Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung April 1849
Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 333;
Written: by Engels about April 24, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 281, April 25, 1849.
On the 16th, the Hungarians undertook a reconnaissance along the whole line of the imperial army stationed at Pest. The attack did not begin until four in the afternoon; the bombardment lasted until nearly six. No exchange of infantry fire developed; the losses on both sides were small. The attack began with the Hungarian hussars surprising the imperial forces while cooking, causing great confusion; and when the Austrians had won enough time to bring their artillery into operation against them, the Hungarians disappeared equally suddenly. What purpose the Hungarians sought to achieve by this attack is not yet clear. It is supposed that the battle outside Pest was merely a cover for the Hungarians to cross the Danube, and the Magyar correspondent of the Breslauer Zeitung actually claims to know that the attempt was successful. However, perhaps by their sudden reappearance before Pest, the Hungarians merely wished to prevent the imperial forces from drawing off larger sections of troops to Gran and the Komorn road. Nevertheless, Welden, who journeyed on from Pressburg on the 17th, is reported to have ordered 10,000 men from Ofen to Gran on the 18th.
The fortification of Ofen with woolsacks is still going on.
We have no further definite news from the theatre of war at Waitzen and Gran. It is still uncertain who is in possession of Waitzen, but probably it is still occupied by the Hungarians.
Concerning the action at Gran, martial-law reports are again circulating the rumour that the Magyars were defeated there and 2,000 were taken prisoner. Of course, there is not a tittle of truth in this. At most, the imperial forces may have succeeded in holding their ground on the Gran.
Naturally, the story of Kossuth’s alleged flight has dissolved again into pure fable. While the Austrian officers talk of negotiations the Magyars attack, and Kossuth has announced that he intends to recruit another 50,000 men (the Magyar correspondent even mentions a figure of 200,000). Everywhere the Landsturm is being called up, and many thousands of them armed with pitchforks and scythes are reported to be marching behind the regular army. The latter is said already to number 35 hussar regiments.
News comes from the Banat that on the 13th Perczel in the area of the Chaikist battalion was driven back at Titel and Wilowa by Stratimirovich; Todorovich, too, is reported to have sent two battalions there.
The journal Bucovina paints a heart-rending picture of conditions in that province. Destitution and misery are so intense in the Bukovina that in certain localities there are people who for some weeks past have been living on minced straw or crushed acorns mixed with maize meal.