What a thunder-bolt for Friedrich! One of the last pillars struck away from his tottering affairs. "Inevitable, then? We are over with it, then?" One may fancy Friedrich's reflections. But he showed nothing of them to anybody; in a few hours, had his mind composed, and new plans on the anvil. On the morrow of that Austrian Joy-Firing,--morrow, or some day close on it (ought to have been dated, but is not),--there went from him, to Magdeburg, the Order: "Have me such and such quantities of Siege-Artillery in a state of readiness." [Tempelhof, iv. 51.] Already meaning, it is thought, or contemplating as possible a certain Siege, which surprised everybody before long! A most inventive, enterprising being; no end to his contrivances and unexpected outbreaks; especially when you have him jammed into a corner, and fancy it is all over with him!
"To no other General," says Tempelhof, "would such a notion of besieging Dresden have occurred; or if it had suggested itself, the hideous difficulties would at once have banished it again, or left it only as a pious wish. But it is strokes of this kind that characterize the great man. Often enough they have succeeded, been decisive of great campaigns and wars, and become splendid in the eyes of all mankind; sometimes, as in this case, they have only deserved to succeed, and to be splendid in the eyes of judges. How get these masses of enemies lured away, so that you could try such a thing? There lay the difficulty; insuperable altogether, except by the most fine and appropriate treatment. Of a truth, it required a connected series of the wisest measures and most secret artifices of war;--and withal, that you should throw over them such a veil as would lead your enemy to see in them precisely the reverse of what they meant. How all this was to be set in action, and how the Enemy's own plans, intentions and moods of mind were to be used as raw material for attainment of your object,--studious readers will best see in the manoeuvres of the King in his now more than critical condition; which do certainly exhibit the completest masterpiece in the Art of leading Armies that Europe has ever seen."
Tempelhof is well enough aware, as readers should continue to be, that, primarily, and onward for three weeks more, not Dresden, but the getting to Silesia on good terms, is Friedrich's main enterprise: Dresden only a supplement or substitute, a second string to his bow, till the first fail. But, in effect, the two enterprises or strings coincide, or are one, till the first of them fail; and Tempelhof's eulogy will apply to either. The initiatory step to either is a Second Feat of Marching;--still notabler than the former, which has had this poor issue. Soldiers of the studious or scientific sort, if there are yet any such among us, will naturally go to Tempelhof, and fearlessly encounter the ruggedest Documents and Books, if Tempelhof leave them dubious on any point (which he hardly will): to ingenuous readers of other sorts, who will take a little pains for understanding the thing, perhaps the following intermittent far-off glimpses may suffice. [Mitchell, ii. 162 et seq.; and Tempelhof (iv. 50-53 et seq.), as a scientific check on Mitchell, or unconscious fellow-witness with him,-- agreeing beautifully almost always.]
On ascertaining the Landshut disaster, Friedrich falls back a little; northward to Gross-Dobritz: "Possibly Daun will think us cowed by what has happened; and may try something on us?" Daun is by no means sure of this COWED phenomenon, or of the retreat it has made; and tries nothing on it; only rides up daily to it, to ascertain that it is there; and diligently sends out parties to watch the Northeastward parts, where run the Silesian Roads. After about a week of this, and some disappointments, Friedrich decides to march in earnest. There had, one day, come report of Lacy's being detached, Lacy with a strong Division, to block the Silesian roads; but that, on trial, proved to be false. "Pshaw, nothing for us but to go ourselves!" concludes Friedrich,-- and, JULY 1st, sends off his Bakery and Heavy Baggage; indicating to Mitchell, "To-morrow morning at 3!"--Here is Mitchell's own account; accurate in every particular, as we find: [Mitchell, ii. 164; Tempelhof, iv. 54.]
WEDNESDAY, JULY 2d. "From Gross-Dobritz to Quosdorf [to Quosdorf, a poor Hamlet there, not QuoLsdorf, as many write, which is a Town far enough from there]--the Army marched accordingly. In two columns; baggage, bakery and artillery in a third; through a country extremely covered with wood. Were attacked by some Uhlans and Hussars; whom a few cannon-shot sent to the road again. March lasted from 3 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon;" twelve long hours. "Went northeastward a space of 20 miles, leaving Radeburg, much more leaving Reichenberg, Moritzburg and the Daun quarters well to the right, and at last quite to rearward; crossed the Roder, crossed the Pulsnitz," small tributaries or sub- tributaries of the Elbe in those parts; "crossed the latter (which divides Meissen from the Lausitz) partly by the Bridge of Krakau, first Village in the Lausitz. Head-quarter was the poor Hamlet of Quosdorf, a mile farther on. 'This march had been carefully kept secret,' says Mitchell; 'and it was the opinion of the most experienced Officers, that, had the Enemy discovered the King of Prussia's design, they might, by placing their light troops in the roads with proper supports, have rendered it extremely difficult, if not impracticable.'"
Daun very early got to know of Friedrich's departure, and whitherward; which was extremely interesting to Daun: "Aims to be in Silesia before me; will cut out Loudon from his fine prospects on Glatz?"--and had instantly reinforced, perhaps to 20,000, Lacy's Division; and ordered Lacy, who is the nearest to Friedrich's March, to start instantly on the skirts of said March, and endeavor diligently to trample on the same. For the purpose of harassing said March, Lacy is to do whatever he with safety can (which we see is not much: "a few Uhlans and Hussars"); at lowest, is to keep it constantly in sight; and always encamp as near it as he dare; [Tempelhof, iv. 54.]--Daun himself girding up his loins; and preparing, by a short-cut, to get ahead of it in a day or two. Lacy was alert enough, but could not do much with safety: a few Uhlans and Hussars, that was all; and he is now encamped somewhere to rearward, as near as he dare.
THURSDAY, 3d JULY. "A rest-day; Army resting about Krakau, after such a spell through the woody moors. The King, with small escort, rides out reconnoitring, hither, thither, on the southern side or Lacy quarter: to the top of the Keulenberg (BLUDGEON HILL), at last,--which is ten or a dozen miles from Krakau and Quosdorf, but commands an extensive view. Towns, village-belfries, courses of streams; a country of mossy woods and wild agricultures, of bogs, of shaggy moor. Southward 10 miles is Radeberg [not RadebUrg, observe]; yonder is the town of Pulsnitz on our stream of Pulsnitz; to southeast, and twice as far, is Bischofswerda, chasmy Stolpen (too well known to us before this): behind us, Konigsbruck, Kamenz and the road from Grossenhayn to Bautzen: these and many other places memorable to this King are discoverable from Bludgeon Hill. But the discovery of discoveries to him is Lacy's Camp,--not very far off, about a mile behind Pulsnitz; clearly visible, at Lichtenberg yonder. Which we at once determine to attack; which, and the roads to which, are the one object of interest just now, --nothing else visible, as it were, on the top of the Keulenberg here, or as we ride homeward, meditating it with a practical view. 'March at midnight,' that is the practical result arrived at, on reaching home."
FRIDAY, JULY 4th. "Since the stroke of midnight we are all on march again; nothing but the baggages and bakeries left [with Quintus to watch them, which I see is his common function in these marches]; King himself in the Vanguard,--who hopes to give Lacy a salutation. [Tempelhof, iv. 56.] 'The march was full of defiles,' says Mitchell: and Mitchell, in his carriage, knew little what a region it was, with boggy intricacies, lakelets, tangly thickets, stocks and stumps; or what a business to pass with heavy cannon, baggage- wagons and columns of men! Such a march; and again not far from twenty miles of it: very hot, as the morning broke, in the breathless woods. Had Lacy known what kind of ground we had to march in, and been enterprising--! thinks Tempelhof. The march being so retarded, Lacy got notice of it, and vanished quite away, --to Bischofswerda, I believe, and the protecting neighborhood of Daun. Nothing of him left when we emerge, simultaneously from this hand and from that, on his front and on his rear, to take him as in a vice, as in the sudden snap of a fox-trap;--fox quite gone. Hardly a few hussars of him to be picked up; and no chase possible, after such a march."