Page:Napoleon's Addresses.djvu/35

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31
THE CAMPAIGN IN ITALY.

passage of the bridge. I formed all my artillery into a battery. The cannonading was very lively for several hours.

"As soon as the army arrived it formed into a close column with the second battalion of rifles at its head, followed by all the battalions of grenadiers. On the run, with cries of Vive la République, they appeared on the bridge, which is over six hundred feet long. The enemy kept up a terrible fire. The head of the column almost seemed to waver. A moment's hesitation and all would have been lost. The Generals Berthier, Masséna, Cervoni, Dallemagne, the Brigadier-General Lannes, and Battalion-Commander Dupas felt this, and, rushing to the front, decided the fate of the day.

"This redoubtable column overrode all opposition, breaking Beaulieu's order of battle, capturing all his artillery, and sowing on all sides seeds of terror, flight, and death. In the twinkling of an eye the enemy's army was dispersed. The Generals Rusca, Augereau, and Beyrand crossed as soon as their divisions arrived, and completed the victory. The cavalry crossed the Adda at a ford; but the ford proving extremely bad, there was much delay, which prevented an engagement.