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:--
"DAUN TO FERMOR [Probably from Zittau, by Loudon's Hussars].
"Your Excellenz does not know that wily Enemy as I do. By no means get into battle with such a one. Cautiously manoeuvre about; detain him there, till I have got my stroke in Saxony done: don't try fighting him. DAUN."
"ANSWER AS FROM FERMOR (Zorndorf once done, Daun by the first opportunity got his Answer, duly signed 'Fermor,' but evidently in a certain King's handwriting):--