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THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE SUPPLEMENT: WASHINGTON, D. 0., THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 1898.
9 C3t j5s3fjfv (V ifw -- Profusely Illustrated MARSHAL SUCHET. HIS EARLY CAREER ACTIVE SERVICE JK ITALY MAGNIFICENT BEHAVIOR AT -JENA HIS CAMPAIGNS IN SPAIN. SIEGES OF LERIDA AND TORTOSA. UNINTERRUPTED SUCCESS. It is difficult in a single sketch to do Suchet justice, or convey any correct idea of what he accomplished in his military career. His qualities were rather solid than brilliant, and the field on which he was compelled to exhibit them the most un favorable that could well be given him. Never operating on a large scale as com mander of a corps till he was sent to Spain, he does not shine in the reflected glory of Napoleon's genius, and the only halo around his head is that which his own actions have made. All the other Marshals were allowed, during some part of their lives, to serve under the Emperor as commanders of large bodies of men, and .thus to distinguish themselves on those, great .battlefields whose renown, filled the world- To direct one of the wings of Napoleon's nrmy in a pitched battle, or to be appointed by him to lead an immense column on the center, with the Imperial Guard and the resistless cuirassiers in reserve, gave op portunity for a brave, determined, and skillful leader to fix his fame forever. All felt this, and constantly sought to Le near the Emperor and under his immediate control. Especially those in Spain earnestly wished to be recalled from a field where success gave little renown, and victory no laurels. The bare fact that Suchet's fame is not at all eclipsed by that of the other Marshals, when he was compelled to operate alone, and in most disadvantageous circumstances, is the greatest evidence of his. ability that can Lc given, and the highest encomium that can be passed on his career. Louis-Gabriel-Suehct was born at Lyons, March 2. 1770. His father ,was a silk manufacturer, in moderate circumstances, and young Louis, at the are of 20. entered the army as a private. Three years after he was -placed over a battalion, and at the siege of Toulon first, met the young Bona parte. He distinguished himself at this siege by his gallant behavior, and was sen after sent to the army of Italy. He fought bravely at Loano, and. charging at the head of his battalion, carried off three Austrian standards. He served here two years before Bona parte was appointed to the chief command of the army, and then went through the glorious campaign of 1790 as chief of the 18th battalion under Massena. He fought at Dego, Lodi. and Borghetto; composed part of the tired army that arrived at Rivoli barely in time to save Napoleon from defeat; charged with impetuous valor along the mountain slopes ;it Castiglione; fought for three days on the dykes of Areola; and, finally, at Cerea fell severely wounded iS jt a. T nlCVl 411. NWif w . ttimjfeB I xi is crs SHXrshao HI By J. T.TH E ADLE Y. bY Reproductions' of the "BtsLPrench'PiciureSi Before he had fairly recovered, he re joined the army, and went through the Venetian campaign. He was again wounded at Tarvis, and at the fierce con flict of Newmarket poured his battalions with such fury on the enemy that he was made Chief of Brigade on the spot. Hero he was again wounded; and Gen. Joubert, under whose command he fought, did not forget afterward the young officer who had behaved so nobly. A GREAT HONOR. In 1708 he went through the Swiss cam paign, under Menard and Brune. and for his brilliant conduct was made the bearer of 23 standards, taken from the enemy, to the Dircctorv. He expected to be joined to. the expedition to Egypt, but was sent to the Army of Italy, and from thence to that of the Danube, and fought bravely in the Grisons. Soon after, Joubert superseded Moreau in Italy, and Suchet was appointed chief of his staff, and given tnc commanu oi a division. But his office as Chief of Staff soon terminated for, atNovi. in his open ing battle, Joubert was killed and h:s army defeated. When Honaparle returned from Egypt, and sent Massena to Genoa, Suchet was placed over that wing of the army which rested on Nice. But. being separated from the former by the Austrian forces that came pouring in overwhelming numbers throuirh the gorges of the Appenines, he was unable to render that intrepid General a'nv assistance in the dreadful siege he endured. In that almost hopeless attempt, bow ever, to restore their communication when Massena fell on the enemy in front and he in rear Suchet led his army in trepidly against the dense masses of the Austrians. But, after a lonir, bloody, and useless strutrirle on the bights of Mount Giacomo, in which he left its sides "strewed with his soldiers, he was driven back, and finally intrenched himself n the Var. j Thither the Austrian General advanced in i close pursuit, and vainly endeavored to j dislodge him. " i In the meantime Genoa surrendered; and Melas. wishing to concentrate his forces, so as to meet Napoleon, already in the plains Of Italy, recalled those opposed J to Suchet. But no sooner did the latter ; see his enemy preparing to retreat, than he immediately broke from the defensive lie had so long maintained, into a furious offensive, and pouring his now excited i columns through the gorges and over tr.e bights of the Appenines, fell on him in flank and rear, and chasing the broken ranks over those dreary mountains, made I everv cliff and valley a battlefield; so that out of the 18.000 with which the Austrian commander first advanced on him. not more than 10,000 ever reached the main army. At Savona he met Massena with his worn and famine-struck troops; and then they two together kept watch and ward on the crest of the Appenines, till the shout of victory from the field of Marengo came rolling over their summits, announcing the overthrow, of the Austrian power in Italy. After the treaty of LunevilJe he received I the appointment of Inspector-General of ' the infantry, and shortly after was named a member of the Legion of Honor, and the next year made Governor of the Imperial Palace of Lacken. IN THE AUSTERL1TZ CAMPAIGN. In the campaign of Austerlitz he showed himself worthy of a higher command than the one he held, and the next year (1800) opened tho battle of Jena for Napoleon. On that foggy morning, Suchet, at the head of his division, and Gazan with his, stood, at -1 o'clock, in battle array, when Napoleon came riding along their lines, and thus addressed them: "Soldiers! the Russian army is turned as the Austrian was a year ago nt Ulm; it no longer strugcles, but to be able to re treat. The corps which should permit itself to be broken would be .dishonored. Fear not its famed cavalry oppose to their charges. firm squares and the bayo net." Fierce shouts answered him from those two brave divisions, as they panted for the onset. But the stubborn mist that in volved everything, prolonged the darkness, so that. Suchet was compelled to keep the shivering lines waiting two hours, before the signal of attack was given. At G o'clock, however, the order arrived, and he led his troops steadily and swiftly forward through the defiles that opened on the Prussian lines, carrying everything before him. The enemy saw him approach ing through the mist, and met the shock with a firm and serried front; the artillery opened, and a rapid and heavy fire was kent nit on the head of his column, so as to prevent it from deploying into the open plain. But nothing could stay his progress the lines bent back before his charge, and he swept with his steady battalions up to the very muzzles of the guns, and wrenched them from the artillerymen and still kept pressing forward, clearing the field, till the advancing army had time to pass the gorges, and form in battle array on fair and open ground. It was at this moment the fog lifted, and the unclouded sun flashed down on the two armies, revealing the position of each to the other. Suchet's management of his division in this engagement showed both the mettle and quality of the man, and won tho high est praise from the Emperor. Two months after, he commanded the left wing of the army at the battle of Pul tusk. and attacking the Russian advanced posts, drove them through the forest, and sustained a long and most unequal com- lifit (ill I'nnnos MrrU'P.fl and relieved him. lit 1808 the grand cordon of the Legion of ! Honor was conferred on him, and ne was created Count of the Empire. The road to the highest summit of military fame was now oncn to him, and he was prepared to fol'nw'it with all the energy, and skill, and dr.jftng, which .characterized him. If SENT TO SPAIN. But he was taken from these brilliant campaigns, and destined to operate, for the rest of his life,in a field offering but few inducements, and promising but small reward. He was sent into Spain to super sede Junot in the command of the forces in Arragon. The latter chief had been taken sick, and Napoleon was glad of an excuse to remove one whose whole course in Portugal had been marked by rashness and folly. Nothing shows the sagacity of the French Emperor more than the correct judgment he formed of his Generals. Jlerc was Suchet, who had never held a sepa rate command, but had fought only as General of Division, suddenly placed at the head of a defeated army, and expected to restore discipline, cre.'ito resources, and make head against a powerful enemy. This important post was not the reward of r troops were dispirited, and murmuring, and many of his Generals insisted on evacu ating Arragon. Things looked dark around him, but this was a good school for the young Gen eral, for it immediately brought out the immense but hitherto hidden resources he possessed. Becoming superior to the sympathetic influenco of general discour agementfirmly withstanding the counsel of officers who had served longer in the Peninsula 'than himself rising above the dangers that surrounded him, he restored confidence to his soldiers and officers, and by his moral courage and calm and noble demeanor succeeded, at. length, in putting a cheerful countenance on affairs. He fortified tho city, and was placing everything in preparation for a close siege, when his victorious enemy appeared be fore the walls. MOVING -TO VICTORY. Suchet at first hesitated whether to give battle or retreat, but feeling it was of the last importance to hold Saragossa, he re solved on the latter. With only 10,000 men and 12 cannon he boldly marched out of the city, and drew up in battle array in presence of 17,000 victorious troops, sup ported by a numerous artillery. He im mediately advanced to the attack, and the battle soon became general; but in the midst of the conflict a fierce and blinding storm arose, which, for awhile, separated the combatants. A sudden darkness wrapped evcrytning, and Suchet took advantage of the con cealment it afforded him to arrange another attack; and the moment the rain slack ened he was again upon the enemy in a furious charge. Nothing could resist the vigor with which he pressed the Spanish lines, and after a short but sanguinary conflict he com pletely routed them, taking one General as nrisoner. 20 guns and several stands of j colors. Following up his success, ho pur- sued Blake to BeJchito, and attacking nun, though in a strong position, utterly over threw him, so that the army disbanded and fled in every direction. With 4.000 prisoners, all the artillery, ammunition, and baggage-wagons of the enemy, he returned to Saragossa, master of Arragon. He immediately put forth great efforts to quell the separate chiefs, that still, in small parties, infested the country, now making sudden irruptions and now retiring to their fastness for before attempting to push his victories over the borders, he wished to establish himself firmly where he was, and fix a permanent basis for all future operations. He showed himself art able 'ruler as well as a good commander, and commenced his administration by such, wise and salutary somo great act. of valor or devotion, but the result of sound calculation. Napoleon, who bads watched tho young Suchet from the time he fought by his side at Toulon, had s'cen how through all his career, bravofy? jwns tempered with prudence, impetuosity with judgment; and he knew that he was' just fitted for a war where something niore than brilliant charges and fierce fighting was wanted. When Suchet took command of Junot's army, he found it in a most miserable, inefficient state, and, the campaign opened with sinister omenS. With little over eight thousand men He issued from Sara gossa, where Lanncsliad lately performed such prodigies; and coming up with Blake posted at Alcanitz, with an army 12 00 strong, boldly gave him battle. Repulsed, and forced back, he was com pelled to order a retreat. A panic followed, and the whole army fled pell-mell over the plain. Nothing but the cowardice of the Spanish troops saved him from utter ruin. This, however, ended his defeats, and falling back to Saragossa, he strained everv nerve to repair his loss. But his measures that ho won the confidence and good-will of tho inliabitants he had con quered. In one year he put himself in a position to extend his conquests; and his army having been reinforced from time to time, and now presenting a formidable appear ance, he took the field. After suhduing some smaller towns, he advanced against Lerida, and sat down before it in regular siege. Amid rain and tho incessant fire of the Marshal enemy, he steadily p-osccuted his works, J till he at length mounted ins mattery, and opened a fierce fire on the place. As soon as a breach was effected, he determined to make an assault. In the night, while the cannon were still playing on different parts of the walls, the assaulting com panies mounted the ramparts, and carried a part of the town; the next night, the citadel, also, after a dreadful carnage, fell into their bands. He here adopted the same mild and conciliatory measures he h:d practiced be fore with so much succesc. and while he levied taxes sufficient to pay all the ex penscs of the war in Arragon, the manner in which they were collected, and the tyrannical restrictions he removed, made the burdens of the people less even than they were under the established Government. Suchet. Planting his feet carefully and firmly, making every step give security to the next, he advanced from place to place, consolidating, while he extended, his power. No sooner had Lerida fallen than he ad vanced on Mequinenza. After a short siege this town also fell. By these rapid measures and skillful movements, Suchet had now a frontier well protected against invasion from Cata lonia and Valencia, and a solid basis on which to commence still more extensive operations. ESTABLISHES HIMSELF WELL. In Catalonia, O'Donnell. with 20.CC0 men, still kept the French nt bay. To destroy the base of his operations it was necessary to take Taragona and to cut off all com munication by land between Catalonia and Valencia he must also reduce Tortosa. It was of the utmost importance to se cure both of these objects, and Napoleon ordered Suchet to undertake the reduction of the latter, while Macdonald, who com manded the army in Catalonia, was to be siege the former city. Suchat immediately set about his task and marched on Tortosa. Macdonald, how ever, was sluggish in his movements, and did not co-operate with him as he should. In the meantime, the supplies of the latter began to fail, and he was exceedingly per plexed. He had been ordered to draw all his resources from Arragon. and within six months his army had consumed a hun dred and twenty thousand sheep, and 1,2C0 bullocks. Amid these embarrassments he showed his profound wisdom, not only in manag ing military affairs, but. also, in the ad ministration of Government. Instead of resorting to threat and violence to draw forth resources from the country, and thus both impoverish and embitter the popula tion, he called the chief of the clergy and the principal men of Arragon to his head quarters, "and. with their assistance, re organized the whole system of internal ad ministration in such a manner that, giv ing his confidence to the natives, removing many absurd restrictions of their industry and trade, and leaving the municipal power and police entirely in their hands, he drew forth the resources of the provinces in greater abundance than before. And .yet with less discontent, being well served and obeved, both in matters of admin istration" and police, by the Arragonese, i whose feelings he was careful to soothe; I showing himself, in all things, an able Governor, as well as a great commander. Indeed, Suchet made the Spaniards the conductors of his convoys of provisions, and acted more as if he were their lawful and peaceful ruler, than their conqueror. Had Joseph Bonaparte possessed a tithe ol his military and political ability, Spain, instead of being a drag on Napoleon in tho decline of his fortunes, would have been an efficient aid. SIEGE OF TORTOSA. At length he sat down in regular siego before Tortosa, while Macdonald defended all the mountain passes leading to Tara gona, to keep back the Spanish army that might, from that direction, advance to tho relief of the besieged. The place was strongly defended, both by nature and art, and garrisoned with 0,000 men. He made regular approaches towards the walls, placed his guns in battery, and opening his fire on the ram parts, succeeded, after 10 days' hard labor, in effecting a breach. When the garrison perceived this, they displayed a white flag. But as there were no other demonstrations of surrender, and the French commander had suspicion of treachery, he continued his operations, and the next morning three white flags were displayed. The guard at the gates were still uncertain what to do; and while they were hesitating whether to surrender or not, Suchet rode up to them with his staff, followed by a company of grenadiers, and asked the commanding officer to con duct him to the Governor. The officer hesitated a moment, and then, advised by those about him not to obey, was about to fire, when Suchet boldly threatened them with military exe- "fei ', -"-;" y- ' . - "1"T"r r-jt ,'Aj -. ". "i j ,., r .. -- . -' v- ' . .iH &&&& .?