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30th Sept.—1st Oct. 1761.
For, in fine, between 5 and 6, that is in about three hours 6 and a half, Loudon was everywhere victorious; Zastrow, 'Schweidnitz Fortress, and all that it held, were Loudon's at
discretion ; Loudon's one care now was to stop the pillage of the 'poor Townsfolk, as the most pressing thing. Which was not • done without difficulty, nor completely till after hours of exertion by cavalry regiments sent in. The captors had fought ' valiantly; but it was whispered there had been a preliminary
of brandy in them; certainly, except those poor Russians, nobody's behaviour was unexceptionable.'
The capture of Schweidnitz cost Loudon about 1,400 men; he found in Schweidnitz, besides the Garrison all prisoners or killed, some 240 pieces of artillery,--211 · heavy guns, 135 hand-mortars,' say the Austrian Accounts, 'with stores and munitions' in such quantities; '89,760 musket-cartridges, 1,300,600 flints,” for two items :—and all this was a trifle compared to the shock it has brought on Friedrich's Silesian affairs. For, in present circumstances, it amounts to the actual conquest of a large portion of Silesia; and, for the first time, of a real prospect of finishing the remainder next Year. It is judged to have been the hardest stroke Friedrich had in the course of this War. “Our strenuous Campaign, on a sudden rendered wind, and of no worth! The Enemy to winter in Silesia, after all; Silesia to go inevitably,—and life along with it!" What Friedrich's black meditations were, nobody knows. 'In the follow' ing weeks' (not close following, but poor Küster does not date), “the King fell ill of gout, saw almost no' body, never came out; and, it was whispered, the · inflexible heart of him was at last breaking; that is 'to say, the very axis of this Prussian world giving way. And for certain, there never was in his camp
· In Helden-Geschichte (vi. 651-665) the Austrian Account, with Lists &c.
30th Sept.—1st Oct. 1761. 6 and over his dominions such a gloom as in this October * 1761; till at length he appeared on horseback again,
with a cheerful face; and everybody thought to him' self, “ Ha, the world will still roll, then !" ?8 This is what Loudon had done, without any
Russians, except Russians to give him eight-and-forty hours colic, and put him on his own shifts. And the way in which the Kriegshofrath, and her Imperial Majesty the Kaiserinn, received it, is perhaps still worth a word. The Kaiser, who had alone known of Loudon's scheme, and for good reason (absolute secrecy being the very soul of it) had whispered nothing of it further to any mortal, was naturally overjoyed. But the Olympian brow of Maria Theresa, when the Kaiser went radiant to her with this news, did not radiate in response; but gloomed indignantly: “No order from Kriegshofrath, or me!" Indignant Kriegshofrath called it a Croatenstreich (Croat's-trick); and Loudon, like Prince Eugene long since, was with difficulty excused this act of disobedience. Great is Authority;--and ought to be divinely rigorous, if (as by no means always happens) it is otherwise of divine quality!
Friedrich's treatment of Zastrow was in strong contrast of style. Here is his Letter to that unlucky Gentleman, who is himself clear that he deserves no blame:
My dear Major-General von Zastrow,—The misfortune " that has befallen me is very grievous; but what con“soles me in it is, to see by your Letter that you have “ behaved like a brave Officer, and that neither you nor “the Garrison have brought disgrace or reproach on " yourselves. I am your well-affectioned King,-FRIED
& Küster, Lebens-Rettungen Friedrichs des Zweyten (Berlin, 1797), p. 59 &c. It is the same innocent reliable Küster whom we cited, in Saldern's case, already.
30th Sept.—1st Oct. 1761. " RICH." And in Autograph this Postscript : “You
may, in this occurrence, say what Francis I., after " the Battle of Pavia, wrote to his Mother: “All is lost
except honour. As I do not yet completely under“ stand the affair, I forbear to judge of it; for it is altogether extraordinary.-F."9
And never meddled farther with Zastrow; only left him well alone for the future. " Grant me a CourtMartial, then!” said Zastrow, finding himself fallen so neglected, after the Peace. “No use," answered Friedrich: “I impute nothing of crime to you; but after such a mishap, it would be dangerous to trust you
any post or command;"—and in 1766, granted him, on demand, his demission instead. The poor man then retired to Cassel, where he lived twenty years longer, and was no more heard of. He was half-brother of the General Zastrow who got killed by a Pandour of long range (bullet through both temples, from brushwood, across the Elbe), in the first year of this War.
Militair-Lexikon, iv. 305, 306 (Letter undated there; date probably, Gross-Nossen, October 3d').
FRIEDRICH's Army was to have cantoned itself round Neisse, October 3d: but on the instant of this fatal Schweidnitz news, proceeded (3d-6th October) towards Strehlen instead, -Friedrich personally on the 5th ;and took quarters there and in the villages round. General cantonment at Strehlen, in guard of Breslau and of Neisse both; Loudon, still immovable at Kunzendorf, attempting nothing on either of those places, and carefully declining the risk of a Battle, which would have been Friedrich's game: all this continued till the beginning of December, when both parties took Winterquarters ;l cantoned themselves in the neighbouring localities,-Czernichef, with his Russians, in Glatz Country; Friedrich in Breslau as headquarter;—and the Campaign had ended. Ended in this part, without farther event of the least notability ;-except the follow- , ing only, which a poor man of the name of Kappel has recorded for us. Of which, and the astounding Sequel to which, we must now say something.
Kappel is a Gentleman's Groom of those Strehlen parts; and shall, in his own words, bring us face to face with Friedrich in that neighbourhood, directly after Schweidnitz was lost. It is October 5th, day, or rather night of the day, of Friedrich's arrival thereabouts;
1 Tempelhof, v. 349.
5th Oct.-30th Nov. 1761. most of his Army ahead of him, and the remainder all
Friedrich and the rearward part of his Army are filing about, in that new Strehlen-ward movement of theirs, under cloud of night, in the intricate Hill-and-Dale Country; to post themselves to the best advantage for their double object, of covering Breslau and Neisse both. Kappel loquitur ; abridged by Küster, whom we abridge:
Monday Night, October 5th, 1761, The King, with two or three attendants, still ahead of his Army, appeared at Schön'brunn, a Schloss and Village, five or six miles south from • Strehlen;" and did the owner, Baron von Warkotsch, an acquaintance of his, the honour of lodging there. Before bedtime, if indeed the King intended bed at all, meaning to be off in four hours hence,-Friedrich inquired of Warkotsch for “a trusty man, well acquainted with the roads in this Country.” • Warkotsch mentioned Kappel, his own Groom; one who undoubtedly knew every road of the Country; and who had always behaved as a trusty fellow in the seven years he had · been with him. “Let me see him,” said the King. Kappel
was sent up, about midnight, King still dressed; sitting on a sofa, by the fire: Kappel's look was satisfactory; Kappel knows several roads to Strehlen, in the darkest night : "It is the footpath which goes so-and-so that I want” (for Friedrich 'knows this Country intimately: readers remember his world'famous Camp of Strehlen, with all the diplomacies of Europe “gathered there, through summer, in the train of Möllwitz). “Ja, Thro Majestät, I know it!” “Be ready, then, at 4."
“Before the stroke of 4, Kappel was at the door, on Master's 'best horse; the King's Groom too, and led horse, a nimble ' little gray, were waiting. As 4 struck, Friedrich came down,
Warkotsch with him, “Unspeakable the honour you have done 'my poor house!” Besides the King's Groom, there were a
? This is the Warkotsch Schönbrunn ; not the other near Schweidnitz, as Archenholtz believes : see Archenholtz, ii. 287, and the bit of myth he has gone into in consequence.