But that afternoon the situation was transformed. A message arrived from Bazaine-the telegram he had despatched late the previous night after the battle of Vionville.2 The wording was confident enough: the enemy has been repulsed, the French were passing the night on their "conquered positions", and they would fall back on Metz to revietual and start out again in two days. The substance of the message, however, was disquieting: why should the army need to fall back? Napoleon responded" Tell me the truth about your position so that I can act accordingly." Later that night a telegram arrived from Palikao, begging Napoleon to reconsider his plans. To fall back on Paris, he said, would look like deserting the Army of Metz, "Could you not make a powerful diversion against the Prussian Corps, already worn out by several engagements?" Napoleon began to vacillate once more.3