gg. Retreat of Austrians.Frederick’s army was now in a state of great destitution. The region around was so stripped of its resources that it could afford his foragers no more supplies. It was difficult for him to fill his baggage-trains even in Silesia, so much had that country been devastated by war; and wherever any of his supply wagons appeared, swarms of Austrian dragoons hovered around, attacking and destroying them. To add to the embarrassments of the Prussian king, his purse was empty. His subjects could endure no heavier taxation. All the plate which Frederick William had accumulated had been converted into coin and expended.357 Even the massive silver balustrades, which were reserved until a time of need, were melted and gone. He knew not where to look for a loan. All the nations were involved in ruinous war. All wished to borrow. None but England had money to lend; and England was fighting Frederick, and furnishing supplies for his foes.
“The hereditary prince came in while we were talking, and earnestly entreated my brother to get him away from Baireuth. They went to a window and talked a long time together. My brother told me he would write a letter to the margraf, and give him such reasons in favor of the campaign that he doubted not it would turn the scale. He promised to obtain the king’s express leave to stop at Baireuth on his return, after which he went away. It was the last time I saw him on the old footing with me. He has much changed since then. We returned to Baireuth, where I was so ill that for three days they did not think I should get over it.”
“All is lost, my dear daughter. The king is determined, at all hazards, upon your marriage. I have sustained several dreadful contests on this subject, but neither my prayers nor my tears have had any effect. Eversman has orders to make the purchases necessary for your marriage. You must prepare yourself to lose Madam Sonsfeld. The king is determined to have her degraded with infamy if you do not obey him. Some one will be sent to persuade you. In God’s name consent to nothing, and God will support you in it. A prison is better than a bad marriage. Adieu, my dear daughter! I expect every thing from your firmness.”
The battle of Torgau is to be numbered among the most bloody of the Seven Years’ War. The Austrians lost twelve thousand in killed and wounded, eight thousand prisoners, forty-five cannon, and twenty-nine flags. The Prussian loss was also very heavy. There were fourteen thousand killed or wounded, and four thousand taken prisoners.“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.“You will retain your posts,” said the king, severely. “I have no thought of making any change. But as to authority, I know of none there can be but what resides in the king that is sovereign.”
“Had it not been for him, things would have had a bad look by this time.“You speak of my personal safety. You ought to know, as I do, that it is not necessary for me to live. But while I do live I must fight for my country, and save it if it be possible. In many little things I have had luck; I think of taking for my motto, Maximus in minimis, et minimus in maximis.154
General Daun thought that such energy as this could not be a feint. He was much nearer to Glatz than was Frederick. Monday, July 7th, the Prussian troops rested. General Daun pressed on. Tuesday night he was two days’ march ahead of Frederick. In the mean time, the Prussian king, who had made this tremendous march simply to draw the foe from Dresden, suddenly turned, and with the utmost velocity directed his troops back toward the city.
Just at the break of day of Thursday morning, September 30, as the king was in his tent, busy with his generals, examining maps in preparation for the immediate resumption of the march, an orderly came, in breathless haste, to inform the king that the Austrians were advancing rapidly upon him, and in great force. While he was yet speaking another messenger arrived, confirming the tidings, and stating that, apparently, the whole Austrian army, in battle array, was coming down upon him.
“I am so stupefied with the misfortune which has befallen494 General Finck that I can not recover from my astonishment. It deranges all my measures. It cuts me to the quick. Ill luck, which persecutes my old age, has followed me from Kunersdorf to Saxony. I will still strive what I can. The little ode I sent you, addressed to Fortune, was written too soon. One should not shout victory until the battle is over. I am so crushed by these reverses and disasters that I wish a thousand times I were dead.
Pressing straight forward, Wednesday morning, to the east, he encamped that night about ten miles from Güstebiese. He had so successfully veiled his movements that the Russians knew not where he was. On Thursday morning, August 24, at an early hour, he resumed his march, and crossed the Mützel River at various points. His confidence of victory was so great that he destroyed all the bridges behind him to prevent the retreat of the Russians.But Wilhelmina evaded the oath upon the ground of religious115 scruples. Anxiety, confinement, and bad diet had so preyed upon her health that she was reduced almost to a skeleton. The following extract from her journal gives a graphic account of her painful condition:Frederick’s Attempt to Rescue his Brother.—Captured Dispatches.—Battle of Hochkirch.—Defeat and Retreat of Frederick.—Death of Wilhelmina.—Letter to Voltaire.—Rejoicings at Vienna.—The Siege of Neisse.—The Siege of Dresden.—Conflagrations and Terror.—The Siege raised by Frederick.—Results of the Third Campaign.—Unavailing Efforts for Peace.—Despair of Frederick.详情
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