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12th Aug. 1760. to another day or two. And even, such his anxiety lest this swift King skip over upon him, pushes out a considerable Russian Division, 24,000 ultimately, under Czernichef, towards the King's side of things, towards Auras on Oder, namely,—there to watch for oneself these interesting Royal movements; or even to join with Loudon out there, if that seem the safer course, against them. Of Czernichef at Auras we shall hear farther on, — were these Royal movements once got completed a little.
Morning of August 12th, Friedrich has, in his bad lodging at Seichau, laid a new plan of route: “ Towards Schweidnitz let it be; round by Pombsen and the south-east, by the Hill-roads, make a sweep flankward of the enemy !”—and has people out reconnoitering the Hill-roads. Hears, however, about 8 o'clock, That Austrians in strength are coming between us and Goldberg! “Intending to enclose us in this bad pot of a Seichau; no crossing of the Katzbach, or other retreat to be left us at all ?” Friedrich strikes his tents; ranks himself; is speedily in readiness for dispute of such extremity ;-sends out new patrols, however, to ascertain. “Austrians in strength” there are not on the side indicated ;—whereupon he draws in again. But, on the other hand, the Hill-roads are reported absolutely impassable for baggage; Pombsen an impossibility, as the other places have been. So Friedrich sits down again in Seichau to consider; does not stir all day. To Mitchell's horror, who, 'with great labour,' burns all the legationary ciphers and papers (“impossible to save the baggage if we be attacked in this hollow pot of a camp”), and feels much relieved on finishing."
Towards sunset, General Bülow, with the Second Line (second column of march), is sent out Goldberg-way, to take hold of the passage of the Katzbach : and at 8 that night, we all march, recrossing there about 1 in the morning; thence down ou
left bank to Liegnitz for the second time,-sixteen hours of it in all, or till noon of the 13th. Mitchell had been put with the
11 Mitchell, ii. 144; Tempelhof, iv. 144.
13th-14th Aug. 1760. Cavalry part; and cannot but observe to your Lordship what 6 a chief comfort it was in this long, dangerous and painful • March,' to have burnt one's ciphers and dread secrets quite out
of the way
And thus, Wednesday August 13th, about noon, we are in our old Camp; Headquarter in the southern suburb of Liegnitz (a wretched little Tavern, which they still show there, on mythical terms): main part of the Camp, I should think, is on that range of Heights, which reaches two miles southward, and is now called “Siegesberg (Victory Hill),” from a modern Monument built on it, after nearly 100 years. Here Friedrich stays one day,—more exactly, 30 hours;—and his shifting, next time, is extremely memorable.
Battle, in the Neighbourhood of Liegnitz, does ensue
(Friday morning, 15th August 1760.) Daun, Lacy and Loudon, the Three-lipped Pincers, have of course followed, and are again agape for Friedrich, all in scientific postures: Daun in the Jauer region, seven or eight miles south; Lacy about Goldberg, as far to south-west; Loudon between Jeschkendorf and Koischwitz, north-eastward, somewhat closer on Friedrich, with the Katzbach intervening. That Czernichef, with an additional 24,000, to rear of Loudon, is actually crossing Oder at Auras, with an eye to junction, Friedrich does not hear till to-morrow.12
The scene is rather pretty, if one admired scenes. Liegnitz, a square, handsome, brick-built Town, of old standing, in good repair (population then, say 7,000), with fine old castellated edifices and aspects : pleasant meeting, in level circumstances, of the Katzbach valley 13th-14th Aug. 1760. with the Schwartzwasser (Black-water) ditto, which forms the north rim of Liegnitz; pleasant mixture of green poplars and brick towers, -as seen from that " Victory Hill” (more likely to be “Immediate-Ruin Hill !") where the King now is. Beyond Liegnitz and the Schwartzwasser, north-westward, right opposite to the King's, rise other Heights, called of Pfaffendorf, which guard the two streams after their uniting. Kloster Wahlstatt, a famed place, lies visible to south-east, few miles off. Readers recollect one Blücher “Prince of Wahlstatt,” so named from one of his Anti-Napoleon victories gained there? Wahlstatt was the scene of an older Fight, almost six centuries older, 13—a then Prince of Liegnitz versus hideous Tartar multitudes, who rather beat him; and has been a Cloister Wahlstatt ever since. Till Thursday 14th, about 8 in the evening, Friedrich continued in his Camp of Liegnitz. We are now within reach of a notable Passage of War.
12 Tempelhof, iv. 148-151 ; Mitchell, ii. 197.
Friedrich's Camp extends from the Village of Schimmelwitz, fronting the Katzbach for about two miles, north-eastward, to his Headquarter in Liegnitz Suburb: Daun is on his right and rearward, now come within four or five miles; Loudon to his left and frontward, four or five, the Katzbach separating Friedrich and him; Lacy lies from Goldberg north-eastward, to within perhaps a like distance rearward: that is the position on Thursday 14th.* Provisions being all but run out; and three Armies, 90,000 (not to count Czernichef and his 24,000 as a fourth) watching round our 30,000, within a few miles; there is no staying here, beyond this day. If even this day it be allowed us? This day, Friedrich had to draw out, and stand to arms for 13th-14th Aug. 1760. some hours; while the Austrians appeared extensively on the Heights about, apparently intending an attack; till it proved to be nothing: only an elaborate reconnoitering by Daun; and we returned to our tents again.
13 April 9th, 1241 (Köhler, Reichs-Historie). • Plan at p. 130a.
Friedrich understands well enough that Daun, with the facts now before him, will gradually form his plan, and also, from the lie of matters, what his plan will be: many are the times Daun has elaborately reconnoitered, elaborately laid his plan; but found, on coming to execute, that his Friedrich was off in the interim, and the plan gone to air. Friedrich has about 2,000 wagons to drag with him in these swift marches: Glogau Magazine, his one resource, should Breslau and Schweidnitz prove unattainable, is forty-five long miles north-westward. “Let us lean upon Glogau withal,” thinks Friedrich; " and let us be out of this straightway! March tonight; towards Parchwitz, which is towards Glogau too. Army rest till daybreak on the Heights of Pfaffendorf yonder, to examine, to wait its luck: let the empty meal-wagons jingle on to Glogau; load themselves there, and jingle back to us in Parchwitz neighbourhood, should Parchwitz not have proved impossible to our maneuverings, let us hope it may not!”— Daun and the Austrians having ceased reconnoitering, and gone home, Friedrich rides with his Generals, through Liegnitz, across the Schwartzwasser, to the Pfaffendorf Heights. Here, Messieurs, is our first halting-place to be: here we shall halt till daybreak, while the meal-wagons jingle on!" And explains to them orally where each is to take post, and how to behave. Which done, he too returns home, no doubt a wearied individual; and at 4 of the afternoon, lies down to try for an hour or two of sleep, while all hands are busy packing, according to the Orders given.
13th-14th Aug. 1760.
It is a fact recorded by Friedrich himself, and by many other people, That, at this interesting juncture, there appeared at the King's gate, King hardly yet asleep, a staggering Austrian Officer, Irish by nation, who had suddenly found good to desert the Austrian Service for the Prussian—(“Sorrow on them: a pack of” — what shall I say?)— Irish gentleman, bursting with intelligence of some kind, but evidently deep in liquor withal.
“ Impossible; the King is asleep,” said the Adjutant on duty; but produced only louder insistance from the drunk Irish gentleman. “As much as all your heads are worth; the King's own safety, and not a moment to lose!” What is to be done? They awaken the King: “The man is drunk, but dreadfully in earnest, your Majesty.” “Give him quantities of weak tea” (Tempelhof calls it tea, but Friedrich merely warm water); “ then examine him, and report if it is anything." Something it was:
Something it was: “Your Majesty to be attacked, for certain, this night!" what his Majesty already guessed :-something, most likely little; but nobody to this day knows. Visible only, that his Majesty, before sunset, rode out reconnoitering with this questionable Irish gentleman, now in a very flaccid state; and altered nothing whatever in prior arrangements; and that the flaccid Irish gentleman staggers out of sight, into dusk, into rest and darkness, after this one appearance on the stage of History.14
From about 8 in the evening, Friedrich's people got on march, in their several columns, and fared punctually on; one column through the streets of Liegnitz, others to left and to right of that; to left mainly, as remoter from the Austrians and their listening outposts from beyond the Katzbach River;—where the camp-fires are
* Euvres de Frédéric, v. 63; Tempelhof, iv. 154.