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RECEIVES THE APPROBATION OF THE DIRECTORY. 61
Dego, routed and pursued the enemy who left 600 dead, and 1,400 prisoners.—To complete the advantages of the French, Augereau dislodged the enemy from the redoubts of Montezemo, that opened a communication with the valley of the Tanaro, which general Serrurier's division had already occupied.
The commencement of Bonaparte's operations in Italy, forms an epoch in modern warfare. The promptitude with which his plans were laid, the activity with which they were executed, the rapidity of his movements, the energy of his conduct, and the wonderful combination of design and of execution, surprised and astonished the enemy. In the course of a few days only, more had been done, than what experienced generals have been able to accomplish in the campaign of a season; battles were fought, victories won, prisoners taken, the works of the enemy destroyed, their fortresses overcome, their magazines captured, cannon, arms and colours, acquired, and a numerous and well appointed army routed, nearly destroyed, and the richest portion of Piedmont conquered.
The Directory in their letter to Bonaparte observe; “ To-day, general, receive the tribute of national gratitude ; merit it more and more, and prove to Europe that Beaulieu by changing the field of battle, has not changed his opponent; that beaten in the north, he shall be constantly defeated by the brave army of Italy; and that with such defenders, liberty shall triumph over the impotent efforts of the enemies of the republic."
On the 26th of April, Bonaparte published the following address to the victorious army of Italy, dated head-quarters at Cherasco.
“ Soldiers ! In the course of 14 days you have acquired six victories, taken 21 stand of colours, 50 pieces of cannon, several strong fortresses, and conquered the richest portion of Piedmont : you have taken 1, 500 prisoners, and killed and wounded more than 10,
BONAPARTE'S ADDRESS TO HIS SOLDIERS.
000 men : you have hitherto, however, fought only for sterile rocks, rendered famous by your courage, but useless to your country; and by your services, you have emulated the conquering army of Holland and the Rhine. Destitute of every thing, you have supplied every thing ; without cannon you have gained battles ; without bridges you have crossed rivers ; without shoes you have performed forced marches; without brandy, and often without bread, you have spent the night in arms. Republican phalanxes ! the soldiers of liberty are alone capable of suffering what you have experienced, and your grateful country will owe to you a part of its prosperity. If the recovery of Toulon presaged the immortal campaign of 1793, your present victories augur a campaign still more glorious. The two armies, that but lately attacked you with audacity, now fly, in terror, before you; and the base men, who ridiculed your misery, and inwardly rejoiced at the triumph of the foe, are abashed and tremble.
" It is, however, not to be dissembled, that you have effected nothing, while there remains any thing to be performed. Neither Turin nor Milan are ġet in your possession, and the ashes of the conquerors of the Tarquins are still trodden on by the assasins of Basseville.
" At the commencement of the campaign you were destitute of every thing; to-day you are abundantly supplied ; the magazines taken from the enemy are numerous, and the heavy and field artillery have arrived. Your native land has a right to expect great things from you, and you will justify its expectation. The greatest obstacles have been surmounted, but you have still battles to fight, cities to take, and rivers to pass. Is there one among you
fails? Are there any who prefer to re-cross the peaks of the Appenines and the Alps, and patiently submit to the insults of a slavish soldiery? No,-such a one exists not among the conquerors of Montenotte, of Millesimo, of Dego, and of Mondovi; all burn to extend afar the
BONAPARTE'S ADDRESS TO HIS SOLDIERS.
glory of the French nation ; all are eager to humble those arrogant monarchs, who dared to meditate the slavery of France ; all of us wish to dictate a glorious peace, that will indemnify our country for the immense sacrifices it has made : and every one wishes, on returning to his native village, to be able to assert with pride, that he was of the conquering army of Italy.
“This conquest I promise to you, but on a condition that it is necessary you should swear to observe. This condition is, to respect the people whom you liberate, and to repress the dreadful pillages which are only committed by miscreants. Without the observance of this, the republican army will not be the deliverers of the people, but their scourges ; they will not be the honour of the French nation, but they will be disclaimed by their country ; your victories, your courage, your success, and the blood of your brethren who have fallen in battles—all, even their honour, and your glory will be lost. As to myself, and the generals enjoying the confidence of the troops, they will blush to command an army without discipline or restraint, and which recognizes no law, but that of force. Invested with the national authority, and rendered strong by justice and the laws, I know how to compel the few, who are destitute of courage and sentiment, to respect the laws of humanity and honour, should they dare to trample them under foot. I will not suffer brigands to sully the laurels of the army of Italy; I will see that every regulation be rigorously executed; marauders shall be shot without pity. Already some have fallen victims to this odious crime ; but I remarked with pleasure the eagerness and good conduct which my brave fellow-soldiers have displayed in executing their orders.
“I proclaim to the nation of Italy, that the French army come to break their chains; that the French people are the friends of all nations; and I call on them to approach with confidence ; and I declare,
that their property, their religion, and usages, will be respected, that the French troops, in making war, will prove a generous enemy, and that they are the foes of those tyrants only, who enslave Italy."
In his dispatches to the Directory, Bonaparte informed them that he intended as soon as possible to send to Paris some of the finest pictures of Corregio, and particularly St. Jerome, said to be his master-piece. * But I confess," added the general, “this saint has chosen an unlucky moment to arrive at Paris ; I hope however, you will grant him the honours of the muse
The success of the French and the terror of the republican arms, alarmed all Italy. The senate of Venice ordered Louis 18th to leave its territories ; the grand duke of Tuscany supplicated for favour; the king of Naples sent a minister to Genoa to negociate for peace, and all the sea-ports of the peninsula were shut against the English.
To secure the route to Milan, it was necessary drive the Austrians from the banks of the Adda, behind which they had retired, and having collected an immense quantity of artillery at a bridge erected across this stream at the town of Lodi, waited for the arrival of the French, feeling confident of defending the pass, and arresting their progress. Bonaparte, determined that no obstacle should oppose his victorious career, resolved to pass the bridge. Exposed to a shower of grape shot from the enemy's batteries, he succeeded in planting two pieces of cannon at the head of the bridge, on the side of the city ; to prevent the enemy from destroying it, and the troops coming up, a column was immediately formed, to carry the pass. The French forming a battery of all their artillery, a tremendous cannonade was kept up for several hours, which filled the air with smoke and flame, and presented a scene terribly grand and sublime. The effect of this, not being decisive, the troops were formed in close column, with the second battalion of Carabineers at