揭开毛泽东用兵如神之谜

The system of Buonaparte, by which he endeavoured to prevent the knowledge of these events in Spain and Portugal from spreading through France, was one of unscrupulous lying. He took all sorts of false means to depress the spirits of the insurgents by mere inventions, which he had inserted in the Spanish and Portuguese Gazettes under his influence. At one time it was that George III. was dead, and that George IV. was intending to make peace with Napoleon. But whatever effect he might produce by such stories for a time in the Peninsula, the truth continued to grow and spread over France. It became known that Junot and his army were driven from Lisbon; that Dupont was defeated and had surrendered in the south of Spain; then that King Joseph had fled from Madrid; and that all the coasts of the Peninsula were in possession of the British, who were received by the Spaniards and Portuguese as friends and allies. Compelled to speak out at length, on the 4th of September a statement appeared in the Moniteur mentioning some of these events, but mentioning only to distort them. It could not be concealed that Britain was active in these countries, but it was declared that the Emperor would take ample vengeance on them. In order to silence the murmurs at the folly as well as the injustice of seizing on Spain, which was already producing its retributive fruits, he procured from his slavish Senate a declaration that the war with Spain was politic, just, and necessary. Buonaparte then determined to put forth all his strength and drive the British from the Peninsula; but there were causes of anxiety pressing on him in the North. Austria and Russia wore an ominous aspect, and a spirit of resistance showed itself more and more in the press of Germany, and these things painfully divided his attention. His burden was fast becoming more than he could bear.

As soon as five or six thousand of his troops were landed, Buonaparte commenced his march on Alexandria. The Turks manned the walls, and resisted furiously, incensed at this invasion by a Power with which they were nominally at peace. But the walls were ruinous; the French forced their way over several breaches, and commenced an indiscriminate massacre. The place was abandoned to pillage for four hours. As the Mamelukes were hated by the Arabs and the Copts, and were the military mercenaries of the country, chiefly recruited from Georgia and Circassia, Buonaparte determined to destroy them. He considered that he should thus rid himself of the only formidable power in Egypt, and at the same time conciliate the Bedouins and Fellahs. On the 7th of July he set out on his march for Cairo with his whole force. He marched up the bank of the Nile, but at such a distance as to prevent the soldiers from getting any water to quench their burning thirst. It was all that Buonaparte could do to keep his troops in subordination. For fourteen days this melancholy march was continued, when they came at once in sight of the Pyramids, not far distant from Cairo, and of the army of the Mamelukes, drawn up across their way, headed by Murad Bey. This force consisted of five thousand cavalryMamelukes, mounted on the finest Arabian horses in the world, trained to obey the slightest touch of the rein, to advance, wheel, or fly with wonderful rapidity. The riders were all fine men, armed with sabres, pistols, and blunderbusses of the best English workmanship. They were deemed invincible and were ruthlessly cruel. They presented in appearance the finest body of cavalry in the world, the plumes of their turbans waving in the air, and their arms glittering in the sun. There were, moreover, twenty thousand infantry lying in a slightly-entrenched camp on their right;[467] but these were a mere rabblefellaheen, or, in other words, peasantry, brought from their fields, and armed with matchlocks. They had forty pieces of cannon to defend the camp, but these had no carriages, being mounted on clumsy wooden frames. Buonaparte drew up his army so as to keep out of gunshot of the camp, and to deal only with the cavalry first. He formed his troops into squares to resist the onslaught of the cavalry; and as he saw the Mamelukes come on, he called to his men, "From yonder Pyramids twenty centuries behold your actions!" The Mamelukes came thundering on like a whirlwind, and sending before them the most horrible yells. Murad Bey said he would cut up the French like gourds. One of the French squares was thrown into confusion, but it recovered itself, and the battle was instantly a scene of the most desperate fury. The Mamelukes fought like demons; but, finding that they could not break the French ranks, whilst they and their horses were mown down by musketry and artillery, in despair they flung their pistols at their foes, backed their horses up to them to break them by kicking, and finding all unavailing, fled. Such as were left wounded on the ground crept forward to cut at the legs of the French soldiers. Both cavalry and infantry then, by swimming their horses, or in boats, attempted to cross the Nile, but the greater part were drowned in the attempt. Murad Bey, with the residue of his Mamelukes, escaped into Upper Egypt.

GENOA.

ARRIVAL OF THE MAIL COACH. (See p. 420.)