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3d Nov. 1760. tember ;-has heard, however, from Wesel, through secret partisans there, That Wesel, considered altogether out of risk, is left in a very weak condition ; weak in garrison, weak even in gunners. Reflecting upon which, in his difficulties, Ferdinand asks himself, “A sudden stroke at Wesel, 200 miles away, might it not astonish Broglio, who is so busy on us just here?”—and, September 22d, despatches the Hereditary Prince on that errand. A man likely for it, if there be one in the world :-unable to do it, however, as the issue told. Here is what I find noted.
• September 22d, the Erbprinz, with a chosen Corps of 15,000, mostly English, left these Diemel regions towards Wesel, at his speediest. September 29th, Erbprinz and vanguard, Corps rapidly following, are got to Dorsten, within 20 miles of Wesel. A most swift Erbprinz; likely for such work. And it is thought by judges, Had he had either siege-artillery or scaling apparatus, he might really have attacked Wesel with good chance
upon it. But he has not even a ladder ready, much • less a siege-gun. Siege-guns are at Bielefeld' (come from Bremen, I suppose, by English boating, up the Weser so far); but
that is six-score miles of wheel-carriage; roads bad, and threatening to be worse, as it is equinoctial weather. There is nothing for it but to wait for those guns.
'The Erbprinz, hopefully waiting, does his endeavour in the 'interim; throws a bridge over the Rhine, pounces upon Cleve
garrison (prisoners, with their furnitures), pounces upon this and that; “spreads terror" on the French thereabouts “
up to Düsseldorf and Köln,”—and on Broglio himself, so far off, the due astonishment. “Wesel to be
“ Wesel to be snatched,—ye Heavens ! Our Netherlands road cut off : Düsseldorf, Köln, our Rhine • Magazines, all and sundry, fallen to the hawks,—who, the ' lighter-winged of them, might pay visits in France itself !”
Broglio has to suspend his Göttingen operations, and detach Marquis de Castries with (say ultimately, for Castries is to grow and gather by the road) 35,000, to relieve Wesel. Castries marches double-quick; weather very rainy ;-arrives in ' those parts, October 13th ;-hardly a gun from Bielefeld come to hand yet, Erbprinz merely filling men with terror. And so,
• October 14th, after two weeks and a day, the Hereditary
3d Nov. 1760. • Prince sees, not guns from Bielefeld, but Castries pushing into • Wesel a 7,000 of additional garrison, and the Enterprise on • Wesel grown impossible. Impossible, and probably far more; • Castries in a condition to devour us, if he prove sharp. It
behoves the Hereditary Prince to be himself sharp ;—which "he undoubtedly was, in this sharp crisis. Next day, our Erb
prinz, taking survey of Castries in his strong ground of Kloster * Kampen, decides, like a gallant fellow, to attack him ;—and straightway does it. Breaks, that same night (October 15th16th, 1760), stealthily, through woods and with precautions, into Castries' Post;-intending surprisal, and mere ruin to Castries. * And there ensued, not the Surprisal as it turned out, but the • Battle of Kloster Kampen; which again proved unsuccessful, or only half successful, to the Hereditary Prince. A many-winged, intricate Night-Battle; to be read of in Books. This is where the Chevalier D’Assas, he or Somebody, gave the alarm to the • Castries people at the expense of his life. “ À moi, Aurergne, · Ho, Auvergne !" shouted D’Assas (if it was D’Assas at all), when the stealthy English came upon him; who was at once • cut down. It is certain, Auvergne gave fire; awoke Castries ' bodily; and saved him from what was otherwise inevitable.
Surprise now there was none farther; but a complex Fight, managed in the darkness with uncommon obstinacy; ending “in withdrawal of the Erbprinz, as from a thing that could not be done. His loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, was 1,638; 3d Nov. 1760. that of Castries, by his own counting, 2,036: but Kloster Kampen, in the wide-awake state, could not be won.
17 Preuss (ii. 270 n.) asserts it to be proved, in 'Miscellen aus den neuesten ausländischen Litteratur (1824, No. 3, p. 409),' a Book which none of us ever saw, 'That the real hero' (equal to a Roman Decius or more) 'was not Captain D'Assas, of the Regiment Auvergne, but a poor Private • Soldier of it, called Dubois'!-Is not this a strange turn, after such bepensioning, be-painting, singing and celebrating, as rose upon poor D'Assas, or the Family of D’Assas, twenty years afterwards (1777-1790)!-Both Dubois and D’Assas, I conclude, lay among the slain at Kloster Kampen, silent they forever :-and a painful doubt does rise, As to the miraculous operation of Posthumous Rumour and Wonder; and Whether there was any 'miracle of heroism,' or other miracle at all, and not rather a poor nocturnal accident,-poor sentry in the edge of the wood, shrieking out, on apparition of the stealthy English, "Ho, Auvergne, help !" probably firing withal; and getting killed in consequence ? Non nostrum est.
• During the Fight, the Erbprinz's Rhine-Bridge had burst in "two: his ammunition was running short ;-and, it would seem, there is no retreat, either! The Erbprinz put a bold face on the matter, stood to Castries in a threatening attitude; man• æuvered skilfully for two days longer, face still to Castries, till 'the Bridge was got mended; then, night of October 18th-19th, crossed to his own side; gathered up his goods; and at a deli
berate pace marched home, on those terms ;--doing some useful ' fighting by the road.'18
Had lost nothing, say his admirers, “but one cannon, which burst. One burst cannon left on the field of Kloster Kampen ;but also, as we see, his errand along with it; and 1,600 good fighters lost and burst: which was more important! Criticisms there were on it in England, perhaps of the unwise sort generally; sorrow in the highest quarter. “An unaccountable expe“ dition,” Walpole calls it, “ on which Prince Ferdinand suddenly
dispatched his Nephew, at the head of a considerable force, “ towards the frontiers of Holland,”—-merely to see the country there?—“ which occasioned much solicitude in England, as the “Main Army, already unequal to that of France, was thus “ rendered much weaker. King George felt it with much anx“iety."19 An unaccountable Enterprise, my poor Gazetteer friends,—very evidently an unsuccessful one, so far as Wesel went. Many English fallen in it, too: “the English showed here again a ganz ausnehmende Tapferkeit,” says Mauvillon; and probably their share of the loss was proportionate.
Clearly enough there is no Wesel to be had. Neither could Broglio, though disturbed in his Göttingen fortifyings and operations, be ejected out of Göttingen. Ferdinand, on failure of Wesel, himself marched to Göttingen, and tried for some days; but found he could not, in such weather, tear out that firmlyrooted French Post, but must be content to “mask it,” for the present; and, this done, withdrew (December 13th) to his win
18 Mauvillon, ii. 120-129; Tempelhof, ii. 325-332.
3d Nov. 1760. ter-quarters near by, as did Broglio to his,-about the time Friedrich and Daun had finally settled in theirs.
Ferdinand's Campaigns henceforth, which turn all on the defence of Hanover, are highly recommended to professional readers; but, to the laic sort, do not prove interesting in proportion to the trouble. In fact, the huge War henceforth begins everywhere, or everywhere except in Pitt's department of it, to burn lower, like a lamp with the oil getting done; and has less of brilliancy than formerly. “Let us try for Hanover,” the Belleisles, Choiseuls, and wise French heads had said to themselves: “Canada, India, everything is lost; but were dear Hanover well in our clutch, Hanover would be a remedy for many things!” Through the remaining Campaigns, as in this now done, that is their fixed plan. Ferdinand, by unwearied effort, succeeded in defending Hanover,--nothing of it but that inconsiderable slice or skirt round Göttingen, which they kept long, could ever be got by the French. Ferdinand defended Hanover; and wore out annually the big French Armies which were missioned thither, as in the spasm of an expiring last effort by this poor hag-ridden France,-at an expense to her, say, of 50,000 men per year. Which was good service on Ferdinand's part; but done less and less in the shining or universally notable way.
So that with him too we are henceforth, thank Heaven, permitted and even bound to be brief. Hardly above two Battles more from him, if even two and mostly the wearied Reader's imagination left to conceive for itself those intricate strategies, and endless maneuverings on the Diemel and the Dill, on the Ohm River and the Schwalm and the Lippe, or wherever they may be, with small help from a wearied Editor!
A MELANCHOLY little event, which afterwards proved unexpectedly unfortunate for Friedrich, had happened in England, ten days before the Battle of Torgau. Saturday, 25th October 1760, George II., poor old gentleman, suddenly died. He was in his 77th year; feeble, but not feebler than usual, —unless, perhaps, the unaccountable news from Kloster Kampen may have been too agitating to the dim old mind? On the Monday of this week he had, 'from a tent in Hyde Park,' presided at a Review of dragoons; and on Thursday, as his Coldstream Guards were on march for Portsmouth and foreign service, “was in his Portico at Kensington to see them pass;'—full of zeal always in regard to military matters, and to this War in particular. Saturday, by sunrise he was on foot; took his cup of chocolate; inquired about the wind, and the chances of mails arriving; opened his window, said he would have a turn in the Gardens, the morning being so fine. It was now between 7 and 8. The Valet then withdrew with the chocolate apparatus; but had hardly shut the door, when he heard a deep sigh, and fall of something, - “ billet of wood from the fire ?” thought he;upon which, hurrying back, he found it was the King, who had dropt from his seat, “as if in attempting to ring the bell.' King said faintly, “Call Amelia,” and instantly died. Poor deaf Amelia (Friedrich's old love,