Lehwald was just finishing with the Swedes,--had got them all bottled up in Stralsund again, about New-Year's time, when these Russians crossed into Preussen. We said nothing of the Swedish so-called Campaign of last Year;--and indeed are bound to be nearly silent of that and of all the others. Five Campaigns of them, or at least Four and a half; such Campaigns as were never made before or since. Of Campaign 1757, the memorable feature is, that of the whole "Swedish Division," as the laughing Newspapers called it, which was "put to flight by five Berlin Postilions;"--substantially a truth, as follows:--
"Night of September 12th-13th, 1757, the Swedes, 22,000 strong, did at last begin business; crossed Peene River, the boundary between their Pommern and ours; and, having nothing but some fractions of Militia to oppose them, soon captured the Redoubts there; spread over Prussian Pommern, and on into the Uckermark; diligently raising contributions, to a heavy amount. No less than 90,000 pounds in all for this poor Province; though, by a strange accident, 60,000 pounds proved to be the actual sum.
"Towards the end of October they had got as much as 60,000 pounds from the northern parts of Uckermark, Prentzlow being their head- quarter during that operation; and they now sent out a Detachment of 200 grenadiers and 100 dragoons towards Zehdenick, another little Town, some forty miles farther south, there to wring out the remaining sum. The Detachment marched by night, not courting notice; but people had heard of its coming; and five Prussian Postilions,--shifty fellows, old hussars it may be, at any rate skilful on the trumpet, and furnished with hussar jackets and an old pistol each, determined to do something for their Country. The Swedish Detachment had not marched many miles, when,--after or before some flourishes of martial trumpeting,--there verily fell on the Swedish flank, out of a clump of dark wood, five shots, and wounded one man. To the astonishment and panic of the other two hundred and ninety-nine; who made instant retreat, under new shots and trumpet-tones, as if it were from five whole hussar regiments; retreat double-quick, to Prentzlow; alarm waxing by the speed; alarm spreading at Prentzlow itself: so that the whole Division got to its feet, recrossed the Peene; and Uckermark had nothing more to pay, for that bout! This is not a fable, such as go in the Newspapers," adds my Authority, "but an accurate fact:" [
"The French," says another of my Notes, "who did the subsidying all round (who paid even the Russian Subsidy, though in Austria's name), had always an idea that the Swedes--22,000 stout men, this year, 4,000 of them cavalry--might be made to co-operate with the Russians; with them or with somebody; and do something effective in the way of destroying Friedrich. And besides their subsidies and bribings, the French took incredible pains with this view; incessantly contriving, correspondencing, and running to and fro between the parties: [For example: M. le Marquis de Montalembert, CORRESPONDANCE AVEC &c., ETANT EMPLOYE PAR LE ROI DE FRANCE A L'ARMEE SUEDOISE, 1757-1761 ("with the Swedish Army," yes, and sometimes with the Russian,--and sometimes on the French Coasts, ardently fortifying against Pitt and his Descents there:--a very intelligent, industrious, observant man; still amusing to read, if one were idler), A LONDRES (evidently Paris), 1777, 3 vols. small 8vo. Then, likewise very intelligent, there is a Montazet, a Mortaigne, a Caulaiucourt; a CAMPAGNE DES RUSSES EN 1757; &c. &c., --in short, a great deal of fine faculty employed there in spinning ropes from sand.] but had not, even from the Russians and Czarish Majesty, much of a result, and from the Swedes had absolutely none at all. By French industry and flagitation, the Swedish Army was generally kept up to about 20,000: the soldiers were expert with their fighting-tools, knew their field-exercise well; had fine artillery, and were stout hardy fellows: but the guidance of them was wonderful. 'They had no field-commissariat,' says one Observer, 'no field-bakery, no magazines, no pontoons, no light troops; and,' among the Higher Officers, 'no subordination.' [Archenholtz, i. 158.] Were, in short, commanded by nobody in particular. Commanded by Senator Committee-men in Stockholm; and, on the field, by Generals anxious to avoid responsibility; who, instead of acting, held continual Councils of War. The history of their Campaigns, year after year, is, in summary, this:--
"Late in the season (always late, War-Offices at home, and Captaincies here, being in such a state), they emerged from Stralsund, an impregnable place of their own,--where the men, I observe, have had to live on dried fishy substances, instead of natural boiled oatmeal; [Montalembert, i. 32-37, 335. 394, &c. (that of the demand for Neise PORRIDGE, which interested me, I cannot find again).] and have died extensively in consequence:-- they march from Stralsund, a forty or thirty miles, till they reach the Swedish-Pommern boundary, Peene River; a muddy sullen stream, flowing through quagmire meadows, which are miles broad, on each shore. River unfordable everywhere; only to be crossed in four or five places, where paved causeways are. The Swedes, with deliberation, cross Peene; after some time, capture the bits of Redoubts, and the one or two poor Prussian Towns upon it; Anklam Redoubt, PEENE-MUNDE (Peene-mouth) Redoubt; and rove forward into Prussian Pommern, or over into the Uckermark, for fifty, for a hundred miles; exacting contributions; foraging what they can; making the poor country-people very miserable, and themselves not happy,--their soldiers 'growing yearly more plunderous,' says Archenholtz, 'till at length they got, though much shyer of murder, to resemble Cossacks,' in regard to other pleas of the crown.
"There is generally some fractional regiment or two of Prussian force, left under some select General Manteuffel, Colonel Belling; who hangs diligently on the skirts of them, exploding by all opportunities. There have been Country Militias voluntarily got on foot, for the occasion; five or six small regiments of them; officered by Prussian Veterans of the Squirearchy in those parts; who do excellent service. The Governor of Stettin, Bevern, our old Silesian friend, strikes out now and then, always vigilant, prompt and effective, on a chance offering. This, through Summer, is what opposition can be made: and the Swedes, without magazines, scout- service, or the like military appliances, but willing enough to fight [when they can see], and living on their shifts, will rove inward, perhaps 100 miles; say southwestward, say southeastward [towards Ruppin, which we used to know],--they love to keep Mecklenburg usually on their flank, which is a friendly Country. Small fights befall them, usually beatings; never anything considerable. That is their success through Summer.
"Then, in Autumn, some remnant more of Prussian regulars arrive, disposable now for that service; upon which the Swedes are driven over Peene again (quite sure to be driven, when the River with its quagmires freezes); lose Anklam Redoubt, Peene-munde Redoubt; lose Demmin, Wollin; are followed into Swedish Pommern, oftenest to the gates of Stralsund, and are locked up there, there and in Rugen adjoining, till a new season arrive."--This year (1757-1758), Lehwald, on turning the key of Stralsund, might have done a fine feat; frost having come suddenly, and welded Rugen to mainland. "What is to hinder you from starving them into surrender?" signifies Friedrich, hastily: "Besiege me Stralsund!" Which Lehwald did; but should have been quicker about it; or the thaw came too soon, and admitted ships with provision again. Upon which Lehwald resigned, to a General Graf von Dohna; and went home, as grown too old: and Dohna kept them bottled there till the usual Russian Advent (deep in June); by which time, what with limited stockfish diet, what with sore labor (breaking of the ice, whenever frost reappeared) and other hardship, more than half of them had died.-- "Every new season there was a new General tried; but without the least improvement. There was mockery enough, complaint enough; indignant laughter in Stockholm itself; and the Dalecarlians thought of revolting: but the Senator Committee-men held firm, ballasted by French gold, for four years.
"The Prussian Militias are a fine trait of the matter; about fifteen regiments in different parts;--about five in Pommern, which set the example; which were suddenly raised last Autumn by the STANDE themselves, drilled in Stettin continually, while the Swedes were under way, and which stood ready for some action, under veterans of the squirearchy, when the Swedes arrived. They were kept up through the War. The STANDE even raised a little fleet, [Archenholtz, i. 110.] river fleet and coast fleet, twelve gunboats, with a powerful carronade in each, and effective men and captain; a great check on plundering and coast mischief, till the Swedes, who are naval, at last made an effort and destroyed them all."