To his physicians, who were doubtful respecting the nature of his disease, he said, “If Doctor Gazelli were here you would soon know what is my complaint. As it is, you will only learn after you have dissected me.”“But, after this avowal, allow me to entreat you to look back at what was the pitiable state of your enemy when you lay before Prague. It is the sudden whirl of fortune for both parties. The like can occur again when one is the least expecting it. C?sar was the slave of pirates, and yet he became master of the world. A great genius like yours finds resources even when all is lost.
The French, advancing from the Rhine on the west, were sweeping all opposition before them. They had overrun Hanover, and compelled the Duke of Brunswick, brother of George II., to withdraw, with his Hanoverian troops, from the alliance with the King of Prussia. This was a terrible blow to Frederick. It left him entirely alone to encounter his swarming enemies.96
The Austrian cavalry made an impetuous charge upon the weaker Prussian cavalry on the right of the Prussian line. Frederick commanded here in person. The Prussian right wing was speedily routed, and driven in wild retreat over the plain. The king lost his presence of mind and fled ingloriously with the fugitives. General Schulenberg endeavored, in vain, to rally the disordered masses. He received a sabre slash across his face. Drenched in blood, he still struggled, unavailingly, to arrest the torrent, when a bullet struck him dead. The battle was now raging fiercely all along the lines.Frederick exposed himself like a common soldier. Indeed, it sometimes seems that, in the desperate state of his affairs, he sought the fatal bullet. All his efforts against the Austrians were in vain. The Prussians were repulsed with dreadful slaughter. After losing fourteen thousand men in killed, wounded, and prisoners, forty-five cannon, and twenty-two flags, Frederick was compelled to order a retreat. His magnificent regiment of guards, one thousand in number, picked men, undoubtedly the best body of troops in the world, was almost annihilated. The loss of the Austrians was about nine thousand men. They were so accustomed to be defeated by Frederick that they were equally surprised and delighted by this dearly-earned victory. The following plan will give the military reader an idea of the position of the hostile forces.CHAPTER XXXII. THE END OF THE FIFTH CAMPAIGN.
The stunning news soon reached Frederick that General Fouquet, whom he had left in Silesia with twelve thousand men, had been attacked by a vastly superior force of Austrians. The assault was furious in the extreme. Thirty-one thousand Austrians commenced the assault at two o’clock in the morning. By eight o’clock the bloody deed was done. Ten thousand of the Prussians strewed the field with their gory corpses. Two thousand only escaped. General Fouquet himself was wounded and taken prisoner. To add to the anguish of the king, this disaster was to be attributed to the king himself. He had angrily ordered General Fouquet to adopt a measure which that general, better acquainted with the position and forces of the foe, saw to be fatal. Heroically he obeyed orders, though he knew that it would prove the destruction of his army.About thirty miles southeast of Breslau is the pleasant little town of Ohlau, situated in the delta formed by the junction of the Ohlau River with the Oder. It was a place of some strength, and the Austrian authorities had thrown into it a garrison of three hundred men. Frederick appeared before its gates on the morning of January the 9th. He immediately sent in the following summons to the garrison:
The king could be very courteous. He gave a dinner-party, at which General Loudon, one of the most efficient of the Austrian generals, and who had often been successfully opposed to Frederick, was a guest. As he entered the king said,“In case you refuse, or delay beyond the term, the answer which I hereby of right demand, you will render yourself alone responsible, before the world, for the consequences which infallibly will follow. I am, with much consideration, my cousin, your very affectionate cousin,
France would hardly object, since she was exhausted with long wars. England was busy in the struggle with her North American colonies. Russia was at war with the Turks. There was no power to be feared but Prussia.
The Saxons were compelled to a precipitate retreat. Their march was long, harassing, and full of suffering, from the severe cold of those latitudes, and from the assaults of the fierce Pandours, every where swarming around. Villages were burned, and maddened men wreaked direful vengeance on each other. Scarcely eight thousand of their number, a frostbitten, starving, emaciate band, reached the borders of Saxony. Curses loud and deep were heaped upon the name of Frederick. His Polish majesty, though naturally good-natured, was greatly exasperated in view of the conduct of the Prussian king in forcing the troops into the severities of such a campaign. Frederick himself was also equally indignant with Augustus for his want of co-operation. The French minister, Valori, met him on his return from these disasters. He says that his look was ferocious and dark; that his laugh was bitter and sardonic; that a vein of suppressed rage, mockery, and contempt pervaded every word he uttered.“No threats, sir, if you please, no threats.”“I waver between hope and fear of paying my court to you. I hope it might still be at Berneck, if you could contrive a road into the Nürnberg highway again, avoiding Baireuth; otherwise I dare not go. The bearer, Captain Knobelsdorf, will apprise you of every particular. Let him settle something that may be possible. This is how I stand at present: instead of having to expect some favor from the king, I get nothing but chagrin. But what is more cruel upon me than all is that you are ill. God, in his grace, be pleased to help you, and restore that health which I so much wish for you.详情
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