Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung May 1849

The Situation in Hungary

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 404;
Written: by Engels about May 5 1849;
First published: in the supplement to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 291, May 6, 1849.

Apart from the news received from our Vienna correspondent (see under Cologne) there is a complete lack of definite information about the events in the theatre of war. We are therefore restricting ourselves today to a few items of news from the Hungarian-Moravian border that clearly bear the imprint of fear of the Magyars.

The Constitutionelles Blatt aus Böhmen writes:

“From the Galician-Silesian border, April 28. The outcome of the clash near Neutra is that the Magyars have penetrated into the Zips as well as into the north-western foot-hills of the Carpathians. Neumarkt, Budatin and Sillein are in their hands. For some days they have been threatening the passes near Csacze and Jablunka, whither the imperial observation corps has been withdrawn. To avert a Magyar invasion of Silesia, an infantry division has been sent to Csacze, the infantry division stationed at Bielitz since last January has been moved to Jablunka, and, finally, a battalion has been withdrawn from Troppau and stationed in the neighbourhood of Friedek. — Since the day before yesterday fleeing Slovaks have been passing through Saybusch and Andrichau; the Imperial Commissioner from Sillein has been in Teschen for the last four or five days.

“The day before yesterday (the 26th) brisk artillery fire coming from the direction of Sillein or Teplitz could be heard in Saybusch until 6 o'clock in the evening. — However, only those who regard the recent occurrences in Cracow [316] and “Görgey’s simultaneous advance as parts of a co-ordinated plan think it likely that the Magyars will pay a visit to Galicia.”

In another report from Silesia published by the same paper it is stated:

“From Karwin, a small Prussian town, about two hours’ journey from Troppau, reports have been received that from the castle-tower many beacons could be observed in the Carpathians on the 24th, and it is believed that they were signals to mobilise the Landsturm in Galicia.

“A host of insurgents, about 15,000 in number, most of them horse-, cattle- and swine-herdsmen, conscripted from their pusztas [317] for the war, and accompanied by several cannon, are said to have advanced up to St. Martin and, on the evening of the same day, even as far as Sillein (about 2 1/2 post stages from Jablunka). Counts Pongrácz and Révay, the royal commissioners, fled to avoid death at the hands of the Magyars; Major Wenk crossed to this side of the Waag and called on all the imperial garrisons stationed in Slovakia to concentrate at certain frontier points so as to maintain communications with Moravia and Silesia.

“The borders are manned and all men in the towns and villages capable of bearing arms have been mustered for the Landsturm that is to go into action under the command of Archducal justiciary Peter in the event of an invasion by the Magyars. — Kossuth’s supporters are doing all they can to make the Slovaks waver. Thus, a song is going the rounds in which every Slovak loyal to the King, a ‘German alien’, is called a traitor to his country; some people are unfortunately led astray by this and have been ensnared. These are the bitter fruits of a mistaken policy pursued by a military leader’ who let himself be lulled to sleep by the perfidious Magyar nobility, and whose anti-national measures repressed a people prepared to sacrifice everything in order to humble the Magyars (!?!!).”

From Ofen we learn that the garrison left behind by the imperial troops is thought to consist of four infantry battalions, two to three cavalry squadrons and 83 well-manned pieces of ordnance. The fortress has provisions for six weeks.