Two days before Frederick reached Brieg, a column of his army, under General Schwerin, which had advanced by a line parallel to the Oder, but several miles to the west, encountering no opposition, reached Ottmachau, a considerable town with a strong castle on the River Neisse. This was near the extreme southern border of Silesia. The Austrian commander, General Browne, had placed here also a garrison of sixteen hundred men,232 with orders not to yield upon any terms, for that re-enforcements should be speedily sent to them. A slight conflict ensued. Twelve of the Prussians were killed. This was the first blood which was shed. A delay of three days took place, when four cannon were brought up, and the gates, both of the town and of the castle, were blown open. The garrison offered to withdraw upon the terms proposed in the summons to surrender. The king was sent for to obtain his decision. He rebuked the garrison sternly, and held all as prisoners of war. The officers were sent to Cüstrin, the common soldiers to Berlin.Instantly, and “like a change of scene in the opera,” the Prussians were on the rapid march to the east in as perfect order as if on parade. Taking advantage of an eminence called James Hill, which concealed their movements from the allies, Frederick hurled his whole concentrated force upon the flank of the van of the army on the advance. He thus greatly outnumbered his foes at the point of attack. The enemy, taken by surprise in their long line of march, had no time to form.
New columns were formed. Soon after three another charge was ordered. It was sanguinary and unsuccessful as the first. Frederick himself was wounded by a nearly spent case-shot which struck him on the breast. The blow was severe and painful. Had the ball retained a little more impetus it would have passed through his body. It is said that the ball struck him to the earth, and that for some time he was void of consciousness. Upon reviving, his first words to his adjutant, a son of Old Dessauer, who was sorrowfully bending over him, were, “What are you doing here? Go and stop the runaways.”
Frederick.”Days of Peace and Prosperity.—The Palace of Sans Souci.—Letter from Marshal Keith.—Domestic Habits of the King.—Frederick’s Snuff-boxes.—Anecdotes.—Severe Discipline of the Army.—Testimony of Baron Trenck.—The Review.—Death of the “Divine Emilie.”—The King’s Revenge.—Anecdote of the Poor Schoolmaster.—The Berlin Carousal.—Appearance of his Majesty.—Honors conferred upon Voltaire.“They then went away, often looking around to see if I kept my posture. I perceived well enough that they were making game of me; but I stood all the same like a wall, being full of fear. When the king turned round he gave a look at me like a flash of sunbeams glancing through you. He sent one of the gardeners to bring my papers. Taking them, he disappeared in one of the garden walks. In a few minutes he came back with my papers open in his hand, and waved with them for me to come nearer. I plucked up heart and went directly to him. Oh, how graciously this great monarch deigned to speak to me!
FREDERICK WILLIAM ENRAGED.Frederick’s Motives for the War.—Marriage of William Augustus.—Testimony of Lord Macaulay.—Frederick and his Allies.—Visit to Dresden.—Military Energy.—Charles Albert chosen Emperor.—The Coronation.—Effeminacy of the Saxon Princes.—Disappointment and Vexation of Frederick.—He withdraws in Chagrin.—The Cantonment on the Elbe.—Winter Campaigning.—The Concentration at Chrudim.
Prince Charles, as he was leading the main body of his army to the assault, sent a squadron of his fleet-footed cavalry to burn the Prussian camp, and to assail the foe in their rear. But the troops found the camp so rich in treasure that they could not resist the temptation of stopping to plunder. Thus they did not make the attack which had been ordered, and which would probably have resulted in the destruction of the Prussian army. It is said that when Frederick, in the heat of the battle, was informed that the Pandours were sacking his camp, he coolly replied, “So much the better; they will not then interrupt us.”
481 With the utmost exertions, inspired by terror, thirty thousand dollars were at length raised. The Russian general, Soltikof, naturally a humane man, seeing, at the close of a week of frantic exertions on the part of the magistrates of Frankfort, the impossibility of extorting the required sum, took the thirty thousand dollars, and kept his barbarian hordes encamped outside the gates.Weissenfels was a small duchy in Saxony. The duke, so called by courtesy, had visited Berlin before in the train of his sovereign, King Augustus, when his majesty returned the visit of Frederick William. He was then quite captivated by the beauty and vivacity of Wilhelmina. He was titular duke merely, his brother being the real duke; and he was then living on his pay as officer in the army, and was addicted to deep potations. Carlyle describes him as “a mere betitled, betasseled, elderly military gentleman of no special qualities, evil or good.” Sophie Dorothee, noticing his attentions to Wilhelmina, deemed it the extreme of impudence for so humble a man to aspire to the hand of her illustrious child. She reproved him so severely that he retired from the court in deep chagrin. He never would have presumed to renew the suit but for the encouragement given by Frederick William.
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Battle of Hohenfriedberg.—Religious Antagonism.—Anecdote of the King.—Retreat of the Austrians.—Horrors of War.—“A slight Pleasantry.”—Sufferings of the Prussian Army.—The Victory of Fontenoy.—Frederick’s Pecuniary Embarrassments.—Executive Abilities of Maria Theresa.—Inflexibility of the Austrian Queen.—The Retreat to Silesia.—The Surprise at Sohr.—Military Genius of Frederick.—Great Victory of Sohr.Leopold, in early youth, fell deeply in love with a beautiful young lady, Mademoiselle Fos. She was the daughter of an apothecary. His aristocratic friends were shocked at the idea of so unequal a marriage. The sturdy will of Leopold was unyielding. They sent him away, under a French tutor, to take the grand tour of Europe. After an absence of fourteen months he returned. The first thing he did was to call upon Mademoiselle Fos. After that, he called upon his widowed mother. It was in vain to resist the will of such a man. In 1698 he married her, and soon, by his splendid military services, so ennobled his bride that all were ready to do her homage. For half a century she was his loved and honored spouse, attending him in all his campaigns.
“My complaint increases so much that I no longer even hope to recover from it. I feel strongly, in the situation in which I at present find myself, the necessity of an enlightened religion arising from conviction. Without that, we are the beings on earth most to be pitied. Your majesty will, after my death, do me the justice to testify that if I have combated superstition with vehemence, I have always supported the interests of the Christian religion, though differing from the ideas of some theologians. As it is only possible when in danger to discover the169 necessity of bravery, so no one can really have the consoling advantage of religion except through sufferings.”“Each regiment shall take but one baggage-cart for a company. No officer, whoever he may be or whatever his title, shall take with him the least of silver plate, not even a silver spoon. Whoever wants to keep table, great or small, must manage the same with tin utensils, without exception, be he who he will.”详情
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