On Torgau-field, behind that final Prussian half-moon, there reigned, all night, a confusion which no tongue can express. Poor wounded men by the hundred and the thousand, weltering in their blood, on the cold wet ground; not surgeons or nurses, but merciless predatory sutlers, equal to murder if necessary, waiting on them and on the happier that were dead. "Unutterable!" says Archenholtz; who, though wounded, had crawled or got carried to some village near. The living wandered about in gloom and uncertainty; lucky he whose haversack was still his, and a crust of bread in it: water was a priceless luxury, almost nowhere discoverable. Prussian Generals roved about with their Staff- Officers, seeking to re-form their Battalions; to little purpose. They had grown indignant, in some instances, and were vociferously imperative and minatory; but in tbe dark who needed mind them?-- they went raving elsewhere, and, for the first time, Prussian word- of-command saw itself futile. Pitch darkness, bitter cold, ground trampled into mire. On Siptitz Hill there is nothing that will burn: farther back, in the Domitsch Woods, are numerous fine fires, to which Austrians and Prussians alike gather: "Peace and truce between us; to-morrow morning we will see which are prisoners, which are captors." So pass the wild hours, all hearts longing for the dawn, and what decision it will bring.
Friedrich, at Elsnig, found every hut full of wounded, and their surgeries, and miseries silent or loud. He himself took shelter in the little Church; passed the night there. Busy about many things; --"using the altar," it seems, "by way of writing-table [self or secretaries kneeling, shall we fancy, on those new terms?], and the stairs of it as seat." Of the final Ziethen-Lestwitz effort he would scarcely hear the musketry or cannonade, being so far away from it. At what hour, or from whom first, he learned that the Battle of Torgau had become Victory in the night-time, I know not: the Anecdote-Books send him out in his cloak, wandering up and down before daybreak; standing by the soldiers' fires; and at length, among the Woods, in the faint incipiency of dawn, meeting a Shadow which proves to be Ziethen himself in the body, with embraces and congratulations:--evidently mythical, though dramatic. Reach him the news soon did; and surely none could be welcomer. Head-quarters change from the altar-steps in Elsnig Church to secular rooms in Torgau. Ziethen has already sped forth on the skirts of Lacy; whole Army follows next day; and, on the War- theatre it is, on the sudden, a total change of scene. Conceivable to readers without the details.
Hopes there were of getting back Dresden itself; but that, on closer view, proved unattemptable. Daun kept his Plauen Chasm, his few square miles of ground beyond; the rest of Saxony was Friedrich's, as heretofore. Loudon had tried hard on Kosel for a week; storming once, and a second time, very fiercely, Goltz being now near; but could make nothing of it; and, on wind of Goltz, went his way. [HOFBERICHT VON DER BELAGERUNG VON KOSEL, IM OCTOBER 1760 (Seyfarth,
Torgau was Daun's last Battle: Daun's last battle; and, what is more to the joy of readers and their Editor here, was Friedrich's last,--so that the remaining Two Campaigns may fairly be condensed to an extreme degree; and a few Chapters more will deliver us altogether from this painful element!--
Daun lost at Torgau, by his own account, "about 11,000 men,"-- should have said, according to Tempelhof, and even to neutral persons, "above 12,000 killed and wounded, PLUS 8,000 prisoners, 45 cannon, 29 flags, 1 standard (or horse-flag)," [Tempelhof, iv. 213; Kausler, p. 726.] which brings him to at least 20,000 minus;-- the Prussian loss, heavy enough too, being, by Tempelhof's admission, "between 13 and 14,000, of whom 4,000 prisoners." The sore loss, not so computable in arithmetic,--but less sore to Daun, perhaps, than to most people,--is that of being beaten, and having one's Campaign reduced to water again. No Conquest of Saxony, any more than of Silesia, possible to Daun, this Year. In Silesia, thanks to Loudon, small thanks to Loudon's Chief, they have got Glatz: Kosel they could not get; fiery Loudon himself stormed and blazed to no purpose there, and had to hurry home on sight of Goltz and relief. Glatz is the net sum-total. Daun knows all this; but in a stoical arithmetical manner, and refuses to be flurried by it.
Friedrich, as we said, had hoped something might be done in Saxony on the defeated Daun;--perhaps Dresden itself be got back from him, and his Army altogether sent to winter in Bohemia again? But it proved otherwise. Daun showed not the least disposition to quit his Plauen Chasm, or fall into discouragement: and after some weeks of diligent trial, on Friedrich's part, and much running about in those central and Hill-ward parts, Friedrich found he would have to be content with his former allotment of Saxon territory, and to leave the Austrians quiet in theirs. Took winter-quarters accordingly, and let the Enemy take. Cantoned himself, in that Meissen-Freyberg Country, in front of the Austrians and their impassable Plauens and Chasms:--pretty much as in the past Year, only that the Two Armies lay at a greater distance, and were more peaceable, as if by mutual consent.
Head-quarter of the King is Leipzig; where the King did not arrive till December 8th,--such adjusting and arranging has he had, and incessant running to and fro. He lived in the "Apel House, NEW Neumarkt, No. 16;" [Rodenbeck, ii. 65.] the same he had occupied in 1757, in the Rossbach time. "ACH! how lean your Majesty has grown!" said the Mistress of it, at sight of him again (mythically, I should fancy, though it is in the Anecdote-Books). "Lean, JA WOHL," answered he: "and what wonder, with Three Women [Theresa, Czarina, Pompadour] hanging on the throat of me all this while!" But we propose to look in upon him ourselves, in this Apel House, on more authentic terms, by and by. Read, meanwhile, these Two bits of Autograph, thrown off incidentally, at different places, in the previous busy journeyings over Meissen-Freyberg country:--
1. FRIEDRICH TO MARQUIS D'ARGENS (at Berlin).