[To THE EDITOR 01 THE "SPECTATOR."]
Sts,—In your short notice of Mr. Archibald Forbes's article in the Nineteenth Century on Napoleon III. at Sedan, you write —" We wish Mr. Forbes had added a definite opinion whether an attempt to break through was or was not incapable of success."
Having revisited the battle-field of Sedan innumerable times during the last twenty years, while visiting my brother- in-law, Pasteur Goulden, at his country-house in the famous Bois de la Gareane, adjoining the Calvaire d'Illy, where the German right and left joined hands, I have no doubt that Mr. Forbes would agree with me, that breaking through any- where at 4 p.m. was quite impossible.
As a matter of fact, there was no solid body of French troops left wherewith to make an effectual outbreak. The French army was already knocked into a "cocked hat." General Wimpfen, who actually did break out of Sedan, by the Porte- de Balan, towards Montmedy, with about 1,500 men of all arms, found the attempt utterly hopeless. At the outset, he- managed to push the foremost Bavarians a few hundred yards back from the ramparts of the fortress of Sedan along the high-road connecting Sedan with Balan and Bazeilles. But he could make no further progress, being confronted with- solid bodies of Bavarians and Saxons, with the 4th Prussian Corps almost intact behind them, between Bazeilles and Dowzy.
General Wimpfen's attempt was a mere act of bravado, with which the Emperor very properly declined to associate