Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung April 1849

From the Theatre of War

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 255;
Written: by Engels about April 11, 1849;
First published: in the New Rheinische Zeitung No. 270, April 12, 1849.

Nothing has happened in the theatre of war. The imperial forces have held a big council of war in Pest and have decided to confine themselves to the defensive for the next four weeks and in the meantime round up reinforcements (50,000 men are mentioned!). The Magyars, however, are acting so challengingly that Windiscgrätz could not help showing his teeth — loose already — once more, despite this decision. On April 4 he advanced to Gödöllö three miles from Pest, and made his headquarters there. The Ost-Deutsche Post concludes from this that a battle is near. At Hatvan and also at Szegléd people say they have heard gun-fire, but what happened there is as yet quite unknown.[204]

Because of an announcement recently disseminated by the insurgents that Kossuth’s paper money [205] is to be regarded as legal tender and must be accepted on pain of martial-law treatment, the Government again insists that these money tokens are invalid and worthless and gives particular warning against accepting the ten-florin notes recently issued by Kossuth, since they will not only be subject to confiscation, but anyone on whom they are found is liable to penalties.

Baja, which had briefly fallen into the hands of the imperial forces, has been regained by the Magyars, who in general seem to be making considerable progress in the Banat. The Austrians can spread as ,@y martial-law rumours as they like, such as that Szegedin has been conquered and is in flames; their own papers are forced to contradict them and to admit that the Magyars are making considerable progress in the Bacska (between the Danube and Theiss).

Komorn is being heavily bombarded, but what good is that with a fortress in which every building is bomb-proof. To show their contempt for the imperial cannon, the garrison the other day made a man in dressing-gown and white nightcap walk about on the wall and dust it very carefully with a white handkerchief. The imperial cannon-balls whistled by on all sides, but the genial Hungarian did not allow himself to be at all disturbed in his absorbing occupation.

There is nothing new from Transylvania. A martial-law report asserts that the Russians have invaded in superior strength and retaken the position recently conquered by the Magyars. Such brazen lies have rarely been told. Another report claims that, on the contrary, Bem has already arrived at the Theiss and declared that Transylvania was secure and that he had left 20,000 men there to garrison the country and the passes. The one assertion is as false as the other. Bem holds the whole of Transylvania and is still there, and in a few days he will perhaps hold all the country to the Danube and the Pruth.