I should have mentioned the joy of poor Regiment Bernburg; which rather affected me. Loudon gone, the miracle of Battle done, and this miraculous packing going on,--Friedrich riding about among his people, passed along the front of Bernburg, the eye of him perhaps intimating, "I saw you, BURSCHE;" but no word coming from him. The Bernburg Officers, tragically tressless in their hats, stand also silent, grim as blackened stones (all Bernburg black with gunpowder): "In us also is no word; unless our actions perhaps speak?" But a certain Sergeant, Fugleman, or chief Corporal, stept out, saluting reverentially: "Regiment Bernburg, IHRO MAJESTAT--?" "Hm; well, you did handsomely. Yes, you shall have your side-arms back; all shall be forgotten and washed out!" "And you are again our Gracious King, then?" says the Sergeant, with tears in his eyes.--"GEWISS, Yea, surely!" [Tempelhof, iv. 162-164.] Upon which, fancy what a peal of sound from the ecstatic throat and heart of this poor Regiment. Which I have often thought of; hearing mutinous blockheads,"glorious Sons of Freedom" to their own thinking, ask their natural commanding Officer, "Are not we as good as thou? Are not all men equal?" Not a whit of it, you mutinous blockheads; very far from it indeed!
This was the breaking of Friedrich's imprisonment in the deadly rock-labyrinths; this success at Liegnitz delivered him into free field once more. For twenty-four hours more, indeed, the chance was still full of anxiety to him; for twenty-four hours Daun, could he have been rapid, still had the possibilities in hand;--but only Daun's Antagonist was usually rapid. About 9 in the morning, all road-ready, this latter Gentleman "gave three Salvos, as Joy-fire, on the field of Liegnitz;" and, in the above succinct shape,-- leaving Ziethen to come on, "with the prisoners, the sick-wagons and captured cannon," in the afternoon,--marched rapidly away. For Parchwitz, with our best speed: Parchwitz is the road to Breslau, also to Glogau,--to Breslau, if it be humanly possible! Friedrich has but two days' bread left; on the Breslau road, at Auras, there is Czernichef with 24,000; there are, or there may be, the Loudon Remnants rallied again, the Lacy Corps untouched, all Daun's Force, had Daun made any despatch at all. Which Daun seldom did. A man slow to resolve, and seeking his luck in leisure.
All judges say, Daun ought now to have marched, on this enterprise of still intercepting Friedrich, without loss of a moment. But he calculated Friedrich would probably spend the day in TE-DEUM-ing on the Field (as is the manner of some); and that, by to-morrow, things would be clearer to one's own mind. Daun was in no haste; gave no orders,--did not so much as send Czernichef a Letter. Czernichef got one, however. Friedrich sent him one; that is to say, sent him one TO INTERCEPT. Friedrich, namely, writes a Note addressed to his Brother Henri: "Austrians totally beaten this day; now for the Russians, dear Brother; and swift, do what we have agreed on!" [
So that, at Parchwitz, next morning (August 16th), the question, "To Glogau? To Breslau?" must have been a kind of sphinx-enigma to Friedrich; dark as that, and, in case of error, fatal. After some brief paroxysm of consideration, Friedrich's reading was, "To Breslau, then!" And, for hours, as the march went on, he was noticed "riding much about," his anxieties visibly great. Till at Neumarkt (not far from the Field of LEUTHEN), getting on the Heights there,--towards noon, I will guess,--what a sight! Before this, he had come upon Austrian Out-parties, Beck's or somebody's, who did not wait his attack: he saw, at one point, "the whole Austrian Army on march (the tops of its columns visible among the knolls, three miles off, impossible to say whitherward);" and fared on all the faster, I suppose, such a bet depending;--and, in fine, galloped to the Heights of Neumarkt for a view: "Dare we believe it? Not an Austrian there!" And might be, for the moment, the gladdest of Kings. Secure now of Breslau, of junction with Henri: fairly winner of the bet;--and can at last pause, and take breath, very needful to his poor Army, if not to himself, after such a mortal spasm of sixteen days! Daun had taken the Liegnitz accident without remark; usually a stoical man, especially in other people's misfortunes; but could not conceal his painful astonishment on this new occasion,--astonishment at unjust fortune, or at his own sluggardly cunctations, is not said.
Next day (August 17th), Friedrich encamps at Hermannsdorf, head- quarter the Schloss of Hermannsdorf, within seven miles of Breslau; continues a fortnight there, resting his wearied people, himself not resting much, watching the dismal miscellany of entanglements that yet remain, how these will settle into groups,--especially what Daun and his Soltikof will decide on. In about a fortnight, Daun's decision did become visible; Soltikof's not in a fortnight, nor ever clearly at all. Unless it were To keep a whole skin, and gradually edge home to his victuals. As essentially it was, and continued to be; creating endless negotiations, and futile overtures and messagings from Daun to his barbarous Friend, endless suasions and troubles from poor Montalembert,--of which it would weary every reader to hear mention, except of the result only.
Friedrich, for his own part, is little elated with these bits of successes at Liegnitz or since; and does not deceive himself as to the difficulties, almost the impossibilities, that still lie ahead. In answer to D'Argens, who has written ("at midnight," starting out of bed "the instant the news came"), in zealous congratulation on Liegnitz, here is a Letter of Friedrich's: well worth reading,-- though it has been oftener read than almost any other of his. A Letter which D'Argens never saw in the original form; which was captured by the Austrians or Cossacks; [See
FRIEDRICH TO MARQUIS D'ARGENS (at Berlin).
"HERMANNSDORF, near Breslau, 27th August, 1760.