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of the exiles. At length, after much deliberation and with much difficulty, a union was effected in the wood of Nion, and the passage of the lake of Geneva was effected in the night of August 16th, 1689, although a considerable number were left behind, through the treachery or apprehensions of the boatmen. The few hundreds who reached the opposite side, were duly brigaded, and placed under the command of trust-worthy officers, the whole under the direction of Henri Arnaud, who, though now a minister, had commenced his career in the army. Demonstrations of attack or opposition were made at various points in the march; but nothing serious occurred, until they reached the valley of the Jaillon, among the roots of Mount Cenis. They had previously passed Cluses, Salenche, and Beaufort, scaled the precipices of the 'Haute Luce,' and crossed Mount Iseran. The passage of the great and little Cenis had been most painful and exhausting; and, to enhance their misery, they had wandered from their proper course, and come in contact with the French garrison of Exilles. The action which ensued, though partial, was disastrous, and compelled them to take another and more difficult route to the valley of the Dora. At Salabertrann, they found the enemy, 2,500 strong, entrenched on the opposite side of the river, while a detachment from Exilles was pressing on their rear. In this extremity, they had no alternative but to carry the bridge at all cost.
Our men, seeing themselves thus placed between two fires, and that every exertion must be made, called out "The bridge is carried,” although it was not, which so animated the soldiers, that they threw themselves upon it, and forcing it sword in hand, made their way into the entrenchments of the enemy, whom they pursued so closely as to seize them by the hair. The shock was tremendous; the sabres of the Vaudois struck fire against the steel of the French, who could only use their muskets to parry the blows: at last the victory was so complete, that the Marquis de Larrey, who commanded the French, and was dangerously wounded in the arm, exclaimed, (swearing after the French manner,) "Is it possible I should lose the battle and my honour? Sauve qui peut !" He then retreated, with several other wounded officers, to Briançon, where, not thinking himself in safety, he took the road to Embrun in a litter. The engagement lasted near two hours, and the enemy were thrown into such disorder, that many were mixed with the Vaudois, and thus killed. The watch-word of the Vaudois being Angrogna, the enemies, in trying to repeat it, replied to the "Qui vive?" only " Grogne," so that this word alone cost about 200 of them their lives: at last the field of battle remained covered with dead; many companies were reduced to seven or eight men, all their officers having been killed, and all the baggage and ammunition fell into the hands of the victorious Vaudois. Mons. Arnaud ordered them to break open thirteen military chests, and throw into the river the booty they could not carry, after providing themselves with as much powder and ball as each man could convey, and setting fire to the rest,
which made so terrible an explosion among the mountains, that it was heard at Briançon. At the same time the trumpets were sounded, and every man throwing up his hat, made the air resound with this exclamation of joy, "Thanks be given to the eternal God of armies, who has granted us the victory." (Authentic Details.)
On the ninth day from the commencement of this gallant enterprise, the Vaudois gained the valley of Pragela, the first of their native vales; and soon afterwards fell in with a detachment of Savoyard troops, who took to flight without waiting for close action. From this time, they began to refuse quarter; and the system is excused by Arnaud, on the dangerous plea of necessity.
'Let not the reader be surprised that the Vaudois should thus put to death those who fell into their hands. We had no prisons to confine them; our numbers were too small, and the warfare too desultory to admit the possibility of guarding them; and to have released them would have been to have published our plans, our weakness, and every thing on which depended the success of our enterprise.'
The twelfth and consoling day' brought them, to Prali, in the valley of St. Martin. Here they burnt a popish chapel, and finding their own parish church still entire, performed divine service in their own way, for the first time since reaching their own country. On the following day, they stormed the Col de Julien, where the enemy were entrenched. On the sixteenth day, an oath of fidelity' was administered. A subsequent advance on Villar was unsuccessful; the Vaudois were encountered and driven back by a strong regular force, under the Marquis de Parelle. The movements which followed, are given by Arnaud in detail, and they supply abundant evidence of the activity, courage, and endurance of the gallant mountaineers under his command; but, although exceedingly interesting in the minute statement of the original narrative, they are quite incapable of abridgement. The different detachments had each a separate suite of adventures, which, though varied in the particulars, may all be generally characterised as combining the usual circumstances and casualties of mountain warfare. Climbing precipices, defiling along difficult passes, incessant skirmishing, severe privation, the absence of all accommodation-such was the life of these brave and determined men; until, at length, harassed and hemmed in, with immensely superior numbers pressing in upon them from every quarter, they called in all detachments, and fell back on a strong position at the foot of the Col de Pis.
Before we proceed further in this account, it will be proper to give a more minute description of the Balsi, or (as it was called) the castle. It is a lofty and very steep rock, rising by three different terraces, on
the top of each of which is a small flat space, in which a sort of barracks had been excavated in the ground. It possesses also three springs. It has been mentioned, that intrenchments had been constructed, and these were pierced with loop-holes. Each post was also provided with a large store of stones to hurl on the heads of the assailants. The access to it is every where difficult; the side on which it is the least so, is from a torrent which runs at its feet. As this was the only side on which an attack could be made, Mons. Arnaud had caused it to be fortified by good palisadoes and parapets of dry wall. Moreover, trees had been cut down, and so disposed, that the branches should be opposed to the assailants. A layer of trees was loaded with large stones, on which were again placed trees, secured in the same manner, and so on.'
The French and Savoyard army which assailed this formidable position, was under the command of the celebrated Catinat, who was, in this instance at least, weak enough to indulge the prejudices of a tactician, and, despising an enemy not regularly disciplined, attempted to take at once the bull by the horns, and carry the place by storm. A first attempt to make the approach by a ruined village, was repulsed: the second was made from a different quarter, by five hundred picked men of the regiment of Artois. Covered by the fire of their main body, these gallant soldiers rushed upon the abbatis, but the cool, unerring fire of the Vaudois marksmen brought them down by scores. Their defeat was completed by a bold sortie; the colonel was taken, and only ten or twelve escaped; the besieged did not lose a man. This was the second attack on the Vaudois strong-hold: a former, under the direction of Mons. de l'Ombraille, had been equally unsuccessful.
Catinat seems to have had a sufficient specimen of this kind of warfare, to destroy all inclination to persevere in so vexatious and inglorious a contest. He quitted the division for the purpose of placing himself at the head of the French army in the Milanese, and left the further prosecution of the Vaudois war to the Marquess de Feuquieres. This skilful officer and able writer on military matters, has given a brief account of this affair, so far as he was concerned in it, which hardly justifies Mr. Acland's opinion that it corroborates Arnaud's statement, since, though it of course coincides in some of the major facts, it varies from it, not only in minor points, but in important particulars. De Feuquieres describes the measures he took to effect the circumvallation'—a singularly inapplicable term -of the Quatre Dents, a name particularly given to the fourcrested rock of the Balsi. He says nothing of batteries, but attributes his success to the 'grande terreur' into which the noise and effect of a single short four-pounder threw the besieged. His troops', he says, threw themselves into the tor
rent, in which there was then little water, and forced the en'trenchment, putting its defenders to the sword. At the same time, the officer with the flag made the concerted signals to 'the other points of attack; so that in less than two hours the 'rock of Quatre Dents was forced in its entire circuit, and all the Barbets (a nickname given to the Vaudois) who garrisoned it were put to the sword, excepting one hundred and twenty, 'who found means to escape on that side of the attack which 'I had assigned to M. de Clerembout.', Arnaud's account is very different from this. He speaks of successful sorties made by the besieged; of batteries raised by the French, and reducing the loose walls of the lower entrenchment to a state of utter destruction': he says nothing of the storming and massacre, but represents the Vaudois as retiring to an inner fortification, and as effecting their retreat by night. He cites documents in proof and illustration of his statement, and among them, a short bulletin that appeared at Turin to the following effect:
The French have driven the Huguenots from their forts, who fled the night after their entrenchments were destroyed by the cannon. They defiled between two divisions, over places so steep that no guard had been appointed to watch them, it being thought impossible for men to pass over them. They served each other for bridges, and have since appeared in the valley of Luzerne. The lieutenant-colonel' (of the French regiment of Artois, who had been made prisoner in Catinat's attack) was found recently put to death.' (Acland.)
We shall cite the account given by Arnaud, of this strange. and hazardous escape.
While the enemy were minutely examining every fresh position which was abandoned by the besieged, the latter thought of nothing but how to make good their escape. The immense fires kept burning in the French encampment, seemed to preclude all hope of their being able to retire under cover of the night, and well were they aware that the hand of God alone could deliver them in this hour of peril, as he had already done from so many former dangers. But at the very moment when a most cruel death seemed to be preparing for them, a fog arose before dark, thus assisting to lengthen the night, which at that season was in itself too short for their purpose. Captain Poulat, who was a native of La Balsille, offered to be their guide, and they resolved to march, under the protection of God, and the direction of this brave man, who had a perfect knowledge of the country, and having accurately observed the situation of the enemy's fires, he declared the only chance of escape to be across a frightful precipitous ravine. They followed him down this chasm, some sliding on their backs, others scrambling with one knee on the ground, holding by the branches of trees, occasionally resting, and then feeling their way with their hands or feet. Poulat made them take off their shoes that they might the
better perceive whether they placed their feet on any thing capable of supporting them. In this manner they passed close to one of the French outposts, and a Vaudois soldier, in trying to assist himself with his hands, let fall a small kettle, which, in rolling over some stones, made noise enough to disturb a sentinel, who cried out, Qui vive? but this kettle happily not being of those feigned by the poets to have spoken, and to have delivered oracles in the forest of Dodona, returned no answer, and the sentinel took no further notice. Meanwhile the Vaudois continued to gain ground; they ascended the mountain of Guignevert, in the direction of Salse, and two hours after daylight they were still climbing the mountain by steps which they cut for themselves in the snow. The French, who were encamped at Lantiga, discovered them at a distance, and sent a detachment in pursuit of them, but they descended by the Pausettes of La Salse, on the other side of the mountain, where they stopped to rest and refresh themselves.' (Authentic Details.)
In his recapitulation of the evidences of Divine interposition in behalf of the Vaudois, Arnaud adds some further particulars of this siege.
Can any one be weak enough to suppose, that, without Divine protection, 367 Vaudois, shut up for eight months in La Balsille, sleeping on the earth, and subsisting only upon bread and herbs, in small quantities, could force 10,000 French and 12,000 Piemontese to retire with loss; and that, after defending themselves during a second siege, they could have so happily escaped the fury of the French, who, still enraged at the obstinate resistance they met with from such a handful of men, had resolved to condemn them to be hung, and actually brought executioners and ropes for the purpose!'
Shortly afterwards, a rupture taking place between the Duke of Savoy and the French, the Vaudois were received into their sovereign's favour, and did good service against the common enemy. But, on the conclusion of peace, the old grudge revived. Arnaud was denounced as a traitor; a reward was offered for his capture; and he was compelled to take flight in disguise. He became the pastor and patriarch of that division of his countrymen which settled in Wirtemberg, and spent with them the remainder of his life, dying at the advanced age of eighty.
The Author of the Authentic Details' has given some interesting particulars, written on the spot, of the present condi tion of the Vaudois, both in Piedmont and Wirtemberg. In the former kingdom, they are allowed a reluctant and restricted toleration in the latter, they have been the objects of a mean and harassing solicitude to bring them within the pale of the Lu theran Church, in which they will, probably, ultimately be merged. We are happy to find that our Piedmontese brethren are no longer glected by the Protestant nations. Effective sub