HISTORY OF FRIEDRICH II. OF PRUSSIA
FREDERICK THE GREAT
By Thomas Carlyle
BOOK XX.—FRIEDRICH IS NOT TO BE OVERWHELMED: THE SEVEN-YEARS WAR GRADUALLY ENDS—25th April, 1760-15th February, 1763.
Chapter I.—FIFTH CAMPAIGN OPENS.
There were yet, to the world's surprise and regret, Three Campaigns of this War; but the Campaign 1760, which we are now upon, was what produced or rendered possible the other two;—was the crisis of them, and is now the only one that can require much narrative from us here. Ill-luck, which, Friedrich complains, had followed him like his shadow, in a strange and fateful manner, from the day of Kunersdorf and earlier, does not yet cease its sad company; but, on the contrary, for long months to come, is more constant than ever, baffling every effort of his own, and from the distance sending him news of mere disaster and discomfiture. It is in this Campaign, though not till far on in it, that the long lane does prove to have a turning, and the Fortune of War recovers its old impartial form. After which, things visibly languish: and the hope of ruining such a Friedrich becomes problematic, the effort to do it slackens also; the very will abating, on the Austrian part, year by year, as of course the strength of their resources is still more steadily doing. To the last, Friedrich, the weaker in material resources, needs all his talent,—all his luck too. But, as the strength, on both sides, is fast abating,—hard to say on which side faster (Friedrich's talent being always a FIXED quantity, while all else is fluctuating and vanishing),—what remains of the once terrible Affair, through Campaigns Sixth and Seventh, is like a race between spent horses, little to be said of it in comparison. Campaign 1760 is the last of any outward eminence or greatness of event. Let us diligently follow that, and be compendious with the remainder.
Friedrich was always famed for his Marches; but, this Year, they exceeded all calculation and example; and are still the admiration of military men. Can there by no method be some distant notion afforded of them to the general reader? They were the one resource Friedrich had left, against such overwhelming superiority in numbers; and they came out like surprises in a theatre,—unpleasantly surprising to Daun. Done with such dexterity, rapidity and inexhaustible contrivance and ingenuity, as overset the schemes of his enemies again and again, and made his one army equivalent in effect to their three.
Evening of April 25th, Friedrich rose from his Freyberg cantonments; moved back, that is, northward, a good march; then encamped himself between Elbe and the Hill-Country; with freer prospect and more elbow-room for work coming. His left is on Meissen and the Elbe; his right at a Village called the Katzenhauser, an uncommonly strong camp, of which one often hears afterwards; his centre camp is at Schlettau, which also is strong, though not to such a degree. This line extends from Meissen southward about 10 miles, commanding the Reich-ward Passes of the Metal Mountains, and is defensive of Leipzig, Torgau and the Towns thereabouts. [Tempelhof, iv. 16 et seq.] Katzenhauser is but a mile or two from Krogis—that unfortunate Village where Finck got his Maxen Order: "ER WEISS,—You know I can't stand having difficulties raised; manage to do it!"
Friedrich's task, this Year, is to defend Saxony; Prince Henri having undertaken the Russians,—Prince Henri and Fouquet, the Russians and Silesia. Clearly on very uphill terms, both of them: so that Friedrich finds he will have a great many things to assist in, besides defending Saxony. He lies here expectant till the middle of June, above seven weeks; Daun also, for the last two weeks, having taken the field in a sort. In a sort;—but comes no nearer; merely posting himself astride of the Elbe, half in Dresden, half on the opposite or northern bank of the River, with Lacy thrown out ahead in good force on that vacant side; and so waiting the course of other people's enterprises.
Well to eastward and rearward of Daun, where we have seen Loudon about to be very busy, Prince Henri and Fouquet have spun themselves out into a long chain of posts, in length 300 miles or more, "from Landshut, along the Bober, along the Queiss and Oder, through the Neumark, abutting on Stettin and Colberg, to the Baltic Sea." [Tempelhof, iv. 21-24.] On that side, in aid of Loudon or otherwise, Daun can attempt nothing; still less on the Katzenhauser-Schlettau side can he dream of an attempt: only towards Brandenburg and Berlin—the Country on that side, 50 or 60 miles of it, to eastward of Meissen, being vacant of troops—is Daun's road open, were he enterprising, as Friedrich hopes he is not. For some two weeks, Friedrich—not ready otherwise, it being difficult to cross the River, if Lacy with his 30,000 should think of interference—had to leave the cunctatory Feldmarschall this chance or unlikely possibility. At the end of the second week ("June 14th," as we shall mark by and by), the chance was withdrawn.
Daun and his Lacy are but one, and that by no means the most harassing, of the many cares and anxieties which Friedrich has upon him in those Seven Weeks, while waiting at Schlettau, reading the omens. Never hitherto was the augury of any Campaign more indecipherable to him, or so continually fluctuating with wild hopes, which proved visionary, and with huge practical fears, of what he knew to be the real likelihood. "Peace coming?" It is strange how long Friedrich clings to that fond hope: "My Edelsheim is in the Bastille, or packed home in disgrace: but will not the English and Choiseul make Peace? It is Choiseul's one rational course; bankrupt as he is, and reduced to spoons and kettles. In which case, what a beautiful effect might Duke Ferdinand produce, if he marched to Eger, say to Eger, with his 50,000 Germans (Britannic Majesty and Pitt so gracious), and twitched Daun by the skirt, whirling Daun home to Bohemia in a hurry!" Then the Turks; the Danes,—"Might not the Danes send us a trifle of Fleet to Colberg (since the English never will), and keep our Russians at bay?"—"At lowest these hopes are consolatory," says he once, suspecting them all (as, no doubt, he often enough does), "and give us courage to look calmly for the opening of this Campaign, the very idea of which has made me shudder!" ["To Prince Henri:" in Schoning, ii. 246 (3d April, 1760): ib. 263 (of the DANISH outlook); &c. &c.]
Meanwhile, by the end of May, the Russians are come across the Weichsel again, lie in four camps on the hither side; start about June 1st;—Henri waiting for them, in Sagan Country his head-quarter; and on both hands of that, Fouquet and he spread out, since the middle of May, in their long thin Chain of Posts, from Landshut to Colberg again, like a thin wall of 300 miles. To Friedrich the Russian movements are, and have been, full of enigma: "Going upon Colberg? Going upon Glogau; upon Breslau?" That is a heavy-footed certainty, audibly tramping forward on us, amid these fond visions of the air! Certain too, and visible to a duller eye than Friedrich's; Loudon in Silesia is meditating mischief. "The inevitable Russians, the inevitable Loudon; and nothing but Fouquet and Henri on guard there, with their long thin chain of posts, infinitely too thin to do any execution!" thinks the King. To whom their modes of operating are but little satisfactory, as seen at Schlettau from the distance. "Condense yourself," urges he always on Henri; "go forward on the Russians; attack sharply this Corps, that Corps, while they are still separate and on march!" Henri did condense himself, "took post between Sagan and Sprottau; post at Frankfurt,"—poor Frankfurt, is it to have a Kunersdorf or Zorndorf every year, then? No; the cautious Henri never could see his way into these adventures; and did not attack any Corps of the Russians. Took post at Landsberg ultimately,—the Russians, as usual, having Posen as place-of-arms,—and vigilantly watched the Russians, without coming to strokes at all. A spectacle growing gradually intolerable to the King, though he tries to veil his feelings.
Neither was Fouquet's plan of procedure well seen by Friedrich in the distance. Ever since that of Regiment Manteuffel, which was a bit of disappointment, Loudon has been quietly industrious on a bigger scale. Privately he cherishes the hope, being a swift vehement enterprising kind of man, to oust Fouquet; and perhaps to have Glatz Fortress taken, before his Russians come! In the very end of May, Loudon, privately aiming for Glatz, breaks in upon Silesia again,—a long way to eastward of Fouquet, and as if regardless of Glatz. Upon which, Fouquet, in dread for Schweidnitz and perhaps Breslau itself, hastened down into the Plain Country, to manoeuvre upon Loudon; but found no Loudon moving that way; and, in a day or two, learned that Landshut, so weakly guarded, had been picked up by a big corps of Austrians; and in another day or two, that Loudon (June 7th) had blocked Glatz,—Loudon's real intention now clear to Fouquet. As it was to Friedrich from the first; whose anger and astonishment at this loss of Landshut were great, when he heard of it in his Camp of Schlettau. "Back to Landshut," orders he (11th June, three days before leaving Schlettau); "neither Schweidnitz nor Breslau are in danger: it is Glatz the Austrians mean [as Fouquet and all the world now see they do!]; watch Glatz; retake me Landshut instantly!"
The tone of Friedrich, which is usually all friendliness to Fouquet, had on this occasion something in it which offended the punctual and rather peremptory Spartan mind. Fouquet would not have neglected Glatz; pity he had not been left to his own methods with Landshut and it. Deeply hurt, he read this Order (16th June); and vowing to obey it, and nothing but it, used these words, which were remembered afterwards, to his assembled Generals: "MEINE HERREN, it appears, then, we must take Landshut again. Loudon, as the next thing, will come on us there with his mass of force; and we must then, like Prussians, hold out as long as possible, think of no surrender on open field, but if even beaten, defend ourselves to the last man. In case of a retreat, I will be one of the last that leaves the field: and should I have the misfortune to survive such a day, I give you my word of honor never to draw a Prussian sword more." [Stenzel, v. 239.] This speech of Fouquet's (June 16th) was two days after Friedrich got on march from Schlettau. June 17th, Fouquet got to Landshut; drove out the Austrians more easily than he had calculated, and set diligently, next day, to repair his works, writing to Friedrich: "Your Majesty's Order shall be executed here, while a man of us lives." Fouquet, in the old Crown-Prince time, used to be called Bayard by his Royal friend. His Royal friend, now darker of face and scathed by much ill-weather, has just quitted Schlettau, three days before this recovery of Landshut; and will not have gone far till he again hear news of Fouquet.
NIGHT OF JUNE 14th-15th, Friedrich, "between Zehren and Zabel," several miles down stream,—his bridges now all ready, out of Lacy's cognizance,—has suddenly crossed Elbe; and next afternoon pitches camp at Broschwitz, which is straight towards Lacy again. To Lacy's astonishment; who is posted at Moritzburg, with head-quarter in that beautiful Country-seat of Polish Majesty,—only 10 miles to eastward, should Friedrich take that road. Broschwitz is short way north of Meissen, and lies on the road either to Grossenhayn or to Radeburg (Radeburg only four miles northward of Lacy), as Friedrich shall see fit, on the morrow. For the Meissen north road forks off there, in those two directions: straight northward is for Grossenhayn, right hand is for Badeburg. Most interesting to Lacy, which of these forks, what is quite optional, Friedrich will take! Lacy is an alert man; looks well to himself; warns Daun; and will not be caught if he can help it. Daun himself is encamped at Reichenberg, within two miles of him, inexpugnably intrenched as usual; and the danger surely is not great: nevertheless both these Generals, wise by experience, keep their eyes open.
The FIRST great Feat of Marching now follows, On Friedrich's part; with little or no result to Friedrich; but worth remembering, so strenuous, so fruitless was it,—so barred by ill news from without! Both this and the Second stand recorded for us, in brief intelligent terms by Mitchell, who was present in both; and who is perfectly exact on every point, and intelligible throughout,—if you will read him with a Map; and divine for yourself what the real names are, out of the inhuman blotchings made of them, not by Mitchell's blame at all. [Mitchell, Memoirs and Papers, ii. 160 et seq.]
TUESDAY, JUNE 17th, second day of Friedrich's stay at Broschwitz, Mitchell, in a very confidential Dialogue they had together, learned from him, under seal of secrecy, That it was his purpose to march for Radeburg to-morrow morning, and attack Lacy and his 30,000, who lie encamped at Moritzburg out yonder; for which step his Majesty was pleased farther to show Mitchell a little what the various inducements were: "One Russian Corps is aiming as if for Berlin; the Austrians are about besieging Glatz,—pressing need that Fouquet were reinforced in his Silesian post of difficulty. Then here are the Reichs-people close by; can be in Dresden three days hence, joined to Daun: 80,000 odd there will then be of Enemies in this part: I must beat Lacy, if possible, while time still is!"—and ended by saying: "Succeed here, and all may yet be saved; be beaten here, I know the consequences: but what can I do? The risk must be run; and it is now smaller than it will ever again be."
Mitchell, whose account is a fortnight later than the Dialogue itself, does confess, "My Lord, these reasons, though unhappily the thing seems to have failed, 'appear to me to be solid and unanswerable.'" Much more do they to Tempelhof, who sees deeper into the bottom of them than Mitchell did; and finds that the failure is only superficial. [Mitchell, Memoirs and Papers, ii. 160 (Despatch, "June 30th, 1760"); Tempelhof, iv. 44.] The real success, thinks Tempelhof, would be, Could the King manoeuvre himself into Silesia, and entice a cunctatory Daun away with him thither. A cunctatory Daun to preside over matters THERE, in his superstitiously cautious way; leaving Saxony free to the Reichsfolk,—whom a Hulsen, left with his small remnant in Schlettau, might easily take charge of, till Silesia were settled?" The plan was bold, was new, and completely worthy of Friedrich," votes Tempelhof; "and it required the most consummate delicacy of execution. To lure Daun on, always with the prospect open to him of knocking you on the head, and always by your rapidity and ingenuity to take care that he never got it done." This is Tempelhof's notion: and this, sure enough, was actually Friedrich's mode of management in the weeks following; though whether already altogether planned in his head, or only gradually planning itself, as is more likely, nobody can say. We will look a very little into the execution, concerning which there is no dubiety:—
WEDNESDAY, 18th JUNE, "Friedrich," as predicted to Mitchell, the night before, "did start punctually, in three columns, at 3 A.M. [Sun just rising]; and, after a hot march, got encamped on the southward side of Radeburg: ready to cross the Rodern Stream there to-morrow, as if intending for the Lausitz [should that prove needful for alluring Lacy],—and in the mean while very inquisitive where Lacy might be. One of Lacy's outposts, those Saxon light horse, was fallen in with; was chased home, and Lacy's camp discovered, that night. At Bernsdorf, not three miles to southward or right of us; Daun only another three to south of him. Let us attack Lacy to-morrow morning; wind round to get between Daun and him, [Tempelhof, iv. 47-49.]—with fit arrangements; rapid as light! In the King's tent, accordingly, his Generals are assembled to take their Orders; brief, distinct, and to be done with brevity. And all are on the move for Bernsdorf at 4 next morning; when, behold,—
"THURSDAY, 19th, At Bernsdorf there is no Lacy to be found. Cautions Dorn has ordered him in,—and not for Lacy's sake, as appears, but for his own: 'Hitherward, you alert Lacy; to cover my right flank here, my Hill of Reichenberg,—lest it be not impregnable enough against that feline enemy!' And there they have taken post, say 60,000 against 30,000; and are palisading to a quite extraordinary degree. No fight possible with Lacy or Daun."
This is what Mitchell counts the failure of Friedrich's enterprise: and certainly it grieved Friedrich a good deal. Who, on riding out to reconnoitre Reichenberg (Quintus Icilius and Battalion QUINTUS part of his escort, if that be an interesting circumstance), finds Reichenberg a plainly unattackable post; finds, by Daun's rate of palisading, that there will be no attack from Daun either. No attack from Daun;—and, therefore, that Hulsen's people may be sent home to Schlettau again; and that he, Friedrich, will take post close by, and wearisomely be content to wait for some new opportunity.
Which he does for a week to come; Daun sitting impregnable, intrenched and palisaded to the teeth,—rather wishing to be attacked, you would say; or hopeful sometimes of doing something of the Hochkirch sort again (for the country is woody, and the enemy audacious);—at all events, very clear not to attack. A man erring, sometimes to a notable degree, by over-caution. "Could hardly have failed to overwhelm Friedrich's small force, had he at once, on Friedrich's crossing the Elbe, joined Lacy, and gone out against him," thinks Tempelhof, pointing out the form of operation too. [Tempelhof, iv. 42, 48.] Caution is excellent; but not quite by itself. Would caution alone do it, an Army all of Druidic whinstones, or innocent clay-sacks, incapable of taking hurt, would be the proper one!—Daun stood there; Friedrich looking daily into him,—visibly in ill humor, says Mitchell; and no wonder; gloomy and surly words coming out of him, to the distress of his Generals: "Which I took the liberty of hinting, one evening, to his Majesty;" hint graciously received, and of effect perceptible, at least to my imagining.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25th, After nearly a week of this, there rose, towards sunset, all over the Reichenberg, and far and wide, an exuberant joy-firing: "For what in the world?" thinks Friedrich. Alas, your Majesty,—since your own messenger has not arrived, nor indeed ever will, being picked up by Pandours,—here, gathered from the Austrian outposts or deserters, are news for you, fatal enough! Landshut is done; Fouquet and his valiant 13,000 are trodden out there. Indignant Fouquet has obeyed you, not wisely but too well. He has kept Landshut six nights and five days. On the morning of the sixth day, here is what befell:—
"LANDSHUT, MONDAY, 23d JUNE, About a quarter to two in the morning, Loudon, who had gathered 31,000 horse and foot for the business, and taken his measures, fired aloft, by way of signal, four howitzers into the gray of the summer morning; and burst loose upon Fouquet, in various columns, on his southward front, on both flanks, ultimately in his rear too: columns all in the height of fighting humor, confident as three to one,—and having brandy in them, it is likewise said. Fouquet and his people stood to arms, in the temper Fouquet had vowed they would: defended their Hills with an energy, with a steady skill, which Loudon himself admired; but their Hill-works would have needed thrice the number;—Fouquet, by detaching and otherwise, has in arms only 10,680 men. Toughly as they strove, after partial successes, they began to lose one Hill, and then another; and in the course of hours, nearly all their Hills. Landshut Town Loudon had taken from them, Landshut and its roads: in the end, the Prussian position is becoming permeable, plainly untenable;—Austrian force is moving to their rearward to block the retreat.
"Seeing which latter fact, Fouquet throws out all his Cavalry, a poor 1,500, to secure the Passes of the Bober; himself formed square with the wrecks of his Infantry; and, at a steady step, cuts way for himself with bayonet and bullet. With singular success for some time, in spite of the odds. And is clear across the Bober; when lo, among the knolls ahead, masses of Austrian Cavalry are seen waiting him, besetting every passage! Even these do not break him; but these, with infantry and cannon coming up to help them, do. Here, for some time, was the fiercest tug of all,—till a bullet having killed Fouquet's horse, and carried the General himself to the ground, the spasm ended. The Lichnowski Dragoons, a famed Austrian regiment, who had charged and again charged with nothing but repulse on repulse, now broke in, all in a foam of rage; cut furiously upon Fouquet himself; wounded Fouquet thrice; would have killed him, had it not been for the heroism of poor Trautschke, his Groom [let us name the gallant fellow, even if unpronounceable], who flung himself on the body of his Master, and took the bloody strokes instead of him; shrieking his loudest, 'Will you murder the Commanding General, then!' Which brought up the Colonel of Lichnowski; a Gentleman and Ritter, abhorrent of such practices. To him Fouquet gave his sword;—kept his vow never to draw it again.
"The wrecks of Fouquet's Infantry were, many of them, massacred, no quarter given; such the unchivalrous fury that had risen. His Cavalry, with the loss of about 500, cut their way through. They and some stragglers of Foot, in whole about 1,500 of both kinds, were what remained of those 10,680 after this bloody morning's work. There had been about six hours of it; 'all over by 8 o'clock.'" [Hofbericht von der am 23 Junius, 1760, bey Landshuth vorgefallenen Action (in Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 669-671); Helden-Geschichte, vi. 258-284; Tempelhof, iv. 26-41; Stenzel, v. 241 (who, by oversight,—this Volume being posthumous to poor Stenzel,—protracts the Action to "half-past 7 in the evening").]
Fouquet has obeyed to the letter: "Did not my King wrong me?" Fouquet may say to himself. Truly, Herr General, your King's Order was a little unwise; as you (who were on the ground, and your King not) knew it to be. An unwise Order;—perhaps not inexcusable in the sudden circumstances. And perhaps a still more perfect Bayard would have preferred obeying such a King in spirit, rather than in letter, and thereby doing him vital service AGAINST his temporary will? It is not doubted but Fouquet, left to himself and his 13,000, with the Fortresses and Garrisons about him, would have maintained himself in Silesia till help came. The issue is,—Fouquet has probably lost this fine King his Silesia, for the time being; and beyond any question, has lost him 10,000 Prussian-Spartan fighters, and a fine General whom he could ill spare!—In a word, the Gate of Silesia is burst open; and Loudon has every prospect of taking Glatz, which will keep it so.
What a thunder-bolt for Friedrich! One of the last pillars struck away from his tottering affairs. "Inevitable, then? We are over with it, then?" One may fancy Friedrich's reflections. But he showed nothing of them to anybody; in a few hours, had his mind composed, and new plans on the anvil. On the morrow of that Austrian Joy-Firing,—morrow, or some day close on it (ought to have been dated, but is not),—there went from him, to Magdeburg, the Order: "Have me such and such quantities of Siege-Artillery in a state of readiness." [Tempelhof, iv. 51.] Already meaning, it is thought, or contemplating as possible a certain Siege, which surprised everybody before long! A most inventive, enterprising being; no end to his contrivances and unexpected outbreaks; especially when you have him jammed into a corner, and fancy it is all over with him!
"To no other General," says Tempelhof, "would such a notion of besieging Dresden have occurred; or if it had suggested itself, the hideous difficulties would at once have banished it again, or left it only as a pious wish. But it is strokes of this kind that characterize the great man. Often enough they have succeeded, been decisive of great campaigns and wars, and become splendid in the eyes of all mankind; sometimes, as in this case, they have only deserved to succeed, and to be splendid in the eyes of judges. How get these masses of enemies lured away, so that you could try such a thing? There lay the difficulty; insuperable altogether, except by the most fine and appropriate treatment. Of a truth, it required a connected series of the wisest measures and most secret artifices of war;—and withal, that you should throw over them such a veil as would lead your enemy to see in them precisely the reverse of what they meant. How all this was to be set in action, and how the Enemy's own plans, intentions and moods of mind were to be used as raw material for attainment of your object,—studious readers will best see in the manoeuvres of the King in his now more than critical condition; which do certainly exhibit the completest masterpiece in the Art of leading Armies that Europe has ever seen."
Tempelhof is well enough aware, as readers should continue to be, that, primarily, and onward for three weeks more, not Dresden, but the getting to Silesia on good terms, is Friedrich's main enterprise: Dresden only a supplement or substitute, a second string to his bow, till the first fail. But, in effect, the two enterprises or strings coincide, or are one, till the first of them fail; and Tempelhof's eulogy will apply to either. The initiatory step to either is a Second Feat of Marching;—still notabler than the former, which has had this poor issue. Soldiers of the studious or scientific sort, if there are yet any such among us, will naturally go to Tempelhof, and fearlessly encounter the ruggedest Documents and Books, if Tempelhof leave them dubious on any point (which he hardly will): to ingenuous readers of other sorts, who will take a little pains for understanding the thing, perhaps the following intermittent far-off glimpses may suffice. [Mitchell, ii. 162 et seq.; and Tempelhof (iv. 50-53 et seq.), as a scientific check on Mitchell, or unconscious fellow-witness with him,—agreeing beautifully almost always.]
On ascertaining the Landshut disaster, Friedrich falls back a little; northward to Gross-Dobritz: "Possibly Daun will think us cowed by what has happened; and may try something on us?" Daun is by no means sure of this COWED phenomenon, or of the retreat it has made; and tries nothing on it; only rides up daily to it, to ascertain that it is there; and diligently sends out parties to watch the Northeastward parts, where run the Silesian Roads. After about a week of this, and some disappointments, Friedrich decides to march in earnest. There had, one day, come report of Lacy's being detached, Lacy with a strong Division, to block the Silesian roads; but that, on trial, proved to be false. "Pshaw, nothing for us but to go ourselves!" concludes Friedrich,—and, JULY 1st, sends off his Bakery and Heavy Baggage; indicating to Mitchell, "To-morrow morning at 3!"—Here is Mitchell's own account; accurate in every particular, as we find: [Mitchell, ii. 164; Tempelhof, iv. 54.]
WEDNESDAY, JULY 2d. "From Gross-Dobritz to Quosdorf [to Quosdorf, a poor Hamlet there, not QuoLsdorf, as many write, which is a Town far enough from there]—the Army marched accordingly. In two columns; baggage, bakery and artillery in a third; through a country extremely covered with wood. Were attacked by some Uhlans and Hussars; whom a few cannon-shot sent to the road again. March lasted from 3 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon;" twelve long hours. "Went northeastward a space of 20 miles, leaving Radeburg, much more leaving Reichenberg, Moritzburg and the Daun quarters well to the right, and at last quite to rearward; crossed the Roder, crossed the Pulsnitz," small tributaries or sub-tributaries of the Elbe in those parts; "crossed the latter (which divides Meissen from the Lausitz) partly by the Bridge of Krakau, first Village in the Lausitz. Head-quarter was the poor Hamlet of Quosdorf, a mile farther on. 'This march had been carefully kept secret,' says Mitchell; 'and it was the opinion of the most experienced Officers, that, had the Enemy discovered the King of Prussia's design, they might, by placing their light troops in the roads with proper supports, have rendered it extremely difficult, if not impracticable.'"
Daun very early got to know of Friedrich's departure, and whitherward; which was extremely interesting to Daun: "Aims to be in Silesia before me; will cut out Loudon from his fine prospects on Glatz?"—and had instantly reinforced, perhaps to 20,000, Lacy's Division; and ordered Lacy, who is the nearest to Friedrich's March, to start instantly on the skirts of said March, and endeavor diligently to trample on the same. For the purpose of harassing said March, Lacy is to do whatever he with safety can (which we see is not much: "a few Uhlans and Hussars"); at lowest, is to keep it constantly in sight; and always encamp as near it as he dare; [Tempelhof, iv. 54.]—Daun himself girding up his loins; and preparing, by a short-cut, to get ahead of it in a day or two. Lacy was alert enough, but could not do much with safety: a few Uhlans and Hussars, that was all; and he is now encamped somewhere to rearward, as near as he dare.
THURSDAY, 3d JULY. "A rest-day; Army resting about Krakau, after such a spell through the woody moors. The King, with small escort, rides out reconnoitring, hither, thither, on the southern side or Lacy quarter: to the top of the Keulenberg (BLUDGEON HILL), at last,—which is ten or a dozen miles from Krakau and Quosdorf, but commands an extensive view. Towns, village-belfries, courses of streams; a country of mossy woods and wild agricultures, of bogs, of shaggy moor. Southward 10 miles is Radeberg [not RadebUrg, observe]; yonder is the town of Pulsnitz on our stream of Pulsnitz; to southeast, and twice as far, is Bischofswerda, chasmy Stolpen (too well known to us before this): behind us, Konigsbruck, Kamenz and the road from Grossenhayn to Bautzen: these and many other places memorable to this King are discoverable from Bludgeon Hill. But the discovery of discoveries to him is Lacy's Camp,—not very far off, about a mile behind Pulsnitz; clearly visible, at Lichtenberg yonder. Which we at once determine to attack; which, and the roads to which, are the one object of interest just now,—nothing else visible, as it were, on the top of the Keulenberg here, or as we ride homeward, meditating it with a practical view. 'March at midnight,' that is the practical result arrived at, on reaching home."
FRIDAY, JULY 4th. "Since the stroke of midnight we are all on march again; nothing but the baggages and bakeries left [with Quintus to watch them, which I see is his common function in these marches]; King himself in the Vanguard,—who hopes to give Lacy a salutation. [Tempelhof, iv. 56.] 'The march was full of defiles,' says Mitchell: and Mitchell, in his carriage, knew little what a region it was, with boggy intricacies, lakelets, tangly thickets, stocks and stumps; or what a business to pass with heavy cannon, baggage-wagons and columns of men! Such a march; and again not far from twenty miles of it: very hot, as the morning broke, in the breathless woods. Had Lacy known what kind of ground we had to march in, and been enterprising—! thinks Tempelhof. The march being so retarded, Lacy got notice of it, and vanished quite away,—to Bischofswerda, I believe, and the protecting neighborhood of Daun. Nothing of him left when we emerge, simultaneously from this hand and from that, on his front and on his rear, to take him as in a vice, as in the sudden snap of a fox-trap;—fox quite gone. Hardly a few hussars of him to be picked up; and no chase possible, after such a march."
Friedrich had done everything to keep himself secret: but Lacy has endless Pandours prowling about; and, I suppose, the Country-people (in the Lausitz here, who ought to have loyalty) are on the Lacy side. Friedrich has to take his disappointment. He encamps here, on the Heights, head-quarter Pulsnitz,—till Quintus come up with the baggage, which he does punctually, but not till nightfall, not till midnight the last of him.
SATURDAY, JULY 5th. "To the road again at 3 A.M. Again to northward, to Kloster (CLOISTER) Marienstern, a 15 miles or so,—head-quarter in the Cloister itself. Daun had set off for Bautzen, with his 50 or 60,000, in the extremest push of haste, and is at Bautzen this night; ahead of Friedrich, with Lacy as rear-guard of him, who is also ahead of Friedrich, and safe at Bischofswerda. A Daun hastening as never before. This news of a Daun already at Bautzen awakened Friedrich's utmost speed: 'Never do, that Daun be in Silesia before us! Indispensable to get ahead of Bautzen and him, or to be waiting on the flank of his next march!' Accordingly,
"SUNDAY, JULY 6th, Friedrich, at 3 A.M., is again in motion; in three columns, streaming forward all day: straight eastward, Daun-ward. Intends to cross the Spree, leaving Bautzen to the right; and take post somewhere to northeast of Bautzen, and on the flank of Daun. The windless day grows hotter and hotter; the roads are of loose sand, full of jungles and impediments. This was such a march for heat and difficulty as the King never had before. In front of each Column went wagons with a few pontoons; there being many brooks and little streams to cross. The soldier, for his own health's sake, is strictly forbidden to drink; but as the burning day rose higher, in the sweltering close march, thirst grew irresistible. Crossing any of these Brooks, the soldiers pounce down, irrepressible, whole ranks of them; lift water, clean or dirty; drink it greedily from the brim of the hat. Sergeants may wag their tongues and their cudgels at discretion: 'showers of cudgel-strokes,' says Archenholtz; Sergeants going like threshers on the poor men;—'though the upper Officers had a touch of mercy, and affected not to see this disobedience to the Sergeants and their cudgels,' which was punishable with death. War is not an over-fond Mother, but a sufficiently Spartan one, to her Sons. There dropt down, in the march that day, 105 Prussian men, who never rose again. And as to intercepting Daun by such velocity,—Daun too is on march; gone to Gorlitz, at almost a faster pace, if at a far heavier,—like a cart-horse on gallop; faring still worse in the heat: '200 of Daun's men died on the road this day, and 300 more were invalided for life.' [Tempelhof, iv. 58; Archenholtz, ii. 68; Mitchell, ii. 166.]
"Before reaching the Spree, Friedrich, who is in the Vanguard, hears of this Gorlitz March, and that the bird is flown. For which he has, therefore, to devise straightway a new expedient: 'Wheel to the right; cross Spree farther down, holding towards Bautzen itself,' orders Friedrich. And settles within two miles of Bautzen; his left being at Doberschutz,—on the strong ground he held after Hochkirch, while Daun, two years ago, sat watching so quiescent. Daun knows what kind of march these Prussians, blocked out from relief of Neisse, stole on him THEN, and saved their Silesia, in spite of his watching and blocking;—and has plunged off, in the manner of a cart-horse scared into galloping, to avoid the like." What a Sabbath-day's journey, on both sides, for those Sons of War! Nothing in the Roman times, though they had less baggage, comes up to such modern marching: nor is this the fastest of Friedrich's, though of Daun's it unspeakably is. "Friedrich, having missed Daun, is thinking now to whirl round, and go into Lacy,—which will certainly bring Daun back, even better.
"This evening, accordingly, Ziethen occupies Bautzen; sweeps out certain Lacy precursors, cavalry in some strength, who are there. Lacy has come on as far as Bischofswerda: and his Horse-people seem to be wide ahead; provokingly pert upon Friedrich's outposts, who determines to chastise them the first thing to-morrow. To-morrow, as is very needful, is to be a rest-day otherwise. For Friedrich's wearied people a rest-day; not at all for Daun's, who continues his heavy-footed galloping yet another day and another, till he get across the Queiss, and actually reach Silesia."
MONDAY, JULY 7th. "Rest-day accordingly, in Bautzen neighborhood; nothing passing but a curious Skirmish of Horse,—in which Friedrich, who had gone westward reconnoitring, seeking Lacy, had the main share, and was notably situated for some time. Godau, a small town or village, six miles west of Bautzen, was the scene of this notable passage: actors in it were Friedrich himself, on the Prussian part; and, on the Austrian, by degrees Lacy's Cavalry almost in whole. Lacy's Cavalry, what Friedrich does not know, are all in those neighborhoods: and no sooner is Godau swept clear of them, than they return in greater numbers, needing to be again swept; and, in fact, they gradually gather in upon him, in a singular and dangerous manner, after his first successes on them, and before his Infantry have time to get up and support.
"Friedrich was too impatient in this provoking little haggle, arresting him here. He had ordered on the suitable Battalion with cannon; but hardly considers that the Battalion itself is six miles off,—not to speak of the Order, which is galloping on horseback, not going by electricity:—the impatient Friedrich had slashed in at once upon Godau, taken above 100 prisoners; but is astonished to see the slashed people return, with Saxon-Dragoon regiments, all manner of regiments, reinforcing them. And has some really dangerous fencing there;—issuing in dangerous and curious pause of both parties; who stand drawn up, scarcely beyond pistol-shot, and gazing into one another, for I know not how many minutes; neither of them daring to move off, lest, on the instant of turning, it be charged and overwhelmed. As the impatient Friedrich, at last, almost was,—had not his Infantry just then got in, and given their cannon-salvo. He lost about 200, the Lacy people hardly so many; and is now out of a considerable personal jeopardy, which is still celebrated in the Anecdote-Books, perhaps to a mythical extent. 'Two Uhlans [Saxon-Polish Light-Horse], with their truculent pikes, are just plunging in,' say the Anecdote-Books: Friedrich's Page, who had got unhorsed, sprang to his feet, bellowed in Polish to them: 'What are you doing here, fellows?' 'Excellenz [for the Page is not in Prussian uniform, or in uniform at all, only well-dressed], Excellenz, our horses ran away with us,' answer the poor fellows; and whirl back rapidly." The story, says Retzow, is true. [Retzow, ii. 215.]
This is the one event of July 7th,—and of July 8th withal; which day also, on news of Daun that come, Friedrich rests. Up to July 8th, it is clear Friedrich is shooting with what we called the first string of his bow,—intent, namely, on Silesia. Nor, on hearing that Daun is forward again, now hopelessly ahead, does he quit that enterprise; but, on the contrary, to-morrow morning, July 9th, tries it by a new method, as we shall see: method cunningly devised to suit the second string as well. "How lucky that we have a second string, in case of failure!"—
TUESDAY, 8th JULY. "News that Daun reached Gorlitz yesternight; and is due to-night at Lauban, fifty miles ahead of us:—no hope now of reaching Daun. Perhaps a sudden clutch at Lacy, in the opposite direction, might be the method of recalling Daun, and reaching him? That is the method fallen upon.
"Sun being set, the drums in Bautzen sound TATTOO,—audible to listening Croats in the Environs;—beat TATTOO, and, later in the night, other passages of drum-music, also for Croat behoof (GENERAL-MARCH I think it is); indicating That we have started again, in pursuit of Daun. And in short, every precaution being taken to soothe the mind of Lacy and the Croats, Friedrich silently issues, with his best speed, in Three columns, by Three roads, towards Lacy's quarters, which go from that village of Godau westward, in a loose way, several miles. In three columns, by three routes, all to converge, with punctuality, on Lacy. Of the columns, two are of Infantry, the leftmost and the rightmost, on each hand, hidden as much as possible; one is of Cavalry in the middle. Coming on in this manner—like a pair of triple-pincers, which are to grip simultaneously on Lacy, and astonish him, if he keep quiet. But Lacy is vigilant, and is cautious almost in excess. Learning by his Pandours that the King seems to be coming this way, Lacy gathers himself on the instant; quits Godau, by one in the morning; and retreats bodily, at his fastest step, to Bischofswerda again; nor by any means stops there." [Tempelhof, iv. 61-63.]
For the third time! "Three is lucky," Friedrich may have thought: and there has no precaution, of drum-music, of secrecy or persuasive finesse, been neglected on Lacy. But Lacy has ears that hear the grass grow: our elaborately accurate triple-pincers, closing simultaneously on Bischofswerda, after eighteen miles of sweep, find Lacy flown again; nothing to be caught of him but some 80 hussars. All this day and all next night Lacy is scouring through the western parts at an extraordinary rate; halting for a camp, twice over, at different places,—Durre Fuchs (THIRSTY FOX), Durre Buhle (THIRSTY SWEETHEART), or wherever it was; then again taking wing, on sound of Prussian parties to rear; in short, hurrying towards Dresden and the Reichsfolk, as if for life.
Lacy's retreat, I hear, was ingeniously done, with a minimum of disorder in the circumstances: but certainly it was with a velocity as if his head had been on fire; and, indeed, they say he escaped annihilation by being off in time. He put up finally, not at Thirsty Sweetheart, still less at Thirsty Fox, successive Hamlets and Public Houses in the sandy Wilderness which lies to north of Elbe, and is called DRESDEN HEATH; but farther on, in the same Tract, at Weisse Hirsch (WHITE HART); which looks close over upon Dresden, within two miles or so; and is a kind of Height, and military post of advantage. Next morning, July 10th, he crosses Dresden Bridge, comes streaming through the City; and takes shelter with the Reichsfolk near there:—towards Plauen Chasm; the strongest ground in the world; hardly strong enough, it appears, in the present emergency.
Friedrich's first string, therefore, has snapt in two; but, on the instant, he has a second fitted on:—may that prove luckier!
FRIEDRICH BESIEGES DRESDEN.
From and after the Evening of Wednesday, July 9th, it is upon a Siege of Dresden that Friedrich goes;—turning the whole war-theatre topsy-turvy; throwing Daun, Loudon, Lacy, everybody OUT, in this strange and sudden manner. One of the finest military feats ever done, thinks Tempelhof. Undoubtedly a notable result so far, and notably done; as the impartial reader (if Tempelhof be a little inconsistent) sees for himself. These truly are a wonderful series of marches, opulent in continual promptitudes, audacities, contrivances;—done with shining talent, certainly; and also with result shining, for the moment. And in a Fabulous Epic I think Dresden would certainly have fallen to Friedrich, and his crowd of enemies been left in a tumbled condition.
But the Epic of Reality cares nothing for such considerations; and the time allowable for capture of Dresden is very brief. Had Daun, on getting warning, been as prompt to return as he was to go, frankly fronting at once the chances of the road, he might have been at Dresden again perhaps within a week,—no Siege possible for Friedrich, hardly the big guns got up from Magdeburg. But Friedrich calculated there would be very considerable fettling and haggling on Daun's part; say a good Fortnight of Siege allowed;—and that, by dead-lift effort of all hands, the thing was feasible within that limit. On Friedrich's part, as we can fancy, there was no want of effort; nor on his people's part,—in spite of his complainings, say Retzow and the Opposition party; who insinuate their own private belief of impossibility from the first. Which is not confirmed by impartial judgments,—that of Archenholtz, and others better. The truth is, Friedrich was within an inch of taking Dresden by the first assault,—they say he actually could have taken it by storm the first day; but shuddered at the thought of exposing poor Dresden to sack and plunder; and hoped to get it by capitulation.
One of the rapidest and most furious Sieges anywhere on record. Filled Europe with astonishment, expectancy, admiration, horror:—must be very briefly recited here. The main chronological epochs, salient points of crisis and successive phases of occurrence, will sufficiently indicate it to the reader's fancy.
"It was Thursday Evening, 10th July, when Lacy got to his Reichsfolk, and took breath behind Plauen Chasm. Maguire is Governor of Dresden. The consternation of garrison and population was extreme. To Lacy himself it did not seem conceivable that Friedrich could mean a Siege of Dresden. Friedrich, that night, is beyond the River, in Daun's old impregnability of Reichenberg: 'He has no siege-artillery,' thinks Lacy; 'no means, no time.'
"Nevertheless, Saturday, next day after to-morrow,—behold, there is Hulsen, come from Schlettau to our neighborhood, on our Austrian side of the River. And at Kaditz yonder, a mile below Dresden, are not the King's people building their Pontoons; in march since 2 in the morning,—evidently coming across, if not to besiege Dresden, then to attack us; which is perhaps worse! We outnumber them,—but as to trying fight in any form? Zweibruck leaves Maguire an additional 10,000;—every help and encouragement to Maguire; whose garrison is now 14,000: 'Be of courage, Excellenz Maguire! Nobody is better skilled in siege-matters. Feldmarschall and relief will be here with despatch!'—and withdraws, Lacy and he, to the edge of the Pirna Country, there to be well out of harm's way. Lacy and he, it is thought, would perhaps have got beaten, trying to save Dresden from its misery. Lacy's orders were, Not, on any terms, to get into fighting with Friedrich, but only to cover Dresden. Dresden, without fighting, has proved impossible to cover, and Lacy leaves it bare." [Tempelhof, iv. 65.]
"At Kaditz," says Mitchell, "where the second bridge of boats took a great deal of time, I was standing by his Majesty, when news to the above effect came across from General Hulsen. The King was highly pleased; and, turning to me, said: 'Just what I wished! They have saved me a very long march [round by Dippoldiswalde or so, in upon the rear of them] by going of will.' And immediately the King got on horseback; ordering the Army to follow as fast as it could." [Mitchell, ii. 168.] "Through Preisnitz, Plauen-ward, goes the Army; circling round the Western and the Southern side of Dresden; [a dread spectacle from the walls]; across Weistritz Brook and the Plauen Chasm [comfortably left vacant]; and encamps on the Southeastern side of Dresden, at Gruna, behind the GREAT GARDEN; ready to begin business on the morrow. Gruna, about a mile to southeast of Dresden Walls, is head-quarter during this Siege.
"Through the night, the Prussians proceed to build batteries, the best they can;—there is no right siege-artillery yet; a few accidental howitzers and 25-pounders, the rest mere field-guns;—but to-morrow morning, be as it may, business shall begin. Prince von Holstein [nephew of the Holstein Beck, or "Holstein SILVER-PLATE," whom we lost long ago], from beyond the River, encamped at the White Hart yonder, is to play upon the Neustadt simultaneously.
MONDAY 14th, "At 6 A.M., cannonade began; diligent on Holstein's part and ours; but of inconsiderable effect. Maguire has been summoned: 'Will [with such a garrison, in spite of such trepidations from the Court and others] defend himself to the last man.' Free-Corps people [not Quintus's, who is on the other side of the River], [Tempelhof, v. 67.] with regulars to rear, advance on the Pirna Gate; hurl in Maguire's Out-parties; and had near got in along with them,—might have done so, they and their supports, it is thought by some, had storm seemed the recommendable method.
"For four days there is livelier and livelier cannonading; new batteries getting opened in the Moschinska Garden and other points; on the Prussian part, great longing that the Magdeburg artillery were here. The Prussians are making diligently ready for it, in the mean while (refitting the old Trenches, 'old Envelope' dug by Maguire himself in the Anti-Schmettau time; these will do well enough):—the Prussians reinforce Holstein at the Weisse, Hirsch, throw a new bridge across to him; and are busy day and night. Maguire, too, is most industrious, resisting and preparing: Thursday shuts up the Weistritz Brook (a dam being ready this long while back, needing only to be closed), and lays the whole South side of Dresden under water. Many rumors about Daun: coming, not coming;—must for certain come, but will possibly be slowish."
FRIDAY 18th. "Joy to every Prussian soul: here are the heavy guns from Magdeburg. These, at any rate, are come; beds for them all ready; and now the cannonading can begin in right earnest. As it does with a vengeance. To Mitchell, and perhaps others, 'the King of Prussia says He will now be master of the Town in a few days. And the disposition he has made of his troops on the other side of the River is intended not only to attack Dresden on that side [and defend himself from Daun], but also to prevent the Garrison from retiring.... This morning, Friday, 18th, the Suburb of Pirna, the one street left of it, was set fire to, by Maguire; and burnt out of the way, as the others had been. Many of the wretched inhabitants had fled to our camp: "Let them lodge in Plauen, no fighting there, quiet artificial water expanses there instead." Many think the Town will not be taken; or that, if it should, it will cost very dear,—so determined seems Maguire. [Mitchell, iii. 170, 171.] And, in effect, from this day onwards, the Siege became altogether fierce, and not only so, but fiery as well; and, though lasting in that violent form only four, or at the very utmost seven, days more, had near ruined Dresden from the face of the world."
SATURDAY, 19th, "Maguire, touched to the quick by these new artilleries of the Prussians this morning, found good to mount a gun or two on the leads of the Kreuz-Kirche [Protestant High Church, where, before now, we have noticed Friedrich attending quasi-divine service more than once];—that is to say, on the crown of Dresden; from which there is view into the bottom of Friedrich's trenches and operations. Others say, it was only two or three old Saxon cannon, which stand there, for firing on gala-days; and that they hardly fired on Friedrich more than once. For certain, this is one of the desirablest battery-stations,—if only Friedrich will leave it alone. Which he will not for a moment; but brings terrific howitzers to bear on it; cannon-balls, grenadoes; tears it to destruction, and the poor Kreuz-Kirche along with it. Kirche speedily all in flames, street after street blazing up round it, again and again for eight-and-forty hours coming; hapless Dresden, during two days and nights, a mere volcano henceforth." "By mistake all that, and without order of mine," says Friedrich once;—meaning, I think, all that of the Kreuz-Kirche: and perhaps wishing he could mean the bombardment altogether, [Schoning, ii. 361 "To Prince Henri, at Giessen [Frankfurt Country], 23d July, 1760."]—who nevertheless got, and gets, most of the credit of the thing from a shocked outside world.
"This morning," same Saturday, 19th, "Daun is reported to have arrived; vanguard of him said to be at Schonfeld, over in THIRSTY-SWEETHEART Country yonder which Friedrich, going to reconnoitre, finds tragically indisputable: 'There, for certain; only five miles from Holstein's post at the WHITE HART, and no River between;—as the crow flies, hardly five from our own Camp. Perhaps it will be some days yet before he do anything?' So that Friedrich persists in his bombardment, only the more: 'By fire-torture, then! Let the bombarded Royalties assail Maguire, and Maguire give in;—it is our one chance left; and succeed we will and must!' Cruel, say you?—Ah, yes, cruel enough, not merciful at all. The soul of Friedrich, I perceive, is not in a bright mood at this time, but in a black and wrathful, worn almost desperate against the slings and arrows of unjust Fate: 'Ahead, I say! If everybody will do miracles, cannot we perhaps still manage it, in spite of Fate?'" Mitchell is very sorry; but will forget and forgive those inexorable passages of war.
"I cannot think of the bombardment of Dresden without horror," says he; "nor of many other things I have seen. Misfortunes naturally sour men's temper [even royal men's]; and long continued, without interval, at last extinguish humanity." "We are now in a most critical and dangerous situation, which cannot long last: one lucky event, approaching to a miracle, may still save all: but the extreme caution and circumspection of Marshal Daun—!" [Mitchell, ii. 184, 185.]
If Daun could be swift, and end the miseries of Dresden, surely Dresden would be much obliged to him. It was ten days yet, after that of the Kreuz-Kirche, before Dresden quite got rid of its Siege: Daun never was a sudden man. By a kind of accident, he got Holstein hustled across the River that first night (July 19th),—not annihilated, as was very feasible, but pushed home, out of his way. Whereby the North side of Dresden is now open; and Daun has free communication with Maguire.
Maguire rose thereupon to a fine pitch of spirits; tried several things, and wished Daun to try; but with next to no result. For two days after Holstein's departure, Daun sat still, on his safe Northern shore; stirring nothing but his own cunctations and investigations, leaving the bombardment, or cannonade, to take its own course. One attempt he did make in concert with Maguire (night of Monday 21st), and one attempt only, of a serious nature; which, like the rest, was unsuccessful. And would not be worth mentioning,—except for the poor Regiment BERNBURG'S sake; Bernburg having got into strange case in consequence of it.
"This Attempt [night of 21st-22d July] was a combined sally and assault—Sally by Maguire's people, a General Nugent heading them, from the South or Plauen side of Dresden, and Assault by 4,000 of Daun's from the North side—upon Friedrich's Trenches. Which are to be burst in upon in this double way, and swept well clear, as may be expected. Friedrich, however, was aware of the symptoms, and had people ready waiting,—especially, had Regiment BERNBURG, Battalions 1st and 2d; a Regiment hitherto without stain.
"Bernburg accordingly, on General Nugent's entering their trenches from the south side, falls altogether heartily on General Nugent; tumbles him back, takes 200 prisoners, Nudent himself one of them [who is considered to have been the eye of the enterprise, worth many hundreds this night] all this Bernburg, in its usually creditable manner, does, as expected of it. But after, or during all this, when the Dann people from the north come streaming in, say four to one, both south and north, Bernburg looked round for support; and seeing none, had, after more or less of struggle, to retire as a defeated Bernburg,—Austrians taking the battery, and ruling supreme there for some time. Till Wedell, or somebody with fresh Battalions, came up; and, rallying Bernburg to him, retook their Battery, and drove out the Austrians, with a heavy loss of prisoners. [Tempelhof, iv. 79.]
"I did not hear that Bernburg's conduct was liable to the least fair censure. But Friedrich's soul is severe at this time; demanding miracles from everybody: 'You runaway Bernburg, shame on you!'—and actually takes the swords from them, and cuts off their Hat-tresses: 'There!' Which excited such an astonishment in the Prussian Army as was seldom seen before. And affected Bernburg to the length almost of despair, and breaking of heart,—in a way that is not ridiculous to me at all, but beautiful and pathetic. Of which there is much talk, now and long afterwards, in military circles. 'The sorrows of these poor Bernburgers, their desperate efforts to wash out this stigma, their actual washing of it out, not many weeks hence, and their magnificent joy on the occasion,—these are the one distinguishing point in Daun's relief of Dresden, which was otherwise quite a cunctatory, sedentary matter."
Daun built three Bridges,—he had a broad stone one already,—but did little or nothing with them; and never himself came across at all. Merely shot out nocturnal Pandour Parties, and ordered up Lacy and the Reichsfolk to do the like, and break the night's rest of his Enemy. He made minatory movements, one at least, down the River, by his own shore, on Friedrich's Ammunition-Boats from Torgau, and actually intercepted certain of them, which was something; but, except this, and vague flourishings of the Pandour kind, left Friedrich to his own course.
Friedrich bombarded for a day or two farther; cannonaded, out of more or fewer batteries, for eight, or I think ten days more. Attacks from Daun there were to be, now on this side, now on that; many rumors of attack, but, except once only (midnight Pandours attempting the King's lodging, "a Farm-house near Gruna," but to their astonishment rousing the whole Prussian Army "in the course of three minutes" [Archenholtz, ii. 81 (who is very vivid, but does not date); Rodenbeck, ii. 24 (quotes similar account by another Eye-witness, and guesses it to be "night of July 22d-23d").]), rumor was mainly all. For guarding his siege-lines, Friedrich has to alter his position; to shift slightly, now fronting this way, now the other way; is "called always at midnight" (against these nocturnal disturbances), and "never has his clothes off." Nevertheless, continues his bombardment, and then his cannonading, till his own good time, which I think is till the 26th. His "ricochet-battery," which is good against Maguire's people, innocent to Dresden, he continued for three days more;—while gathering his furnitures about Plauen Country, making his arrangements at Meissen;—did not march till the night of June 29th. Altogether calmly; no Daun or Austrian molesting him in the least; his very sentries walking their rounds in the trenches till daylight; after which they also marched, unmolested, Meissen-ward.
Unfortunate Friedrich has made nothing of Dresden, then. After such a June and July of it, since he left the Meissen Country; after all these intricate manoeuvrings, hot fierce marchings and superhuman exertions, here is he returning to Meissen Country poorer than if he had stayed. Fouquet lost, Glatz unrelieved—Nay, just before marching off, what is this new phenomenon? Is this by way of "Happy journey to you!" Towards sunset of the 29th, exuberant joy-firing rises far and wide from the usually quiet Austrian lines,—"Meaning what, once more?" Meaning that Glatz is lost, your Majesty; that, instead of a siege of many weeks (as might have been expected with Fouquet for Commandant), it has held out, under Fouquet's Second, only a few hours; and is gone without remedy! Certain, though incredible. Imbecile Commandant, treacherous Garrison (Austrian deserters mainly), with stealthy Jesuits acting on them: no use asking what. Here is the sad Narrative, in succinct form.
CAPTURE OF GLATZ (26th July, 1760).
"Loudon is a swift man, when he can get bridle; but the curb-hand of Daun is often heavy on him. Loudon has had Glatz blockaded since June 7th; since June 23d he has had Fouquet rooted away, and the ground clear for a Siege of Glatz. But had to abstain altogether, in the mean time; to take camp at Landshut, to march and manoeuvre about, in support of Daun, and that heavy-footed gallop of Daun's which then followed: on the whole, it was not till Friedrich went for Dresden that the Siege-Artillery, from Olmutz, could be ordered forward upon Glatz; not for a fortnight more that the Artillery could come; and, in spite of Loudon's utmost despatch, not till break of day, July 26th, that the batteries could open. After which, such was Loudon's speed and fortune,—and so diligent had the Jesuits been in those seven weeks,—the 'Siege,' as they call it, was over in less than seven hours.
"One Colonel D'O [Piedmontese by nation, an incompetent person, known to loud Trenck during his detention here] was Commandant of Glatz, and had the principal Fortress,—for there are two, one on each side the Neisse River;—his Second was a Colonel Quadt, by birth Prussian, seemingly not very competent he either, who had command of the Old Fortress, round which lies the Town of Glatz: a little Town, abounding in Jesuits;—to whose Virgin, if readers remember, Friedrich once gave a new gown; with small effect on her, as would appear. The Quadt-D'O garrison was 2,400,—and, if tales are true, it had been well bejesuited during those seven weeks. [OEuvres de Frederic, v. 55.] At four in the morning, July 26th) the battering began on Quadt; Quadt, I will believe, responding what he could,—especially from a certain Arrowhead Redoubt (or FLECHE) he has, which ought to have been important to him. After four or five hours of this, there was mutual pause,—as if both parties had decided upon breakfast before going farther.
"Quadt's Fortress is very strong, mostly hewn in the rock; and he has that important outwork of a FLECHE; which is excellent for enfilading, as it extends well beyond the glacis; and, being of rock like the rest, is also abundantly defensible. Loudon's people, looking over into this FLECHE, find it negligently guarded; Quadt at breakfast, as would seem:—and directly send for Harsch, Captain of the Siege, and even for Loudon, the General-in-Chief. Negligently guarded, sure enough; nothing in the FLECHE but a few sentries, and these in the horizontal position, taking their unlawful rest there, after such a morning's work. 'Seize me that,' eagerly orders Loudon; 'hold that with firm grip!' Which is done; only to step in softly, two battalions of you, and lay hard hold. Incompetent Quadt, figure in what a flurry, rushing out to recapture his FLECHE,—explodes instead into mere anarchy, whole Companies of him flinging down their arms at their Officers' feet, and the like. So that Quadt is totally driven in again, Austrians along with him; and is obliged to beat chamade;—D'O following the example, about an hour after, without even a capitulation. Was there ever seen such a defence! Major Unruh, one of a small minority, was Prussian, and stanch; here is Unruh's personal experience,—testimony on D'O's Trial, I suppose,—and now pretty much the one thing worth reading on this subject.
"MAJOR ULZRUH TESTIFIES: 'At four in the morning, 26th July, 1760, the Enemy began to cannonade the Old Fortress [that of Quadt]; and about nine, I was ordered with 150 men to clear the Envelope from Austrians. Just when I had got to the Damm-Gate, halt was called. I asked the Commandant, who was behind me, which way I should march; to the Crown-work or to the Envelope? Being answered, To the Envelope, I found on coming out at the Field-Gate nothing but an Austrian Lieutenant-colonel and some men. He called to me, "There had been chamade beaten, and I was not to run into destruction (MICH UNGLUCKLICH MACHEN)!" I offered him Quarter; and took him in effect prisoner, with 20 of his best men; and sent him to the Commandant, with request that he would keep my rear free, or send me reinforcement. I shot the Enemy a great many people here; chased him from the Field-Gate, and out of both the Envelope and the Redoubt called the Crane [that is the FLECHE itself, only that the Austrians are mostly not now there, but gone THROUGH into the interior there!]—Returning to the Field-Gate, I found that the Commandant had beaten chamade a second time; there were marching in, by this Field-Gate, two battalions of the Austrian Regiment ANDLAU; I had to yield myself prisoner, and was taken to General Loudon. He asked me, "Don't you know the rules of war, then; that you fire after chamade is beaten?" I answered in my heat, "I knew of no chamade; what poltroonery or what treachery had been going on, I knew not!" Loudon answered, "You might deserve to have your head laid at your feet, Sir! Am I here to inquire which of you shows bravery, which poltroonery?"' [Seyfarth, ii. 652.] A blazing Loudon, when the fire is up!"—
After the Peace, D'O had Court-Martial, which sentenced him to death, Friedrich making it perpetual imprisonment: "Perhaps not a traitor, only a blockhead!" thought Friedrich. He had been recommended to his post by Fouquet. What Trenck writes of him is, otherwise, mostly lies.
Thus is the southern Key of Silesia (one of the two southern Keys, Neisse being the other) lost to Friedrich, for the first time; and Loudon is like to drive a trade there; "Will absolutely nothing prosper with us, then?" Nothing, seemingly, your Majesty! Heavier news Friedrich scarcely ever had. But there is no help. This too he has to carry with him as he can into the Meissen Country. Unsuccessful altogether; beaten on every hand. Human talent, diligence, endeavor, is it but as lightning smiting the Serbonian Bog? Smite to the last, your Majesty, at any rate; let that be certain. As it is, and has been. That is always something, that is always a great thing.
Friedrich intends no pause in those Meissen Countries. JULY 30th, on his march northward, he detaches Hulsen with the old 10,000 to take Camp at Schlettau as before, and do his best for defence of Saxony against the Reichsfolk, numerous, but incompetent; he himself, next day, passes on, leaving Meissen a little on his right, to Schieritz, some miles farther down,—intending there to cross Elbe, and make for Silesia without loss of an hour. Need enough of speed thither; more need than even Friedrich supposes! Yesterday, July 30th, Loudon's Vanguard came blockading Breslau, and this day Loudon himself;—though Friedrich heard nothing, anticipated nothing, of that dangerous fact, for a week hence or more.
Soltikof's and Loudon's united intentions on Silesia he has well known this long while; and has been perpetually dunning Prince Henri on the subject, to no purpose,—only hoping always there would probably be no great rapidity on the part of these discordant Allies. Friedrich's feelings, now that the contrary is visible, and indeed all through the Summer in regard to the Soltikof-Loudon Business, and the Fouquet-Henri method of dealing with it, have been painful enough, and are growing ever more so. Cautious Henri never would make the smallest attack on Soltikof, but merely keep observing him;—the end of which, what can the end of it be? urges Friedrich always: "Condense yourselves; go in upon the Russians, while they are in separate corps;"—and is very ill-satisfied with the languor of procedures there. As is the Prince with such reproaches, or implied reproaches, on said languor. Nor is his humor cheered, when the King's bad predictions prove true. What has it come to? These Letters of King and Prince are worth reading,—if indeed you can, in the confusion of Schoning (a somewhat exuberant man, loud rather than luminous);—so curious is the Private Dialogue going on there at all times, in the background of the stage, between the Brothers. One short specimen, extending through the June and July just over,—specimen distilled faithfully out of that huge jumbling sea of Schaning, and rendered legible,—the reader will consent to.
DIALOGUE OF FRIEDRICH AND HENRI (from their Private Correspondence: June 7th-July 29th, 1760).
FRIEDRICH (June 7th; before his first crossing Elbe: Henri at Sagan; he at Schlettau, scanning the waste of fatal possibilities). ... Embarrassing? Not a doubt, of that! "I own, the circumstances both of us are in are like to turn my head, three or four times a day." Loudon aiming for Neisse, don't you think? Fouquet all in the wrong.—"One has nothing for it but to watch where the likelihood of the biggest misfortune is, and to run thither with one's whole strength."
HENRI... "I confess I am in great apprehension for Colberg:"—shall one make thither; think you? Russians, 8,000 as the first instalment of them, have ARRIVED; got to Posen under Fermor, June 1st:—so the Commandant of Glogau writes me (see enclosed).
FRIEDRICH (June 9th). Commandant of Glogau writes impossibilities: Russians are not on march yet, nor will be for above a week.
"I cross Elbe, the 15th. I am compelled to undertake something of decisive nature, and leave the rest to chance. For desperate disorders desperate remedies. My bed is not one of roses. Heaven aid us: for human prudence finds itself fall short in situations so cruel and desperate as ours." [Schoning, ii. 313 ("Meissen Camp, 7th June, 1760"); ib. ii. 317 ("9th June").]
HENRI. Hm, hm, ha (Nothing but carefully collected rumors, and wire-drawn auguries from them, on the part of Henri; very intense inspection of the chicken-bowels,—hardly ever without a shake of the head).
FRIEDRICH (June 26th; has heard of the Fouquet disaster).... "Yesterday my heart was torn to pieces [news of Landshut, Fouquet's downfall there], and I felt too sad to be in a state for writing you a sensible Letter; but to-day, when I have come to myself a little again, I will send you my reflections. After what has happened to Fouquet, it is certain Loudon can have no other design but on Breslau [he designs Glatz first of all]: it will be the grand point, therefore, especially if the Russians too are bending thither, to save that Capital of Silesia. Surely the Turks must be in motion:—if so, we are saved; if not so, we are lost! To-day I have taken this Camp of Dobritz, in order to be more collected, and in condition to fight well, should occasion rise,—and in case all this that is said and written to me about the Turks is TRUE [which nothing of it was], to be able to profit by it when the time comes." [Schoning, ii. 341 ("Gross-Dobritz, 26th June, 1760").]
HENRI (simultaneously, June 26th: Henri is forward from Sagan, through Frankfurt, and got settled at Landsberg, where he remains through the rest of the Dialogue).... Tottleben, with his Cossacks, scouring about, got a check from us,—nothing like enough. "By all my accounts, Soltikof, with the gross of the Russians, is marching for Posen. The other rumors and symptoms agree in indicating a separate Corps, under Fermor, who is to join Tottleben, and besiege Colberg: if both these Corps, the Colberg and the Posen one, act, in concert, my embarrassment will be extreme.... I have just had news of what has befallen General Fouquet. Before this stroke, your affairs were desperate enough; now I see but too well what we have to look for." [Ib. ii. 339 ("Landsberg, 26th June, 1760").] (How comforting!)
FRIEDRICH. "Would to God your prayers for the swift capture of Dresden had been heard; but unfortunately I must tell you, this stroke has failed me.... Dresden has been reduced to ashes, third part of the Altstadt lying burnt;—contrary to my intentions: my orders were, To spare the City, and play the Artillery against the works. My Minister Graf von Finck will have told you what occasioned its being set on fire." [Schoning, ii. 361 ("2d-3d July").]
HENRI (July 26th; Dresden Siege gone awry).... "I am to keep the Russians from Frankfurt, to cover Glogau, and prevent a besieging of Breslau! All that forms an overwhelming problem;—which I, with my whole heart, will give up to somebody abler for it than I am." [Ib. ii. 369-371 ("Landsherg, 26th July").]
FRIEDRICH (29th July; quits the Trenches of Dresden this night). ... "I have seen with pain that you represent everything to yourself on the black side. I beg you, in the name of God, my dearest Brother, don't take things up in their blackest and worst shape:—it is this that throws your mind into such an indecision, which is so lamentable. Adopt a resolution rather, what resolution you like, but stand by it, and execute it with your whole strength. I conjure you, take a fixed resolution; better a bad than none at all.... What is possible to man, I will do; neither care nor consideration nor effort shall be spared, to secure the result of my plans. The rest depends on circumstances. Amid such a number of enemies, one cannot always do what one will, but must let them prescribe." [Ib. ii. 370-372 ("Leubnitz, before Dresden, 29th July, 1760").]
An uncomfortable little Gentleman; but full of faculty, if one can manage to get good of it! Here, what might have preceded all the above, and been preface to it, is a pretty passage from him; a glimpse he has had of Sans-Souci, before setting out on those gloomy marchings and cunctatory hagglings. Henri writes (at Torgau, April 26th, just back from Berlin and farewell of friends):—
"I mean to march the day after to-morrow. I took arrangements with General Fouquet [about that long fine-spun Chain of Posts, where we are to do such service?]—the Black Hussars cannot be here till to-morrow, otherwise I should have marched a day sooner. My Brother [poor little invalid Ferdinand] charged me to lay him at your feet. I found him weak and thin, more so than formerly. Returning hither, the day before yesterday, I passed through Potsdam; I went to Sans-Souci [April 24th, 1760]:—all is green there; the Garden embellished, and seemed to me excellently kept. Though these details cannot occupy you at present, I thought it would give you pleasure to hear of them for a moment." [Schoning, ii. 233 ("Torgau, 26th April, 1760").] Ah, yes; all is so green and blessedly silent there: sight of the lost Paradise, actually IT, visible for a moment yonder, far away, while one goes whirling in this manner on the illimitable wracking winds!—
Here finally, from a distant part of the War-Theatre, is another Note; which we will read while Friedrich is at Schieritz. At no other place so properly; the very date of it, chief date (July 31st), being by accident synchronous with Schieritz:—
DUKE FERDINAND'S BATTLE OF WARBURG (31st July, 1760).
Duke Ferdinand has opened his difficult Campaign; and especially—just while that Siege of Dresden blazed and ended—has had three sharp Fights, which were then very loud in the Gazettes, along with it. Three once famous Actions; which unexpectedly had little or no result, and are very much forgotten now. So that bare enumeration of them is nearly all we are permitted here. Pitt has furnished 7,000 new English, this Campaign,—there are now 20,000 English in all, and a Duke Ferdinand raised to 70,000 men. Surely, under good omens, thinks Pitt; and still more think the Gazetteers, judging by appearances. Yes: but if Broglio have 130,000, what will it come to? Broglio is two to one; and has, before this, proved himself a considerable Captain.
Fight FIRST is that of KORBACH (July 10th): of Broglio, namely, who has got across the River Ohm in Hessen (to Ferdinand's great disgust with the General Imhof in command there), and is streaming on to seize the Diemel River, and menace Hanover; of Broglio, in successive sections, at a certain "Pass of Korbach," VERSUS the Hereditary Prince (ERBPRINZ of Brunswick), who is waiting for him there in one good section,—and who beautifully hurls back one and another of the Broglio sections; but cannot hurl back the whole Broglio Army, all marching by sections that way; and has to retire, back foremost, fencing sharply, still in a diligently handsome manner, though with loss. [Mauvillon, ii. 105.] That is the Battle of Korbach, fought July 10th,—while Lacy streamed through Dresden, panting to be at Plauen Chasm, safe at last.
Fight SECOND (July 16th) was a kind of revenge on the Erbprinz's part: Affair of EMSDORF, six days after, in the same neighborhood; beautiful too, said the Gazetteers; but of result still more insignificant. Hearing of a considerable French Brigade posted not far off, at that Village of Emsdorf, to guard Broglio's meal-carts there, the indignant Erbprinz shoots off for that; light of foot,—English horse mainly, and Hill Scots (BERG-SCHOTTEN so called, who have a fine free stride, in summer weather);—dashes in upon said Brigade (Dragoons of Bauffremont and other picked men), who stood firmly on the defensive; but were cut up, in an amazing manner, root and branch, after a fierce struggle, and as it were brought home in one's pocket. To the admiration of military circles,—especially of mess-rooms and the junior sort. "Elliot's light horse [part of the new 7,000], what a regiment! Unparalleled for willingness, and audacity of fence; lost 125 killed,"—in fact, the loss chiefly fell on Elliot. [Ib. ii. 109 (Prisoners got "were 2,661, including General and Officers 179," with all their furnitures whatsoever, "400 horses, 8 cannon," &c.).] The BERG-SCHOTTEN too,—I think it was here that these kilted fellows, who had marched with such a stride, "came home mostly riding:" poor Beauffremont Dragoons being entirely cut up, or pocketed as prisoners, and their horses ridden in this unexpected manner! But we must not linger,—hardly even on WARBURG, which was the THIRD and greatest; and has still points of memorability, though now so obliterated.
"Warburg," says my Note on this latter, "is a pleasant little Hessian Town, some twenty-five miles west of Cassel, standing on the north or left bank of the Diemel, among fruitful knolls and hollows. The famous 'BATTLE OF WARBURG,'—if you try to inquire in the Town itself, from your brief railway-station, it is much if some intelligent inhabitant, at last, remembers to have heard of it! The thing went thus: Chevalier du Muy, who is Broglio's Rear-guard or Reserve, 30,000 foot and horse, with his back to the Diemel, and eight bridges across it in case of accident, has his right flank leaning on Warburg, and his left on a Village of Ossendorf, some two miles to northwest of that. Broglio, Prince Xavier of Saxony, especially Duke Ferdinand, are all vehemently and mysteriously moving about, since that Fight of Korbach; Broglio intent to have Cassel besieged, Du Muy keeping the Diemel for him; Ferdinand eager to have the Diemel back from Du Muy and him.
"Two days ago (July 29th), the Erbprinz crossed over into these neighborhoods, with a strong Vanguard, nearly equal to Du Muy; and, after studious reconnoitring and survey had, means, this morning (July 31st), to knock him over the Diemel again, if he can. No time to be lost; Broglio near and in such force. Duke Ferdinand too, quitting Broglio for a moment, is on march this way; crossed the Diemel, about midnight, some ten miles farther down, or eastward; will thence bend southward, at his best speed, to support the Erbprinz, if necessary, and beset the Diemel when got;—Erbprinz not, however, in any wise, to wait for him; such the pressure from Broglio and others. A most busy swift-going scene that morning;—hardly worth such describing at this date of time.
"The Erbprinz, who is still rather to northeastward, that is to rightward, not directly frontward, of Du Muy's lines; and whose plan of attack is still dark to Du Muy, commences [about 8 A.M., I should guess] by launching his British Legion so called,—which is a composite body, of Free-Corps nature, British some of it ('Colonel Beckwith's people,' for example), not British by much the most of it, but an aggregate of wild strikers, given to plunder too:—by launching his British Legion upon Warburg Town, there to take charge of Du Muy's right wing. Which Legion, 'with great rapidity, not only pitched the French all out, but clean plundered the poor Town;' and is a sad sore on Du Muy's right, who cannot get it attended to, in the ominous aspects elsewhere visible. For the Erbprinz, who is a strategic creature, comes on, in the style of Friedrich, not straight towards Du Muy, but sweeps out in two columns round northward; privately intending upon Du Muy's left wing and front—left wing, right wing, (by British Legion), and front, all three;—and is well aided by a mist which now fell, and which hung on the higher ground, and covered his march, for an hour or more. This mist had not begun when he saw, on the knoll-tops, far off on the right, but indisputable as he flattered himself,—something of Ferdinand emerging! Saw this; and pours along, we can suppose, with still better step and temper. And bursts, pretty simultaneously, upon Du Muy's right wing and left wing, coercing his front the while; squelches both these wings furiously together; forces the coerced centre, mostly horse, to plunge back into the Diemel, and swim. Horse could swim; but many of the Foot, who tried, got drowned. And, on the whole, Du Muy is a good deal wrecked [1,600 killed, 2,000 prisoners, not to speak of cannon and flags], and, but for his eight bridges, would have been totally ruined.
"The fight was uncommonly furious, especially on Du Muy's left; 'Maxwell's Brigade' going at it, with the finest bayonet-practice, musketry, artillery-practice; obstinate as bears. On Du Muy's right, the British Legion, left wing, British too by name, had a much easier job. But the fight generally was of hot and stubborn kind, for hours, perhaps two or more;—and some say, would not have ended so triumphantly, had it not been for Duke Ferdinand's Vanguard, Lord Granby and the English Horse; who, warned by the noise ahead, pushed on at the top of their speed, and got in before the death. Granby and the Blues had gone at the high trot, for above five miles; and, I doubt not, were in keen humor when they rose to the gallop and slashed in. Mauvillon says, 'It was in this attack that Lord Granby, at the head of the Blues, his own regiment, had his hat blown off; a big bald circle in his head rendering the loss more conspicuous. But he never minded; stormed still on,' bare bald head among the helmets and sabres; 'and made it very evident that had he, instead of Sackville, led at Minden, there had been a different story to tell. The English, by their valor,' adds he, 'greatly distinguished themselves this day. And accordingly they suffered by far the most; their loss amounting to 590 men:' or, as others count,—out of 1,200 killed and wounded, 800 were English." [Mauvillon, ii. 114. Or better, in all these three cases, as elsewhere, Tempelhof's specific Chapter on Ferdinand (Tempelhof, iv. 101-122). Ferdinand's Despatch (to King George), in Knesebeck, ii. 96-98;—or in the Old Newspapers (Gentleman's Magazine, xxx. 386, 387), where also is Lord Granby's Despatch.]
This of Granby and the bald head is mainly what now renders Warburg memorable. For, in a year or two, the excellent Reynolds did a Portrait of Granby; and by no means forgot this incident; but gives him bare-headed, bare and bald; the oblivious British connoisseur not now knowing why, as perhaps he ought. The portrait, I suppose, may be in Belvoir Castle; the artistic Why of the baldness is this BATTLE OF WARBURG, as above. An Affair otherwise of no moment. Ferdinand had soon to quit the Diemel, or to find it useless for him, and to try other methods,—fencing gallantly, but too weak for Broglio; and, on the whole, had a difficult Campaign of it, against that considerable Soldier with forces so superior.
Chapter III.—BATTLE OF LIEGNITZ.
Friedrich stayed hardly one day in Neissen Country; Silesia, in the jaws of destruction, requiring such speed from him. His new Series of Marches thitherward, for the next two weeks especially, with Daun and Lacy, and at last with Loudon too, for escort, are still more singular than the foregoing; a fortnight of Soldier History such as is hardly to be paralleled elsewhere. Of his inward gloom one hears nothing. But the Problem itself approaches to the desperate; needing daily new invention, new audacity, with imminent destruction overhanging it throughout. A March distinguished in Military Annals;—but of which it is not for us to pretend treating. Military readers will find it in TEMPELHOF, and the supplementary Books from time to time cited here. And, for our own share, we can only say, that Friedrich's labors strike us as abundantly Herculean; more Alcides-like than ever,—the rather as hopes of any success have sunk lower than ever. A modern Alcides, appointed to confront Tartarus itself, and be victorious over the Three-headed Dog. Daun, Lacy, Loudon coming on you simultaneously, open-mouthed, are a considerable Tartarean Dog! Soldiers judge that the King's resources of genius were extremely conspicuous on this occasion; and to all men it is in evidence that seldom in the Arena of this Universe, looked on by the idle Populaces and by the eternal Gods and Antigods (called Devils), did a Son of Adam fence better for himself, now and throughout.
This, his Third march to Silesia in 1760, is judged to be the most forlorn and ominous Friedrich ever made thither; real peril, and ruin to Silesia and him, more imminent than even in the old Leuthen days. Difficulties, complicacies very many, Friedrich can foresee: a Daun's Army and a Lacy's for escort to us; and such a Silesia when we do arrive. And there is one complicacy more which he does not yet know of; that of Loudon waiting ahead to welcome him, on crossing the Frontier, and increase his escort thenceforth!—Or rather, let us say, Friedrich, thanks to the despondent Henri and others, has escaped a great Silesian Calamity;—of which he will hear, with mixed emotions, on arriving at Bunzlau on the Silesian Frontier, six days after setting out. Since the loss of Glatz (July 26th), Friedrich has no news of Loudon; supposes him to be trying something upon Neisse, to be adjusting with his slow Russians; and, in short, to be out of the dismal account-current just at present. That is not the fact in regard to Loudon; that is far from the fact.
LOUDON IS TRYING A STROKE-OF-HAND ON BRESLAU, IN THE GLATZ FASHION, IN THE INTERIM (July 30th-August 3d).
Hardly above six hours after taking Glatz, swift Loudon, no Daun now tethering him (Daun standing, or sitting, "in relief of Dresden" far off), was on march for Breslau—Vanguard of him "marched that same evening (July 26th):" in the liveliest hope of capturing Breslau; especially if Soltikof, to whom this of Glatz ought to be a fine symbol and pledge, make speed to co-operate. Soltikof is in no violent enthusiasm about Glatz; anxious rather about his own Magazine at Posen, and how to get it carted out of Henri's way, in case of our advancing towards some Silesian Siege. "If we were not ruined last year, it was n't Daun's fault!" growls he often; and Montalembert has need of all his suasive virtues (which are wonderful to look at, if anybody cared to look at them, all flung into the sea in this manner) for keeping the barbarous man in any approach to harmony. The barbarous man had, after haggle enough, adjusted himself for besieging Glogau; and is surly to hear, on the sudden (order from Petersburg reinforcing Loudon), that it is Breslau instead. "Excellenz, it is not Cunctator Daun this time, it is fiery Loudon." "Well, Breslau, then!" answers Soltikof at last, after much suasion. And marches thither; [Tempelhof, iv. 87-89 ("Rose from Posen, July 26th").] faster than usual, quickened by new temporary hopes, of Montalembert's raising or one's own: "What a place-of-arms, and place of victual, would Breslau be for us, after all!"
And really mends his pace, mends it ever more, as matters grow stringent; and advances upon Breslau at his swiftest: "To rendezvous with Loudon under the walls there,—within the walls very soon, and ourselves chief proprietor!"—as may be hoped. Breslau has a garrison of 4,000, only 1,000 of them stanch; and there are, among other bad items, 9,000 Austrian Prisoners in it. A big City with weak walls: another place to defend than rock-hewn little Glatz,—if there be no better than a D'O for Commandant in it! But perhaps there is.
"WEDNESDAY, 30th JULY, Loudon's Vanguard arrived at Breslau; next day Loudon himself;—and besieged Breslau very violently, according to his means, till the Sunday following. Troops he has plenty, 40,000 odd, which he gives out for 50 or even 60,000; not to speak of Soltikof, 'with 75,000' (read 45,000), striding on in a fierce and dreadful manner to meet him here. 'Better surrender to Christian Austrians, had not you?' Loudon's Artillery is not come up, it is only struggling on from Glatz; Soltikof of his own has no Siege-Artillery; and Loudon judges that heavy-footed Soltikof, waited on by an alert Prince Henri, is a problematic quantity in this enterprise. 'Speedy oneself; speedy and fiery!' thinks Loudon: 'by violence of speed, of bullying and bombardment, perhaps we can still do it!' And Loudon tried all these things to a high stretch; but found in Tauentzien the wrong man.
"THURSDAY, 31st, Loudon, who has two bridges over Oder, and the Town begirt all round, summons Tauentzien in an awful sounding tone: 'Consider, Sir: no defence possible; a trading Town, you ought not to attempt defence of it: surrender on fair terms, or I shall, which God forbid, be obliged to burn you and it from the face of the world!' 'Pooh, pooh,' answers Tauentzien, in brief polite terms; 'you yourselves had no doubt it was a Garrison, when we besieged you here, on the heel of Leuthen; had you? Go to!'—Fiery Loudon cannot try storm, the Town having Oder and a wet ditch round it. He gets his bombarding batteries forward, as the one chance he has, aided by bullying. And to-morrow,
"FRIDAY, AUGUST 1st, sends, half officially, half in the friendly way, dreadful messages again: a warning to the Mayor of Breslau (which was not signed by Loudon), 'Death and destruction, Sir, unless'—!—warning to the Mayor; and, by the same private half-official messenger, a new summons to Tauentzien: 'Bombardment infallible; universal massacre by Croats; I will not spare the child in its mother's womb.' 'I am not with child,' said Tauentzien, 'nor are my soldiers! What is the use of such talk?' And about 10 that night, Loudon does accordingly break out into all the fire of bombardment he is master of. Kindles the Town in various places, which were quenched again by Tauentzien's arrangements; kindles especially the King's fine Dwelling-house (Palace they call it), and adjacent streets, not quenchable till Palace and they are much ruined. Will this make no impression? Far too little.
"Next morning Loudon sends a private messenger of conciliatory tone: 'Any terms your Excellency likes to name. Only spare me the general massacre, and child in the mother's womb!' From all which Tauentzien infers that you are probably short of ammunition; and that his outlooks are improving. That day he gets guns brought to bear on General Loudon's own quarter; blazes into Loudon's sitting-room, so that Loudon has to shift else-whither. No bombardment ensues that night; nor next day anything but desultory cannonading, and much noise and motion;—and at night, SUNDAY, 3d, everything falls quiet, and, to the glad amazement of everybody, Loudon has vanished." [Tempelhof, iv. 90-100; Archenholtz, ii. 89-94; HOFBERICHT VON DER BELAGERUNG VON BRESLAU IM AUGUST 1760 (in Seyfarth, Beylagen, ii. 688-698); also in Helden-Geschichte, vi. 299-309: in Anonymous of Hamburg (iv. 115-124), that is, in the OLD NEWSPAPERS, extremely particular account, How "not only the finest Horse in Breslau, and the finest House [King's Palace], but the handsomest Man, and, alas, also the prettiest Girl [poor Jungfer Muller, shattered by a bomb-shell on the streets], were destroyed in this short Siege,"—world-famous for the moment. Preuss, ii. 246.]