On the 29th of December, the Old Dessauer, with thirty-five thousand men, crossed the frontiers and entered Saxony. He marched rapidly upon Leipsic, and seized the town, from which a division of Rutowski’s army precipitately fled. Leopold found here quite a supply of commissary and ordnance stores. He also replenished his empty army-chest by levying a contribution of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars upon the inhabitants.368 Then, by a rapid march northeast to Torgo, on the Elbe, he captured another imperial magazine. Turning south, he pressed his troops along up the river to Myssen, which was within two days’ easy march of Dresden. Here there was a bridge across the Oder. Frederick was pushing his troops, by forced marches, from Hennersdorf, to effect a junction with Leopold at Myssen. Unitedly they were to fall upon Grüne and Rutowski at Dresden. In the mean time, also, Prince Charles, a despondent man, crushed by domestic woe and humiliating defeats, was moving, by not very energetic steps, to re-enforce the allied troops at Dresden.“Had all our fatalities been limited to stoppages of speed on the journey, we should have taken patience. But after frightful roads we found lodgings still more frightful.”
“Take, then,” she exclaimed, “the Grand Turk or the Great Mogul for your husband. Follow your own caprice. Had I known you better I would not have brought so many sorrows upon myself. You may follow the king’s bidding. It is henceforth your own affair. I will no longer trouble myself about your concerns. And spare me, if you please, the sorrows of your odious presence. I can not stand it.”The battle of Rossbach was fought on the 5th of November, 1757. Frederick had but little time to rejoice over his victory. The Austrians were overrunning Silesia. On the 14th of the month, the important fortress of Schweidnitz, with all its magazines, fell into their hands. Then Prince Charles, with sixty thousand Austrian troops, marched upon Breslau, the principal city of Silesia, situated on the Oder. The Prince of Bevern held the place with a little over twenty thousand Prussian troops. His army was strongly intrenched outside of the walls, under the guns of the city.Poland, ever in turmoil, was at this time choosing a king. The emperor advocated the claims of August of Saxony. France urged Stanislaus, a Polish noble, whose daughter had married the French dauphin. War ensued between France and Germany. Frederick William became the ally of the emperor. An army of ten thousand men, admirably equipped and organized, was upon the march for the Rhine, to act with the emperor against France. The Crown Prince was very eager to join the expedition, and obtained permission to do so.
FREDERICK CROSSING THE ODER.Frederick soon followed the Austrians with his whole army, hoping to bring them to a decisive battle. But General Neipperg was conscious that he was unable to cope with the Prussian army in the open field. For a week there was man?uvring and counter-man?uvring with great skill on both sides, General Neipperg baffling all the endeavors of Frederick to bring him to a general action.
On the 10th of August there was a magnificent review of the Prussian army on the plain of Strehlin, to which all the foreign embassadors were invited. During the night of the 9th, General Schwerin and Prince Leopold, with eight thousand Prussian troops, horse and foot, arrived in the southwestern suburbs of Breslau, and, at six o’clock in the morning, demanded simply a passage through the city for their regiments and baggage, on the march to attack a marauding band of the Austrians on the other side of the Oder.
Frederick, having carefully scanned the Austrian lines for an instant or two, gave the signal, and all his batteries opened their thunders. Under cover of that storm of iron, several thousand of the cavalry, led by the veteran General Bredow, deployed from behind some eminences, and first at a gentle trot, and then upon the most impetuous run, with flashing sabres, hurled themselves upon the left wing of the Austrian lines. The ground was dry and sandy, and a prodigious cloud of dust enveloped them. For a moment the tornado, vital with human energies, swept on, apparently unobstructed. The first line of the Austrian horse was met, crushed, annihilated. But the second stood as the rock breasts the waves, horse against horse, rider against rider, sabre against sabre. Nothing met the eye but one vast eddying whirlpool of dust, as if writhing in volcanic energies, while here and there the flash of fire and the gleam of steel flickered madly through it.
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“Each of these ministers makes a most brilliant figure, and never have I seen one travel with more ease and convenience, more elegance and grandeur, than does the Marquis of Montijo. Wherever he stops to dine or sup, he finds a room hung with the richest tapestry, and the floor covered with Turkey carpets, with velvet chairs, and every other kind of convenience; a table sumptuously served, the choicest wines, and a dessert of fruit and confectionery that Paris itself could not excel. This kind of enchantment, this real miracle in Germany, is performed by means of three baggage-wagons, of which two always go before the embassador, and carry with them every thing necessary for his reception. When they arrive in some poor village, the domestics268 that accompany each wagon immediately clear and clean some chamber, fix the tapestry by rings to the walls, cover the floor with carpets, and furnish the kitchen and cellar with every kind of necessary.”54
Frederick, in his Histoire de mon Temps, states that, in the negotiations which at this time took place in Berlin, France pressed the king to bring forward his armies into vigorous co-operation; that England exhorted him to make peace with Austria; that Spain solicited his alliance in her warfare against England; that Denmark implored his counsel as to the course it was wise for that kingdom to pursue; that Sweden entreated his aid against Russia; that Russia besought his good offices to make298 peace with the court at Stockholm; and that the German empire, anxious for peace, entreated him to put an end to those troubles which were convulsing all Europe.As the king’s infirmities and sufferings increased, the sympathies of his son were more and more excited. He seemed to forget all his father’s cruel treatment, and to remember only his kingly energies. The thought of his death became very painful to him, and at times he recoiled from the oppressive cares he must of necessity assume with the crown.“I was in such a state I know not how we got down stairs. I remember only that it was in a concert of lamentable sobbings. Madame, the Marchioness of Schwedt, who had been named to attend the princess to Stralsund, on the Swedish frontier, this high lady, and the two dames D’Atours, who were for Sweden itself, having sprung into the same carriage, the door of it was shut with a slam, the postillions cracked, the carriage shot away, and disappeared from our eyes. In a moment the king and court lost sight of the beloved Ulrique forever.”73详情
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