The Austrians, on confused terms, made stiff dispute in this second position for about an hour. The Prussian Reserve was ordered up by Friedrich; the Prussian left wing, which had stood "refused," about Radaxdorf, till now: at one time nearly all the Prussians were in fire. Friedrich is here, is there, wherever the press was greatest; "Prince Ferdinand," whom we now and then find named, as a diligent little fellow, and ascertain to be here in this and other Battles of Friedrich's,--"Prince Ferdinand at one time pointed his cannon on the Bush or Fir-Clump of Radaxdorf;--an aide-de-camp came to him with message: "You are firing on the King; the King is yonder!" At which Ferdinand [his dear little Brother] ERSCHRACK," or almost fainted with terror. [Kutzen, p. 110.]
Stiff dispute; and had the Austrians possessed the Prussian dexterity in manoeuvring, and a Friedrich been among them,-- perhaps? But on their own terms, there was from the first little hope in it. "Behind the Windmills they are a hundred men deep;" by and by, your Windmills, riddled to pieces, have to be abandoned; the Prussian left wing rushing on with bayonets, will not all of you have to go? Lucchesi, with his abundant Cavalry, seeing this latter movement and the Prussian flank bare in that part, will do a stroke upon them;--and this proved properly the finale of the matter, finale to both Lucchesi and it.
The Prussian flank was to appearance bare in that leftward quarter; but only to appearance: Driesen with the left wing of Horse is in a Hollow hard by; strictly charged by Friedrich to protect said flank, and take nothing else in hand. Driesen lets Lucchesi gallop by, in this career of his; then emerges, ranked, and comes storming in upon Lucchesi's back,--entirely confounding his astonished Cavalry and their career. Astonished Cavalry, bullet-storm on this side of them, edge of sword on that, take wing in all directions (or all except to west and south) quite over the horizon; Lucchesi himself gets killed,--crosses a still wider horizon, poor man. He began the ruin, and he ends it. For now Driesen takes the bared Austrians in flank, in rear; and all goes tumbling here too, and in few minutes is a general deluge rearward towards Saara and Lissa side.
At Saara the Austrians, sun just sinking, made a third attempt to stand; but it was hopelessly faint this time; went all asunder at the first push; and flowed then, torrent-wise, towards all its Bridges over the Schweidnitz Water, towards Breslau by every method. There are four Bridges, Stabelwitz below Lissa; Goldschmieden, Hermannsdorf, above; and the main one at Lissa itself, a standing Bridge on the Highroad (also of wood); and by this the chief torrent flows; Prussian horse pursuing vigorously; Prussian Infantry drawn up at Saara, resting some minutes, after such a day's work. [Archenholtz, i. 209; Seyfarth,
Truly a memorable bit of work; no finer done for a hundred years, or for hundreds of years; and the results of it manifold, immediate and remote. About 10,000 Austrians are left on the field, 3,000 of them slain; prisoners already 12,000, in a short time 21,000; flags 51, cannon 116;--"Conquest of Silesia" gone to water; Prince Karl and Austria fallen from their high hopes in one day. The Prussians lost in killed 1,141, in wounded 5,118; 85 had been taken prisoners about Sagschutz and Gohlau, in the first struggle there. [Kutzen, pp. 118, 125.] There and at Leuthen Village had been the two tough passages; about an hour each; in three hours the Battle was done. "MEINE HERREN," said Friedrich that night at parole, "after such a spell of work, you deserve rest. This day will bring the renown of your name, and of the Nation's, to the latest posterity."
High and low had shone this day; especially these four: Ziethen, Driesen, Retzow,--and above all Moritz of Dessau. Riding up the line, as night fell, Friedrich, in passing Moritz and the right wing, drew bridle for an instant: "I congratulate you on the Victory, Herr Feldmarschall!" cried he cheerily, and with emphasis on the last word. Moritz, still very busy, answered slightly; and Friedrich repeated louder, "Don't you hear that I congratulate you, Herr FELDMARSCHALL!"--a glad sound to Moritz, who ever since Kolin had stood rather in the shadow. "You have helped me, and performed every order, as none ever did before in any battle," added the grateful King.
Riding up the line, all now grown dusky, Friedrich asks, "Any battalion a mind to follow me to Lissa?" Three battalions volunteering, follow him; three are plenty. At Saara, on the Great Road, things are fallen utterly dark. "Landlord, bring a lantern, and escort." Landlord of the poor Tavern at Saara escorts obediently; lantern in his right hand, left hand holding by the King's stirrup-leather,--King (Excellency or General, as the Landlord thinks him) wishing to speak with the man. Will the reader consent to their Dialogue, which is dullish, but singular to have in an authentic form, with Nicolai as voucher? [
KING. "Come near; catch me by the stirrup-leather [Landlord with lantern does so]. We are on the Breslau Great Road, that goes through Lissa, are n't we?" LANDLORD. "Yea, Excellenz." KING. "Who are you?" LANDLORD. "Your Excellenz, I am the KRATSCHMER [Silesian for Landlord] at Saara." KING. "You have had a great deal to suffer, I suppose." LANDLORD. "ACH, your Excellenz, had not I! For the last eight-and- forty hours, since the Austrians came across Schweidnitz Water, my poor house has been crammed to the door with them, so many servants they have; and such a bullying and tumbling:--they have driven me half mad; and I am clean plundered out." KING. "I am sorry indeed to hear that!--Were there Generals too in your house? What said they? Tell me, then." LANDLORD. "With pleasure, your Excellenz. Well; yesterday noon, I had Prince Karl in my parlor, aud his Adjutants and people all crowding about. Such a questioning aud bothering! Hundreds came dashing in, and other hundreds were sent out: in and out they went all night; no sooner was one gone, than ten came. I had to keep a roaring fire in the kitchen all night; so many Officers crowding to it to warm themselves. And they talked and babbled this and that. One would say, That our King was coming on, then, 'with his Potsdam Guard-Parade.' Another answers, 'OACH, he dare n't come! He will run for it; we will let him run.' But now my delight is, our King has paid them their fooleries so prettily this afternoon!" KING. "When got you rid of your high guests?" LANDLORD. "About nine this morning the Prince got to horse; and not long after three, he came past again, with a swarm of Officers; all going full speed for Lissa. So full of bragging when they came; and now they were off, wrong side foremost! I saw how it was. And ever after him, the flood of them ran, Highroad not broad enough,--an hour and more before it ended. Such a pell-mell, such a welter, cavalry and musketeers all jumbled: our King must have given them a dreadful lathering. That is what they have got by their bragging and their lying,--for, your Excellenz, these people said too, 'Our King was forsaken by his own Generals, all his first people had gone and left him:' what I never in this world will believe." KING (not liking even rumor of that kind). "There you are right; never can such a thing be believed of my Army." LANDLORD (whom this "MY" has transfixed). "MEIN GOTT, you are our GNADIGSTER KONIG (most gracious King) yourself! Pardon, pardon, if, in my stupidity, I have--" KING. "No, you are an honest man:--probably a Protestant?" LANDLORD. "JOA, JOA, IHR MAJESTAT, I am of your Majesty's creed!"