“Our campaign is over. And there is nothing come of it on the one side or the other but the loss of a great many worthy people, the misery of a great many poor soldiers crippled forever,473 the ruin of some provinces, and the ravage, pillage, and conflagration of some flourishing towns. These are exploits which make humanity suffer; sad fruits of the wickedness and ambition of certain people in power, who sacrifice every thing to their unbridled passions. I wish you, mon cher milord, nothing that has the least resemblance to my destiny, and every thing that is wanting to it.”
Austria was rapidly marshaling her hosts, and pouring them through the defiles of the mountains to regain Silesia. Her troops still held three important fortresses—Neisse, Brieg, and Glogau. These places were, however, closely blockaded by the Prussians. Though it was midwinter, bands of Austrian horsemen were soon sweeping in all directions, like local war tempests borne on the wings of the wind. Wherever there was an unprotected baggage-train, or a weakly-defended post, they came swooping down to seize their prey, and vanished as suddenly as they had appeared. Their numbers seemed to be continually increasing. All the roads were swept by these swarms of irregulars, who carefully avoided any serious engagement, while they awaited the approach of the Austrian army, which was gathering its strength to throw down to Frederick the gauntlet on an open field of battle.The Austrians, on the careless and self-confident march toward Parchwitz, had crossed the Schweidnitz River, or Water, as it438 was called, when they learned that Frederick, with a tiger-like spring, had leaped upon Neumarkt, an important town fourteen miles from Parchwitz. Here the Austrians had a bakery, protected by a guard of a thousand men. Seven hundred of the guard were instantly sabred or taken prisoners. The rest fled wildly. Frederick gathered up eighty thousand hot bread rations, with which he feasted his hungry troops.
Frederick William, through spies, kept himself informed of every thing which was said or done at Reinsberg. Such orgies as the above excited his contempt and abhorrence. But, notwithstanding the above narrative, there is abundant testimony that the prince was not ordinarily addicted to such shameful excesses. The Italian Count Algarotti, distinguished alike for his familiarity with the sciences and his cultivated taste for the fine arts, was an honored guest at Reinsberg. In a letter addressed to Lord Hervey, under date of September 30th, 1739, the count writes:
530It was two o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday, December 12, when the banners of the Old Dessauer appeared before Myssen. The Saxon commander there broke down the bridge, and in the darkness of the night stole away with his garrison to Dresden. Leopold vigorously but cautiously pursued. As the allied army was near, and in greater force than Leopold’s command, it was necessary for him to move with much discretion. His march was along the west bank of the river. The ground was frozen and white with snow.
Frederick was elated with his victory. He had taken three thousand three hundred prisoners, twenty-one cannon, and twenty-two standards. He had added to the renown of his name, and strengthened his hold upon Silesia.
CHAPTER XXX. FOURTH CAMPAIGN OF THE SEVEN YEARS’ WAR.154 Three years were occupied in enlarging and decorating this palace. In the mean time the Princess Elizabeth resided in Berlin, or in a small country house provided for her at Sch?nhausen. The Crown Prince occasionally visited her, always treating her with the marked respect due a lady occupying her high position.
573 He left a small sum for the support of his amiable, blameless, and neglected queen, saying, “She never gave me the least uneasiness during my whole reign, and she merits every attention and respect for her many and unshaken virtues.”“The whole suburb seemed on a blaze. Nay, you would have said the whole town was environed in flames. I will not describe to your lordship the horror, the terror, the confusion of this night; the wretched inhabitants running with their furniture toward the great garden. All Dresden, in appearance, girt with flames, ruin, and smoke.”Several well-authenticated anecdotes are given respecting the conduct of Frederick on this occasion, which illustrate the various phases in the character of this extraordinary man. The evening before the battle of Zorndorf, the king, having completed his arrangements for a conflict against vastly unequal numbers, upon whose issue were dependent probably both his throne and his life, sent for a member of his staff of some literary pretensions, and spent some time in criticising and amending one of the poems of Rousseau. Was this an affected display of calmness, the result of vanity? Was it an adroit measure to impress the officers with a conviction of his own sense of security? Was it an effort to throw off the terrible pressure which was upon his mind, as the noble Abraham Lincoln often found it to be a moral necessity to indulge in a jest even amidst scenes of the greatest anguish? Whatever may have been the motive, the fact is worthy of record.
And why was George II. so averse to the single marriage of the Prince of Wales to Wilhelmina? It is supposed that the opposition arose simply from his own mulish obstinacy. He hated his brother-in-law, the Prussian king. He was a weak, ill-tempered man; and having once said “Both marriages or none,” nothing could induce him to swerve from that position. In such a difficulty, with such men, there could be no possible compromise.
Count Wallis, who was intrusted with the defense of the place, had a garrison of about a thousand men, with fifty-eight heavy guns and several mortars, and a large amount of ammunition. Glogau was in the latitude of fifty-two, nearly six degrees north245 of Quebec. It was a cold wintry night. The ground was covered with snow. Water had been thrown upon the glacis, so that it was slippery with ice. Prince Leopold in person led one of the columns. The sentinels upon the walls were not alarmed until three impetuous columns, like concentrating tornadoes, were sweeping down upon them. They shouted “To arms!” The soldiers, roused from sleep, rushed to their guns. Their lightning flashes were instantly followed by war’s deepest thunders, as discharge followed discharge in rapid succession.详情
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