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abroad, produced by Captain Ormond’s unfortunate passion

time:2023-12-05 22:28:13 source:Murderous net author:software read:441次

Road for Bautzen; which is the road for Zittau withal, for Daun's bread-basket, as well as for Neisse and Harsch! Nine days' provision; that is our small outfit, that and our own right-hands; and the waste world lies all ahead. OCTOBER 1st, Retzow, as vanguard, sweeps out the few Croats from Bautzen, deposits his meal-wagons there; occupies Hochkirch, and the hilly environs to east; is to take possession of Weissenberg especially, and of the Stromberg Hill and other strong points: which Retzow punctually does, forgetting nothing,--except perhaps the Stromberg, not quite remembered in time; a thing of small consequence in Retzow's view, since all else had gone right.

abroad, produced by Captain Ormond’s unfortunate passion

Hearing of which, Daun, with astonishment, finds that he must quit those beautifully chasmy fastnesses of Stolpen, and look to his bread; which is getting to lie under the enemy's feet, if Zittau road be left yonder as it is. OCTOBER 5th, after councils of war and deliberation enough, Daun gets under way; [Ib. ii. 279.] cautiously, favored by a night very dark and wet, glides through to right of Friedrich's people, softly along between Bautzen and the Pirna Country; nobody molesting him, so dark and wet: and after one other march in those bosky solitudes, sits down at Kittlitz,--ahead or to east of Bautzen, of Hochkirch, of Retzow and all Friedrich's people;--and again sets to palisading and intrenching there. Kittlitz, near Lobau, there is Daun's new head-quarter; Lobau Water, with its intricate hollows, his line of defence: his posts going out a mile to north and to south of Kittlitz. And so sits; once more blocking Zittau road, and quietly waiting what Friedrich will do.

abroad, produced by Captain Ormond’s unfortunate passion

Friedrich is at Bautzen since the 7th; impatient enough to be forward, but must not till a second larger provision-convoy from Dresden come in. Convoy once in, Friedrich hastens off, Tuesday, 10th October, towards Weissenberg Country, where Retzow is; some ten or twelve miles to eastward,--Zittau-ward, if that chance to suit us; Silesia-ward, as is sure to suit. At the "Pass of Jenkowitz," short way from Bautzen, Pandours attempt our baggage; need to be battered off, and again off: which apprises Friedrich that Daun's whole Army is ahead in the neighborhood somewhere. Marching on, Friedrich, from the knoll of Hochkirch, shoulder of the southern Hills, gets complete view of Daun,--stretching north and south, at right angles to the Zittau roads and to Friedrich, in the way we described;--and is a little surprised, and I could guess piqued, at seeing Daun in such a state of forwardness. "Encamp here, then!" he says,--here, on this row of Heights parallel to Daun, within a mile of Daun: just here, I tell you! under the very nose of Daun, who is above two to one of us; and see what Daun will do. Marwitz, his favorite Adjutant, one of those free-spoken Marwitzes, loyal, skilful, but liable to stiff fits, takes the liberty to remonstrate, argue; says at length, He, Marwitz, dare not be concerned in marking out such an encampment; not he, for his poor part! And is put under arrest; and another Adjutant does it; cannon playing on his people and him while engaged in the operation.

abroad, produced by Captain Ormond’s unfortunate passion

Friedrich's obstinate rashness, this Tuesday Evening, has not wanted its abundant meed of blame,--rendered so emphatic by what befell on Saturday morning next. His somewhat too authoritative fixity; a certain radiancy of self-confidence, dangerous to a man; his sovereign contempt of Daun, as an inert dark mass, who durst undertake nothing: all this is undeniable, and worth our recognition in estimating Friedrich. One considerably extenuating circumstance does at last turn up,--in the shape of a new piece of blame to the erring Friedrich; his sudden anger, namely, against the meritorious General Retzow; his putting Retzow under arrest that Tuesday Evening: "How, General Retzow? You have not taken hold of the Stromberg for me!" That is the secret of Retzow: and on studying the ground you will find that the Stromberg, a blunt tabular Hill, of good height, detached, and towering well up over all that region, might have rendered Friedrich's position perfectly safe. "Seize me the Stromberg to-morrow morning, the first thing!" ordered Friedrich. And a Detachment went accordingly; but found Daun's people already there,--indisposed to go; nay determined not to go, and getting reinforced to unlimited amounts. So that the Stromberg was left standing, and remained Daun's; furnished with plenty of cannon by Daun. Retzow's arrest, Retzow being a steady favorite of Friedrich's, was only of a few hours: "pardonable that oversight," thinks Friedrich, though it came to cost him dear. For the rest, I find, Friedrich's keeping of this Camp, without the Stromberg, was intended to end, the third day hence: "Saturday, 14th, then, since Friday proves impossible!" Friedrich had settled. And it did end Saturday, 14th, though at an earlier HOUR, and with other results than had been expected. Keith said, "The Austrians deserve to be hanged if they don't attack us here." "We must hope they are more afraid of us than even of the gallows," answered Friedrich. A very dangerous Camp; untenable without the Stromberg. Let us try to understand it, and Daun's position to it, in some slight degree.

"Hochkirch (HIGHkirk) is an old Wendish-Saxon Village, standing pleasantly on its Hill-top, conspicuous for miles round on all sides, or on all but the south side, where it abuts upon other Heights, which gradually rise into Hills a good deal higher than it. The Village hangs confusedly, a jumble of cottages and colegarths, on the crown and north slope of the Height; thatched, in part tiled, and built mostly of rough stone blocks, in our time,--not of wood, as probably in Friedrich's. A solid, sluttishly comfortable-looking Village; with pleasant hay-fields, or long narrow hay-stripes (each villager has his stripe), reaching down to the northern levels. The Church is near the top; Churchyard, and some little space farther, are nearly horizontal ground, till the next Height begins sloping up again towards the woody Hills southward. The view from this little esplanade atop, still better from the Church belfry, is wide and pretty. Free on all sides except the south: pleasant Heights and Hollows, of arable, of wood, or pasture; well watered by rushing Brooks, all making northward, direct for Spree (the Berlin Spree), or else into the Lobau Water, which is the first big branch of Spree.

"The place is still partly of Wendish speech; the Parson has to preach one half of the Sunday in Wend, the other in German. Among the Hills to south," well worth noting at present, "is one called CZARNABOG, or 'Devil's Hill;' where the Wendish Devil and his Witches (equal to any German on his Blocksberg, or preternatural Bracken of the Harz) hold their annual WITCHES'- SABBATH,--a thing not to be contemplated without a shudder by the Wendish mind. Thereabouts, and close from Hochkirch southward, all is shadowy intricacy of thicket and wild wood. Northward too from Hochkirch, and all about, I perceive the scene was woodier then than now;--and must have looked picturesque enough (had anybody been in quest of that), with the multifarious uniforms, and tented people sprinkled far and wide among the leafy red-and-yellow of October, 1758." [Tourist's Note, September, 1858.]

In the Village of Wuischke, precisely at the northern base of that shaggy Czarnabog or Devil's Hill, stand Loudon and 3,000 Croats and grenadiers, as the extreme left of Daun's position. Wuischke is nearly straight south of Hochkirch; so far westward has Loudon pushed forward with his Croats, hidden among the Hills; though Daun's general position lies a good mile to east of Friedrich's:--irregularly north and south, both Friedrich and Daun; the former ignorant what Croats and Loudonries, there may be among those Devil's Hills to his right; the latter not ignorant. Friedrich's right wing, Keith in command of it, stretches to Hochkirch and a little farther: beyond Hochkirch, it has Four flank Battalions in potence form, with proper vedettes and pickets; and above all, with a strong Battery of Twenty Guns, which it maintains on the next Height immediately adjoining Hochkirch, and perceptibly higher than Hochkirch. This is the finis of Keith on his right; and--except those vedettes, and pickets of Free-corps people, thrown out a little way ahead into the bushes, on that side--Friedrich's right wing knows nothing of the shaggy elevations horrent with wood, which lie to southward; and merely intends to play its Twenty Cannon upon them, should they give birth to anything. This is Friedrich's posture on his right or south wing.

From Hochkirch northward or nearly so, but sprinkled about in all the villages and points of strength, as far up as Drehsa and beyond Drehsa, to near Kotitz, a less important village, Friedrich extends about four miles; centre at Rodewitz, where his own head-quarter is, above two miles north of Hochkirch. Not far from Rodewitz, but a little to left and ahead, stands his second and best Battery, of Thirty Guns; ready to play upon Lauska, a poor village, and its roadway, should the Austrians try anything there, or from their Stromberg post, which is a good mile behind Lauska. His strength, in these lines, some count to be only 28,000, or less. Four or five miles to northeast, in and behind Weissenberg (which we used to know last summer), lies Retzow, with perhaps 10 or 12,000, which will bring him up to 40,000, were they properly joined with him as a left wing. Daun's force counts 90,000; with Friedrich lying under his nose in this insolent manner.


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