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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Paskievitch ordered a general attack on the city


War in Poland]

[Sidenote: Early successes]

[Sidenote: Polish disasters]

[Sidenote: Ostrolenka]

[Sidenote: Ravages of cholera]

[Sidenote: Death of Diebitsch]

[Sidenote: Civil war in Poland]

[Sidenote: Paskievitch, Russian commander]

[Sidenote: Fall of Warsaw]

The Polish struggle, during the earlier part of this year, had assumed the proportions of a national war. In February, the Russians took the offensive. General Diebitsch at the head of a column of 120,000 men marched into Poland. In the first encounters against the Polish forces, who were led by officers who had served under Napoleon, the Russians sustained such losses at Stoczek, Grochov and Bialolenska that Diebitsch had to call for reinforcements. The main body of the Russian army had to abandon the bank of the Vistula. Three detached corps remained stationed there. The Polish general, Skrzynecki, who had succeeded Prince Radzivil in the command, then took the offensive. He defeated the Russians under Geismas at Waver, and General Rosen at Dembevilkie and Igknie, but then stopped short. In the meanwhile a Polish expedition into Volhynia failed completely. Dvernicki was driven back into Gallicia. Another Polish

expedition sent into Lithuania under Vilna likewise ended in disaster. The main body of the Poles had to cross the Prussian frontier. Only one division under Dembinski recovered the road to Warsaw. In the interval, the Polish army under Skrzynecki fought a pitched battle on May 26 with the right wing of the Russian main army at Ostrolenka. After a severe fight the Poles had to fall back over the Narev. Cholera now broke out in both camps. General Diebitsch and Grandduke Constantine on the Russian side succumbed to the disease. During this breathing space for the Poles, a revolution against the provisional government broke out in Warsaw. The streets ran with blood. Czartoryski fled in disguise. General Krukoviecki was made dictator. He shot a number of the mutineers and replaced Skrzynecki by Dembinski. Prussia and Austria turned against the Poles. The Prussian arsenals and military stores at Dantzig and Koenigsberg were placed at the disposal of Diebitsch's successor, General Paskievitch. He crossed the Vistula at Warsaw and marched on the capital along the left bank. On September 6, the Russians attacked Warsaw from the side of Vola and Czyste. On the Polish side Wysocki, who had begun the revolution, and General Suvenski, who had lost a leg at Borodino, were killed. Krukoviecki offered to capitulate. The Russians demanded unconditional surrender. The Polish Diet deposed Krukoviecki and put Niemoievski in command. Paskievitch ordered a general attack on the city. The Russians stormed the ramparts and Warsaw capitulated. "Sire, Poland lies at your feet," wrote Paskievitch to the Czar. It was the truth. At Plock 20,000 Poles laid down their arms. Ramarino took 15,000 into Gallicia.

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