There was but one rational supposition, the Earl said.

"OCTOBER 9th. Friedrich once off to Bechin, the Pandour clouds gather on his rearguard next day at Tein Bridge here, to the number of about 10,000 [rumor counts 14,000]; and with desperate intent, and more regularity than usual, attack the Tein-Bridge Party, which consists of perhaps 2,000 grenadiers and hussars, the whole under Ziethen's charge,--obliged to wait for a cargo of Bread-wagons here. 'Defend your Bridge, with cannon, with case-shot:' that is what the grenadiers do. The Pandour cloud, with horrid lanes cut in it, draws back out of this; then plunges at the River itself, which can be ridden above or below; rides it, furious, by the thousand: 'Off with your infantry; quit the Bridge!' cries Ziethen to his Captain there: 'Retire you, Parthian-like; thrice-steady,' orders Ziethen: 'It is to be hoped our hussars can deal with this mad- doggery!' And they do it; cutting in with iron discipline, with fierceness not undrilled; a wedge of iron hussars, with ditto grenadiers continually wheeling, like so many reapers steady among wind-tossed grain; and gradually give the Pandours enough. Seven hours of it, in all: 'of their sixty cartridges the grenadiers had fired fifty-four,' when it ended, about 7 P.M. The coming Bread-wagons, getting word, had to cast their loaves into the River (sad to think of); and make for Bechin at their swiftest. But the rearguard got off with its guns, in this victorious manner: thanks to Major-General Ziethen, Colonel Reusch and the others concerned. [ Feldzuge der Preussen, i. 268; Orlich, ii. 55.]

There was but one rational supposition, the Earl said.

"Ziethen handsels his Major-Generalcy in this fine way: [Patent given him "3d October, 1744," only a week ago, "and ordered to be dated eight months back" (Rodenbeck, i. 109).] a man who has had promotion, and also has had none, and may again come to have none;--and is able to do either way. Never mind, my excellent tacit friend! Ziethen is five-and-forty gone; has a face which is beautiful to me, though one of the coarsest. Face thrice-honest, intricately ploughed with thoughts which are well kept silent (the thoughts, indeed, being themselves mostly inarticulate; thoughts of a simple-hearted, much-enduring, hot-tempered son of iron and oatmeal);--decidedly rather likable, with its lazily hanging under-lip, and respectable bearskin cylinder atop."

There was but one rational supposition, the Earl said.


There was but one rational supposition, the Earl said.

OCTOBER 14th-18th: RETREAT FROM BECHIN-TABOR COUNTRY TO BENESCHAU. ... "These Pandours give us trouble enough; no Magazine here, no living to be had in this Country beside them. Unfortunate Colonel Jahnus went out from Tabor lately, to look after requisitioned grains: infinite Pandours set upon him [Muhlhausen is the memorable place]; Jahnus was obstinate (too obstinate, thinks Friedrich), and perished on the ground, he and 200 of his. [ OEuvres de Frederic, iii. 61.] Nay, next, a swarm of them came to Tabor itself, Nadasti at their head; to try whether Tabor, with its small garrison, could not be escaladed, and perhaps Prince Henri, who lies sick there, be taken? Tabor taught them another lesson; sent them home with heads broken;--which Friedrich thinks was an extremely suitable thing. But so it stands: Here by the thousand and the ten thousand they hang round us; and Prince Karl-- It is of all things necessary we get hold of that Beneschau, and the Magazine he is gathering there!

"Rapidity is indispensable,--and yet how quit Tabor? We have detachments out at Neuhaus, at Budweis, and in Tabor 300 men in hospital, whom there are no means of carrying. To leave them to the Tolpaches? Friedrich confesses he was weak on this occasion; he could not leave these 300 men, as was his clear duty, in this extremity of War. He ordered in his Neuhaus Detachment; not yet any of the others. He despatched Schmerin towards Beneschau with all his speed; Schwerin was lucky enough to take Beneschau and its provender,--a most blessed fortune,--and fences himself there. Hearing which, Friedrich, having now got the Neuhaus Detachment in hand, orders the other Three, the Budweis, the Tabor here, and the Frauenberg across the River, to maintain themselves; and then, leaving those southern regions to their chance, hastens towards Beneschau and Schwerin; encamps (October 18th) near Beneschau,-- 'Camp of Konopischt,' unattackable Camp, celebrated in the Prussian Books;--and there, for eight days, still on the south side of Sazawa, tries every shift to mend the bad posture of affairs in that Luschnitz-Sazawa Country. His Three Garrisons (3,000 men in them, besides the 300 sick) he now sees will not be able to maintain themselves; and he sends in succession 'eight messengers,' not one messenger of whom could get through, to bid them come away. His own hope now is for a Battle with Prince Karl; which might remedy all things. [ OEuvres de Frederic, iii. 62-64.]"

That is Friedrich's wish; but it is by no means Traun's, who sees that hunger and wet weather will of themselves suffice for Friedrich. There ensues accordingly, for three weeks to come, in that confused Country, a series of swift shufflings, checkings and manoeuvrings between these two, which is gratifying and instructive to the strategic mind, but cannot be inflicted upon common readers. Two considerable chess-players, an old and a young; their chess- board a bushy, rocky, marshy parallelogram, running fifty miles straight east from Prag, and twenty or fewer south, of which Prag is the northwest angle, and Beneschau, or the impregnable Konopischt the southwest: the reader must conceive it; and how Traun will not fight Friedrich, yet makes him skip hither and thither, chiefly by threatening his victuals. Friedrich's main magazine is now at Pardubitz, the extreme northeast angle of the parallelogram. Parallelogram has one river in it, with the innumerable rocks and brooks and quagmires, the river Sazawa; and on the north side, where are Kuttenberg, Czaslau, Chotusitz, places again become important in this business, it is bounded by another river, the Elbe. Intricate manoeuvring there is here, for three weeks following: "old Traun an admirable man!" thinks Friedrich, who ever after recognized Traun as his Schoolmaster in the art of War. We mark here and there a date, and leave it to readers.

"RADICZ, OCTOBER 21st-22d. At Radicz, a march to southwest of us, and on our side of the Moldau, the Saxons, under Weissenfels, 20,000 effective, join Prince Karl; which raises his force to 69,514 men, some 10,000 more than Friedrich is master of. [Orlich, ii. 66.] Prospect of wintering between the Luschnitz and the Sazawa there is now little; unless they will fight us, and be beaten. Friedrich, from his inaccessible Camp of Konopischt, manoeuvres, reconnoitres, in all directions, to produce this result; but to no purpose. An Austrian Detachment did come, to look after Beneschau and the Magazines there; but rapidly drew back again, finding Konopischt on their road, and how matters were. Friedrich will guard the door of this Sazawa-Elbe tract of Country; hope of the Sazawa-Luschnitz tract has, in few days, fallen extinct. Here is news come to Konopischt: our Three poor Garrisons, Budweis, Tabor, Frauenberg, already all lost; guns and men, after defence to the last cartridge,--in Frauenberg their water was cut off, it was eight-and-forty hours of thirst at Frauenberg:--one way or other, they are all Three gone; eight couriers galloping with message, 'Come away,' were all picked up by the Pandours; so they stood, and were lost. 'Three thousand fighting men gone, for the weak chance of saving three hundred who were in hospital!' thinks Friedrich: War is not a school of the weak pities. For the chance of ten, you lose a hundred and the ten too. Sazawa-Elbe tract of country, let us vigilantly keep the door of that!

"SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24th, Friedrich out reconnoitring from Konopischt discovers of a certainty that the whole Austrian-Saxon force is now advaucing towards Beneschau, and will, this night, encamp at Marschowitz, to southwest, only one march from us! On the instant Friedrich hurries back; gets his Army on march thitherward, though the late October sun is now past noon; off instantly; a stroke yonder will perhaps be the cure of all. Such roads we had, says Friedrich, as never Army travelled before: long after nightfall, we arrive near the Austrian camp, bivouac as we can till daylight return. At the first streak of day, Friedrich and his chief generals are on the heights with their spy-glasses: Austrian Army sure enough; and there they have altered their posture overnight (for Traun too has been awake); they lie now opposite our RIGHT flank; 'on a scarped height, at the foot of which, through swamps and quagmires, runs a muddy stream.' Unattackable on this side: their right flank and foot are safe enough. Creep round and see their left:--Nothing but copses, swampy intricacies! We may shoulder arms again, and go back to Konopischt: no fight here! [ OEuvres de Frederic, iii. 63, 64; Orlich, ii. 69.] Speaking of defensive Campaigns, says Friedrich didactically, years afterwards, 'If such situations are to answer the purpose intended, the front and flanks must be equally strong, but the rear entirely open. Such, for instance, are those heights which have an extensive front, and whose flanks are covered by morasses:--as was Prince Karl's Camp at Marschowitz in the year 1744, with its front covered by a stream, and the wings by deep hollows; or that which we ourselves then occupied at Konopischt,--as you well remember. [ Military Instructions (above cited), p. 44.]

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