MAP GOES HERE FACING PAGE 138, BOOK XVIII---------
Fermor, walking off in this manner,--not till the third day, nay not conclusively till the seventh day, after Zorndorf,--strove at first to consider himself victorious. "I passed the night on the field of battle [or NOT far from it, for good reasons, Mutzel being bridgeless]: may not I, in the language of enthusiasm, be considered conqueror? Here are 26 of their cannon, got when I cried 'Arah' prematurely. (Where the 103 pieces of my own are, and my 27 flags, and my Army-chest and sundries? Dropped somewhere; they will probably turn up again!)" thinks Fermor,--or strives to think, and says. So that, at Petersburg, at Paris and Vienna, in the next three weeks, there were TE-DEUMS, Ambrosian chantings, fires-of- joy; and considerable arguing among the Gazetteers on both parts,-- till the dust settled, and facts appeared as they were. To the effect: "TE DEUM non LAUDAMUS; alas no, we must retract; and it was good gunpowder thrown after bad!"
On always homewards, but at its own pace, waited on by Dohna, goes the Russian Monster: violently case-shotting if you prick into its rearward parts. One Palmbach,--under Romanzow, I think, who had not taken part in the Battle, being out Stettin way, and unable to join till now,--Palmbach, with a Detachment of 15,000, which was thought sufficient for the object, did try to make a dash on Colberg,--how happy had we any port on the Baltic, to feed us in this Country! But though Colberg is the paltriest crow's-nest (BICOQUE), according to all engineers, and is defended only by 700 militia (the Colonel of them, one Heyde, a gray old Half-pay, not yet renowned in the soldier world, as he here came to be), Palmbach, with his best diligence, could make nothing of it; but, after battering, bombarding, even scalading, and in all ways blurting and blazing at a mighty rate for four weeks, and wasting a great deal of gunpowder and 2,000 Russian lives, withdrew on those remarkable terms. [In
September 2d, Friedrich, leaving all that, had marched for Saxony; his presence urgently required there. Daun ought to be far on with the conquest of that Country? Might have had it, say judges, if he had been as swift as some.--At Zorndorf, among the Russian Prisoners were certain Generals, Soltikof, Czernichef, Sulkowski the Pole, proud people in their own eyes: no lodging for them but the cellars of Custrin. Russian Generals complained, "Is this a lodging for Field-Officers of rank!" Friedrich was not used to profane swearing, or vituperative outbursts; but he answered to the effect: "Silence, ye incendiary individuals. Is there a choice left of lodgings, and for you above others!" Upon which they lay silent for some days, till better suited; in fact, till exchanged,--and perhaps will soon turn up on us again.
So soon as Friedrich quitted Bohemia and Silesia for his Russian Enterprise, there rose high question at Vienna, "To what shall our Daun now turn himself?" A Daun, a Reichs Army, free for new employment; in Saxony not much to oppose them, in Silesia almost nothing in comparison. "Recapture of Silesia?" Yes truly; that is the steady pole-star at Vienna. But they have no Magazines in Silesia, no Siege-furnitures; and the season is far spent. They decide that there shall be a stroke upon Dresden, and recovery of Saxony, in Friedrich's absence. Nothing there at present but a Prince Henri, weak in numbers, say one to two of the Reichs Army by itself. Let the Reichs Army rise now, and advance through the Metal Mountains from southeast on Prince Henri; let Daun circle round on him, through the Lausitz from northeast: cannot they extinguish Henri between them; snatch Dresden, a weak ill-fortified place, by sudden onslaught, and recapture Saxony? That will be magnanimous to our august Allies;--and that will be an excellent scaffolding for recapture of Silesia next year. And cannot Daun leave a Force in the Silesian vicinities,--Deville with so many thousands, Harsch with so many,--to besiege one of their Frontier Places; Neisse, for example? Siege-furnitures to come from Mahren: Neisse is not farther from Olmutz than Olmutz was from it.
That was the scheme fallen upon; now getting executed while Friedrich is at Zorndorf well away. And that, if readers fix it intelligently in their memory, will suffice to introduce to them the few words more that can be allowed us here upon it. A very few words, compressed to the utmost,--merely as preface to Hochkirch, whither we must hasten; Hochkirch being the one incident which, except to studious soldiers, has now and here any interest, out of the very many incidents which, then and there, were so intensely interesting to all mankind. To readers who are curious, and will take with them any poorest authentic Outline of the Localities concerned, the following condensed Note will not be unintelligible.
DAUN AND THE REICHS ARMY INVADE SAXONY, IN FRIEDRICH'S ABSENCE.
"Daun, pushing out with his best speed, along the Bohemian-Silesian border, had got to Zittau AUGUST 17th; which poor City is to be his basis and storehouse; the greatest activity and wagoning now visible there,"--among the burnt walls getting rebuilt. And in the same days, Zweibruck and his Reichs Army are vigorously afoot; Zweibruck pushing across the Metal Mountains, the fastest he can; intending to plant himself in Pirna Country. Not to mention General Dombale, Zweibruck's Austrian Second; who has the Austrian 15,000 with him; and, by way of preface, has emerged to westward, in Zwickau-Tschopau Country; calculating that Prince Henri will not be able to attend to him just now. And in effect Prince Henri, intent upon Zweibruck and the Pirna Country, takes position in the old Prussian ground there ('head-quarter Gross Seidlitz,' as in 1756); and can only leave a Detachment in Tschopau Country to wait upon Dombale; who does at least shoot out Croat parties, 'quite across Saxony, to Halle all the way,' and entertain the Gazetteers, if he can do little real mischief.