Many of the trenches were sixteen feet broad by sixteen feet524 deep. Under each battery there were two mines. In case of capture, the mines and the victors could be blown high into the air. Knowing that the batteries were all mined, the Russian and Austrian soldiers would be slow to make charges in which victory would be certain death. The small villages around were all strongly fortified.
All negotiation in reference to the marriages was now apparently88 at an end. Lieutenant Katte remained at Potsdam. In the absence of Lieutenant Keith he became more than ever the friend and confidant of the Crown Prince. Wilhelmina, aware of the dissipated character of Katte, mourned over this intimacy. The king was very much annoyed by the blunder of which he himself had been guilty in insulting the court of England in the person of its embassador. He declared, in his vexation, that he would never again treat in person with a foreign minister; that his hot temper rendered it unsafe for him to do so.
On the 29th of December, the Old Dessauer, with thirty-five thousand men, crossed the frontiers and entered Saxony. He marched rapidly upon Leipsic, and seized the town, from which a division of Rutowski’s army precipitately fled. Leopold found here quite a supply of commissary and ordnance stores. He also replenished his empty army-chest by levying a contribution of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars upon the inhabitants.368 Then, by a rapid march northeast to Torgo, on the Elbe, he captured another imperial magazine. Turning south, he pressed his troops along up the river to Myssen, which was within two days’ easy march of Dresden. Here there was a bridge across the Oder. Frederick was pushing his troops, by forced marches, from Hennersdorf, to effect a junction with Leopold at Myssen. Unitedly they were to fall upon Grüne and Rutowski at Dresden. In the mean time, also, Prince Charles, a despondent man, crushed by domestic woe and humiliating defeats, was moving, by not very energetic steps, to re-enforce the allied troops at Dresden.
At length, however, Frederick succeeded in pushing forward a detachment of his army to seize the magazines and the post he so greatly coveted. The troops marched all night. Toward morning, almost perishing with cold, they built enormous fires.304 Having warmed their numbed and freezing limbs, they pressed on to Iglau, to find it abandoned by the garrison. The Austrian general Lobkowitz had carried away every thing which could be removed, and then had reduced to ashes seventeen magazines, filled with military and commissary stores. The king was exceedingly chagrined by this barren conquest. He was anxious to advance in all directions, to take full possession of Moravia, before the Austrians could send re-enforcements to garrison its fortresses; but the Saxon lords refused to march any farther in this severe winter campaign. Frederick complained to the Saxon king. His Polish majesty sent an angry order to his troops to go forward. Sullenly they obeyed, interposing every obstacle in their power. Some of the leaders threw up their commissions and went home. Frederick, with his impetuous Prussians and his unwilling Saxons, spread over Moravia, levying contributions and seizing the strong places.The king devoted himself very energetically to business during the morning, and reviewed his troops at eleven o’clock. He dined at twelve.
MARIA THERESA AT THE HEAD OF HER ARMY.
Pressing straight forward, Wednesday morning, to the east, he encamped that night about ten miles from Güstebiese. He had so successfully veiled his movements that the Russians knew not where he was. On Thursday morning, August 24, at an early hour, he resumed his march, and crossed the Mützel River at various points. His confidence of victory was so great that he destroyed all the bridges behind him to prevent the retreat of the Russians.
“I have seen it,” was the reply; “but it is only a scratch, which your majesty will soon heal again.It will generally be admitted by military men that Frederick did not display much ability of generalship in this campaign. He was fearless, indomitable in energy, and tireless in the endurance of fatigue, but in generalship he was entirely eclipsed by his formidable rival. Indeed, Frederick could not be blind to this, and he had sufficient candor to confess it. Subsequently, giving an account of these transactions in his “Works,” he writes:
Days of Peace and Prosperity.—The Palace of Sans Souci.—Letter from Marshal Keith.—Domestic Habits of the King.—Frederick’s Snuff-boxes.—Anecdotes.—Severe Discipline of the Army.—Testimony of Baron Trenck.—The Review.—Death of the “Divine Emilie.”—The King’s Revenge.—Anecdote of the Poor Schoolmaster.—The Berlin Carousal.—Appearance of his Majesty.—Honors conferred upon Voltaire.
“From the Field of Battle of Chotusitz, May 17, 1742.详情
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