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they might collect together a large quantity of bread, cheese, and wine.
4. The arrangements being completed the troops began to make their appearance. Bonaparte placed himself at Lausanne to inspect the men: he spoke to them, infused into them a portion of the ardent spirit which animated himself, and prepared them for that immortal enterprise which will be ranked in history with that of the grand expedition by Hannibal.
5. Lannes went first at the head of the advance-guard, in the night between the 14th and 15th of May (1800). He commanded six regiments of chosen men that, perfectly armed, gaily set out on their adventurous march under their fiery leader, who was sometimes insubordinate but always valiant and able. They set out between midnight and two in the morning, in order to pass before the time when the sun's heat dissolving the snow brings down mountains of ice on the heads of the rash travellers who enter among these frightful gorges.
6. It required eight hours to reach the summit of the pass as far as the hospital of St. Bernard, but only two to descend to St. Remy. There was time enough therefore to escape the greatest danger. The soldiers sur mounted with spirit all the difficulties of the road. They were heavily laden, being obliged to carry biscuit for some days, and in addition a large quantity of cartridges. They climbed the steep rocks, singing amid the precipices, dreaming of the conquest of Italy, where they had so often tasted the pleasures of victory, and having a noble presentiment of the immortal glory they were on the point of acquiring
7. For the infantry the toil was not so great as for the cavalry. These last walked, leading their horses by the bridle. In ascending there was no danger, but in the descent, the path being very narrow, they were obliged to go before their horses, and thus, if the animal made a false step, they were exposed to be dragged with him down the precipices. There were a few accidents of this kind, but very few; some horses were lost, but scarcely any of the men.
8. Towards the morning they reached the hospital, and there a surprise, provided by the first consul, renewed the strength and good temper of the soldiers. The monks, furnished before with the necessary provisions, had prepared tables and served out to every soldier a ration of bread, cheese, and wine. After a momentary rest they proceeded on their route, reaching St. Remy without any disagreeable accident. Lannes instantly established himself at the foot of the mountains, and made all the needful disposition for the reception of the other divisions and more particularly for the munitions and stores.
9. The artillery was the last to occupy attention. The gun-carriages, taken to pieces, were placed on the backs of mules. The guns themselves remained, and their weight could not be lessened by dividing the burden. A mode was thought of and directly adopted on being found to answer. It consisted in splitting the trunks of fir-trees in two, hollowing them out and encasing between every two demi-trunks a single gun, which might, thus encased, be drawn along the ravines. By this means the gun was secured from harm; no shock could injure it.Condensed from M. Thiers' “ Consulate and Empire."
Questions on the lesson :—The pass selected? The engineer's remark? The reply of Bonaparte? The number of troops to be transported? The difficulties of the passage as to roads, &c.
-as to artillery-food! Use made of the monks? The means employed to animate the men? Time selected by Lannes? Why? Time taken to reach the summit of the pass? To descend? In what spirit was it done by the soldiers? How did the cavalry cross ? The surprise at the hospital? How were the gun-carriages managed? The guns?
St. Bernard.—The Great St. Bernard is one of the passes of the Pennine Alps between Switzerland and Italy. It is rather more than 8100 feet high. Bonaparte crossed it in 1800.
Lausanne (lo-zan'), in the Canton Vaud, about one mile north of the Lake of Geneva. Hannibal, one of the greatest military commanders the world has
He belonged to Carthage in Africa, for many years the most formidable rival of ancient Rome. In 218 B.C. he set out from New Carthage, now Cartagena, and passed the Ebro with 90,000 foot and 12,000 horse. Crossing the Pyrenees he continued his march to the Rhone and thence made good his way into Italy over one of the passes of the Alps, probably the Little St. Bernard. The actual passage occupied 15 days. On reaching the plains of the Po his forces were reduced to 20,000 foot and 6000 horse.
THE CROSSING OF THE ALPS.—PART II.
A GENEROUS DEED.
1. Bonaparte himself set out to cross the mountain on the 20th, before daybreak. The artists have painted him clearing the Alpine snows upon a fiery charger. The truth is that he crossed the St. Bernard mounted upon mule, dressed in the grey greatcoat which he commonly wore, conducted by a guide belonging to the country. He exhibited, even in the most difficult passes, the abstraction of a mind otherwise occupied; then he conversed with the officers on the road, or questioned his guide and made him relate the history of his life, of his joys and troubles, just as an idle traveller would do who had nothing better with which to beguile the time.
2. The guide who was oung gave him a simple narrative of the particulars of his obscure existence and more than all of his vexation, because, from want of the small means, he was unable to marry one of the girls of the valley. The first consul, listening at one time and at
another questioning the passengers with whom the mountain was covered, arrived at the hospital where the good monks
gave him a warm reception. 3. Scarcely had he descended from his mule when he wrote a note which he gave to his guide desiring him to be very careful of its delivery to the quarter-master of the army, who remained on the other side of the St. Bernard. In the evening, the young guide, on returning to St. Pierre, discovered with surprise who the great traveller was whom he had escorted in the morning, and that Bonaparte had ordered that a house and piece of ground should be immediately given to him, with the means of marrying and realising all the dreams of his modest ambition.
4. This singular act of kindness at a moment when his mind was filled with such weighty occupations is worthy of remark. If it were no more than the caprice of a conqueror flinging good and evil about at random, by turns oversetting an empire or building a cottage, such a caprice it may be useful to record, if only to tempt the lords of the earth to imitate similar actions.
5. The first consul stayed a little time with the monks, thanked them for their attentions to his army, and made them a magnificent present towards the relief of the poor and of travellers. He descended the mountain rapidly, and following the custom of the country he suffered himself to slide down over the snow.
6. Thirteen days were now over, and the stupendous enterprise of the first consul had fully succeeded. An army of forty thousand men, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, had passed by unbeaten paths over the highest mountains in Europe, dragging its artillery by main strength along the snow or pushing it forward under the murderous fire of a fort, almost close to the muzzles of its guns. One division of five thousand men had descended the Little St. Bernard; another of four thousand had passed over Mount Cenis; a detachment occupied the Simplon; and lastly, a corps of fifteen thousand men was on the summit of St. Gothard.—Condensed from M. Thiers' “ Consulate and Empire."