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chase were over, no man was more humane, more courteous, more considerately kind toward the prisoners. His friends wished him to bear a greater part in the councils of war;-Roche Jaquelein stood in no need of councils ; his measures would always have been prompt and decided : he thought councils were useless; and frequently, after having delivered his own opinion, fell asleep; not so much, perhaps, exhausted by previous fatigue, as lulled by soporific discourse. Lescure and Roche Jaquelein loved each other like brothers; their friendship was so well known, that their names went usually together in the army; and after death they will not be divided. In principle, in simplicity, in gentleness of heart, and perfect disinterestedness, they were congenialspirits—in other things singularly unlike each other. Lescure as carefully avoided all personal conflicts as his kinsman solicited them,--not from any want of personal bravery, or personal strength,—but from an unwillingness to single out an individual for death; not one person, according to his widow, died by his hand. A republican soldier fired at him so closely, that Lescure escaped only by turning aside the barrel with his hand; he coolly bade the peasants lead the man away, prisoner—they put him to death: when Lescure discovered this, he gave way to more anger than he ever on any other occasion was seen to display; and, for the only time in his life, uttered an imprecation. Even when the atrocities which the accursed government of France enjoined, and which the generals and soldiers executed without remorse, had provoked other chiefs, in spite of their natural disposition, to exercise the dreadful right of retaliation, Lescure never suffered the crimes of others to harden his own heart. He is said (and the fact rests upon other testimony than that of his widow) to have saved not less than twenty thousand republicans, who, but for his interference and exertion, would have been put to death, in just reprisal for the cruelties of their comrades, in just punishment for their own. France ought to erect statues to Lescure, and to make the story of his life a school-book for the rising generation ;-she stands wofully in need of such examples of redeeming humanity.
Lescure was, perhaps, from his constitution, the least hopeful of all these leaders ;--youth, ardour, presumption, and ambition, made most of the others look on with confidence to their eventual success; and some there were who talked with no little complaeency of the rewards which they might expect from the king. The most unhappy man in the army was Marshal Donnissan, Victorine's father; his sense of duty led him to the field; his military experience, his prudence, and the feelings which declining life brings with it, made him from the first foresee the deplorable issue of all their efforts and all their sacrifices. At first, little attempt
was made to organize the force which had been raised; things took their natural course; and among the chiefs, subordination was supplied by that unanimity of heart and soul, which prevailed during the first fervour and fermentation of their loyalty. What was more curious was the equality which prevailed among the royalists-an equality arising from the necessity of their circumstances-the beautiful effect of a disastrous cause. The peasant--the petty shopkeeper-the wool-dealer Cathelineau were the friends and brethren in arms (it is the Marchioness's own expression) of the gentlemen and the nobles, who perhaps but a few months before scarcely regarded them as beings of the same species. Men were now valued for what they were worth. There was nothing effected, says the Marchioness, in this equality-it was real and effectual; every noble who had sense felt it in his heart. This feeling was little understood by the emigrant noblesse; and the error was most injurious to their own cause. Yet the Count d'Artois set them an example, in admitting to his table an officer, by name Duval, who had been a domestic servant of the Marquis de la Rouarie, and by his fidelity, his courage, and his talents, had made himself an object of the respect of those whose equal he was become, of the esteem of his chiefs, and of the gratitude of a prince, who (says M. de Puisaye) knew how to do honour to himself by admitting virtue to its proper place. Shades of political opinion were as little regarded among the Vendeans as distinction of rank. In this, also, they were wiser than the emigrants. It mattered not in La Vendée how far any man had partaken of the hopes with which the revolution began: the course of that revolution was now distinctly seen; and they who stood forth to resist its intolerable oppression, and its unutterable crimes, gave sufficient proof that they had always acted conscientiously according to their judgment.
The troops seldom continued in a body more than three or four days: the chiefs generally remained with a few hundred deserter's and strangers to the country, who, having no homes, were always in the field. Whenever an expedition was planned, the peasants were summoned in every parish by the tocsin, anda requisition was read to them in these terms :- In the holy name of God, and on the part of the king, the parish ofis invited to send all the men it can raise, to such a place, on such a day, and at such an hour. The chief in whose district the parish was comprised, signed the requisition : every man brought bread with him : the general also provided food by requisition, when needful, from the gentry, the rich land-holders, and the emigrants estates; but food was generally offered with zeal by the villages through which the troops passed; the female peasants brought it to the road-side, and knelt and told their beads as the army went by. The army had no baggage--no tents-no impediments of any kind :-as soon as the expedition was over, whether it had succeeded or failed whether the battle had been w or lost; the peasants were not to be detained; home went every man to resume his usual avocations. Great opportunities may have been lost from this cause: on the other hand, if it prevented the royalists from pursuing their success, and rolling on, as they would have done, like a mountain torrent, increasing in body and in strength upon its course ; it confounded the tactics of the republicans, who knew not where to find the enemy of whom they were in quest. There are wars in which discipline is regarded as pedantry; and such wars are tenfold the most destructive. This was of that character; it was not a contest between army and army, but between regular troops and the whole population of these provinces; the issue of such wars, where only the assailing and resisting forces are to be taken into the calculation, may be foreseen almost with certainty. If the country be circumscribed, and the invader merciless, the invasion must succeed, as in Corsica and La Vendée : if, on the contrary, the invaders have to spread themselves over an extensive country, as in Spain, their ultimate destruction may be predicted as certainly as any human event.
There was more discipline in a feudal army, or among a troop of guerrillas, than among the Vendeans. The men could not be induced to form a patrole, or act as sentinels; these were charges which they would not undertake for any reward, and when it was necessary, the officers were obliged to perform this duty themselves. To this defect in their system some of their most ruinous defeats must be ascribed. When the army was assembled, and different columns were to be formed to march against the different points of attack, the manner of forming them was singular, and not without its advantage. Notice was given, M. Roche Jaquelein is going by such a road; who will follow him ? M. Cathelineau goes in yonder direction; who follows him? The men were thus allowed to follow their favourite leader, with no other restriction than that when a sufficient number had volunteered, no more were allowed to join. A system of tactics had been formed perfectly adapted to the nature of the troops and of the country. We have heard much of the improvements made by the French republicans in the art of war, and of the advantages which their armies derived when the field was once left open to merit, and men rose from the ranks to the highest military rank. These things imposed upon the English people too long. In La Vendée it is perfectly certain that generals were employed by the government who had no other claim to promotion than their brutality, and their services amongst mobs or in
the clubs of the metropolis ;-among the royalists they were first selected from old feelings of hereditary respect, but intellect immediately rose to its level, and even before any feelings of selfishness or ambition, or vanity, mingled with and defaced the principle which first roused them to arms. Stofflet and Cathelineau were attended to in the council with as much deference, and obeyed in the field with as much readiness as Lescure and Roche Jaquelein. The first principle of the Vendeans was always to be assailants, to fight only when they pleased and where they pleased—and, inasmuch as they observed this principle, they always fought to advantage. When they reached the point of attack, the companies were formed in the same manner as the column, every man followed the captain whom he preferred. Their usual order of battle, according to General Turreau, was in a crescent, with the wings en flèche composed of the best marksmen, men who never fired a shot without taking a steady aim, and who never, at ordinary distances, failed in their mark: their skill in the use of fire-arms was such, that he says no military people, however trained, however skilful, could compare with the hunters and sportsmen of Loroux and the Bocage as musketeers. But order of battle was what they seldom thought of; and their tactics are more clearly explained by the Marchioness, who understood them better from the conversation of her husband and her friends, than General Turreau did from his defeats or his victories. Their whole tactics, she says, consisted in creeping behind the hedges and surrounding the enemy, which the nature of the country easily enabled them to do: then they poured in, on all sides, a murderous fire,--not in platoons, but every man as fast as he could load, and make sure of his victim, loading with four or five balls, and firing point blank against men in close ranks. The moment that the Blues appeared confused, or offered opportunity, they set up their dreadful yell, and sprang upon them like blood hounds in pursuit. Men of the greatest strength and agility had it in charge to seize the artillery, to prevent it, they said, from doing mischief. “You, sir, you are a strong fellow, leap upon the cannon.' Sometimes with no better weapon than a stake pointed with iron, the peasants would do this, and drive the enemy from their guns. If the attack was made in a more open country, they accelerated the decisive movement, and rushed at once upon the cannon, falling upon the ground when they saw the flash, rising instantly and running towards them. But they preferred the cover in which, from their
manner of firing, they were sure of killing five for one.' Their officers never thought of saying to the right or the left—they pointed out some visible object, a house or a tree.
Before they began the battle they said their prayers, and almost every man crossed himself before he fired his piece. Meantime, as soon as the firing was heard, the women and children, and all who remained in the villages, ran to the church to pray for the victory; and they who happened to be working a-field fell on their knees there under the canopy of heaven, and called upon the God of Hosts to protect those who were fighting for his altars, and for his holy name. Throughout all La Vendée, says the Marchioness, there was but one thought and one supplication at one time. Every one awaited in prayer the event of a battle upon which the fate of all seemed to depend. T'urreau speaks with horror of the effect of such a system, and calls upon those officers who had served upon the frontiers, before they were sent into these departments, to say if the Austrians, or the disciplined troops of old Frederick were as terrible in action, or possessed as much address, stratagem, and audacity as the peasants of the Bocage; to say if it were possible that any war could be more cruel and more fatiguing for soldiers of all sorts ; and if they would not rather make a year's campaign upon the frontiers than serve a single month in La Vendee. You are crushed,' says he, before you have time to reconnoitre, under a mass of fire, with which the effect of our ranks is not to be compared. If you withstand their violent attack, they rarely dispute the victory, but you derive little fruit from it: it is scarcely ever that cavalry can be employed in pursuit; they disperse, and escape from you over fields and hedges, through woods and thickets, knowing every path, gap, gorge and defile, every obstacle which may impede their fight, and every means of avoiding them. Home they went out of breath, but not out of heart, ready and eager for the next summons, and crying Vive le Roi! quand même.... But inasmuch as their flight was easy, retreat for the republicans became murderous. Lost among the labyrinthine roads of the Bocage, they fell in small parties into the hands of the villagers, who made sure, in the retreat, of all stragglers. The pursuit was terrible ;--the conquerors knew the ground ;-they understood where and how to intercept the fugitives; they could load as they ran, and keep up as quick a fire in the chase as in the battle. The benefit which the republicans derived from five or six victories, were not equal to the evils which they endured in one defeat. ! Dead bodies,' says Turreau, “ were all the spoils of the field: neither arms nor ammunition were ever taken; if the Vendean was pursued he had his musket, and when in danger of being taken, he broke it ; but the raw levies whom the Convention at first sent against them, threw away their arms and incumbrances as soon as they took panic; and if only 2 or 300 men were left upon the field, the royalists gathered up 12 or 1500 muskets.'