companion; for there was an extraordinary formality and
Wedell's people have already, of their own accord, got to arms again; stand waiting his orders on this new emergency. No delay in Wedell or in them. "May not it be another Rossbach (if we are lucky)?" thinks Wedell: "Cannot we burst in on their flank, as they march yonder, those awkward fellows; and tumble them into heaps?" The differences were several-fold: First, that Friedrich and Seidlitz are not here. Many brave men we have, and skilful; but not a master and man like these Two. Secondly, that there is no Janus Hill to screen our intentions; but that the Russians have us in full view while we make ready. Thirdly, and still more important, that we do not know the ground, and what hidden inaccessibilities lie ahead. This last is judged to have been the killing circumstance. Between the Russians and us there is a paltry little Brook, or line of quagmire; scarcely noticeable here, but passable nowhere except at the Village-Mill of Kay, by one poor Bridge there. And then, farther inwards, as shelter of the Russians, there is another quaggy Brook, branch of the above, which is without bridge altogether. Hours will be required to get 26,000 people marched up there, not to speak of heavy guns at all.
The 26,000 march with their usual mathematical despatch: Manteuffel and the Vanguard strike in with their sharpest edge, foot and horse, direct on the Head of the Russian Column, Manteuffel leading on, so soon as his few battalions and squadrons are across. Head means BRAIN (or life) to this Russian Column; and these Manteuffel people go at it with extraordinary energy. The Russian Head gives way; infantry and cavalry:--their cavalry was driven quite to rear, and never came in sight again after this of Manteuffel. But the Russians have abundance of Reserves; also of room to manoeuvre in,--no lack of ground open, and ground defensible (Palzig Village and Churchyard, for example);--above all, they have abundance of heavy guns.
Well in recoil from Manteuffel and his furies, the beaten Russians succeed in forming "a long Line behind Palzig Village," with that Second, slighter or Branch Quagmire between them and us; they get the Village beset, and have the Churchyard of it lined with batteries,--say seventy guns. Manteuffel, unsupported, has to fall back;--unwillingly, and not chased or in disorder,--towards Kay- Mill again; where many are by this time across. Hulsen, with the Centre, attacks now, as the Vanguard had done; with a will, he too: Wobersnow, all manner of people attack; time after time, for about four hours coming: and it proves all in vain, on that Churchyard and new Line. Without cannon, we are repulsed, torn away by those Russian volcano-batteries; never enough of us at once!
Hulsen, Wobersnow, everybody in detail is repulsed, or finds his success unavailing. Poor Wobersnow did wonders; but he fell, killed. Gone he; and has left so few of his like: a man that could ill be spared at present!--Day is sinking; we find we have lost, in killed, wounded and prisoners, some 6,000 men. "About sunset,"-- flaming July sun going down among the moorlands on such a scene,-- Wedell gives it up; retires slowly towards Kay Bridge. Slowly; not chased, or molested; Soltikof too glad to be rid of him. Soltikof's one aim is, and was, towards Crossen; towards Austrian Junction, and something to live upon. Soltikof's loss of men is reckoned to be heavier even than Wedell's: but he could far better afford it. He has gained his point; and the price is small in comparison. Next day he enters Crossen on triumphant terms.
Poor Wedell had returned over Kay-Mill Bridge, in the night-time after his Defeat. On the morrow (Tuesday, 24th, day of Soltikof's glad entry), Wedell crosses Oder; at Tschischerzig, the old place of Sunday evening last,--in how different a humor, this time!--and in a day more, posts himself opposite to Crossen Bridge, five or six miles south; and again sits watchful of Soltikof there. At Crossen, triumphant Soltikof has found no Austrian Junction, nor anything additional to live upon. A very disappointing circumstance to Soltikof; "Austrian Junction still a problem, then; a thing in the air? And perhaps the King of Prussia taking charge of it now!" Soltikof, more and more impatient, after waiting some days, decided Not to cross Oder by that Bridge;--"shy of crossing anywhere [think the French Gentlemen, Montazet, Montalembert], to the King of Prussia's side!" [Stenzel, iv. 215 (indistinct, and giving a WRONG citation of "Montalembert, ii. 87").] Which is not unlikely, though the King is above 100 miles off him, and has Daun on his hands. Certain enough, keeping the River between him and any operations of the King, Soltikof set out for Frankfurt, forty or fifty miles farther down. In the hope probably of finding something of human provender withal? July 30th, one week after his Battle, the vanguard of him is there.
Thus, in two days, or even in one, has Wedell's Dictatorship ended. Easy to say scoffingly, "Would it had never begun!" Friedrich knows that, and Wedell knows it;--AFTER the event everybody knows it! Friedrich said nothing of reproachful; the reverse rather,-- "I dreaded something of the kind; it is not your fault;" [TO WEDELL, FROM THE KING, "Schmottseifen, July 24th. 1759" (in Schoning, ii. 118).]--ordered Wedell to watch diligently at Crossen Bridge, and be ready on farther signal. The Wedell Problem, in such ruined condition, has now fallen to Friedrich himself.
This is the BATTLE OF ZULLICHAU (afternoon of 23d July, 1759); the beginning of immense disasters in this Campaign. Battle called also of KAY and of PALZIG, those also being main localities in it. It was lost, not by fault of Wedell's people, who spent themselves nobly upon it, nor perhaps by fault of Wedell himself, but principally, if not solely, by those two paltry Brooks, or threads of Quagmire, one of which turns Kay-Mill; memorable Brooks in this Campaign, 1759. [Tempelhof, iii. 125-131.]
Close in the same neighborhood, there is another equally contemptible Brook, making towards Oder, and turning the so-called Krebsmuhle, which became still more famous to the whole European Public twenty years hence. KREBS-MUHLE (Crab-Mill), as yet quite undistinguished among Mills; belonging to a dusty individual called Miller Arnold, with a dusty Son of his own for Miller's Lad: was it at work this day? Or had the terrible sound from Palzig quenched its clacking?--
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