THE SEVEN YEARS' WAR.
By Dr EMIL DANIELS.
Convention of Westminster and Treaty of Versailles. 251
French and Austrian alliances. Kaunitz. 252
Russian armaments. Frederick's preparations. 253
Austrian precautions and preparations. Prussian invasion of Saxony. 254
Capitulation of Pirna. Winter quarters. 255
Invasion of Bohemia. 256
The armies meet before Prague. 257
Battle of Prague. 258-9
Siege of Prague. 260
Battle of Kolin. 261
Prussian evacuation of Bohemia. 262
Battle of Hastenbeck. Convention of Klosterzeven. 263
The Russians in East Prussia c. 264
The "Combined Army". 265
Critical position of Frederick II. 266
Divergent views of Soubise and Hildburghausen. 267
Movements of the Prussian army. 268
Condition of the French army. 269
Battle of Rossbach. 270-1
The "Army of Observation." Ferdinand of Brunswick. 272
The Austrians in Silesia. 273
Frederick II and German Protestant feeling. 274
Battle of Leuthen. 275
Preparations for the new campaign. 276
Operations against Austrians, Swedes and Russians. 277
Siege of Olmütz. 278
Russian and Swedish operations. 279
Russians and Prussians on the Oder. 280
Advance of Frederick II. 281
Battle of Zorndorf. 282-4
Results of the battle. 285
The Russian retreat. 286
Fermor's operations in Pomerania. 287
Daun near Dresden. 288
The Prussians surprised at Hochkirch. 289
After Hochkirch. 290
The Russians in Posen and the Mark. 291
Battle of Kunersdorf. 292
Despondency of Frederick. 293
Opening of the campaign of 1760. 294
Battle of Liegnitz. 295
Berlin occupied. The Austrians evacuate Saxony. 296
Campaign of 1761. Prussian losses. 297
Frederick's hopeless situation. Death of the Tsarina Elizabeth 298
Russo-Prussian alliance. Preliminaries of Fontainebleau. 299
Peace of Hubertusburg. 300
THE SEVEN YEARS' WAR.
ON January 16, 1756, Frederick II of Prussia signed with England the Convention of Westminster, one of the most important treaties in the whole history of European diplomacy. England had been at war with France since 1755, and the King of Prussia in this Convention guaranteed the neutrality of Hanover. Thus the French, who had for many years been united with Prussia in a defensive alliance, found themselves prevented by their Prussian ally from seizing the German possessions of George II. The Ministers at Versailles viewed this clause in a much more hostile spirit than Frederick had anticipated ; and they forthwith, on May 17,1756, concluded with the Empress Maria Theresa, the sworn foe of the King of Prussia, the Treaty of Versailles. This was a purely defensive treaty, and not designed in any way to open up to the French the forbidden road to Hanover. It simply placed France in an advantageous position, should her former ally at Potsdam put forth plans which she might feel obliged to thwart at any cost.
The suspicion of the French that Frederick II meditated upsetting the European balance of power was perfectly well founded. The territorial configuration of what was then the kingdom of Prussia must have seemed intolerable to a monarch like Frederick the Great, the more so that the Prussian monarchy included some of the most barren districts of Germany. Four years earlier, when Frederick had believed himself to be at the point of death, he had drawn up a political testament for his successor. There were three territories which, according to this last will and testament, the King deemed it desirable to acquire by conquest, namely, the electorate of Saxony, Polish West Prussia, and Swedish Pomerania ; but of these three Frederick regarded Electoral Saxony as by far the most important and urgent acquisition, because it would enable its Prussian conqueror to readjust the shapeless formation of his State, besides adding wealth, manufacturing industries, and civilisation. In the spirit of the " cabinet policy" of the times, Frederick II intended that the Elector of Saxony should be compensated by Bohemia, which was, to be wrested from the House of Habsburg, the irreconcilable rival oi the House of Brandenburg.
It is true that Austria, in this very year 1756, protected herself, as will be related at length in a later chapter, by the Treaty of Versailles just mentioned ; but it only bound France to come to the aid of Austria with 24,000 men or a yearly subsidy of 4,200,000 gulden (£400,000), in the event of her being subjected to attack. The King of Prussia did not believe that the French, involved as they were in a war with England, would make any sacrifice for Austria beyond what was entailed by their treaty obligations. That Spain would assist Maria Theresa with money seemed to him out of the question. Since 1748 a defensive alliance had existed between Austria and Russia against Prussia, but Frederick reckoned that the Empress could depend even less on her Russian than on her French allies. St Petersburg was, it is true, as little inclined as Versailles to allow the King of Prussia to establish his supremacy on the Continent by further conquests, nevertheless, Russia appeared to be an uncertain prop for Austria to lean on. The Empress Elizabeth had been repeatedly ill : Peter, her heir to the throne, was among the most fervent admirers of Frederick, and Russia's leading statesman, the Chancellor Bestuzheff, was in the pay of England.
The French diplomatists were never tired of urging the King of Prussia to abandon the alliance with George II; and Frederick, who met their representations in a friendly spirit, could easily have taken this step without breaking his word, for the Convention of Westminster stipulated for no fixed term. But all the negotiations between Frederick and the French led to the same insurmountable point of difference. The precise nature of the gift desired by the King, in return for his leaving Hanover open to the French, he did not disclose, waiting for the French on their side to break silence-for they must assuredly know that his ambition was very far from being satisfied. The Ministers on the Seine, however, regarded a fresh extension of the Prussian dominions and the amputation of a second limb from the Austrian monarchy as an overthrow of the Peace of Westphalia. Any such revolution the Court of Versailles resolved to oppose, no matter at what cost; and, if its defensive alliance with Austria did not prove sufficient for the purpose, it was ready to proceed to greater lengths. As the King of Prussia unfortunately could not be induced to break off his relations with Great Britain, the French Ministers intimated to the Austrian ambassador at Versailles, Count Starhemberg, their readiness to accept in principle the offensive alliance against Prussia for which the Court of Vienna had long been agitating.
Count Kaunitz, Maria Theresa's Chancellor of State, urged the offensive alliance against Prussia, not solely with the object of reconquering Silesia, but because he knew that Frederick was only waiting for the most favourable opportunity to mutilate the Austrian monarchy a second time. Desirous of forestalling such an enterprise at a convenient season for Austria, Kaunitz believed that the hour had now
It was an unpleasant surprise for Frederick to find that English influence and gold had no effect in restraining the Court of St Petersburg from hostility to Prussia. But it seemed to him of greater importance that he now had the pretext for war which he needed in face of England, and indeed of the world. An English courier who, on his way from St Petersburg to London, passed through Berlin, related that he had seen all the roads in Livonia full of soldiers, and that 170,000 regulars and 70,000 Cossacks were marching against Prussia. Frederick, hereupon, began immediately to make preparations for war on his side. On June 25, he informed his ambassador in Vienna that he began to regard war as inevitable. To his sister Wilhelmina at Baireuth he wrote about the same time : " We have one foot in the stirrup, and I think the other will soon follow." Notwithstanding the countermanding of the Russian advance, Frederick's preparations were continued till more than half the Prussian army was mobilised. It can be shown that political and not military motives lay at the root of this semi-mobilisation : some of the cross- and counter-marches for which orders were given at the time had no object but that of sounding an alarm in order to force Austria into warlike measures which might furnish to Prussia an excuse for attacking. For, as a matter of fact, it is out of the question that Frederick should have felt himself menaced. e knew, of course, that something was in progress against him, but he also knew that he had no reason for apprehending within measurable time the conclusion of an offensive alliance against Prussia. From certain
As the King of Prussia, notwithstanding, was making preparations for war, the Empress Maria Theresa's private secretary, Baron Koch, urged Kaunitz to permit a few military precautions to be taken against a Prussian surprise ; and Field-Marshal Browne, who held the command in Bohemia, attempted to influence the Chancellor in the same direction. But Kaunitz would not listen to the suggestions of these dignitaries. Premature preparations for war, he observed, might spoil everything, inasmuch as the negotiations with France did not yet inspire sufficient confidence. As he took care to explain, the ultimate purpose imputed by the Protestant party in the Empire to the Convention of Westminster was the establishment of a Protestant Germanic Empire with the House of Brandenburg at its head. The French, like everyone else in that age, believed that the era of religious warfare had not yet finally closed, and credited Frederick with the design of reopening it. Thus, the Convention which had united Prussia, England, Hanover, Hesse, and Brunswick, was at Versailles regarded in the light of a Protestant league. The truth was that nothing was further from the mind of the sceptic of Sanssouci than the wish to pose as the champion of Protestantism in Germany. Such weapons, he wrote once to d'Argens, were obsolete ; no one, not even women, could any longer be roused to fanatical enthusiasm on behalf of Luther or Calvin. For all this, the King was anxious to conquer, in addition to Saxony, the territory of the Bishop of Hildesheim and, in general, to secularise the ecclesiastical States of northern Germany. He believed that he did not need for this object the assistance of religious ideas, but that he could rely on the material power of his absolute Crown.
The diplomatic adviser of Madame de Pompadour, Abbé Bernis, gave Count Starhemberg to understand that, if Austria met the preparations of Prussia with the necessary counter-measures, France would not hold her responsible for the consequences. The Court of Vienna, without quite trusting the Abbe's promise, now began to place its army on a war footing. Hereupon, the King of Prussia, on July 18, enquired at Vienna whether the Empress' preparations were directed against himself. When the relations between two great Powers once pass into this stage, there is never much hope of successful negotiation ; and the pourparlers between the King and the Empress proved fruitless.
On August 29, 1756, the Prussian army moved into Saxony. Frederick called upon the Elector Frederick Augustus II to become his ally. At the outset, so the neighbour whom he had suddenly invaded was informed by Frederick, appearances might be against him ; but, on -his honour, he would regard the Elector's interests as sacred, if he would join with Prussia against Austria. To an envoy from Frederick Augustus
The King of Prussia had pushed on his forces with so much élan that they assumed the offensive even before he had positively issued his command to attack. A thick mist prevented him from reconnoitring. When the sky cleared, he perceived that Browne's position was unassailable-a prelude to many other events of a like nature during the course of the war, inasmuch as the enemies of Frederick nearly always sought and found their strength in a defensive attitude. With swift resolve the King stopped the battle, which could only be done with heavy losses. His opponent, satisfied to have got oft' so lightly, left the battle-field to the Prussians and retreated to the other side of the Eger. Frederick could not deny that the Austrians had fought very well ; but, all the same, they dared not take effective measures for the relief of the Saxons, it having as yet been impossible to concentrate the military forces levied in the different parts of the widely extended and clumsily administered Empire, and, owing to want of money, still unfurnished with the necessary war material. Thus, on October 16, the Saxons were compelled to capitulate at Pirna; and about 19,000 men were made prisoners. By an unscrupulous use of the resources of Saxony, Frederick increased the army which he had in the field up to 148,000 men.
The necessity for this was all the greater because the whole continent of Europe united to withstand the overthrow of the balance of power by a fresh important aggrandisement of Prussia. Not only Austria, Russia, and France, but the Germanic Empire and Sweden, resolved to take arms against the disturber of the peace. The constitution of armies and the general conditions of life in the eighteenth century involved, as a rule, the necessity of avoiding winter campaigns. Accordingly, after entering Bohemia, the King evacuated it again and let his army take up winter-quarters in Saxony and Silesia. Frederick's opponents, too, undertook no strategical movement against him during the unfavourable season of the year ; but they used the interval for the completion of their preparations. During the winter (1756-7) 133,000 Austrians took up their quarters in Bohemia and Moravia, whereas only 114,000 Prussians were encamped in Silesia and Saxony. The King of Prussia did not consider this numerical disproportion as dangerous in itself, inasmuch as he had the fullest confidence in the superior quality of his troops. He wrote to his heir apparent: "If you can oppose 75,000
In the latter half of April the season seemed to him far enough advanced for military operations on a larger scale. Starting from Lusatia and Silesia, he invaded Bohemia with over 100,000 men. His strategical object was the capture of the great magazines erected by the Austrians in northern Bohemia as a basis for their offensive action against Saxony and Silesia. If the Prussians succeeded in seizing these magazines, the King might fearlessly detach large bodies of troops for movements against the French; inasmuch as the Austrians without their supplies would be unable to march.
Frederick's plan of campaign was extremely hazardous. The Prussians had to penetrate into a hostile country in three widely separated columns, between which the Austrians were in command of the inner line of operations. Moreover, a mountain barrier had to be passed which could be defended by means of a few troops ; and the Prussians had to begin by seizing the magazines containing the supplies on which they were to live. The worst, however, was that through treachery the Court of Vienna had got wind of the intended Prussian operation. The Austrians still had time to concentrate their 115,000 men scattered through northern Bohemia, with every prospect of inflicting a defeat on the 100,000 Prussians invading the country at different points. But to the Empress' generals the plan ascribed to the King of Prussia appeared so reckless that they would not believe the traitors who announced it, and ignored their information although it was correct even in the details. Field-Marshal Browne, too, seemed perfectly unconcerned, and declared that no danger existed of a Prussian attack. He even proceeded to inspect once more all the Austrian stations, and praised what he saw of the disposition-or rather, scattered distribution-of the forces. Thus the Austrians were everywhere in a condition of distraction and imperfect readiness, when they were surprised and systematically attacked by the enemy. Nowhere could they offer any successful resistance, but on the contrary, were obliged at all points to retreat hurriedly and in disorder, abandoning their magazines in the western and central parts of northern Bohemia,
The two best generals of the Prussian army, Winterfeldt and Schwerin, would have prosecuted the plan of campaign with even more
King Frederick, as well as Schwerin and Winterfeldt, expected that the Austrians would not be forced out of Bohemia by mere manuvres, but that they would give the Prussians an opportunity of engaging in a considerable combat, perhaps a great battle. To such an event the King and his generals looked forward with self-confidence and delight. The Austrian army was now under the command of the brother of the Emperor Francis I, Prince Charles of Lorraine, who was making ready for battle in the fortress of Prague. On May 1 and 2 the Austrians crossed over from the left to the right bank of the Moldau and took up their position, to the east of Prague, on the slopes of the Ziskaberg and Taborberg. At the same time King Frederick advanced at the head of the column from Saxony to the White Hill (Weisse Berg). Marshal Schwerin was posted with the Silesian and Lusatian columns opposite Brandeis on the right bank of the Elbe. If, therefore, the Prussian forces were to take the shortest way for uniting in face of the Austrian, a part of them would have to cross the Moldau, and another the Elbe.
Prince Charles of Lorraine wrote to the Empress Maria Theresa that, instead of undertaking so daring a manuvre, Frederick seemed to him much more likely to draw the two columns under Marshal Schwerin in a great curve towards him by way of Melnik, and then by a second great curve encircle the Austrian position and cross the Moldau above Prague. Prince Charles hoped to gain a very significant advantage from the very leisurely manuvre which he expected on the part of his adversary; for the strong division under Serbelloni, numbering 37,000 men, which had covered the magazines by Pardubitz and Königgrätz against Schwerin, was now approaching Prague from the east. If he could join forces with Serbelloni, Prince Charles would have at his
The battle began at ten o'clock with a cavalry engagement on the extreme left wing of the Prussians. In cavalry they had decidedly the numerical superiority (17,000 against 13,000 Austrians). On the other hand, the Austrian infantry was slightly superior in numbers to the Prussian (48,600 against 47,000). For hours the squadrons continued the attack without producing any decisive effect. Meanwhile, Schwerin had ordered the first divisions of the Prussian infantry which had come up to attack without waiting for the arrival of the rest. First, the grenadier brigade, then Schwerin's regiment and Fouqué's, advanced, without returning the Austrian fire, shouldering their guns ; but the
Opposite, on the Austrian side, the battalions moved resolutely forward to follow up their success. They were addressed by Field-Marshal Browne, till a Prussian cannon-ball shattered his leg, and he, too, fell mortally wounded. About the same time, Prince Charles of Lorraine was seized by a fit of cramp, just as he beheld his squadrons succumbing at last to the enemy's assault, and remained unconscious till the end of the battle. Thus the Austrian army found itself leaderless, no other general taking over the command. The battle on the Austrian side was continued as a purely defensive action-and this invariably means defeat. After the Prussian infantry had gradually deployed, the King and the other generals directed their special attention to the gap in the enemy's line of battle occasioned by the advance of Marshal Browne's battalions. Taking instant and energetic advantage of the opportunity offered them, the Prussians poured through the enemy's dislocated order of battle; and, outflanked by the victorious Prussian cavalry, and broken asunder by the Prussian infantry, the Austrian army took refuge within the fortifications of Prague. It was not quite four o'clock in the afternoon when the last shots were fired. 9000 out of 61,000 Austrians lay dead or wounded on the field ; of 64,000 Prussians 14,000 were killed or wounded. Among his losses, which weighed heavily upon him as the ruler of a small country without allies in the field, Frederick would find it specially hard to make good that of his 400 officers who had fallen. " The pillars of the Prussian infantry," he wrote, " have been swept away."
After the victory of their comrades on the right bank of the Moldau, the body of over 30,000 Prussians which had remained behind on the left bank, to cover the original contact between the army and its magazines, and which was stationed on the White Hill under the command of Marshal Keith, now closed in on Prague from the " Kleine Seite," and prevented the beaten Austrian army from retreating to the left bank of the river. The main Prussian force invested the city on the opposite bank. The statement has been frequently, but quite erroneously, made, that it was a premeditated plan of Frederick's to drive his enemies after conquering them in battle, into Prague, and there force them to capitulate. When he marched against the Austrians, the position of the majority of Prince Charles' troops faced to the north, and they had an assured line of retreat towards the south behind the Sasawa. Not till Frederick found himself compelled, much against his will, to make so wide a circuit of the Austrian army, did Prince Charles' front come to face towards the east. Thus the bulk of the defeated army was left no choice but to seek refuge in Prague ; in the direction of the Sasawa only a fragment of the Austrian force could escape.
In the command of this division Field-Marshal Count Daun was substituted for the not very capable Serbelloni. Daun's personal influence proved to be such that he was able to extinguish in his troops (which had gradually increased to 54,000) all fear of the victorious Prussians and to inspire them with self-confidence. He was confronted by a Prussian corps under the command of the Duke of Bevern, which covered the main army before Prague under the command of the King. As Severn's division was numerically weak, the hope gradually took possession of its Austrian adversaries that Daun would defeat Bevern and thus relieve the army in Prague. Maria Theresa sent explicit orders to the Field-Marshal to risk a battle, pledging her honour as Empress that she would not lay the blame on him if the result of the action was unfortunate. Thus Daun sought an opportunity for giving battle-with the excessive caution characteristic of him, but with true warlike ardour beneath his self-restraint. Such being the situation, it became an absolute necessity for the King of Prussia to wage another battle. If he defeated Daun, he could detach troops against the French, without foregoing the capture of Prague. At the head of a detachment taken from the investing force, Frederick effected a junction with Bevern, whose numbers now reached 33,000. With these forces the King hoped to defeat Daun's 54,000, who, on June 18, had drawn up on the heights
On marching from their camp towards the Austrian position, Frederick's troops had, after a short night's rest, to accomplish a difficult march of four or five hours' duration. Although it was still quite early in the day, a sultry heat lay on the fields, which were overgrown with corn, and proved a great hindrance to the forward march of the Prussians. The King allowed his weary army a three hours' halt immediately in face of Daun's centre. The Austrians found themselves again, as at Prague, in a very strong defensive position which could only be attacked by turning their right wing. It was nearly one o'clock in the afternoon when there was a sudden renewal of life among the Prussians ; and at two o'clock the battle began. Frederick's generals made some mistakes, such as may occur in every battle, and had been much more marked in that of Prague. The King afterwards accused himself of having erred in not personally reconnoitring the ground on the enemy's right wing. But, whatever errors there may have been in their leadership the Prussians, in spite of these, continued for hours to advance victoriously. About four o'clock, Daun saw his right wing heavily pressed and, as it seemed, hopelessly overwhelmed. But, according to the tribute paid him by Frederick in his History of the Seven Years' War, Daun was a " great general." He was, in truth, a second Fabius Cunctator-one of those tough and circumspect strategists whom Frederick the Great, with his just insight into the age's methods of carrying on war, valued so highly. Against the furious onslaught of the greatest captain and the best army in Europe, he defended himself steadfastly, infusing into his troops something of his own calm energy. Thus, in the end, the force of the Prussians' onslaught was broken by the great numerical superiority of their opponents. When the Austrians in their turn advanced to attack the exhausted Prussians, they obtained a complete victory. The Prussian army was all but destroyed, losing 13,000 out of 33,000 men. Of 19,000 foot but 7000 rallied round the flag. Again, as at Prague, 400 officers, the flower of the Prussian nobility, lay dead on the field. Twenty-two colours fell into the enemy's hands. If we can imagine Daun, with his great strategical ability, transported from the eighteenth into the nineteenth century, conducting war according to the rules of the later period, in all probability the Prussian army would have been entirely wiped out. But the military methods of the ancien régime made the pursuit of a routed army exceedingly difficult ; and Frederick the Great himself accomplished very little in this branch ot military operations. Daun attempted no kind of pursuit.
King Frederick, quitting his defeated troops, rode through the night °y by-ways in the direction of the Prussian camp before Prague, accoin-
While Frederick waited with feverish impatience for an opportunity of forcing the Austrians encamped at Zittau to a battle, he composed an Apology, to be made public in the event of his being struck down. This document, preserved in the Prussian Archives, was first printed in 1856. In it the King expresses his bitter repentance that he had ever begun the war. " How could I foresee that France would send 150,000 men into the Empire ? How could I foresee that the Empire would take part in the struggle, that Sweden would mix herself up in this war, that France would subsidise Russia?"
The main army of the French, 110,000 strong, was commanded by Marshal d'Estrées. On the other side, the Duke of Cumberland was at the head of 45,000 Hanoverians, Hessians, and Brunswickers. The forces contributed by these three small States went under the suggestive title of the "Army of Observation." The Hanoverian Ministers thought that a good Hanoverian had as much reason to fear the heavy hand of Prussia as that of the French. Moreover, England was indisposed to make any great financial sacrifices for the sake of the Hanoverian army, public opinion in that country fearing that the money of the British taxpayer would be misappropriated for purely dynastic interests. On these grounds the Hanoverians had really very little inclination to take part in the war. But Hanover's whole position was too exposed for the electoral Ministers to succeed in achieving its neutralisation, which Austria and France were seeking to bring about. Willing or unwilling, Hanover was bound to fight. On July 26 a battle took place at Hastenbeck between Marshal d'Estrées and the Duke of Cumberland, who was beaten and fell back behind the guns of the fortress of Stade on the North Sea. On September 10 he concluded with Marshal d'Estrées1 successor, the Duke of Richelieu, the Convention of Klosterzeven, which meant the disbanding of the Army of Observation. There seemed now nothing to prevent the French from taking up their winter-quarters on the lower and middle Elbe and besieging Magdeburg in the course of the next campaign. " If the French get to Magdeburg," said the King of Prussia, " I am lost." Already Richelieu was being invited by the Swedes to cooperate with them. Frederick's defeat at Kolin had encouraged the Stockholm Government to move 17,000 men into Prussian Pomerania on September 13. Frederick was afraid that this body of troops, to which at present he had virtually none to oppose, would also take part in the siege of Magdeburg. Another consequence of the defeat of the Prussians was that the Estates of the Empire now ventured to assemble their contingents at Fürth in Franconia. Gradually they gathered together here something like 32,000 Imperial soldiery under Prince Joseph of Saxe-Hildburghausen. They marched into Thuringia and on September 17 joined at Eisenach 24,000 French under the Prince of Soubise-that second army, which Louis XV had sent after the battle of Prague, to give direct aid to the Austrian forces.
Frederick now decided to march at once against the French, without waiting to fight the Austrians. He indulged the hope that, when the French in their turn had lost a battle, they would help Prussia to obtain peace on a status quo ante bellum basis. Indirect overtures of this kind had, it is true, been made by him to the Court of Versailles, and had been emphatically rejected ; but he had other reasons, of a diplomatic nature, for being specially anxious to obtain a victory over the French army. In England there was a strong feeling against the ratification of the Convention of Klosterzeven. Pitt and other Ministers
Meanwhile, on August 11, the Russians had crossed the frontier of East Prussia at Stallupönen. The Russian Commander-in-chief, Field-Marshal General Count Aprakin, advanced with his forces to the Pregel, intending to march along that river on Königsberg. In obedience to precise orders from the King, the venerable Prussian Commander-in-chief, Field-Marshal Lehwaldt, attacked the Russian army. He did so very much against his will, as the Russians were much stronger than he was. In the battle fought on August 30 at Gross-Jägerndorf, on the left bank of the river Pregel, the Prussians suffered a severe defeat. But, to the indescribable amazement of the defeated army, it was found, a few days after the action, that Aprakin not only refrained from following up his victory, but had actually retreated. The Russian general, like Lehwaldt an old man, had been greatly impressed by the coolness and discipline with which the Prussian infantry had manoeuvred under hostile fire. He declared to his subordinate generals that Lehwaldt's forces were numerous enough to be able to hold several positions against Russian attack for a considerable time, while the Russian army could not keep the field any longer. In fact, the Russians melted away like snow in the sun, for their incapable commissariat kept them intolerably short of supplies and the ordinary necessaries of life. For this reason Aprakin began to evacuate Prussia on September 9. In the middle of May the Russians had entered Poland 88,000 strong. When, early in November, they had evacuated East Prussia except Memel and had taken up their winter-quarters in Polish territory, Aprakin had under him scarcely more than 30,000 or 40,000 combatants fit for service.
In the middle of September Frederick marched from Lusatia into Thuringia, to meet the armies of the Empire and of Soubise. But the Princes of Soubise and Hildburghausen, like the Austrian generals, avoided a decisive combat by concentrating at Eisenach, at the extreme western limit of Thuringia. On September 10 the Convention of Klosterzeven
While Richelieu marched on Magdeburg, the Austrian General Marschall had accomplished in Lusatia a manuvre which amounted to a considerable diversion in favour of Soubise. He ordered Field-Marshal Lieutenant Hadik to march towards the Elbe, so that Dresden, Torgau and Wittenberg appeared to be threatened. In addition, Hadik's hussars and Croats made a series of raids into the Mark Brandenburg. In view of Hadik's movements, which might even result in an attempt upon Berlin, Frederick divided his forces once more, sending a detachment of 8000 men under Prince Maurice of Dessau to Torgau, to cover the Elbe fortresses in Saxony and the Mark Brandenburg. In consequence, only 13,000 men remained to the King at Erfurt. With this handful of troops Frederick, from September 14 to 28, opposed the vastly superior forces of the " Combined Army," as the troops of Soubise and Hildburghausen were officially designated, while they held their impregnable position at Eisenach with stubborn tenacity.
They only ventured on a single reconnoitring expedition in the direction of Gotha ; and this was attended with unfortunate results for those troops of the Combined Army which took part in it. The Prussian Major-General von Seydlitz, who at the age of thirty-six had proved himself in the last Bohemian campaign the ablest cavalry general in the Prussian army, at the head of 1900 dragoons and hussars, surprised 9500 of the enemy and put them to an ignominious flight, in which their losses were heavy. Here the extraordinary deficiencies from which the Combined Army suffered for the first time made themselves evident. Nevertheless, the preponderance of the enemy's numbers seemed certain to overpower the King. During the fortnight in which he was encamped near Erfurt he was absolutely at a loss as to how he should continue operations. Even at the time of the battle of Kolin, he had entertained the idea of suicide. Now, this temptation presented itself more strongly than ever, and he protested that princes of the eighteenth century would not let themselves be outshone by republicans of antiquity like Brutus and Cato in loftiness of soul.
In truth, the war seemed irretrievably lost for Prussia. Frederick had written to his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Finkenstein, that, it the main army of the French hurled itself in good earnest on the duchy of Magdeburg, he would need 40,000 more men than he had to escape annihilation. And at that moment, the French main army was
And now Frederick was driven to the decision of leaving a great part of his country open to the enemy. He sent an order on September 29 to Field-Marshal Lehwaldt to evacuate East Prussia with his force of 29,000 men, and to march on Stettin. Lehwaldt's army was to be used for a winter campaign, which the King intended to open in December against French and Swedes.
Thus East Prussia was lost soon after it had been freed from the invasion of Aprakin. In January, 1758, the Russians took possession of the defenceless province, which they did not evacuate again till the conclusion of peace. For the rest, Frederick hesitated as to whether in the winter he should attack the French on the Elbe or the Austrians in Silesia. He negotiated with Marshal Richelieu for a truce to last till May, 1758, and to be also extended to the Swedes. Thus he hoped to obtain a free hand against Austria ; but in other respects the truce could not but be of enormous disadvantage to him. George II was still hesitating as to whether he should ratify the Convention of Klosterzeven, the Army of Observation remaining meanwhile, undisbanded, in the environs of Stade. He informed his Hanoverian Ministers that he was disposed to refuse the ratification, if the King of Prussia obtained a military success and thus proved himself able to hold his own. But if, instead of this, an arrangement was accepted by Frederick which would strengthen the position of the French in Hanover, the effect on George could only be that despair and mistrust would take absolute possession of his mind ; and he would then very probably, in his capacity of Elector, consent to an understanding with the conqueror of his German dominions.
Now, France, since the Convention of Klosterzeven, had already been negotiating with the Landgrave of Hesse and the Duke of Brunswick as to proposals for taking the 17,000 Hessians and Brunswickers, at present in English, into French pay. The Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, whose country, like the Elector of Saxony's, Frederick wanted to annex, had been the ally of France since the beginning of the war. He now offered the Cabinet of Versailles to transfer 6000 men into the pay of France and to cede to the Most Christian King the fortress of Domitz, on the Elbe, which, if in the enemy's hand, would block the trade-communication of
Frederick's subjects with Hamburg. In this way another severe blow would be struck at the prosperity of the Prussian monarchy. But, above all, Mecklenburg formed the connecting territorial link between the army of Richelieu and the Swedish corps in Prussian Pomerania. The French intended to unite, for the campaign of 1758, Hessians, Brunswickers, Mecklenburgers, and Swedes, into an army 40,000 strong. This would have been a Protestant army, while already there were in the field against Frederick two Roman Catholic armies and one Orthodox, besides the army of the Empire, made up of a mixture of Catholics and Protestants. These five armies would certainly have crushed the King. Every day his hopes sank lower. " We are doomed," he said ; "but I shall fall sword in hand."
He drew back slightly before the advances of the Princes of Soubise and Hildburghausen to positions near Buttelstedt and Buttstädt, north of Weimar, and here stood still for another twelve days, without knowing what to do next. Frederick's slight backward move had been intended as a trap for Hildburghausen, whom he believed to be incautious enough to follow him and lay himself open to the danger of a defeat. In fact, Hildburghausen did urge Soubise to risk a battle. The army of the Empire was composed in motley fashion of contingents supplied by numerous small dynasts. This had not hindered Marlborough and Eugene from winning partly by means of the army of the Empire the battle of Höchstädt ; but in their day English and Dutch subsidies had helped to establish that army on a satisfactory footing. At present, in consequence of lack of money, such intolerable conditions prevailed among the Imperial troops that Hildburghausen despaired of being able to keep his forces together for long, and therefore impatiently sought a decision by battle. Soubise had no thought of acquiescing in the wishes of his colleague. The strategical genius of the King and the incomparable quality of his troops would in all probability turn the scale in a pitched battle, while, on the other hand, the allies would doubtless annihilate their opponents, whom they were encompassing on all sides, if they conducted a judiciously planned war of manuvres against them, ftoubise therefore showed extreme caution as he followed the retiring enemy, and ventured no further than Gotha with the bulk of his army. " When I advance," wrote the King of Prussia, " the enemy fly ; when I fall back, they follow me, but always keeping well out of reach of shot, should I leave these parts and, for instance, seek an encounter with «ichelieu in his pride somewhere near Halberstadt, he would behave in the same fashion, and the enemy hereabouts, for the moment as immovable as statues, would soon come to life and nail me down somewhere near Magdeburg. If I fall back on Lusatia, they will take my magazines at .Leipzig and Torgau and march straightway on Berlin. These moves cannot go on much longer ; the game must shortly come to an end one way or the other." Prince Henry and Voltaire reminded him that other
"Pour moi, menacé du naufrage, Je dois, en affrontant l'orage, Penser, vivre et mourir en roi."
The King had spent nearly a month in the neighbourhood of Erfurt and Weimar, trying to force Soubise' corps and the Imperial army into fighting, when the news was announced that the Austrians were marching from Lusatia to Berlin. Reports were contradictory as to their strength. If it was the whole of Marschall's corps, the suspicion was unavoidable that Sweden had part and lot in the enterprise. Frederick was in the direst distress. Berlin contained invaluable resources for the defence of Prussia-the arsenal, the foundry, the manufactory of arms, the powder magazines, and the cloth factories. " Ah ! dear brother, how happy are the dead ! " the King wrote to Prince Henry. Then, with tremendous energy, he took his counter-measures. He not only wished to protect his capital, but hoped that the blow which the French had given him no opportunity of striking might now fall on Marschall's column. The Prince of Anhält's detachment, which covered the magazines of Leipzig and Torgau, was despatched from Weissenfels on the Saale by means of quite extraordinary marches to the eastern side of Berlin. Prince Ferdinand was ordered to lead his troops from Magdeburg to the western side of the capital. The King himself moved with the main army from Buttstädt, and drove his breathless companies on towards the south side of Berlin. " We must," he said, " get these people into our power, alive or dead." But once more he had been merely fighting the air. Not until his forces had advanced close on Berlin did it become known that it was not Marschall's column at all, but merely a skirmishing party of 3500 men under Count Hadik, which had entered Berlin and, after levying contributions, had speedily departed. The enormous losses suffered by the King's forces on the march had served no purpose.
Frederick hereupon formed the design of tracking the Austrians in Lusatia and Silesia, regarding his operations against the French and the Imperial army as finally wrecked. Then came the announcement that Soubise had advanced to the Saale, and that Hildburghausen had actually crossed this river and was trying to get possession of Leipzig. The King's hopes of forcing the Combined Army into action revived, and he moved his troops, instead of on Grorlitz, towards Leipzig. The army of the Empire retreated very hurriedly behind the Saale, and the King of Prussia's forces pushed on over the river in pursuit. During the operations in Thuringia the numbers of the Prussian battalions and squadrons had, through the influx of the autumn recruiting contingents, been restored up to their normal height ; but during a period of eight weeks the counter- and cross-marches in Thuringia, Saxony,
Magdeburg and Brandenburg had been unceasing, and, in consequence of the superhuman hardships endured, the full battalions, consisting of about 840 men, had again already shrunk to an average of 600. Still, the whole force was held together by the iron Prussian discipline.
Quite different conditions prevailed in the French army, where neither officers nor soldiers observed discipline, although revolutionary ideas proper had not yet penetrated among the troops. The worst evil, and the root of all the rest, was the insubordination of the generals. It was precisely in the highest spheres of the army that the personal weakness of Louis XV, and the disorganised state of his government, had produced the utmost disorder-in fact, a kind of anarchy. The generals called every field-marshal who held the reins firmly a " despot," and yielded him a doubtful obedience. They were full of jealousy among themselves ; each believing that in battle his fellow would leave him in the lurch. If Soubise had been perfectly master of his troops, he would not have made a stand before the King of Prussia, but have moved a couple of days' marches to the rear, in the same way as six weeks before he had withdrawn twenty battalions of his advance-guard from Erfurt to Eisenach on Frederick's advance from Lusatia to Erfurt. A procedure of this sort had been prescribed to him from Versailles, and Frederick, as has been seen, was apprehensive of it. But an army is a complicated and sensitive piece of mechanism. Marching to and fro demands more sacrifices from troops than a pitched battle; and for a long time the French had been grumbling at the interminable marches which led to no decisive result. The French army was without an equal in Europe, in so far as alone of all the armies of the globe it had abolished the punishment of flogging ; nowhere was the common soldier so humanely treated, or his honour so generously considered. The French ambulance, too, was unequalled for efficiency. The system of drill was theoretically the same as the Prussian. In personal bravery the French soldier was unsurpassed. All the technique, the materials of war, etc., were first-rate. The commissariat, in spite of corruption, was without a superior as to ability and resource. Even Soubise, whom critical history was formerly wont to deride as the inventor of a sauce highly appreciated by gourmets, has by later research been proved to have been no insignificant commander. Hitherto, he had carried out his plan of operations consistently. But now he no longer had his troops in hand. They were eager to occupy winter-quarters, and resented being subjected by him to the hardships of a retreat, instead of his bringing the campaign to a quick and glorious close by a battle in the fine old French style. Least of all would tolerate a backward movement the twenty battalions and eighteen squadrons which Lieutenant-General the Duke of Broglie had just brought up from the Richelieu division of the army ! These troops ad already shown the utmost exasperation when carrying out the march trom Halberstadt into Thuringia, as they had reckoned on going into
To carry out these operations, Soubise began his march on November 5, not earlier than 11.30 in the morning. Frederick therefore could not attack on the same day if the French posted themselves opposite the left wing of the Prussian lines, on the heights of Obschiitz. The army with which Soubise began his flank march on that fateful November 5 consisted of 30,000 French troops and 11,000 of the army of the Empire. Of the latter not less than 7000 were disbanded quite at the beginning of the battle-a fact which may be verified from the list of casualties on this day ; they are therefore not included in the statistics concerning the action given in the present narrative, for only 34,000 of the Combined Army were reckoned on the battle-field as actual combatants. King Frederick had with him 22,000 men. Soubise' troops were eager for battle, their spirits having been raised by Frederick's retreat on the previous day.
When the King of Prussia became aware that the enemy was marching upon his left flank, he had no thought of retreating over the Saale in accordance with the expectations of the French generals. But he had just as little intention of venturing to attack the enemy on the heights of Obschutz. It was indeed not behind the Saale, but on Merseburg, that he arranged to fall back. It is generally stated that this was a feigned retreat, a mere stratagem; but such is not the fact. Cut off from Weissenfels by Soubise' flank march, the King of Prussia intended to make Merseburg the base of his operations. To the victor of Gotha, General von Seydlitz, was assigned the command of the larger part of the Prussian cavalry, with special orders to block the road to Merseburg. He was the youngest cavalry general present with the army.
It was about half-past two o'clock in the afternoon when the French perceived that the King of Prussia was falling back. They had now reached the goal of their advance and were on the heights of Obschutz.
But, as Soubise saw that the Prussians were retiring, he resolved to avail himself of the advantageous opportunity offered and to attack Frederick's rear-guard. After the French had once committed the cardinal mistake of lingering in the neighbourhood of the Saale, one can scarcely blame Soubise for this decision. For, if the King of Prussia had made up his mind to give battle, the French on their side were obliged to accept it either on this or some other day. So the Combined Army continued their march beyond Obschütz and descended into the wide trough of land which extends from that village to the north. The King of Prussia saw the enemy come down from the Obschütz heights, and at once gave up the movement to Merseburg-for the ardently desired chance of battle had come. The Prussian army were ordered to deploy. The undulating country behind Reichhardtswerben hid from the French the forward march of the Prussians; and their cavalry, advancing first, surprised and attacked the cavalry of the Combined Army, which had not yet deployed. The squadrons of Seydlitz maintained their advantage, but with some difficulty, as the enemy stood his ground for quite half-an-hour, so that the French infantry gained time for their deployment.
Soubise has been condemned as a careless general, of the superficial, frivolous, grand seigneur type, because he allowed himself to be surprised. But Frederick the Great was himself surprised at Hochkirch. So far from being guilty of carelessness, Soubise, on the contrary, exhibited an excess of anxiety. Already on the march from Miicheln to Obschütz he had feared being attacked, and, to protect the left wing of his marching columns, had left behind detached bodies of troops-eleven battalions of French and Croats, twelve good French squadrons and three of Austrian hussars, the last under no less important a leader than Laudon. These fifteen squadrons might, if used at the right point, have decided the day to the disadvantage of Seydlitz. Nothing better illustrates the difference between Soubise and Frederick than that the latter, on withdrawing towards Merseburg, had only left behind to watch those detachments a quite insignificant force-a single battalion against eleven, seven squadrons against fifteen.
It was chiefly through squandering his cavalry that Soubise lost the battle. According to the tactics and armaments of those times, cavalry was the most effective of the three engines of warfare. Soubise had 5500 horse, Frederick 5000. But, owing to the wrong dispositions oi the French Commander-in-chief, his slight numerical superiority was changed at a critical moment into a pronounced inferiority ; 3800 of the Combined Army were attacked and beaten by Seydlitz' 4600 men. General von Seydlitz had his squadrons so firmly in hand that, after defeating the enemy's cavalry, he was able to lead them in good order against the right wing of the French infantry. His success in this »lanceuvre won for Seydlitz imperishable laurels. Even Prussian troops did not always understand how to make best use of their victory. But
Seydlitz possessed the power of maintaining strict discipline in his whole force, from the major-generals down to the common soldier. He would not permit the pursuit of the enemy's cavalry to be continued longer than to the point at which the French squadrons were rendered harmless ; then, his whole thirty-eight squadrons wheeled round to the right and attacked the French infantry and artillery. The Prussian cavalry dominating the plain, the French artillery was prevented by fear of the enemy's horsemen from falling into position. Consequently, the Prussian artillery, little embarrassed by fire from the French guns, was free to direct its own mainly on the enemy's infantry : which it did with excellent effect. The Prussian cannonade and cavalry charges shattered the French infantry so rapidly and so completely that Frederick's battalions, by that time deployed and advancing, found little left for them to do. Only about seven battalions of the Prussian line of battle fired a series of charges ; this sufficed to rout the entire French foot. The whole action lasted only a single hour.
The Prussian losses amounted to not more than 550 men. Those of the French army were far greater, reaching about 7000 men, though certainly not beyond what a great military Power like France could bear without being shaken in the slightest degree. Nor did the French at Rossbach forfeit their old reputation for bravery. One company of the Piedmont regiment was nearly wiped out by Prussian grape-shot. Of the 3800 cavalry which fought against Seydlitz not fewer than 1000 were killed or wounded. But the insubordination of the army which had forced the Prince of Soubise, against his will, to stay in the region of the Saale was notorious and evident. Even on the battle-field there was among the French forces much disorder, want of guidance, and disagreement. In any case, Europe, to its astonishment, recognised that the French army was no longer what it had been. Nowhere was the impression thus created stronger than in London. Pitt breathed more freely, and the old King seemed to have recovered his youth-it was long since he had seemed to be in such spirits. The ratification of the Convention of Klosterzeven and the disbandment of the army at Stade were now definitely refused. In 1757 the British Parliament had reluctantly voted ^164,000 for the Army of Observation; the grant made in 1758 amounted to ,£1,200,000. " As Pitt expressed it in the Lower House, the Army of Observation was to become an "Army of Operations." That the Minister was able to obtain money from the representatives of the English people for the unpopular Hanoverian war, was one of the most important consequences of the battle of Rossbach. It may be noted here in anticipation that the allied " Army of Operations," which was now commanded by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, drove and kept the French out of Germany. The Court of Versailles despatched armies of continuously increasing size against the allies, because the defeat of Prince Ferdinand was the preliminary
Such were the indirect results of the battle of Rossbach ; the direct consisted in the retreat of the Combined Army towards the Main and the interior of Franconia; so that Frederick's magazines in Leipzig, Wittenberg, Torgau, Dresden, and elsewhere, were no longer threatened. The King was now at liberty to march into Silesia against the Austrians without having any fears for his rear. In Silesia, at the time of the battle of Rossbach, 43,000 Austrians under General Nadasdy were laying siege to Schweidnitz, while 60,000 under Prince Charles and Daun protected the besieging lines. The Duke of Severn, who was stationed in face of them with an army which had, particularly by desertions, melted down from 41,000 to 28,000 men, was urged by Frederick to take advantage of the division in the Austrian forces in order to attack them. But Severn was no more a great general than Lehwaldt. He hesitated over the attack, till Schweidnitz, on November 11, capitulated, six days after the battle of Rossbach. The fortress, which had been newly built after the King's own ideas, had been held for seven weeks against 43,000 Austrians; nevertheless, the defence had not been conducted with much energy, and within the garrison treachery and desertion played into the hands of the besiegers. The fall of Schweidnitz cost King Frederick 7000 men, about the same number as the French had lost at Rossbach, not counting the losses of the Imperial army. Moreover, Nadasdy seized in Schweidnitz sufficient provisions to keep 88,000 'Sfm^n tW° montns' and helped himself to a war-exchequer containing
Severn had now to contend against 83,000 Austrians instead of 60,000. On November 22, the Prince of Lorraine and Daun forced their way over the Lohe, and the battle of Breslau was lost by the small Prussian army. In moderately good order the Prussians retreated through the town of Breslau to the opposite bank of the Oder, where their general was during a reconnaissance taken prisoner by Croats.
His successor, General von Kyau, retreated with the army towards Glogau and thus left Breslau exposed. This retreat of Kyau's was a grave error. The danger of the cautious and slow-moving Austrians effecting the transit of the Oder was lessened by the fact that the victors of Rossbach had already advanced as far as Görlitz. With a rapidity of which in those days only Prussian troops seemed capable, the King's army marched on to Breslau. In spite, however, of Frederick's threats and exhortations to his generals, the governor of Breslau, the aged General von Lestwitz, capitulated without offering any resistance. The garrison was granted a free conduct to Glogau ; but most of the noncommissioned officers and nearly all the privates had deserted so soon as the Austrians had entered the city, so that all ten battalions simply ceased to exist. Before this the Duke of Bevern's regiments had already been weakened to an extraordinary degree by desertion. Of the 13,000 men who, before the battle of Breslau, figured in the official list of Bevern's army as lost, 6000 were marked as deserters. Such were the feelings pervading the Prussian as well as the Austrian army in consequence of the system of the press-gang, the brutal treatment of the men, and their indifference to the despotic governments for which they were forced to spill their blood. A notable exception among the German troops of that period were the 14,000 men whom Frederick led from Thuringia into Silesia. Full advantage had been taken of the many opportunities of desertion offered by the cross- and counter-marches of September and October, when no supplies were furnished from the magazines ; but the soldiery were billeted on the population, and those who remained might be trusted. Another force, of an ideal kind, operated in Frederick's favour. The belief in Luther and Calvin in Germany had not died out so completely as the King supposed ; and this was the reason why the defeat of the French was hailed with jubilation by all German Protestants. For in the French army at this time-not more than a generation before the Revolution-the traditions of Catholic intolerance were still so alive, that Soubise' soldiers frequently desecrated the altars and chalices of the Protestant churches. Even among the cool and calculating frequenters of the Paris Exchange a fear was expressed, that the King of Prussia might play the deliverer in a war of religion and thus attain the headship of Germany. But a consummation of this kind suited neither the spirit of the times nor the personality of a Voltairean like Frederick. Anyhow, the aureole which surrounded the head of the victor of Rossbach had the effect of
Prince Charles of Lorraine and Daun marched against the King of Prussia with the object of gaining a position on the Katzbach. Here Schweidnitz could be covered. With the support of this fortress and of Liegnitz, which they manned and strengthened, the Austrians might now venture to take up their winter-quarters in Silesia. But it behoved the Austrian generals, from the outset, to observe the utmost caution, as against a foe so eager to strike and so mobile, although they believed him to be still on the other side of the Katzbach. They therefore, on December 4, occupied the fortified camp at Leuthen, where their forces numbered 55,000 men. Here Prince Charles and Daun learned to their amazement that the King of Prussia had crossed the Katzbach some time before, and was now at Neumarkt. In reality, he was even nearer, stationed immediately in front of the Austrians. After the junction of troops from Thuringia with the forces that had carried out the precipitate retreat to Glogau, he had under him more than 40,000 men. Prince Charles and Daun could be in no doubt that they would be attacked the next day.
At sunrise on December 5, the Prussians were on the move and marched upon the right flank of the Austrians, who had not time to dispose themselves calmly in order of battle. In the army of Prince Charles and Daun several battalions were not to be entirely trusted - to begin with, ten Bavarian battalions, for in those days a bitter antagonism obtained between Bavaria and Austria; further, fourteen battalions of Wiirtembergers, who hated their ruler, the ally of Austria, as the tyrannical oppressor of the Estates of his duchy, and passionately venerated the conqueror of Rossbach as the champion of German Protestantism. The Austrian generals placed these Bavarian and Wurtemberg battalions on the left wing of their line of battle.
Frederick advanced against the right wing, in the direction of Borne; but by means of a personal reconnaissance he convinced himself of the extreme difficulty of attacking his adversaries' right wing, owing to the unevenness of the ground. The left Austrian wing had taken up a still more favourable position, and seemed almost unassailable. But Frederick's keen eye observed a weak point in the left wing of Prince Charles' position ; and, with swift resolve, he led his army past the enemy's front (at a distance of not more than 4000 paces) to the point at which he had espied this flaw. Thus the attack of the Prussian infantry fell directly °o the Wiirtembergers; and eleven out of their fourteen battalions at °nce fled, leaving behind only a few killed and wounded. The advance to the front, by General Nadasdy's orders, of some Austrian regiments
Had Frederick the Great had modern armies at his command, he would now have marched on Vienna and there dictated terms of peace. Instead of this, it was high time for him to occupy winter-quarters. Through the winter, operations on the Prussian side were confined to Pomerania. Here the Swedes not only retired before the army of Field-Marshal Lehwaldt, whose forces were greatly superior, beyond the Prussian frontier, but they also evacuated Swedish Pomerania as far as Stralsund and the island of Rügen. The Prussians were only prevented from occupying these points by lack of a fleet : moreover, they could now raise war contributions in Swedish Pomerania and Mecklenburg, and impress recruits. In Mecklenburg they gathered into the service 4000, no insignificant aid for the small Prussian State, threatened by nearly the whole continent of Europe. The King summoned all his energies and worked hard to render his army complete for the coming campaign. It was not possible to cover expenses by raising taxes, for in this despotic State the taxes on the unprivileged classes were so high in times of peace that to put any abnormal strain on the taxation of that part of the population was out of the question. To tax the privileged classes would not have been compatible with the spirit of the King's internal policy. In this dilemma Frederick took refuge in the debasement of the coinage, and in paying his officials in paper instead of cash. Thus, in 1758, as in 1757,150,000 Prussian troops were again put into the field. The Austrian army, on the other hand, had shrunk from 133,000 to 85,000 men. In 1757
For the present, 22,000 Prussians blockaded Stralsund, commanded by General-Lieutenant von Donna, successor to Field-Marshal Lehwaldt. Nevertheless Dohna's army was not destined to act alone against Sweden, but also against Russia. The command of the armies of the Tsar, like that of Maria Theresa's, had changed. The aged Aprakin was being tried by Court-martial for evacuating East Prussia, and Lieutenant-General Fermor, who had been appointed to the command in his stead, had, after reoccupying East Prussia, advanced with 32,000 men on Polish West Prussia. He had reinforcements in prospect, and was negotiating with the Swedes for joint action in Brandenburg and Pomerania. King redenck, pressed by adversaries in so many quarters, could, as has been already mentioned, only muster 70,000 before Olmütz-a very
The King of Prussia affirmed that his engineers made many grave blunders during the siege ; and it was nearly five weeks before the third parallel was finished, while several successful skirmishes on the part of the besieged had achieved a partial destruction of the earthworks. Added to this, the ammunition and supplies of the besieging batteries gave out. A convoy of 4000 wagons was being brought to meet the need from Neisse to the army ; but near the pass of Domstädtl General Laudon, who here made himself a name in the world's history, attacked the convoy on June 30. The Austrians were not much stronger in numbers than the 13,000 Prussians who escorted the convoy ; but the latter had covered a march of forty miles with wagon-trains. The Austrians, on the contrary, had at their disposal the Croat light infantry, which seemed created on purpose for such enterprises and was far superior to the corresponding Prussian arm, the so-called " free battalions." These Croat troops were, as Frederick the Great told the British Major-General Yorke, the best in the Austrian army, which he, as a rule, estimated highly; and they were very loyal to their flag; they never deserted, and their mobility was irrepressible. For the attack on the Neisse convoy 2500 Croats were detached. Thus the combat at Domstädtl was lost by the Prussians, who were obliged to blow up their wagons in case they should fall into the enemy's hand. Of the gunpowder, cannon-balls, and supplies of various sorts, nothing reached the besiegers at Olmütz.
"Convoi attaqué, convoi battu,'" said Frederick the Great, quoting an old military proverb, and he reproached no one for the mishap at Domstädtl. But the blockade of Olmütz was wrecked and had to be
Action against Russia could no longer be postponed, for General Fermor was now encamped with his main army at Meseritz, on the frontier between what was then the kingdom of Poland (to whose territory Russia had free access) and the Neumark of Brandenburg. " A terrible time of trial for our poor family and all who call themselves Prussians...,'" Frederick, on evacuating Bohemia, wrote to Prince Henry. ' But in spite of all that passes within me I put the best outward face pn a bad business, and try so far as I can not to discourage those whom it is my duty as a general to inspire with hope and generous self-confidence." Fermor advanced into Brandenburg with 50,000 men and marched on Cüstrin, an important arsenal at the confluence of the Oder with the Warthe. Dohna's army had meanwhile given up the blockade °r Stralsund in order to stop the way of the Russians. Thus the Swedes were free. The internal condition of the Scandinavian kingdoms made
The bulk of his Silesian army was left by the King stationed at Kloster-Grüssau in Lower Silesia against Daun, while he gave over the supreme command to Margrave Charles of Brandenburg-Schwedt, attaching to him as tactical adviser Field-Marshal Keith. He himself led a corps on Ciistrin, the men being subjected to exertions as excessive as those of their cross- and counter-marchings in the autumn of 1757. Especially the last forced marches through the deep sandy soil of the Mark reduced the infantry to a state of utter exhaustion. On August 22, the King's corps united with General Dohna's army at Gorgast, west of Ciistrin. On the 23rd the Oder was crossed, the barrier which separated the Prussian forces from the Russian army besieging Ciistrin. Already Prussian hussars came in contact with Russian dragoons and Cossacks and scattered them right and left. Fermor raised the siege of Cüstrin,
On August 25, at half-past three in the morning, having drawn up his army, he crossed the Mietzel with it close to the Neudamm mill by the Kersten bridge, and marched through the thinly-wooded pine forest of Massin. Thence the Prussians emerged 40,000 strong on to the undulating plain of Zorndorf, where the Russians stood in about the same strength. After the battle the King of Prussia told his reader, de Katt, that the Russians might have managed so as to have attacked his marching columns as they came undeployed out of the swampy wood. But such manuvres presupposed a resolution in the leader and a mobility in the troops in which the Russians were, like the Austrians, altogether lacking. When the Cossacks announced to Fermor that the enemy obviously intended to reach the rear of the Russian position by the wood of Massin, Fermor ordered the army to turn right about face. How little the Russian general had calculated on the possibility of his opponent's daring to turn him is shown by the fact that he had directed some of his heavy baggage to take up a position at Gross-Kamin, close to Batzlow, where the Prussian army came out of the wood. Considering the enormous importance of the provision wagon in the age of the magazine system, the taking of Fermor's baggage would in itself alone have signified a victory for the Prussian army over the Russian.
But the King, who was weak in infantry, believed at this critical moment that he could not afford to detach any troops in the direction of Gross-Kamin. The escort of the Russian baggage was, it is true, not numerous ; but they had built a battery and thrown up earthworks. Furthermore, 2000 Cossacks under Major-General Jefremoff, coming from Landsberg on the Warthe, were in full march on Gross-Kamin, where indeed they only arrived on the evening of the day of the battle. At any rate, Frederick left the Russian baggage on the left untouched, and marched on Fermor's army, which, after reversing its position, no
On the morning of August 25, a burning hot day, Frederick rode forth at the head of the eight battalions which composed his advance-guard. The Prussian army carried out a flank march past the whole length of the Russian front, now facing south, and wheeled into order of battle between Zorndorf and Wilkersdorf. The King's plan was to attack with his left wing, which marched up behind Zorndorf, the enemy's right. The Prussian right wing, made weaker than the left, was to remain in abeyance ; while Fermor had expected the reverse tactics : namely, that he would be attacked on his left wing while the Prussian left remained stationary, so as to cover a possible Prussian retreat on Cüstrin. But Frederick, in projecting his plan of battle, had not thought in the least of the precautions imputed to him by Fermor, and was far less intent on preserving at all costs his communication with Cüstrin than on directing his attack to the weakest spot in the Russian position. Even in the contingency of his losing the battle and his connexion with Cüstrin, a line of retreat was open to him through the forest of Massin infinitely superior to Fermor's background of Mietzel quagmires.
Fermor's error led to considerable mistakes in his dispositions. The heavy artillery made a much weaker show on the Russian than on the
Prussian side, Fermor having only 60 heavy guns, Frederick 117. When the Russian general thought that his left wing would be attacked, he massed nearly the whole of his heavy artillery there; while Frederick distributed his heavy guns equally along both wings. The right Russian wing, which Frederick intended to attack, suffered terribly, being under fire for two whole hours from heavy guns, to which it could only respond by means of the light regimental cannon. The attack of the Prussian infantry followed at 11 o'clock, after the battalions had been on the move since about é a.m. in the glaring heat of the sun.
Even after Frederick had by his turning movement frustrated Fermor's plan of battle, the Russians still had an excellent defensive position. At Prague, and especially at Leuthen, the Prussian infantry had been able to outflank the enemy's ; but at Zorndorf such a manuvre was not to be thought of. The Russian infantry lay against the Zaber-grund, a ravine which at that time was so swampy that, though cavalry might possibly get through it, it was impassable for infantry. The King of Prussia therefore ordered the left wing of his infantry to make a frontal attack. Herein lay the Achilles-heel of Frederick's scheme of battle. The King, who spoke contemptuously of the Russian army as tag, rag, and bobtail, was severely undeceived on this head at Zorndorf. The Russians fought very well, although they had been most terribly handled by the opening cannonade of the Prussian heavy artillery ; but they had a powerful reserve of regimental cannon which were very skilfully used, and inflicted fearful losses on the Prussian infantry when it had come close enough.
Shortly before the battle Fermor had informed his troops that the method of the Prussian infantry consisted in insolently advancing and beginning to fire before they reached the proper distance ; which habit should be courageously met, by relying on the effect of the artillery and of reasonable infantry fire at the correct distance. These instructions were applied with so much success that the attacking Prussian infantry began to waver. Hitherto, it had not been supported by the cavalry of Frederick's left wing ; half of which had been placed behind the infantry. The other half, consisting of thirty-one squadrons, on the opposite side of the Zabergrund, where Seydlitz was in command, could not think of taking the ravine so long as the Russian infantry were close to it. Accordingly, Seydlitz' instructions forbade his making the attempt till the Prussian infantry should have shattered the battalions of the right Russian wing. But, instead of being shattered, they pressed on victoriously, mastered the heavy batteries of the left Prussian wing, and reduced its infantry to such a state of demoralisation that only the vigorous intervention of the cavalry posted behind the infantry saved the left wing of the Prussian infantry from a complete rout. These advances, which Fermor personally commanded on his right wing, were supported at enormous sacrifices by the badly-horsed Russian cavalry. The Prussians
After the victorious advance of the Russian right wing had put an end to its contact with the Zabergrund, Seydlitz could cross the defile. He did so in good order, and fell on the enemy's flank. The infantry of the Russian right wing and its handful of squadrons found themselves involved in defeat, and fled in the same state of demoralisation which had taken possession earlier of the Prussian battalions. But there remained a distinct numerical difference, to the disadvantage of the Prussians. Of their thirty-eight battalions, twenty-three were routed ; of the Russian fifty-seven, only about eighteen ; for one-half only of the exposed Russian wing had been included in the combat, while the other had not gone forward with the rest, but had remained quietly in its original position of defence. The reason was that, in the middle of the right Russian wing, lay a second watery swamp, called the Galgengrund, Those of Fermor's battalions which had not advanced with the rest now stood on the other side of this ravine, in close contiguity with it and unbroken. For Seydlitz' squadrons to capture the defile and to take the Russian infantry in flank was out of the question. This would have required a frontal attack by Prussian infantry; but the infantry of the Prussian left wing was now hors de combat.
In a word, the King's assault had been beaten off, and his plan of battle absolutely wrecked. His features revealed his anxiety, when, at one o'clock in the afternoon, he rode from the beaten left wing of his line of battle to the right. Maurice of Anhalt-Dessau, fearing that the sight of the King's clouded, brooding countenance might discourage the troops, wheeled round with assumed hilarity, waved his hat and exclaimed, " Victoria ! " The troops joined in the cheer, and the English ambassador, Andrew Mitchell, who was present with the King of Prussia, credulously expressed his congratulations to the sovereign. The King listened to him politely and exhibited perfect composure ; but, when they had ridden on, he said to Mitchell : " My good friend, things are going badly with the left wing. I shall put them straight ; but do not follow me." Then he ordered the right wing, which hitherto had been inactive, to charge. It was a desperate resolve, for the Russian left wing was much better protected against a turning movement than the right. It leant on the village of Zicher and a series of woods, where neither cavalry nor infantry, fighting in the stiff linear formation of the eighteenth century, could penetrate. The frontal attack of the Prussian battalions was repulsed with much slaughter by the guns and regimental cannon of the Russians ; and the handful of Russian cavalry made as brilliant charges as their comrades had made on the right wing. Thus the disorganisation of the right wing of the Prussian infantry was complete. The King, like Field-Marshal Schwerin at Prague, seized a flag, but his heroism was
The battle had begun at 9 o'clock in the forenoon, and only at nightfall did it stop, without having been decided. The losses on both sides reached an enormous height. Of 40,000 Prussians (according to published lists) 10,000 were killed or wounded, including over 300 officers. Yet these numbers are perhaps not altogether trustworthy, as there are indications that there may have been as many as 15,000 or 16,000 Prussians killed or wounded. For a small country like Prussia, such sacrifices were irreparable ; a large empire like Russia was better able to bear losses of officers and men, even if more considerable than those of the Prussians. Fermor withdrew his forces for the night towards the Mietzel, near Kutzdorf; the swampy ravines mentioned above separated the combatants. On the morning of August 26, Russian forces again crossed the Zabergrund and appeared on the heights of Zorndorf. Bearing with them the light baggage of the Russian army, they formed the vanguard of Fermor's retreat, which he wished to take the direction of Gross-Kamin, where lay his heavy baggage. J-he King of Prussia, noticing this forward movement, hoped to find an opportunity for a fresh encounter ; for he was bitterly disappointed by the result of the day of battle. He personally reconnoitred the enemy's change of position at Zorndorf; and his passionate eagerness led him all too near his opponents' lines, so that he and his small cavalry escort were suddenly subjected to a lively cannonade from a hidden Russian battery. By a miracle the King escaped unhurt.
For the rest, a repetition of the Prussian attack was not to be thought of seriously. The immense hardships and losses undergone by Frederick's troops reduced them to a condition as disorganised as that of
Fermor's. King Frederick was even without sufficient troops fit for action to seize Fermor's heavy baggage at Gross-Kamin ; and Brigadier Kokoschkin, who was in command there, was able to get into communication with the Russian army by way of Wilkersdorf and Zorndorf. Several messages from Kokoschkin to Fermor told how severely the Prussian army had suffered ; and the Cossacks proved it by capturing many Prussian soldiers. Thus encouraged, Fermor set out at 2 o'clock on the morning of August 27 to march past Frederick's left flank to Gross-Kamin ; though the Russian artillery had lost nearly all their horses or had to give them up for the transport of the wounded. Prussian historical accounts, generally so extremely severe in their criticism of Fermor, seem unable to praise sufficiently his masterly execution of this daring flank march. But, in truth, another fact is far more remarkable, namely, that on a fine August day between four and nine in the forenoon, a Russian army could march past Frederick the Great without being attacked. The Russians had an open plain over which to move, as the French had at Rossbach, and they were so slow about it, that to cover a distance of five miles they took quite seven hours. The Prussian army, even two days after the battle of Zorndorf, was still, as it were, paralysed. Fermor ordered his heavy baggage-train from Gross-Kamin to Landsberg on the Warthe, whither he intended to continue his retreat. This time the King of Prussia sent a detachment to deal the enemy a blow such as he had himself received at Domstädtl in Moravia. " This is their richest magazine,1" the King wrote to Maurice of Anhalt ; " they have supplies for months on the wagons. If I burn them, the army must retire head over heels, and I shall be certainly rid of it. To effect this I have laid a plan and I will do everything I can to carry it out ; that will be better than a battle." The last part of this sentence must, of course, not be interpreted too literally. On the morning of Zorndorf the King could, if he had liked, have taken the Russian baggage without a battle. Now, the enterprise failed because the detached troops came upon RumyantsefTs corps, which Fermor, after the action at Zorndorf, had recalled from Schwedt and ordered to proceed, together with his heavy baggage, to Landsberg on the Warthe. Hither the Russian main army also directed its march on August 31 from Gross-Kamin.
The King of Prussia followed the retreating enemy, looking out for an opportunity to attack him ; but Fermor exposed no weak spots, and, failing these, Frederick felt he was not strong enough for a conflict, just as already on the 27th he had evaded risking a renewal of the battle. Unmolested, the Russian main army and its heavy baggage-train effected their junction with RumyantsefTs division, which was un weakened by fighting, at Landsberg on the Warthe. Frederick, after a violent inward struggle, was forced to acknowledge himself unable to achieve anything decisive against the Russians, and resolved on a return to the
At the same time, however, the King of Prussia learned that the Swedes had advanced from Prenzlau to Neu-Ruppin. Though, after Zorndorf, General Hamilton could hardly hope that Fermor would hold out to him a helping hand, he was not discouraged, but led his troops into the heart of the Mark and threatened the capital. Frederick had to detach immediately, from the body of troops which he had brought from Landsberg to Dresden, eight battalions and five squadrons for Berlin. "Our infantry regiments are becoming postillions and couriers," Frederick wrote to his brother. Before the Russian invasion of the Mark, the King had confronted his Russian and Swedish opponents with, in all, twenty battalions and thirty-five squadrons. Now, he was obliged to divide, between General Dohna against the Russians and General Wedell against the Swedes, twenty-nine battalions and forty squadrons. The King expected that at least Dohna would succeed in manuvring Fermor back across the frontier of the Polish kingdom, which was quite close to Landsberg. But even this modest success was not achieved, Fermor remained the greater part of September stationed at Landsberg and reorganised his army with the help of RumyantsefPs fresh troops. From Poland came the Russian sinews of war, stores, and substitutes for a part of the artillery lost at Zorndorf. Fermor, now again capable of undertaking operations, determined to stay on in the dominions of the King of Prussia and marched into Eastern Pomerania, where he remained during the whole of October. Although he failed in capturing the strongly fortified port of Kolberg, the Russian troops disquieted the whole of Eastern Pomerania and the Neumark ; nor was it till November that they evacuated the former and withdrew into their Polish and East Prussian winter-quarters. Meanwhile the Swedes devoured the King's resources in Prussian Pomerania, in the Uckermark, and partly even in the Neumark. During the whole of September, October, and November, Hamilton/5 troops had to be fed by the King's dominions before they retreated into Swedish Pomerania and took up their winter-quarters there.
A review of the results of the battle of Zorndorf leaves no doubt fff i ederick would have acted more to his own advantage if on the tatetul August 25 he had contented himself with carrying off the
Russian heavy baggage, instead of aiming at the higher goal of crushing the hostile forces. But it would have been at variance with a great genius like Frederick's to act with that sort of moderation, even though Prince Henry of Prussia, after his fashion one of King Frederick's ablest generals, was wont to exhibit it. The extraordinary force of Frederick's character is not fully understood till it is realised what had during his operations against the Russians been his general conception of his situation. A few days before the battle of Zorndorf he had been of opinion that Laudon would extend his invasion through Brandenburg to Berlin. The destruction of the treasure and public buildings of Berlin would be so heavy a loss, that on the evening of the day of battle, Frederick had meditated marching on the next morning with a division of his army to Guben, thence to cover the capital against Laudon and Daun. For the King thought it possible that the whole main Austrian army might advance on Berlin. When he saw, on the morning after the battle, how completely disorganised the Prussian army was in all its divisions, he abandoned the march to Guben. Instead, he impressed upon the Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, whom he had left behind with the Prussian main army in Lower Silesia, the necessity of opposing Daun's invasion of the Mark by taking up suitable defensive positions till he was himself able to hurry to the rescue. The following was, accordingly, the situation of the King of Prussia immediately before the battle of Zorndorf. Not only was the very nucleus of his power attacked by the Russians and Swedes, but he further believed that the Austrians were encircling him on all sides and endangering his possession of his own capital. At such a crisis, he ventured, in the rage of despair-"with the passion of a desperate gambler," it was said in Prince Henry's entourage-upon attacking the army of Fermor in its unassailable position at Zorndorf.
In reality, Daun had given up the idea of a march on Berlin and, as has been related, had turned against Dresden. The absence of the King lasted from August 1 till September 10; but, before Daun had undertaken any serious enterprise against Prince Henry, Frederick was back again and had united with his brother. Margrave Charles also moved towards Dresden with his main army. There were now 80,000 Prussians in the environs of that town under the personal command of the King. Opposite them were encamped 75,000 Austrians and 15,000 of the Imperial troops, so that Frederick and his opponents were about equal in strength. No wonder, then, that the King wrote to Prince Henry that it would be the salvation of the Prussians if Daun received peremptory orders to attempt some engagement. But Daun did just the contrary of what Frederick wished. He hid himself in the camp of Stolpen, east of Dresden, among woods, bog, and mountains, where the King dared not attack him. From September 5 till October 5, Daun persisted in holding out at Stolpen, while Frederick
The struggle surged hither and thither for five hours. Then, the fog cleared and the sun shone brightly on the field of battle, strewn by 15,000 dead and wounded. Frederick recognised that the Austrians, by advancing in accordance with a well thought-out plan which the various divisions of troops had combined to realise, had won an ad-x vantage which it was impossible to make good. He therefore ordered a retreat to the heights of Doberschütz, near Bautzen, four miles from the battle-field. It was accomplished with such calmness and precision that the Austrians praised in the liveliest terms a manuvre of which they said that no army but the Prussian was tactically capable. The defeated side left the victors the greater part of their baggage, thirty flags and standards, and a hundred and two guns. A great many battalions were so shrunk in numbers that one might almost speak of annihilation. While the King drew upon eight battalions belonging to Prince Henry's army to repair in some measure his losses, he impressed upon the Prince 'not to send any Silesian battalions. Zorndorf and Hochkirch had somewhat paled the nimbus of Rossbach. It was to be feared that Silesian soldiers, knowing every stock and stone of their native province, might desert in too great quantities. Such was the character of European armies before the French Revolution.
The next evening, the King appeared to his reader, de Katt, depressed, not to say profoundly dispirited. " I can end the tragedy when I choose," he said in a low voice. Then he showed the reader the Apology for Suicide which he had composed in the autumn of the previous year, and the poison which he had long carried about with him. Daun wrote to Harsch, that he would now guarantee the King of Prussia's failing to relieve Neisse. The Austrian general intended to throw himself again and again in the way of the enemy, in an impregnable position on the long road from Bautzen to Neisse. But Frederick, undaunted by his defeat, marched secretly past Daun's right flank and got ahead of the astounded Austrian general in the direction of Görlitz.
Several Prussian historians dispute the fact that Frederick made a mistake in encamping at Hochkirch, where he was surprised. They maintain that he had no choice if he was to steal a march on Daun in reaching Neisse. The real facts of the case contradict this view, for after the battle of Hochkirch the King of Prussia encamped at Doberschütz, which lay somewhat further back, and was perfectly secure against surprise ; and from this position he accomplished without much difficulty the feat of stealing a march upon the enemy. As a matter of fact, he had selected the perilous position of Hochkirch, not at all on account of Neisse, but because he wanted to be near the corps of the Prince of Baden-Durlach, in order to surprise and scatter it. The more unfavourable the course of the campaign proved, the more
Daun was never foolhardy. After the Prussian* army had reached Görlitz before him, he felt convinced that the race to Neisse could not possibly be brought to an end without Frederick sooner or later meeting the Austrians on ground not absolutely favourable to them. Daun explained to his generals assembled in a Council of War, that, should Frederick then seize the opportunity for a battle and defeat the Austrian army, the forces of the Empress would have no certain line of retreat, and a second edition of the battle of Leuthen (which God forbid !) would be scarcely avoidable. The result of these considerations on the Austrian side was the raising of the siege of Neisse. Soon afterwards both sides retired into winter-quarters. The anti-Prussian coalition could boast no positive success, but the campaign of 1758, like that of 1757, had effected a very significant reduction of the King of Prussia's resources, and his strength was being visibly exhausted. Instead of 150,000 men, as in the last two campaigns, Frederick was in 1759 only able to confront his enemies with 110,000. Contrariwise, the Austrians had recovered from the enormous losses of the year 1757. While in 1758 they could put only 85,000 men in the field, they opened operations in 1759 with 120,000. The King of Prussia was once more eager to find Daun ready for battle. But the latter again entrenched himself in impregnable places- at first at Münchengrätz in Bohemia, then at Marklissa in Upper Lusatia. He was waiting for the Russians.
The end of June arrived before the slowly-moving Russian forces had concentrated. The Empress Elizabeth had given her army a new Commander-in-chief in the person of General Soltikoff; against whom Frederick now determined to direct his first great blow. Dohna's army marched from Landsberg on the Warthe to Thorn in Polish West Prussia, in order to capture the magazines placed in this and other West Prussian towns, and forming the base of the Russian army. The King attached to the staff of Dohna, whom he regarded as but moderately gifted, his own adjutant, General von Wobersnow, with instructions that it was Dohna's duty to consider all Wobersnow's suggestions as if they came from the King himself. But Frederick had difficulty in finding men among his generals able to satisfy his exorbitant claims upon them. On June 29 the Russians completed their concentration at Posen, while the Prussians gave up the march to Thorn as impracticable, and retreated. For the second time there followed a Russian invasion of the Mark Brandenburg. On July 20, 40,000 Russians were at Ziillichau, where 27,000 Prussians confronted them. The King was violently incensed by the proceedings of his generals. He abused Wobersnow, saying that he was a mediocre commander, who
But Wedell, too, failed to fulfil the hopes set on him by the King of Prussia. On July 23 he attacked the 40,000 Russians with his 27,000 men near the village of Kay, and was completely beaten. One-fourth of the Prussian army lay dead on the field of battle ; the implacable King, roused to fury by the disaster, scolded his brave soldiers as a set of rascals. At the head of a division, he quitted the camp at Schmottseifen where he had faced Daun entrenched at Marklissa, and had sought an opportunity of battle with passionate impatience. Prince Henry stayed behind at Schmottseifen as Commander-in-chief.
There was one distinct point of difference between the situation of 1759 and that of the previous year, when the King had also advanced against Daun in Lusatia with a corps of Dohna's army. Daun, who lay at Lauban, had once more sent Laudon ahead to try to get into touch with the Russians ; but this time with 18,000 instead of 8000 men. At Priebus Hadik joined forces with Laudon at the head of a second corps of 17,000 men. Frederick himself described as "frightful and cruel" the marches which his troops had to make, to cut off the progress of the two Austrian corps to Frankfort on the Oder, whither Soltikoff had proceeded. For six nights the King never slept. As a matter of fact, Hadik's corps was pushed away from the Russians and obliged to move in the direction of Spremberg; but in this position, from a dangerous proximity, it threatened Berlin, which Hadik had entered in 1757. Above all, Laudon emerged unchallenged, and effected a junction with the Russians at Kunersdorf, which is situated on the Oder quite close to Frankfort. At that time Daun was between Rothenburg and Priebus, near to the south-eastern frontier of the Mark Brandenburg, and not very far from Schiedlow on the Oder, where Soltikoff' had promised to cross the river and join hands with his Austrian1 ally. Such was the critical condition of things, when Frederick attacked the Russians at Kunersdorf on August 12. He had 43,000 men, the Russians and Austrians 53,000 regulars, and 15,000 Cossacks and Croatians. Although these irregular forces played only an insignificant part in the action, the numerical superiority of the Russians and Au&trians was very considerable-otherwise than at Zorndorf. The King of Prussia was confronted by a general of the first rank, in the person of Laudon. Moreover, the Russian position was once more incomparable.
The King of Prussia's attempt to storm this position resulted in one
Still, in his momentary condition of weakness he could not prevent
Dresden from falling into the hands of the Austrians. This was a heavy loss, not only from a military but from a political point of view. For at that time England and Prussia were meditating diplomatic steps towards a general peace. Frederick had mastered his despair sufficiently to hope that he might claim Saxony when terms of peace were negotiated. His desire to become possessed of the electorate was so ardent, that, at a pinch, he would have given East Prussia for it to the Russians and his Rhenish possessions to the French. Hence, after reorganising his forces as best he could, Frederick with the utmost energy prosecuted operations against Daun, who was in any case to be compelled to evacuate Dresden and take up winter-quarters in Bohemia. But this rash method of conducting a campaign brought a further terrible misfortune upon the Prussians. Finck, who had been ordered to Daun's rear with 15,000 men, was cut off at Maxen, and his whole corps captured (November 21).
During the unlucky campaign of 1759, the King of Prussia's provinces and the electorate of Saxony had been obliged to support the Russians and Austrians. After the battle of Kunersdorf the Swedes, too, were again encamped in western Pomerania and the Uckermark, and the troops of the Empire temporarily in Saxony. Despite the great weakening of his resources, Frederick brought together for the campaign of 1760 about 100,000 men-that is, 50,000 fewer combatants than in 1757 and 1758, but still an astounding result of organisation, even in the opinion of his enemies. They had placed in the field 223,000 combatants as against his 100,000. Their first strategical object was Silesia, the province which had suffered least, so that from it the King drew his chief supplies of money and recruits.
The Silesian campaign of 1760 began with a severe reverse for the Prussian troops. On June 23 General Fouqué's corps of 11,000 men, which guarded the passes into Silesia near Landshut, was attacked by vastly superior numbers, and, after heroic resistance, entirely annihilated. On July 26, the important Silesian fortress of Glatz capitulated, after a siege by Laudon of only fifteen days. In the heart of Silesia, at Liegnitz, gathered 90,000 Austrians, while on the opposite bank of the Oder 50,000 Russians advanced as far as Breslau. SoltikoiF, at Auras, ordered bridges to be thrown across the Oder, and a Russian corps of 20,000 men passed the river. Its commander, Chernuisheff, had orders to pin down Prince Henry, who covered Breslau; in the meantime the 90,000 Austrians were to attack the King of Prussia who, with 30,000 men, was stationed at Liegnitz. On August 15 this attack took place. Laudon's corps succeeded in surprising Frederick. But neither did the much-tried King's wonderful presence of mind forsake him, nor did the Prussian infantry fail to give proof of that mobility which had already triumphed so repeatedly on the battle-field. This time, Frederick's adversaries had not the advantage of a strong defensive
Next, he was obliged to march into Saxony, where Daun had taken up a position on the Siptitzer hills near Torgau, from which the Austrians disputed his possession of the electorate. The Siptitzer hills were regarded as impregnable, and on November 2 Daun accepted a battle. He had 50,000 combatants, Frederick 44,000. The King of Prussia's plan of battle was the boldest that he had ever conceived. The Prussian army fought in two sections, which, separated by a wide interval, were out of touch with each other. The one half, personally commanded by the King, attacked Daun's front; the other, under General von Ziethen, assaulted his rear. During the whole combat the King fearlessly faced the enemy's fire. His pages and the officers of his suite were for the most part wounded, and three horses were shot under him. A shell struck him on the chest. He fell swooning, but soon recovered himself : " Ce n'est rien" he said, and continued to hold the command.
The dislocation of Frederick's troops remained unpunished because the Austrians, according to their traditions, would not depart from the defensive. They would finally have been beaten ; indeed, had they been attacked simultaneously in front and rear, they must have been annihilated, had but Ziethen brought as much energy to bear on the combat as did the King. The latter, however, had no generals at his command able to execute an independent commission with the highest degree of strategical effectiveness. The Austrians, feeling themselves somewhat hard pressed in their rear, maintained sufficient order to be able to retreat under cover of the darkness. Crossing the Elbe, to the right of their position, they evacuated the whole of Saxony, except Dresden. Owing to linear tactics (implying the fighting of infantry in close battle-array) nearly all the battles of the Seven Years' War were attended by great loss of life, and Torgau cost the Prussian army more than thirty-three and a third per cent, of their numbers. The grumbling of his troops had already reached the King's ears. Already after the battle of Kunersdorf he had written that he stood more in fear of his own soldiers than of the enemy ; he now forbade his adjutants, under threats of stringent punishment, to make known the
But even such extreme and desperate measures failed any longer to sustain the King of Prussia; in the campaign of 1761 his powers deserted him. Laudon, who commanded an Austrian army in Silesia, accomplished a junction with the Russians at Liegnitz, the scene of his former defeat. Frederick, who was commanding in person in Silesia, and had tried in vain to prevent the juncture of Laudon with the Russians, could for the moment only think of acting on the defensive. He had 55,000 men, his opponent at least twice as many. On August 20 the King of Prussia occupied the entrenched position of Bunzelwitz. Laudon and Field-Marshal Buturlin, who had succeeded Soltikoff in command of the Russian army, dared not attack the trenches of Bunzelwitz, but on October 16 Laudon conquered Schweidnitz in addition to Glatz, which had been in Austrian hands since the last campaign. This new acquisition made it possible for the Austrians to take up their winter-quarters in Silesia. In Saxony also the King's supplies for the most part came to a stop. In November Field-Marshal Daun and the Imperial army had dislodged Prince Henry from the extensive territory west of Freiberg on the Mulde. Freiberg, Chemnitz, Zeitz, Naumburg on the Saale, and many other productive parts of the electorate now supplied the Austrians, instead of, as hitherto, the Prussians, with recruits, provisions and money.
While the Austrians were able to take up their winter-quarters for the first time in Silesia and western Saxony, the Russians were able to do the same in Pomerania. On December 16 Kolberg capitulated to a Russian corps which had been detached for Pomerania. Thus the Russians had now, in the heart of Frederick's monarchy, a harbour which kept their fleet in communication with Russia and with their great magazine at Pillau, where were hoarded the supplies which flowed in from the resources of East Prussia to strengthen the Russian sinews of war. Even before Kolberg had fallen, the King of Prussia wrote to d'Argens " Every bundle of straw, every transport of recruits, every consignment of money, all that reaches me, is, or becomes a favour on the part of my enemies, or a proof of their negligence, for they could, as
Frederick the Great's most trustworthy political friend, William Pitt, had, six months before this, begun to doubt the King of Prussia's ability to hold out, and advised him, as Voltaire and Prince Henry had formerly done, to purchase peace by cession of territory. Pitt now quitted the British Cabinet. Bute's Ministry, disapproving the eagerness for war which had characterised Pitt's policy, based its own programme on the restoration of universal peace ; and Bute was of opinion that it was the King of Prussia's duty to contribute to the ending of the European war by some sacrifice of territory to his enemies. The King was to be forced to do this by the withdrawal of his British subsidies. Frederick believed that, in the present chaos of his financial affairs, he would be absolutely unable to dispense with English money. That Maria Theresa was also in desperate financial straits, and obliged to undertake a considerable reduction of her army in the middle of the war, made no essential difference, from Frederick s point of view, in his own hopeless position. All Europe now called upon him to renounce the idea that he could preserve the integrity of the Prussian State. He had not the means for sustaining himself in the coming campaign. Probably, if he had been ready to cede even the county of Glatz, he would have been granted a peace. But he determined that not a village under his rule should be lost to the State ; rather would he take his own life. If, he wrote to d'Argens, he could not use Caesar's Commentaries as his guide, he intended to follow Cato.
Among Frederick's calculations in August, 1756, when he had regarded the general situation as propitious to his venturing on an invasion of Saxony, had been the surmise that the days of the Empress Elizabeth were numbered. But the Tsarina lived five years and a half longer than Frederick, and with him every European diplomatist, had thought probable. Not till January 5,1762 (N. S.), did Peter the Great's daughter die, of a haemorrhage, in the fifty-third year of her age. This event brought about an immediate and complete revulsion in the political state of the world. On May 5,1762, Elizabeth's nephew and successor, Peter III, who was not of quite sound intellect, concluded a peace with the King of Prussia, with whom his aunt had, on public grounds, been irreconcilably at war. East Prussia and eastern Pomerania were evacuated by the Russians, so that the resources of those districts could be employed for the immediately imminent campaign against the Austriaris. Sweden, following Russia's example, also made peace with the King of Prussia. The agreement was signed on May 22. The great
Schweidnitz capitulated on October 9. On the 29th of the same month, Prince Henry, who was commanding on the subsidiary theatre of war in Saxony, at Freiberg defeated with an army of 24,000 men an equal number of Austrians, supported by 15,000 troops of the army of the Empire. The battle of Freiberg is the only great action of the Seven Years' War in which the Prussian troops were victorious when not under the personal command of Frederick. Unsatisfactory as were the relations between the two brothers, Frederick never acted with more royal wisdom than when he frankly expressed to himself and others his sense of Prince Henry's great services to the State. " He is the single Prussian general," said the King, " who has committed no blunder."
Meanwhile, a rupture had taken place in the Prussian alliance with Russia, caused by the assassination of Peter III. But, though the new Russian sovereign, Catharine II, recalled the reinforcements under Chernui-sheff, she did not reenter the coalition against the King of Prussia. The Austrians, without the aid of the Russians, and with only the Imperial troops to help them, could not crush the Prussian army. To Maria Theresa's distress, this had been evident enough at Freiberg, where the Prussians had lost only 1045 men in all, whereas the Austrians had lost 3385 in prisoners alone, not counting those of the Imperial troops that had been made prisoners. The French also saw clearly that, after the withdrawal of Russia from the coalition, there was no hope of regaining Silesia for the Austrians, and so securing the Netherlands for themselves. On November 3 the French diplomatists signed at Fontainebleau the preliminaries of a peace with England, which imposed on France enormous cessions in North America and India, without giving her any compensation in Europe. Prussia and France had fought against each other at Rossbach, although war had never been formally declared between them. Thus, no peace was signed now between Louis XV and Frederick, though
On February 15, 1763, Austria and Saxony likewise concluded a peace with Prussia at Hubertusburg, a-castle used as a shooting-lodge by the Elector of Saxony. King Frederick, to the last, clung with passionate longing to the idea of acquiring Saxony. Even when negotiating terms of peace with Russia, he was willing to give up East Prussia to the Tsar, Peter III, in exchange for the transference of the electorate of Saxony to the House of Brandenburg. But, in view of the issue of the War, there could be no question of any such transaction. The King was obliged to be content with the return of Glatz by the Austrians, who had held it for two years and a half. The basis on which peace was concluded was the status quo ante bellum.
Frederick, though only fifty-one years of age, returned to his capital an old man ; from that time forward the Berliners dubbed him " Old Fritz." There was not much humour for hero-worship among those with whom Frederick came in personal contact ; but all Europe, friend and foe alike, were at one in the conviction that a greater Prince had never sat on a throne. For all that, the King had certainly failed in achieving the political object of the war. Prussia remained small, uncultured, and broken up. The world found it hard to believe that so puny a " Great Power " could have any future before it.