BLTC Press Titles


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The Bhagavad Gita

Anonymous


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe


Napoleon's conquest of Prussia--1806

by Francis Loraine Petre

Excerpt:

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

The first object of this Preface is a grateful acknowledgment of the great kindness of Lord Roberts in consenting to write his valuable introduction to this volume, and in sparing the time necessary for doing so. What he has been good enough to write obviates any necessity for further allusion, on the author's part, to the scope and objects of the book.

As some excuse for the appearance of the history of a campaign generally supposed to be so well known as that of Jena, it may be pointed out that there has been no detailed account of it written in English since the publication of the full information now available. Hoepfner's Krieg von 1806-1807 long ago provided much official information on the Prussian side, but it was not till some sixteen or eighteen years ago that Captain Foucart's Guerre de Prusse gave to the world the many valuable documents bearing on the subject in the French War Office, other than those which had already appeared in the Correspondance de Napoleon I". The work of Colonel Montbe gives the official information on the Saxon side, and Lettow-Vorbeck's Krieg von 1806-1807 is based on the books of Hoepfner, Foucart, and Montbe, as well as on further researches in the Prussian offices. I have not overburdened the volume with notes and references, as I believe that the former are apt to be overlooked, or to be an object of annoyance to most readers, and that it is better to incorporate them in the text. As for references to official documents, the reader may assume that they are all, unless otherwise stated, to be found in the three German and one French work above-named.

The majority of the illustrations are reproduced from works in the unique Napoleon collection of Mr. A. M. Broadley of The Knapp, Bridport, from whom Mr. John Lane obtained courteous permission to utilise them.

The remaining six views, of scenes in the earlier part of the campaign, were taken by the author in September 1906, almost exactly a century after the events which occurred during Napoleon's invasion of Saxony. Across the lower part of the Saalfeld battlefield now runs a railway ; but the fields on which were fought the decisive battles of Jena and Auerstadt are almost precisely as they were one hundred years ago. As the camera was rested on the Napoleonstein, marking the spot where Napoleon stood with Lannes on the afternoon of the 13th October 1806, it required but a slight effort of the imagination to conjure up a vision of the two, and of what they saw. All around them was the vanguard of Lannes' corps, whilst, from the steep descent towards Jena behind them, the rest of the corps hurried up to hold the dangerous position on the angle of the plateau. Half a mile in front were Tauenzien's Prussians, taking up their positions on the Dornberg, and at Lutzeroda and Closewitz. Far away white specks showed where Hohenlohe's camp stood in fancied security. So, too, as the photograph of the Isserstadt-Vierzehnheiligen position was taken, from close to the spot whence Napoleon watched the battle after Ii A.m. on the 14th October, it was easy to picture the desperate struggle at the villages, and the mighty avalanche of cavalry, with Murat at its head, which descended on the broken army of Hohenlohe. At Hassenhausen there rose before the imagination the desperate struggle of Gudin's infantry, the ruin of the Prussian cavalry, and, finally, the defeat, by a force scarcely more than half their strength, of the flower of the Prussian army.

F. L. P.

20th January 1907.

INTRODUCTION

General Hamley says in his Introduction to the " Operations of War," a book which thirty years ago gave a muchneeded stimulus to the study of Military History in this country, " No kind of history so fascinates mankind as the history of wars." But he deplores the fact that it was the romantic aspect of military history by which the many were attracted rather than the knowledge such history should teach. "Reading," he adds, "can be profitable only in proportion to the means the student may possess of judging of the events of the past, and deducing from them lessons for the future."


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