Member Login - user registration - Setup as front page - add to favorites - sitemap “I do not mean to say,” continued the speaker, “that!

“I do not mean to say,” continued the speaker, “that

time:2023-12-05 23:32:29 source:Murderous net author:method read:342次

Fermor's roving Cossack clouds seldom bring him in intelligence; but only return stained with charcoal grime and red murder: up to late last night, he had not known where Friedrich was at all; had idly thought him busy with the Schaumburg Redoubt, on the other side of Oder, fencing and precautioning: but now (night of the 23d), these Cossacks do come in with news, "Indisputable to our poor minds, the Prussians are at Klossow yonder,--captured a dozen green vagabonds of us, and have sent us galloping!"--which news, with the night closing in on him, was astonishing, thrice and four times important to Fermor.

“I do not mean to say,” continued the speaker, “that

Instantly he raises the siege of Custrin, any siege there was; gets his immense baggage-train shoved off that night to Klein Kamin, Landsberg way; summons the force from Landsberg to join him without loss of a moment;--and in the meanwhile pitches himself in long bivouac in the Drewitz Wood or Fir-Heath, with the quaggy Zaberngrund in front. Quaggy Zaberngrund,--do readers remember it; one of those "Three continuous Leakages," very important, to Fermor and us at present? This is the safest place Fermor can find for himself; scraggy firs around, good quagmires and Zabern Hollow in front; looking to the east, waiting what a new day will bring. That was Fermor's posture, while Friedrich quitted Klossow in the dawn of the 24th. Be busy, ye Cossack doggeries; return with news, not with mere grime and marks of blood on your mouths!

“I do not mean to say,” continued the speaker, “that

Evening of the 24th, Cossacks report that Friedrich has got to Damm Mill; has hold of the Bridge there; and may be looked for, sure as the daylight, to-morrow. Fermor is 50,000 odd, his Landsberg forces all coming in; one Detachment out Stettin way, which cannot come in; Fermor finds that his baggage-train is fairly on the road to Klein Kamin;--and that he will have to quit this bosky bivouac, and fight for himself in the open ground, or do worse.

“I do not mean to say,” continued the speaker, “that


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.

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.

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.

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.


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