Friedrich's Camp extends from the Village of Schimmelwitz, fronting the Katzbach for about two miles, northeastward, to his Head- quarter in Liegnitz Suburb: Daun is on his right and rearward, now come within four or five miles; Loudon to his left and frontward, four or five, the Katzbach separating Friedrich and him; Lacy lies from Goldberg northeastward, to within perhaps a like distance rearward: that is the position on Thursday, 14th. Provisions being all but run out; and three Armies, 90,000 (not to count Czernichef and his 24,000 as a fourth) watching round our 30,000, within a few miles; there is no staying here, beyond this day. If even this day it be allowed us? This day, Friedrich had to draw out, and stand to arms for some hours; while the Austrians appeared extensively on the Heights about, apparently intending an attack; till it proved to be nothing: only an elaborate reconnoitring by Daun; and we returned to our tents again.
Friedrich understands well enough that Daun, with the facts now before him, will gradually form his plan, and also, from the lie of matters, what his plan will be: many are the times Daun has elaborately reconnoitred, elaborately laid his plan; but found, on coming to execute, that his Friedrich was off in the interim, and the plan gone to air. Friedrich has about 2,000 wagons to drag with him in these swift marches: Glogau Magazine, his one resource, should Breslau and Schweidnitz prove unattainable, is forty-five long miles northwestward. "Let us lean upon Glogau withal," thinks Friedrich; "and let us be out of this straightway! March to-night; towards Parchwitz, which is towards Glogau too. Army rest till daybreak on the Heights of Pfaffendorf yonder, to examine, to wait its luck: let the empty meal-wagons jingle on to Glogau; load themselves there, and jingle back to us in Parchwitz neighborhood, should Parchwitz not have proved impossible to our manoeuvrings,--let us hope it may not!"--Daun and the Austrians having ceased reconnoitring, and gone home, Friedrich rides with his Generals, through Liegnitz, across the Schwartzwasser, to the Pfaffendorf Heights. "Here, Messieurs, is our first halting-place to be: here we shall halt till daybreak, while the meal-wagons jingle on!" And explains to them orally where each is to take post, and how to behave. Which done, he too returns home, no doubt a wearied individual; and at 4 of the afternoon lies down to try for an hour or two of sleep, while all hands are busy packing, according to the Orders given.
It is a fact recorded by Friedrich himself, and by many other people, That, at this interesting juncture, there appeared at the King's Gate, King hardly yet asleep, a staggering Austrian Officer, Irish by nation, who had suddenly found good to desert the Austrian Service for the Prussian--("Sorrow on them: a pack of"--what shall I say?)--Irish gentleman, bursting with intelligence of some kind, but evidently deep in liquor withal. "Impossible; the King is asleep," said the Adjutant on duty; but produced only louder insistence from the drunk Irish gentleman. "As much as all your heads are worth; the King's own safety, and not a moment to lose!" What is to be done? They awaken the King: "The man is drunk, but dreadfully in earnest, your Majesty." "Give him quantities of weak tea [Tempelhof calls it tea, but Friedrich merely warm water]; then examine him, and report if it is anything." Something it was: "Your Majesty to be attacked, for certain, this night!" what his Majesty already guessed:--something, most likely little; but nobody to this day knows. Visible only, that his Majesty, before sunset, rode out reconnoitring with this questionable Irish gentleman, now in a very flaccid state; and altered nothing whatever in prior arrangements;--and that the flaccid Irish gentleman staggers out of sight, into dusk, into rest and darkness, after this one appearance on the stage of history. [
From about 8 in the evening, Friedrich's people got on march, in their several columns, and fared punctually on; one column through the streets of Liegnitz, others to left and to right of that; to left mainly, as remoter from the Austrians and their listening outposts from beyond the Katzbach River;--where the camp-fires are burning extremely distinct to-night. The Prussian camp-fires, they too are all burning uncommonly vivid; country people employed to feed them; and a few hussar sentries and drummers to make the customary sounds for Daun's instruction, till a certain hour. Friedrich's people are clearing the North Suburb of Liegnitz, crossing the Schwartzwasser: artillery and heavy wagons all go by the Stone-Bridge at Topferberg (POTTER-HILL) there; the lighter people by a few pontoons farther down that stream, in the Pfaffendorf vicinity. About one in the morning, all, even the right wing from Schimmelwitz, are safely across.
Schwartzwasser, a River of many tails (boggy most of them, Sohnelle or SWIFT Deichsel hardly an exception), gathering itself from the southward for twenty or more miles, attains its maximum of north at a place called Waldau, not far northwest of Topferberg. Towards this Waldau, Lacy is aiming all night; thence to pounce on our "left wing,"--which he will find to consist of those empty watch- fires merely. Down from Waldau, past Topferberg and Pfaffendorf (PRIEST-town, or as we should call it, "Preston"), which are all on its northern or left bank, Schwartzwasser's course is in the form of an irregular horse-shoe; high ground to its northern side, Liegnitz and hollows to its southern; till in an angular way it do join Katzbach, and go with that, northward for Oder the rest of its course. On the brow of these horse-shoe Heights,--which run parallel to Schwartzwasser one part of them, and nearly parallel to Katzbach another (though above a mile distant, these latter, from IT),--Friedrich plants himself: in Order of Battle; slightly altering some points of the afternoon's program, and correcting his Generals, "Front rather so and so; see where their fires are, yonder!" Daun's fires, Loudon's fires; vividly visible both:--and, singular to say, there is nothing yonder either but a few sentries and deceptive drums! All empty yonder too, even as our own Camp is; all gone forth, even as we are; we resting here, and our meal-wagons jingling on Glogau way!
Excellency Mitchell, under horse-escort, among the lighter baggage, is on Kuchelberg Heath, in scrubby country, but well north behind Friedrich's centre: has had a dreadful march; one comfort only, that his ciphers are all burnt. The rest of us lie down on the grass;--among others, young Herr von Archenholtz, ensign or lieutenant in Regiment FORCADE: who testifies that it is one of the beautifulest nights, the lamps of Heaven shining down in an uncommonly tranquil manner; and that almost nobody slept. The soldier-ranks all lay horizontal, musket under arm; chatting pleasantly in an undertone, or each in silence revolving such thoughts as he had. The Generals amble like observant spirits, hoarsely imperative. [Archenholtz, ii. 100-111.] Friedrich's line, we observed, is in the horse-shoe shape (or PARABOLIC, straighter than horse-shoe), fronting the waters. Ziethen commands in that smaller Schwartzwasser part of the line, Friedrich in the Katzbach part, which is more in risk. And now, things being moderately in order, Friedrich has himself sat down--I think, towards the middle or convex part of his lines--by a watch-fire he has found there; and, wrapt in his cloak, his many thoughts melting into haze, has sunk ito a kind of sleep. Seated on a drum, some say; half asleep by the watch-fire, time half-past 2,--when a Hussar Major, who has been out by the Bienowitz, the Pohlschildern way, northward, reconnoitring, comes dashing up full speed: "The King? where is the King?" "What is it, then?" answers the King for himself. "Your Majesty, the Enemy in force, from Bienowitz, from Pohlschildern, coming on our Left Wing yonder; has flung back all my vedettes: is within 500 yards by this time!"
Friedrich springs to horse; has already an Order speeding forth, "General Schenkendorf and his Battalion, their cannon, to the crown of the Wolfsberg, on our left yonder; swift!" How excellent that every battalion (as by Order that we read) "has its own share of the heavy cannon always at hand!" ejaculate the military critics. Schenkendorf, being nimble, was able to astonish the Enemy with volumes of case-shot from the Wolfsberg, which were very deadly at that close distance. Other arrangements, too minute for recital here, are rapidly done; and our Left Wing is in condition to receive its early visitors,--Loudon or whoever they may be. It is still dubious to the History-Books whether Friedrich was in clear expectation of Loudon here; though of course he would now guess it was Loudon. But there is no doubt Loudon had not the least expectation of Friedrich; and his surprise must have been intense, when, instead of vacant darkness (and some chance of Prussian baggage, which he had heard of), Prussian musketries and case-shot opened on him.
Loudon had, as per order, quitted his Camp at Jeschkendorf, about the time Friedrich did his at Schimmelwitz; and, leaving the lights all burning, had set forward on his errand; which was (also identical with Friedrich's), to seize the Heights of Pfaffendorf, and be ready there when day broke. scouts having informed him that the Prussian Baggage was certainly gone through to Topferberg,-- more his scouts did not know, nor could Loudon guess,--"We will snatch that Baggage!" thought Loudon; and with such view has been speeding all he could; no vanguard ahead, lest he alarm the Baggage escort: Loudon in person, with the Infantry of the Reserve, striding on ahead, to devour any Baggage-escort there may be. Friedrich's reconnoitring Hussar parties had confirmed this belief: "Yes, yes!" thought Loudon. And now suddenly, instead of Baggage to capture, here, out of the vacant darkness, is Friedrich in person, on the brow of the Heights where we intended to form!--