"WEDNESDAY, 30th JULY, Loudon's Vanguard arrived at Breslau; next day Loudon himself;--and besieged Breslau very violently, according to his means, till the Sunday following. Troops he has plenty, 40,000 odd, which he gives out for 50 or even 60,000; not to speak of Soltikof, 'with 75,000' (read 45,000), striding on in a fierce and dreadful manner to meet him here. 'Better surrender to Christian Austrians, had not you?' Loudon's Artillery is not come up, it is only struggling on from Glatz; Soltikof of his own has no Siege-Artillery; and Loudon judges that heavy-footed Soltikof, waited on by an alert Prince Henri, is a problematic quantity in this enterprise. 'Speedy oneself; speedy and fiery!' thinks Loudon: 'by violence of speed, of bullying and bombardment, perhaps we can still do it!' And Loudon tried all these things to a high stretch; but found in Tauentzien the wrong man.
"THURSDAY, 3lst, Loudon, who has two bridges over Oder, and the Town begirt all round, summons Tauentzien in an awful sounding tone: 'Consider, Sir: no defence possible; a trading Town, you ought not to attempt defence of it: surrender on fair terms, or I shall, which God forbid, be obliged to burn you and it from the face of the world!' 'Pooh, pooh,' answers Tauentzien, in brief polite terms; 'you yourselves had no doubt it was a Garrison, when we besieged you here, on the heel of Leuthen; had you? Go to!'-- Fiery Loudon cannot try storm, the Town having Oder and a wet ditch round it. He gets his bombarding batteries forward, as the one chance he has, aided by bullying. And to-morrow,
"FRIDAY, AUGUST 1st, sends, half officially, half in the friendly way, dreadful messages again: a warning to the Mayor of Breslau (which was not signed by Loudon), 'Death and destruction, Sir, unless'--!--warning to the Mayor; and, by the same private half- official messenger, a new summons to Tauentzien: 'Bombardment infallible; universal massacre by Croats; I will not spare the child in its mother's womb.' 'I am not with child,' said Tauentzien, 'nor are my soldiers! What is the use of such talk?' And about 10 that night, Loudon does accordingly break out into all the fire of bombardment he is master of. Kindles the Town in various places, which were quenched again by Tauentzien's arrangements; kindles especially the King's fine Dwelling-house (Palace they call it), and adjacent streets, not quenchable till Palace and they are much ruined. Will this make no impression? Far too little.
"Next morning Loudon sends a private messenger of conciliatory tone: 'Any terms your Excellency likes to name. Only spare me the general massacre, and child in the mother's womb!' From all which Tauentzien infers that you are probably short of ammunition; and that his outlooks are improving. That day he gets guns brought to bear on General Loudon's own quarter; blazes into Loudon's sitting-room, so that Loudon has to shift else-whither. No bombardment ensues that night; nor next day anything but desultory cannonading, and much noise and motion;--and at night, SUNDAY, 3d, everything falls quiet, and, to the glad amazement of everybody, Loudon has vanished." [Tempelhof, iv. 90-100; Archenholtz, ii. 89-94; HOFBERICHT VON DER BELAGERUNG VON BRESLAU IM AUGUST 1760 (in Seyfarth,
Loudon had no other shift left. This Sunday his Russians are still five days distant; alert Henri, on the contrary, is, in a sense, come to hand. Crossed the Katzbach River this day, the Vanguard of him did, at Parchwitz; and fell upon our Bakery; which has had to take the road. "Guard the Bakery, all hands there," orders Loudon; "off to Striegau and the Hills with it;"--and is himself gone thither after it, leaving Breslau, Henri and the Russians to what fate may be in store for them. Henri has again made one of his winged marches, the deft creature, though the despondent; "march of 90 miles in three days [in the last three, from Glogau, 90; in the whole, from Landsberg, above 200], and has saved the State," says Retzow. "Made no camping, merely bivouacked; halting for a rest four or five hours here and there;" [Retzow, ii. 230 (very vague); in Tempelhof (iv. 89, 90, 95-97) clear and specific account.] and on August 5th is at Lissa (this side the Field of Leuthen); making Breslau one of the gladdest of cities.
So that Soltikof, on arriving (village of Hundsfeld, August 8th), by the other side of the River, finds Henri's advanced guards intrenched over there, in Old Oder; no Russian able to get within five miles of Breslau,--nor able to do more than cannonade in the distance, and ask with indignation, "Where are the siege-guns, then; where is General Loudon? Instead of Breslau capturable, and a sure Magazine for us, here is Henri, and nothing but steel to eat!" And the Soltikof risen into Russian rages, and the Montalembert sunk in difficulties: readers can imagine these. Indignant Soltikof, deaf to suasion, with this dangerous Henri in attendance, is gradually edging back; always rather back, with an eye to his provisions, and to certain bogs and woods he knows of. But we will leave the Soltikof-Henri end of the line, for the opposite end, which is more interesting.--To Friedrich, till he got to Silesia itself, these events are totally unknown. His cunctatory Henri, by this winged march, when the moment came, what a service has he done!--
Tauentzien's behavior, also, has been superlative at Breslau; and was never forgotten by the King. A very brave man, testifies Lessing of him; true to the death: "Had there come but three, to rally with the King under a bush of the forest, Tauentzien would have been one." Tauentzien was on the ramparts once, in this Breslau pinch, giving orders; a bomb burst beside him, did not injure him. "Mark that place," said Tauentzien; and clapt his hat on it, continuing his orders, till a more permanent mark were put. In that spot, as intended through the next thirty years, he now lies buried. [
FRIEDRICH ON MARCH, FOR THE THIRD TIME, TO RESCUE SILESIA (August 1st-15th).