That is the news from Colberg; comfortable to Friedrich; not likely to inspire Soltikof with new alacrity in behalf of Daun. It remains to us only to add, that Friedrich, with a view to quicken Daun, shot out (September 24th, after nightfall, and with due mystery) a Detachment towards Neisse,--4,000 or so, who call themselves 15,000, and affect to be for Mahren ultimately. "For Mahren, and my bit of daily bread!" Daun may well think; and did for some time think, or partly did. Pushed off one small detachment really thither, to look after Mahren; and (September 29th) pushed off another bigger; Lacy namely, with 15,000, pretending to be thither,--but who, the instant they were out of Friedrich's sight, have whirled, at a rapid pace, quite into the opposite direction: as will shortly be seen! Daun has now other irons in the fire. Daun, ever since this fatal Dead-lock in the Hills, has been shrieking hoarsely to the Russians, day and night; who at last take pity on him,--or find something feasible in his proposals.
THE RUSSIANS MAKE A RAID ON BERLIN, FOR RELIEF OF DAUN AND THEIR OWN BEHOOF (October 3d-12th, 1760).
Powerful entreaties, influences are exercised at Petersburg, and here in the Russian Camp: "Noble Russian Excellencies, for the love of Heaven, take this man off my windpipe! A sally into Brandenburg: oh, could not you? Lacy shall accompany; seizure of Berlin, were it only for one day!" Soltikof has falleu sick,--and, indeed, practically vanishes from our affairs at this point;--Fermor, who has command in the interim, finally consents: "Our poor siege of Colberg, what an end is come to it! What an end is the whole Campaign like to have! Let us at least try this of Berlin, since our hands are empty." The joy of Daun, of Montalembert, and of everybody in Austrian Court and Camp may be conceived.
Russians to the amount of 20,000, Czernichef Commander; Tottleben Second in command, a clever soldier, who knows Berlin: these are to start from Sagan Country, on this fine Expedition, and to push on at the very top of their speed. September 20th, Tottleben, with 3,000 of them as Vanguard, does accordingly cross Oder, at Beuthen in Sagan Country; and strides forward direct upon Berlin: Lacy, with 15,000, has started from Silesia, we saw how, above a week later (September 29th), but at a still more furious rate of speed. Soltikof,--theoretically Soltikof, but practically Fermor, should the dim German Books be ambiguous to any studious creature, --with the Main Army (which by itself is still a 20,000 odd), moves to Frankfurt, to support the swift Expedition, and be within two marches of it. Here surely is a feasibility! Berlin, for defence, has nothing but weak palisades; and of effective garrison 1,200 men.
And feasible, in a sort, this thing did prove; indisputably delivering Daun from strangulation in the Silesian Mountains; filling the Gazetteer mind with loud emotion of an empty nature; and very much affecting many poor people in Berlin and neighborhood. Making a big Chapter in Berlin Local History; though compressible to small bulk for strangers, who have no specific sympathies in that locality.
"FRIDAY, 3d OCTOBER, 1760, Tottleben, with his hasty Vanguard of 3,000, preceded by hastier rumor, comes circling round Berlin environs; takes post at the Halle Gate [West side of the City]; summons Rochow [the same old Commandant of Haddick's time];-- requires instant admittance; ransom of Four million Thalers, and other impossible things. Berlin has been putting itself in some posture; repairing its palisades, throwing up bits of redoubts in front of the gates, and, though sounding with alarms and uncertainties, shows a fine spirit of readiness for the emergency. Rochow is still Commandant, the same old Rochow who shrunk so questionably in Haddick's time: but Rochow has no Court to tremble for at present; Queen and Royal Family, Archives, Principal Ministries, Directorium in a body, went all to Magdeburg again, on the Kunersdorf Disaster last year, and are safe from such insults. The spirit of the population, it appears, even of the rich classes, some of whom are very rich, is extraordinary. Besides Rochow, moreover, there are, by accident, certain Generals in Berlin: Seidlitz and two others, recovering from their Kunersdorf hurts, who step into the breach with heart admirably willing, if with limbs still lame. Then there is old Field-marshal Lehwald [Anti- Russian at Gross Jagersdorf, but dismissed as too old], who is official Governor of Berlin, who succeeded poor Keith in that honorable office: all these were strong for defence;--and do not now grudge, great men as they are, to take each his Gate of Berlin, his small redoubt thrown up there, and pass the night and the day in doing his utmost with it.
"Rochow refuses the surrender, and the Four Millions pure specie; and Tottleben, about 3 P.M. in an intermittent way, and about 5 in a constant, begins bombarding--grenadoes, red-hot balls, what he can;--and continues the s&me till 3 next morning. Without result to speak of; Seidlitz and Consorts making good counter-play; the poor old 1,200 of Garrison growing almost young again with energy, under their Seidlitzes; and the population zealously co-operating, especially quenching all fires that rose. What greatly contributed withal was the arrival of Prince Eugen overnight. Eugen of Wurtemberg [cadet of that bad Duke] had been engaged driving home the Swedes, but instantly quitted that with a 5,000 he had; and has marched this day,--his Vanguard has, mostly Horse, whom the Foot will follow to-morrow,--a distance of forty miles, on this fine errand. Delicate manoeuvring, by these wearied horsemen, to enter Berlin amid uncertain jostlings, under the shine of Russian bombardment; ecstatic welcome to them, when they did get in,-- instant subscription for fat oxen to them; a just abundance of beef to them, of generous beer I hope not more than an abundance: phenomena which, with others of the like, could be dwelt on, had we room. [Tempelhof, iv. 266-290; Archenholtz, ii. 122-148;
"Tottleben, under these omens, found it would not do; wended off towards his Czernichef next morning; eastward again as far as Copenik, Prince Eugen attending him in a minatory manner: and, in Berlin for the moment, the bad ten hours were over. For four days more, the fate of things hung dubious; hope soon fading again, but not quite going out till the fifth day. And this, in fact, was mainly all of bombardment that the City had to suffer; though its fate of capture was not to be averted. Is not Tottleben gone? Yes; but Lacy, marching at a rate he never did before (except from Bischofswerda), is arrived in the environs this same evening, cautious but furious. The King is far away; what are Eugen's 5,000 against these?