Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung March 1849

From the Theatre of War [153]

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 156;
Written: by Engels on March 28, 1849;
First published: in the supplement to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 258, March 29, 1849.

The military operations are beginning to appear in clearer outline. While the Piedmontese have crossed the Ticino at Buffalora, Radetzky has crossed it at Pavia and is stationed between the Ticino and the Po on Piedmontese territory.

Whether this attack is merely a diversion, or whether Radetzky actually intends to advance on Turin, is not yet clear. The latter is possible if the report sent from Turin on the 21st to the Journal des Débats is accurate: that as a result of the addition of the Parma and Modena garrisons his army has increased to 60,000-70,000 men with 120 guns and that so far the Piedmontese have only 55,000 to 65,000 men with 100 to 110 guns to oppose to Radetzky. But these assertions are absolutely false, at least as concerns the Piedmontese army. Furthermore, La Marmora’s corps, which has advanced to Parma, will force Radetzky to make further detachments.

In short Radetzky stands on Piedmontese territory. This is due to the negligence or treachery of the notorious Ramorino, who had already played an ambiguous role in Poland in 1831 and in the Savoy campaign in 1834.[154] He is to be thanked for the fact that the Austrians succeeded in pushing their way along the Po between his division and that of Durando. Ramorino was immediately removed from command and called to account for his action.

Chrzanowski is making the following dispositions of his forces in response to Radetzky’s manoeuvre: Durando from Stradella, Fanti, who has replaced Ramorino, and one of the divisions moving out from the headquarters at Vigevano towards the Po will make a frontal attack on the Austrians, while the division commanded by the Duke of Genoa, a force of 20,000, which has crossed the Ticino at Buffalora, is marching on the Lombardic bank of the river to Pavia, to cut off the Austrians’ retreat.

If Radetzky has insufficient forces to resist the Piedmontese, it may well happen that the old fox will fall into a trap and be encircled and destroyed. But in any case, by his advance he has provoked a decisive battle, the outcome of which we should learn today, or, at the latest, tomorrow.

The rest of Chrzanowski’s plan of operations is quite in accord with that which we indicated yesterday as the more probable plan. While La Marmora is stirring up the inhabitants of the Dukedoms to rebel and advancing on the extreme left wing of the Piedmontese to the Po, or across it, Favorola’s division has advanced via Varese into the Lombard mountains. A Lombard revolutionary committee is accompanying him. The insurrection is spreading at a rapid pace. On the 20th, the insurgents of the Piedmontese border made contact with those from Veltlin and the Upper Comasca in Como. As soon as the Austrians left a locality, the insurrection was organised. All of them are marching upon Milan; individual Austrian detachments are said already to have been attacked and destroyed by the insurgents. On the 21st, a general insurrection was to break out throughout Lombardy. According to the Patrie the uprising has already broken out in Milan, but the Patrie lies notoriously. In any case, preparations have been made in Milan which testify to the Austrian commandant’s fears of the insurrection and of reinforcements from the countryside.

Perhaps the Swiss papers will also bring important news at noon today, and, if so, we will communicate it to our readers under “Latest News”.