Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung March 1849

From the Theatre of War

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 121;
Written: by Engels about March 20, 1849;
First published in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 251, March 21, 1849.

Striking evidence of the fortunes of the imperial cause is given by the following report from Vienna:

“The claim made by several newspapers that the situation in Hungary has taken a serious turn has been officially denied. Yet the public firmly believes this to be so.”

Consequently, the day after the publication of an official bulletins Welden still has to make a point of assuring the people that the situation in Hungary has not “taken a serious turn"! As though such a fact were not itself quite enough!

In addition, the following martial-law gossip has been disseminated in Vienna:

“The army operating in Hungary is occupying the following positions: Tokaj is occupied by Götz’s brigade, Miskolcz by Jablonowsky’s brigade; Lieutenant-Field Marshal Schlick’s army corps is at Erlau; and the bulk of the army is concentrated between this area and Szolnok; the Ban has his headquarters at Szegléid, the Prince Field Marshal at Ofen.”

It is very difficult to deny that Schlick is at Erlau and Jellachich at Szegléd, for already a week ago they were occupying these positions which are situated far in the rear. But it is obviously untrue that Jablonowsky is in Miskolcz and especially that Götz is in Tokaj. The authors of yesterday’s Bulletin must surely have known this.

The Breslauer Zeitung contains the following report from Hungary, which on this occasion, exceptionally, we must regard as very dubious, and at least the first half as nothing but gossip circulating in Pest:

“The Rascians[118] have again been routed by the Hungarians at Theresiopel. As a result, the imperial commandant of the Temesvar fortress, General Rukavina, has sent a courier to Windischgrätz at Pest requesting immediate assistance, as otherwise he would have to surrender. The Hungarian General Görgey has raised the siege of the Komorn fortress, which was already being bombarded by the imperial Lieutenant-Field Marshal Simunich. Simunich has retreated towards Leopoldstadt, leaving behind a great quantity of baggage. Lieutenant-Field Marshal Count Schlick, to whom Windischgrätz entrusted the conduct of the retreat, arrived in Pest yesterday. In private conversation, Schlick expressed the greatest admiration for Dembinski.-Because of the new, extremely tight blockade, we are without reliable information on the present position of the Hungarian army, but the continuing return flow of guns and ammunition clearly indicates that the Hungarians are advancing. Yesterday, a Hungarian patrol entered Promontor, an hour and a half from Ofen, causing the greatest alarm in the Ofen fortress. Most of the Viennese wholesalers who are in Pest for the Josephi Fair currently in progress, have had their goods packed and sent back to Vienna.”

Through the Austrian correspondent we have received the following reports from Transylvania. We are printing these, too, only with the greatest reservations, for they are excessively biased in favour of the Austrian side.

Kronstadt, February 22. The local Saxon magistrate, who initially approached General Lüders for Russian help, seems already now not to be very happy about having done so. The Russians here have indeed acted in a rather extraordinary manner. There are reports of things occurring which, if they were confirmed, would indeed make the speedy removal of the Russian auxiliary troops desirable. In Kronstadt a sort of income tax has been levied on the inhabitants for the maintenance of the Russian troops; while we previously thought that this burden would on no account be imposed upon us. — There is talk of large Turkish armies arriving here after marching through Wallachia; more Russian troops are also expected here.

Hermannstadt, February 26. Diverse rumours are circulating here about Bem proof that there is no precise information about his movements. Today it was said here that Bem had died as a result of the amputation he had undergone (!), which I do not yet believe. What is true is that he is short of munitions. As (!) he is expecting reinforcements and munitions from Hungary via Klausenburg, he is directing his force towards Maros-Vásárhely; for (!) even though Colonel Urban is operating with only four battalions of regulars, Bem is much more afraid of this hero than of all the corps commanders together with the Russian Cossacks. After spending two weeks here in inactivity, the troops were today beginning to move. At this moment two brigades are on the march, one towards Schässburg, the other towards Blasendorf via Mediasch. The Romanian Prefect A. Sever, who was posted in Resinari with 400 Landsturm men, has also received orders to march towards Blasendorf. Assistance from the Banat has still not arrived; on the other hand, there is talk of more Russian troops on their way here. I give the less credence to this as reports from the neighbouring country all agree that large Turkish forces are moving towards Wallachia