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sEDAN–cHAiR

and Givonne, and there beingno serious force of the enemy in front of them, the artillery was deploying along the western heights above the valley of Givonne, covered only by weak advanced guards of infantry, when suddenly a great column of French infantry, some 6000 strong, moving west in pursuance of Wimpffen's orders, came over the eastern border of the valley and charged down at full speed towards the guns. Then followed one of the most dramatic spectacles of the entire war. The whole of the corps artillery of the Guard turned upon these devoted men, and tore the column in half, shrouding it in dense clouds of dust and smoke from the bursting shells, above which could be seen the trunks and limbs of men flung upwards by their explosion. The head of the column, perhaps 2000 strong, nevertheless kept on its way, but under the combined fire of the Guard rifle battalion and the flanking fire from other guns its impetus died out and its débris disappeared by degrees under convenient cover. The German Guards were now free to stretch out their 'right towards the Belgian frontier (where the scouts of the III. Army were already moving) and prepare with all deliberation for the attack on the Bois de la Garenne. The III. Army had moved off as early as 2.30 A.M., and by 4 A.M. was already crossing the Meuse at Donchéry, aided by several pontoon and trestle bridges thrown over during the night. Their right was covered from sight by the peninsula formed by a bend of the river, and the march of the several columns was unopposed till, clearing its northern extremity, they began to deploy to their right between St Menges and Floing. Here they encountered French outposts, which fell back on their main position on the ridge, to the south of the Floing-Illy road. Against this position the German artillery now pressed forward, and seeing their exposed position, General Gallifet brought forward his brigade of Chasseurs d'Afrique and delivered a most dashing charge. But being unsupported he was compelled to withdraw again behind the cover of the Cazal-Illy ridge. It was now about rr A.M., and, whether moved by the belated impulse of Ducrot's orders or attracted by the apparent weakness of the Prussians within sight, the French infantry now made a brilliant counter-attack out of their position in their usual manner. But German reinforcements coming suddenly into view, and their élan having spent itself, they fell back again, holding only to Floing, whence it required nearly two hours more to expel them.

About noon Wimpffen rode up to General Douay and asked him whether he could hold on to his position. The latter, possibly elated by the success of his recent attack, replied in the affirmative, pointing out only the importance of maintaining the Calvaire d'Illy to the north. De Wimpffen promised him support from the rst corps on the right rear, part of which, hidden in the Bois de la Garenne, had as yet been little engaged, and then rode south to Balan, Where he found the 12th corps fighting desperately. He then 'sent back to Douay for reinforcements, and the latter dispatched all he could spare. These, marching south, crossed the troops of the 1st corps sent to Douay's assistance. The Prussian shells were already crashing into the woods from all sides, and countless stragglers and riderless horses caused most serious delay. To gain time, Margueritte's division was ordered to charge. Margueritte was killed as he rode forward to reconnoitre, and Gallifet took command. “For the next half-hour, ” says the Prussian official account, “ the scene defies description. Gallifet and his squadrons covered themselves with glory, but he had not 2000 sabres at his disposal. Under the storm of shell and over the broken ground manoeuvring was impossible. But a series of isolated charges were delivered with results which convinced well-nigh every survivor that the day of cavalry, in sufficient' numbers and properly handled on the battle-field, was by no means spent.” About an hour after the cavalry charges, between 3 and 4 P.M., the Germans at length gathered weight enough to attempt the assault of the French main position, and moved by a common instinct, lines of men almost 2 rn. in extent, pressed on, gaining cover from the convex slope of the hill, till at length they were able to storm the stubbornly-defended ridge. Meanwhile, Wimpffen had initiated a

fresh counter-stroke from the Fond du Givonne against Balan and Bazeilles. Carried out with magnificent courage, it swept the Bavarians out of both villages, and for a moment the road seemed open for escape, but Wimpifen did not know that the IV. Prussian corps stood waiting behind the gap. Riding back to the town to seek the emperor and implore him to place himself at the head of all available reinforcements, he saw a white flag break out from the steeple of the church tower, but almost instantaneously disappear. He did indeed reach the emperor, but, delayed by the appalling confusion, was too late. The flag had gone up again and he knew that further resistance was hopeless. The fighting did not cease at once. The troops he had directed to make the final effort, their eyes fixed on the enemy in front of them, never saw the flag; and until 6 1=.M. a series of isolated attempts were made to break the iron circle with which the Germans had surrounded them. The emperor, who during the early hours of the day had fearlessly courted death, at length overcome by extreme physical pain and exhaustion, had ridden back to the town, and about 4 P.M., seeing no hope of success, had sent a parlementaire conveying his personal surrender to the king of Prussia, at the same time ordering the white flag to be hoisted. It was torn down by a Colonel Fauve, but was hoisted again half an hour later, when Prussian troops from Cazal were almost at the western gates of Sedan. It only remained for Wimpffen to make terms for the army, and after a long and gallant effort to avert the inevitable, he at length signed an unconditional surrender, with the sole alleviation (introduced as a tribute of respect for the gallantry shown by his men) that all officers were to retain their swords., »

Thus passed into captivity 82,000 men, 558 guns and stores to an immense amount. The price to the victors for this result was in round numbers gooo. The French killed and wounded numbered about 17,000. It is indicative of the demoralization in the French army that this figure is 1000 less than the cost of the victory to the Germans at Worth, although on that occasion the French troops actually engaged numbered one half those available at Sedan. The duration of the righting was the same in both cases. ' (F. N. M.)


SEDAN-CHAIR, a portable chair or covered vehicle, with side windows, and entrance through a hinged doorway at the front, the roof also opening to allow the occupant to stand. It is carried on poles by two “ chairmen.” Alike in Paris and in London the sedan-chair man was an institution in the one

Sedan-Chair (after Hogarth).

city he was usually an Auvergnat, in the other an Irishman. The sedan-chair was a fashionable mode of transport in towns up to a century or so ago. It took its name from the town of Sedan, in France, where it was first used, and was introduced into England by Sir S. Duncombe in 1634. Although a. typically 18th-century vehicle it was used in the 17th, and had been known much earlier. Indeed, the ancient sedia gestatoria of the popes is really a rudimentary form of sedan-chair. These vehicles were