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break on the 26th word came for us to be ready to move by the Chalons road at 7 o'clock, but before we got off, the order was suspended till 2 in the afternoon. In the interval General von Moltke arrived and held a long conference with the King, and when we did pull out we traveled the remainder of the afternoon in company with a part of the Crown Prince's army, which after this conference inaugurated the series of movements from Bar-le-Duc northward, that finally compelled the surrender at Sedan. This sudden change of direction I did not at first understand, but soon learned that it was because of the movements of Marshal MacMahon, who, having united the French army beaten at Worth with three fresh corps at Chalons, was marching to relieve Metz in obedience to orders from the Minister of War at Paris. As we passed along the column, we noticed that the Crown Prince's troops were doing their best, the officers urging the men to their utmost exertions, persuading weary laggards an
d that the demoralized French were retiring to Sedan, on the evening of August 31 the German army bmorning this line was to be drawn in closer on Sedan; and the Crown Prince of Saxony was therefore s of both armies immediately east and south of Sedan, and also to the northwest toward Floing and t battle was begun to the east and northeast of Sedan as early as half-past 4 o'clock by the German s. This village, some two miles southeast of Sedan, being of importance, was defended with great f this village gave the Germans to the east of Sedan a continuous line, extending from the Meuse nong, and as the ground between this village and Sedan is an undulating, open plain, everywhere visib action was the last one of consequence around Sedan, for, though with the contraction of the Germart's arrival, a French officer approached from Sedan, preceded by a white flag and two German officontinuing on down the road in the direction of Sedan. Near the gate of the city we came on the Ger[3 more...]
mpossibility of doing this till Paris was taken, for although immediately after the surrender of Sedan he desired peace, the past few days had made it plain that the troops would not be satisfied wit. The armies of the two Crown Princes were now at the outskirts of Paris. They had come from Sedan mainly by two routes — the Crown Prince of Saxony marching by the northern line, through Laon anere were two almost continuous lines of broken bottles along the roadsides all the way down from Sedan; but that exhibit was small compared with what we saw about Brie. At Brie we were taken charuncheon with some artillery officers, whose acquaintance we had made the day of the surrender at Sedan. During the meal I noticed two American flags flying on a couple of houses near by. Inquiring t to Meaux, and there spent the night; resuming our journey next morning, we passed through Epernay, Rheims, and Rethel to Sedan, where we tarried a day, and finally, on October 18, reached Brussels
ted, the first of these blunders was the acceptance of battle by MacMahon at Worth; the second in attaching too much importance to the fortified position of Metz, resulting in three battles-Colombey, Mars-la-Tour, and Gravelotte-all of which were lost; and the third, the absurd movement of MacMahon along the Belgian frontier to relieve Metz, the responsibility for which, I am glad to say, does not belong to him. With the hemming in of Bazaine at Metz and the capture of MacMahon's army at Sedan the crisis of the war was passed, and the Germans practically the victors. The taking of Paris was but a sentiment-the money levy could have been made and the Rhine provinces held without molesting that city, and only the political influences consequent upon the changes in the French Government caused peace to be deferred. I did not have much opportunity to observe the German cavalry, either on the march or in battle. The only time I saw any of it engaged was in the unfortunate charge