On the 20th, the Emperor, whom this idea filled with the deepest dejection, arrived at Basanoni, and was dining in company with the Prince of Neuchatel and the Duke of Dantzic, when General Gourgaud rushed in with the announcement that Marshal Ney and his troops were only a few leagues distant. The Emperor exclaimed with inconceivable joy, "Can it be true?"
They feared that the Emperor was aware of the Convention concluded that morning with Prince Schwartzenberg, and that he had sent for Marmont with the view of reprimanding him. The fact was, Napoleon knew nothing of the matter, for Marmont, on departing for Paris with Macdonald and Ney, had left orders that it should be said that he had gone to inspect his lines.
Bonaparte refused their services when offered to him, and with a chivalrous feeling worthy of being recorded sent the decoration of the Legion of Honour to the single volunteer who had thus shown his fidelity by following the Duke. As soon as the Emperor quitted Lyons he wrote to Ney, who with his army was at Lons-le-Saulnier, to come and join him.
Neither Marshal Davout, who should have been on our right, towards Molwitten, nor Marshal Ney, who should have been on our left around Althoff, had yet appeared, when at daybreak, about eight in the morning, the Russians began the attack by a violent cannonade to which our gunners, though fewer in numbers, replied.
Third Corps Ney with two divisions of veterans of Lannes; to this corps belonged the Wuerttembergians who had served under Ney before 49,000 Fourth Corps Prince Eugene with Junot as second commander, and the Generals Grouchy, Broussier, the two brothers Delzon. In this corps were the best soldiers of the Italian army 45,000 Fifth Corps Prince Poniatowski.
About one o'clock on the morning of the 6th of April Ney, Macdonald, and Caulaincourt arrived at Fontainebleau to acquaint the Emperor with the issue of their mission, and the sentiments expressed by Alexander when they took leave of him.
We see the attack on Hougoumont the appearance of Bülow on the heights of Saint Lambert the charge of the Inniskillings and the Scots Greys the death of valiant Ponsonby. We see Marshal Ney Prince of Moskowa the bravest soldier in France we see him everywhere where the mêlée is thickest, everywhere where danger is most nigh.
He himself seized a musket; with one hand he fought, with the other he elevated and waved his plume, calling to his men, and restoring them to their first valour by that authority which example gives. At the same time Ney had again formed his divisions. Their fire stopped the enemy's cuirassiers, and threw their ranks into disorder.
You knew instinctively in seeing the man that you would go or come, as he said, but there was neither dash nor fire, nothing of the suggestion of élan; rather there was the suggestion of the commander of a great ocean liner, the man responsible for the lives, this time of hundreds of thousands, not scores, for the safety of France, not of a ship, but the man of machinery and the master of the wisdom of the tides and the weather, not the Ney, or the Murat, not the Napoleon of Arcola.
Custer divined that the dash of Lee's advance was a mask for the infantry, and by a movement that would have done credit to Murat or Ney, caught Kershaw astride the river and trapped him completely. The behavior of the Fifth Michigan was never more "superb." I do not believe that a single regiment, on either side, at any time, during the entire war, performed a more brilliant deed.