Introducing Turkish Threat on Europe Finally Vanquished,
serialized in two easy 5 minute installments.
This struggle marked the disastrous end of a determined effort of the Ottoman empire to recover lost possessions. It also resulted in giving all Hungary, with Belgrade and a part of Serbia, permanently to Austria. After their last great invasion of Austrian territory and their crushing defeat by Sobieski and the Imperialists (1683), the Turks suffered many losses of territory at the hands of various European powers. In 1696 Peter the Great took from them Azov, an important entrance to the Black Sea. By the treaty of the Pruth (1711) this, with other Russian possessions, was again ceded to the Turks.
The temporary success led them to seek further recoveries. Their aim was chiefly directed against Austria and Venice, which had aggrandized themselves at the expense of the Moslem power. Turkish victories caused the Venetians to call in the aid of Austria. The Austrian intervention not only saved Venice, but once more checked the Turkish arms.
The Emperor Charles VI appointed as leader of the Austrian forces Prince Eugene of Savoy, already distinguished through a long series of wars as one of the greatest soldiers of his time, the companion of Marlborough. In 1716 Eugene defeated the grand vizier at Temesvar, and in the following year took Belgrade and destroyed the Turkish army, as told in his own racy and cavalier style.
This selection is from Memoirs of Prince Eugene of Savoy by Prince Eugene Of Savoy published in 1811.
From all sides men flocked to serve under me. There were enough to form a squadron of princes and volunteers. Among the former a Prince of Hesse, two of Bavaria, a Bevern, a Culenbach, one of Wuertemberg, two of Ligne, one of Lichtenstein, of Anhalt-Dessau, the Count of Charolai, the Princes of Dombes, of Marsillac, of Pons, etc.
The Emperor made me a present of a magnificent diamond crucifix, and strongly assured me that all my victories came, and would come, from God; this was getting rid of gratitude toward me; and I set off for Futack, where I assembled my army toward the end of May, 1717.
It was necessary to possess myself of Belgrad, which for three centuries had been so many times taken and retaken. Luckily, I did not find there the cordelier, John de Capistran, who, with the crucifix in his hand, and in the hottest part of the fire during the whole day, defended the place so well: and Hunyady, who commanded there, against Mahomet II in 1456. Hunyady died of his wounds. The Emperor lost Belgrad; Mahomet lost an eye, and the cordelier was canonized.
Unfortunately the Grand Seignior had but too well replaced the wrong-headed grand vizier, who had been killed. It was the Pacha of Belgrad, who supplied the vacancy, called Hastchi Ali, who made the most judicious arrangements for the preservation of the place, and caused me a great deal of embarrassment. On June 10th I passed the Danube: my volunteer princes threw themselves into boats to arrive among the first, and to charge the spahis with some squadrons of Mercy, which had already passed below Panczova, to protect the disembarkation of some, and the bridge constructed for the others, with eighty-four boats. On the 19th I went, with a large escort, to reconnoitre the place where I wished to pitch my camp. Twelve hundred spahis rushed upon us with unequalled fury, and shouted “_Allah! Allah!_” I know not why one of their officers broke through a squadron which was in front, to find me at the head of the second, where I placed myself from prudential motives, having many orders to give. He missed me, and I was going to obtain satisfaction with my pistol when a dragoon at my side knocked him under his horse. On the same day we had a naval combat, which lasted two hours; and our saics having the advantage I remained master of the operations on the Danube. On the 20th I continued working on the lines of contravallation, under a dreadful fire from the place. Toward the end of June I advanced my camp so near Belgrad that the bullets were constantly flying over my head. A storm destroyed all my bridges: and, but for the courage of a Hessian officer, in a redoubt, I do not know how I should have been able to reëstablish the one upon the Save.
Wishing to take the place on the side next the water, I caused a fort at the mouth of the Donawitz to be attacked by Mercy, who fell from his horse, in an apoplectic fit. They carried him away, thinking him dead. He was afterward successfully cured; but, being informed of his accident I went to replace him, and the fort was taken. The Prince of Dombes narrowly escaped being killed at my side by a bullet which made my horse rear. Marcilly was killed in bravely defending a post which I had charged him to intrench. He demanded succor from Rudolph Heister, who refused him, and who was deservedly killed as a punishment for his cowardice, by a cannon-ball which reached him behind his chevaux-de-frise. I arrived, accidentally at first, with a large escort; I sent for a large detachment; I halted, and completely beat the janizaries, leaving, indeed, five hundred men killed upon the field, Taxis, Visconti, Suger, etc. The Pacha of Roumelia, the best officer of the Mussulmans, lost his life also.
On July 22d my batteries were finished. I bombarded, burned, and destroyed the place so much that they would have capitulated if they had not heard that the grand vizier had arrived at Missa, on the 30th, with two hundred fifty thousand men.
On August 1st we saw them on the heights which overlooked my camp, extending in a semicircle from Krotzka as far as Dedina. The Mussulmans formed the most beautiful amphitheatre imaginable, very agreeable to look at, excellent for a painter, but hateful to a general. Enclosed between this army and a fortress which had thirty thousand men in garrison, the Danube on the right, and the Save on the left, my resolution was formed. I intended to quit my lines and attack them, notwithstanding their advantage of ground: but the fever, which had already raged in my army, did not spare me. Behold me seriously ill, and in my bed, instead of being at the head of my troops, whom I wished to lead the road to honor.
I can easily conceive that this caused a little uneasiness at the court, in the city, and even in my army. It required boldness and good-fortune to extricate one’s self from it. The general who might have succeeded me would, and indeed, almost must, have thought that he should be lost if he retreated, and be beaten if he did not retreat. Every day made our situation worse. The numerous artillery of the Turks had arrived on the heights of which I have spoken. We were so bombarded with it, as well as with that from the garrison, that I knew not where to put my tent, for, in going in and out, many of my domestics had been killed. In the small skirmishes which we often had with the spahis, my young volunteers did not fail to be among them, discharging their pistols, though cannon-balls intermingled also. And one day, D’Esrade, the governor of the Prince of Dombes, had his leg shot off by his side, and one of his pages was killed. All our princes, whom I have enumerated above, distinguished themselves, and loved me like their father.
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