Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung April 1849

From the Theatre of War

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 286;
Written: by Engels about April 16, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 274, April 17, 1849.

Still no decisive news from the Rakos plain. On the 8th there appears to have been little fighting; the main battle was expected on the 9th. The most contradictory rumours have been circulating in Vienna. According to one the Hungarians have marched victoriously into Pest; according to another they were beaten and Schlick had encircled 5,000 Honveds[227] and taken them prisoner. What is certain is that neither a Bulletin nor a telegraphic dispatch, nor any other official report has arrived, and that, for the time being, is sufficient proof that as far as the imperial side is concerned matters are not going very well. Moreover, Windischgrätz is said to have sent his son with his resignation to Olmütz. The Supreme Command in Hungary has been offered to both Hess and Welden; both have so far rejected the offer as they have not been given a completely free hand.

The black-and-yellow side in Pest relies on the Hungarians not wishing to subject their own capital to bombardment and flames. Dembinski, moreover, is said to have declared against it, saying that Poland had been vanquished in 1831 [228] only because much too great strategic importance had been ascribed there to Warsaw, the capital.

In the Bacska the Magyars are pressing irresistibly forward. It is confirmed that Perczel and Batthyány have marched into Neusatz. Neusatz lies directly opposite Peterwardein on the other (left) bank of the Danube, and like Peterwardein itself is occupied by the Magyars. The fortifications of Sz. Thomas, so stubbornly defended by the Serbs last year, have been stormed by the Magyars; Zombor and Becse (Base) are also in their hands. They are threatening the left bank of the Theiss; Patriarch Rajachich has had to leave Becskerek and is going via Pancsova to Semlin. Knicanin has suddenly reappeared on the battlefield to help the Austrians in their predicament.

Transylvania is safe. The Constitutionelles Blatt aus Böhmen reports the following from Czernowitz:

Czernowitz, April 5. It has been settled, 60,000 Russians are to occupy Galicia and remain there as a garrison. Lieutenant-Field Marshal Baron von Hammerstein is going to Hungary with 25 battalions and a proportionate number of cannon. Today Lieutenant-Field Marshal von Malkowsky is departing to relieve Lieutenant-Field Marshal Puchner who is ill. All Transylvania is barricaded, Bem is commanding an army of 100,000 men, including 10,000 men of the Polish Legion, a legion of Vienna academics [229] and proletarians. The Bukovina is again afraid of an incursion of Hungarians who, according to recent travellers, have a particular sympathy for the Bukovina. Moreover, the departure of the 4th battalion of Baron Sivkovich’s regiment has indeed been stopped for the time being, because there appears, after all, to be some, inclination to resistance.”

For Bem is recruiting very actively among the Transylvanian Wallachians and Saxons. Anyone able to carry arms is put into the Honveds, trained and used against the Austrians. Clearly, Bem is taking heavy vengeance for the Austrian recruiting system which forced Viennese prisoners to fight against Magyars, and Hungarian prisoners to fight against Italians. In Hermannstadt a great banquet was held to celebrate the fraternisation of Wallachians and Magyars.

As a result of the news from Hungary all the Ministers have been summoned to Olmütz by telegraph.

Yesterday’s Abend-Lloyd reports as authentic that Lieutenant-Field Marshal Wohlgemuth has taken over the command of the army corps which is concentrated at Komorn.