they existed here on the forced marches.

Further, he does not speak of the severe punishments meted out to the culprits. By order of Napoleon entire squads of marauders were shot. Von Roos, chief physician of a Wuerttembergian regiment, has seen that before their execution they had to dig their own graves.

In Wilna already Davout ordered the execution of 70, and in Minsk of 13 marauders.

A Westphalian officer, von Lossberg, commander of a battalion, wrote in his letters to his wife - which are of great value to the history of the campaign - from Toloschin on July 25: "On our march we met a detachment of Davout's corps; they shot before our eyes a commissary of the army who had been condemned to death for fraud. He had sold for 200 dollars provisions which had been intended for the soldiers."

Napoleon had stayed several days at Thorn, inspecting the departing troops, visiting the magazines, bestowing a last glance upon everything. Before the guards left their cantonments he wanted to see the different corps and hold a great review. He loved to see again the manly figures of the soldiers, their chests of iron, these braves who stood before him, immovable in parade, irresistible in fight. Their bearing and their expression gave him pleasure. Notwithstanding the fatigues and the privations of the march, enthusiasm shone on all the faces, in the brightening of all the eyes. He wanted to give with his own mouth the order "forward march" to the regiments of the guard, and he saw the endless defile of these proud uniforms, heard the uninterrupted beating of the drums, the sound of the trumpets, the acclamation "Vive l'Empereur" of the beautiful troops, the departure of the officers, every one of whom had orders to set in motion or to halt human masses. All this great movement around him, by his will, at his word, animated and excited him. Now, the lot having irrevocably been cast, he surrenders himself completely to his instincts as warrior, he feels himself only soldier, the greatest and most ardent who has existed, he dreams of nothing but victories and conquests. At night, after having given orders all day long, he slept only at intervals, passing part of the night walking up and down. One night those on duty, who slept near his room, were surprised hearing him sing with plain voice a popular song of the soldiers of the republic.

On June 6th., Napoleon left Thorn while all the army was marching. At Danzig he saw Murat, whom he had called directly from Naples. He did not wish him near except for the fight where he would be an ornament in battle and set a magnificent example. Otherwise he considered his presence useless and hurtful. He had taken special pains to keep him away from Dresden, from the assembly of sovereigns, from contact with dynasties of the ancien regime, especially of the house of Austria, because of his being a king of recent origin. He feared the indiscretion of the newly made kings when brought together with the sovereigns by the grace of God. He did not wish that any intimacy should develop between them.

The meeting of the two brothers-in-law was at first cold and painful. Each had a grievance against the other and did not restrain himself at all to pronounce it. Murat complained, as he had done before, that he, as King of Naples, was an instrument of domination and tyranny, and added that he could find a way to extricate himself from such an intolerable exigency. Napoleon reproached Murat of his more and more marked inclination to disobey, of his digression in language and conduct, and of his suspicious actions. He looked at him with a severe mien, spoke harsh words, and treated him altogether with severity. But then, suddenly changing his tone, he spoke to him in a language of friendship, of wounded and misunderstood friendship, became emotional, complained of ingratitude, and recalled the memory of their long affection, their military comradery. The king who was easily moved, was thinking of all the generosity he had enjoyed, and could not resist the appeal, he became emotional in his turn, almost shed tears, forgot all grief for a while, and was conquered.

And in the evening before his intimates the emperor lauded himself for having played excellent comedy to regain Murat, that he had by turns and very successfully enacted anger and sentimentality with this Italian pantaleone, but, added he, Murat has a good heart.

Ahead of the emperor, between Danzig and Koenigsberg, traversing East Prussia and some districts of Poland, marched the army - under what difficulties has been described. At the same time, through the Baltic and the Frische Haff, came the more ponderous war material, the pontoons and the heaviest artillery, the siege guns. To complete the supply of provisions before entering upon the campaign the troops exhausted the land by making extensive requisitions. The emperor had wished that all should go on regularly and that everything taken from the inhabitants should be paid for, but this the soldiers did not consider. They took and emptied the granaries, tore down the straw from the roofs of the peasants' houses, barns, and stables to make litter for their horses, and treated the inhabitants not as friends, but as if they were people of a conquered land. The cavalry which passed first helped themselves for their horses to all the hay and all the grass, the artillery and the train were obliged to take from the fields the green barley and oats, and the army altogether ruined the population where it passed. The men obliged to disperse during a part of the day as foragers, got into the habit of disbanding and of looseness of discipline, and the impossibility manifested itself to keep in order and in ranks the multitude of different races, different in languages, who with their many vehicles represented a regular migration.

Everything became monotonous - the country, the absence of an enemy. They found Prussia and especially Poland, ugly, dirty, miserable, all the houses were full of dirt and vermin, domestic animals of all kinds were the intimate syntrophoi of the peasants in their living rooms. The soldiers bore badly the inconvenience of the lodging, the coolness of the night following the burning heat of the day, the fogs in the mornings. But they consoled themselves with illusions, painting the future in rosy colors, hoping to find across the Niemen a better soil, a different people, more favorable to the soldier, and longed for Russia as for the promised land.

The Grand Army had arrived at the Niemen. It was on June 24th., the sun rose radiant and lightened with his fire a magnificent scene. To the troops was read a short and energetic proclamation. Napoleon came out of his tent, surrounded by his officers, and contemplated with his field glass the sight of this prodigious force; hundreds of thousands of soldiers united in one place! One could not find anything comparable to the enthusiasm which the presence of Napoleon inspired on that day. The right bank of the river was covered with these magnificent troops; they descended from the heights and spread out in long files over the three bridges, resembling three currents; the rays of the sun glittered on the bayonets and helmets, and the cry Vive l'Empereur! was heard incessantly.

If I were to give a full description to do justice to the magnificent spectacle I would have to quote from the journals of that epoch, and if I were a painter I could not find a greater subject for my art.