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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Windischgraetz would not listen to them


[Sidenote:

Imperial rescript repudiated]

[Sidenote: Troops mutiny in Vienna]

[Sidenote: Flight of Emperor]

On the receipt of this news, Emperor Ferdinand declared the Hungarian Parliament dissolved, and pronounced all its acts null and void. Jellacic was appointed representative of Austria in Hungary with command of all the forces. The Magyar Diet repudiated the Emperor's manifesto as a breach of the constitution, and pronounced Jellacic a traitor. Jellacic's forces were checked by the Hungarian army in their advance upon Pesth. General Latour, the Austrian Minister of War, ordered a division of troops at Vienna to go to the support of Jellacic. The Magyar sympathizers at Vienna raised a fearful uproar. As the troops were marching out of the city several battalions were prevailed upon to mutiny. The Hungarian flag was hoisted above the Cathedral of St. Stephen. The National Guard joined the mutiny. Other battalions of the line were driven out of the city. The guards at the arsenal capitulated. Vienna was at the mercy of the insurgents. The Emperor, who had sought refuge at Schoenbrunn, left his palace at four on the morning of October 1, and fled to Olmuetz.

[Sidenote: Jellacic marches on Vienna]

[Sidenote: Windischgraetz moves from Bohemia]

[Sidenote: Assault on Vienna]

justify;">[Sidenote: Arrival of Hungarians]

[Sidenote: Battle of the Schwechat]

As soon as the news of these events reached Jellacic he evacuated his threatened positions on the banks of the Raab and marched for Vienna. Windischgraetz, with his garrison, set out from Prague. Revolutionists of all races flocked into Vienna. Among them were the German delegates Froebel and Blum, and the Polish general, Bem. The Hungarians pursued Jellacic no further than their frontier. The regiments expelled from Vienna, under the command of Count Auersperg, joined forces with Jellacic. The insurgents at Vienna manned their fortifications as well as they could, and called upon the people throughout Austria to take up arms. Emperor Ferdinand, at Olmuetz, offset this by an imperial proclamation to his people in which he guaranteed all peasant rights. Prince Windischgraetz was created a field marshal, with full command over all the forces in the empire, except those under Radetzky in Italy. Windischgraetz took immediate steps to effect a junction with Jellacic by seizing the bridges at Krems and Stein. In vain did the delegates from Frankfort, who now appeared upon the scene, present their offer of intervention. Windischgraetz would not listen to them. On October 23, the Austrian army, 80,000 strong, appeared before Vienna. The defence of the city had been intrusted to Captain Messenhauser, an officer of the regular army, and to General Bem. Robert Blum, the German Parliamentarian, fought in the ranks. While Windischgraetz was wasting his time in parleys, an army of 18,000 Hungarians crossed the frontier and threatened Jellacic's rear. On October 28, twenty-four hours after the time fixed in Windischgraetz's last ultimatum, he began his assault on the city. In the course of an all-day fight the troops succeeded in taking the suburbs. The scenes of that night were frightful. The troops bivouacked on the ramparts. The following Sunday was spent in further parleys. Already the terms of capitulation had been settled, when Messenhauser, from the top of the church of St. Stephen, made out the approaching columns of the Hungarians. The news of their arrival was signalled to the city by a column of smoke rising from the top of the tower. All negotiations for surrender were dropped. The Hungarians attacked Jellacic on the banks of the Schwechat, within a few leagues of the capital. The boom of their artillery could be plainly heard in Vienna. In a frenzy of enthusiasm the Viennese resumed the struggle. A corps of students attempted a sortie. Unfortunately for them, the engagement on the banks of the Schwechat turned against the Hungarians. Shortly after noon they gave way all along the line and fell back toward Hungary. On the ramparts of Vienna the hopeless fight of a few thousand civilians against an army of 90,000 men was continued until nightfall. At six in the evening the troops broke into the city.


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