From the Theatre of War, April 8, 1849 (2)

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Author(s) Friedrich Engels
Written 8 April 1849


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 9, p. 248;
First published: in Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 267 (second edition), April 8, 1849.
Collection(s): Neue Rheinische Zeitung
Keywords : Hungary, Austria, War

The Hungarian correspondent of the Breslauer Zeitung reports today that on March 20 Bem captured Kronstadt and moreover without striking a blow. The remainder of the Austrians and Russians are said to have withdrawn to Wallachia. Hermannstadt and Kronstadt had each to pay 1,000 florins in cash per day to the Russians and in addition they were subjected to the most shameless requisitioning and thieving. Bem has proclaimed a general amnesty in these two towns. The Saxons are said to have at once publicly declared that the Austrians had compelled them to call in the Russians (this is certainly not true).

On March 29 the imperial forces under Welden are said to have attempted (?) to take Komorn by storm and to have suffered so great a defeat that they have abandoned the siege of Komorn; only an observation corps[1] still remains at Gönyö. Wimpffen’s Italian battalion is said to have gone over to the Hungarians. We print these news items with the greatest reservation, although recently the essential facts in the reports of the Hungarian correspondent have as a rule proved correct.

Banknotes continue to be printed by the Hungarians in Debreczin, for a considerable amount of currency paper has been smuggled in.

“On March 15, the anniversary of the Hungarian insurrection, [2] a great public celebration was held near Debreczin and a large number of people assembled there. Two whole oxen and many pigs and lambs were roasted, there was plenty of wine and Gipsies played Hungarian airs and marches. A number of speeches were made and toasts proposed with the indispensable Eljen. There are no troops stationed in Debreczin and the national guards are on duty. They wear bright red ribbons on their shakos and hats. Incidentally, half the companies of every battalion in the country must always be in the field to face the enemy, and after three months they are relieved by the other three companies that stayed at home. This explains the strength of the military forces of the insurgents and also why their battalions are unable to withstand any bayonet charge by the imperial troops” (Constitutionelles Blatt aus Böhmen).

Schlick and Jellachich are again (for the tenth time) holding a council of war in Pest. According to Austrian reports, General Jablonowsky has advanced towards Losoncz.

“Business letters sent from Lemberg on the 31st of this month have caused a new wave of anxiety. The leading business houses report from there that the entire garrison of Lemberg is expected to leave for Hungary and it is feared that after its departure a revolutionary move or diversion in favour of the Hungarians will take place” (Lithographierte Correspondenz).

It seems that the Agram poster announcing the concessions is all humbug. Up to now no one has come forward to defend it, and it is generally believed to be an imposture.

  1. Observation corps were assigned to watch the enemy on the flanks of the main theatre of military operations
  2. On March 15, 1848, a popular uprising broke out in Pest. In the middle of the day, the insurgents — craftsmen, workers, students, and peasants who had come to the fair — captured the town, crossed the Danube by the bridge and broke into Buda, where they set political prisoners free. The Austrian garrison was paralysed. The insurgents elected a Committee of Public Safety which provisionally concentrated power in its own hands. A popular meeting adopted the “12 points” drawn up by the radical opposition and demanding administration by parliament and civil liberties. The events of March 15 started the revolution in Hungary against the feudal serf-owning system and for national independence.