Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung April 1849

From the Theatre of War

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 350;
Written: by Engels on April 27, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 284, April 28, 1849.

We shall briefly supplement the news we published this morning in a special edition.

When Welden arrived in Gran, where he set up his headquarters, he made, according to the Wiener Zeitung the following dispositions: Wohlgemuth with his alleged “five brigades” — in reality only 16,000 men — in the Neutra area was to prevent the Magyars who were advancing via Leva from reaching Komorn. Further south, between the Danube and the Gran, the Veigl brigade was to protect the Komorn siege corps. The bulk of the imperial forces, concentrated at Gran and Szent Endré, was to attempt to take Waitzen and thereby to reach the Magyars’ rear. The official paper admits the superior strength of the Hungarians, especially in fight cavalry and artillery.

At the same time it is admitted that 2,000 Hungarians have crossed the Danube at Duna Földvar and are raising the local area in revolt. Between Földvar and the eastern corner of the Plattensee there are about ten miles of mostly swampy country; if the Magyars have occupied this easily defensible region, they are covered on their right flank by the whole length of the Plattensee (10-12 miles long) and can organise the insurrection quite unhindered behind this natural moat. Burits’ imperial brigade, and Horváth’s mobile column which has been sent towards Stuhlweissenburg against them, will be unable to do much harm.

After Wohlgemuth’s defeat on the Gran (in which Welden with the bulk of the imperial forces appears to have remained quite calmly at Gran as a “reserve”), and after the relief of Komorn, which now offers the Hungarians an invaluable point of support, Welden must give up his position at Gran and will perhaps have to fight a bloody battle to effect his retreat to Raab, which leads past the guns of the Komorn bridgehead. Raab, the junction of the two roads to Pest, and the line of the River Raab are the only positions south of the Danube which are perhaps still possible for the imperial forces. But here too the closeness of Komorn and the difficult terrain, broken up into a mass of islands by innumerable branches of the Danube, will prevent regular contact between the bulk and Wohlgemuth’s corps. There is not a single defensible position other than the line of the March and Leitha, which means retreating to Austrian territory.

During the departure from Pest and Ofen the greatest confusion prevailed. The “loyal ones” are wailing; the moral impression created by the occupation of the two cities by the revolutionary troops is immense.

Everywhere the peasants and Jews have been driven into the arms of the Magyars by the Windischgrätz-Stadion tyranny. The Slovak peasants, who are indebted to Kossuth for freeing them from feudal burdens, and upon whom Windischgrätz wanted to reimpose the former compulsory labour, are enthusiastic supporters of the Magyars, and are aiding them everywhere with reports, fire-signals etc.

The Serb National Committee in Semlin has applied for protection to the consuls of the three great powers in Belgrade. The English Consul has declined, since the Committee is allegedly not a regular legal authority. Mayerhofer is hurrying to Belgrade. To what depths has “venerable” Austria descended!