that her kindness was no longer generosity to the poor
"I am just arrived here, after cruel and frightful marchings [CHECKS HIMSELF, HOWEVER]. There is nothing desperate in all that; and I believe the noise and disquietude this hurly-burly has caused will be the worst of it. Show this Letter to everybody, that it may be known the State is not undefended. I have made above 1,000 prisoners from Haddick. All his meal-wagons have been taken. Finck, I believe, will keep an eye on him," and secure Berlin from attempts of his. "This is all I can say.
"To-morrow I march to within two leagues of Frankfurt [to Mullrose, namely]. Katte [the Minister who has charge of such things] must send me instantly Two Hundred Wispels [say tons] of Meal, and Bakers One Hundred, to Furstenwalde. I shall encamp at Wulkow. I am very tired. For six nights I have not closed an eye. Farewell.--F."
During the above intricate War-Dance of Five,--the day while Friedrich was at Sommerfeld, the day before he came in sight of Haddick's meal-wagons going the wrong road,--there went on, at Minden, on the Weser, three hundred miles away, a beautiful feat of War, in the highest degree salutary to Duke Ferdinand and Britannic Majesty's Ministry; feat which requires a word from us here. A really splendid Victory, this of Minden, August 1st: French driven headlong through the Passes there; their "Conquest of Hanover and Weser Country" quite exploded and flung over the horizon; and Duke Ferdinand relieved from all his distresses, and lord of the ascendant again in those parts. Highly interesting to Friedrich;--especially to Prince Henri; whose apprehensions about Ferdinand and the old Richelieu Hastenbeck-Halberstadt time returning on us, have been very great; and who now, at Schmottseifen, fires FEU-DE-JOIE for it with all his heart. This is a Battle still of some interest to English readers. But can English readers consent to halt in this hot pinch of the Friedrich crisis; and read the briefest thing which is foreign to it? Alas, I fear they can;--and will insert the Note here:--
BATTLE OF MINDEN: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1st, 1759.---"Ever since Bergen, things have gone awry with Ferdinand, and in spite of skilful management, of hard struggles and bright sparkles of success, he has had a bad Campaign of it. The French, it would seem, are really got into better fighting order; Belleisle's exertions as War-Minister have been almost wonderful,--in some respects, TOO wonderful, as we shall hear!--and Broglio and Contades, in comparison with Clermont and Soubise, have real soldier qualities. Contades, across Rhine again, in those Weser Countries, who is skilful in his way, and is pricked on by emulation of Broglio, has been spreading himself out steadily progressive there; while Broglio, pushing along from Frankfurt-on- Mayn, has conquered Hessen; is into Hanover; on the edge of conqueriug Hanover,--which how is Ferdinand to hinder? Ferdinand has got two, if not three Armies to deal with, and in number is not mnch superior to one. If he run to save Hanover from Broglio, he loses Westphalia: Osnabruck (his magazine)? Munster, Lippstadt,--Contades, if left to himself, will take these, after short siege; and will nestle himself there, and then advance, not like a transitory fever-fit, but like visible death, on Hanover. Ferdinand, rapid yet wary, manoeuvred his very best among those interests of his, on the left bank of Weser; but after the surprisal of Minden from him (brilliantly done by Broglio, and the aid of a treacherous peasant), especially after the capture of Osnabruck, his outlooks are gloomy to a degree: and at Versailles, and at Minden where Contades has established himself, 'the Conquest of Hanover' (beautiful counterweight to all one's losses in America or elsewhere) is regarded as a certainty of this Year.
"For the last ten days of July, about Minden, the manoeuvring, especially on Ferdinand's part, had been intense; a great idea in the head of Ferdinand, more or less unintelligible to Contades. Contades, with some 30,000, which is the better half of his force, has taken one of the unassailablest positions. He lies looking northward, his right wing on the Weser with posts to Minden (Minden perhaps a mile northeastward there), on his left impassable peat- bogs and quagmires; in front a quaggy River or impassable black Brook, called the Bastau, coming from the westward, which disembogues at Minden: [Sketch of Plan, p. 238]--there lies Contades, as if in a rabbit-hole, say military men; for defence, if that were the sole object, no post can be stronger. Contades has in person say 30,000; and round him, on both sides of the Weser, are Broglio with 20,000; besides other Divisions, I know not how many, besieging Munster, capturing Osnabruck (our hay magazine), attempting Lippstadt by surprise (to no purpose), and diligently working forward, day by day, to Ferdinand's ruin in those Minden regions. Three or four Divisions busy in that manner;--and above all, we say, he has Broglio with a 20,000 on the right or east bank of the Weser,--who, if Ferdinand quit him even for a day, seems to have Hanover at discretion, and can march any day upon Hanover City, where his light troops have already been more than once. Why does n't Ferdinand cross Weser, re-cross Weser; coerce Broglio back; and save Hanover? cry the Gazetteers and a Public of weak judgment. Pitt's Public is inclined to murmur about Ferdinand; Pitt himself never. Ferdinand persists in sticking by Minden neighborhood,--and, in a scarcely accountable way, manoeuvring there, shooting out therefrom what mischief he can upon the various Contades people in their sieges and the like.
"On Contades himself he can pretend to do nothing,--except hoodwink him, entice him out, and try to get a chance on him. But for his own subsistence and otherwise, he is very lively;--snatches, by a sudden stroke, Bremen City: 'Yes truly, Bremen is a Reichstadt; nor shall YOU snatch it, as you did Frankfurt; but I will, instead; and my English proviant-ships shall have a sure haven henceforth!' Snatches Bremen by one sudden stroke; RE-snatches Osnabruck by another ('our magazine considerably INCREASED since you have had it, many thanks!'); does lose Munster, to his sorrow; but nevertheless sticks by his ground here;--nay detaches his swift-cutting Nephew, the Hereditary Prince, who is growing famous for such things, to cut out Contades's strong post to southward (Gohfeld, ten miles up the Weser), which guards his meal-wagons, after their long journey from the south. That is Contades's one weak point, in this posture of things: his meal is at Cassel, seventy miles off. Broglio and he see clearly, 'Till we can get a new magazine much nearer Hanover, or at lowest, can clear out these people from infesting us here, there is no moving northward!' To both Contades and Broglio that is an evident thing: the corollary to which is, They must fight Ferdinand; must watch lynx-like till a chance turn up of beating him in fight. That is their outlook; and Ferdinand knows it is,--and manoeuvres accordingly. Military men admire much, not his movements only, but his clear insight into Contades's and Broglio's temper of mind, and by what methods they were to be handled, they and his own affairs together, and brought whither he wanted them. [In MAUVILLON (ii. 41-44) minute account of all that.]
"This attempt on Gohfeld was a serious mischief to Contades, if it succeeded. But the detaching of the Prince of Brunswick on it, and weakening one's too weak Army, 'What a rashness, what an oversight!' thinks Contades (as Ferdinand wished him to do): 'Is our skilful enemy, in this extreme embarrassment, losing head, then? Look at his left wing yonder [General Wangenheim, sitting behind batteries, in his Village of Todtenhausen, looking into Minden from the north]:--Wangenheim's left leans on the Weser, yes; but Wangenheim's right, observe, has no support within three miles of it: tear Wangenheim out, Ferdinand's flank is bare!' These things seemed to Contades the very chance he had been waiting for; and brought him triumphantly out of his rabbit-hole, into the Heath of Minden, as Ferdinand hoped they would do.
"And so, TUESDAY EVENING, JULY 31st, things being now all ripe, upwards of 50,000 French are industriously in motion. Contades has nineteen bridges ready on the Bastau Brook, in front of him; TATTOO this night, in Contades's Camp, is to mean GENERAL MARCH, 'March, all of you, across these nineteen Bridges, to your stations on the Plain or Heath of Minden yonder,--and be punctual, like the clock!' Broglio crosses Weser by the town Bridge, ranks himself opposite Todtenhausen; and through the livelong night there is, on the part of the 50,000 French, a very great marching and deploying. Contades and Broglio together are 51,400 foot and horse. Ferdinand's entire force will be near 46,000; but on the day of Battle he is only 36,000,--having detached the Hereditary Prince on Gohfeld, in what view we know.--The BATTLE OF MINDEN, called also of TONHAUSEN (meaning TODTENhausen), which hereupon fell out, has still its fame in the world; and, I perceive, is well worth study by the soldier mind: though nothing but the rough outline of it is possible here.
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