Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung April 1849

From the Theatre of War

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 318;
Written: by Engels about April 21, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 279 (second edition), April 22, 1849.

The post from Vienna has failed to arrive; we are therefore able to learn details from the field of battle on the Upper Danube only indirectly, in snatches. D, the “best-informed” Vienna correspondent of the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, also asserts that Waitzen has been re-occupied by the imperial forces, and that only one Magyar battalion was encountered there, because-the bulk under Görgey had already marched off to Komorn! In this way the thing can indeed be explained, and such an occupation of Waitzen is not only possible but even a mistake of the Austrians, who are now threatened in their rear. Welden has not gone to Pest either but to Neuhäusel on the Waag, where indeed some Austro-Moravian rearguard appears to be stationed. He is marching from there against the Magyars who strongly attacked the retreating imperial forces at Gran. The outcome of this engagement is not yet known.

The following report in the Constitutionelles Blatt aus Böhmen shows what a lion’s den this Hungary is, where the footsteps of many warriors go in but few come out.

“If this thing drags out to the summer, Kossuth’s supporters will gain an ally in the fever, which may well be very much more dangerous to the Austrian troops, unaccustomed to the climate, than the Russians, whose entry is expected in the enemy’s rear, will be to their opponents. All the proved bravery of our troops is useless against the fever, and it is precisely to the regions where the fever rages most fiercely that the war will shift as soon as the insurgents are forced back from Pest to the east.”

Very great alarm reigns in the Banat. While from Peterwardein Perczel strikes terror into the countryside and already threatens Slavonia, while the Danube navigation from Pest to Mobacs continues to be disrupted, Bem is recently reported to be advancing on Temesvar with a strong force. He is said to have called upon Temesvar and Arad to surrender to him within a week. The Serbian Voivodina is in its death throes; Knicanin intends to return there with 8,000-10,000 men, but only after Todorovich, Albert Nugent, Bosnich etc. have been retired. Nugent senior, has already been dismissed; Castiglioni, the bombardier of Cracow, [251] has been appointed as his successor, and one deputation after another is going to Bucharest to seek Russian assistance. Puchner too is on the march to the Banat.

Transylvania is still wholly in Bem’s hands. The Russians have been expelled entirely from their last position at the Roterturm Pass. The Magyar party among the Transylvanian Romanians is conducting a strong agitation in favour of Bem and supports his recruiting drive in the country. The organisation of the army is proceeding at a marvellous pace. Moreover, Bem has captured 21 guns with 6,000 shells and 5,000 rifles with one million rounds of ammunition in Hermannstadt. He has persuaded most of the Transylvanian refugees in Bucharest to return, by declaring a general amnesty and simultaneously threatening to confiscate the property of all who stay behind.

We learn from Galicia (April 12) that the Hungarians are advancing nearer and nearer to the Carpathians, while nothing is heard of Vogl’s alleged advance into Hungary. Almost the entire Cracow garrison has marched off to Hungary. It is expected to be replaced by Russians.

An indication that the imperial forces no longer feel secure in Slovakia is given by the transfer of their treasury from Schemnitz to Troppau.

Finally, we give a (Magyar) report from the Neue Oder-Zeitung on the strength of the Magyar army:

The Hungarian army is daily increasing in numbers, daily becoming better organised and more disciplined. According to authentic reports, when the Banat and Transylvanian armies are included as well as the Peterwardein and Komorn garrisons, the army now has 32 regular battalions of infantry and Szeklers,[252] 23 regiments of cavalry (hussars, Ublans, cuirassiers), 105 Honved battalions, 15,000 national cavalry, hence a total of 197,000 infantry and 30,000 regular cavalry, excluding national cavalry, national guards and Landsturm.