Read Chapter XII. - SIEGE OF OLMUTZ. of History Of Friedrich II. of Prussia (Vol. XVIII.) (Seven-Years War Rises to a Height.-1757-1759.), free online book, by Thomas Carlyle, on

Fouquet, on the first movement towards Schweidnitz, had been detached from Landshut to sweep certain Croat Parties out of Glatz; Ziethen, with a similar view, into Troppau Country; both which errands were at once perfectly done.  Daun lies behind the Bohemian Frontier (betimes in the field he too, “arrived at Konigsgratz, March 13th"); and is, with all diligence, perfecting his new levies; intrenching himself on all points, as man seldom did; “felling whole forests,” they say, building abatis within abatis; - not doubting, especially on these Ziethen-Fouquet symptoms, but Friedrich’s Campaign is to be an Invasion of Bohemia again.  “Which he shall not do gratis!” hopes Daun; and, indeed, judges say the entrance would hardly have been possible on that side, had Friedrich tried it; which he did not.

Schweidnitz being done, and Daun deep in the Bohemian problem, - Friedrich, in an unintelligible manner, breaks out from Grussau and the Landshut region (April 19th-25th), not straight southward, as Daun had been expecting, but straight southeastward through Neisse, Jagerndorf:  all gone, or all but Ziethen and Fouquet gone, that way; - meaning who shall say what, when news of it comes to Daun?  In two divisions, from 30 to 40,000 strong; through Jagerndorf, ever onward through Troppau, and not till THEN turning southward:  indubitable march of that cunning Enemy; rapidly proceeding, his 40,000 and he, along those elevated upland countries, watershed of the Black Sea and the Baltic, bleakly illumined by the April sun; a march into the mists of the future tense, which do not yet clear themselves to Daun.  Seeing the march turn southward at Troppau, a light breaks on Daun:  “Ha! coming round upon Bohemia from the east, then?” That is Daun’s opinion, for some time yet; and he immediately starts that way, to save a fine magazine he has at Leutomischl over there.  Daun, from Skalitz near Konigsgratz where he is, has but some eighty miles to march, for the King’s hundred and fifty; and arrives in those parts few days after the King; posts himself at Leutomischl, veiled in Pandours.  Not for two weeks more does he ascertain it to have been a march upon the Olmutz Country, and the intricate forks of the Morawa River; with a view to besieging Olmutz, by this wily Enemy!  Upon which Daun did strive to bestir himself thitherward, at last; and, though very slow and hesitative, his measures otherwise were unexceptionable, and turned out luckier than had been expected by some people.

Olmutz is an ancient pleasant little City, in the Plains of Mahren, romantic, indistinct to the English mind; with Domes, with Steeples eminent beyond its size, - population little above 10,000 souls; - has its Prince-Archbishop and ecclesiastic outfittings, with whom Friedrich has lodged in his time.  City which trades in leather, and Russian and Moldavian droves of oxen.  Memorable to the Slavic populations for its grand Czech Library, which was carried away by the Swedes, happily into thick night; [To Stralsund (1645), “and has not since been heard of.”] also for that poor little Wenzel of theirs (last heir of the Bohemian Czech royalties, whom no reader has the least memory of) being killed on the streets here; - uncertain, to this day, by whom, though for whose benefit that dagger-stroke ended is certain enough; [Supra, vol. v. .] - poor little Wenzel’s dust lies under that highest Dome, of the old Cathedral yonder, if anybody thought of such a thing in hot practical times.  Poor Lafayette, too, lodged here in prison, when the Austrians seized him.  City trades in leather and live stock, we said; has much to do with artillery, much with ecclesiastry; - and Friedrich besieged it, for seven weeks, in the hot summer days of 1758, to no purpose.  Friedrich has been in Olmiitz more than once before; his Schwerin once took it in a single day, and it was his for months, in the old Moravian-Foray time:  but the place is changed now; become an arsenal or military storehouse of Austria; strongly fortified, and with a Captain in it, who distinguishes himself by valiant skill and activity on this occasion.

Friedrich’s Olmutz Enterprise, the rather as it was unsuccessful, has not wanted critics.  And certainly, according to the ordinary rules of cautious prudence, could these have been Friedrich’s in his present situation, it was not to be called a prudent Enterprise.  But had Friedrich’s arrangements been punctually fulfilled, and Olmutz been got in fair time, as was possible or probable, the thing might have been done very well.  Duke Ferdinand, in these early May days, is practically making preparations to follow the French across the Rhine; no fear of French Armies interfering with us this year.  Dohna has the Swedes locked in Stralsund (capable of being starved, had not the thaw come); and in Hinter-Pommern he has General Platen, with a tolerable Detachment, watching Fermor and his Russians; Dohna, with Platen, may entertain the Russians for a little, when they get on way, - which we know will be at a slow pace, and late in the season.  Prince Henri commands in Saxony, say with 30,000; - King’s vicegerent and other self there, “Do YOUR wisest and promptest; hold no councils of war!” Prince Henri, altogether on the aggressive as yet, is waiting what Reichs Army there may be; - has already had Mayer and Free Corps careering about in Franken Country once and again, tearing up the incipiencies and preparations, with the usual emphasis; and is himself intending to follow thither, in a still more impressive manner.  Friedrich’s calculation is, Prince Henri will have his hands free for a good few weeks yet.  Which proved true enough, so far as that went.

And now, supposing Olmutz ours, and Vienna itself open to our insults, does not, by rapid suction, every armed Austrian flow thitherward; Germany all drained of them:  in which case, what is to hinder Prince Henri from stepping into Böhmen, by the Metal Mountains; capturing Prag; getting into junction with us here, and tumbling Austria at a rate that will astonish her!  Her, and her miscellaneous tagraggery of Confederates, one and all.  Konigsberg, Stralsund, Bamberg; Russians, Swedes, Reichsfolk, - here, in Mahren, will be the crown of the game for all these.  Prosper in Mahren, all these are lamed; one right stroke at the heart, the limbs become manageable quantities!  This was Friedrich’s program; and had not imperfections of execution, beyond what was looked for, and also a good deal of plain ill-luck, intervened, this bold stroke for Mahren might have turned out far otherwise than it did.

The march thither (started from Neisse April 27th) was beautiful:  Friedrich with vanguard and first division; Keith with rear-guard and second, always at a day’s distance; split into proper columns, for convenience of road and quarter in the hungry countries; threading those silent mountain villages, and upper streamlets of Oder and Morawa:  Ziethen waving intrusive Croateries far off; Fouquet, in thousands of wagons, shoving on from Neisse, “in four sections,” with the due intervals, under the due escorts, the immensity of stores and siege-furniture, through Jagerndorf, through Troppau, and onwards; [Table of his routes and stages in TEMPELHOF, i.] - punctual everybody; besiegers and siege materials ready on their ground by the set day.  Daun too had made speed to save his Magazine.  Daun was at Leutomischl, May 5th, - a forty miles to west of the Morawa, - few days after Friedrich had arrived in those countries by the eastern or left bank, by Troppau, Gibau, Littau, Aschmeritz, Prossnitz; and a week before Friedrich had finished his reconnoitrings, campings, and taken position to his mind.  Camps, four or more (shrank in the end to three), on both banks of the River; a matter of abstruse study; so that it was May 12th before Friedrich first took view of Olmutz itself, and could fairly begin his Problem, - Daun, with his best Tolpatcheries, still unable to guess what it was.

Of the Siege I propose to say little, though the accounts of it are ample, useful to the Artillerist and Engineer.  If the reader can be made to conceive it as a blazing loud-sounding fact, on which, and on Friedrich in it, the eyes of all Europe were fixed for some weeks, it may rest now in impressive indistinctness to us.  Keith is Captain of the Siege, whom all praise for his punctual firmness of progress; Balbi as before, is Engineer, against whom goes the criticism, Keith’s first of all, that he “opened his first parallel 800 yards too far off,” - which much increased the labor, and the expenditure of useless gunpowder, shot having no effect at such a distance.  There were various criticisms:  some real, as this; some imaginary, as that Friedrich grudged gunpowder, the fact being that he had it not, except after carriage from Neisse, say a hundred and twenty miles off, - Troppau, his last Silesian Town, or safe place (his for the moment), is eighty miles; - and was obliged to waste none of it.

Friedrich is not thought to shine in the sieging line as he does in the fighting; which has some truth in it, though not very much.  When Friedrich laid himself to engineering, I observe, he did it well:  see Neisse, Graudenz, Magdeburg.  His Balbi went wrong with the parallels, on this occasion; many things went wrong:  but the truly grievous thing was his distance from Silesia and the supplies.  A hundred and twenty miles of hill-carriage, eighty of them disputable, for every shot of ammunition and for every loaf of bread; this was hard to stand: - and perhaps no War-apparatus but a Prussian, with a Friedrich for sole chief-manager, could have stood it so long.  Friedrich did stand it, in a wonderfully tolerable manner; and was continuing to stand it, and make fair progress; and it is not doubted he would have got Olmutz, had not there another fact come on him, which proved to be of unmanageable nature.  The actual loss, namely, of one Convoy, after so many had come safe, and when, as appears, there was now only one wanted and no more! - Let us attend to this a little.

Had Daun, at Olmutz, been as a Duke of Cumberland relieving Tournay, rushing into fight at Fontenoy, like a Hanover White-Horse, neck clothed with thunder, and head destitute of knowledge, - how lucky had it been for Friedrich!  But Daun knows his trade better.  Daun, though superior in strength, sits on his Magazine, clear not to fight.  By no art of manoeuvring, had Friedrich much tried it, or hoped it, this time, could Daun have been brought to give battle.  As Fabins Cunctator he is here in his right place; taking impregnable positions, no man with better skill in that branch of business; pushing out parties on the Troppau road; and patiently waiting till this dangerous Enemy, with such endless shifts in him, come in sight perhaps of his last cartridge, or perhaps make some stumble on the way towards that consummation.  Daun is aware of Friedrich’s surprising qualities.  Bos against Leo, Daun feels these procedures to be altogether feline (FELIS-LEONINE); such stealthy glidings about, deceptive motions, appearances; then such a rapidity of spring upon you, and with such a set of claws, - destructive to bovine or rhinoceros nature:  in regard to all which, Bos, if he will prosper, surely cannot be too cautious.  It was remarked of Daun, that he was scrupulously careful; never, in the most impregnable situations, neglecting the least precaution, but punctiliously fortifying himself to the last item, even to a ridiculous extent, say Retzow and the critics.  It was the one resource of Daun:  truly a solid stubborn patience is in the man; stubborn courage too, of bovine-rhinoceros type; - stupid, if you will, but doing at all times honestly his best and his wisest without flurry; which character is often of surprising value in War; capable of much mischief, now and then, to quicker people.  Rhinoceros Daun did play his Leo a bad prank more than once; and this of barring him out from Olmutz was one of them, perhaps the worst after Kolin.

Daun’s management of this Olmutz business is by no means reckoned brilliant, even in the Fabius line; but, on the contrary, inert, dim-minded, inconclusive; and in reality, till almost the very last, he had been of little help to the besieged.  For near three weeks (till May 23d) Daun sat at Leutomischl, immovable on his bread-basket there, forty or more miles from Olmutz; and did not see that a Siege was meant.  May 27th-28th, Balbi opened his first parallel, in that mistaken way; four days before which, Daun does move inwards a march or so, to Zwittau, to Gewitsch (still thirty miles to west of Olmutz); still thinking of Bohemia, not of any siege; still hanging by the mountains and the bread-basket.  And there, - about Gewitsch, siege or no siege, Daun sits down again; pretty much immovable, through the five weeks of bombardment; and, - except that Loudon and the Light Horse are very diligent to do a mischief, “attempting our convoys, more than once, to no purpose, and alarming some of our outposts almost every night, but every night beaten off,” - does, in a manner, nothing; sits quiet, behind his impenetrable veil of Pandours, and lets the bombardment take its course.  Had not express Order come from Vienna on him, it is thought Daun would have sat till Olmutz was taken; and would then have gone back to Leutomischl and impregnable posts in the Hills.  On express order, he - But gather, first, these poor sparks in elucidation: -

“The ‘destructive sallies’ and the like, at Olmutz, were principally an affair of the gazetteers and the imagination:  but it is certain, Olmutz this time was excellently well defended; the Commandant, a vigorous skilful man, prompt to seize advantages; and Garrison and Townsfolk zealously helping:  so that Friedrich’s progress was unusually slow.  Friedrich’s feelings, all this while, and Balbi’s (who ’spent his first 1,220 shots entirely in vain,’ beginning so far off), may be judged of, - the sound of him to Balbi sometimes stern enough!  As when (June 9th) he personally visits Balbi’s parallels (top of the Tafelberg yonder); and inquires, ‘When do you calculate to get done, then?’ West side of Olmutz and of the River (east side lies mostly under water), there is the bombarding; seventy-one heavy guns; Keith, in his expertest manner, doing all the captaincies:  Keith has about 8,000 of foot and horse, busy and vigilant, with their faces to the east.  In a ring of four camps, or principally three (Prossnitz, Littau, and Neustadt, which is across the River), all looking westward or northwestward, some, ten or twenty miles from Keith, Friedrich (head-quarters oftenest Prossnitz, the chief camp) stands facing Daun; who lies concentric to him, at the distance of another ten or twenty miles, in good part still thirty or forty miles from Olmutz, veiled mostly under a cloud of Pandours.

“Of Friedrich’s impatiences we hear little, though they must have been great.  Prince Henri is ready for Prag; many things are ready, were Olmutz but done!  May 22d, Prince Henri had followed Mayer in person, with a stronger corps, to root out the Reichsfolk, - and is now in Bamberg City and Country.  And is even in Baireuth itself, where was lately the Camp of the new Reichs General, Serene Highness of Zweibruck, and his nascent Reichs Army; who are off bodily to Bohemia, ’to Eger and the Circle of Saatz,’ a week before. [Helden-Geschichte, -209.  Wilhelmina’s pretty Letter to Friedrich ("Baireuth, 10th May"); Friedrich’s Answer ("Olmutz, June, 1758"); in OEuvres de Frederic, xxvii. -315.] Fancy that visit of Henris to a poor Wilhelmina; the last sight she ever had of a Brother, or of the old Prussian uniforms, clearing her of Zweibrucks and sorrowful guests!  Our poor Wilhelmina, alas she is sunk in sickness this year more than ever; journeying towards death, in fact; and is probably the most pungent, sacredly tragic, of Friedrichs sorrows, now and onwards.  June 12th, Friedrichs pouting Brother, the Prince of Prussia, died; this also he had to hear in Camp at Olmutz.  What did he die of? said Friedrich to the Messenger, a Major Something.  Of chagrin, said the Major, AUS GRAM.  Friedrich made no answer. -

“On the last night of May, by beautiful management, military and other, Duke Ferdinand is across the Rhine; again chasing the French before him; who, as they are far more numerous, cannot surely but make some stand:  so that a Battle there may be expected soon, - let us hope, a Victory; as indeed it beautifully proved to be, three weeks after. [Battle of Crefeld, 23d June.] On the other hand, Fermor and his Russians are astir; continually wending towards Brandenburg, in their voluminous manner, since June 16th, though at a slow rate.  How desirable the Siege of Olmutz were done!”

On express from Vienna, Daun did bestir himself; cautiously got on foot again; detached, across the River, an expert Hussar General ("Be busy all ye Loudons, St. Ignons, Ziskowitzes, doubly now!"), - expert Hussar General, one item of whose force is 1,100 chosen grenadiers; - and himself cautiously stept southward and eastward, nearer the Siege Lines.  The Hussar General’s meaning seemed to be some mischief on our Camp of Neustadt and the outposts there; but in reality it was to throw his 1,100 into Olmutz (useful to the Commandant); which - by ingenious manoeuvring, and guidance from the peasants “through bushy woods and by-paths” on that east side of the River - the expert Hussar General, though Ziethen was sent over to handle him, did perfectly manage, and would not quit for Ziethen till he saw it finished.  Which done, Daun keeps stepping still farther southward, nearer the Siege Lines; and, at Prossnitz, morning of June 22d, Friedrich, with his own eyes, sees Daun taking post on the opposite heights; says to somebody near him, “VOILA LES AUTRICHIENS, ILS APPRENNENT A MARCHER, There are the Austrians; they are learning to march, though!” - getting on their feet, like infants in a certain stage ("MARCHER” having that meaning too, though I know not that the King intended it); - they have learned a great many things, since your Majesty first met them.  Friedrich took Daun to be, now at last, meaning Battle for Olmutz, and made some slight arrangements accordingly; but that is not Daun’s intention at all; as Friedrich will find to his cost, in few days.  That very day, Daun has vanished again, still in the southerly direction, again under veil of Pandours.

Meanwhile, in spite of all things, the Siege makes progress; “June 22d, Balbi’s sap had got to their glacis, and was pushing forward there,” - June 22d, day when Daun made momentary appearance, and the reinforcement stole in: - within a fortnight more, Balbi promises the thing shall be done.  But supplies are indispensable:  one other convoy from Troppau, and let it be a big one, “between 3 and 4,000 wagons,” meal, money, iron, powder; Friedrich hopes this one, if he can get it home, will suffice.  Colonel Mosel is to bring this Convoy; a resolute expert Officer, with perhaps 7,000 foot and horse:  surely sufficient escort:  but, as Daun is astir, and his Loudons, Ziskowitzes and light people are gliding about, Friedrich orders Ziethen to meet this important Convoy, with some thousands of new force, and take charge of bringing it in.  Mosel was to leave Troppau June 26th; Ziethen pushes out to meet him from the Olmutz end, on the second day after; and, one hopes, all is now safe on that head.

The driving of 3,000 four-horse wagons, under escort, ninety miles of road, is such an enterprise as cannot readily be conceived by sedentary pacific readers; - much more the attack of such!  Military science, constraining chaos into the cosmic state, has nowhere such a problem.  There are twelve thousand horses, for one thing, to be shod, geared, kept roadworthy and regular; say six thousand country wagoners, thick-soled peasants:  then, hanging to the skirts of these, in miscellaneous crazy vehicles and weak teams, equine and asinine, are one or two thousand sutler people, male and female, not of select quality, though on them, too, we keep a sharp eye.  The series covers many miles, as many as twenty English miles (says Tempelhof), unless in favorable points you compress them into five, going four wagons abreast for defence’s sake.  Defence, or escort, goes in three bulks or brigades; vanguard, middle, rear-guard, with sparse pickets intervening; - wider than five miles, you cannot get the parts to support one another.  An enemy breaking in upon you, at some difficult point of road, woody hollow or the like, and opening cannon, musketry and hussar exercise on such an object, must make a confused transaction of it!  Some commanders, for the road has hitherto been mainly pacific, divide their train into parts, say four parts; moving with their partial escorts, with an interval of one day between each two:  this has its obvious advantages, but depends, of course, on the road being little infested, so that your partial escort will suffice to repel attacks.  Toiling forward, at their diligent slow rate, I find these trains from Troppau take about six days (from Neisse to Olmutz they take eleven, but the first five are peaceable [Tempelhof, i.]); - can’t be hurried beyond that pace, if you would save your laggards, your irregulars, and prevent what we may call RAGGERY in your rearward parts; the skirts of your procession get torn by the bushes if you go faster.  This time Colonel Mosel will have to mend his pace, however, and to go in the lump withal; the case being critical, as Mosel knows, and MORE than he yet knows.

Daun, who has friends everywhere, and no lack of spies in this country, generally hears of the convoys.  He has heard, in particular, of this important one, in good time.  Hitherto Daun had not attempted much upon convoys, nor anything with success:  King’s posted corps and other precautions are of such a kind, not even Loudon, when he tried his best, could do any good; and common wandering hussar parties are as likely to get a mischief as to do one, on such service.  Cautious Daun had been busy enough keeping his own Camp safe, and flinging a word of news or encouragement, at the most a trifle of reinforcement, into Olmutz. when possible.  But now it becomes evident there must be one of two things:  this convoy seized, or else a battle risked; - and that in defect of both these, the inevitable third thing is, Olmutz will straightway go.

Major-General Loudon, the best partisan soldier extant, and ripening for better things, has usually a force of perhaps 10,000 under him, four regiments of them regular grenadiers; and has been active on the convoys, though hitherto unsuccessful.  Let an active Loudon, with increased force, try this, their vitally important convoy, from the west side of the River; an active Ziskowitz co-operating on the east side, where the road itself is; and do their uttermost!  That is Daun’s plan, - now in course of execution.  Daun, instead of meaning battle, that day when Friedrich saw him, was cautiously stealing past, intending to cross the River farther down; and himself support the operation.  Daun has crossed accordingly, and has doubled up northward again to the fit point; Ziskowitz is in the fit point, in the due force, on this east side too.  Loudon, on the west side, goes by Muglitz, Hof; making a long deep bend far to westward and hillward of all the Prussian posted corps and precautions, and altogether hidden from them; Loudon aims to be in Troppau neighborhood, “Guntersdorf, near Bautsch,” by the proper day, and pay Mosel an unexpected visit in the passage there.

Colonel Mosel, marshalling his endless Trains with every excellent precaution, and the cleverest dispositions (say the Books), against the known and the unknown, had got upon the road, and creaked forward, many-wheeled, out of Troppau, Monday, 26th June. [Tempelhof, i-94.] The roads, worn by the much travelling and wet weather, were utterly bad; the pace was perhaps quicker than usual; the much-jolting Train got greatly into a jumble: - Mosel, to bring up the laggards, made the morrow a rest-day; did get about two-thirds of his laggards marshalled again; ordered the others to return, as impossible.  They say, had it not been for this rest-day, which seemed of no consequence, Loudon would not have been at Guntersdorf in time, nor have attempted as he did at Guntersdorf and afterwards.  At break of day (Wednesday, 28th), Mosel is again on the road; heavily jumbling forward from his quarters in Bautsch.  Few miles on, towards Guntersdorf, he discovers Loudon posted ahead in the defiles.  What a sight for Mosel, in his character of Wagoner up with the dawn!  But Mosel managed the defiles and Loudon this time; halted his train, dashed up into the woody heights and difficult grounds; stormed Loudon’s cannon from him, smote Loudon in a valiant tempestuous manner; and sent him travelling again for the present.

Loudon, I conjecture, would have struggled farther, had not he known that there would be a better chance again not very many miles ahead.  London has studied this Convoy; knows of Ziethen coming to it with so many; of Ziskowitz coming to him, Loudon, with so many; that Ziethen cannot send for more (roads being all beset by our industry yesterday), that Ziskowitz can, should it be needful; - and that at Domstadtl there is a defile, or confused woody hollow, of unequalled quality!  Mosel jumbles on all day with his Train, none molesting; at night gets to his appointed quarters, Village of Neudorff; [The L, or EL, is a diminutive in these Names:  (NEUDORFL) “New-ThorpLET,” (DOMSTADTL) “Cathedral-TownLET,” and the like.] and there finds Ziethen:  a glad meeting, we may fancy, but an anxious one, with Domstadtl ahead on the morrow.  Loudon concerts with Ziskowitz this day; calls in all reinforcements possible, and takes his measures.  Thursday morning, Ziethen finds the Train in such a state, hardly half of it come up, he has to spend the whole day, Mosel and he, in rearranging it:  Friday morning, June 30th, they get under way again; - Friday, the catastrophe is waiting them.

The Pass of Domstadtl, lapped in the dim Moravian distance, is not known to me or to my readers; nor indeed could the human pen or intellect, aided by ocular inspection or whatever helps, give the least image of what now took place there, rendering Domstadtl a memorable locality ever since.  Understand that Ziethen and Mosel, with their waste slow deluge of wagons, come jumbling in, with anxiety, with precautions, - precautions doubled, now that the woody intricacies about Domstadtl rise in sight.  “Pooh, it is as we thought:  there go Austrian cannon-salvos, horse-charges, volleying musketries, as our first wagons enter the Pass; - and there will be a job!” Indecipherable to mankind far off, or even near.  Of which only this feature and that can be laid hold of, as discernible, by the most industrious man.  Escort, in three main bodies, vanguard, middle, rear-guard, marches on each side; infantry on the left, cavalry on the right, as the ground is leveller there.  Length of the Train in statute miles, as it jumbles along at this point, is not given; but we know it was many miles; that horses and wagoners were in panic hardly restrainable; and we dimly descry, here especially, human drill-sergeantcy doing the impossible to keep chaos plugged down.  The poor wagoner, cannon playing ahead, whirls homeward with his vehicle, if your eye quit him, - still better, and handier, cuts his traces, mounts in a good moment, and is off at heavy-footed gallop, leaving his wagon.  Seldom had human drill-sergeantcy such a problem.

The Prussian Vanguard, one Krockow its commander, repulsed that first Austrian attack; swept the Bass clear for some minutes; got their section of the carriages, or some part of it, 250 in all, hurried through; then halted on the safe side, to wait what Ziethen would do with the remainder.  Ziethen does his best and bravest, as everybody does; keeps his wagon-chaos plugged down; ranks it in square mass, as a wagon fortress (WAGENBURG); ranks himself and everybody, his cannon, his platoon musketry, to the best advantage round it; furiously shoots out in all manner of ways, against the furious Loudon on this flank, and the furious Ziskowitz on that; takes hills, loses them; repels and is repelled (wagon-chaos ever harder to keep plugged); finally perceives himself to be beaten; that the wagon-chaos has got unplugged (fancy it!) - and that he, Ziethen, must retreat; back foremost if possible.  He did retreat, fighting all the way to Troppau; and the Convoy is a ruin and a prey.

Krockow, with the 250, has got under way again; hearing the powder-wagons start into the air (fired by the enemy), and hearing the cannon and musketry take a northerly course, and die away in that ominous direction.  These 250 were all the carriages that came in: - happily, by Ziethen’s prudence, the money, a large sum, had been lodged in the vanmost of these.  The rest of the Convoy, ball, powder, bread, was of little value to Loudon, but beyond value to Friedrich at this moment; and it has gone to annihilation and the belly of Chaos and the Croats.  Among the tragic wrecks of this Convoy there is one that still goes to our heart.  A longish, almost straight row of young Prussian recruits stretched among the slain, what are these?  These were 700 recruits coming up from their cantons to the Wars; hardly yet six months in training:  see how they have fought to the death, poor lads, and have honorably, on the sudden, got manumitted from the toils of life.  Seven hundred of them stood to arms, this morning; some sixty-five will get back to Troppau; that is the invoice account.  They lie there, with their blond young cheeks and light hair; beautiful in death; - could not have done better, though the sacred poet has said nothing of them hitherto, - nor need, till times mend with us and him.  Adieu, my noble young Brothers; so brave, so modest, no Spartan nor no Roman more; may the silence be blessed to you!

Contrary to some current notions, it is comfortably evident that there was a considerable fire of loyalty in the Prussians towards their King, during this War; loyalty kept well under cover, not wasting itself in harangues or noisy froth; but coming out, among all ranks of men, in practical attempts to be of help in this high struggle, which was their own as well as his.  The STANDE, landed Gentry, of Pommern and other places, we heard of their poor little Navy of twelve gunboats, which were all taken by the Swedes.  Militia Regiments too, which did good service at Colberg, as may transiently appear by and by: - in the gentry or upper classes, a respectable zeal for their King.  Then, among the peasantry or lower class - Here are Seven Hundred who stood well where he planted them.  And their Mothers - Be Spartan also, ye Mothers!  In peaceable times, Tempelhof tells us the Prussian Mother is usually proud of having her son in this King’s service:  a country wife will say to you:  “I have three of them, all in the regiment,” Billerbeck, Itzenplitz, or whatever be the Canton regiment; “the eldest is ten inches [stands five feet ten], the second is eleven, the third eight, for indeed he is yet young.”

Daun, on the day of this Domstadtl business, and by way of masking it, feeling how vital it was, made various extensive movements, across the River by several Bridges; then hither, thither, on the farther side of Olmutz, mazing up and down:  Friedrich observing him, till he should ripen to something definite, followed his bombarding the while; perhaps having hopes of wager of battle ensuing.  Of the disaster at Domstadtl Friedrich could know nothing, Loudon having closed the roads.  Daun by no means ripens into battle:  news of the disaster reached Friedrich next day (Saturday, July 1st), - who “immediately assembled his Generals, and spoke a few inspiring words to them,” such as we may fancy.  Friedrich perceives that Olmutz is over; that his Third Campaign, third lunge upon the Enemy’s heart, has prospered worse, thus far, than either of the others; that he must straightway end this of Olmutz, without any success whatever, and try the remaining methods and resources.  No word of complaint, they say, is heard from Friedrich in such cases; face always hopeful, tone cheery.  A man in Friedrich’s position needs a good deal of Stoicism, Greek or other.

That Saturday night the Prussian bombardment is quite uncommonly furious, long continuing; no night yet like it: - the Prussians are shooting off their superfluous ammunition this night; do not quite end till Sunday is in.  On Sunday itself, packings, preparations, all completed; and, “Keith, with above 4,000 wagons, safe on the road since 2 A.M.” - the Prussians softly vanish in long smooth streams, with music playing, unmolested by Daun; and leaving nothing, it is boasted, but five or three mortars, which kept playing to the last, and one cannon, to which something had happened.

Of the retreat there could be much said, instructive to military men who were studious; extremely fine retreat, say all judges; - of which my readers crave only the outlines, the results.  Daun, it was thought, should have ruined Friedrich in this retreat; but he did nothing of harm to him.  In fact, for a week he could not comprehend the phenomenon at all, and did not stir from his place, - which was on the other, or wrong, side of the River.  Daun had never doubted but the retreat would be to Silesia; and he had made his detachments, and laid himself out for doing something upon it, in that direction:  but, lo, what roads are these, what motions whitherward?  In about a week it becomes manifest that the retreat, which goes on various roads, sometimes three at once, has converged on Leutomischl; straight for Bohemia instead of Silesia; and that Daun is fallen seven days behind it; incapable now to do anything.  Not even the Magazine at Leutomischl could be got away, nor could even the whole of it be burnt.

Keith and the baggage once safe in Leutomischl (July 8th), all goes in deliberate long column; Friedrich ahead to open the passages.  July 14th, after five more marches, Friedrioh bursts up Konigsgratz; scattering any opposition there is; and sits down there, in a position considered, he knows well how inexpugnable; to live on the Country, and survey events.  The 4,000 baggage-wagons came in about entire.  Fouquet had the first division of them, and a secondary charge of the whole; an extremely strict, almost pedantic man, and of very fiery temper:  “HE, D’OU VENEZ-VOUS?” asked he sharply of Retzow senior, who had broken through his order, one day, to avert great mischief:  “How come you here, MON GENERAL?” “By the Highway, your Excellency!” answered Retzow in a grave stiff tone. [Retzow, .]

Keith himself takes the rear-guard, the most ticklish post of all, and manages it well, and with success, as his wont is.  Under sickness at the time, but with his usual vigilance, prudence, energy; qualities apt to be successful in War.  Some brushes of Croat fighting he had from Loudon; but they did not amount to anything.  It was at Holitz, within a march of Konigsgratz, that Loudon made his chief attempt; a vehement, well-intended thing; which looked well at one time.  But Keith heard the cannonading ahead; hurried up with new cavalry, new sagacity and fire of energy; dashed out horse-charges, seized hill-tops, of a vital nature; and quickly ended the affair.  A man fiery enough, and prompt with his stroke when wanted, though commonly so quiet.  “Tell Monsieur,” - some General who seemed too stupid or too languid on this occasion, - “Tell Monsieur from me,” said Keith to his Aide-de-camp, “he may be a very pretty thing, but he is not a man (QU’IL PEUT Être UNE BONNE CHOSE, MAIS QU’IL N’EST PAS UN HOMME)!” [Varnhagen, Leben des &c.  Jakob von Keith, .] The excellent vernacular Keith; - still a fine breadth of accent in him, one perceives!  He is now past sixty; troubled with asthma; and I doubt not may be, occasionally, thinking it near time to end his campaigns.  And in fact, he is about ending them; sooner than he or anybody had expected.

Daun, picking his steps and positions, latterly with threefold precaution, got into Konigsgratz neighborhood, a week after Friedrich; and looked down with enigmatic wonder upon Friedrich’s new settlement there.  Forage abundant all round, and the corn-harvest growing white; - here, strange to say, has Friedrich got planted in the inside of those innumerable Daun redoubts, and “woods of abatis;” and might make a very pretty “Bohemian Campaign” of it, after all, were Daun the only adversary he had!  Judges are of opinion, that Daun, with all his superiority of number, could not have disrooted Friedrich this season. [Tempelhof, i-176, 185; - who, unluckily, in soldier fashion, here as too often elsewhere, does not give us the Arithmetical Numbers of each, but counts by “Battalions” and “Squadrons,” which, except in time of Peace, are a totally uncertain quantity: - guess vaguely, 75,000 against 30,000.] Daun did try him by the Pandour methods, “1,000 Croats stealing in upon Konigsgratz at one in the morning,” and the like; but these availed nothing.  By the one effectual method, that of beating him in battle, Daun never would have tried.  What did disroot Friedrich, then? - Take the following dates, and small hints of phenomena in other parts of the big Theatre of War.  Konitz is a little Polish Town, midway between Dantzig and Friedrichs Dominions: -

“KONITZ, 16th JUNE, 1758.  This day Feldmarschall Fermor arrives in his principal Camp here.  For many weeks past he has been dribbling across the Weichsel hitherward, into various small camps, with Cossack Parties flying about, under check of General Platen.  But now, being all across, and reunited, Fermor shoots out Cossack Parties of quite other weight and atrocity; and is ready to begin business, - still a little uncertain how.  His Cossacks, under their Demikows, Romanzows; capable of no good fighting, but of endless incendiary mischief in the neighborhood; - shoot far ahead into Prussian territory:  Platen, Hordt with his Free-Corps, are beautifully sharp upon them; but many beatings avail little.  ’They burn the town of Driesen [Hordt having been hard upon them there]; town of Ratzebuhr, and nineteen villages around;’ - burn poor old women and men, one poor old clergyman especially, wind him well in straw-roping, then set fire, and leave him; - and are worse than fiends or hyenas.  Not to be checked by Platen’s best diligence; not, in the end, by Platen and Dohna together.  Dohna (18th June) has risen from Stralsund in check of them, - leaving the unfortunate Swedes to come out [shrunk to about 7,000, so unsalutary their stockfish diet there], - these hyena-Cossacks being the far more pressing thing.  Dohna is diligent, gives them many slaps and checks; Dohna cannot cut the tap-root of them in two; that is to say, fight Fermor and beat him:  other effectual check there can be none. [Helden-Geschichte, et seq.; Tempelhof, i &c.]

“TSCHOPAU (in Saxony), 21st JUNE.  Prince Henri has quitted Bamberg Country; and is home again, carefully posted, at Tschopau and up and down, on the southern side of Saxony; with his eye well on the Passes of the Metal Mountains, - where now, in the turn things at Olmutz have taken, his clear fate is to be invaded, NOT to invade.  The Reichs Army, fairly afoot in the Circle of Saatz, counts itself 35,000; add 15,000 Austrians of a solid quality, there is a Reichs Army of 50,000 in all, this Year.  And will certainly invade Saxony, - though it is in no hurry; does not stir till August come, and will find Prince Henri elaborately on his guard, and little to be made of him, though he is as one to two.

“CREFELD (Rhine Country), 23d JUNE.  Duke Ferdinand, after skilful shoving and advancing, some forty or fifty miles, on his new or French side of the Rhine, finds the French drawn up at Crefeld (June 23d); 47,000 of them VERSUS 33,000:  in altogether intricate ground; canal-ditches, osier-thickets, farm-villages, peat-bogs.  Ground defensible against the world, had the 47,000 had a Captain; but reasonably safe to attack, with nothing but a Clermont acting that character.  Ferdinand, I can perceive, knew his Clermont; and took liberties with him.  Divided himself into three attacks:  one in front; one on Clermont’s right flank, both of which cannonaded, as if in earnest, but did not prevent Clermont going to dinner.  One attack on front, one on right flank; then there was a third, seemingly on left flank, but which winded itself round (perilously imprudent, had there been a Captain, instead of a Clermont deepish in wine by this time), and burst in upon Clermont’s rear; jingling his wine-glasses and decanters, think at what a rate; - scattering his 47,000 and him to the road again, with a loss of men, which was counted to 4,000 (4,000 against 1,700), and of honor - whatever was still to lose!” [Mauvillon, -309; Westphalen, -604; Tempelhof; &c. &c.]

Ferdinand, it was hoped, would now be able to maintain himself, and push forward, on this French side of the Rhine:  and had Wesel been his (as some of us know it is not!), perhaps he might.  At any rate, veteran Belleisle took his measures: - dismissal of Clermont Prince of the Blood, and appointment of Contades, a man of some skill; recall of Soubise and his 24,000 from their Austrian intentions; these and other strenuous measures, - and prevented such consummation.  A gallant young Comte de Gisors, only son of Belleisle, perished in that disgraceful Crefeld: - unfortunate old man, what a business that of “cutting Germany in four” has been to you, first and last!

“LOUISBURG (North America), JULY 8th.  Landing of General Amherst’s people at Louisburg in Cape Breton; with a view of besieging that important place.  Which has now become extremely difficult; the garrison, and their defences, military, naval, being in full readiness for such an event.  Landing was done by Brigadier Wolfe; under the eye of Amherst and Admiral Boscawen from rearward, and under abundant fire of batteries and musketries playing on it ahead:  in one of the surfiest seas (but we have waited four days, and it hardly mends), tossing us about like corks; - so that ‘many of the boats were broken;’ and Wolfe and people ’had to leap out, breast-deep,’ and make fight for themselves, the faster the better, under very intricate circumstances!  Which was victoriously done, by Wolfe and his people; really in a rather handsome manner, that morning.  As were all the subsequent Siege-operations, on land and on water, by them and the others: - till (August 8th) the Siege ended:  in complete surrender, - positively for the last time (Pitt fully intends); no Austrian Netherlands now to put one on revoking it! [General Amherst’s DIARY OF THE SIEGE (in Gentleman’s Magazine, xxvii-389).]

“These are pretty victories, cheering to Pitt and Friedrich; but the difficult point still is that of Fermor.  Whose Cossacks, and their devil-like ravagings, are hideous to think of: - unrestrainable by Dohna, unless he could cut the root of them; which he cannot.  JUNE 27th [while Colonel Mosel, with his 3,000 wagons, still only one stage from Troppau, was so busy], slow Fermor rose from Konitz; began hitching southward, southward gradually to Posen, - a considerably stronger Polish Town; on the edge both of Brandenburg and of Silesia; - and has been sitting there, almost ever since our entrance into Bohemia; his Cossacks burning and wasting to great distances in both Countries; no deciding which of them he meant to invade with his main Army.  Sits there almost a month, enigmatic to Dohna, enigmatic to Friedrich:  till Friedrich decides at last that he cannot be suffered longer, whichever of them he mean; and rises for Silesia (August 2d).  Precisely about which day Fermor had decided for Brandenburg, and rolled over thither, towards Custrin and the Frankfurt-on-Oder Country, heralded by fire and murder, as usual.”

Friedrichs march to Landshut is, again, much admired.  Daun had beset the three great roads, the two likeliest especially, with abundant Pandours, and his best Loudons and St. Ignons:  Friedrich, making himself enigmatic to Daun, struck into the third road by Skalitz, Nachod; circuitous, steep, but lying Glatz-ward, handy for support of various kinds.  He was attempted, once or more, by Pandours, but used them badly; fell in with Dauns old abatis (well wind-dried now), in different places, and burnt them in passing.  And in five days was in Kloster-Grussau, safe on his own side of the Mountains again.  One point only we will note, in these Pandour turmoilings.  From Skalitz, the first stage of his march, he answers a Letter of Brother Henris: -

TO PRINCE HENRI (at Tachopau in Saxony).  “What you write to me of my Sister of Baireuth [that she has been in extremity, cannot yet write, and must not be told of the Prince of Prussia’s death lest it kill her] makes me tremble!  Next to our Mother, she is what I have the most tenderly loved in this world.  She is a Sister who has my heart and all my confidence; and whose character is of price beyond all the crowns in this universe.  From my tenderest years, I was brought up with her:  you can conceive how there reigns between us that indissoluble bond of mutual affection and attachment for life, which in all other cases, were it only from disparity of ages, is impossible.  Would to Heaven I might die before her; - and that this terror itself don’t take away my life without my actually losing her!” [OEuvres de Frederic, xxv, “Klenny, near Skalitz, 3d August, 1758;” Henri’s Letter is dated “Camp of Tschopau, 28th July” (i.]...

At Grussau (August 9th) he writes to his dear Wilhelmina herself:  “O you, the dearest of my family, you whom I have most at heart of all in this world, - for the sake of whatever is most precious to you, preserve yourself, and let me have at least the consolation of shedding my tears in your bosom!  Fear nothing for US, and” - O King, she is dying, and I believe knows it, though you will hope to the last!  There is something piercingly tragical in those final Letters of Friedrich to his Wilhelmina, written from such scenes of wreck and storm, and in Wilhelmina’s beautiful ever-loving quiet Answers, dictated when she could no longer write. ["July 18th” is the last by her hand, and “almost illegible;” - still extant, it seems, though withheld from us.  Was received at Grussau here, and answered at some length (OEuvres, xxvii. , according to the specimen just given.  Two more of hers follow, and four of the King’s (i-322).  Nearly meaningless, as printed there, without commentary for the unprepared reader.]

Friedrich had last left Grussau April 18th; he has returned to it August 8th:  after sixteen weeks of a very eventful absence.  In Grussau he stayed two whole days; - busy enough he, probably, though his people were resting!  August 10th he draws up, for Prince Henri, “under seal of the most absolute secrecy,” and with admirable business-like strictness, brevity and clearness, forgetting nothing useful, remembering nothing useless, a Paper of Directions in case of a certain event:  “I march to-morrow against the Russians:  as the events of War may lead to all sorts of accidents, and it may easily happen to me to be killed, I have thought it my duty to let you know what my plans were,” and what you are to do in that event, - “the rather as you are Guardian of our Nephew [late Prince of Prussia’s Son] with an unlimited authority.”  Oath from all the armies the instant I am killed:  rapid, active, as ever; the enemy not to notice that there is any change in the command.  I intend to “beat the Russians utterly [A PLATE COUTURE, splay-seam], if it be possible;” then to &c.: - gives you his “itinerary,” too, or probable address, till “the 25th” (notably enough); in short, forgets nothing useful, nor remembers anything that is not, in spite of his hurry. ["DISPOSITION TESTAMENTAIRE” (so they have labelled it); given in OEuvres, iv. (APPENDICE) 261, 262.  Friedrich’s TESTAMENT proper is already made, and all in order, years ago ("11th January 1752"):  of this there followed Two new Redactions (new EDITIONS with slight improvements, “7th November, 1768,” and “8th January, 1769” the FINALLY valid one); and various Supplements, or summary Enforcements (as here), at different times of crisis. see PREUSS, i, 401, and OEuvres de Frederic, vi. (of Preface), for some confused account of that matter.] For Mlnlster Finck also there went a Paper; seal lzot needing to be opened for the moment.

With Margraf Karl, and Fouquet under him, who are to guard Silesia, he leaves in two Divisions about Half the late Olmutz Army: - added to the other force, this will make about 40,000 for that service. [Stenzel, .] Keith has the chief command here; but is ordered to Breslau, in the mean time, for a little rest and recovery of health.  Friday, 11th August, Friedrich himself, with the other Half, pushes off towards Fermor and the Cossack demons; through Liegnitz, through Hohenfriedberg Country, straight for Frankfurt, with his best speed.