Here finally, from a distant part of the War-Theatre, is another Note; which we will read while Friedrich is at Schieritz. At no other place so properly; the very date of it, chief date (July 31st), being by accident synchronous with Schieritz:--
DUKE FERDINAND'S BATTLE OF WARBURG (31st July, 1760).
Duke Ferdinand has opened his difficult Campaign; and especially-- just while that Siege of Dresden blazed and ended--has had three sharp Fights, which were then very loud in the Gazettes, along with it. Three once famous Actions; which unexpectedly had little or no result, and are very much forgotten now. So that bare enumeration of them is nearly all we are permitted here. Pitt has furnished 7,000 new English, this Campaign,--there are now 20,000 English in all, and a Duke Ferdinand raised to 70,000 men. Surely, under good omens, thinks Pitt; and still more think the Gazetteers, judging by appearances. Yes: but if Broglio have 130,000, what will it come to? Broglio is two to one; and has, before this, proved himself a considerable Captain.
Fight FIRST is that of KORBACH (July 10th): of Broglio, namely, who has got across the River Ohm in Hessen (to Ferdinand's great disgust with the General Imhof in command there), and is streaming on to seize the Diemel River, and menace Hanover; of Broglio, in successive sections, at a certain "Pass of Korbach," VERSUS the Hereditary Prince (ERBPRINZ of Brunswick), who is waiting for him there in one good section,--and who beautifully hurls back one and another of the Broglio sections; but cannot hurl back the whole Broglio Army, all marching by sections that way; and has to retire, back foremost, fencing sharply, still in a diligently handsome manner, though with loss. [Mauvillon, ii. 105.] That is the Battle of Korbach, fought July 10th,--while Lacy streamed through Dresden, panting to be at Plauen Chasm, safe at last.
Fight SECOND (July 16th) was a kind of revenge on the Erbprinz's part: Affair of EMSDORF, six days after, in the same neighborhood; beautiful too, said the Gazetteers; but of result still more insignificant. Hearing of a considerable French Brigade posted not far off, at that Village of Emsdorf, to guard Broglio's meal-carts there, the indignant Erbprinz shoots off for that; light of foot,--English horse mainly, and Hill Scots (BERG-SCHOTTEN so called, who have a fine free stride, in summer weather);--dashes in upon said Brigade (Dragoons of Bauffremont and other picked men), who stood firmly on the defensive; but were cut up, in an amazing manner, root and branch, after a fierce struggle, and as it were brought home in one's pocket. To the admiration of military circles,--especially of mess-rooms and the junior sort. "Elliot's light horse [part of the new 7,000], what a regiment! Unparalleled for willingness, and audacity of fence; lost 125 killed,"--in fact, the loss chiefly fell on Elliot. [Ib. ii. 109 (Prisoners got "were 2,661, including General and Officers 179," with all their furnitures whatsoever, "400 horses, 8 cannon," &c.).] The BERG- SCHOTTEN too,--I think it was here that these kilted fellows, who had marched with such a stride, "came home mostly riding:" poor Beauffremont Dragoons being entirely cut up, or pocketed as prisoners, and their horses ridden in this unexpected manner! But we must not linger,--hardly even on WARBURG, which was the THIRD and greatest; and has still points of memorability, though now so obliterated.
"Warburg," says my Note on this latter, "is a pleasant little Hessian Town, some twenty-five miles west of Cassel, standing on the north or left bank of the Diemel, among fruitful knolls and hollows. The famous 'BATTLE OF WARBURG,'--if you try to inquire in the Town itself, from your brief railway-station, it is much if some intelligent inhabitant, at last, remembers to have heard of it! The thing went thus: Chevalier du Muy, who is Broglio's Rear- guard or Reserve, 30,000 foot and horse, with his back to the Diemel, and eight bridges across it in case of accident, has his right flank leaning on Warburg, and his left on a Village of Ossendorf, some two miles to northwest of that. Broglio, Prince Xavier of Saxony, especially Duke Ferdinand, are all vehemently and mysteriously moving about, since that Fight of Korbach; Broglio intent to have Cassel besieged, Du Muy keeping the Diemel for him; Ferdinand eager to have the Diemel back from Du Muy and him.
"Two days ago (July 29th), the Erbprinz crossed over into these neighborhoods, with a strong Vanguard, nearly equal to Du Muy; and, after studious reconnoitring and survey had, means, this morning (July 31st), to knock him over the Diemel again, if he can. No time to be lost; Broglio near and in such force. Duke Ferdinand too, quitting Broglio for a moment, is on march this way; crossed the Diemel, about midnight, some ten miles farther down, or eastward; will thence bend southward, at his best speed, to support the Erbprinz, if necessary, and beset the Diemel when got;-- Erbprinz not, however, in any wise, to wait for him; such the pressure from Broglio and others. A most busy swift-going scene that morning;--hardly worth such describing at this date of time.
"The Erbprinz, who is still rather to northeastward, that is to rightward, not directly frontward, of Du Muy's lines; and whose plan of attack is still dark to Du Muy, commences [about 8 A.M., I should guess] by launching his British Legion so called,--which is a composite body, of Free-Corps nature, British some of it ('Colonel Beckwith's people,' for example), not British by much the most of it, but an aggregate of wild strikers, given to plunder too:--by launching his British Legion upon Warburg Town, there to take charge of Du Muy's right wing. Which Legion, 'with great rapidity, not only pitched the French all out, but clean plundered the poor Town;' and is a sad sore on Du Muy's right, who cannot get it attended to, in the ominous aspects elsewhere visible. For the Erbprinz, who is a strategic creature, comes on, in the style of Friedrich, not straight towards Du Muy, but sweeps out in two columns round northward; privately intending upon Du Muy's left wing and front--left wing, right wing, (by British Legion), and front, all three;--and is well aided by a mist which now fell, and which hung on the higher ground, and covered his march, for an hour or more. This mist had not begun when he saw, on the knoll-tops, far off on the right, but indisputable as he flattered himself, --something of Ferdinand emerging! Saw this; and pours along, we can suppose, with still better step and temper. And bursts, pretty simultaneously, upon Du Muy's right wing and left wing, coercing his front the while; squelches both these wings furiously together; forces the coerced centre, mostly horse, to plunge back into the Diemel, and swim. Horse could swim; but many of the Foot, who tried, got drowned. And, on the whole, Du Muy is a good deal wrecked [1,600 killed, 2,000 prisoners, not to speak of cannon and flags], and, but for his eight bridges, would have been totally ruined.