“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,
“I attacked the enemy this morning about eleven. We beat 485him back to the Jews’ Church-yard, near Frankfort.134 All my troops came into action, and have done wonders. I reassembled them three times. At length I was myself nearly taken prisoner, and we had to quit the field. My coat is riddled with bullets. Two horses were killed under me.135 My misfortune is that I am still alive. Our loss is very considerable. Of an army of forty-eight thousand men, I have at this moment, while I write, not more than three thousand together. I am no longer master of my forces.In the mean time, the queen and Wilhelmina, at Berlin, unconscious of the dreadful tidings they were soon to receive, were95 taking advantage of the absence of the king in seeking a few hours of social enjoyment. They gave a ball at the pretty little palace of Monbijou, on the banks of the Spree, a short distance out from Berlin. In the midst of the entertainment the queen received, by a courier, the following dispatch from Frederick William:
“Poor deaf Amelia (Frederick’s old love, now grown old and deaf) listened wildly for some faint sound from those lips now mute forever. George II. was no more. His grandson, George III, was now king.”160
“It is not my purpose to lose battles by the base conduct of my generals; wherefore I hereby appoint that you, next year, if I be alive, assemble the army between Breslau and Ohlau; for four days before I arrive in your camp, carefully man?uvre with the ignorant generals, and teach them what their duty is. Regiment Von Arnim and regiment Von Kanitz are to act the enemy; and whoever does not then fulfill his duty shall go to court-martial; for I should think it a shame of any country to keep such people, who trouble themselves so little about their business.
“This battle is a masterpiece of movements, of man?uvres, and of resolution. It is enough to immortalize Frederick, and to rank him among the greatest generals. It develops, in the highest degree, both his moral and his military qualities.”Frederick had an army of thirty-five thousand men at Liegnitz, in Silesia, under the command of young Leopold. Every man was a thoroughly trained soldier. The army was in the best possible condition. At seven o’clock in the morning of November 15, 1745, the king left Berlin at full speed for Liegnitz. He arrived there the next day, and at once took the command. “There is great velocity in this young king,” writes Carlyle; “a panther-like suddenness of spring in him; cunning too, as any felis of them; and with claws as the felis leo on occasion.”
Monday morning, December 19th, the army was again on the move, now spread out into a length of nearly fifteen miles, and even more than that in breadth. Concentration was unnecessary, as there was no foe to be encountered. The occupation of this wide area enabled Frederick to take advantage of good roads, and also to obtain abundance of supplies. Their advance led them in a southerly direction, up the western banks of the Oder, which stream here runs nearly north.On the 10th of October Frederick was attacked by the gout, and for three weeks was confined to his room. This extraordinary man, struggling, as it were, in the jaws of destruction, beguiled the weary hours of sickness and pain by writing a treatise upon Charles XII. and his Military Character. On the 24th of October, the Russian commander, quarreling with General Daun, set out, with his whole force, for home. On the 1st of November the king was carried in a litter to Glogau. Cold weather having now set in, General Daun commenced a march for Bohemia, to seek winter quarters nearer his supplies. Frederick, his health being restored, rejoined his troops under Henry, which were near Dresden. The withdrawal of both the Russians and Austrians from Silesia greatly elated him. On the 15th of November he wrote to D’Argens from Maxen, a village a little south of Dresden:
They all united their entreaties, arguments, prayers, and threats. The princess was in a state of terrible agitation. Almost distracted she paced the floor. That she might have a little time to reflect, the four deputies retired into the recess of a window. One of them, M. Tulmier, then approached the princess, and, in a low tone of voice, said to her,220 “From all persons who return from Reinsberg the unanimous report is that the king works the whole day through with an assiduity which is unique, and then, in the evening, gives himself to the pleasures of society with a vivacity of mirth and sprightly humor, which makes those evening parties charming.
“A droll incident happened during our dialogue. My gentleman wanted to let down a little sash window, and could not manage it. ‘You do not understand that,’ said I; ‘let me do it.’ I tried to get it down, but succeeded no better than he.
Frederick still sought recreation in writing verses which he called poetry. To D’Argens he wrote, “I have made a prodigious quantity of verses. If I live I will show them to you. If I perish they are bequeathed to you, and I have ordered that they be put into your hand.“Sire, I own that I am guilty. Will not your majesty grant me a pardon, which God never refuses to the greatest sinner who sincerely confesses his sins? I shall be always ready to shed even the last drop of my blood to show your majesty what grateful sentiments your clemency can raise in me.”详情
Copyright © 2020