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young man who, for so many years, was called Lord Ormond;

time:2023-12-05 23:48:05 source:Murderous net author:ability read:402次

Artless Fermor draws out to the open ground, north of Zorndorf, south of Quartschen; arranges himself in huge quadrilateral mass, with his "staff-baggage" (lighter baggage) in the centre, and his front, so to speak, everywhere. [Excellent Plan of him, or rather Plans, in his successive shapes, in Tielcke, ii. (PLATES 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).] Mass, say two miles long by one mile broad; but it is by no means regular, and has many zigzags according to the ground, and narrows and droops southward on the eastern end: one of the most artless arrangements; but known to Fermor, and the readiest on this pinch of time. Munnich devised this quadrilateral mode; and found it good against the Turks, and their deluges of raging horse and foot: Fermor could perhaps do better; but there is such a press of hurry. Fermor's western flank, or biggest breadth of quadrilateral, leans on that Zabern Hollow, with its fine quagmires; his eastern, narrowest part, droops down on certain mud-pools and conveniences towards Zicher. Gallows Hollow, a slighter than the Zabern, runs through the centre of him; and with his best people he fronts towards the Mutzel Bridges, especially towards Damm-Mill Bridge whence Friedrich will emerge, sure as the sunrise, one knows not with what issue. Artless Fermor is nothing daunted; nor are his people; but stand patiently under arms, regardless of future and present, to a degree not common in soldiering.

young man who, for so many years, was called Lord Ormond;

Friday, August 25th, by half-past three in the morning, Friedrich is across the Mutzel; self and Infantry by Damm-Mutzel Bridge, cavalry by another Bridge (KERSTEN-BRUGGE, means "Christian Bridge," in the dialect of Charlemagne's time, a very old arrangement of Successive Logs up there!) some furlongs higher up. The Bridge at Damm is perhaps some three miles from the nearest Russians about Zicher; but Friedrich has no thought of attacking Fermor there; he has a quite other program laid, and will attack Fermor precisely on the side opposite to there. Friedrich's intention is to sweep quite round this monstrous Russian quadrilateral; to break in upon it on the western flank, and hurl it back upon Mutzel and its quagmires. He has broken his two bridges after passing, all bridges are gone there, and the country is bottomless: surrender at discretion if once you are driven thither! And Friedrich's own retreat, if he fail, is short and open to Custrin. "Admirable," say the Critics, "and altogether in Friedrich's style!"--Friedrich, adds one Critic, was not aware that the Russian Heavy-Baggage Train, which is their powder-flask and bread-basket and staff of life, lies at Klein Kamin, within few miles on his left just now, Russians themselves on his right; that the Russians could have been abolished from those countries without fighting at all! [Retzow, i. 305-329.] This is very true. Friedrich's haste is great, his humor hot; and he has not heard of this Klein-Kamin fact, which in common times he would have done, and of which in a calmer mood he would, with a fine scientific gusto, have taken his advantage.

young man who, for so many years, was called Lord Ormond;

Friedrich pours incessant southward; cavalry parallel to infantry and a certain distance beyond it, eastward of it; and they have burnt the Bridges; which is a curious fact! Continually southward, as if for Tamsel:--poor old Tamsel, do readers recollect it at all, does Friedrich at all? No pleasant dinner, or lily-and-rose complexions, there for one to-day!--Some distance short of Tamsel, Friedrich, emerging, turns westward;--intending what on earth? thinks Fermor. Friedrich has been mostly hidden by the woods all this while, and enigmatic to Fermor. Fermor does now at last see the color of the facts;--and that one's chief front must change itself to southward, one's best leg and arm be foremost, or towards Zorndorf, not towards the Mutzel as hitherto. Fermor stirs up his Quadrilateral, makes the required change, "You, best or northern line, step across, and front southward; across to southward, I say; second-best go northward in their stead:" and so, with some other slight polishings, suggested by the ground and phenomena, we anew await this Prussian Enigma with our best leg foremost. The march or circular sweep of these Prussian lines, from Damm Bridge through the woods and champaign to their appointed place of action, is seven or eight miles; lines when halted in battle-order will be two miles long or more.

young man who, for so many years, was called Lord Ormond;

Friedrich pours steadily along, horse and foot, by the rear cf Wilkersdorf, of Zorndorf,--Russian Minotaur scrutinizing him in that manner with dull bloodshot eyes, uncertain what he will do. It is eight in the morning, hot August; wind a mere lull, but southernly if any. Small Hussar pickets ride to right of the main Army March; to keep the Cossacks in check: who are roving about, all on wing; and pert enough, in spite of the Hussar pickets, Desperado individuals of them gallop up to the Infantry ranks, and fire off their pistols there,--without reply; reply or firing, till the word come, is strictly forbidden. Infantry pours along, like a ploughman drawing his furrow, heedless of the circling crows. Crows or Cossacks, finding they are not regarded, set fire to Zorndorf, and gallop off. Zorndorf goes up readily, mainly wood and straw; rolls in big clouds of smoke far northward in upon the Russian Minotaur, making him still blinder in the important moments now coming.

Friedrich rides up to view the Zabern Hollow: "Beyond expectation deep; very boggy too, with its foul leakage or brook: no attacking of their western flank through this Zaberngrund;--attack the corner of them, then; here on the southwest!" That is Friedrich's rapid resource. The lines halt, accordingly; make ready. Behind flaming Zorndorf stands his extreme left, which is to make the attack; infantry in front; horse to rear and farther leftwards,--and under the command of Seidlitz in this quarter, which is an important circumstance. Right wing, reaching to behind Wilkersdorf, is to refuse itself; whole force of centre is to push upon that Russian corner, to support the left in doing it;--according to the Leuthen or LEUCTRA principle, once more. May no mistakes occur in executing it this day!--

The first division of the Prussian Infantry, or extreme Left, marches forward by the west end of flaming Zorndorf; next division, which should stand close to right of it, or even behind it in action, and follow it close into the Russian fire, has to march by the east end of Zorndorf; this is a farther road, owing to the flames; and not a lucky one. Second division could never get into fair contact with that first division again: that was the mistake: and it might have been fatal, but was not, as we shall see. First division has got clear of Zorndorf, in advancing towards its Russian business;--is striding forward, its left flank safe against the Zaberngrund; steadily by fixed stages, against the fated Russian Corner, which is its point of attack. First division, second division, are clear of Zorndorf, though with a wide gap between them; are steadily striding forward towards the Russian Corner. Two strong batteries, wide apart, have planted themselves ahead; and are playing upon the Russian Quadrilateral, their fires crossing at the due Corner yonder, with terrible effect; Russian artillery, which are multitudinous and all gathered down to this southwestern corner, are responding, though with their fire spread, and far less effectual. The Prussian line steps on, extreme left perhaps in too animated a manner; their cannon batteries enfilade the thick mass of Russians at a frightful rate ("forty- two men of a certain regiment blown away by a single ball," in one instance [Tielcke.]), drive the interior baggage-horses to despair: a very agitated Quadrilateral, under its grim canopy of cannon smoke, and of straw smoke, heaped on it from the Zorndorf side here. Manteuffel, leader of that first or leftmost division, sees the internal simmering; steps forward still more briskly, to firing distance; begins his platoon thunder, with the due steady fury,-- had the second division but got up to support Manteuffel! The second division is in fire too; but not close to Manteuffel, where it should be.

Fermor notices the gap, the wavering of Manteuffel unsupported; plunges out in immense torrent, horse and foot, into the gap, into Manteuffel's flank and front; hurls Manteuffel back, who has no support at hand: "ARAH, ARAH (Hurrah, Hurrah)! Victory, Victory!" shout the Russians, plunging wildly forward, sweeping all before them, capturing twenty-six pieces of cannon, for one item. What a moment for Friedrich; looking on it from some knoll somewhere near Zorndorf, I suppose; hastily bidding Seidlitz strike in: "Seidlitz, now!" The hurrahing Russians cannot keep rank at that rate of going. like a buffalo stampede; but fall into heaps and gaps: Seidlitz, with a swiftness, with a dexterity beyond praise, has picked his way across that quaggy Zabern Hollow; falls, with say 5,000 horse, on the flank of this big buffalo stampede; tumbles it into instant ruin;--which proves irretrievable, as the Prussian Infantry come on again, and back Seidlitz.

In fifteen minutes more (I guess it now to be ten o'clock), the Russian Minotaur, this end of it, on to the Gallows Ground, is one wild mass. Seldom was there seen such a charge; issuiug in such deluges of wreck, of chaotic flight, or chaotic refusal to fly. The Seidlitz cavalry went sabring till, for very fatigue, they gave it up, and could no more. The Russian horse fled to Kutzdorf,-- Fermor with them, who saw no more of this Fight, and did not get back till dark;--had not the Bridges been burnt, and no crossing of the Mutzel possible, Fermor never would have come back, and here had been the end of Zorndorf. Luckier if it had! But there is no crossing of the Mutzel, there is only drowning in the quagmires there:--death any way; what can be done but die?


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