Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung May 1849

From the Theatre of War

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 396;
Written: by Engels on May 3, 1849;
First published: in the supplement to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 289, May 4, 1849.

Cologne, evening of May 3. As the flight of the imperial troops from Hungary becomes ever wilder, and the pursuit by the Magyars more inexorable, so much the more confused and contradictory become the reports on events in the theatre of war. They agree only in one respect: that the imperial troops are daily suffering fresh defeats.

The following facts, however, emerge as pretty well certain:

Firstly: The battle at Acs, which the imperial forces depicted as a victory, was a defeat. This follows from the fact that Schlick, who claims to have won a victory here, immediately afterwards retreated to Raab. The Lithographierte Correspondenz, too, states that the outcome of the encounter at Acs proved to be disadvantageous for the imperial troops, and that the Zanini regiment, apart from a few officers, went over to the Hungarians.

Secondly: On April 28, in the region of Hungarian Altenburg (halfway between Raab and Pressburg), the Austrians were defeated again. Various reports concur in stating this. Many wounded were brought across the Leitha and the whole surrounding area is crowded with them. On the 29th and 30th, some 2,000 are said to have been brought to Vienna itself. Some say that Welden’s headquarters is in Pressburg, others that it is in Bruck on the Leitha (on Austrian soil). At Raab, too, where Schlick is supposed to have been on the 27th, the pursuing Hungarians are said to have engaged him in a murderous battle.

From this news it would appear that the bulk of the Austrian army has already been driven out of Hungary. And it is beyond doubt that it is for the most part already on Austrian soil, and in Hungary it merely occupies Pressburg and Oedenburg. In addition, what we predicted is now confirmed, namely that the Hungarians have crossed the Danube at Komorn and are advancing on both sides of this river in a concentric movement against Vienna. The clearance of Slovakia by the Hungarians is now confirmed by the Wiener Zeitung as well.

Thirdly: It is practically certain that Jellachich, too, has been completely defeated. He himself, as the Wiener Zeitung reports, has already arrived in Esseg, which means that, since he only left Pest on the 23rd or 24th, and was already in Esseg on the 26th, he has made a much quicker journey than his corps. It is said that this corps has been completely destroyed and that the greater part of the survivors have gone over to the Magyars. According to one report, the battle took place at Kis-Bér, but this is impossible since this place, situated a few miles south of Komorn, is quite outside Jellachich’s route. Apart from that this report contains also various other impossibilities. The news of Jellachich’s defeat, however, appears in all newspapers and correspondents’ reports.

A manifesto issued by Kossuth proclaims the independence of Hungary and its neighbouring territories from Austria and declares the separation of these territories — from the Habsburg — Lorraine dynasty because the latter unleashed such a calamitous war against Hungary.[313]

From the south, no news has come of further advances of the Magyars. Perczel is said to have moved with his main army towards Pest. Rukavina has asked for help from the Serbs in order to fortify Temesvar, but the Serbs have refused it. On the contrary, they are demanding the immediate convocation of the Serbian National Assembly for election of the voivode and constitutional establishment of the Voivodina.

The Hungarians are said to have obtained 80,000 rifles from England via Turkey. The Grosswardein factory supplies them with 300 daily.

Meanwhile, in Vienna joy and excitement prevail among the people, and consternation in the Government. On April 30, indescribable despondency was evident on the Stock Exchange. Petty traders came from the suburbs and gave accounts of mounting unrest. In the afternoon, well-known barricade personalities were noticed in the streets.

The Government is in the throes of complete break-up. Not only has Stadion resigned, but it is already the turn of Schwarzenberg, who is to be replaced by Colloredo-Waldsee.

The Russians are coming. The Russian General von Berg has already travelled via Cracow to Vienna. 12,000-15,000 Russians of all branches of the service, including four squadrons of cavalry and two artillery batteries, were expected in Cracow on May 1 and 2. It is said that the orthodox Tsar himself will come to the neighbourhood to supervise the operations.

The Russians have already marched into the Bukovina, according to a note from Czernowitz of April 28.

(The Viennese and Prague newspapers have not reached us this evening.)