Articles by Marx & Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung
Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 19;
Written: Written by Engels on March 7, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 240, March 8, 1849
Just now, when the above article had already been written, we have received the following 26th Bulletin, in which the gallant Windischgrätz at last gives us an explanation of his brilliant victory at Kapolna announced by telegraph:
"From Gyöngyös, Field Marshal Windischgrätz gave Lieutenant-Field Marshal Schlick the command to leave Petervasara on February 26 and join the main army by way of Verpeleth, in order to attack the insurgents with combined forces. The corps of Lieutenant-Field Marshal Wrbna and that of Lieutenant-Field Marshal Schwarzenberg encountered the enemy outside Kapolna on February 26. At first the latter showed the intention of threatening our left flank by occupying a wooded height with two battalions. He was, however, driven from there by a bayonet attack. Then, he attempted to pierce our centre with his cavalry, but was repulsed there too, and retired at all points towards Kapolna and Kaal. The fall of darkness put an end to the day's fighting. Early on the 27th Field Marshal Windischgrätz ordered the attack to be continued, having heard of the delayed arrival of Lieutenant-Field Marshal Schlick, who had been held up by the enemy's occupation of the narrow defile of Sirok and only succeeded in taking it after a stubborn fight. He pushed back the enemy as far as Verpeleth, where the latter gained a footing, and only surrendered this place after fierce fighting. The enemy again attempted to take Kapolna and made two attacks with numerous heavy guns, which were, however, unsuccessful. After the fighting had gone on all day, the insurgents withdrew and took up a position at Maklar. During the capture of Kapolna the Zanini battalion defending the church was taken prisoner. The casualties on the enemy side were 200-500 killed and 900-1,000 captured; those of the royal imperial troops were slighter, although the exact figures are not yet available."
It may be seen from this Bulletin:
1) That on the 26th, as the Magyar "exaggeration" quite correctly observes, the Hungarians had indeed got the better of Windischgrätz. For were it true, as the Bulletin claims, that the imperial forces had been victorious on the 26th, on the following day, having been reinforced by the Schlick-Schulzig corps, they would have been in a position to inflict a severe defeat on the Magyars.
2) That Windischgrätz' "victory" is limited to an extremely insignificant skirmish, as the small number of casualties on the Magyar side proves. In two days of battle, 300 killed! As for the captured battalion, that means little.
There are still aristocratic traitors among the officers of the Hungarian army, who are only waiting for an opportunity to position their troops in such a way that they can be captured with due decency. The death-defying bravery of the Magyar soldiers even favours such treachery.
3) That the imperial forces should know the casualties of the Hungarians so exactly, whereas they have not yet established their own, is likewise highly "significant".
4) Finally: as far as the definite gains of the imperial forces are concerned, these are limited to exactly one mile of captured terrain. The Hungarians engaged in battle at Kapolna and Verpeleth, and are now at Maklar, which lies one mile to the east. Erlau, about the same distance to the north of Maklar, is obviously also still in the possession of the Magyars, supporting their right flank; otherwise the Bulletin would have trumpeted out the recapture of this important town with due exultation.
5) Summa Summarum: After achieving the purpose of their expedition before the gates of Pest, the Hungarians have withdrawn, without engaging in any decisive battle on terrain that is less favourable to them. They have only fought insofar as it was necessary in order to cover their retreat to the Theiss and Hernad and to keep the imperial forces at a respectable distance. This object has been fully attained.
The whole tone of the Bulletin, and the fact that the imperial troops, according to their own report, have only advanced one mile, prove this. The result of the Hungarian advance to within six miles of Pest, quite apart from the moral impression, is this: Görgey is reunited with the main army, the comitats between the Hernad, Theiss and the Carpathians have been cleared of Austrians. The Magyars can lean their right wing on the Carpathians and establish direct contact with the Galician revolutionaries; they have forced Schlick away from his base of operations (Galicia), and thus compelled the Austrians to alter their entire plan of campaign.
Let the Kölnische Zeitung, which as we know has news of the 16th from Transylvania, tell us, though, why the Bulletin says nothing of the events that occurred around Hermannstadt up to the 16th.