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time; and that he did not, therefore, know exactly what

time:2023-12-05 22:30:36 source:Murderous net author:television read:859次

MAP TO GO HERE--FACING PAGE 48, BOOK 18 continuation----

time; and that he did not, therefore, know exactly what

Prince Karl's soldiers have each (in the cold form) three days, provision in their haversacks: they have come across the Weistritz River (more commonly called Schweidnitz Water), which was also the height of contemptuous imprudence; and lie encamped, this night,-- in long line, not ill-chosen (once the River IS behind),-- perpendicular to Friedrich's march, some ten miles ahead of him. Since crossing, they had learned with surprise, How their Bakery and Croats had been snapt up; that Friedrich was not at a distance, but near;--and that arrangements could not be made too soon! Their position intersects the Great Road at right angles, as we hint; and has villages, swamps, woody knolls; especially, on each wing, good defences. Their right wing leans on Nypern and its impassable peat-bogs, a Village two or three miles north from the Great Road; their centre is close behind another Village called Leuthen, about as far south from it: length of their bivouac is about five miles; which will become six or so, had Nadasti once taken post, who is to form the left wing, and go down as far as Sagschutz, southward of Leuthen. Seven battalions are in this Village of Leuthen, eight in Nypern, all the Villages secured; woods, scraggy abatis, redoubts, not forgotten: their cannon are numerous, though of light calibre. Friedrich has at least 71 heavy pieces; and 10 of them are formidably heavy,--brought from the walls of Glogau, with terrible labor to Ziethen; but with excellent effect, on this occasion and henceforth. They got the name of "Boomers, Bellowers (DIE BRUMMER)," those Ten. Friedrich was in great straits about artillery; and Retzow Senior recommended this hauling up of the Ten Bellowers, which became celebrated in the years coming. And now we are on the Battle-ground, and must look into the Battle itself, if we can.

time; and that he did not, therefore, know exactly what

From Neumarkt, on Monday, long before day, the Prussians, all but a small party left there to guard the Bakery and Army Properties, are out again; in four columns; towards what may lie ahead. Friedrich, as usual in such cases, for obvious reasons, rides with the vanguard. To Borne, the first Village on the Highway, is some seven or eight miles. The air is damp, the dim incipiences of dawn struggling among haze; a little way on this side Borne, we come on ranks of cavalry drawn across the Highway, stretching right and left into the dim void: Austrian Army this, then? Push up to it; see what it is, at least.

time; and that he did not, therefore, know exactly what

It proves to be poor General Nostitz, with his three Saxon regiments of dragoons, famous since Kolin-day, and a couple of Hussar regiments, standing here as outpost;--who ought to have been more alert; but they could not see through the dark, and so, instead of catching, are caught. The Prussians fall upon them, front and flank, tumble them into immediate wreck; drive the whole outpost at full gallop home, through Borne, upon Nypern and the right wing,--without news except of this symbolical sort. Saxon regiments are quite ruined, "540 of them prisoners" (poor Nostitz himself not prisoner, but wounded to death [Died in Breslau, the twelfth day after (Seyfarth, ii. 362).]); and the ground clear in this quarter.

Friedrich, on the farther side of Borne, calls halt, till the main body arrive; rides forward, himself and staff, to the highest of a range or suite of knolls, some furlongs ahead; sees there in full view, far and wide, the Austrians drawn up before him. From Nypern to Sagschuitz yonder; miles in length; and so distinct, while the light mended and the hazes faded, "that you could have counted them [through your glasses], man by man." A highly interesting sight to Friedrich; who continues there in the profoundest study, and calls up some horse regiments of the vanguard to maintain this Height and the range of Heights running south from it. And there, I think, the King is mainly to be found, looking now at the Austrians, now at his own people, for some three hours to come. His plan of Battle is soon clear to him: Nypern, with its bogs and scrags, on the Austrian right wing, is tortuous impossible ground, as he well remembers, no good prospect for us there: better ground for us on their left yonder, at Leuthen, even at Sagschutz farther south, whither they are stretching themselves. Attempt their left wing; try our "Oblique Order" upon that, with all the skill that is in us; perhaps we can do it rightly this time, and prosper accordingly! That is Friedrich's plan of action. The four columns once got to Borne shall fall into two; turn to the right, and go southward, ever southward:--they are to become our two Lines of Battle, were they once got to the right point southward. Well opposite Sagschutz, that will be the point for facing to left, and marching up,--in "Oblique Order," with the utmost faculty they have!

"The Oblique Order, SCHRAGE STELLUNG," let the hasty reader pause to understand, "is an old plan practised by Epaminondas, and revived by Friedrich,--who has tried it in almost all his Battles more or less, from Hohenfriedberg forward to Prag, Kolin, Rossbach; but never could, in all points, get it rightly done till now, at Leuthen, in the highest time of need. "It is a particular manoeuvre," says Archenholtz, rather sergeant-wise, "which indeed other troops are now [1793] in the habit of imitating; but which, up to this present time, none but Prussian troops can execute with the precision and velocity indispensable to it. You divide your line into many pieces; you can push these forward stairwise, so that they shall halt close to one another," obliquely, to either hand; and so, on a minimum of ground, bring your mass of men to the required point at the required angle. Friedrich invented this mode of getting into position; by its close ranking, by its depth, and the manner of movement used, it had some resemblance to the "Macedonian Phalanx,"--chiefly in the latter point, I should guess; for when arrived at its place, it is no deeper than common. "Forming itself in this way, a mass of troops takes up in proportion very little ground; and it shows in the distance, by reason of the mixed uniforms and standards, a totally chaotic mass of men heaped on one another," going in rapid mazes this way and that. "But it needs only that the Commander lift his finger; instantly this living coil of knotted intricacies develops itself in perfect order, and with a speed like that of mountain rivers when the ice breaks,"--is upon its Enemy. [Archenholtz, i. 209.]

"Your Enemy is ranked as here, in long line, three or two to one. You march towards him, but keep him uncertain as to how you will attack; then do on a sudden march up, not parallel to him, but oblique, at an angle of 45 degrees,--swift, vehement, in overpowering numbers, on the wing you have chosen. Roll that wing together, ruined, in upon its own line, you may roll the whole five miles of line into disorder and ruin, and always be in overpowering number at the point of dispute. Provided, only, you are swift enough about it, sharp enough! But extraordinary swiftness, sharpness, precision is the indispensable condition;--by no means try it otherwise; none but Prussians, drilled by an Old Dessauer, capable of doing it. This is the SCHRAGE ORDNUNG, about which there has been such commentating and controversying among military people: whether Friedrich invented it, whether Caesar did it, how Epaminondas, how Alexander at Arbela; how"--Which shall not in the least concern us on this occasion.

The four columns rustled themselves into two, and turned southward on the two sides of Borne;--southward henceforth, for about two hours; as if straight towards the Magic Mountain, the Zobtenberg, far off, which is conspicuous over all that region. Their steadiness, their swiftness and exactitude were unsurpassable. "It was a beautiful sight," says Tempelhof, an eye- witness: "The heads of the columns were constantly on the same level, and at the distance necessary for forming; all flowed on exact, as if in a review. And you could read in the eyes of our brave troops the noble temper they were in." [Tempelhof, i. 288, 287.] I know not at what point of their course, or for how long, but it was from the column nearest him, which is to be first line, that the King heard, borne on the winds amid their field-music, as they marched there, the sound of Psalms,--many-voiced melody of a Church Hymn, well known to him; which had broken out, band accompanying, among those otherwise silent men. The fact is very certain, very strange to me: details not very precise, except that here, as specimen, is a verse of their Hymn:--


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