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General Hospital. Both were stormed and set on fire; the sick and the wounded threw themselves from the windows to escape the flames, and the horror of the scene was aggravated by the maniacs, whose voices raving or singing in paroxysms of wilder madness, or crying in vain to be set free, were heard amid the confusion of dreadful sounds. Many fell victims to the fire, and some to the indiscriminating fury of the assailants. Those who escaped were conducted as prisoners to the Torrero; but when their condition had been discovered, they were sent back on the morrow, to take their chance in the siege. After a severe contest and dreadful carnage, the French forced their way into the Cozo, in the very centre of the city, and, before the day closed, were in possession of one half of Zaragoza. Lefebvre now believed that he had effected his
purpose, and required Palafox to surrender, in a note containing only these words: “ Headquarters, St. Engracia. Capitulation *!". The heroic Spaniard immediately returned this reply: “ Head-quarters, Zaragoza. War at the knife's pointt!"
The contest which was now carried on is un- War in the exampled in history. One side of the Cozo, a street about as wide as Pall-mall, was possessed by the French; and, in the centre of it, their general, Verdier, gave his orders from the Franciscan convent. The opposite side was main
Quartel-general, Santa Engracia. La capitulation.
+ Quartel.general, Zaragoza. Guerra al cuchillo.
ceives a rea inforcement.
CHAP. tained by the Aragonese, who threw up batteries
at the openings of the cross streets, within a few
heaped with dead, either slain upon the spot, or August 5. thrown out from the windows. Next day the
ammunition of the citizens began to fail; .. the
in the hands of desperate The city re- men. Just before the day closed, Don Francisco
Palafox, the general's brother, entered the city
street, from house to house, and from room to
streets, sometimes fighting with the most deter- CHAP. mined bravery against the enemies, not of his country alone, but of freedom, and of all virtuous
August. principles, wherever they were to be found; at other times, administering the sacrament to the dying, and confirming, with the authority of faith, that hope, which gives to death, under such circumstances, the joy, the exultation, the triumph, and the spirit of martyrdom. Palafox reposed the utmost confidence in this brave priest, and selected him whenever any thing peculiarly difficult or hazardous was to be done. At the head of forty chosen men, he succeeded in introducing a supply of powder into the town, so essentially necessary for its defence.
This most obstinate and murderous contest was continued for eleven successive days and nights, more indeed by night than by day; for it was almost certain death to appear by daylight within reach of those houses which were occupied by the other party. But under cover of the darkness, the combatants frequently dashed across the street to attack each other's batteries; and the battles which began there, were often carried on into the houses beyond, where they fought from room to room, and floor to floor. The hostile batteries were so near each other, that a Spaniard in one place made way under cover of the dead bodies, which completely filled the space between them, and fastened a rope to one of the French cannons; in the struggle which ensued, the rope broke, and the Zara
Chap. gozans lost their prize at the very moment when
they thought themselves sure of it*.
A new horror was added to the dreadful cirAugust.
cumstances of war in this ever memorable siege. Nemler.com In general engagements the dead are left upon
the field of battle, and the survivors remove to clear ground and an untainted atmosphere; but here.. in Spain, and in the month of August, there where the dead lay the struggle was still carried on, and pestilence was dreaded from the enormous accumulation of putrifying bodies. Nothing in the whole course of the siege so much embarrassed Palafox as this evil. The only remedy was to tie ropes to the French prisoners, and push them forward amid the dead and dying, to remove the bodies, and bring them away for interment.
Even for this necessary office there was no truce, and it would have been certain death to the Aragonese who should have attempted to perform it; but the prisoners were
• It is asserted by the French, Unquestionably, if any traitors in their official account, that, had thus ventured to show themafter many days fighting, they selves in the heat of the contest, won possession of many cloisters they would have been put to which had been fortified, three- death as certainly as they would fourths of the city, the arsenal, have deserved it; and, if the thing and all the magazines, and that had occurred, it would be one fact the peaceable inhabitants, en- more to be recorded in honour of couraged by these advantages, the Zaragozans; but there is no hoisted a white flag, and came other authority for it than the forward to offer terms of capitu- French official account, in which lation; but that they were mur- account the result of the siege is dered by the insurgents; for this totally suppressed. The circumis the name which the French, stance, had it really taken place, and the tyrant whom they served, would not have been omitted in applied to a people fighting in Mr. Vaughan's Narrative, and in defence of their country, and of the accounts published by the whatever could be dear to them. Spaniards.
in general secured by the pity of their own CHAP. soldiers, and in this manner the evil was, in some degree, diminished.
August. A council of war was held by the Spaniards on the 8th, not for the purpose which is too the enemy.
Retreat of usual in such councils, but that their heroic resolution might be communicated with authority to the people. It was, that in those quarters of the city where the Aragonese still maintained their ground, they should continue to defend themselves with the same firmness: should the enemy at last prevail, they were then to retire over the Ebro into the suburbs, break down the bridge, and defend the suburbs till they perished. When this resolution was made public, it was received with the loudest acclamations. But in every conflict the citizens now gained ground upon the soldiers, winning it inch by inch, till the space occupied by the enemy, which on the day of their entrance was nearly half the city, was gradually reduced to about an eighth part. Meantime, intelligence of the events in other parts of Spain was received by the French, .. all tending to dishearten them; the surrender of Dupont, the failure of Moncey before Valencia, and the news that the Junta of that province had dispatched six thousand men to join the levies in Aragon, which were destined to relieve Zaragoza. During the night of the 13th, their fire was particularly fierce and destructive; after their batteries had ceased, flames burst out in many parts of the buildings which they had won; ;