"AUGUST 19th, from Zittau, Daun, after short pause, again pushes forward,--nothing but Ziethen attending him in the distance, till we see whitherward;--Margraf Karl waiting impatient, at Grussau, till Ziethen see. [Tempelhof, ii. 258, 260 et seq.] Daun, soon after Zittau, shoots out Loudon, Brandenburg way, as if magnanimously intending 'co-operation with the Russians;' which would give Daun pleasure, could it be done without cost. Loudon does despatch a 500 hussars to Frankfurt [Friedrich now gone for Custrin], who, I think, carry a Letter for Fermor there; but lose it by the way,"--for the benefit of readers, if they will wait. "Loudon captures a poor little place in Brandenburg itself; bullies it into surrender, after a day (the very day of Zorndorf Battle, 'August 25th'):--place called Peitz, garrisoned by forty- five invalids; who go on 'free withdrawal,' poor old souls, and leave their exiguous stock of salt-victual and military furnitures to Loudon. [In
"Meanwhile, Serene Highness of Zweibruck, the Reichsfolk and some Austrians with him, prefaced by Dombale more to westward, is wending into Pirna Country; and, in spite of what Prince Henri can do (Mayor and the Free Corps shining diligent, and Henri one of the watchfulest of men), Zweibruck does get in; sets Maguire with Austrians upon besieging Pirna, that is to say, the Sonnenstein of Pirna; 3d-5th SEPTEMBER, gets the Sonnenstein, a thought sooner than was counted on; [In
"A lost Prince Henri,--if there be not shift in him, if there be not help coming to him! Prince Henri, seeing how it was, drew back from Gross Seidlitz; with beautiful suddenness, one night; unmolested: in the morning, Zweibruch's hussars find him posted ---------------------------------- ^ (sic) ?k ------------
inexpugnable on the Heights of Gahmig,--which is nearer Dresden a good step; nearer Dombale; and not so ready to be enclosed by Daun, without enclosure of Dresden too. Prince Henri's manoeuvring, in this difficult situation, is the admiration of military men: how he stuck by Gahmig; but threw out, in the vital points, little camps, --'camp of Kesselsdorf' (a place memorable), on the west of Dresden; and on the east, in the north suburb of Dresden itself across the River (should we have to go across the River for Daun's sake), a 'strong abatis;' and neglected nothing; self and everybody under him, lively as eagles to make themselves dangerous, Mayer in particular distinguishing himself much. Prince Henri would have been a hard morsel for Daun. But beyond that, there is help on the road."
FRIEDRICH INTERVENING, DAUN DRAWS BACK; INTRENCHES HIMSELF IN NEIGHBORHOOD TO DRESDEN AND PIRNA; FRIEDRICH FOLLOWING HIM. FOUR ARMIES STANDING THERE, IN DEAD-LOCK, FOR A MONTH; WITH ISSUE, A FLANK-MARCH ON THE PART OF FRIEDRICH'S ARMY, WHICH HALTS AT HOCHKIRCH (September 12th-October 10th, 1758).
Daun, since August 26th, is striding towards Meissen Bridge; without rest, day after day, at the very top of his speed,--which I find is "nine miles a day;" [Tempelhof, ii. 261.] Bos being heavy of foot, at his best. September 1st, Daun has got within ten miles of Meissen Bridge, when--Here is news, my friends; King of Prussia has beaten our poor Russians; will soon be in full march this way! King of Prussia and Margraf Karl both bending hitherward; at the rate, say, of "nineteen miles a day," instead of nine:--Meissen Bridge is not the thing we shall want! Daun instantly calls halt, at this news; waits, intrenches; and, in a day or two, finding the news true, hurries to rearward all he can. From the Russian side too, Daun has heard of Zorndorf, and the grand "Victory" of Fermor there; but knows well, by this sudden re-emergence of the Anti- Fermor, what kind of Victory it is.
Was it here while waiting about Meissen, or where was it, that Daun got his Letter to Fermor answered in that singular way? The Letter of two weeks ago,--carried by Loudon's Hussars, or by whomsoever,-- for certain, it was retorted or returned upon Daun; not as if from the Dead-Letter Office, but with an Answer he little expected! Here is what record I have; very vague for a well-known little fact of sparkling nature:--
"A curious Letter fell into Friedrich's hands [Bearer, I always guess, the Loudon Hussar-Captain with his 500, pretending to form junction with Fermor], Prussian Hussars picking it up somewhere,-- date, place, circumstances, blurred into oblivion in those poor Books; Letter itself indisputable enough, and Answer following on it; Letter and Answer substantially to this effect:--