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The Italian War

Frederick Engels


The secret general[a] has ordered his Guard back to Paris in great haste to make his triumphal entry at its head and then have his victorious troops parade before him on the Place du Carrousel. In the meantime, let us make another review of the main events of the war in order to clarify the real merits of the ape Napoleon.[324]

On April 19 Count Buol committed the childish indiscretion of informing the English ambassador[b] that on April 23 he would give the Piedmontese a three-days' ultimatum, at the expiry of which he would begin war and give the order to march in. Buol knew, to be sure, that Malmesbury was no Palmerston, but he forgot that the time for the general elections was approaching, that the narrow-minded Tories, fearful that they might, be shouted down as "Austrians", actually became Bonapartists against their will. On the 20th the English government hastened to communicate this information to Mr. Bonaparte, and the concentration of French troops began at once and orders were given to form the fourth battalions of reserves. On the 23rd the Austrians did issue the ultimatum[c]—on the eve of the English elections. Derby and Malmesbury hastened to label this action a "crime", against which they protested with the greatest energy[d]. Bonaparte had his troops cross the Piedmontese border even before the ultimatum expired; on April 26 the French entered Savoy and Genoa. But the Austrians, restrained by the protests and threats of the Tory government, conceded two days more and marched into Piedmont only on the 29th, instead of on the 27th.

In this way the secret general was aware of the Austrians' plan a full nine days before they marched in and. was able, because of the treachery of the English ministry, to arrive on the scene three days earlier than the Austrians. But the secret general had confederates not only in the English ministry but also in the Austrian army command. Everyone expected, and justifiably, that Hess would take over the supreme command of the army in Italy. Instead, the command was given to Gyulay, who had never confronted the enemy in 1848 and 1849—a totally incapable mind, with no understanding or will-power, this Gyulay. Hess is of middle-class origin and far from friendly to the reactionary pro-Jesuit clique of nobles that makes up Francis Joseph's camarilla. The Grünne-Thun-Bach triumvirate incited the feeble Francis Joseph, who had worked out with Grünne a strange operational plan, which Hess had sharply criticised, against the old strategist; and so the blue-blooded dunce Gyulay remained commander-in-chief and his plan of operations—invasion of Piedmont—was adopted. Hess had recommended remaining strictly on the defensive and avoiding any battle until the Mincio was reached. The Austrian army, held moreover up by torrential rains, first appeared on the Po and Sesia on May 3 or 4 and by then it was of course too late to venture a coup against Turin or one of the Piedmontese fortresses. The French were massed on the Upper Po; this gave the incompetent Gyulay a welcome excuse for inaction. In order to prove his helplessness beyond doubt, he undertook the reconnaissance in force of Montebello. The ensuing battle was fought with honour by thirteen Austrian battalions against sixteen French battalions until the second and third divisions of Baraguay d'Hilliers' corps appeared on the field, at which the Austrians, who had achieved their purpose, withdrew. But since this reconnaissance was not followed up in any way by the Austrians, it is obvious that the whole expedition could just as well have been omitted.

The secret general, meanwhile, had to wait for his supplies and his cavalry, and probably spent the time studying his favourite Billow. Being fully informed as to the positions and .strength of the Austrians, the French could easily draw up a plan of attack. There are in general only three ways to attack: either frontally for a breakthrough in the centre, or by turning the right or left flank. The secret general decided to turn the right flank of the enemy. The Austrians were deployed on a long line from Biella to Pavia, after they had foraged the entire region between the Sesia and the Dora Baltea without hindrance. On May 21 the Piedmontese attacked the Sesia line and for several days fought minor engagements between Casale and Vercelli, while Garibaldi slipped by along Lago Maggiore with his Alpine riflemen, raised an insurrection in the Varesotto and advanced to the Comasco and Brianza. Gyulay's troops remained scattered, and he even sent one of his six army corps (the Ninth) to the south bank of the Po. On May 29 the preparations had finally reached the point where the attack could begin. The actions at Palestro and Vinzaglio, in which the major part of the Piedmontese army was engaged against part of the Seventh Army Corps (Zobel), opened the road to the Allies to Novara, which Gyulay yielded without resistance. The Piedmontese, the French Second, Third and Fourth Corps and the Guard were dispatched there at once; the First Corps followed. The turning of the Austrian right flank was completed; the direct road to Milan was open.

This however put the armies into precisely the situation in which Radetzky won the victory of Novara in 1849. The Allies rolled on towards the Ticino in long columns on a small number of parallel roads. Their advance could only be slow. Gyulay had five army corps to work with, even deducting the dispersed Ninth Corps. As soon as the attack of the Piedmontese became serious, as it did on May 29 and 30, Gyulay had to concentrate his troops. Where exactly this took place did not really matter; one cannot march past 140,000-150,000 men in a concentrated position; moreover, it was essential not to make a passive defence but to strike an a tempo[e] blow at the enemy. If Gyulay had massed between Mortara, Garlasco and Vigevano on May 31 and June 1, he could for one thing have fallen on the flank of the move to turn his own right wing at Novara, cut the enemy's marching columns in two, drive some of them back to the Alps and take possession of the road to Turin. If, on the other hand, the enemy had crossed the Po below Pavia, Gyulay would still have been able to arrive in time to block their road to Milan.

Actually, concentration was begun. But before it was carried to completion, Gyulay was confused by the occupation of Novara. The enemy was closer to Milan than he was! In reality, that was just what was wanted; the moment for the a tempo blow had come; the enemy would have to fight in the most unfavourable conditions. But Gyulay, whatever his personal bravery, was a moral coward. Instead of going forward quickly, he drew back in order to bring his army in an arc around the enemy in forced marches and again block their direct road to Milan at Magenta. The troops were set in motion on June 2 and the headquarters shifted to Rosate in Lombardy. Master of Ordnance Hess came there at 5:30 on the morning of June 3. He took Gyulay to task for the unpardonable blunder and had all the troops called to a halt at once, since he considered it still possible to strike the blow in the direction of Novara. Two entire army corps, the Second and the Seventh, were already on Lombard soil, having marched from Vigevano to Abbiategrasso. The Third Corps had received the order to halt right on the bridge at Vigevano; it marched back and took up a position on the Piedmontese bank. The Eighth went via Bereguardo, the Fifth via Pavia. The Ninth was still far off and quite out of reach.

When Hess had exact information on the distribution of the troops, he found that it was too late to be able to count on success in the Novara direction; now only the Magenta direction remained. At 10 a.m. orders went out to the columns to continue their march on Magenta.

Gyulay blames the loss of the battle of Magenta on this interference by Hess and the loss of 4½ hours as a result of halting the columns. How groundless this excuse is can be seen from the following: The bridge at Vigevano is ten English miles from Magenta—a short day's march. The Second and Seventh Corps were already in Lombardy when the order to halt came. They could therefore have had at most 7 to 8 miles to march, by and large. For all that, only one division of the Seventh Corps got to Corbetta and three brigades of the Second Corps to Magenta. The second division of the Seventh Corps did not get beyond Castelletto near Abbiategrasso on the 3rd; and the- Third Corps, which received the order to set out from the bridge at Vigevano not later than 11 a.m., and so had a good part of the. day still before it, does not appear even to have made the 5 or 6 English miles to Abbiategrasso, since it came into battle only about 4 p.m. on the following day near Robecco (3 miles from Abbiategrasso). The columns must have been held up on the roads, slowing down the march because of faulty arrangements. If a corps takes 24 hours and more to cover 8 to 10 miles, 4 or 5 hours more cannot be considered as decisive. The Eighth Corps, which had been sent via Bereguardo and Binasco, had to go such a roundabout way that it could not have arrived on the battle-field in time even using the 4½ lost hours. The Fifth Corps, coming up from Pavia in two real forced marches, was able to join battle with one brigade on the evening of June 4.[325] What it lost in time, it won in intensity of movement. Accordingly, the attempt to blame the scattering of the army on Hess falls to the ground altogether.

Strategically, therefore, the initial steps towards the victory of Magenta were, in the first place, a positive error made by Louis Bonaparte himself by executing a flanking march in the enemy's zone, and secondly an error by Gyulay, who instead of concentrating and falling on the long marching columns dispersed his army entirely by a countermarch and withdrawal, wretchedly planned at that, and brought his troops into battle tired and hungry. This was the first phase of the war. On the second phase in our next number.


We left our real secret Napoleon on the battle-field of Magenta. Gyulay had done him the greatest favour a general can do his opponent; he had brought his forces up so splintered that he was in the most decided minority at every moment of the battle, and even by evening did not have the troops on hand. The First and Second Corps -pulled back towards Milan, the Eighth came from Binasco, the Fifth from Abbiategrasso, the Ninth was out on a stroll far down on the Po. Here was a situation for a general; here was the chance to use the many fresh troops who had arrived during the night to penetrate between the isolated Austrian columns, to win a genuine victory and force whole units to lay down their arms with their flags and artillery! That was how the vulgar Napoleon acted at Montenotte and Millesimo, at Abensberg and Regensburg. But not the "higher" Napoleon. He is far above such crude empiricism. He knows from his Bülow that excentric retreat is the most advantageous. And so he appreciated Gyulay's masterly retreat arrangements to the full, and instead of riding roughshod over him he telegraphed to Paris: The army is resting and reorganising[f]. He was sure that the world would not be so impolite as to regard his amateurish Magenta exercise as anything but a "great victory"!

Friend Gyulay, who had already made one trial, with such great success, of the manoeuvre of marching round the enemy in an arc—Friend Gyulay performed this experiment once again, and this time on a large scale. He had his army march first southeast to the Po, then along the Po in three columns on three parallel roads until opposite Piadena on the Oglio, then north again to Castiglione. He was not in any hurry at all about it. The distance he had to march to Castiglione came to something like 120 English miles, that is, 10 very comfortable or 8 good days' march. He could have been in position at Castiglione on the 14th, or on the 15th at the latest; but it was not until the 19th that there was any important part of the army on the heights south of Lake Garda. However, trust breeds trust. If the Austrians marched slowly, the higher Napoleon proved that he was superior to them in this as well. The vulgar Napoleon would have held it his most urgent task to have his troops advance by forced marches on the shorter, direct route to Castiglione, which amounts to hardly 100 English miles, in order to reach the position south of Lake Garda and on the Mincio before the Austrians and attack the Austrian marching columns on the flank again if possible. Not so the improved Napoleon. "Ever slowly onward"[g] is his motto. It took him from the 5th to the 22nd to concentrate his troops on the Chiese. Seventeen days for 100 miles, or two short hours a day!

These were the colossal hardships that the French columns had to endure and which inspired the English newspaper correspondents with such admiration for the stamina and imperturbable good humour of the pioupious[h]. Only once was there an attempt at a rearguard action. The object was to drive an Austrian division (Berger) out of Melegnano. One brigade held the city; the other was already behind the Lambro to cover the retreat of the first and hardly got into the fighting. Now our secret general showed that he knew Napoleonic strategy too when it came down to it: Masses at the decisive point! Accordingly he sent two entire army corps, ten brigades, against this one brigade; the Austrian brigade (Roden), attacked by six brigades, held out for three or four hours and withdrew unpursued over the Lambro only after it had lost more than a third of its men; the presence of the second brigade (Boér) was enough to hold-up the colossal superior numbers of the French We see that the war was waged by the French with the utmost courtesy.

In Castiglione another hero came on the stage: Francis Joseph of Austria. Two worthy opponents! The first one has let it be known everywhere that he is the most cunning fellow of all times; the other takes pleasure in proclaiming himself as chivalrous. The first one cannot but be the greatest general of his century, because it is his vocation to travesty the original Napoleon—for he has taken his original drinking cup and other relics into the field with him; the other is bound to secure victory for his banners, being the born "supreme war-lord" of his army. The epigone system that has been widespread in the intervals between the revolutions of the nineteenth century could not have more suitable representatives on the field of battle.

Francis Joseph opened his career as generalissimo by first having his troops take up a position south of Lake Garda and then pulling them back at once behind the Mincio; he had hardly got them behind the Mincio before he sent them out on the offensive again. Such a manoeuvre could not but surprise even an improved Napoleon, as his bulletin is gracious enough to admit openly[i]. Since he happened to be on the march to the Mincio himself with his army on the same day, there was a collision between the two armies, the battle of Solferino. We shall not go into the details of this battle again, since we have presented them in a previous issue of this paper[j]; and especially so because the official Austrian communiqué is intentionally couched in very vague terms, in order to cover up, the strange blunders of the hereditary war-lord[k]. This much emerges from it without any doubt, that the loss of the battle was due primarily to Francis Joseph and his camarilla. In the first place, Hess was purposefully and intention-ally kept in the background. Secondly, Francis Joseph thrust himself into Hess' place. Thirdly, a mass of incompetent people, some of them even of dubious courage, were left in important commands through the influence of the camarilla. All these factors, even if we disregard the original plan, produced such confusion on the day of battle that control, interlocking of movements, order and sequence of manoeuvre, were quite out of the question. In the centre, in particular, hopeless confusion seems to have reigned. The three army corps in position there (First, Fifth and Seventh) performed such contradictory and disconnected movements and were always so lost to one another at the moment of decision, while always in each other's way at other times, that the only thing that emerges from the Austrian report, but this with certainty, is the following: The battle was lost not so much because of numerical weakness as because of disgracefully poor leadership. One corps never supported the other at the right time; the reserves were everywhere except where they were needed; and so Solferino, San Cassiano, Cavriana fell, one after the other, whereas if they had been persistently and skilfully defended all three together, they would have constituted an impregnable position. But Solferino, the decisive point, was abandoned as early as two o'clock, and with Solferino, the battle; Solferino fell to concentric attack, which only offensive blows could ward off, but those blows were precisely what was lacking; and after Solferino the other villages fell, likewise to concentric attacks, which encountered but scanty passive defence. And yet there were still fresh troops on hand, for the Austrian casualty lists show that of 25 regiments of the line engaged eight (Rossbach, Archduke Joseph, Hartmann, Mecklenburg, Hess, Grüber, Wernhardt, Wimpffen), or one-third, lost less than 200 men per regiment, and so were engaged only insignificantly! Three of them, and likewise the Gradiskaner border regiment, did not lose 100 men per regiment, and of the riflemen most of the battalions (five) lost less than 70 men per battalion. Since the right wing (Benedek, Eighth Corps) was faced by greatly superior forces and had fully to engage all its troops, all these lightly engaged regiments and battalions belong to the centre and the left wing, and a good part must have been in the centre. This proves how wretched the leadership was there. Incidentally, the matter is very easily explained: Francis Joseph was there in person with his official camarilla, so that everything was bound to be confused and disorganised there. The 13 batteries of reserve artillery did not fire a single shot! A similar absence of leadership seems to have prevailed on the left wing. Here it was particularly the cavalry, commanded by old women, which did not come into action. Wherever an Austrian cavalry regiment appeared, the French cavalry wheeled about, but out of eight regiments only a single regiment of hussars made a regular charge and two regiments of dragoons and one uhlan regiment made lighter attacks. The Prussia hussars lost 110, the two dragoon regiments together 96 men; the losses of the Sicily uhlans are not known; the remaining four regiments lost only 23 men all together! The artillery lost only 180 men in all.

These figures prove, better than anything else, the uncertainty and indecision with which the Austrian generals, from the emperor down to the corps commanders, led the troops against the enemy. If in addition we consider the numerical superiority of the French and the moral boost they got from their previous successes, we can see that the Austrians could not win. Only one corps leader, Benedek, was not cowed; he held the right wing all by himself and Francis Joseph did not have the time to interfere. The result was that he gave the Piedmontese a proper beating, despite their twofold superiority in numbers.

The higher Napoleon was no longer such a novice in warfare as Francis Joseph. He had won his spurs at Magenta and knew from experience how he should behave on the field of battle. He left it to old Vaillant to calculate the length of front to occupy, from which the distribution of the several corps follows automatically, and then he left it to the corps commanders to go ahead from there, since he could be fairly confident that they knew how to lead their corps. As for himself, he betook himself to the spots at which he would show up best in next Saturday's Paris Illustration and from there issued very melodramatic but also very indifferent orders concerning details.


Long ago there was a Russian painter at the academy in Düsseldorf, who later was relegated to Siberia for lack of talent and laziness. The poor devil was enthusiastic over his Emperor Nicholas and would say ecstatically: "Emperor very great! Emperor can everything! Emperor can paint too! But Emperor have no time to paint; Emperor buy landscapes and then paint soldiers in. Emperor very great! God is great but Emperor is still young!"

The higher Napoleon has this in common with Nicholas, that-he believes the landscapes are there only to have soldiers painted into. them. But as he does not even have the time to paint the soldiers in, he contents himself with sitting for the paintings. Il pose[l]. Magenta, Solferino and all of Italy are only the accessories, only the pretext to get his interesting figure on this occasion in a melodramatic posture into the Illustration and the Illustrated London News again. Since this can be done with a little money, he has succeeded in this too. He told the Milanese:

"If there are people who do- not understand their century" (the century of advertisement and humbug) "I am not one of those people."[m]

The old Napoleon was great, and the improved Napoleon is no longer young!

This latest realisation, that he is no longer young, put the thought into his mind that it was about, time to make peace. He had now got as far as one can get with mere succès d'estime[n]. "In four engagements and two battles"[o], with a loss of over 50,000 men in action alone, not counting the sick, he had conquered the foreland up to the Austrian fortresses—the region that Austria itself, by the very location of its fortifications, had proclaimed to all the world was not to be defended earnestly against superior strength and that had been defended on this occasion only in order to vex Marshal Hess. The via sacra[326], along which the higher Napoleon had led his army thus far with such classic calm and such dubious success, was suddenly completely blocked. Beyond lay the promised land, which was not to be seen by today's "Army of Italy" but perhaps only by their grandsons—and perhaps not by them either. Rivoli and Arcole were not on the programme. Verona and Mantua were about to have a say, and the only fortress into which the higher Napoleon has yet entered with a military escort is the, castle of Ham—and he was glad enough to get out of it again without the honours of war[327]. Moreover, the stage effects came out pauvre[p] enough: he did have grandes batailles[q] but not even the telegraph wire believed the grandes victoires[r]. A war for entrenched camps, against old Hess, a war with shifting success and decreasing chances, a war that called for serious work, a real war, that was no war for the Napoleon of the Porte Saint-Martin and Astley's Amphitheatre[328]. There was the additional factor that one step further would have led to a war on the Rhine and that would have brought about complications which would have immediately put an end to the heroic grimaces and melodramatic poses plastiques[s]. But the higher Napoleon does not let himself get involved in such matters—he made peace and swallowed his programme.

When the war began, our higher Napoleon at once brought up the Italian campaigns of the vulgar Napoleon[t], the via sacra of Montenotte, Dego, Millesimo, Montebello, Marengo, Lodi, Castiglione, Rivoli and Arcole[329]. Let us compare the copy with the original a bit.[330]

The Italian War of 1859 - Click to enlarge

The vulgar Napoleon took over the command of 30,000 half-starved, barefoot, ragged soldiers at a time when France, financially ruined, unable to take out loans, had to maintain not only two armies in the Alps but also two armies in Germany. He did not have Sardinia and the other countries of Italy for him but against him. The army opposing him was superior to his in numbers and organisation. Nonetheless, he attacked, beat the Austrians and Piedmontese in six blows in rapid succession, in each of which he managed to have superior numbers on his side, forced Piedmont to make peace, crossed the Po, made a forced crossing of the Adda at Lodi and laid siege to Mantua. He defeated the first relief army of the Austrians at Lonato and Castiglione and, by means of bold manoeuvres, forced them in their second advance to take refuge in Mantua. He stopped the second relief army at Arcole and held it in check for two months until it received reinforcements and went forward again, only to be beaten at Rivoli. Thereafter he forced Mantua to surrender and the princes of Southern Italy to make peace, and pressed on over the Julian Alps to the foot of the Semmering, where he won the peace.

Such was the vulgar Napoleon. And what of the higher? He comes into a better and stronger army than France has ever had, and a financial situation that at least allows meeting the costs of the war easily by loans. He has six months time of complete peace in which to prepare for his campaign. He has on his side Sardinia, with strong fortresses and a large excellent army; he keeps Rome occupied; Central Italy is only waiting for a signal from him to rise and join him. His base of operations is not in the Maritime Alps but on the middle Po, at Alessandria and Casale. Where his predecessor had bridle-paths, he has railways. And what does he do? He throws five strong army corps into Italy, so strong that, combined with the Sardinians, he is always significantly stronger in numbers than the Austrians, so much stronger that he can detach the Sixth Corps to the tourist army of his cousin[u] for a military jaunt. Despite all the railways, he takes a full month to concentrate his troops. Finally he moves. Gyulay's incapacity makes him a present of the undecided battle of Magenta, which is converted into a victory by the fortuitous strategic situation of the two armies after the battle—a situation for which by no means the higher Napoleon but Gyulay alone is responsible. In gratitude, he lets the Austrians escape, instead of pursuing them. At Solferino, Francis Joseph almost compels him to win; nonetheless, the result is hardly better than at Magenta. Now a situation is taking shape in which the vulgar Napoleon would just have begun to develop his resources; the war is being waged in a region where there is something more real to do, and is assuming dimensions from which a great ambition derives its advantage. Arrived at the point at which the via sacra of the vulgar Napoleon first begins, first opens a grand perspective, at that point—the higher Napoleon sues for peace!

Written on July 20 and 28 and about August 3, 1859
First published in Das Volk, Nos. 12, 13 and 14, July 23, 30 and August 6, 1859
Published in English for the first time in MECW.


[a] Napoléon III.—Ed.

[b] Lord Augustus Loftus.—Ed.

[c] "Copie d'une lettre de M. le Comte Buol-Schauenstein à M. le Comte de Cavour en date de Vienne le 19 avril 1859", Allgemeine Zeitung, No. 116 (supplement), April 26, 1859.—Ed.

[d] Lord Derby's speech at a dinner at the Mansion-House on April 25, 1859, The Times, No. 23290, April 26, 1859 ("Lord Derby at the Mansion-House").—Ed.

[e] Timely.—Ed.

[f] Napoleon III's telegram to the Empress Eugenie of June 5, 1859, Le Moniteur universel, No. 157, June 6, 1859.—Ed.

[g] "Nur immer langsam voran"—the refrain of a German folk song, "Die Krähwinkler Landwehr" (the "Krähwinkler Landwehr" is the. German equivalent of the Gotham Militia).—Ed.

[h] Nickname for the French infantrymen.—Ed.

[i] "Bulletin de la bataille . de Solferino [28 juin 1859]", Le Moniteur universel, No. 183, July 2, 1859.—Ed.

[j] See this volume, pp. 400-03.—Ed.

[k] The official communiqué of the Austrian command on the battle of Solferino, early July 1859, Neue Preussische Zeitung, No. 155, July 7, 1859.—Ed.

[l] He poses.—Ed.

[m] Napoleon III, "Proclamation [Milan, le 8 juin 1859]", Le Moniteur universel, No. 163, June 12, 1859.—Ed.

[n] Success due to the sympathy of friends.—Ed.

[o] Napoleon III's speech at a reception for members of the State Council, the Senate and the Corps législatif in the Palace of Saint-Cloud on July 19, 1859, Le Moniteur universel, No. 201, July 20, 1859.—Ed.

[p] Poor.—Ed.

[q] Great battles.—Ed.

[r] Great victories.—Ed.

[s] Artificial poses.—Ed.

[t] Napoleon III, "Armée d'Italie. Ordre du jour, Gênes, le 12 mai 1859", Le Moniteur universel, No. 134, May 14, 1859.—Ed.

[u] Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte.—Ed.

[324] Engels is referring here to what Napoleon I said to General Charles de Montholon on St. Helena on April 17, 1821 as a testament to his son: "All his efforts should be aimed at ruling in peace. Should he want to recommence my wars, by pure imitation and without absolute necessity, he would be only an ape."

[325] Here the editors of Das Volk inserted in Engels' text the following sentence, which is not reproduced in this volume: "Without this 4½ hours' halt the corps would hardly endure the extreme exertion with which it hastened to the battle-field." In connection with this Engels wrote to Marx on July 25, 1859: "Some nonsense was edited into my last article. I said that, during the march from Pavia, the 5th corps so exerted itself on the 3rd and 4th that, had the 4½ hours lost through the halt been put to use, the result would not have been materially different, nor would the corps have arrived on the battle-field appreciably earlier. In print it says that it was the halt alone which made that exertion possible, which 1. is just the opposite and 2. is nonsense. In the first place the troops were not in the least tired at 6 o'clock in the morning of the 3rd, having only just moved off, so that the halt could be of no benefit to them, and secondly the halt deprived them of the cool hours of the morning and forced them to march when the midday heat was at its greatest. To any military man, the sentence as it now stands would seem quite preposterous" (see present edition, Vol. 40).

[326] Via sacra (Holy Road)—the road in ancient Rome along which the triumphal marches of the victorious troops took place; the expression "via sacra" has come to denote in general a victorious campaign or march.

[327] An allusion to the imprisonment of Louis Bonaparte in the fortress of Ham in. 1840, following the failure of the military putsch in Boulogne; Louis Bonaparte escaped from the fortress in 1846 (see Note 149↓).

[328] Porte Saint-Martin—a gate of triumph on the boulevards in Paris. During the coup d'état of December 1851 it witnessed the massacre of the republicans by the Bonapartist soldiery. The Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin is situated on the boulevard St. Martin.
Astley Amphitheatre—a London circus.

[329] The reference is to Napoleon III's appeal to the army from Genoa of May 12, 1859 on the occasion of his assumption of the post of commander-in-chief. It said among other things: "On the Holy Road of ancient Rome inscriptions were carved in marble to remind the people of its feats: now too when passing through Mondovi, Marengo, Lodi, Castiglione, Arcole, Rivoli you will march along another Holy Road, among these glorious memories" (see also this volume, pp. 330-31).

[330] In his letter to Engels of July 22, 1859, Marx advised him: "In your second article on the war you will not, I am sure, forget to stress the inadequate strength of the pursuit after victory had been won, and the pitiful whining of Bonaparte, who had at last got to the point where Europe did not, as hitherto, out of fear of revolution, permit him to play the old Napoleon within given limits. In this connection it would be pertinent to recall the 1796-97 campaign, when France was not able to take its time preparing all its resources for 'a localised war' but, with its finances completely disrupted, had to fight not only beyond the Rhine, but also beyond the Mincio and the Adige. Bonaparte is actually complaining that his 'succès d'estime' are now begrudged him" (see present edition, Vol. 40).

[149] This refers to Louis Bonaparte's attempts during the July monarchy to stage a coup d'état by means of a military mutiny. On October 30, 1836 he succeeded, with the help of several Bonapartist officers, in inciting two artillery regiments of the Strasbourg garrison to mutiny, but they were disarmed within a few hours. Louis Bonaparte was arrested and deported to America. On August 6, 1840, taking advantage of a partial revival of Bonapartist sentiments in France, he landed in Boulogne with a handful of conspirators and attempted to raise a mutiny among the troops of the local garrison. This attempt likewise failed. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but escaped to England in 1846.

Source: Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 16 (pp.421-434), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980
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