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of stealing linen from a hedge, was obliged to have recourse

time:2023-12-06 00:12:46 source:Murderous net author:bird read:983次

Keith himself takes the rear-guard, the most ticklish post of all, and manages it well, and with success, as his wont is. Under sickness at the time, but with his usual vigilance, prudence, energy; qualities apt to be successful in War. Some brushes of Croat fighting he had from Loudon; but they did not amount to anything. It was at Holitz, within a march of Konigsgratz, that Loudon made his chief attempt; a vehement, well-intended thing; which looked well at one time. But Keith heard the cannonading ahead; hurried up with new cavalry, new sagacity and fire of energy; dashed out horse-charges, seized hill-tops, of a vital nature; and quickly ended the affair. A man fiery enough, and prompt with his stroke when wanted, though commonly so quiet. "Tell Monsieur,"--some General who seemed too stupid or too languid on this occasion,--"Tell Monsieur from me," said Keith to his Aide- de-camp, "he may be a very pretty thing, but he is not a man (QU'IL PEUT ETRE UNE BONNE CHOSE, MAIS QU'IL N'EST PAS UN HOMME)!" [Varnhagen, Leben des &c. Jakob von Keith, p. 227.] The excellent vernacular Keith;--still a fine breadth of accent in him, one perceives! He is now past sixty; troubled with asthma; and I doubt not may be, occasionally, thinking it near time to end his campaigns. And in fact, he is about ending them; sooner than he or anybody had expected.

of stealing linen from a hedge, was obliged to have recourse

Daun, picking his steps and positions, latterly with threefold precaution, got into Konigsgratz neighborhood, a week after Friedrich; and looked down with enigmatic wonder upon Friedrich's new settlement there. Forage abundant all round, and the corn- harvest growing white;--here, strange to say, has Friedrich got planted in the inside of those innumerable Daun redoubts, and "woods of abatis;" and might make a very pretty "Bohemian Campaign" of it, after all, were Daun the only adversary he had! Judges are of opinion, that Daun, with all his superiority of number, could not have disrooted Friedrich this season. [Tempelhof, ii. 170-176, 185;--who, unluckily, in soldier fashion, here as too often elsewhere, does not give us the Arithmetical Numbers of each, but counts by "Battalions" and " Squadrons," which, except in time of Peace, are a totally uncertain quantity:--guess vaguely, 75,000 against 30,000.] Daun did try him by the Pandour methods, "1,000 Croats stealing in upon Konigsgratz at one in the morning," and the like; but these availed nothing. By the one effectual method, that of beating him in battle, Daun never would have tried. What did disroot Friedrich, then?--Take the following dates, and small hints of phenomena in other parts of the big Theatre of War. "Konitz" is a little Polish Town, midway between Dantzig and Friedrich's Dominions:--

of stealing linen from a hedge, was obliged to have recourse

"KONITZ, 16th JUNE, 1758. This day Feldmarschall Fermor arrives in his principal Camp here. For many weeks past he has been dribbling across the Weichsel hitherward, into various small camps, with Cossack Parties flying about, under check of General Platen. But now, being all across, and reunited, Fermor shoots out Cossack Parties of quite other weight and atrocity; and is ready to begin business,--still a little uncertain how. His Cossacks, under their Demikows, Romanzows; capable of no good fighting, but of endless incendiary mischief in the neighborhood;--shoot far ahead into Prussian territory: Platen, Hordt with his Free-Corps, are beautifully sharp upon them; but many beatings avail little. 'They burn the town of Driesen [Hordt having been hard upon them there]; town of Ratzebuhr, and nineteen villages around;'--burn poor old women and men, one poor old clergyman especially, wind him well in straw-roping, then set fire, and leave him;--and are worse than fiends or hyenas. Not to be checked by Platen's best diligence; not, in the end, by Platen and Dohna together. Dohna (18th June) has risen from Stralsund in check of them,--leaving the unfortunate Swedes to come out [shrunk to about 7,000, so unsalutary their stockfish diet there],--these hyena-Cossacks being the far more pressing thing. Dohna is diligent, gives them many slaps and checks; Dohna cannot cut the tap-root of them in two; that is to say, fight Fermor and beat him: other effectual check there can be none. [ Helden-Geschichte, v. 149 et seq.; Tempelhof, ii. 135 &c.]

of stealing linen from a hedge, was obliged to have recourse

"TSCHOPAU (in Saxony), 21st JUNE. Prince Henri has quitted Bamberg Country; and is home again, carefully posted, at Tschopau and up and down, on the southern side of Saxony; with his eye well on the Passes of the Metal Mountains,--where now, in the turn things at Olmutz have taken, his clear fate is to be invaded, NOT to invade. The Reichs Army, fairly afoot in the Circle of Saatz, counts itself 35,000; add 15,000 Austrians of a solid quality, there is a Reichs Army of 50,000 in all, this Year. And will certainly invade Saxony,--though it is in no hurry; does not stir till August come, and will find Prince Henri elaborately on his guard, and little to be made of him, though he is as one to two.

"CREFELD (Rhine Country), 23d JUNE. Duke Ferdinand, after skilful shoving and advancing, some forty or fifty miles, on his new or French side of the Rhine, finds the French drawn up at Crefeld (June 23d); 47,000 of them VERSUS 33,000: in altogether intricate ground; canal-ditches, osier-thickets, farm-villages, peat-bogs. Ground defensible against the world, had the 47,000 had a Captain; but reasonably safe to attack, with nothing but a Clermont acting that character. Ferdinand, I can perceive, knew his Clermont; and took liberties with him. Divided himself into three attacks: one in front; one on Clermont's right flank, both of which cannonaded, as if in earnest, but did not prevent Clermont going to dinner. One attack on front, one on right flank; then there was a third, seemingly on left flank, but which winded itself round (perilously imprudent, had there been a Captain, instead of a Clermont deepish in wine by this time), and burst in upon Clermont's rear; jingling his wine-glasses and decanters, think at what a rate;--scattering his 47,000 and him to the road again, with a loss of men, which was counted to 4,000 (4,000 against 1,700), and of honor--whatever was still to lose!" [Mauvillon, i. 297-309; Westphalen, i. 588-604; Tempelhof; &c. &c.]

Ferdinand, it was hoped, would now be able to maintain himself, and push forward, on this French side of the Rhine: and had Wesel been his (as some of us know it is not!), perhaps. he might. At any rate, veteran Belleisle took his measures:--dismissal of Clermont Prince of the Blood, and appointment of Contades, a man of some skill; recall of Soubise and his 24,000 from their Austrian intentions; these and other strenuous measures,--and prevented such consummation. A gallant young Comte de Gisors, only son of Belleisle, perished in that disgraceful Crefeld:--unfortunate old man, what a business that of "cutting Germany in four" has been to you, first and last!

"LOUISBURG (North America), JULY 8th. Landing of General Amherst's people at Louisburg in Cape Breton; with a view of besieging that important place. Which has now become extremely difficult; the garrison, and their defences, military, naval, being in full readiness for such an event. Landing was done by Brigadier Wolfe; under the eye of Amherst and Admiral Boscawen from rearward, and under abundant fire of batteries and musketries playing on it ahead: in one of the surfiest seas (but we have waited four days, and it hardly mends), tossing us about like corks;--so that 'many of the boats were broken;' and Wolfe and people 'had to leap out, breast-deep,' and make fight for themselves, the faster the better, under very intricate circumstances! Which was victoriously done, by Wolfe and his people; really in a rather handsome manner, that morning. As were all the subsequent Siege-operations, on land and on water, by them and the others:--till (August 8th) the Siege ended: in complete surrender,--positively for the last time (Pitt fully intends); no Austrian Netherlands now to put one on revoking it! [General Amherst's DIARY OF THE SIEGE (in Gentleman's Magazine, xxviii. 384-389).]

"These are pretty victories, cheering to Pitt and Friedrich; but the difficult point still is that of Fermor. Whose Cossacks, and their devil-like ravagings, are hideous to think of:-- unrestrainable by Dohna, unless he could cut the root of them; which he cannot. JUNE 27th [while Colonel Mosel, with his 3,000 wagons, still only one stage from Troppau, was so busy], slow Fermor rose from Konitz; began hitching southward, southward gradually to Posen,--a considerably stronger Polish Town; on the edge both of Brandenburg and of Silesia;--and has been sitting there, almost ever since our entrance into Bohemia; his Cossacks burning and wasting to great distances in both Countries; no deciding which of them he meant to invade with his main Army. Sits there almost a month, enigmatic to Dohna, enigmatic to Friedrich: till Friedrich decides at last that he cannot be suffered longer, whichever of them he mean; and rises for Silesia (August 2d). Precisely about which day Fermor had decided for Brandenburg, and rolled over thither, towards Custrin and the Frankfurt-on-Oder Country, heralded by fire and murder, as usual."


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