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/ "^ 

A y 







H. M. HOZIER, F.CS., F.G.S., 

I « 



" Unaque hora, quadringentonim annonim opus quibus 
A]ba steterat exctdio ac minis dedit."— LiVY. 


Eonlion anti I^cId gorlt: 



[Tke Right of Tramlation is Reserved, ^ 




• •.• •• • •• • • • 













The only claim to consideration that the following pages 
can present is that for the most part they are the product of a 
personal eye-witness of some of the most interesting incidents 
of a war which, for rapidity and decisive results, may claim an 
almost unrivalled position in history. 

The Author has attempted to ascertain and to advance facts. 
His object has been impartiality, Jiis aim truth. Criticism 
from one so feebly competent to criticise would have been 
entitled to no respect, and has therefore been avoided. A 
few observations occasionally introduced are the results not of 
original thought so much as of communication with some 
whose positive abilities and experience entitle their opinions 
to be attentively weighed. 










Prussia's motion for reform of Germanic confederation . 30 


BREACH of convention OF GASTEIN 32 

































• . 

. 122 



. • 






















battle of kOniggratz 210 








































APPEKDI7 II «... 505 



APPElfDIX V. 520 



OPERATIONS FROM kOniggratz .... To face page 330 


The main features of the campaign of 1866 can be easily 
traced in any ordinary maps of Bohemia, Saxony or Moravia. 
Those who wish to study the details of the war, will find the 
maps published by the Prussian Staff at Berlin, in 1868, most 
lucid and serviceable. They are to be found in any large 
military library, and can be consulted at the Royal United 
Service Institution. 


The results of the war of 1866 in Germany were the 
aggrandizement of Prussia, the formation of new Confedera-/j 
tions and the disappearance of Austria as a Germanic power. 
To the eight provinces of which Prussia consisted in the spring' 
of 1866 were added Hesse-Cassel, Nassau, Hanover, Schleswig- 
Holstein and Xauenburg. These were incorporated in the 
Prussian kingdom and raised its population to about 23,500,000. 

At the same time arose under the leadership of Prussia the 
new North German Confederation, the harbinger of an united 
German Empire. It was sixty years almost to a day when the 
treaty of Prague was signed in 1866, since the Emperor 
Francis II. had announced to the Diet his resignation of the 
Imperial Crown: By that act, due to the victories of Napoleon 
I. over Germans, the oldest political institution in the world was** 
extinguished, for this Empire was that which the nephew of ,' 
Julius won for himself from the powers of the East at the/ 
battle of Acdum, and which had preserved almost unaltered} 
through eighteen centuries of time and through the greatest) 
changes in extent, in power, and in character, a title and pre* 
tensions from which all meaning had long since departed.* 
On the fall of Napoleon I. this Empire was to a certain extent 
reconstituted by the treaty of Vienna as a Confederation of 
thirty-nine States. This Confederacy was extinguished in the 
war of i866y and the treaty of Prague established the Con- 
federation of the North German States, and led to the reestab* 

* Bryce, Holy Roman Empire. 



lishment of the Germanic Empire on a purer, more natural, 
and more homogeneous basis than it had ever possessed from 
the days of the Csesars. The treaty of Prague, however, was 
but the stepping-stone, not the key-stone of German Unity. 
North Germany numbering twenty-one States was indeed linked 
by that treaty into a close connection with Prussia, who held 
the undivided leadership, the command of the German armies, 
and the power of peace and war north of the Maine. South 
Germany did not hold itself together. Austria stood aloof^ 
and appeared resolved henceforth to meddle no more in 
German af&u^. Bavaria, Wiirtemburg, and Baden remained 
almost independent of each other, but each, on its own footing, 
concluded important treaties with Prussia. By that between 
Prussia and Bavaria, concluded on the 22nd August, 1866, these 
two powers mutually guaranteed the integrity of their respective 
territories with all the military forces at their disposal; and it 
was also established, that in case of war the King of Prussia 
should have the command-in-chief of the Bavarian army. The 
treaties between Prussia, Baden, and Wiirtembuig, were of the 
same tenour; they provided a strict military alliance and 
submission of the armies in time of war to the King of 

In Northern Germany, in the spring of 1867, ^ representative 
assembly elected by universal suflfrage at the rate of one 
member for every 100,000 of the population, met at Berlin in 
February, and by the i6th April, had discussed and adopted a 
constitutional charter by which the whole of the States of 
North Germany were definitively united into a federal body. 
This charter, entitled the Constitution of the North German 
Confederation, consists of fifteen chapters, comprising seventy- 
nine articles, with a preamble declaring that the Governments 
of the States enumerated, formed themselves into a perpetual 
Confederation for the protection of the territory and institutions 
of the union, and for the guardianship of the wel^ire of the 
German people. The twenty-one States incorporated in this 
Confederation were, Prussia, Saxony, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 


Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg, Brunswick, Saxe-Weimar, 
Saxe-Meiningen, Anhalt, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Altenburg, 
Waldeck, Lippe-Detmold, Reuss-Schleiz, Reuss-Greiz, Schwarz- 
burg-Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schaumburg- 
Lippe, Hamburg, Liibeck, and Bremen. The executive power 
of the Confederation was vested in the Sovereign of Prussia : 
this ruler also, as the Lord President, managed the diplomatic 
intercourse of the Confederation with foreign powers ; was the 
Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, and had the 
prerogative of nominating Ambassadors, of declaring war, and 
of concluding peace. It was his duty to enforce the obser- 
vance of federal laws, and to compel negligent or disobedient 
members to fulfil their federal obligations, and to appoint all 
officers and civil functionaries. The contributions of the 
various States to the cost of the general administration of the 
Confederation, was regulated in proportion to the numbers of 
their population. The King of Prussia had also to appoint a 
Chancellor of the Confederation who should preside over the 
Federal Council. The Chancellor selected was naturally the 
Count von Bismarck. 

By the terms of the Constitution of the North German Con- 
federation, the legislative power of the Union was vested in 
two representative bodies. One of these bodies is elected by 
the Governments of the Confederate States, and is termed the 
Bundesrath, the other is elected by the population, and is termed 
the Reichstag. In the Bundesrath sit deputies from the 
Governments of each State of the Confederation ; the repre- 
sentative <rf Prussia has seventeen votes, that of Saxony four, 
and those from Mecklenbuig-Schwerin and Brunswick two each. 
Besides smaller German estates and the tliree free-towns with 
one vote each. All together forty-two votes. The Reichstag 
is elected by universal sufl&age for the term of three years and 
meets in annual session. To the Reichstag belongs the initia- 
tive of legislative acts ; it is independent of the Bundesrath, 
but the members of the latter have the privilege of being present 
it its sittings to expose the views of their respective Governments. 


On account of the representations of the Emperor of the 
French, Saxony was not, on the conclusion of the war of 1866, 
so completely absorbed into the North German Confederation 
as her more northern neighbours. The King of Saxony, 
although a member of the Union, still retained the power of 
nominating officers, civil and military, in his kingdom, and the 
Saxon Army was not merged in that of the Confederation. 
It was, however, to be held under the supreme orders of the 
King of Prussia in case of war. 

The conclusion of the war in 1866, and the treaty of Prague, 
were due in a great measure to the Emperor of the French, 
ivhose offer to mediate between the contending Powers, Austria 
hastily accepted, probably erroneously, as Count Bismarck had 
already made proposals for direct negotiations, in which no 
mention of the pa)rment of a war indemnity was made. France 
was, however, only too eager to mediate ; for French diplo- 
matists for decades previous to 1870 held the creed, that the 
privilege of France was to arrange, and mould, to her own 
advantage, the domestic commotions of Germany. Prussia 
could not without folly at the close of a victorious campaign, 
risk all its glorious results by throwing down the gauntlet to 
France, and raising up on the Rhine a new army of enemies, 
while 'unfriendly divisions were still frowning on the banks of 
the Danube and the Maine. She was perforce obliged to 
consent to French mediation, and French mediation was not 
disinterested. It was the aim and object of France to oppose 
the unity of Germany, and to prevent the rise of a great and united 
nation on her own border. For this reason she stipulated for the 
semi-independence of Saxony, and caused a clause to be 
inserted in the treaty of Prague by which Prussia consented 
to cede to Denmark the northern portion of Schleswig. Austria, 
who at the time of the negotiation of the treaty of Prague was 
but the mouth-piece of France, stipulated when she retired 
from the German Confederacy, that the remaining Southern 
States should be formed into a Southern Confederacy. It was 
thus hoped to prevent the ultimate fusion of the Southern 



States with Northern Germany and Prussia, and to establish a 
power in Germany which jealousy of Prussia and the bitter- 
ness of defeat, might in an European conflict range upon the 
side of Prussia's enemies. But the man who guided the foreign 
policy of Prussia was competent to foil the diplomatists of 
France. Confident of the difiiculties which would defer the 
formation of the Southern Confederation, he assented to the 
Austro-French proposal, organized the Northern Confederation, 
which speedily acquired strength and consistency, and con- 
cluded between each of the Southern States individually, 
offensive and defensive alliances with Prussia. France, really 
by an attitude of desire to interfere in the internal arrangement 
of Germany, fiidlitated the conclusion of these treaties ; and 
the &ct that on the 6th August, 1866, she demanded the 
fortress of Mainz from Prussia under threat of war, though 
known but to a few men, had doubtless an important effect. 
The cession of the fortress was refused, and when it was seen 
that Prussia was resolute the threat was not carried out, but 
an excuse made, which averred that the demand was wrung 
from the Emperor when labouring under illness. The French 
army was then far from prepared for war, as it was not 
thoroughly completed with men, nor armed with a breech- 
loading weapon; and France failed to obtain after the war of 
1866, territorial concessions from Germany, as signally as 
when before that war she proffered to declare against Austria, 
and attack her with 300,000 men, provided that Prussia would 
cede territory on the left bank of the Rhine. 

While after the campaign of 1866 the North German Con- 
federation almost daily increased in power and united senti- 
ment, no progress was made in the formation of a Southern 
Bund. The States lying south of the Maine were too equal- 
in size and resources. None was clearly preeminent, and to 
none would the others consent to accord preeminence. An 
attempt was made at a conference held at Nordlingen in 1868, 
to form an agreement among the Southern States as to a very 

minor question, — ^the management of the federal fortresses of 

h 2 


the South : yet even on this subject there was no concord, and 
the conference separated with the sole result of showing that 
it was almost impossible on any point to establish an harmo- 
nious understanding between the States of Southern Germany. 
At first, however, the relations between these States and Prussia 
were not quite satisfactory, for there were political parties who 
feared the preponderance of Prussia, and the probable absorp- 
tion of the Southern States, but the attitude of France gradu- 
ally forced the clear-sighted patriotism of the South to regard 
Prussia with friendly eyes, and the deep-seated desire of 
German unity swayed all except a few selfish and protectionist 
' factions. Austria at first seemed inclined to harbour a desire 

■ of vengeance for the defeat of 1866, and to look upou France 
as a probable future ally. But the publication of the fact that 
France had been willing to declare against her at the outbreak 

■ of the German war, did much to modify that feeling, and to 
turn her population, as well as her Government, to the neces- 
sary task of internal, financial, and military reorganization. 
The Prussian victories in 1866 were at the time looked upon 
in France with jealousy and disfavour. The crowning triumph 
of Koniggratz was regarded by the exciteable population of 
that Empire as a direct step towards German unity, the aggran- 
dizement of Prussia, and consequently as a menace to the 
ascendancy and control which for years the French had tacitly 

'claimed in the internal affairs of Germany. In 1866 the 
claims of France to German territory were withdrawn; but in 
1867 they were renewed in a form which, although less sum- 
mary, still for a short time, threatened to disturb the peace of 
Europe. By the treaty of Vienna in 1815, the Grand Duchy 
of Luxemburg was given to the King of the Belgians, but at 
the same time was included in the Germanic Confederation. 
On the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands, it was 
arranged by the treaty of London that Eastern Luxemburg and 
Limburg, to which the federal obligations of Western Luxem- 
burg were transferred, should be handed over to the King of 
the Netherlands, while the King of the Belgians received fiill 


sovereignty over the western portion of Luxemburg. The 
King of die Netherlands refused to accede to this treaty, but 
after the French siege of Antwerp, Austria and Prussia, in 
behalf of the Germanic Confederation, enforced the provisions 
of the treaty, and the eastern portion of Luxemburg was 
formally included in the Confederation. The town of Luxem- 
burg was a most important fortress of Germany towards France, 
and from 1815 to 1867 was garrisoned by a Prussian garrison. 
In 1867, the King of Holland, Sovereign of Luxemburg, who 
had been excluded from the North German Confederation 
on its formation in 1866, made overtures for the sale of the 
fortress and territory, to France. To these the Emperor 
Napoleon lent a willing ear. The arrangement soon became 
publicly known, and war between France and Prussia for the 
moment seemed imminent. The public feeling of Germany 
was allowed to become excited, although, had the leaders of 
Prussia desired, it is almost certain, that at the beginning of 
the complication, they could have yielded Luxemburg to France 
without being forced into war by the pressure of public opinion. 
Such was not, however, their desire ; war with France was the 
readiest mode of completing German unity; and although 
Count von Bismark did not push forward such a war, he did 
not shrink from taking up the gauntlet if it were thrown down 
to him. He accordingly refused to abandon the defence of a 
fortress which had been confided to the guardianship of Prussia 
for half a century, and which was really situated on German 
ground, although not formally included in the North German 
Confederation. Some day the real history of the exclusion of 
Luxemburg from that Confederation in 1866 may be known. 

On the other hand, the Emperor of the French having once 
expressed his readiness to purchase Luxemburg, could not 
withdraw, at the mere dictate of Prussia, without grievously 
wounding the sensitive pride of the French people, and 
raising into a storm the national jealousy of Prussia, which 
had been hardly concealed since the battle of Koniggratz. 
Thus rulers seemed about to be forced into a war, which 


neither desired, by the populations over which they ruled ; 
and this fact may well be considered by that hysterical school 
of politicians which maintains that wars are the work of rulers, 
and that in Republican institutions lies the best guarantee of 
enduring peace. To ward off the danger of war a conference 
was arranged. It was proposed by the King of Holland, 
sanctioned by the neutral Powers, and met in London under 
the presidency of Lord Stanley, who was then the Minister for 
Foreign Aifairs. As the result of its deliberations the duchy 
was declared neutral, and its neutrality guaranteed by all the 
Powers represented at the conference. Prussia withdrew her 
garrison from the fortress, and the fortifications were to be 
demolished. The concessions on the part of Prussia were not 
very material, as the fortifications had been erected prior to 
the introduction of rifled ordnance, and the great strength of 
the fortress lies in its natural position. Still war was for the 
moment averted, and many men believed that all difficulties 
were arranged between these two powers, that Austria was 
crippled, Russia unprepared, and that a lasting peace was 
really about to dawn upon Europe. 

Those who looked below the surface could, however, per- 
ceive that France was but brooding over the insult which she 
chose to conceive had been offered to her, by the fact that 
Germany had shaken off her leading-strings, and that Germans 
chose to manage their own aifairs without foreign interference. 
Those could also see that, in the apparent calm, not only was 
France pushing forward armaments and military organization, 
but that Prussian administrators were quietly taking all neces- 
sary precautions in case of war, and studiously followed move 
with move. The war, which had been for long foreseen by 
these, broke out indeed suddenly, and surprised the world at 
large ; but a few men in England had carefully watched how, 
in the spring of 1870, French agents were engaged in all our 
southern markets buying com and forage. The excuses given 
for enormous purchases of this description were, that the sea- 
son had been so dry in France that no harvest was expected ; 


but this excuse was transparent, for had forage been so very 
scarce in France, French dealers would not have cared, simul- 
taneously with an enormous rise in the price of forage, to have 
largely exported horses to France. At the same time, too, a 
flotilla was secretly collected in the northern French ports 
capable of transporting 40,000 men and 1 2,000 horses. These 
things were, perhaps, known to and noticed by Prussian 
agents, but the British Government, against which the arrange- 
ments might have been equally directed, remained in a happy 
ignorance of any danger of war, and on the outbreak of 
hostilities, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in his place in Par- 
liament, stated that a few hours previously the British Foreign 
Office believed that there was not a cloud on the political 
horizon of Europe. Yet still, many Utopian Englishmen, in 
the Cstce of these facts, contentedly argue that no preparations 
for the invasion of our country could be made without the 
Government being fully aware of them. 

During the years between the treaty of Prague and the out- 
break of war with France, the Prussian military organization 
had been extended to the troops of all the Northern States. 
The Prussian army, which fought in 1866, was increased by 
three corps d'arm^ Of these the 9th was that of Schleswig- 
Holstein, the loth that of Hanover, the nth that of Hesse. 
The Grand Ducal Hessian, or 25th division, was placed in 
intimate connection with the last corps, while the semi-inde- 
pendent army of the kingdom of Saxony formed the 12th 
corps of the Confederation. The broad principles of the 
Prussian organization, as far as regarded infantry, were proved 
so satisfactory in 1866, that they were extended after the Austrian 
war without alteration to the'new corps d'arm^e. In the organi- 
zation of the cavalry, however, which was largely increased, the 
experience of 1866 dictated the necessity of a vital change. 
Hitherto the Prussian regiments of cavalry had always con- 
sisted of four squadrons in time of peace ; on the outbreak 
of war the four squadrons took the field, and a depot was 
formed to supply the necessary reinforcements of men and 


horses. This system was found decidedly faulty during the 
Austrian war, and after the treaty of Prague the Prussian 
regiments were increased to five squadrons, of which four 
take the field, and one remains as a depot to supply im- 
mediately the quick necessities of horses and men. To this 
change, and to the large increase of cavalry, is due, in no 
slight degree, the wonderfiil successes of the Prussian armies in 
1870 — 71; for, as the Emperor of the French himself stated, 
the Prussian cavalry formed an impenetrable screen, through 
which it was impossible for the enemy to discover the move- 
ments of the main armies, while every movement of the French 
armies was accurately and faithfully reported by the now- 
famous Uhlans to the Prussian head-quarters. In the im- 
portant arm artillery, the Prussians, directly after the cam- 
paign of 1866, laid aside all muzzle-loading guns and adopted 
for their whole field-artillery breech-loading steel pieces made 
on Krupp*s system. Towards the end of 1869 some breech- 
loading bronze guns were turned out, took part in the subse- 
quent war, and were so satisfactory that it is probable the 
whole field-artillery will be armed with bronze guns. The 
system of Prussian Intendantur, which had given such excellent 
earnest of efficiency in 1866, was naturally extended to the 
newly-formed corps d'arm^e. The Intendantur of Prussia 
must be clearly distinguished from the Intendance of France ; 
the names are similar, but the systems are almost reverse : the 
Prussian system was proved excellent in two great wars, the 
French was paralysed under the first pressure of active service. 
It is fortunate that our country has adopted much more the 
Prussian than the French system of supply in the lately 
established department of Control 

When the French Empire was threatened with war on 
account of the Luxemburg question in 1867, the nominal 
strength of the army was 600,000 men ; but it was found that 
it would have been impossible, after providing for depots and 
necessary detachments, to place much more than 1 50,000 men 
in line of battle. It was evident that the military system re- 


quired reorganization, and in 1868 the system of reorganization 
elaborated by Marshal Niel became law. By this new system, 
which was, as its predecessor, based upon conscription, the 
forces of the empire were divided into three classes ; the active 
amiy, the reserve, and the National Guard. The service under 
the colours was fixed at five years, after which the soldier was 
to enter the reserve for four years more. Young men who 
were not drawn for the active army were to serve four years in 
the reserve and five in the National Guard. This system was 
inferior to the Prussian, because part of the reserve were not 
trained at all in the regular army, and the service in the ranks 
being five years instead of three, a smaller force of trained men 
could be annually passed into the reserve. Another distinction 
of great importance existed between the two military systems. 
In Prussia no man required for military service could purchase 
a substitute ; in France any one liable to military service, by 
payment to the State of a sum of 2500 francs, was exempted, 
and the State undertook with the money so paid to replace him 
by another soldier. It is doubtful, however, whether the 
fund thus created was judiciously administered, and it is be- 
lieved that the real strength of the French battalions was con- 
siderably inferior to the paper strength on the outbreak of the 
war. Nor was the system as laid down literally carried out, 
for it was objectionable to the people, and in such an excite- 
able and feverish population, it was not advisable to train the 
National Guard to a perfect knowledge of weapons and drill 
The result was, that although the reorganization of 1868 theo- 
retically placed more than 800,000 combatants at the disposal 
of the Emperor, and raised the military forces of France to 
more than 1,200,000* men, the army fit to take the field at 
the commencement of the war mustered barely 400,000 
soldiers. Of these 40,000 were at Cherbourg, preparing to 
embark on the flotilla which had been collected at the northern 
ports; 5,000 were at Rome, 10,000 in Algeria, 35,000 in 

* Active Army, 400,000 men ; Reserve, 430,000 men ; National Guard, 
4oS,ooo men. 


Paris and at Chalons, 10,000 at Lyons, and about 30,000 at 
Marseilles, Toulouse, Rochefort, L*Orient, Bordeaux, Toulon, 
and in hospital. The force which could be sent towards the 
Rhine mustered thus barely 270,000 men. It was divided into 
eight corps and the Guards. 

Against it there were ready to take the field on the German 
side, as soon as the rapid mobilization of the army was com- 
pleted, the twelve corps of the North German Confederation, 
mustering at least 360,000 men, and the armies of Bavaria, 
Wiirtemburg, Darmstadt, and Baden, which were under the 
supreme command of the King of Prussia in virtue of the 
separate treaties concluded after the campaign of 1866, 
raised the field forces of that sovereign to over 500,000 com- 
batants. These were well sustained by an effective and 
organized system of depots and reserves, administered by an 
elastic and proved machinery, and handled by abstemious and 
well-trained officers. An iron discipline knit the Prussian 
soldiery together, previous victories gave entire confidence in 
the leaders, and a high sense of duty and self-denial pervaded 
the ranks. 

In the French army, on the other hand, there was much 
enthusiasm and great gallantry, but discipline had been 
allowed to lapse, the luxurious ideas which a rapid increase 
of wealth had fostered, pervaded some portion of the officers, 
while many of the others, raised from the ranks, were wanting 
in the high military education which alone gives to a leader the 
confidence of his followers, or fits him for the rapid decision 
and quick judgment that are every hour necessary in war. In 
armament the^ French troops were superior to the Prussians, 
for they were provided with the Chassepot rifle, which, with 
the common advantage of being a breech-loading arm, was 
superior in range and accuracy to the needle-gun. The latter 
had been early adopted by the Prussian government, which 
had been averse to incur the inconveniencies of a change oi 
armament, except to secure a very clearly-defined advantage, 
and had apparently underrated the excellence of the Chassepot. 


Still the French advantage in this respect was more than com- 
pensated for by the hurried and excited manner in which the 
French troops, on more than one occasion, handled their 
weapons. On the other hand the Prussian soldier was more 
suitably equipped for European war than the French. Dis- 
carding the cumbrous equipment necessary for the formation 
of camps, or the refinements of cooking, the Prussian troops 
were willing to trust during a campaign to the shelter which 
\'illages nearly always afforded in Western Europe, or, in case 
of necessity, to bivouac in the open air, while a small mess-tin 
carried by each soldier sufficed for his culinary wants. The 
French soldier, on the contrary, was weighed down with tenies 
d'abri^ heavy cooking apparatus, and an enormous kit. These 
were generally useless, frequently lost, always encumbrances ; 
but an army accustomed to African or tropical war clings per- 
tinaciously to the idea of canvas covering, fails to realize the 
different conditions under which campaigns must be conducted 
in Europe, and shudders at the idea of an exposure in war to 
which every true sportsman will willingly consent for pleasure. 
The French army was heavily equipped on the experience of 
Africa, China, and Mexico, and it suffered heavily from this 
cause among others in France. 

The actual declaration of war showed that, nevertheless, the 
men who administered the army and directed the policy of the 
Empire, were of opinion that not only were the French forces 
able to cope with the Prussian in the field, but that they could 
be more rapidly placed upon the theatre of war. 

In September, 1868, an insurrection broke out in the kingdom 
of Spain, which, joined by General Prim and Marshal Serrano, 
quickly developed into a revolution. At the end of that month 
Queen Isabella fled from the country to Biarritz. At the be- 
ginning of October Marshal Serrano entered Madrid at the 
head of the revolutionary army, and a Provisional Government 
was established, and General Prim named commander-in-chief 
of the army. The Provisional Government, in concert with 
the national representatives, decided that a constitutional 


monarchy should be the future form of Spanish government ; 
but there was some difficulty in finding any man eligible to 
become King of Spain who would accept the position, and, 
till such a man could be foimd, Marshal Serrano was elected 
Regent of the Kingdom, with General Prim as his Prime 
Minister. Several proposed monarchs had been named, but 
the throne remained vacant till, in the summer of 1870, Gene- 
ral Prim, in the name of the Spanish Ministry, offered the 
Crown to the amiable and accomplished Prince Leopold of 
HohenzoUem-Sigmaringen, eldest son of the reigning Prince 
of Hohenzollem, who had in 1849 surrendered his sovereign 
rights to the King of Prussia. This Prince, who had married 
in 1 86 1 the sister of the King of Portugd, was in his thirty- 
sixth year, and a Roman Catholic by religion. He accepted 
the offer of the Crown, subject to the approval of the Cortes, 
which was certain. The news of this acceptance was published 
in Paris on the 5th July, and the greatest excitement arose, as 
the nomination of Prince Leopold was there held to be the 
handiwork of Count von Bismarck, who contemplated to create 
in Spain a Prussian dependency which should threaten France 
from the south of the P)n:enees. French ministers declared in the 
Chambers that France could not tolerate such a result to nego- 
tiations which they said had been kept secret from the Emperor 
of the French, and seemed by their expressions to have already 
made up their minds to war. It may be correctly true that 
the negotiations with Prince Leopold were not officially notified 
by the Spanish Government to the Emperor Napoleon ; but it 
is known that the French ambassador at Madrid had known of 
the probable election of this Prince for many months, and that 
the surprise which the French Government professed on the 
arrival of the official intimation was at the least disingenuous, 
or due to the neglect of their own agent The public mind in 
Paris, which had been secretly for a long time eager for war 
with Prussia, was only too glad to seize upon the Hohenzollem 
question and to urge the Imperial Government to hostilities ; 
but the King of Prussia would not involve Europe in war for 


the sake of a family question ; and by his influence, it is said, 
as head of the HohenzoUern family, and through the inter- 
vention of England, the candidature of Prince Leopold for the 
Spanish Crown was withdrawn, first by the Prince's father, and 
afterwards by himself The danger of war seemed averted ; 
but the desire for war ran high at Paris, and M. Benedetti, the 
French ambassador at Berlin, was directed to wait upon the 
King of Prussia, who was then at Ems, and obtain from him a 
pledge that his Majesty would never at any future time accede 
to the candidature of the Prince. This the King refused to 
give, as he naturally reserved to himself freedom of action 
under future circumstances. The French ambassador being 
desirous of a further interview, the King sent an aide-de-camp 
to tell him that he could add nothing to what he had already 
said, and for further discussion referred him to Cmmt von 
Bismarck. M. Benedetti naturally telegraphed the result of 
this interview to his own Government By the French Govern- 
ment the result of this interview was seized upon as an insult 
offered by the King of Prussia to the French ambassador, 
although the ambassador was ignorant himself of any insult. 
The news was published in Paris, and the war excitement rose 
to frenzy. The King of Prussia, on the other hand, tele- 
graphed to Count von Bismarck the account of the interview 
at Ems, who seemed quite ready to accept the French chal- 
lenge, for he viewed the action of M. Benedetti as an insult to 
the King of Prussia; as such it was announced in Berlin. The 
mind of Germany was deeply incensed.* 

The interview at Ems took place on the 13th July. On the 
morning of the 14th a cabinet council was held at St Cloud 
under the presidency of the Emperor, and the tw^o Chambers 
expected a communication. None was however made; but 
on the 15 th July a declaration was made in the Corps L^gis- 
latif and Senate simultaneously of war against Prussia, which 
was rapturously applauded in both houses. 

• The Franco- Prussian War, edited by Captain H. M. Hozier, where 
full deUdls of these various incidents will be found. 


The same day the King of Prussia travelling from Ems was 
met by the Crown Prince at Brandenburg. They travelled 
together to Berlin, where they were met at the railway station 
by Herr von Thile, the Under Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs, with the telegraphed account of the speech made that 
day by M. Olivier, the French Prime Minister, in the Cham- 
bers at Paris. The King, on reading the telegram, issued 
orders to General von Roon and General von Moltke, who 
had also come to receive his Majesty, that the whole army of 
the North German Confederation should be at once mobihzed. 
These officers drove direct from the station to their offices, 
and that night orders for mobilization were telegraphed to 
every part of the country. From the frontiers of Belgium to 
the Vistula, from the Baltic to the mountains of Silesia, that 
night the summons was sent out, and early next day the 
reserve and Landwehr men of Prussia were swarming to join 
their ranks. At the same time continuous trains of troops 
were hurrpng towards Lorraine and Alsatia from all parts of 
France ; troops were being conveyed from Algeria, and within 
a few days the French army, available to take the field, was in 
the vicinity of Metz and Strasburg. 

The French Government at the outbreak of the campaign 
had apparently hopes that some of the States of South Ger- 
many would separate from Prussia and join with France in the 
war. These hopes were speedily disappointed, for the whole 
of the German Powers rallied round Prussia, and so perfect was 
the machinery of mobilization and the railway transport of 
troops, that in twenty days more than 500,000 men were 
close down to the French frontier, and ready to advance to 
battle. The 7th and 8th corps were already on the fi-ontier in 
a little more than ten days, and the 3rd corps was flilly 
equipped, completed, and ready to move in eight days. 

During the twenty days which the German armies required 
to mobilize the French lost all advantage which the hasty 
declaration of war ought to have given. The army, instead of 
having been ready before the declaration of war, was unpre- 


pared to advance, and instead of dashing boldly into Germany, 
disturbing the mobilization of the various corps, and, perhaps, 
subduing the South before the North could come to its aid, 
lay inactive on the frontier, with detachments scattered from 
Thionville and Sierk to Belfort, with strong reserves at Metz. 
Had the war between France and Germany taken place before 
the events of 1866, their remissness might have not cost the 
French so dear ; but the consolidation of the North German 
Confederation and the command-in-chief of the other German 
araiies, which was vested in the King of Prussia, allowed the 
mobilization of the whole German armies to be immediately 
undertaken without any of the diplomatic negotiations which 
would have been necessary before 1866. 

In the first week of July the German armies concentrated 
On the right was General Steinmetz with the ist Army in the 
direction of Birkenfeld: this army was composed of the ist, 
7th, and 8th Prussian corps. In the centre was Prince Fre- 
derick Charles with the 2nd Army, composed of the 2nd, 3rd, 
4th, 9th, loth corps, and the corps of the Prussian Guards, in 
the neighbourhood of Kaiserslautem. This Prince had also 
under his command the 12th, or Saxon corps. On the left 
was the Crown Prince with the two Bavarian corps, the Wiir- 
temburg division, the Baden division, and the 5th and nth 
Prussian corps in the neighbourhood of Speyer. The 6th 
corps was also moving up from Silesia to join the 3rd Army. 
It showed excellent taste and tact on the part of the advisers 
of the King of Prussia to counsel the Commander-in-Chief of 
the whole German forces to place the amiable, popular, and 
competent Crown Prince in command of the army in which 
the South German troops were enrolled. 

The Prussian plan of the campaign was that the three 
annies should advance simultaneously in a south-easterly 
direction; the Crown Prince marching to the east of the 
Vosges mountains, the other two armies to the west of them. 
If the French army concentrated to hold the Vosges against 
the Crown Prince, the ist and 2nd Armies would threaten its 


position in flank and rear; if, on the other hand, it concen- 
trated against the ist and 2nd Armies, the Crown Prince, 
bearing to his right, and pushing through the Vosges, would 
in his turn threaten his flank and rear. As the Crown Prince 
was to be engaged in a difficult and mountainous country, his 
army was accompanied only by one cavalry division in addition 
to the regiments of cavalry attached to infantry divisions. The 
other divisions of cavalry were attached to Prince Frederic 
Charles and General Steinmetz. 
y On the 3rd JlrtJ^fthe general Prussian advance commenced. 
•^ On the 4th, the French corps which occupied St. Avoid, a 
small town on the road from Metz to the frontier line of the 
Saar at Saarbruck, made a movement towards the latter place. 
The Emperor and the Prince Imperial were present, and the 
French soldiery thought that the advance had at last really 
begun, and that they were upon the high road to Berlin. The 
movement was not, however, pushed ; the supplies and pro- 
visions necessary for a campaign were not yet even collected in 
the rear of the army, and no proper system of issuing them to the 
troops, if the latter advanced, was yet in working order; 
the most necessary articles of field equipment were in some 
cases wanting, for the centralized system of military adminis- 
tration, which was the bane of the French army, prevented 
any rapid distribution of stores at the outbreak of a war. The 
French corps which advanced from St Avoid did not even 
cross the frontier in force, but confined itself to throwing some 
shells into the town of Saarbruck, and occupying the strong 
position of the heights of Spicheren, in front of Forbach. 

Meanwhile, the German troops were swiftly, though silently, 
drawing down to the frontier, and in the early morning of the 
6th the Crown Prince had massed his forces which he had 
marched from Landau by way of Schweighofen behind the 
dark woods that lie north of Weissenburg. Thence, soon 
after daybreak, he sprang upon the unsuspecting troops of 
General Douay, which formed the advanced guard of the 
corps of Marshal Macmahon, and drove them back with great 


loss on the main body at Worth. The same day the right division 
of the army of Prince Frederick Charies, who advanced by 
Homburg and Zweibriicken, together with the left division of 
General Steinmetz, stormed the heights of Spicheren, and 
drove the French occupants of that position in full retreat 
towards Metz. 

On the 8th July, the Crown Prince, having marched by way 
of Sulz sous For^ts, came upon Marshal Macmahon at Worth, 
and after a severe battle there, in which the French leader 
showed great tactical resource, overthrew him completely, and 
the marshal retreated in great disorder on Nancy. 

The battle of Worth virtually decided the campaign. The 
heir to the crown of Prussia there tore from the brows of the 
French army those laurels which a too credulous world had too 
uncritically accorded to it, and proved beyond doubt, that the 
army of France, however much animated with enthusiasm and 
gallantry, was unable to withstand the stem onset of the 
soldiery of Germany, directed with judgment and conducted 
with skill. 

Three days after the battle of Worth, the general advance of 
the German armies was continued. General Steinmetz moved 
by St Avoid, Prince Frederick Charles by way of Saar Union, 
and the Crown Prince by Merzweiler, Ingweiler, and Saarburg. 
At tfiis place the right of the army of the Crown Prince united 
with the left of that of Prince Frederick Charles, and the 
strategical junction of the German armies on French soil was 

General Steinmetz then moved upon Metz, Prince Frederick 
Charles on Pont-k-Mousson, and the Crown Prince on Nancy, 
On the 14th, General Steinmetz came up with the French rear- 
guard at Courcelles, and after a sharp action at that place 
forced it to seek shelter under the guns and within the out- 
works of the fortress of Metz. At the same time, Prince 
Frederick Charles threw bridges over the Moselle ai Pont-k- 
Mousson, Novdant, and Corny. 

On the 1 5 thy he crossed the Moselle, and, with the heads of 


the 3rd (Alvensieben) and loth (Voigt Rhetz) corps, occupied 
Gorze and Nov^nt. 

On the i6thy the Crown Prince reached Nancy, and halted 
there, having detached a force to invest and besiege the fortress 
of Strasburg.* General Steinmetz was in front of Metz, on the 
eastern side. Marshal Bazaine, who commanded the whole 
French army which ' had been assembled, partly by design, 
partly by force of circumstance, within the forts of Metz, de- 
signed to move from that fortress with all his available strength 
towards Chilons. It was believed in the German camp that the 
French retreat had commenced on the previous day, and that 
some of the French army had already got beyond the striking dis- 
tance of Prince Frederick Charles. On the morning of the i6th, 
however, when the head of the 3rd Prussian corps debouched 
from the defile of Gorze on the elevated plateau, which to the 
west of Metz rises above the valley of the Moselle, with the in- 
tention of pursuing or attacking in flank the retreating French, it 
found the whole of Marshal Bazaine's army marching in retreat 
from Metz towards Vionville, and that the heads of its columns 
had not yet reached that place. General Stulpnagel, who com- 
manded the leading Prussian division, immediately engaged 
the army of Marshal Bazaine ; he wa§ supported by the 6th 
division, which was following him, and these two divisions 
checked the whole French army, until Prince Frederick 
Charles brought up the loth corps to their aid. The Prince 
threw the loth corps across the road by which the French 
sought to retreat, and all through the long summer day a 
terrific battle was fought near Vionville. The French leader 
made one desperate attempt after another to break through ; 
but the Prussian soldiers, though suffering frightful loss, sternly 
stood their ground, and at nightfall the Germans still held the 
road from Metz to Mars-la-Tour, and the French marshal was 
forced to fall back on Gravelotte. The remaining corps of 
Prince Frederick Charles were too far to the south to allow of 

* The Baden Division, and the division of Landwehr of the Guard. 


their taking part in the battle of the i6th; but two German 
corps, with two divisions of cavalry, which were aided late in 
the evening by one division from General Steinmetz, held their 
ground against the 180,000 men that were marching under 
Marshal Bazaine. 

On the 17 th, the whole of the army of Prince Frederick 
Charles came up, and the bulk of the army of Steinmetz. The 
Gemian troops took up a position extending from the head 
of the Gorze defile to St Marie aux Chines, and the King 
of Prussia arrived upon the field. Marshal Bazaine, after 
falling back on Gravelotte on the i6th, took up a strong 
position there, which on the 17th he partly entrenched. Here 
on the 1 8th he was attacked by the German army, and after a 
bloody battle was wholly cut off from the northern road to 
Verdun, and driven into Metz. 

The army of Prince Frederick Charles, under whose orders 
General Steinmetz was now placed, immediately invested the 
fortress and the army within it ; and in spite of bad weather, 
sickness, hardship, and numerous sorties, prevented the enemy 
from breaking out until the fortress and army capitulated on 
the 28th October. 

Aftef the battle of Worth, the disorganized remains of the 
French troops which had been there defeated retreated in 
confusion to Chilons. Here they were reorganized as rapidly 
as possible by Marshal Macmahon, and were reinforced by all 
the levies which could be hurried up to their aid. The Em- 
peror in person, after leaving Metz, also retired to Chalons by 
way of Verdun. Counsel was then taken in the French camp, 
and it seems to have been decided that for military reasons 
the anny should retreat upon Paris. But political circum- 
stances would not permit the adoption of this course. On the 
departure of the Emperor Napoleon for the war, the Empress 
had been nominated Regent, and after the first disasters of the 
campaign a cabinet had been formed, of which Count de Palikao 
was president This cabinet did not venture to allow the Em- 
peror to return to Paris except as victorious ; for popular feeling 

e 2 


was running high, and a revolution might at any moment be 
provoked. It was, therefore, underpressure of political circum- 
stances, determined that the army at ChMons should make a 
movement by way of Rheims, M^ziferes, and Sedan, with the 
object of reaching Metz by way of Thionville, and of aiding 
the escape of Marshal Bazaine from the toils cast around him 
by Prince Frederick Charles. With many raw troops, and an 
improvised transport, this was a desperate cast ; but the tardi- 
ness of French movements was not then appreciated, the 
rapidity of Prussian marching not yet thoroughly recognized, 
and the stake to be won by success possibly justified the 
hazard of the venture. 

On the other side, as soon as the army of Marshal Bazaine 
was securely invested in Metz by the army of Prince Frederick 
Charles, the Crown Prince advanced in pursuit of Macmahon 
towards Chilons, from Nancy, by way of Vaucoureurs and 
Ligny. Avoiding the fortress of Toul, he left a force to 
besiege it. When the Crown Prince reached I^igny, the King 
arrived at Bar-le-Duc. Here it was ascertained by the advanced 
cavalry of the Crown Prince, chiefly through the medium of 
captured letters, that Marshal Macmahon was making a move- 
ment from Chilons and Rheims, to gain the northern .line of 
railway by M^zibres and Sedan in order to relieve Marshal 

The direction of march which had been ordered for St. 
Dizier was immediately altered, and the Crown Prince began 
to move by St. M^n^ould and Grand Pr^ on Sedan, with the 
view of there falling upon the flank of the marching columns of 
the French marshal. 

When Metz was invested, the and, 4th, 5th, and 6th divi- 
sions of cavalry were detached from the army of Prince Fre- 
derick Charles, and attached to that of the Crown Prince. Now 
the Guards, the Saxon corps, and the 4th corps were also 
detached from the 2nd army, and formed into a fourth army, 
which was placed under the command of the Crown Prince on 
Saxony, and ordered to move from Metz by way of Verdun 


on Sedan, in order to head the French columns and check 
their advance into Lorraine. 

These movements brought on the battle of Sedan. On the 
30th of August the Crown Prince of Saxony, moving down 
the rig^t bank of the Meuse, surprised the French at Mouzon 
and drove them back; for the French army, instead of making 
forced marches of about twenty miles a day, on account of 
want of discipline among the new levies and the failure of 
transport arrangements, was only able to make about six. On 
the same day the Crown Prince also engaged the heads of 
Marshal Macmahon's columns at Beaumont and Donchery, 
and drove them in. 

The French retired upon Sedan, and took up a position 
resting on that fortress, with their front upon the Meuse, and 
their flanks refused towards the Belgian frontier. It was anti- 
cipated in the German camp that they might possibly retreat 
into Belgian territory. Accordingly, Count von Bismarck sent 
a communication to the Belgian government to say, that if the 
French crossed the frontier and were not disarmed, the German 
troops would be forced to follow ; but the Belgian army had 
been already placed on a war footing, and with detachments 
was watching the frontier. These disarmed and made prisoner 
any isolated bodies which either purposely or accidentally 
entered armed upon Belgian soil. 

On the ist September the armies of the Crown Princes of 
Prassia and Saxony attacked, under the eyes of the King of 
Prussia, the position which the French had taken up at Sedan. 
The army of the Crown Prince of Saxony, crossing the Meuse 
by bridges which it threw during the previous night, extended 
its right towards the Belgian frontier, and drove in the French 
left The Bavarian corps of the army of the Crown Prince 
of Prussia assailed the French centre at Bazeilles, while the 
Crown Prince, pushing the 5th and nth corps across the Meuse 
lower down the stream, not only drove in the French right, but 
extended his own flank so far as to touch the flank of the 
Guards who formed the right of the Saxon battle, surrounded 


the French completely, and entirely cut ofif their retreat from 
Belgium. At the very commencement of the battle Marshal 
Macmahon was severely wounded, and the command devolved 
upon General Wimpfen, who had only just arrived on the 
theatre of war. All day the battle raged, the French foxight 
gallantly — even desperately \ but, pressed upon by the better- 
disciplined legions of Germany, they were pushed closer and 
closer to the ramparts of Sedan, while their adversaries gained 
a firm footing on all the heights which command and overlook 
the basin in which the fortress is situated. At last, hemmed in, 
surrounded, and exposed to the commanding fire of a numerous 
and superior artillery, no resource was left to the French army 
l?ut capitulation. A general of the Emperor's staff was sent 
to the King of Prussia to propose terms for the army, and at 
the same time the Emperor wrote a letter to the King, and 
proposed to surrender his sword. The terms announced were 
the unconditional surrender of the army and the fortress; but 
the officers were allowed to retain their swords, and to give their 
parole not to serve against Germany during the war. These 
terms were agreed to next day, and the whole French army 
was marched prisoner to Germany. 

On the 2nd September the Emperor had an interview with 
the King of Prussia and the Crown Prince, after which he went 
by way of Belgium to the chateau of Wilhelmshohe, near 
Cassel, where he remained a prisoner on parole imtil the ter- 
mination of the war. 

After the halt of a few days, necessary for the completion of 
arrangements at Sedan, the armies of the Crown Princes, that 
of Prussia on the left and of Saxony on the right, marched for 
Paris by way of Attigny, Reims, Montmirail, and Coulom- 
miers. There was no French army worthy of mention now in 
the field. Bazaine was invested with the bulk of the army <rf 
the Rhine in Metz; the Emperor and Macmahon were prisoners 
on the road to Germany. The few troops who escaped from 
the general catastrophe at Sedan, or had been on the way to 
reinforce Marshal Macmahon, were hurried back to Paris to 


man the defences of the capital, which the cabinet had ahready 
taken vigorous measures to provision. 

As soon as the news of the capture of the Emperor and his 
army became known at Paris, revolution broke out It might 
have been more prudent had the French nation deferred a 
change of government which must necessarily delay the pro- 
gress of public business. It was not so. The change was 
made in the very face of the enemy. M. Gambetta and M. 
Jules Favre proclaimed the Republic in the Corps L^gislati£ 
The excited population, as if eager to drown the sense of 
national calamity in the storm of domestic politics, shouted 
rapturous applause. The imperial government was dissolved : 
the members of the cabinet fled the country, and the Empress, 
hastily escaping from the palace of the Tuileries into which the 
mob broke, reached a sea-port, and was conveyed to England 
in the yacht of an English private gendeman. 

As there was no foe in the field to encounter, the German 
araiies marched straight upon the capital At Coulonmiiers 
they separated, that of the Crown Prince of Saxony moving 
towards the north-east of Paris, that of the Prince of Prussia 
towards the south-west The latter approached Versailles on 
the 19th September, encountered the garrison of the city that 
day at the strengthened posts of Villejuif, Chatillon, Plessis- 
Piquet, and Clamart, and after a tolerably sharp action drove 
it under the forts which surround the enceinte. 

The 3rd and 4th armies then invested Paris, and encircled 
the city of luxury and light within a band of iron and of fire, 
which was not relaxed until the forts and guns of the defenders 
were surrendered to Prussian custody. 

On the instalment of the Republic in Paris, M. Gambetta was 
appointed Minister of War, and General Trochu Governor of 
the city. Every exertion was made to raise armies to resist 
the invader, and if possible to drive him from French soil, and 
the republican leaders were not lacking in energy. A large 
force was raised within the city, which at the termination of 
the siege mustered over 350,000 combatants. Conscripts were 


raised, arms and ammunition imported from abroad, clothing 
and stores purchased, and an army rapidly collected in the 
south-west, which obtained the name of the Army of the Loire. 
On the 19th of October the army in Paris was so far equipped 
and organised that General Trochu attempted to make a sortie 
and sally out of Paris ; but the troops of the Crown Prince 
drove him back, and the siege continued. The Prussians at 
first did not attempt any active operations, but were content 
with strongly entrenching themselves, and trusting to hunger 
to enforce the capitulation of the place. 

Early in November the French Army of the Loire had 
gained some consistency, and on the 9th of that month its van- 
guard drove the Bavarians, who had been sent to observe it, out 
of the city of Orleans. These fell back and took up a 
position in the vicinity of Toury ; but had General d'Aurelles 
de Paladine, who commanded the French army, been in a posi- 
tion to immediately follow up his success, he might have raised 
the siege of Paris, as the Crown Prince would have had to call 
his troops together in order to oppose a French advance from 
the south. But the troops of the French general were too 
raw, and he was forced to wait in Orleans, where he threw up 
strong intrenchments, to organize them. He thus lost his 

Towards the end of October Metz capitulated, and the 
army- of Marshal Bazaine was made prisoner. The army of 
Prince Frederick Charles was thus released for active service 
in the field His army was divided: the ist, 7th, and 8th 
corps were placed under the command of General Manteuffel, 
and sent to the north of France to repulse and break up 
French troops, which were being raised under cover of the 
various fortresses. Prince Frederick Charles himself, with the 
3rd, 9th, and loth corps, moved rapidly fix)m Metz by way of 
Fontainebleau towards Toury, and, joining the Duke of Meck- 
lenburg, who commanded at that place, formed a screen 
between the Prussian armies round Paris and the Army of the 


At first Prince Frederick Charies was retained in observa- 
tion ; but the King decided towards the end of November that 
he should assume the oflfensive and advance upon Orleans. 
At the same time the French leaders came to a similar deter- 
minatioa M. Gambetta ordered General d'Aurelles de Pala- 
dine, who had now collected an army of 180,000 men, to 
advance upon Paris, and at the same time the garrison of Paris 
made a vigorous sortie towards the south. This sortie, which 
was at first partially successful, was subsequently repulsed with 
great loss, and all hopes of communicating with the Army of 
the Loire from Paris had to be abandoned. The failure of 
this sortie was not, however, known to General de Paladine ; 
on the contrary, he believed that the Paris garrison had burst 
through the investing line, and he hastened to its assistance. 
On the 28th November he moved a considerable force from 
his right flank on the village of Beaune-la-Rolande, where he 
fell upon the left flank of Prince Frederick Charles. The 
Hanoverians, who formed the garrison of Beaune, were for 
some time severely pressed, and at one period almost sur- 
rounded. They held firm, however, in the town, and repeated 
efforts on the part of the French storming-columns failed to 
carry the houses. In the afternoon Prince Frederick Charles 
himself came up with the 3rd corps to their aid ; the French 
assailants of the town were taken in flank and reverse, and 
although they were commanded by General Bourbaki, were 
driven off* with loss. 

After his feilure to penetrate the Prussian position at Beaune- 
la-Rolande, General de Paladine transferred the bulk of his 
army during the next few days to his left flank, and attempted, 
on the I St December to advance by the main road from 
Orleans to Paris by way of Toury. A little to the north of 
Arthenay his advanced guard fell in with the corps of the Duke 
of Mecklenburg, and a severe action took place. Prince Fre- 
derick Charles also moved in this direction, and the whole 
forces of the two armies became engaged in front of Orleans. 
The French were everywhere pressed back, their entrench- 


ments were stormed with the loss of many guns, and, after 
several days' fighting, Orleans was occupied by the Prussians 
on the 4th December. 

The broken army of General de Paladine retired partly to 
the south and partly down the Loire. The columns which 
followed the latter route were under the command of General 
Chanzy, who stood to fight, and sustained for three days 
severe conflicts round Beaugency. He then retired towards 
Le Mans : the army of the Loire was dispersed, and, the 
covering army of Prince Frederick Charles took up a position 
around Orleans. 

While these events were taking place on the south-west of 
Paris, Prussian generals on the other hand occupied Amiens, 
and had repulsed the French troops in that direction. The 
sieges of fortresses in Alsace were being prosecuted, and many 
had surrendered. Prussian forces were also pushed towards 
Dijon to watch some hostile masses which were gathering in 
that direction. 

The investment of Paris was steadily maintained, and pre- 
parations made for more active measures. Batteries were dug 
and armed, ammunition and ordnance brought up, and at the 
end of December a bombardment of the forts and city com- 

Shortly afterwards the French armies of the provinces made 
another and a final attempt to relieve the metropolis. General 
Chanzy advanced firom Le Mans, at the same time as General 
Bourbaki, moving rapidly towards the fortress of Belfort in 
Upper Alsatia, which was being besieged by a Prussian con- 
tingent, appeared to desire to raise the siege of that place, and 
then to strike against the great line of the Prussian communi- 
cations with Germany. 

At the same time as General Chanzy advanced fi-om Le 
Mans, Prince Frederick Charles moved from Orleans with the 
intention of attacking him at Le Mans. The heads of the two 
armies, moving in opposite directions, came into collision 
accidentally at Vendome. The French were defeated, and 


were pushed back, fighting hard, however, as they retreated. 
After five days, however, of constant battle, they were pushed 
through Le Mans, and that important strategical point captured 
with laige supplies of food, anns, ammunition, rolling-stock, 
artillery, and many prisoners. 

The battle of Le Mans decided the fate of Paris. Provisions 
had already been getting very short, and the bombardment, 
although it did not appear to do much damage to the works, 
harassed the garrison. It was perceived that assistance fi'om 
without could no longer be hoped for ; for Bourbaki had been 
headed towards Belfort and defeated by General Werder, and 
General Manteuffel hurried across France to &11 upon his flank. 
The greater part of the army of General Bourbaki was driven 
across the Swiss ironder and disarmed, after having suffered 
many privations and hardships. One more sortie was indeed 
made by the garrison of Paris, but more apparently with the 
idea of demonstrating the inutility of further resistance than 
with any serious ideas of success. On the 27th January an 
armistice was agreed to, which was prolonged in February, and 
ultimately led to the peace signed between Prussia and France 
at Frankfort in May, 187 1. 

A short time before the conclusion of hostilities a most 
important event in the history of the world took place at 
Versailles. The battle of Sedan was the comer-stone of Ger- 
man imity. After that victory diplomatic negotiations were 
entered into between the Southern States and Prussia, which 
resulted in the entrance of the former into the North-German 
Confederation. But it was necessary for the solidity and 
stability of this augmented fabric, that some guide and supe- 
rior should be raised who should stand before the world as the 
avowed and recognised head of the amalgamated German nation. 
Who could be so fit to sustain so august a post as the warrior- 
king — the Commander-in-Chief of the German forces, who had 
led those forces firom victory to victory over the enemy of Ger- 
man unity ? and where could his inauguration to the restored 
and emblazoned dignity of Emperor of Germany be so well 


conducted as in the palace associated with the memory of the 
rape of Strasburg and the commencement of a settled French 
interference in Germany ? 

On the 2ist January, 1871, King William of Prussia was 
proclaimed Emperor of Germany in the palace of Versailles, 
amid the cheers of the assembled German chieftains, and 
within the sound of the guns engaged in the bombardment of 

This event was hailed throughout Germany as of equal im- 
portance with the result of the war, and well it might be, for it 
was the most certain guarantee of the future independence of 
Germany. It is possible that France may again rise to a high 
military position ; the enthusiasm and gallantry of her soldiery 
may again carry her colours to her old frontier; she may become 
more powerful in arms than her late rival, and may even tear 
from Germany the left bank of the Rhine. This may be pos- 
sible j but it is impossible that she ever again will be able to 
exert that ascendancy and interference in the internal affairs of 
the country which was more galling to the proud Germanic 
people than loss of provinces or disastrous defeats. From that 
the declaration of the Empire of United Germany has saved 
Germany for ever, and that declaration could not have been 
made in 187 1 but for the war which occurred in 1866. 

Le»dm * Cimin4trr Jk^ 

••••••• . • • • 

. • • • 

• • •• 




** Who cares with foemen when we deal. 
If craft or courage guide the steel ? '* — CONINGTON. 

Although the animosity between Prussia and Austria which 
led to the outbreak of hostilities in 1866 had been the gradual 
growth of many years, the immediate causes of collision were 
the consequences of the war waged by Germany against Den- 1 
mark in 1864. The results of this contest were embodied in J 
the Treaty of Vienna of that year, by which King Christian of 
Denmark surrendered all his rights to the Elbe duchies of 
Schleswig and Holstein, and the duchy of Lauenburg, in favour 
of the Emperor of Austria and of the King of Prussia.* 

The Danish war had been undertaken in the first instance 
by the Germanic Confederation, in consequence of a decree of 
Federal execution against the King of Denmark as Duke of 
Holstein, and, in virtue of that duchy, a prince and member of 
the Confederation. The Diet which passed this decree had 
intended that the execution should be carried out by amalga- 
mated detachments of such troops of all the States included in 
the Confederation as might be determined by the Diet Some 
of these troops actually marched into Holstein. But the occu- 
pation of the Elbe duchies by troops of the Confederation, and 
the consequent establishment of these districts as an inde- 

* For translation of Treaty of Vienna of 30th October, 1864, see 
Appendix I. 


• • • • • . 

• • • • . • 



>"••••»• •• •••••• • 



pendent State, would not have suited the political purposes of 
Prussia. The object of this Power was not so much to free 
Holstein from the dominion of the Dane as to secure the 
harbour of Kiel for the new fleet which was to be formed in 
order to carry the black eagle of Braftdenbuig into a forward 
place among the naval ensigns of the world : but the Diet was 
determined to carry out the execution j and, if the troops of 
the Federal powers were once allowed to declare Schleswig- 
Holstein independent, the subjection of the duchies to the 
domination of Prussia would require a display of force and a 
violation of public opinion for which Count Bismark did not 
at that time consider himself strong enough. To annex an 
independent community, established under the auspices of the 
Diet, with a popular and chosen prince, would have roused all 
Germany. The policy of the Cabinet of Berlin demanded that 
Schleswig-Holstein should not become independent yet. 

Prussia was not, however, sufficiently confident in her strength 

I to set aside at this time, with her own hand alone, the decrees 
of the Diet To have done so would have raised a storm 

. against which she had no reason to suppose that she could 

* successfully bear up. England was excited, and the warlike 
people of that country eager to rush to arms in the cause of the 
father of the young Princess of Wales. France was discon- 
tented with the insolence of the English Cabinet, but might 
have accepted a balm for her wounded pride in a free permis- 
sion to push her frontier up to the Rhine. Austria would have 

/ opposed the aggrandizement of Prussia, and all Germany would 
have at that time supported the great Power of the South in the 
battle for the liberation of Holstein from the supremacy of the 
Hohenzollems as eagerly as fi-om that of the House of Den- 

\mark. The independence of Holstein, which could not be 
opposed by open force, had to be thwarted by stratagem. 
Prussia sought the alliance of Austria with a proposal that 
those two great Powers should constitute themselves the 
executors of the Federal decree, and put aside the troops of 
the minor States. Austria agreed, and rues at this hour the 
signature of that convention. Yet she had much cause of 
excuse. To allow Prussia to step forward alone as the 
champion of German national feeling would have been for 

Chap. I.] SEVExV WEEKS' WAR, 3 

Austria to resign for ever the supremacy of Germany into the 
hands of her rival. Old traditions, chivalrous feeling, and 
inherited memories, caused Austrians to look upon their Em- 
I)eror as the head of Germany, the modem representative of j 
the elected tenant of the Holy Roman Empire's crown and / 
sceptre. Prussia was rapidly approaching to that supremacy with J 
gigantic strides. Austria was already reduced to the position 
of being the advocate of German division and of small States, 
purely because amalgamation and union would have drawn the 
scattered particles not towards herself, but within the boundaries 
of her northern neighbour. To permit Prussia to act alone in 
the matter of the Elbe duchies would have been to see her 
certainly obtain an important territorial aggrandizement, and 
also to lose the opportunity of creating another independent 
minor German State, which, if not a source of strength to 
Austria, might be a slight obstacle in the path of Prussia. 

The war against Denmark was undertaken. The Danes, 
terribly inferior in numbers, organization, equipment, arma- 
ment, and wealth, after a most gallant resistance, lost their last 
strongholds ; while a Western Power, which had certainly by 
insinuations, if not by facts or words, encouraged the Cabinet 
of Copenhagen into the delusion that other soldiers than Danes 
would be opposed to the German invaders of Schleswig, calmly 
looked on, and sacrificed in a few weeks the reputation which, 
fortuitously won on the plains of Belgium, had lived through 
half a century. The Danish war temiinated in the treaty 
signed at Vienna on the 30th October, 1864, and the duchies 
of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg were handed over to the 
sovereigns of Austria and Prussia. 

At this time the troops of Hanover and Saxony, which had 

been ordered by the Diet to carry out the decree of Federal 

execudon against the King of Denmark, were in Holstein. The 

next step in the policy of the great German Powers was to rid 

the Duchies of their presence. On the 29th November, 1864, 

Austria and Prussia laid the treaty of peace with Denmark 

before the Germanic Diet, and proposed that, since the decree 

of Federal execution had been carried out, the presence of the 

Hanoverians and Saxons was no longer necessary in the duchies, 

and that both the troops and Civil Commissioners of these 

B 2 

4 SEVE.V WEEKS' WAR, [Book I. 

States should be required to vacate their position. This motion 
was opposed by the representative of Bavaria, and was negatived 
by a majority of one vote. On the 30th November, however, 
the representative of Prussia announced in the Diet that the 
claims of the Prince of Augustenburg to the duchies would be 
settled by treaties between Austria and Prussia, and that these 
two Powers would enter into negotiations with the pretender 
on the subject, but that, in the meantime, the Saxons and 
Hanoverians must retire from the disputed ground, and that 
notes had been sent by the Cabinet of Berlin to Dresden and 
Hanover, to demand the withdrawal of the contingents of those 
States. The representative of Hanover declared that his 
government was ready to withdraw its troops : the deputy of 
Saxony appealed to the decision of the Diet On the 5 th 
December, 1864, the Diet passed the motion proposed by 
Austria and Prussia, in opposition to a protest from the 
Bavarian representative. In consequence the troops and Civil 
Commissioners of Hanover and Saxony were recalled from the 
duchies by their respective Courts, and Austria and Prussia 
took upon themselves the military and civil administration of 
I Schleswig-Holstein. 

Prussia stationed in the duchies six regiments of infantry, 
two of cavalry, and three batteries of artillery. Austria left 
there only the brigade Kalik, which was composed of two 
regiments of infantry, one battalion of rifles, two squadrons of 
cavalry, and one battery of artiUery.* 

The Austrian Government appointed Herr Von Lederer as 
Civil Commissioner, who was shortly afterwards recalled to 
Vienna, and replaced by Herr Von Hahlhuber. The Prussian 
Civil Commissioner was Herr Von Zedlitz. The Hanoverian 
and Saxon Commissioners gave over the government of the 
duchies to the Commissioners of the great Powers on the 5 th 
of December, who immediately entered upon their duties, and 
established the seat of government at Schleswig. The expulsion 
of the Civil Commissioners of the minor States, from the Elbe 
duchies was the last act of the Schleswig-Holstein drama in 

* The strength of the forces left would thus amount to about 12,000 
Prussians and 5,200 Austrians, as troops left here were maintained oa a 
peace establishment 


which Austria co-operated with Prussia. From this time she^ 
drew near again to the smaller States, which were now em- 
bittered against Prussia, 

The administration of the duchies by the great Powers was 
openly announced as only a temporary measure, and was re- 
garded in this light by the whole world. Austria wished to give^ ^, 
up what she considered only a temporary trusteeship as soon as a^ 
possible, and proposed to place the Duke of Augustenburg pro- 
visionally at the head of the duchies, while the rival claims of 
the Houses of Augustenburg and Oldenburg to permanent 
occupation should be investigated. In Prussia, however, mean- 
w^hile the lust for increase of territory had been developed. It 
was discovered that the House of Brandenburg had itself claims ' 
to succession. In a despatch of the 13th December, Count 
Bismark informed the Austrian Cabinet that Prussia could not 
accept the proposal to place the Prince of Augustenburg at the 
head of the duchies j and that such an act would forestall the 
claims of other pretendants, and would be viewed with disfavour 
by the Courts of Oldenburg, Hanover, and Russia \ that an j 
annexation of the duchies to Prussia could not indeed be carried 
out without the concurrence of Austria, but that such a step 
would be very advantageous to the interests of Gennany in 
general, and would not be antagonistic to those of Austria in 
particular; while Prussia's geographical position made it her 
special duty to insure the duchies against the recurrence of 
revolutionary disturbances. In this despatch the Cabinet of 
Berlin also proposed that in furtherance of this scheme the 
military organization of the duchies should be assimilated to 
that of Prussia, and that their maritime population should be 
made available for recruiting the Prussian marines and navy. 

By a despatch of the 21st December Count Mensdorf, the 
Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, answered the above des- 
patch from BerUn, and said that Austria had undertaken the 
solution of the question in the interests of Germany ; that the 
Austrian Cabinet was upon as friendly a footing with the Courts 
oi Oldenburg, Hanover, and Russia, as was that of Prussia ; 
that Hanover made no definite claims, but only expressed ideas 
of doing so ; that the Austrian Cabinet would aliso investigate 
the claims of Oldenburg ; but that Russia had lately declared 


that she would accept as authoritative only the decision of the 
Germanic Confederation on the question of succession ; that \f 
Prussia had wished to advance claims to the inheritance of the 
/ duchies, she ought to have done so before she made the de- 
\^ claration of the 28th May, in common with Austria, at the 
Conference in London in favour of the Prince of Augustenburg. 
As had already been remarked in Beriin through Count Karolyi,* 
^];;>Austria could agree to an incorporation of the duchies in Prussia 
only as an equivalent for an increase of her own German terri- 
tory ; that if Count Bismark spoke of the obligations of his own 
country, the Austrian Cabinet might say the same of itself; that 
Austrian blood had not been spilt to destroy the balance of 
power of the two great German States by a one-sided aggran- 
dizement of Prussia. The despatch, in conclusion, let the 
Prussian Government understand that it ought to place no 
difficulties in the way of the rapid solution of this important 

The Austrian Government was now in error. This despatch 
demonstrated that the avowed champion of the smaller States 
was about to betray their cause for the sake of individual ad- 
vantage, and threw a trump card into the hand of Count 
Bismark. By some means this despatch was communicated to 
'an Austrian newspaper, the Presse^ and appeared openly in 
\ public print The Vienna police failed to discover from what 
sources the editor of the Presse had been supplied with a copy 
of the official document, but strong suspicions have ever since 
prevailed that the publication was due to Prussian agency, 
which had acted with the object of shaking the confidence of 
the minor States in the leading Power. In effect, several of the 
representatives of the smaller States sought from Count Mens- 
dorf a declaration of what portion of territory the Austrian 
Government had in view in making the demand for an equi- 
valentf During the winter several addresses were got up by 
Prussian partisans in the duchies, with the object of soliciting 
the Cabinets of Beriin and Vienna to agree to the incorporation 
of the duchies with the kingdom of Prussia. These were 

• Austrian Ambassador at Berlin. 

+ It is now supposed that the equivalent Austria wished to obtain was 
the county of Glatz, in Prussian Silesia. 


Strongly negatived by protests directed to the Prussian House 
of Commons, and were generally considered to be due more to 
the electioneering tactics of Prussian agents than to any popular 
desire for annexation. Such of the late parliamentary repre- 
sentatives of the duchies as could meet together energetically 
protested against the addresses as exponents of the national 
will, but no means were taken for gauging the true desires of 
the population. No parliamentary estates were assembled to 
act as the mouth-piece of the influential and educated classes ; 
no popular vote was allowed to declare the wishes of the people. 
Either step might have shown that the standard of Prussia was 
-waving over a nation which aspired to hoisting the flag of inde- 

Prussia, unable without a public violation of decency to 
monopolise the Elbe duchies, appeared in the early spring of 
1865 desirous to lay aside the idea of annexation, and, instead, 
to pave the way for the accession of a prince to the govern- 
ment of the country, who might be a feudatory at least of the 
Court of Beriin. On the 21st of February, 1865, a despatch 
was sent by the Prussian Ministry to the Cabinet of Vienna, 
which professed to propose the measures which the Prussian 
Cabinet desired to see carried out in the duchies for the security 
of the interests of Prussia and of Germany, as well as what 
restraints should be placed upon the future sovereign of Schles- 
wig-Holstein, both in his own and the general interest The 
substance of this despatch was,* that Prussia desired the 
following guarantees from the new State of Schleswig-Holstein, 
which was about to be established. 

1. That this State should conclude a perpetual offensive and 
defensive alliance with Prussia, by which Prussia would gua- 
rantee the protection and defence of the duchies against every 
hostile attack, while the whole naval and military power of the 
duchies should form an integral portion of the Prussian fleet 
and army. 

2. The Prussian fleet — reinforced in the manner mentioned 
in Article i — is to be entitled to the right of freely circulating 
and being stationed in all Schleswig-Holstein waters ; and the 
Prussian Government is to have the control on the Schleswig- 

* For literal translation of this despatch see Appendix IL B. 


Holstein coasts of pilot dues, tonnage-dues, and lighthouse- 

3. Schleswig-Holstein is to pay Prussia a tribute, which is to 
be settled on an equitable basis, for the support of its army and 
navy, of which Prussia will undertake the whole administration. 
The Prussian Government will contract for the transport of 
war material, &c., with the Schleswig-Holstein railways, on the 
same terms as it does at present with the private* railway- 
companies of Prussia. 

4. The fortresses of the duchies are to be regulated according 
to agreement between the Prussian and ducal Governments, 
and, according to the requirements of the former, for general 
military purposes. 

5. The duties of the new sovereign of Schleswig-Holstein 
with regard to the German Confederation remain the same as 
those of the former for Holstein. Prussia will find the Holstein 
Federal contingent out of parts of her army which do not form 
her own contingent 

6. Rendsburg, in accordance with the wishes of all con- 
cerned, is to be declared a Federal fortress. Until that is done, 
it is to be occupied by Prussia. 

7. Inasmuch as Prussia takes upon herself the duties of the 
military and maritime protection of the duchies, she requires 
that certain territories should be given up to her for the cost of 
fortifications, with full rights of sovereignty over thera The 
territories required would be at least — 

a. Sonderburg, with as much territory on both banks of the 
Sound of Alsen as may be necessary for a naval harbour at 
Hjorupshafi; and the security of the same. 

b. The territory necessary for the security of the harbour of 
Kiel, near the fort of Friedericsort 

c. Territories at both mouths of the proposed North Sea 
and Baltic Canal, and, besides, the right of free navigation 
along this canal. 

d. Schleswig-Holstein is to enter into the Zollverein,f and the 

• Railways not in the hands of the Government. 

+ The Zollverein, or General Customs Union, was entered into by most 
of the German States under the guidance of Prussia. The object of this 
union was to free the trade of Germany from the restrictions under which it 

Chap. I.] SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, 9 

administration of the railways and telegraphs of the duchies is 
to be amalgamated with that of Prussia. 

These propositions showed that the Government of Prussia 
was determined to attempt to establish Prussian supremacy in 
the Elbe duchies. The aims of the Cabinet of Berlin were 
clear to the Austrian Government ; and Count Mensdorf, in 
the name of the latter, by a despatch of the 5th March, 1865, 
informed Count Bismark that a Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, 
under such restrictions as would be entailed by an acceptance 
of the Prussian proposals, could not enter the Confederation of \ 
German princes on terms of equality, and with the power of a 
free vote in the Diet ; that the Prussian propositions were cal- ^ 
culated to forward the special interests of Prussia alone, but ; 
that Austria and the whole Germanic Confederation had a / 
claim to the disposition of Schleswig-Holstein. Austria in the^ 
same despatch, however, declared herself willing to concede 
to Prussia the right of occupation of Kiel harbour, and 
would agree to Rendsburg being declared a Federal fortress, to 
the commencement of a North Sea and Baltic Canal, and to the 
entrance of Schleswig-Holstein into the 2k)llverein. Further, 
Austria would not go ; and she declared that treaties to settle 
the details of the above concessions could be entered into with 
profit only after the question of the sovereignty of the duchies 
was decided. Austria also expressed a wish to terminate 
negotiations from which there could be little hope that an 
agreement would result 

Prussia and Austria had both spoken out their designs. That I 
of Prussia was now manifestly the annexation of Schleswig- ' 
Holstein, that of Austria to thwart, hinder, and prevent the 

lay from the conflicting interests and custom-house regulations of so many 
independent States. By the Zollverein Treaty, which was re-established 
on the 1st January, 1854, tolls or customs were collected once for all at the 
common frontier of the united States, and the produce divided among them 
in equitable proportions. The Zollverein included Prussia, and all the 
niinor German States except Holstein, Lauenburg, and the principality of 
Lichtenstein. Austria was not included in the ZoUverein, but became con- 
nected with it in 1853 by a commercial treaty with Prussia, by which both 
sides contracted to do nothing to prevent the free circulation of articles of 
trade in their respective territories, or the transit of any article of mer- 
chandise, except tobacco, salt, gunpowder, playing-cards, and almanacs ; 
the principal of these exceptions, tobacco, bemg a Government monopoly 
in Austria, and not in the other States. 


10 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book: I. 

execution of Prussia's intention. Austria wished to cany out 
the project of establishing the duchies as a separate German 
State, under an independent prince, and thus to fulfil the object 
with which the German war against Denmark had been under- 
taken, and to satisfy the unanimous sympathy of Germany 
evoked for that war. This was doubly Austria's interest, in 
/ order to both impede the aggrandizement of her rival, and to 
I raise up another small State, a fresh unit of German nationality, 
i a fresh obstacle to the German unity which she had found could 
\ not be effected imder her own supremacy. But the question 
of the Elbe duchies could not have been laid to rest in this 
condition, even if Austria and Prussia had both earnestly 
desired such a consummation. The whole Germanic people 
was nervously interested in its solution. In April, 1865, a 
motion brought forward in the Diet at Frankfort by the re* 
presentatives of Bavaria, Saxony, and Hesse Darmstadt, which 
proposed that Holstein should be given over to the Prince of 
Augustenburg, was accepted by the majority.* This vote could, 
under the circumstances, have no practical result, but it showed 
that the current of feeling of the small States was setting 
strongly against the threatened preponderance of Prussia, and 
made Prussia feel that henceforth her policy must be antago- 
nistic to, and subversive o^ the dynasties of the minor Germanic 

Another element of discord had been in* existence ever since 
Austria and Prussia had undertaken the joint government of 
the duchies, but it was not till the summer of 1865 that the 
quarrels between the Commissioners of the two Powers be- 
came so frequent and so stormy that they threatened to lead 
to a German war, through which the results of the conflict of 
1866 might have been anticipated by a year. The Austrian 
Hahlhuber and the Prussian Zedlitz, engaged in a joint 
government, and primed by their own Cabinets to supj>ort 
diametrically opposite lines of policy, could not fail often and 
seriously to disagree. The Austrian wished to encourage the 
expression of popular feeling in the duchies, and to support 

• This motion was brought forward on the 27th March, by Barons Von 
der Pfordten, Beust, and Dalwigk, the representatives of Bavaria, Saxony, 
and Hesse Darmstadt. 


Chap. I.] SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. ii 

the manifestation of popular sympathy for the Prince off 
Augustenburg : the Prussian desired to repress all expressions j 
of political feeling, except such as emanated from the partisans / 
of incorporation with Prussia. These difficulties in the ad- 
ministration of the German provinces at the mouth of Uie Elbe 
were reflected in the society of Vienna and Berlin. Feelings 
rose high, and an appeal to arms seemed more than probable, 
when Prussia deemed it prudent to re-open negotiations with 
Austria. The celebrated personal meeting of the sovereigns 
of the two countries was arranged. The Emperor Francis 
Joseph and King William met at the little town of Gastein, on 
the banks of the Achen, about forty miles south of Salzburg, 
and from their interview originated the Convention of Gastein, 
which was concluded on the 14th, ratified on the 20th August, 
This convention consisted of the following heads : 

1. Both Powers, Prussia and Austria, reserved to themselves 
the common sovereignty over the duchies Schleswig and 
Holstein, but Austria taJces upon herself the provisional ad- 
ministration of Holstein, Prussia takes upon herself that of 

2. Prussia and Austria will propose that a German fleet 
should be established, and Kiel declared a Federal harbour. 
Until the resolutions of the Germanic Confederation are carried 
out the navies of Prussia and Austria are to use the harbour of 
Kiel ; but Prussia is to have the command in that harbour, to 
regulate the police there, and to acquire all territorial rights 
necessary for the security of this harbour. 

3. Austria and Prussia will propose at Frankfort* that Rends- 
burg be declared a Federal fortress ; until Rendsburg is recog- 
nised as a Federal fortress, it will be occupied by Austria and 
Pnissia in common. 

4. As long as the division of the administration of Schleswig 
and Holstein between Austria and Prussia endures, Prussia is 
to retain two high roads through Holstein, one from Liibeck to 
Kiel, the other from Hamburg to Rendsburg. 

5. Prussia, on her side, takes upon herself the care of a tele- 

* The Parliament of the Germanic Confederation assembled at Frankfort 



graphic communication and postal line to Kiel and to Rends- 
burg, and also the construction of a direct railway from Liibeck 
by Kiel through Holstein, without raising claims to sovereign 
rights over the line. 

6. Schleswig-Holstein is to enter the Zollverein. 

7. The construction of the North Sea and Baltic Canal, 
with the results naturally accruing therefrom, is given over to 

8. With reference to the financial arrangements established 
by the Treaty of Vienna of the 30th October, 1864, all remains 
as of old. Only the duchy of Lauenburg is to pay no share in 
the expenses of the war, and the tributes of Schleswig and 
Holstein are to be divided in proportion to the amount of their 

9. The Emperor of Austria gives up the duchy of Lauenburg, 
with all rights as gained by the treaty of Vienna, to the King of 
Prussia, who will pay for this 2,500,000 Danish dollars in the 
Prussian silver currency, four weeks after the ratification of this 

Thus by the Convention of Gastein the administration of the 
duchies was territorially divided between Prussia and Austria : 
Prussia obtained certain proprietary and administrative rights 
of great importance in Holstein ; and, what is most notable, 
Austria sold her rights to the duchy of Lauenburg, which she 
had acquired by conquest in common with Prussia, and thus 
tacitly recognised the validity of the Austro-Prussian conquest 
of the Danish duchies, and of the right of either Power to dis- 
pose of the conquest as it might desire, were the concurrence of 
the other obtained. 

The Convention of Gastein was opposed on many sides. 
The princes of the small Thuringian states of Weimar, Meinin- 
gen, and Coburg protested against the clause by which Lauen- 
burg was ceded to Prussia. The national party in Germany 
expressed loud disapprobation of the severance of Schleswig 
from Holstein. The French and English Ministers for Foreign 
Affairs in confidential notes expressed unfavourable opinions of 
the Convention. The Prussian House of Commons was loud 
in its censure of the Convention, and of the Government which 
by concluding it menaced a heavy demand from the Prussian 

Chap. I.] SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. 13 

finances for the purchase of Lauenburg. The King ot Prassia, 
however, paid for the ceded rights of Austria over the duchy 
out of his own private purse ; the protestations of foreigners 
were disregarded ; and, on the 15 th September, Lauenburg was 
occupied by the Prussians. 

In the few succeeding days the Prussian troops, except those 
whose retention in that duchy had been specially agreed to, 
withdrew from Holstein into Schleswig and Lauenburg. The 
Austrian force which had been in the two duchies concentrated 
itself in Holstein, under the conunand of General Gablenz, who 
was made Governor of Holstein b> the Emperor Francis 
Joseph. General Gablenz retained Herr Von Hahlhuber as 
Civil Commissioner, but after a short time the latter was 
replaced by Herr Von Hofman. 

The King of Prussia nominated General Von Manteuflfel as 
Governor of Schleswig, to whom Herr Von Zedlitz was attached 
as Civil Commissioner. 



The Convention of Gastein silenced that portion of the German 
Press which had, during the summerof 1865, openly anticipated 
a rupture between Prussia and Austria, and had indulged in 
calculations as to which side Bavaria, Saxony, Hesse, and 
\ Hanover would be forced to espouse. It seemed that civil war 
\ between divisions of the Germanic people would be avoided ; 
and for a time the two great Powers of Central Europe, by 
acting cordially in common, led many men to believe that com- 
munity of interests and unity of policy was secured between 
them. Thus, when the Diet assembled at Frankfort declared 
against the Convention of Gastein, the Governments of Austria 
and Prussia alike sent warning notes to the Frankfort Senate. 
Again, when in November, 1865, the representatives of Bavaria, 
Saxony, and Hesse brought a motion before the Diet which 
proposed that Austria and Prussia should now call an assembly 
of the estates of Schleswig and Holstein, which might partici- 
pate in the solution of the question of the duchies, Austria and 
Prussia alike protested against this motion. Still, those who 
looked forward into the future foresaw that there were latent 
circumstances which foretold an approaching dissolution of the 
cordiality of the great Powers. One of these circumstances was 
the rising amity between Prussia and Italy ; but more impor 
tant was the jealousy for supremacy in Germany which the 
present position of affairs in the duchies was only too well cal- 
culated to rouse to action. 

Prussia published, in the beginning of October, 1865, the 
opinion of the law officers of the Crown with respect to the 
question of the duchies. This opinion was practically that all 


rights over the duchies originated in the Treaty of Vienna of 
the 30th October, 1864, and that all rightful claims of the 
House of Augustenburg to the crown of these provinces would 
have been annulled by this treaty, even if such claim had 
ever existed; but that, in fact, no rightful claim ever had 

The Austrian administration in Holstein, notwithstanding 
this publication, allowed the rights of the Prince of Augusten- 
burg to be continually treated of by the press, and at public 
assemblies, as a matter on which no doubt could be entertained, 
and suffered considerable agitation to take place in favour of 
his rights. The Prussian administration in Schleswig, on the 
other hand, allowed it to be understood that all such agitation 
would be regarded as treasonable, since it was calculated to 
thwart the aims of the temporary sovereign. 

Nor was the Prussian Gk>vemment disposed to look on 
calmly while the duchy of Holstein was permitted the right of 
free opinion and free discussion, the tide of which invariably 
seemed to set against the idea of incorporation with Prussia. 
On the 30th January, 1866, Count Bismark despatched a note 
to Vienna, in which he pointed out to the Austrian Cabinet 
how the conduct of its administration in Holstein must infal- 
libly complicate the general relations between the two Govern- 
ments. This note was hardly despatched when a monster 
meeting of the Schleswig- Holstein Unions* at Altona gave the 
Prussian Minister occasion to despatch a second, which is of 
peculiar interest 

In this note Count Bismark recalled to mind the happy days 
of Gastein and Salzburg, and expressed his belief, that Austria 
would be united with Prussia, not only in a conviction of the 
necessity of withstanding revolutionary ideas, but also in the 
plan of the campaign against such ideas ; that affairs were now 
assuming a very serious aspect ; that the bearing of the Govern- 
ment of Holstein must be regarded as directly aggressive ; and 
that the Austrian Government ought not to carry on against 
Pmssia in the provinces the same agitation which it had united 
with the Prussian to quell at Frankfort The note went on to 
say that the Convention of Gastein had treated of the adminis- 

• Vereine. 

i6 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book I. 

tration of the two duchies as only a provisional measure ; but 
that Prussia had the right to advance that Austria, during the 
epoch of the provisional government, should maintain in Hoi- 
stein the status quo in which she had received the province, in 
the same manner as Prussia felt herself bound to preserve this 
status in Schleswig. The Prussian Government requested the 
Austrian to ponder upon the matter, and then to negotiate. 
Were a negative or evasive answer returned, Prussia would be 
forced to adopt the conviction that Austria, prompted by a 
traditional antagonism, no longer wished to act harmoniously 
in union with her. This conviction would be painful, but 
Prussia must finally see her way clearly. If it were made im- 
possible for her to act in concert with Austria, she must obtain 
full freedom for her own policy in order to contract closer 
alliances in other directions for the advancement of her own 
immediate interests. 

The negative and evasive answer was returned in a note 
from Count Mensdorf, on the 9th of February, in which this 
■ Minister, in the name of Austria, declined the responsibility 
for the national assemblies, because the duchies were only 
, under a provisional government The Count added, that 
Austria was well aware she did not occupy Holstein as an 
acquisition, but that so long as the provisional government 
might last, she considered herself perfectly free in the adminis- 
tration of the duchy, and could admit no control from any 

This despatch from Vienna was the first step towards the 
development in a crisis of the political circumstances which 
now followed rapidly, one after the other. Austria saw in the 
Prussian declaration a hidden threat of war, and an open 
reference to an intended alliance with her mortal foe, Italy, 
and believed that she was threatened with an imminent and 
simultaneous attack on both her northern and southern 
frontiers. This belief was strengthened by the apparent fact, 
that a council was held at Berlin, on the 28th of February, 
under the presidency of the King, to which the chief of the 
staflf of the army. General Von Moltke, and the military 
Governor of Schleswig, General Von Manteuffel, were sum- 
moned. Austria accorded no faith to the most pacific assur- 


ances on the part of Prussia that these fears were groundless. 
Nor was her confidence m the peaceful intentions of her rival 
established by the denial of a rumour which had gained public 
credence, and which asserted that the question discussed at 
this council had been whether, under the aspect of political 
circumstances, Prussia ought to prepare herself for the war 
which might be the result of their development ; nor by the 
assertion that no preparations for war of any kind had been 
made in Prussia. Austria, anxious at the same time for her 
position in Germany and Italy, full of mistrust and anger 
against Prussia, badly directed and counselled, perhaps also 
instigated by the embittered enemies of Prussia in Germany, 
began early in the month of March her preparations not only 
for a war, but also for a struggle of which the intended object 
was to support the Germanic Confederation against Prussia. 



Open antagonism between Prussia and Austria was declared 
^ by the exchange of notes which was mentioned towards the 
end of the last chapter. 

Prussia had acquired full freedom for her own policy by the 
Austrian answer to her declaration of the 26th of January, and 
men in Germany looked around anxiously to see what use 
Count Bismark would make of this liberty. For a time the 
wary Minister gave no signal of what he was about to do. 
Many expected that, face to face with the strong military power 
of Austria, and with the sentiment of all Germany hostile to 
him, he would be obliged to treat with Vienna. 

The solution of a conflict between different States depends 
ultimately always upon strength. Prussia, therefore, naturally 
desired to reinforce her strength, and to replace the alliance 
which had been broken by some new alliance. 

But where to turn for the new alliance ? In Germany there 
was no hope of finding friends among the .Governments, for 
these were all interested in the maintenance of small States, 
>and naturally antagonistic to national community. Nor were 
the people of Germany at this time at all disposed to regard 
Count Bismark as their champion, or accept him as the leader 
of a national party. The late quarrels between the Prussian 
Minister and the Prussian Commons, the press prosecutions in 
Prussian territory instigated by the Government over which he 
presided, the conservative tendencies of his views on taxation, 
marked him out more as the enemy than the harbinger of a 
free national unity. The people of Germany were at this time 


CO allies of the counsellor of the head of the House of Hohen- 

As no alliance could be found in Germany, the Prussian 
Minister looked abroad, and there saw^ in the south-western 
fronder of the territories of the Kaiser, a natural ally to join 
hand-in-hand with Prussia against Austria. This was the 
newly formed, hardly consolidated kingdom of Italy. This 
ally could boast no long list of victories borne on the banners 
of its soldiery, its traditions did not reach seven years back, its 
army was composed of raw levies ; but its people were feverish, 
eager, and covetous to gain Venetia, and to inflict a blow upon 
the detested Austrian. 

Before the conclusion of the Convention of Gastein, in the 
middle of the year 1865, when at that time a rupture of the 
alliance between Austria and Prussia appeared possible, the 
latter power had drawn near to the young kingdom of Italy, 
and had entered into negotiations for the conclusion of a 
commercial treaty between the ZoUverein and that kingdom. 
The larger number of the minor States which belong to the 
2^11verein* had not yet recognised the kingdom of Italy, and 
their rulers had no desire now to do so, for the recognition of 
a sole sovereign of the united peninsula would be tantamount 
to a recognition of the advantage of the concentration of the 
small States which had, previously to 1859, ^^^^ independent 
portions of Italy, and of the superfluous character of their 
reigning dynasties. On the other side, Italy would not enter 
into negotiations with a Confederation of which most of the 
component States still denied her tide-deeds of kingdom. 
Prussia stepped in as mediator. Italy was happy to be recog- 
nised The small States of the ZoUverein were forced into 
agreement with the proposals of Prussia. Count Bismark 
threatened to dissolve the ZoUverein. The mere threat drove 
a probe into the mercantile classes of all Germany; the 
interests of the monied aristocracy was brought to bear on the 
Governments ; and on the 31st December, 1865, a commercial 
treaty between the newly recognised kingdom of Italy and the 
ZoUverein was signed 

• Seep. SL 

c J 



When the prospect of a war between Prussia and Austria 
arose in the spring of 1866, came Italy's opportunity to com- 
plete the work which had been commenced at Magenta, to 

-^ secure and unite to herself the only province which, still imder 
\the rule of the foreigner, prevented her from being free from the 
Alps to the Adriatic. Italy naturally drew as close to Prussia 
Jeis she possibly could. Austria requires a long time to mobilize 
her army, and had begun her preparations for war in the middle 
of February. Public attention was directed to them by a 

-^ council of war held at Vienna on the loth March, to which 
Feldzeugmeister Benedek was summoned from Verona. At 
this council the party in favour of war was strongly predomi- 
nant ; and decided that Austria was strong enough to take the 
field against Prussia and Italy at the same time, provided that 
measures were taken to isolate Prussia in Germany, and to 
draw the States of the Confederation to the Austrian side. At 
this council too high an estimate appears to have been formed 
of the strength of Austria, and far too low a calculation made 
of the powers of Prussia ; for the opinion of the council seems 
to have been that Austria could only emeige from such a war as 

r a decisive victor. Italy was so detested, that all Austrians wished 
for an Italian war ; and, with justice, among the Austrian 

Isoldiery a proud contempt was entertained for the Italian army. 
jit was considerd that Prussia, weakened by an internal political 
/'conflict, could not unite her contending parties in a common 
'foreign policy. Nor was a high opinion entertained of her 
military resources and organization. The professional papers 
and periodicals of Austria ingeniously demonstrated that 
Prussia, however hardly pressed, could not place her normal 
irmy on a complete war-footing, because trained men would 
W wanting. The writers of these articles calculated that the 
Jattalions of infantry could only be brought into the field with 
a muster-roll of eight hundred men ; no consideration was paid 
to the IwAndwehr, — in fact, doubts were in some cases thrown 
upon the existence of Landwehr soldiers at all, and those who 
believed in their existence entertained no doubts of their certain 
disloyalty. It was also calculated that the Prussian army would 
have to make such strong detachments for the garrisons of 
fortresses that a very small force would be left for operations 


HI the field. These false calculations, the first step and perhaps 
the most certain to the bitter defeat which ensued, were due to 
defective information, and to the absence from the War Office 
of Vienna of those detailed accounts of foreign military statis- 
tics, deprived of which any country that undertakes a military 
measure of any kind necessarily gropes in the dark. To isolate 
Prussia from Germany, and to entangle her in a strife against 
overwhelming numbers, the plan of Austria was to draw the ^ 
Germanic Confederation into a decisive action against Prussia, '^ 
in order that the Confederation might be implicated in the 
question in dispute between Austria and Prussia concerning 
Schleswig-Holstein. Austria was certain of gaining, by the vote 
of the minor States, a majority in the Germanic Diet against 
the aims and objects of Prussia, If Prussia bowed to the 
decision of this majority, her position of power in the Con- 
federation would for a long time be shaken, but if she refused 
to accept this decision, then would arise a favourable opportu- 
nity to declare Federal execution against Prussia, and to crush 
her with the whole forces of the Confederation. 

After this council of war, the Austrian preparations were 
secretly pushed forward. The fortresses, especially Cracow, 
were strengthened and prepared for defence, and the troops in 
Bohemia were reinforced. These armaments and military 
movements excited the attention of Prussia. Questions were 
asked : Austria answered that the population of Bohemia had 
broken out in riots against the Jews, and that the Imperial 
Government was necessarily obliged to send troops into the 
disturbed districts for the protection of its Jewish subjects. 
The Prussians averred that, by a singular coincidence, the care 
and protection of the Jewish subjects drew the troops sus- 
piciously dose to the frontier, while the Jews chiefly resided in 
Prague, the capital and almost the central point of the province 
of Bohemia. 

The Austrian army in a mobilization, before the war of i866,* 
had to be increased from the 269,000 men, whom it mustered 

• The Anstrian army, in consequence of the disastrous results of the 
campaign of x866, has been reoiganized. The text alludes to the former 
oiganization of the army. 


on a peace footing, to 620,000. It therefore required the 
recall of over 350,000 men on furlough, or soldiers of reserve, 
to complete its strength. This increase of force could only 
conveniently be made in the recruiting districts of each regi- 
ment, because the men who were called in for each regiment 
must be clothed and armed by the fourth battalion, which was 
always stationed in time of peace as a weak depot in the 
recruiting district In March, 1866, the quarters of many 
regiments of the Austrian army were changed, so as to bring 
the battalions into the vicinity of their recruiting depots ; and 
several regiments from Italy, Gallicia, and Hungary, which 
could conveniently receive their full complement of men only 
in Bohemia, Moravia, or Austrian Silesia, were moved into 
those provinces. By these means the Austrian forces in 
Bohemia were, by the end of March, reinforced by about 
twenty battalions of infantry and several regiments of cavalry, 
which were, however, to avoid suspicion, still retained upon a 
peace footing ; while the purchase of horses, and the coraple* 
tion of fourth battalions to full strength, commenced in various 
parts of the Imperial dominions. 

At the same time the Austrian Government took steps to 
strengthen the fortresses in Italy, and to protect, in case of 
war, the coasts of Istria and Dalmatia. In the same month an 
extraordinary but very secret military activity commenced in 
Wurtemberg and Saxony. All ideas of armament were officially 
denied by Austria, but the Prussian agents did not fail to 
observe their existence. The King of Prussia had already 
taken action, and issued a decree by which the authors of any 
attempts to subvert his own authority or that of the Emperor 
of Austria in the Elbe duchies, were threatened with imprison- 
ment This decree was published by General Von ManteufFel 
in the duchy of Schleswig on the 13th March, and gave occasion 
for the Austrian Ambassador at the Court of Berlin to ask 
Count Bismark, on the i6th March, whether Prussia seriously 
intended to break the Convention of Gastein. Count Bismark 
answered No, and added that he could make no further answer 
by word of mouth, as oral conversations were easily liable to 
be misunderstood, and that, if the Austrian Ambassador desired 
any further information on the subject, it would be better that 


he should put his interrogations in writing. This was not, 
however, done. 

Directly after the council of war at Vienna, on the ioth\ 
March, Austria had taken steps to array the minor States 
against Prussia, and to secure their co-operation. In a circular 
despatch of the i6th March, the States of the Germanic Con- 
federation which were inclined towards Austria were warned 
of the warlike attitude of Prussia, and were cautioned to take 
heed to the armament of their contingents and to their com- 
pletion to war strength, since Austria had an intention to soon 
bring before the Germanic Diet a motion for the mobilization 
of the Federal army. 

The movement of troops in Bohemia daily excited the appre- 
hensions of Prussia. There still rankled in that country, the \ 
memory of 1850, when she, unprepared, suddenly found herself \ 
opposed to Austria fully armed, and was forced to submit to ) 
the terms dictated to her at Olmiitz. Count Bismark had,/ 
however, provided that no such fate should befall her in/ 

Although he knew well the position in which he stood with 
regard to the minor States, he considered it advisable to force 
from them a declaration of their policy. In a despatch of the 
24th March he declared that, on account of the armaments of 
Austria, Prussia was also at last obliged to take measures for 
the protection of Silesia; for, although Austria at present 
spoke in peaceful terms, it was to be feared that these would 
alter as soon as her preparations for war were completed. 
Prussia, he added, could not, however, remain content with 
measures calculated for her momentary safety alone ; she must \ 
look into the future^ and seek there guarantees for that security ' 
which she had in vain anticipated from her alliance with 
Austria. Prussia, of course, under these circumstances, looked s 
in the first place towards the other German States ; but her ; 
perception ever became clearer that the Germanic Confedera- ■ 
tion in its present form did not fulfil its aim, not even did it do 
so when Austria and Prussia were united, much less would it 
when these two Powers were disunited. If Prussia now were 
attacked by Austria, she could not expect the support of the 
Germanic Confederation : she could only rely upon the good- 

24 SEVEN WEEKS' V^AR, [Book I. 

will of the single States which had promised her their help 
without reference to the bonds of the Confederation. In this 
despatch, therefore, Prussia wished to ask with what feelings 
she was regarded by individual States ; and, that she might 
prove their sincerity towards her, she would in any case desire 
a reform of the political and military constitution of the Con- 

This despatch of Count Bismark, which was really only a 
question to the minor States of how they would act in case of a 
war between Prussia and Austria, was answered by their re- 
spective Governments in almost identical terms. With one 
accord they pointed to the Eleventh Article of the Charter of 
Constitution of the Germanic Confederation, by which all 
States members of the Confederation bound themselves never 
to make war against each other, but to biing their differences 
before the Germanic Diet, which was to be the mediator and 
arbiter between the disputants. How worthless any such 
article can be to restrain physical by moral force was never 
more clearly demonstrated than in the late struggle, when the 
Germanic Confederation was shivered to pieces in the shock of 
battle of its contending members. 

Prussia now saw it was time to make her preparations for 
war. Austria had earlier begun to arm, but the more elastic 
military organization of Prussia, the constant attention — sprung 
from the knowledge of her statesmen that, sooner or later, a 
German war would take place — which had for many years been 
devoted to her army, more than compensated for the start of a 
few weeks which Austria had gained. 

By decrees of the 27th and 29th of March the first arma- 
ments were ordered in the provinces most exposed to attack 
from Austria. The battalions of the five divisions which garri- 
soned the provinces contingent with the Austrian and Saxon 
frontiers were placed on the highest peace footing, but not yet 
increased to war strength. Five brigades of field artillery were, 
however, fully completed ; and the armament of the fortresses of 
Glatz, Cosel, Neisze, Toigau, Wittemberg, Spandau, and Mag- 
deburg commenced. Prussia, confident in the rapidity with 
which her whole army could be mobilized, was able to limit 
herself to these purely defensive augmentations, which entailed 


an increase of only about 20,000 men to the army alwajrs 
mamtained in time of peace. She deferred till the last neces- 
sary moment the raising of the army to war strength, in order 
as long as possible to leave the men, who must be called into 
the ranks, to their trades, professions, and labours. Of this 
increase of the army no secret was made ; the decree which 
ordered it was openly published and commented upon in the 
daily press. 

On the 31st March, Count Mensdorf, the Austrian Minister 
for Foreign Affairs, announced to the Cabinet of Berlin that all 
movements of troops in Bohemia had really taken place only 
in consequence of the riots against the Jews, and that the 
Emperor Francis Joseph had never contemplated an attack on j 

On the 6th April Prussia announced in answer that she had 
not been the first to arm, and that now she only had taken 
defensive measures. The Austrian Government replied on the 
following day that no overwhelming concentration of troops had 
taken place in Bohemia, in fact nothing to approach what the 
Austrian organization could place in the field if a great war 
were in prospect; that no extraordinary purchase of horses had 
been made, and that the number of men who had been on 
furlough recalled to the ranks was not worthy of mention ; that 
any discussion as to priority of armament was rendered super- 
fluous by the declaration of the Emperor, that he had never 
contemplated an attack on Prussia; that the Cabinet of Vienna 
desired only a similar declaration on the part of King William ; 
and that, since no preparation for war had been made in 
Austria, it was only necessary that Prussia should repeal the 
armaments which had been decreed at the end of March. 

On the isth April, Count Bismark sent a note to Vienna, in 
which, without argument, he assumed that Austria had armed, 
and had commenced to arm before Prussia, and expressed his ' 
opinion that Austria should be the first to commence to disarm, i 

On the 1 8th Count Mensdorf replied, and promised that 
Austria would move the troops quartered in Bohemia fi-om 
those positions in which Prussia had considered that they were 
intended for an attack upon Silesia. 

Count Bismark, on the 21st April, remarked in reply that, on 


authentic news being received of the disarming of Austria, 
Prussia would follow step by step in the same course. Scarcely, 
however, had Austria named the 2Sth of April as the termina- 
tion of all military proceedings which might be supposed to be 
intended against Prussia, than the promise of disarmament was 
stultified by the announcement that, although Austria would 
disarm in Bohemia, she was compelled to take decisive measures 
for the defence of Venetia against Italy. 

Prussian partisans argue that the armament of Venetia was 
an equal threat against Prussia as the armament of Bohemia, 
but this was not necessarily the case. Six hundred thousand 
Austrian soldiers south of the Danube would require as long a 
time to be moved to Saxony as would suffice to mobilize the 
whole Prussian army. But Prussia was allied with Italy, and 
although she chose to fancy that Austrian troops in the Tyrol 
might be intended to act upon the Elbe, in reality she saw in 
them the means given to Austria to crush an army allied to 
Prussia, after the defeat of which Austria might turn her undis- 
tracted forces against her German enemies. 

There is no doubt that Italy had already armed, and was 
fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunity of a war 
between Prussia and Austria to attack Venetia. The open 
threat that Venetia would be assailed at the first favoiuable 
moment would alone have been ground sufficient for Austria 
to declare war against Italy, and to sweep away an army which 
was avowedly maintained only to strike her in the hour of 
trouble. On the 22nd April the soldiers of reserve and men 
on furlough were called up for the regiments in Venetia, and 
measures were taken to prepare for the field an army to act 
against the Italians. 

These steps called forth a despatch from Count Bismark, in 
which Prussia took her new ally under her protectorate, and 
demanded that Austria should not only disarm in Bohemia and 
Moravia, but also in Venetia. To this Austria did not consent, 
and Prussia made an advance in her armaments. This was 
accelerated by the discovery that some of the minor States were 
secretly treating at Bamberg, which aroused the suspicion that 
a coalition was being formed against Prussia. On the 24th 
April, the infantry of five Prussian corps d'arm^e, as well as the 


whole of the cavahy and artillery, were increased to war strength, 
but as yet were not mobilized.* 

On l^e 26th April, Austria again reverted to the Schleswig- 
Holstein question, and proposed to submit the definitive deci- 
sion of this question to the Germanic Confederation, and to 
hand over the duchies to the Prince of Augustenburg. Both 
these propositions were declined by Prussia on the 7 th May, 
when Count Bismark remarked that the competency of the 
Confederation to decide in these international questions could 
not be recognised, and that the whole question could be most 
simply and easily settled by coming to an understanding with 
Austria,' for the reform of the Constitution of the Confederation 
by the speedy assembly of a German Parliament, as had already 
been proposed by Prussia on the 9th ApriLf 

Matters were daily approaching a crisis, and Prussia was de- 
termined to be ready for the conflict which would probably 
soon break out The King of Prussia, on the 4th May, had 
already ordered the five corps d*arm^e, which had. been aug- 
mented to war strength, to be mobilized; and ordered the 
soldiers of reserve of the other j: four corps d'armde to be called 
in, so as to place these also upon a war strength. On the 7th 
May, these four corps also received orders to be mobilized ; so 
that now the whole of the war army, as provided for by the 
r^ulations of the Prussian service, were called under arms. 
The mobilization was effected with wonderful rapidity and pre- 
cision. At the end of fourteen days, the 490,000 men who 
formed the strength of this army stood on parade, armed, 
clothed, equipped with all necessities for a campaign, and fully 
provided with the necessary transport trains, provision and am- 
munition columns, as well as field hospitals. The rapidity with 
which these trains were provided might almost be accepted as 
proof that, for several years, Prussia had foreseen that her policy 
would not, for any great length of time, conduct her along the 
paths of peace. 

* The term mobilization is applied to the administrative acts which sup- 
ply a collection of soldiers with the transport, commissariat, &c., which 
render them fit to be moved into and act in the field. 

+ See pa^e 30. 

% See MUitaiy Organization, p. 61. 

l« SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book I. 

On the 19th May, the concentration of the Prussian army 
might have commenced, and actually by the end of May tbe 
troops had taken up their positions in the frontier provinces, a 
triumph for the Prussian machinery of mobilization. The rapi- 
dity with which this army was called together, equipped, and 
transported to its positions on the fix>ntier cannot be too highly 
admired, especially when it is considered that more than 
250,000 of the soldiers had been suddenly called in from the 
reserve and Landwehr. Prussian authors, with complacency, 
point to the army collected upon the frontier at the very begin- 
ning of June, and indignantly demand how Europe can suppose 
that Prussia incited the war, when, if she wished to make an 
attack upon Austria, she could have done so at this moment 
with such a great advantage. For, although the Austrian arma- 
ments had been commenced ten weeks earlier than the Prus- 
sians, they were still in a very backward state, and the Austrian 
army was still far from ready to open the campaign. But was 
Pmssia really so moderate as her advocates would have the 
world believe ? Was it desire of peace or fear of feilure which 
stayed her hand, and held her marshalled corps on the north of 
the mountain frontier of Bohemia ? It may have been both, 
but the results of the war show that the latter entered into the 
calculations of those who planned the Prussian strategy. The 
army was ready, and might have attacked Austria, but it would 
in its advance have exposed its communications to the assault of 
\ the minor States, and, until forces were prepared to queU these, 
the main army could not assume the offensive. This appears 
to have been the probable cause why the troops were not at 
once concentrated, and pushed immediately into Bohemia. 

As it was, at the very beginning the Prussian army confined 
itself to taking up defensive positions to cover the provinces 
most exposed to attack, especially towards Bohemia. The 
Austrian Army of the North had commenced its concentration 
in Bohemia on the 13th May, and Feldzeugmeister* Benedek 
had there taken over the command-in-chief of it on the i8th. 
The ist, 5th, and 6th Prussian corps d'arm^et were posted in 
Silesia, the 2d and 3d corps in Lusatia, and the 4th corps round 

• General of Artillery. f See p. 53, 


Erfurt The Guards corps was still left at Berlin, and the 7th 
and 8th corps were retained in Westphalia and the Rhine pro- 
vinces respectively. 

Several of the minor States — ^such as Bavaria, Hesse Darm- 
stadt, and Nassau — ^had also ordered their armies, and their 
contingents of Federal troops, to be mobilized during the month 
of May ; others — ^as Saxony, Electoral Hesse, Wurtemburg, and 
Hanover — ^had commenced the augmentation of the military 
peace establishments by the recall of men on furlough, or 
soldiers of the reserve. 

Italy had early in the year commenced preparations for an 
attack against Veneda as soon as war might break out between 
Austria and Prussia. At the beginning of May the Italian 
amiaments assumed a more definite form; and, in order to 
enlist more closely national feeling in the probable struggle, on 
the 8th of that month a decree was published at Florence for 
the fomiation of twenty volunteer battalions, to be placed under 
the immediate conmiand of General Garibaldi All party con- 
tests, all political animosities, in Italy were silenced. The whole 
nation drew together for a common assault upon its traditional 
enemy when he should be encumbered by the heavy pressure 
of Prussia upon his northern fi-ontier. The crowds of volun- / 
teers that flocked to Garibaldi's standard were so great that, at 
the end of May, the number of battalions had to be doubled. 
On this Austria raised a compulsory loan in Venetia of twelve 
million gulden, which so embittered and excited Italian feeling 
that it seemed doubtful whether King Victor Emanuel would 
be able to keep his people in hand, or prevent excitable indi- 
viduals from precipitating a contest for which the moment had 
not yet arrived. 

Thus the nations were making ready for war, each, with its 
hand on its sword, moving heavy masses of troops to convenient 
positions near the frontiers of its probable antagonist. Before 
detailing the positions these masses assumed, or attempting to 
show how they were guided into the shock of battle, it is neces- 
sary to cast a glance over the diplomatic sparring which pre- 
ceded the military conflict 


Prussia's motion for reform of germanic confederation. 

As was referred to in a previous chapter, Prussia brought for- 
ward, on the 9th April, in the Germanic Diet a motion for the 
reform of the Confederation. The essence of this motion con- 
sisted in a desire that a German Parliament should be assembled 
by means of universal and direct sufirage, in order to introduce 
that unity into the central power which naturally must be 
wanting to the Diet, — ^an assembly of delegates of the various 
States, who acted in accordance with the instructions of their 
Cabinets. Prussia desired that the day for the assembly of this 
Parliament should be at once fixed ; and declared that when 
this point was settled she would bring forward special motions. 
She wished also to employ the time which must intervene before 
the assembly of this Parliament in taking measures to secure 
the accord of the other Governments to the measures which she 
would bring forward. 

The Prussian motion was not very agreeable to the other 
Governments ; but it would not have been prudent to reject it 
altogether. The constitution of the Administrative Assembly 
of the Germanic Confederation was notoriously and avowedly 
imperfect, and few men in Germany, either among sovereigns 
or subjects, would not 'have rejoiced in its reform and re- 
organization. But very few Germans desired that the ideas of 
this reform, and the projects for its completion, should emanate 
\^ from Prussia, and still less from Count Bismark. 

The Diet, on the 21st April, decided that the motion should 
be referred to a specially-chosen Committee. And on the 26th 
this Committee was elected 

The object of many of the German Governments was now 


Chap. IV.] SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. 31 

to put off mdefinitely the calling together of the Parliament 
Count Bismark, in a despatch of the 27th, recognised that this 
was the aim of many, and expressed his opinion that the step 
the Diet had already taken in referring the motion to a Com- 
mittee could hardly have any other result than to postpone a 
solution of the question untU the Greek Kalends. He said 
that at this time growing animosities required the completion 
of the work of reform ; and that on this work depended the 
mamtenance of peace, and the dissolution of the uneasiness 
which at present penetrated all minds. 

On the nth May the President of the Prussian Cabmet 
communicated confidentially to the Committee of the Diet the 
ground-plan of the changes which he considered ought to be 
made in the constitution of the Confederation. These were : 
the completion of the central power by means of a German 
Parliament, extension of the legislative competency of the new 
central power, removal of all restrictions on trade and com- 
merce of every sort which then separated the Germanic States 
from one anodier, the organization of a common system for the 
guardianship of German trade abroad, the foundation of a 
Gemian navy, an improved establishment of the German land- 
forces, so that their general efficiency might be improved, while 
the expenses of individual States might be diminished. These 
proposals were, doubdess, good and worthy of regard ; but 
there were too many interests which would be affected by their 
adoption to allow such measures to be immediately accepted 
by the Diet Long time would have been required to pass a 
motion entailing such great alterations through the Diet ; and 
the demand of Count Bismark for a speedy reform of the 
constitution of the Confederation, far firom removing, aggravated ^ 
the chances of war. While the steps for the reform of the 
Federal Constitution dragged slowly along, the preparations for 
war were rapidly developed, and, a few days after the despatch 
of Count Bismark's confidential communication to the Com- 
mittee of the Diet, the decree was issued for the mobilization 
of the whole Prussian army.* 

* Riistow, Der Krieg von 1866 in Deatschland 



•' Oh what a tangled web we weave, 
When first we venture to deceive." 

It was after Prussia proposed a reform of the Federal Con- 
stitution that Austria re-opened the Schleswig-Holstein ques- 
tion, after a long silence had been maintained on that subject 
between the two great Powers.* 

On the 26th April, Count Mensdorf sent a despatch to 
Count Karolyi, the Austrian Ambassador at Berlin, the contents 
of which were to be communicated to Count Bismark, which 
earnestly pressed Prussia again to turn her attention to the 
matter of the Elbe duchies. This despatch was naturally not 
! agreeable to the Prussian Government, for in it Austria assumed 
■ that Schleswig-Holstein should be given over to the Prince of 
' Augustenbuig, which solution of the question would have been 
the most unfavourable of all to the interests and intentions of 
Prussia. In a letter of the ist May, Count Bismark expressed ' 
anew his views on the question to Baron Werther, the Prussian 
Ambassador at Vienna, and endorsed the contents of this letter 
by a note of the 7th May, in which he expressed the strong 
desire of Prussia to hold fast to the Treaty of Vienna and the 
Convention of Gastein, by which the introduction of any third 
party, as for instance of the Germanic Confederation, into the 
government of Schleswig-Holstein was prohibited. Count 
Bismark ftirther declared that Prussia had no intention to re- 
nounce the rights she had acquired over Schleswig-Holstein to 
a third party without consideration for her own interests, or for 
those of Germany in general : but that she was always ready 

* See p. 15. 


to treat with Austria as to the conditions on which she would 
renounce the question of the rights to the duchies of the Elbe 
which she had acquired by the Treaty of Vienna. In con- 
clusion, the Prussian Minister added the wish that Austria 
might act in harmony with Prussia in the question of the 
reform of the Federal Constitution. 

For the first time in the diplomatic proceedings Prussia had ' 
now openly repudiated the idea that her hold upon Schleswig 
was temporary or provisional She now insisted upon the 
right of conquest to that duchy, as sealed by the Peace of 
Vienna of October, 1864. 

To this despatch Austria returned no answer. The din of 
armaments on all sides rose every day more loudly. All Ger- 
many, Austria, and Italy were hunting on their harness, and 
rapidly becoming great camps ; and men foresaw that almost 
any attempt to secure peace would probably only precipitate a 

Austria had, on the 4th May, entirely broken ofif negotiations 
with Prussia on the subject of disarmament* Count Mensdorf 
had declared that it was superfluous to argue the question of 
priority of argument ; that it was impossible for Austria to > 
disarm in Venetia, on account of the agitation in Italy ; and ' 
that Austria, by preparing to resist an attack on her south- 
eastern frontier, was protecting not only her own individual 
interests, but those of all Germany, and that no German State 
should look askance at preparations made in such a cause. 

The Government of Saxony was much disturbed by the 
Pnissian interrogation as to why that country was arming, and 
the concomitant demand that these armaments should cease. 
Fearful of an attack. Saxony, on the 5th May, proposed a 
motion in the Frankfort Diet, the object of which was that the 
Diet should promptly decree, with reference to the proceedings 
of the Prussian Government, that the internal peace of the 
Confederation was to be preserved. 

On the introduction of this motion, the Prussian representa- 
tive declared that Prussia had no intention to attack Saxony, 
and that all the armament which had taken place in his 

♦ Sec pt 27. 

34 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book I. 

country had only been prompted by purely defensive considera- 

Nevertheless, on the 9th May, the Diet passed the Saxon 
motion by a majority of ten over five votes. 

The middle States, at the head of which stood Bavaria, under 
this threatening aspect of affairs, earnestly desired to effect a 
compromise. They felt that, since Prussia had not been the 
only State to arm, it would be unfair if she only were required 
to declare the object of her armament They therefore pro- 
posed a motion in the Diet to the effect that all Governments 
which had armed should be required to state their reasons for 
having done so. This motion was passed on the 24th May, 
and on the ist June the statements were to have been received. 
The I St June was an important landmark in the development 
of the diplomatic crisis ; but, before reviewing its incidents, it 
is necessary to glance at external influences which were exerted 
in the vain, and perhaps only apparent, endeavour to preserve 
peace in Germany. While in Italy the whole population were 
' clamorous for war ; while Prussia, the author and originator of 
! the whole disturbance, by her disregard of the rights of the 
j Prince in whose nominal cause she had taken up arms in 1864, 
was pointing out her increased battalions as purely a defensive 
police for the security of her territory; and while Uie war party 
in Austria, eager to wipe out on the Mincio the memory of 
Solferino, and proudly confident of the power of the military 
empire to sweep away with one hand the feverish soldiery of 
Victor Emanuel, while with the other it shattered the legions of 
Prussia, urged the Cabinet of Vienna not to yield an item : Russia 
and England, led and accompanied by France, entered upon the 
diplomatic theatre. These three great Powers made a common 
attempt to avert the war by despatching, on the 28th May, 
almost identical notes to Austria, Prussia, Italy, and the 
Germanic Confederation. In these notes it was proposed that 
the five great Powers should join in a Conference, at which the 
Germanic Confederation should also be represented, in order 
to settle by treaty the three main questions which menaced the 
peace of Europe. These questions were that of the Elbe 
duchies, of the tranquillity of Italy, and of the reform of the 
Federal Constitution of (Germany. 


The possibility of peace being maintained by these means 
was from the beginning extremely doubtful : even in the event 
of all the parties interested consenting to submit their causes to 
this European jury. Almost the utmost that could be expected 
from a Conference would be that the points of dispute might 
be defined, and in this manner that the theatre of war might be 

On the 29th May, Prussia accepted the proposal for the Con- 
ference. Italy followed this example ; also the Germanic Con- 
federation. Of what validity these acceptances were, may 
however be calculated from the fact that at the time of the 
acceptance the Confederation informed its representative, Herr 
Von der Pfordten, that the project had already practically fallen 
to the ground* 

Austria was only willing to join the Conference on condition 
that no territorial alterations should be there discussed. This 
proviso was absolutely necessary for Austria. If territorial 
changes were to be discussed, few could doubt but that a pro- 
posal would be made for the cession of Venetia to Italy, and of 
the Elbe duchies to Prussia. If these cessions took place, 
Austria would lose as much without a blow, in her own dimi-l 
nution and the aggrandizement of her German rival, as could at 
that time have been anticipated from the most disastrous issue 
of the imminent war. It does not appear that it was any desire 
of war on the part of Austria which made her couple her ex- 
pressions of readiness to join the Conference with this condi- 
tion, which appears on the contrary to have been advanced from 
a perhaps too honest desire to meet the wishes of the great 

To this communication of Austria the mediating Powers 
replied that, in their opinion, the disputant Governments should 
be allowed fiill freedom for the discussion, and if possible for 
the solution, of every relevant question at the Conference. 

Thus matters stood on the ist June, the day appointed by 
the Federal Decree of the 24th May as that on which tlie 
German Powers were to make their declarations concerning 
their armaments. 

^ Rustow, Der Krieg von 1866 in Deutschland tind Italien. 

D 2 

36 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book I. 

The Diet was assembled at Frankfort The Austrian repre- 
sentative rose, and declared that Austria could look back with a 
calm conscience on her steady endeavours to preserve an unity 
with Prussia in the question of the Elbe duchies. The Emperor 
Francis Joseph had conceded the uttermost tittle that the dig- 
nity of Austria and the rights of the Germanic Confederation 
would allow. Prussia had made unjust proposals, and had ex- 
pressed the intention of prosecuting and carrying out these pro- 
posals by force. As Prussia had threatened, after the peace of 
Vienna, to compel the Federal troops to evacuate Holstein, so 
she had also threatened Austria concerning the question of the 
duchies with force, and had relied on the support of foreign 
opponents of the Imperial State. At the time of the Convention 
of Gastein Prussia had renewed this attempt, because Austria 
would not consent to administer Schleswig-Holstein according 
to the policy of annexation. Threatened on two sides, Austria 
had been compelled to place herself in an attitude of defence. 
The preparations against Italy might rest unchallenged at 
Frankfort Austria would recall her troops that had been raised 
against Prussia, provided that the latter did not intend to make 
an attack on Austrian territory, or on any State allied to 
Austria, and would give security against the recurrence of the 
danger of war. This security would depend for Germany, as 
for Austria, on the fact that in Germany not force, but treaties 
and right ruled, and that Prussia also^ although an European 
Power, should respect the peace and the decrees of the Con- 
federation, and further that the Schleswig-Holstein question 
should be settled, not for the interest of an individual claimant, 
but according to the rights of those provinces and Federal rule. 
On the 24th August, 1865, Austria and Pnissia had promised to 
communicate to the Confederation the result of their negotia- 
tions in reference to Schleswig-Holstein. Austria now was ful- 
filling this promise. That she must now declare that all her 
endeavours to obtain a solution of the question of the duchies 
which would be agreeable to the Confederation had been of no 
avail, and that now, in the first place, Austria yielded up eveiy- 
thing further on this point to the decree of the Confederation, 
and in the second place had already ordered her Commissioner 
in Holstein to assemble the Estates of that duchy in order to 


obtain an expression of the wishes of the people as to their 
future fate. 

Austria thus attempted to undo what she had assisted in 
doing by the Treaty of Vienna and the convention of Gastein. 
But, in order to make restitution for her disregard of right in 
these two agreements, she was now obliged to break the Con- 
vention of Gastein, in handing over to the Confederation, which 
she had declared incompetent in this international question, the 
decision of the future fate of the duchies. Her second step, by 
which she ordered her Commissioner, Field Marshal Gablenz, 
to convene the Holstein Estates, was also, if not an actual 
breach of the Convention, a virtual one, because by the Con- 
vention, although the administration of the duchies was divided, 
the rights of the two sovereigns to the common supremacy were 
still as much extant as ever.* 

After the Austrian declaration, the representative of Prussia 
at the Diet rose, and said that the mobilization of the Prussian 
army had only taken place in consequence of the Austrian 
armaments ; only if these armaments were annulled, and if at 
the same time tiie other Germanic States which were allied 
with Austria restored amicable relations between themselves 
and Prussia, could Prussia herself disarm. On these condi- 
tions she would disarm imihediately. Prussia had only taken 
defensive measures. If the Germanic Confederation was not 
in a position to give Prussia guarantees for the maintenance of 
peace, if the members of the Confederation resisted those 
reforms of the Federal Constitution which were universally 
recognised as necessary, the Prussian Government must accept 
the conclusion that the Confederation did not attain its object, 
and could not fiilfil the most important of its aims, and that 
with regard to further Federal revolutions, Prussia would act on 
this conviction. 

The Prussian representative further defended his Govern- 
ment against the Austrian conception of the circumstances con- 
nected with the Schleswig-Holstein question, and advanced in 
support of his assertion the many declarations which Prussia 
had made with reference to this question. 

• Seepage il. 



38 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book I. 

The speeches of the two representatives of the great German 
Powers were the main events of the assembly of the Diet of the 
Germanic Confederation at Frankfort on the ist June, 1866. 
The reports of these speeches were immediately telegraphed to 
every town in Germany, and caused great excitement Men 
foresaw that a war would result by the shock of which the 
political circumstances and peculiar constitution of the Father- 
land would be shaken to their very foundations ; but no one 
almost supposed the outbreak of war to be so near. It was 
believed that Austria was much superior as a military Power, 
certainly at the outbreak of a war, to Prussia, but she was not 
yet ready, and it could not be supposed that she would mrge 
\ matters on till her preparations were complete. Nor did sage 
men, who, wondering by what fatuous madness Count Bismark 
was driving his Government into a one-sided struggle, looked 
impartially upon the course of events, ever imagine that Prus- 
sian temerity would be wild enough to anticipate the necessity 
of defence through bearding a more than respected adversary 
by commencing the attack. 

Count Bismark saw, however, in the steps that Austria had 

lately taken, in her summons to the Holstein Estates, and in 

the publication of her intentions with regard to the Elbe 

! duchies, the final severence of the Cabinet of Vienna from his 

policy. No longer could Austria be persuaded to stand beside 

him in a common slight against, or oppression of, the body of 

ithe Germanic Confederation. Austria had resumed her posi- 

I tion as the champion of the individuality of small States. The 

spoilers had ultimately quarrelled over the allotment of their 

prey. The Convention of Gastein was broken through and 

trampled upon. 

Against the breach of this Convention, Count Bismark sent 
a protest to Vienna; but, in anticipation of the answer he 
would receive to this protest, signed on the 4th June a despatch 
to the Prussian plenipotentiaries at foreign Courts. This 
despatch accused Austria of giving provocation to war ; and 
attributed to the Austrian Government the intention of recruit- 
ing its finances by forced contributions from Prussia, or by an 
honourable bankruptcy. 

Count Bismark at the same time took a step more likely to 


be productive of important results than either protests or pro- 
tocols The concentration of the Prussian army was resumed. 
The corps d'arm^e of the Guard was sent to Silesia, the eighth 
corps d*arm^e and one division of the seventh corps were for- 
warded by railway from the banks of the Rhine to the neigh- 
bourhood of Halle.* In Berlin a reserve corps d'arm^e was 
formed of the four regiments of the Landwehr of the Guard, 
and of four other Landwehr regiments, while all available artil- 
lery and cavalry was drawn together, organised, and mobilized 
as quickly as possible. 

* How it came that Prussia was able to leave the frontier of the Rhine 
totally undefended during the campaign, when it was evident from the sub- 
sequent demand made by France that the Government of the Tuileries had 
a jealous eye upon Rheinland, has remained one of the mysteries of the 
war. The explanation as far as vet can be discovered appears to be as 
follows: — In 1 865 Count Bismark paid a visit to the Emperor of the 
French at Biarritz, and there hinted broadly that in case France would 
stand aloof, and allow Prussia to work her way in Germany, compensation 
might be given. for France's tranquillity by the cession of the Rhine pro- 
vinces. The Emperor, who expected, like every one else, that the con- 
test would be, if not favourable to Austria, certainly long and doubtful, 
anticipated that at a certain stage he would be able to step upon the theatre 
of war, and demand, from whichever side he espoused, the possession of 
the Rhine provinces of Prussia. He gave no distinct assurance to Count 
Bismark of neutrality, but the Count left Biarritz with a tolerable certainty 
that France would not interfere, at least at the commencement of a war, and 
without giving any distinct promise to the Emperor of territorial compen- 
sation. When the campaign terminated as abruptly as it did, the Emperor 
of the French wished to claim the price of his neutrality, but Prussia was 
then in a condition to enter on a campaign with France, whose armies were 
not armed with breech-loaders, and refused to entertain any ideas of terri- 
torial cession. 



" The good old rule safficeth me, 
The stem and simple plan — 
Let those take who have the power, 
And let those keep who can.*' 

Notwithstanding the protests of Count Bismark, the 
Austrian Civil Commissioner of Holstein, General Von Gablenz, 
issued a decree on the 5th June, 1866, by which the Estates of 
Holstein were summoned to meet on the i ith of that month at 
Itzehoe. It was, however, known at Berlin (on the same day 
as that on which the despatch to the plenipotentiaries of 
Prussia at foreign Courts was signed) that Austria was about to 
bring forward a motion in the Diet for Federal execution 
against Prussia- Accordingly, on the 6th June, Prussia pub- 
lished a more special protest against the assembly of the Hol- 
stein Estates, as well as a declaration that Prussia would con- 
sider such an encroachment on the Convention of Gastein as a 
direct breach of that agreement, and that in consequence not 
only was the Convention a dead letter, but that the common 
occupation and administration of the duchies must be resumed 
as before that Convention. Orders were accordingly despatched 
from Berlin to General Manteuffel, the Prussian Commissioner 
in Schleswig, that as soon as General Gablenz summoned the 
Holstein Estates to meet, he should enter Holstein with his 
Prussian troops in order to again resume the common adminis- 
tration of the two duchies. Orders were given to General 


Manteuffel to avoid any conflict with the Austrian troops ; and 
to assure General Gablenz that the inruption of Prussian troops 
into the duchy over which he was appointed to represent the 
Austrian Emperor, was undertaken quite in a friendly spirit. 
General ManteufTel accordingly informed General Gablenz 
beforehand of his intention of invading Holstein, and issued 
this proclamation to the people of the duchy of Schleswig : — 

** GoTTORP, June 7. 


" Since my assumption of office here I have always acted towards you 
with frankness. Never have I had anv reason to repent of that course, and 
I now address myself to you again with the same frankness. The rights of 
sovereignty which His Majesty my King and master has over the duchy of 
Holstein have been endangered by proceedings with which you are all 
acquainted. The most sacred interests of your country are placed in 
jeopardy, for never have the Estates of either of the duchies been called 
together except in view of an assembly of the general representation of an 
undivided Schleswig- Holstein. I am charged by His Majesty the King 
with the protection of those menaced rights, and for that reason I have to- 
day ordered the entry of troops into Hobtein, as I have announced to the 
Imperial Governor of the duchy of Holstein that this military measure has 
only a purely defensive character. 

" Inhabitants of the Duchy of Schleswig, — I have learnt to know and 
to esteem the spirit of order and legality with which you are animated, and 
I now give you a proof of this esteem. At this moment Schleswig is being 
almost denuded of troops. You will prove that the attitude which you 
have hitherto maintained has not been induced by fear, but by the loyalty 
of your character. But you, too, in your turn have learnt to know me, and 
you know that I am faithfully and heartily devoted to the interests of this 
country. You will with confidence accept my word. No doubt of the 
power or of the will of Prussia could find root in your minds. Let us have 
iaith in each other. 

•* The Governor of the duchy of Schleswig, 


* * Lieutenant- General^ 
' Aide-de-Camp to His Majesty the King of Prussia,^ 


General Gablenz did not wait for the inruption at Kiel, 
where his head-quarters had hitherto been, but suddenly left 
that town, and concentrated the whole of his forces, which 
consisted of the infantry brigade of Kalik and one regiment 
of dragoons, at Altona. The Government of Holstein and 
the Prince of Augustenburg followed him quickly. 

On the morning of the 8th June the Prussian troops 


crossed the Eider, without paying any attention to a protest 
launched against their proceedings by General Gablenz, and 
moved slowly southwards. General Manteuffel had under his 
command in Schleswig two brigades of infantry and one 
brigade of cavalry, and he crossed the frontier of Holstein 
with all his disposable force. Austria was naturally unwilling 
to resume the common administration of the two duchies as it 
had existed previous to the Convention of Gastein, and accord- 
ingly, by order of his Government, General Gablenz concen- 
trated his troops in the south-western comer of the duchy. 
General Manteuffel, who had marched into Holstein on the 
8th June, on the nth prevented the assembly of the Holstein 
Estates at Itzhoe by taking military possession of that town, 
closing the House of Assembly, and placing a guard over the 
door with fixed bayonets. General Gablenz, assailed by far 
superior numbers, and unable to be of any more use in Hol- 
stein, on the night between the nth and the 12th June with- 
drew his troops to Hamburg, and thence despatched them by 
railway through Hanover, Cassel, and Frankfort to the Austrian 
army of the north in Bohemia- From this bloodless conflict in 
Holstein arose the first Prussian victory, gained by the know- 
ledge of the great rule of war, which teaches that to reap 
success great numbers must be hurled upon the decisive point, 
and that in order that these superior numbers may be forth- 
coming, rapidity of concentration, organization, and locomo- 
tion of troops are vitally required. This bloodless victory, 
and the consequent evacuation of Holstein by the Austrians, 
had an important effect on the subsequent incidents of the 
war. The abandonment of Holstein added only five bat- 
talions of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, and one battery 
of artillery to the Austrian army in the field ; while the same 
event left the whole of the Prussian division of General Man- 
teufiel — ^which consisted of twelve battalions of infantry, eight 
squadrons of cavalry, and six batteries of artillery — firee and at 
the disposition of the Prussians for the further prosecution of 

The assembly of the Holstein Estates, and the delivery of 
the opinion of the southern Elbe duchy with regard to its 
future fate, was prevented by the inroad of the Prussians. The 


Prince of Augustenburg departed from the province. The 
Prussian Government appointed Herr Von Scheel-Plessen as 
Supreme President of Schleswig-Holstein. Supreme President 
is the title of the highest civil administrator of a Prussian 
province. Scheel-Plessen entered upon the duties of his new 
office on the nth June; while the non-consulted duchies 
looked on sulkily upon the Prussian assertions of right The 
duchies came under Prussian rule when Scheel-Plessen as- 
sumed his office. This was all very arbitrary, forcible, and 
dependent upon main strength, but the Prussian virtual an- 
nexation of Schleswig-Holstein had one good effect. It 
settled the question of the Elbe duchies; and, as far as 
the Seven Weeks' War is concerned, neither reader nor author 
will be again troubled with the intricate problem of the true 
rights of succession to " Schleswig-Holstein sea-surrounded." 



On the nth June, 1866, an Extraordinaiy Assembly of the 
Diet was summoned. 

The representative of Austria advanced the proposition at 
this sitting, that Prussia had broken the Convention of 
\ Gastein, and threatened the peace of the Germanic Con- 
federation, by marching her troops into Holstein. He 
proposed in consequence for the restoration of peace, that 
the whole of the army of the Confederation, with the excep 
tion of the three corps d'arm^* which, by the Federal Con- 
stitution, Prussia was bound to put into the field, should be 
mobilized in such form of principal, contingents, and reserves 
within fourteen days, that the troops should be able then to 
march within fourteen hours.t That care was to be taken for 
dep6t contingents, and that the appointment of a commander- 
in-chief was to take place as soon as the decree was passed ; 
and that the supervision of all these matters was to be given 
, over to the Diet, which was to act in concert with the mih'tary 
1 commissioner of the Germanic Confederation. 

The representative of Prussia at the Diet declared that he 
was not authorized to make any statement upon the motion 
which had been brought forward, the purport of which was 
entirely new to him. 

The Austrian representative, who filled the post of President 
of the Diet, urged an immediate decree in favour of the mo- 

* The 4th, 5th, and 6th corps d'armee of the Federal army. 

+ Could a British army be mobilized and be placed in such a state within 
fourteen days as to be able to march in twenty-four- hours ? Yet this 
rapidity of mobilization was not sufficient to oppose the Prussian or- 


tion ; and the Assembly, although the representative of Meck- 
lenburg brought to notice, that even on the most unimportant 
questions, when for instance only the disbursement of one 
hundred gulden* was under consideration, three sittings were 
required, one for the introduction of the motion, one for the 
discussion, and one for the final vote, the majority of the Diet 
decreed that the final vote on the Austrian motion should be 
taken on the 14th June. Whoever recalls to mind the many 
years which the Diet consumed ere it passed the vote of 
Federal execution against Denmark, can hardly doubt that the 
deeds of Prussia had been replete with some peculiar enormity 
in the eyes of the princes of the small states to arouse so 
enthusiastic a zeal in such an usually torpid body as the 
Germanic Diet 

* Equal to about 10/. 



** Destruction hangs o*cr yon devoted wall, 
And nodding Ilion waits th' impending fall." 


•* The history of mankind informs us that a single power is very seldom 
broken by a confederacy." — Johnson. 

Before the 14th June airived, Count Bismark sent a definite 
and final project to the Governments of the various States 
which were members of the Germanic Confederation. The 
first article of this project of reform expressed "That the 
territory of the Confederation was to consist of those States 
which had hitherto been included in the Confederation, with 
the exception of the dominions of the Emperor of Austria, 
and of the King of the Netherlands." While, then, Austria 
wished to enlist the Governments of the Germanic Confedera- 
tion in war against Prussia, Prussia desired to exclude Austria 
from the Confederation. As for the Government of the 
Netherlands, it had wished for nothing more for a long time 
than to be allowed to withdraw from the Confederation its two 
duchies which were included within that political league.* 

The next article treated of the Parliament, the common con- 
cerns of Germany, and of the privileges of the new Confedera- 
tion. The German war navy, with a common German budget, 
with the Federal harbour of Kiel and of the Bay of the Jahde, 
were proposed to be placed under the supreme command of 
Prussia, while the land forces of the new Confederation were 
to be divided into two Federal armies, an army of the north, 

* The duchies of Luxembourg and Limburg. 


and an army of the south. The King of Prussia was to be 
commander-in-chief of the northern army, the King of Bavaria 
that of the southern, both in peace and war. In peace the 
commander-inK:hief of either army was to superintend the 
efficient organization and administration of his own army ; and, 
in urgent cases, he was to be able to call out his army within 
the boundaries of his own part of the Federal territory, condi- 
tionally with the subsequent approval of the Confederation. 
For each of the two Federal armies there was to be a common 
budgeL The administration of either army was to be con- 
ducted under the superintendence of the commander-in-chief, 
and to either army tiie States included in its portion of the 
Federal territory were each to contribute their proportionate 
quota of soldiers. Each Government was to pay the expenses 
of its own contingent of the Federal army. All expenses of 
the military budget were to fall on the military chest of that 
army to which the budget was specially applied The relations 
of the new Confederation with the empire of Austria were to 
be settled by special treaties. 

These were the principal points of the project of reform 
proposed by Count Bismark on the loth June. This project 
surprised the majority of the German States in a very un- 
pleasant manner. The 14th June arrived, the day for the final 
vote in the Diet upon the Austrian motion. 

The representative of Prussia in the Diet protested against 
the motion being entertained, and declared that both in form 
and substance the motion was subversive of the ideas of the 

The votes were, however, taken, and the Austrian represen- 
tative carried his motion by a majority of nine over six votes. 
The details of the voting were as follows : — 
For the Austrian motion there voted, — 

The first Curia, Austria. 

The third, Bavaria. 

The fourth, Saxony. 

The fifth, Hanover. 

The sixth, Wurtembuig. 

The eighdi. Electoral Hesse (Hesse-Cassel). 

The ninth, Hesse-Darmstadt 

48 SEVEN- WEEKS' WAR. [Book II. 

The sixteenth (Lichtenstein, Waldech, the two Reusze, 

lippe, Lippe-Schaunburg, Hesse-Homburg). 
Of the thirteenth Curia (Brunswick and Nassau), Nassau. 
Of the twelfth Curia (Saxe Weimar, Saxe Altenbuig, Saxe 

Coburg, and Saxe Meiningen), Saxe Meiningen. 
Of the seventeenth Curia (the four free towns, Hambiirg, 
Liibeck, Bremen, and Frankfort), Frankfort 
Against the Austrian motion there voted, — 
The seventh Curia, Baden. 
The eleventh Curia, Luxembouig and Limburg (belonging 

to the Netherlands). 
The twelfth Curia, with the exception of Saxe Meiningen. 
Of the thirteenth Curia, Brunswick. 
The fourteenth Curia, the two Mecklenburghs. 
The fifteenth Curia, Oldenburg, Anhalt, and the two 

The seventeenth Curia, with the exception of Frankfort 
In this voting, Prussia did not give a voice, as her represen- 
tative had protested against any entertainment of the motion, 
and did not vote : and the tenth Curia, Holstein Lauenburg, 
had no representative. The vote of the thirteenth Curia was 
cancelled, because Brunswick voted against Nassau, and thus 
there was no majority in this Curia. 

Thus the residts were that the 7th, nth, 12th, 14th, 15th, 
and 17th Curiae, therefore six Curiae, voted against Austria; 
the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th, besides the representative 
of Austria himself, for the Austrian motion. The vote of the 
1 6th Curia was recorded in favour of the motion, but, as 
appeared afterwards, accidentally. Each of the seven small 
States which composed this Curia had an equal voice within 
the Curia, and the vote of the Curia was that of the majority 
of the component members. On the 14th June, the represen- 
tative of this Curia who voted in the Diet, and who was the 
delegate of Schaunburg-Lippe, declared that lippe-Deti^old, 
Waldeck, and Reusz of the younger line, therefore tnree- 
sevenths of the total, wished to vote against the Austrian 
motion ; that he had not received full instructions from his own 
Cjovemment, and must, consequently, give the vote of the 
Curia for the Austrian motion. As soon as this was known, 


however, the Government of Schaunbui^-Lippe notified to the 
Prussian Government that it had also intended to vote against 
the Austrian motion, and thus disowned the act of its own 
delegate. It was then too late, for the vote had been given, 
and the motion passed. But had the Government of Schaun- 
burg-Lippe been a little more careful in sending definite 
instructions to its representative, and had Prussia -voted, the 
Austrian motion would have been thrown out by a majority of 
eight over seven votes, and the event which plunged Central 
Europe into immediate war might have been certainly post- 
poned, possibly evaded. On such tiny circumstances do the 
destbies of nations hang. 

As the votes were actually recorded, the Austrian motion was 
carried by a majority of nine over six voices. 

After the Austrian representative, the president of the Diet, 
had declared the result of the voting, nme votes for Austria 
against six, the Prussian representative stated that it was now 
his duty to publish to the Diet the resolutions of Prussia. The 
Austrian morion was in itself a negation of the Federal Consti- 
tution, and must necessarily be regarded by Prussia as a breach 
of the community of the Confederation. The Federal Con- 
stitution recognised Federal execution against members of the 
Confederation only in particular cases, which were clearly 
defined. These cases were entirely neglected in the Austrian 
motion. The position which Austria had assumed with regard 
to Holstein came in no manner under the protection of Federal 
treaties. On this account Prussia had refused in any way to 
take action on the Austrian motion, and not taken any precau- 
tions to oppose the Austrian intention. According to the ideas 
of Pmssia, the Diet would not have for a moment listened to 
the Austrian proposals, but would have cast out tiie motion 
without any second thought upon the matter. Since the Diet 
liad, however, acted in a manner so contrary to all expectation ; 
since Austria had been actually arming for three months, and 
had called the other members of the Confederation to her aid, 
and since hereby the Act of Confederation, the chief object of 
which was to secure the internal tranquillity of Germany, was 
entirely invalidated, Prussia must consider the rupture of the 
C^ennanic Confederation as completed, and must view that 



Confederation as dissolved and abrogated. Prussia did not, 
however, despise the national necessities for which that Con- 
federation was instituted, nor did she wish to unsettle the unity 
of the Germanic nationality; therefore she wished to declare 
herself ready and desirous to form a new Confederation with 
those States which might be willing to unite with her in a 
Federal union on the basis of the reform proposed for the 
Confederation on the loth June. In conclusion, the Prussian 
delegate asserted the claims of his Government to a share of 
all rights which sprang from the former Constitution, and, 
having protested against the disbursement of any Federal 
moneys without the consent of Prussia, quitted the as- 

The Germanic Confederation, established in 1 815, was broken 
up at this moment. The declaration of internal war had vir- 
tually been proclaimed among its members. 

The first action of Prussia in consequence of the decree of 
the Diet of the 14th June, was to send a summons to the three 
States the territories of which lay within or close to the Prussian 
provinces, and which had voted against Prussia on the 14th 
June. These States were Hanover, Saxony, and the Electorate 
of Hesse. This summons required that the Governments of 
these States should immediately reduce their troops to the 
peace establishment, which had existed on the ist March, and 
should agree to join the new Prussian Federation on the basis 
of the reform proposed on the loth June. If these Govern- 
ments declared, within twelve hours, their agreement to these 
demands, Prussia undertook to guarantee their sovereign rights 
within the boundaries of the proposed Federation ; otherwise, 
Prussia announced her intention to declare war. 

The three Governments hesitated, and made no reply. On 
the evening of the 15th June, Prussia declared war against 
these three countries. No formal declaration of war was made 
against Austria, but at a later date the intention to commence 
hostilities was communicated to the Austrian outposts. 

On the 17th June, the Austrian war manifesto was published; 
on the 1 8th, the Prussian ; on the 20th, Italy, who had entered 
into an offensive and defensive alliance with Prussia, declared 
war against Austria and Bavaria. Diplomacy had now done 


its work, and the conflict was removed from the field of politics 
to the theatre of war. 

Subjoined, for facility of reference, is a tabular list of the 
princi]>al features of the political prologue. 

October 20M, 1864. Treaty of Vienna. y 

August i/^hy 1865. Convention of Gastein. 

March 12M, 1866. First preparations of Austria for war in 
Bohemia and Moravia. 

March ^oth, 1866. First preparations of Prussia. 

Aprily 1866. Negotiations concerning these armaments. 

April 23^/, 1866. Great armament of Austria in Venetia. 

April 26thy 1866. Proposal of Austria to submit the ques- 
tions in dispute to the Diet 

May ithy 1866. Declaration of Prussia of the Diet to decide 
in international questions, and suggestion of the desirability of 
the reform of the Confederation. 

Until May 28/i, i866. Armaments in all Germany and 

May 28/i, 1866. Proposal of a Conference by the three 
great non-Germanic European Powers. 

May 2gthf 1866. Prussian acceptance of this proposal 

Jufu isty 1866. Austrian acceptance tmder conditions which 
render the Conference impossible. 

June ist, 1866. Submission of Schleswig-Holstein question 
to the Diet 

yune $thy 1866. Summons by General Gablenz for assembly 
of Holstein Estates. 

June lothy 1866. Prussian proposal for the reform of the 
Fedeial Constitution. 

yufte iithf 1S66. Austrian motion for the decree of Federal 
execution against Prussia. 

ywie 14/A, i366. Acceptance of the Austrian motion by the 


June 15M, 1866. Declaration of war by Prussia against 
Hanover, Electoral Hesse, and Saxony. 

June 20th, 1866. Declaration of war by Italy against Austria 
and Bavaria. 



BOOK in." 



Before it is possible to enter upon a review of the military 
operations of the war, it is necessary to glance at the organiza- 
tion, administration, and numbere of the forces which were at 
the disposal of the belligerent Powers. The question of the 
numerical strength of an army in the field is always an 
extremely difficult one. Before a campaign, sometimes the 
demands of strategy require that the strength of troops should 
be exaggerated, sometimes the contrary. The casualties of 
every skirmish, the sickness incident to every day's march and 
every night's exposure, reduces the number of soldiers under 
arms. Hazy distinctions between combatants and non-com- 
batants, different modes of reckoning, the exclusion or inclusion 
of artillery and administrative services in returns, the non- 
completion of battalions up to their normal strength, all throw 
great difficulties in the way of gaining an accurate appreciation 
of the number of men engaged on either side in particular 
actions. It appears, therefore, advisable to sketch here the 
organization and regulated normal strength of the armies 
engaged in the war, and to attempt, at necessary points in the 

* It may be a relief to the general and not professional reader to be made 
aware that an omission to read this Book, which is almost entirely techni- 
cal, will not interrupt the continuity of the narrative. 

+ In the prefatory chapter to the second edition, will be found a sketch of 
the changes made in the Prussian military system between the termination of 
the campaign of 1866 and the commencement of the late war with France. 


narrative, to calculate and compute from the most trustworthy 
authorities the actual numbers present on particular occasions. 

The kingdom of Prussia before the war of 1866 had, with an 
area of about 127,350 square miles, a population of over nine- 
teen million souls. The yearly revenues, according to the 
latest budgets, amounted to about 21,600,000/., and the 
expenditure of the Government was always confined within 
its income. The National Debt in 1864 amounted to about 
42,000,000/. The State chest in 1862 contained, from the 
surplus of estimated over actual annual expenditure, and from 
some other minor sources, a sum of about 2,500,000/. The 
financial economy of Prussia is superior to that of any nation 
inJEurope. The army has lately cost in time of peace about, 
6,300,000/. annually, the navy about 6,450,000/ 

The Prussian army which took the field in the war of 1866 
consisted of eight corps d'arm^e of troops of the Line, and of 
the corps d'arm^e of the Guard. Each corps d'arm^e is 
organized with the intention of being a perfectly complete 
little army of itself, so that without inconvenience it can be 
detached from the main army at any time. Each corps d'arm^e 
of the Line in time of war consists of two divisions of infantry, 
one division of cavalry, sixteen batteries of artillery, and a 
military train. Each division of infantry is composed of two 
brigades, each of which has two regiments, and, as each 
regiment contains three battalions, in a division of infantry 
there are twelve battalions ; to every infantry division is also 
attached one regiment of cavalry, of four squadrons, and one 
division of artillery, of four batteries, making the total strength 
of the force under the command of every infantry divisional 
General twelve battalions, four squadrons, and four batteries. 

A cavalry division consisted of two brigades, each containing 
two regiments, and, as every regiment had four squadrons, the 
division contained sixteen squadrons \ it had also two batteries 
of horse artillery attached to it 

The reserve of artillery consisted of one division of field 
artillery, which formed four batteries, and of two batteries of 
horse artillery, besides an artillery train for. the supply of 

This gives the strength of a corps d'arm^e as twenty-four 


battalions of infantry, twenty-four squadrons oi cavalry, and 
sixteen batteries of artillery. Besides this, however, each corps 
has one battalion of rifles and one battalion of engineers, 
besides an engineer train for the transport of materials for 
making bridges, and a large military train, which carries food, 
hospitals, medicines, fuel for cooking, bakeries, and all the 
other necessaries of not only life, but of the life of an army, 
the members of which require not only the same feeding, 
clothing, and warming as other members of the human race, 
but who will not be denied bullets, powder, shot and shells, 
saddlery for their horses, and who from the nature of their life 
are more liable to require medicines, bandages, splints, and all 
hospital accessories than other men. 

If we do not consider the train when we are calculating the 
number of combatants who actually fall in, in the line of battle, 
every battalion may be considered to consist of 1,002 men. 
Thus the force of infantry and engineers in a corps d'arm^ 
numbers over 26,000, and on account of men absent through 
sickness may in round numbers be calculated at this figure. 
Each squadron of cavalry may be calculated at 140 mounted 
toen, which makes the whole cavalry force about 3,300 men. 
Each division of four batteries of horse artillery brings into the 
field 590 actual combatants, and each of field artillery the 
same, so that the whole artillery force of a corps d'arm^e is 
about 2,350 men. The actual number of combatants with a 
corps d'arm^e is in this way seen to be 31,650 men, which may 
be stated in broad numbers at 31,000. The Guard corps 
d'arm^ differs chiefly from the Line corps in having one 
additional rifle battalion, one additional Fusilier regiment, and 
two additional cavalry regiments, which increase its strength 
by about 5,150 actual combatants; the total number of com- 
batants in this corps may be safely assumed as 36,000 men, in 
round numbers.* 

If we turn, however, to the list furnished by the military 
authorities, we find that the army was said to consist of 
335>ooo men, with 106,500 horses, of which only about 70,000 

* This paragraph is still correct, except that the sqaadron now always 
musters 150 mounted mea« 


belonged to the cavalry and artillery, and that it was accom- 
panied by a waggon train of 8,950 carriages, of which only 
3,500 belonging to the artillery performed any service on the 
field of battle. 

What has then become of these 55,000 men, 36,500 horses, 
and 5,450 carriages which form the difference between the 
returns we find of an army on paper and the actual number of 
men engaged on the field of battle ? This diflference represents 
the moving power of the combatant branches \ it is this differ- 
ence that feeds the warriors when they are well, that tends 
them when wounded, and nurses them when struck down with 
disease. Nor are these the only duties of the non-combatant 
branches. An army on a campaign is a little world of itself, 
and has all the requirements of ordinary men moving about 
the world, besides having an enemy in its neighbourhood, who 
attempts to oppose its progress in every way possible. When 
the line of march leads to a river, over which there is either no 
bridge or where the bridge has been destroyed, a bridge must 
be immediately laid down, and, accordingly, a bridge train is 
necessarily always present with the army. When a camp is 
pitched, field balceries have to be immediately established to 
feed the troops ; field telegraphs and field post-ofilices must be 
established for the rapid transmission of intelligence. A large 
staff must be provided for, which is the mainspring that sets all 
the works in motion. And these are only ordinary wants, such 
as any large picnic party on the same scale would require. 
^Vhen we consider that 200 rounds of ammunition can easily 
be fired away by each gun in a general action, that every 
infantry soldier can on the same occasion dispose of 1 20 rounds 
of ball cartridge, and that this must be all replaced imme- 
diately ; that all this requires an enormous number of carriages, 
with horses and drivers ; that outside of the line of battle there 
must be medical men, their assistants, and nurses ; that within 
it and under fire there must be ambulance waggons, and men 
with stretchers to bear the wounded to them ; and that forty 
per cent of the infantry alone in every year's campaign are 
carried to the rear, we may understand how the large difference 
between the number of actual fighting men and of men borne 
upon paper is accounted for. 


We have seen that each corps d'armfe may be safely 
estimated at 30,000 combatants, and that of the Guard at 
36,000, without taking into consideration those large artillery 
and engineer trains which would be requisite were the army to 
undertake the siege of any considerable fortress. It only 
remains now to consider whether this strength may always be 
reckoned upon as constant ; and it appears that this may be 
done in consequence of the admirable system of Prussian 
organization. By this system, as soon as a corps d'arm^ is 
put on a war footing, there is a depot battalion formed for 
each regiment, a depdt company for each battalion of rifles, a 
dep6t squadron for each cavalry regiment,* a depot division 
for the artillery of each corps d'armee, a dep6t company for 
each engineer battalion, and a depdt for the military train. 
These depots remain in their barracks, and supply all 
vacancies made in the ranks of the corps to which they belong. 
Nor is it at all difficult for them to do so, because in con- 
sequence of the system of recruiting pursued in this .country 
these dep6ts do not consist entirely of raw recruits, but partly 
of men who have served for some time in the army, and who 
have, after leaving the regular ranks, been annually put 
through a course of training. 

In Prussia, with the exception of clergymen and a few 
others, every man in the year in which he becomes twenty 
years old is liable to military service for five years, three of 
which he spends in the regular army and two in the reserve. On 
completion of this service he is placed in the first levy of the 
Landwehr for seven years, and afterwards in the second levy 
of the Landwehr for seven years more. When it is necessary 
to raise the regular army to a war footing, the reserve is first 
draughted into the ranks, then the first levy of the Landwehr, 
and afterwards, if necessary, the second levy.t If the Land- 
wehr is exhausted the Landsturm is called out, and in this 
case every man between sixteen and fifty is liable for service. 

Each corps d'armee of the Line in time of peace is 

* The depot squadron for each regiment of cavalry is now maintained in 
time of peace, 
t After 1866 the distinction between the two levies of Landwehr ceased. 


quartered in one of the eight provinces of the kingdom ; its 
recruits are obtained from that province, and its Landwehr are 
the men in the province who have served five years and who 
have been dismissed from actual service, but are subjected to 
an annual course of training. The provinces to which the 
different corps d'arm^e in 1866 belonged were: — i, Prussia 
Proper; 2, Pomerania; 3, Brandenburg; 4, Prussian Saxony; 
5, Posen; 6, Silesia; 7, Westphalia; 8, Rhine Provinces. 
The Guards are recruited from men of a certain stature from 
all the provinces, and the Landwehr of the Guard consists of 
the men who have formerl)^ served in it 

Prussia, after the successes of Frederick the Great, was 
content to suppose that the military organization which had 
served her so well in the Seven Years' War was perfect, and 
required little or no modification to enable it to continue supe- 
rior to that of other European Powers; but while she reposed 
complacently on the laurels of Rossbach and Leuthen, mili- 
tary science had rushed forwards, and she was rudely roused 
from her repose by the crushing defeat of Jena. Under 
enormous difficulties, and with the greatest secrecy, a new 
organization was then introduced into the Prussian army. 
The terms of peace dictated by Napoleon after the Jena 
campaign allowed the Prussian army to consist of only 
42,000 men, but no stipulation was made as to how long these 
men should serve. In order to secure the means of striking 
for independence on the first favourable opportunity, General 
Schamhorst introduced the Krumper system, by which a 
certain number of soldiers were always allowed to go home on 
furlough after a few months' service, and recruits were brought 
into the ranks in their place. Those drilled were in their turn 
sent away on furlough and other recruits brought in for train- 
ing. By means of this system at the beginning of 18 13 not 
only could the existing regiments be filled up to proper war 
strength, but fifty-one new battalions were raised firom pre- 
pared soldiers. This force, however, was totally insufficient 
for the great struggle against Napoleon ; so in February, 1813, 
volunteer Jager detachments were formed which mustered 
together about 10,000 men, and in March the raising of a 
Landwehr was decreed, which in five months after the signa- 


ture of the decree was able to take part in the war with a 
strength of 120,000 men. Thus in August, 1813, Prussia 
possessed an army of 250,000 men, of whom 170,000 men 
were ready to take the field, while the remaining 80,000 
formed reserve and depot troops and supplied garrisons. This 
army fought in the war of independence, and formed the first 
nucleus of the existing military organization of the kingdom, — 
an oiganization which, dating fi'om a terrible misfortune, the 
bitter experience of which has never been forgotten, has since 
been constanly tended, improved, and reformed, and with carefiil 
progress been brought to such a high pitch of excellence that 
in 1866 it enabled the Prussian troops to march and conquer 
with an almost miraculous rapidity, to eclipse in a few days the 
glories of the Seven Years' War, to efi&ce the memory of Jena 
by thundering on the attention of the startled world the 
suddenly decisive victory of Sadowa, and to spring over the 
ashes of Chlum into very possibly the foremost place among 
the armies of the world,* 

After Prussia had regained her position as a great Power it 
was necessary that she should have an army of a strength 
similar to that of the armies of other great Powers, and there- 
fore with a muster-roll of about half a million of men. At this 
time the other great Powers kept the greater part of their 
soldiery in peace, as in war, in the ranks, and only allowed a 
few trained veterans, who together amounted to about one- 
fourth of the total strength of the army, to be absent on 
furlough. But Prussia was then the smallest of the great 
Powers, and had neither such a large population nor revenue 
as the others. Thus, she had, in the first place, not sufficient 
men ; in the second place, not enough money to maintain an 
army on a similar system, and could in peace keep together 
only a much smaller portion of her soldiery than her possible 
enemies could. This portion of her army was organised on 
the following system : — ^The country was required every year 
to grant 40,000 recruits, each of whom served for three years 
under the standards and for two years in the reserve 3 so the 

• The events of 1870—71, have not belied this paxagraph, written in 


Standing anny amounted to 120,000 men, and by calling in 
the reserves could be raised immediately to 200,000 men. 
Bat, to complete the requisite number of 500,000 soldiers, 
300,000 more were necessary, and in time of peace the 
kingdom could afford to maintain only very small depdts for 
these additional troops. The war of independence had shown 
that the Landwehr system, by which men were allowed to 
retire from service, but still remained liable to be called up for 
duty, was capable of effecting good service, and in case of 
need of supplying the men who could not be kept in time of 
peace in the regular army. Therefore this system was retained, 
and by the decree of the 3rd of September, 18 14, the Prussian 
army was organized definitively on the Landwehr system. By 
this system every Prussian capable of bearing arms was with- 
out exception liable to military duty, and to serve from his 
20th to his 23rd year in the standing army, from his 23rd to 
25th in the reserve, from his 25th to 32nd in the first levy of the 
Landwehr, and from his 32nd to 39th in the second levy. The 
Landsturm was to consist of all men capable of bearing arms 
between seventeen and forty-nine years of age who did not 
belong either to the standing army or to the Landwehr. From 
the Landwehr battalions and squadrons were raised which 
formed Landwehr regiments, and these were united for annual 
exercise or service in brigades and divisions with regiments of 
the Line. Landwehr men who had belonged to Jager bat- 
talions, to the artillery, or to the engineer service, were not 
formed into separate corps ; but in case of being called up 
were to return into the ranks of the regiments in which they 
had formerly served. 

By this system, with an annual supply of 40,000 recruits, 
Prussia was enabled to hold in readiness for war an army 
which consisted of three distinct parts. 

1. The standing army of 120,000 men, raised in war by the 
recall of the reserves to 200,000 men, and with Landwehr- 
Jagers, artillerymen, and pioneers, to 220,000 men. 

2. The first levy of the Landwehr, including only infentry 
and cavalry, of which, in peace, only small depots, numbering 
together about 3,000 men, were maintained, but which, on the 
mobilization of the army for war, supplied considerably over 


150,000 men, even allowing liberally for deaths, sickness, 
emigration, and other causes of reduction. 

The standing army and the first levy, after detaching 30,000 
men to strengthen the garrisons of fortresses, formed together 
the field army of 340,000 men, and besides, from their surplus 
men and recruits, could leave at home a force of depot troops 
amounting to about 50,000 men. 

3. The second levy of the Landwehr, firom which no 
exercise or training was required in time of peace, but which 
in war was called upon to fiimish 110,000 soldiers, who, 
with the 30,000 above mentioned firom the standing army and 
first levy, garrisoned the fortresses of the country, and could, 
in case of urgent necessity, be supported by the LandstunxL 

From these three sources — i, the field army; 2, depot 
troops, formed by the standing army and first levy of the 
Landwehr; 3, garrison troops, formed by the surplus of the 
first levy, the second levy of Landwehr, and in case of need 
firom the Landsturm — Prussia could for war raise 530,000 men, 
of whom in time of peace hardly one-fourth were present with 
the standards. The standing army during the time that this 
organization remained intact consisted of forty-five infantry 
regiments, ten light infantry battalions, thirty-eight cavalry 
regiments, nine artillery regiments, and nine divisions of engi- 

The great advantage of this system was that in peace it 
necessitated but a small expense, and required but few men to 
keep up an army which on the outbreak of war could be raised 
quickly to a large force. As it was arranged after the War of 
Independence it endured without alteration during the reigns 
of Frederick William III. and Frederick William IV. 

But in the campaigns which the Prussian army undertook in 
1848 and 1849, and again when the army was mobilized in 
1850 and 1859, the disadvantages of an organization so entirely 
based upon the Landwehr system became apparent in a high 

The energetic spirit with which the Prussian people rushed 
to arms against Napoleon I. can only, under very peculiar 
circumstances, agitate a whole nation, and make every indi- 
vidual willing and anxious to sacrifice his personal comfort 


and convenience in order to respond to the call of his Govern* 
ment, and serve with alacrity in the ranks of the army. Such 
circumstances seldom occur, and are due either to the insup- 
portable weight of a foreign domination — ^as was the case in 
Prussia from 1807-12 — or to some strong patriotic stimulus 
such as has knitted the people of the same country together 
during the late campaign ; but this spirit is seldom found at 
the outbreak of an ordinary war, engaged in for ordinary poli- 
tical reasons. 

It was found on the mobilization in 1848 that a great por- 
tion of the Landwehr soldiers obeyed only unwillingly the call 
to arms, because it interfered with their private occupations; 
that they sometimes, weaned by long ease from military ideas, 
showed a want of discipline, and that, thinking more for their 
wives and families than for their duty to the State, they did not 
always acquit themselves properly in action. Besides, there 
was this disadvantage that the Landwehr — ^therefore, about half 
of the field army, newly embodied— prevented the divisions 
from being immediately prepared to take the field, a delay 
which is terribly prejudicial to an army in these times, when 
troops are forwarded to the theatre of war by the rapid means 
of railway transport The officers and non-commissioned 
officers of the Landwehr were also little used to their duties, 
and at the very moment of mobilization a great number of 
them were necessarily transferred to the Line, and others 
brought from the regular army to supply their places. These 
numerous alterations of their leaders at such an important time 
were alone sufficient to impair materially the efficiency of the 

Besides these disadvantages, the existing system had brought 
about a great injustice in the distribution of military service, as 
in 1 81 5 only 40,000 recruits were yearly called for to support 
the standing army of 140,000 men, while in the meantime the 
population had increased from 10,000,000 to 18,000,000; so 
that about one-third of the lads who should proportionately 
have entered the service were entirely free of duty, and those 
who did enter were liable to be recalled to the ranks for a 
longer period of their life than was really necessary; for if, 
instead of 40,000 recruits, 63,000 were, as easily could be, 


called up every year, men, instead of being liable to be put into 
the standing army on the outbreak of war for twelve years 
(from twenty to thirty-two), need only be liable for seven years 
(from twenty to twenty-seven). In direct ratio with the in- 
crease of population the national revenues had also increased 
from 50,000,000 to 93,000,000 thalers, and so admitted of an 
increase of the standing army and of the military expenses. 

There were thus three grounds for a reform in the Landwehr 
system, and therefore King William I., while still Regent, in- 
troduced in 1859 and i860 a re-organization of the army, which 
up to 1865 formed a bone of contention between the Prussian 
Ministry and the Radical party in the Lower House, but the 
success of which in the war of 1866 completely silenced, if not 
thoroughly convinced, even its tax-pa5dng opponents of its 
wondeiful excellence and elasticity. By this re-organization of 
1859, as it is usually called, the first levy of the Landwehr was 
no longer, as a rule, to be sent into the field ; and to attain 
this object the standing army, including the reserves, was to 
be increased by as many men as the first levy of the Landwehr 
formerly provided — ^in fact, to be nearly doubled. The time 
of service in the Landwehr was diminished by two years, and 
that in the reserve in return to be lengthened by two years. 
The Landwehr still remaining in two levies, but composed only 
of men from twenty-seven to thirty-eight years old, was, as a 
rule, with its first levy alone to perform the duty which had 
hitherto been performed by the second levy, — namely, to gar- 
rison the fortresses. In case of necessity the Government still, 
however, retained the power of calling up the second levy to 
aid in this duty. 

By this organization a recruit who joined the Prussian ser- 
vice served for three years (from nineteen to twenty-two) * in 
the regular army; for five years (from twenty-two to twenty- 
seven) in the reserve ; and for eleven years (from twenty-seven 
to thirty-eight) was liable to be called up for duty as a Land- 
wehr man. 

By this re-organization the total war strength of the field 

* From the ist Januaiy of the year in which he became twenty years 


army was slightly increased, and its efficiency most materially 
improved ; the war strength of the depot troops was, on ac- 
count of the necessity of great rapidity in modem warfare, more 
than doubled ; that of the garrison troops was improved, and 
could now, by calling up the second levy, be made twice as 
great as it was formerly. These reforms also allowed the 
standing army to be increased by thirty-six regiments of in- 
fantry, nine battalions for the fusilier regiments, ten cavalry 
laments, and five divisions of garrison artillery. Sufficient 
time had not yet elapsed on the outbreak of the Austrian war 
for this re-organization to be thoroughly carried out, and still 
eight of the ten cavalry regiments had not been formed, and 
their place was supplied during that campaign by twelve Land- 
wehr cavalry regiments, and as yet only one of the divisions of 
garrison artillery had been formed. 

During the campaign of 1866 the elasticity of this organiza- 
tion was clearly manifested. In a wonderfully short time the 
large armies which fought at Koniggratz were placed on a war 
footing, and brought about 260,000 combatants into the very 
field of batde, besides the necessary detachments which must 
be made by a large army to cover communications, mask fort- 
resses, and so on ; but the detachments made from the Prus- 
sian army were very small compared to those which would 
have to be separated from an army organized on a different 
system ; for as the field army advanced the depot troops moved 
up in rear, and formed both dep6ts and reserves for the first 
line, while some of the garrison troops of Landwehr came up 
fiom Prussia, and formed the garrisons of Saxony, Prague, 
Pardubitz, and all the other points on the lines of communica- 
tion. At the same time General Mulbe's corps, fomied for the 
most part of reserve and depot soldiers, pushed up to Briinn, 
and was hastening to take its place in the first line, when its 
march was stopped by the conclusion of the long armistice. 

While the armies of Prince Frederick Charles, the Crown 
Prince, and General Herwarth were being supported in Bo- 
hemia, Moravia, and Saxony, General Falkenstein, with a 
number of Line regiments and a force of Landwehr, was driv- 
ing the war forwards to the Main ; and the Prince of Mecklen- 
burg, with the second reserve corps, was pushing on against 


Bavaria. Nor was Prussian territory left without its garrisons : 
Landwehr battalions were in Kosel, Neisse, Berlin, Torgau, 
Magdeburg, Konigsbeig, and all the other garrison towns of 
the country, while under their shelter recruits were being 
drilled, and more Landwehr embodied to march forward into 
the conquered countries. The armies which were on the 
Marchfeld in front of Lundenburg and in Bavaria did not 
form a thin front line, which, once broken or turned, would 
have been driven back even to the Elbe ; their rear was guarded 
and supported by large forces of strong and firm battalions, 
lately embodied, but from their nature quickly trained, and 
composed of well-grown old soldiers who were thirsting to be 
sent against the enemy, and on whose well-knit frames disease 
or the hardships of war could make little impression. 

Though the part of the Prussian organization which refers 
to the recruiting of the army and to the filling up of the ranks 
in case of war has had a great deal to do with the success of 
the Austrian campaign, on account of the facility and rapidity 
with which by its means the army could be mobilized and 
brought upon a war footing, the portion of the Prussian 
organization which relates to the combination of the recruits 
so obtained in pHable bodies, which can be easily handled, 
easily moved, yet formed in such due proportions of the different 
arms as to be capable of independent action, did not fail to 
be appreciated most fully by those who, with its assistance, 
gained such tremendous results. This portion of the military 
organization of the Prussian army is so simple that almost 
every man in the ranks can understand it Jealous of expense 
in time of peace, it allows for a wide expansion, without 
hurry and without confusion, on the outbreak of war. It pro- 
vides for, at the same time, the broadest questions and the 
most minute details, and is so clearly laid down and so pre- 
cisely defined, yet at the same time admits of so much 
elasticity, that the Prussian officers can find no words strong 
enough to express their praise of it 

England, in fact, in 1866, hardly wakened up to realize that 
the Pnissian army then was very different from that which at 
the beginning of this century was destroyed on the fatal day 
of Jena, or that then it only resembled the army which 


inarched so well to our aid at Waterloo, in patriotic feelmg 
and in the rudiments of its organization. Prussia seems now 
about to spring into the position she held one hundred years' 
ago, when Frederick had made her the first military Power 
in die world, and England was introducing her military system 
into the germs of the army which marched through the Penin- 
sula, and at Waterloo shattered the legions which Bliicher 
annihilated. Would that England now would take some hints 
for the organization of her army from the victors of Konig- 
gratz, and would adopt the experience which has been won on 
Uie plains of Bohemia, before military progress is forced 
upon her by a disaster more fatal, perhaps, than that of 
Klostersevem 1 ♦ 

In peace everything is always kept ready for the mobiliza- 
tion of the army, every officer and every official knows during 
peace what will be his post and what will be his duty the 
moment the decree for the mobilization is issued, and the 
moment that decree is flashed by telegraph to the most 
distant stations every one sets about his necessary duty without 
requiring any fiirther orders or any explanations. 

When a war is imminent the Government decrees the 
mobilization of the whole army, or of such a portion as may 
be deeme^ necessary. In preparing for the Austrian cam- 
paign, the whole field army and the first levy of Landwehr 
were mobilized before the invasion of Saxony. A part of the 
second Landwehr levy was also mobilized immediately the 
troops of Prince Frederick Charles stepped across the Saxon 
fi-ontier ; and on the day of the great battle near Koniggratz, 
without any exertion, Prussia had over 600,000 men under 
arms. Every commanding general mobilizes his own corps 
d'arm^ ; the " Intendantur " the whole of the branches of the 
administrative services ; the commandants of those fortresses 
which are ordered to be placed in a state of defence take 
their own measures for strengthening the fortifications and for 
obtaining from the artillery depots tiie guns necessary for the 
armament of their parapets. All orders are sent by telegraph, 

• It is hardly necessary to notice that since this was written in 1867, 
England has made a great advance in military improvement. 



or, where telegraphic communication does not exist, by 
mounted orderlies. The mobilization of the whole army is 
'soon complete in eveiy branch ; the infantry is ready in a 
fortnight Arom the time the decree is signed 

The process of the mobilization may be classed under the 
following fire beads : — i, The filling in of the field troops to 
their war strength ; 2, the formation of depdt troops ; 3, the 
formation of garrison troops and the arming of the fortresses ; 
4, the mobilization of the field administration ; 5, the farma- 
tion of the head*quarter staffs, &c., who are to remain in the 
different districts to supply the places of those who march to 
the seat of war. 

The completion of the rank and file of the field troops 
to war strength was effected by drawing in some of the reserve 
soldiers, who supply half the total war strength of the in- 
fantry, one-third of that of the artillery, and one twenty-fifth 
of that of the cavalry. The cavalry has, of course, on 
account of being maintained in such force during peace, a 
superabundance of reserve soldiers available on a mobiliza- 
tion ; these, after the men required for the cavalry itself have 
been drawn from them, are handed over to the artillery and 
military train, so that these services thus obtain many valuable 
soldiers, well accustomed to motmted duties. The reserve 
soldiers who are to be enrolled have orders sent to them 
through the commanding officer of the Landwehr of the 
district in which they live, who can avail himself of the ser- 
vices of the provincial and parochial civil authorities to 
£sicilitate' the delivery of these orders. The men are, imme- 
diately on the receipt of their orders, required to proceed to 
the head-quarters of the Landwehr of the district, where they 
are received, medically inspected, and forwarded to their regi- 
ment, by an officer and some non-commissioned officers of the 
regiment which draws its recruits from the district Officers 
who are reqiiired to fill up vacancies in the regular army in a 
mobilization are obtained by promoting some of the senior 
non-commissioned officers. Landwehr officers obtain their 
commissions much in the same way as do military officers in 
England, but no Landwehr officer can be promoted to the 
rank of captain unless he has been attached to a regular 


raiment for two months' duty ; and no Landwehr officer can 
be a field officer unless he has before served for some con- 
siderable time in the regular anny. Many of the officers 
of the Landwehr are officers still on the strength of the 
r^ular anny, who are detached to the Landwehr on its 

On a mobilization, the whole army required in 1866 about 
88,000 horses more than it had in time of peace ; in order to 
obtain these quickly the Government has the power, if it 
cannot buy them readily from regular dealers, to take a certain 
number from every district, paying for them a price which is 
fixed by a mixed commission of military officers and of persons 
appointed by the civil authorities of the district 

Each regiment of field artillery forms nine ammunition 
columns, in each of which are waggons to carry reserve am- 
munition for infantry, cavalry, and artillery, in the proportions 
in which experience has shown that ammunition is usually 
required In the field these ammunition waggons follow 
directly in rear of the field army, but are kept entirely sepa- 
rate fix>m the field batteries, the officers ot which are justly 
supposed to have enough to do in action in superintending 
Aeir own guns, without being hampered with the supply of 
cartridges to the cavalry and infantry. 

Every battalion of engineers forms a column of waggons 

which carries tools for intrenching purposes, and also a heavy 

pontoon train and a light field bridge train for which all is kept 

ready during peace. If a portion of the army is mobilized 

merely for practice, or goes into camp for great manoeuvres, as 

is done nearly every summer during peace, one, or perhaps 

two or three, engineer battalions make their trains mobile, in 

order to practise the men and to accustom them to the use of 

die mattrid. Arms and ammunifion which are required to 

C(»nplete the war strength of regiments are supplied from the 

artillery depdts. Officers are allowed soldier servants on a 

more Hberal scale than in the English army, but no officers' 

servants are mustered in the company ; they form, with all the 

non-combatant men of each battalion of infantry, the train 

which is attached to every battalion : this consists of the 

officers' servants and the drivers of the regimental waggons ; 

r 2 


every one else borne on the muster-roll draws a trigger in 
action, so that the muster-rolls actually show the number of 
rank and file who are present, and do not include any of the 
followers, who often never come up into the line of battle at 
alL On service the captain of every company is mounted, 
and is required to have two horses, to aid in the purchase 
of which he is allowed a certain simi of money by the 

The strength cf an ordinary battalion on active service is 
one field-ofiicer, four captains, four first lieutenants, nine second 
lieutenants, one surgeon, one assistant-surgeon, one paymaster, 
one quarter-master, 1002 non-commissioned ofl[icers and privates. 
The train attached to this battalion is, besides officers' ser- 
vants, the drivers of the ammunition waggon, which has six 
horses; of the Montirung Wagcn^ which carries the pay- 
master's books, money chest, and a certain amount of material 
for the repair of arms and clothing, and is drawn by four 
horses ; a hospital cart with two horses, an ofl[icers' baggage 
waggon with four horses, and men to lead four pack-horses, 
each of which carries on a pack-saddle the books of one 

The baggage of a cavalry regiment on service consists of 
one medicine cart with two horses, one field forge with two 
horses, four squadron waggons, each with two horses, one 
oflftcers' baggage waggon, with four horses ; the total strength 
of a cavalry regiment being 23 ofl[icers 659 men, of whom 
600 fall in in the ranks, 713 horses, and seven carriages. 

The nine ammunition columns which are formed by each 
artillery regiment for the supply of ammunition to the artillery 
and infantry of the corps d'arm^e to which the regiment 
belongs are divided into two divisions, one of which consists 
of five columns, and has a strength of two officers, 175 men, 
174 horses, and 25 waggons; the second, consisting of four 
columns, has two officers, 173 men, 170 horses, and 24 wag- 
gons. This division is mgide to facilitate the despatch of the 
two divisions separately to the ammunition dep6t to have the 
waggons refilled after their first supply of cartridges has been 
exhausted, or to allow one division to be detached with each 
infantry division, in case of the corps d'arm^ being divided, 


as was the case in this war with the third and fourth corps, in 
which case four columns can conveniently be attached to each 
infantiy division, and one column to the cavaliy division of the 

The reserve anmiunition park from which these ammunition 
columns are replenished, is also divided into two divisions,- 
each of which has a strength of nine officers, 195 men, 264 
carriages, and is further subdivided into eight columns of 33 
waggons each. It is brought into the theatre of war either by 
railway or water carriage, or by means of horses hired in the 
country where the war b being conducted. It generally is one 
or two da3rs' march in rear of the army. In the campaign of 
1866 on the day of the great battle, the ammunition reserve 
park of the army of Prince Frederick Charles was at Tumau, 
to which place it had been brought by railway. 

A siege train for attacking fortresses is not generally or- 
ganized at the beginning of a war, unless the general plan of 
the campaign should be likely to lead the army into a country 
where fortresses exist, which could not be either neglected or 
masked, and which must be. reduced. If a siege train is 
organized, it is formed with especial reference to the fortresses 
against which it is to act, and follows the army in the same 
manner as the reserve ammunition park. At the beginning of 
the 1866 campaign the Prussians had no siege train with the 
army, but directly the battle of Sadowa had been won a siege 
train was organized, perhaps to be employed against the for- 
tresses on the Elbe, though such small places scarcely merited 
such an attention from so large an army, perhaps for an attack 
on Olmiitz, When the fortifications of Floridsdorf were found 
looming in fi:ont of the advance on Vienna, the siege train was 
ordered up to be ready for the attack of the Austrian works 
covering the Danube, but it was halted as soon as the four 
weeks' armistice was agreed upon. The want of siege trains 
was, however, felt The garrison of Theresienstadt, a fortress 
which had been totally neglected, sallied out and broke the 
railway bridge on the line of communication between Prague 
and Tumau. Had their communication been thus broken 
during the active campaign, and not during the armistice, it 
must have seriously inconvenienced the Prussians. Had 


Theresienstadt been masked, the sally of the garrison would 
have been probably prevented; but had it been properly 
besieged, the garrison would have been kept within their 
works, and the direct line of railway between Prague and 
Dresden would have been at the service of the Prussian army 
for almost its entire length. 

It is thus that the Prussian army is formed in peace, that its 
field forces can be made ready to march in a few days in case 
of war, and that the troops in the field are supplied with the 
powder and shot which give them the means of fighting. But, 
Tart de vaincre est perdu sans Part de subsister. An organiza- 
tion of even more importance lies still behind — ^the organization 
of the means of supplying the warriors with food when in 
health, with medicine and hospitals when diseased or wounded, 
and for filling up the gaps which are opened in the ranks by 
4)attle or pestilence ; an organization which has always been 
found to be more difficult and to require more delicate 
handling than even strategical combinations, or the arraying 
of troops for battle. 

The Prussian army could in 1866 enter the field with 
342,000 men in its ranks ; but, as is well known, no army, 
nor any collection of men, can maintain its normal strength for 
a single day ; in such a host, even of young healthy men, ordi- 
nary illness would immediately cause a few absentees firom 
duty, much more so do the marches, the hardships, and the 
fatigues to which a soldier is exposed on active service before 
the first shot is fired. Then as soon as an action takes place, 
a single day adds a long list to the hospital roll, and the eveix> 
ing sees in the ranks many gaps whidi in the morning were 
filled by strong soldiers, who are now lying torn and mangled 
or dead on the field of battle. The dead are gone for ever ; 
they are so much power lost out of the hand of the general ; 
nor can an army wait till the wounded are cured and are again 
able to draw a trigger "or to wield a sabre. Means must be 
taken to supply the deficiencies as quickly as possible, and to 
restore to the commander of the army the missing force which 
has been expended in moving his own army through the first 
steps of the campaign, or in resisting the motion of his ad- 
versary. What is the amount of such deficiencies may be 


estimated from Prussian statistics^ which have been compiled 
^th great care, and frx>m the experience of many campaigns ; 
these state officiaUy that at the end of a year's ^rar forty per 
cent of the inflsuitiy of the field army, twenty per cent of the 
cavalry, artillery, and engineers, and twelve per cent of the 
military train would have been lost to the service, and have had 
to be supplied anew. 

It is for the formation of these supplies of men, and for for- 
warding them to the active army, that depots are intended. 
The depots of the Prussian army are formed as soon as the 
mobilization takes place, and it is ordered that one half of the 
men of each depdt should be soldiers of the reserve, who, 
already acquainted with their drill, can be sent up to the front 
on the first call ; the other half of each depot consists of recruits 
who are raised in the ordinary way, and of all the men of the 
raiments belonging to the field army which have not been per- 
fectly drilled by the time their regiment marches to the seat of 
war. The officers of the depots are either officers who are 
detached from the regular army for this duty, or are officers 
who have been previously wounded, and who cannot bear active 
service, but can perform the easier duties of the depot, besides 
young officers, who are being trained to their duty before join- 
ing their regiments. 

Between the re-oiganization of 1859 and the war of 1866, 
the number of depdt troops kept up during a war was quite 
doubled ; formerly every two infantry regiments had one depdt 
battalion, and every two cavalry regiments one depot squadron. 
When the army was re-organized, it was foreseen that this 
amount of depdt troops would never be sufficient in case of a 
war of any duration or severity, so by the new regulations each 
infantry regiment had one depot battalion of 18 officers and 
1,002 men; each rifle battalion, a depot company of 4 officers 
and 201 men; each cavalry regiment, a depot squadron of 5 
officers, 200 men, and 212 horses; each field artillery regi- 
ment (96 guns), a depot division of one horse artillery battery, 
and three field batteries, each of four guns, with 14 officers, 556 
men, and 189 horses ; every engineer battalion, one depot com- 
pany of 4 officers and 202 men ; every train battalion, a depot 
division of two companies, which muster together 12 officers, 


502 men, and 213 horses. All this was required to feed the 
army in the field with supplies of men to take the places of 
those who pass fi-om the regimental muster roll into the lists of 
killed, died in hospital, or disabled ; for those who are only 
slightly wounded return to their duty either in the depot or at 
once to their battalions, as is most convenient from the situa- 
tion of the hospital in which they have been. 

As a rule, four weeks after the field army has marched, the 
first supply of men is forwarded from the depots to the batta- 
lions in the field. This first supply consists of one-eighth of the 
calculated yearly loss which has been given above. On the first 
day of every succeeding month a firesh supply is forwarded. 
Each of these later supplies is one-twelfth of the total calculated 
yearly loss. If a very bloody battle is fought, special supplies 
are sent at once to make up the losses of the troops that have 
been engaged. 

The troops in depot are provided with all articles of equip- 
ment with which they should take the field. When a detach- 
ment is to be sent to the front, all who belong to one corps 
d'arm^e are assembled together; the infantry soldiers are 
formed into companies of 200 men each for the march, the 
cavalry into squadrons of about 100 horsemen, and are taken 
under the charge of officers to the field army, thus bringing to 
the firont with them the necessary reserves of horses. The 
places in the depots of those who have marched away are filled 
up by recruiting. 

An army, though of great strength and well provided with 
supplies of men, cannot always be sure of taking the initiative, 
and by an ofiensive campaign driving the war into an enemy's 
country. There is no doubt that an offensive campaign is 
much better for a country and much more likely to achieve 
success than a defensive one : it was much better for the 
Prussians in 1866 to cover Berlin in Bohemia than in Bran- 
denburg, in 1870 in Alsatia than in Rhineland ; General 
Benedek would have preferred to cover Vienna indirectly by 
an attack on Prussian Silesia rather than in a defensive posi- 
tion at Koniggratz ; Napoleon justly saw that the proper point 
to defend Paris in 181 5 was not on the Marne, but in Belgium. 
But political reasons or want of preparation often force an army 


to be unable to assume the ofTensive, and with the loss of the 
initiative make a present to the enemy of the first great advan- 
tage in the war. In this case the theatre of war is carried into 
its own territory, when an army requires fortresses to protect its 
arsenals, dockyards, and its capital, to cover important strate- 
gical points, or to afford a place where, in case of defeat or 
disaster, it may be re-organized under the shelter of fortifica- 
tions and heavy artillery. It was well seen in the war of 1866 
that small fortresses do not delay the progress in the field of a 
large invading army, which can afford to spare detachments to 
prevent their garrisons from making sallies. Josephstadt and 
Koniggratz did not delay the Prussian armies for a day, 
though they are both strong places, and would possibly have 
stood a long siege ; but they were both masked by detach- 
ments, the loss of which from the line of battle was hardly felt 
by the main body, and, though no trenches were opened and 
no guns mounted against them, the great line of the Prussian 
communications passed in safety within a few miles of their 
paralysed garrisons.* It was also demonstrated by that war 
that fortifications which inclose a town of any size are compa- 
ratively useless, unless the defensive works are so far in front 
of the houses as to preclude the possibility of the bombardment 
of the city. Towns are now so rich, both in population and 
wealth, that few Governments would dare to expose their sub- 
jects to the loss of property and risk to life which a bombard- 
ment must entail Prague, though surrounded by ramparts, 
struck the Austrian colours without firing a shot, because the 
Prussian guns would at the same time have played upon the 
defenders of the parapets, the unprotected citizens, and the rich 
storehouses of its merchants. The Spielberg at Briinn, if it 
stood alone, might make a strong resistance to the passage of 
an invader, but the white fiag of truce waving fi-om its fiagstaff, 
instead of the war standard of Austria, greeted the Prussian 
vanguard, because the Emperor could not have borne to hear 
that its spires, its palaces, and large manufactories had crumbled 
to the ground under Mecklenburg's artillery. But it would be 

• In the same manner, in 1870, even Strasburg, Phalsburg, Bitche, 
Tou], and Belfort did not, although besieged, delay the progress of the 


rash to jump to the conclusion that fortresses, and even forti- 
fied towns, are no longer of use in war. Fortresses are useful 
as supports to the flanks of an anny : if Benedek had lain along 
the river from Josephstadt to Koniggratz, the junction of the 
two Prussian princes would have been long delayed, perhaps 
prevented. The guns of Koniggratz materially checked the 
pursuit of the Austrian legions defeated at Sadowa. What 
Olmiitz did to save the army of the north from a total disorga- 
nization, and to allow General Benedek, under its cover, to 
make his preparations for the masterly move by which he 
carried it to Vienna, is well known. Whenever a capital is 
distinctly the objective point of an invader, as would be the 
case if an enemy's army were ever to be allowed to land on the 
shores of our own England, strong works round the city, but so 
far in advance of the houses as would prevent their being 
reached by the besieger's shells, become a necessity, between 
and behind which the defenders anny, if worsted in a battle, 
might be restored, and wait until the attacking troops had 
shattered themselves against the intrenchments. And though 
the earthworks at Floridsdorf had little to do with the sudden 
cessation of hostilities, there can be no doubt that if Vienna 
had been properly fortified on every side Austria might, with a 
very fair chance, have struck another blow before she suffered 
herself to be excluded from the Confederation of the German 

As long as fortresses exist they require garrisons, but the 
troops which are formed in Prussia on the breaking out of a 
war are not intended, in case of an offensive campaign, only to 
hang listlessly over the parapets of fortified places. When an 
army pushes forward into a foreign country, it leaves behind it 
long lines of road or railway over which pass the supplies of 
food, clothing, medicines, and stores, which are vitally import- 
ant to the existence of an army. With an unfriendly population, 
and an enemy's cavalry ready always to seize an opportunity of 
breaking in upon these lines of communication, of chaiging 
down upon convoys, and destroying or burning their contents, 

♦ The fortifications of Paris allowed time In 1870-71 for three separate 
attempts to raise the siege of the capital. 


and of thus deranging seriously what might be called the 
household economy of the army, it is necessary, especially on 
lines of railway, that strong garrisons should be maintained at 
particular points, and that patrols should be furnished for 
nearly the whole line. Towns have to be occupied in rear of 
the front line, depots of stores have to be guarded and pro- 
tected, convoys have to be escorted, telegraph lines watched, 
the fortifications which may fall garrisoned. To detach troops 
for the performance of all these duties dribbles away the 
strength of an army : if the Prussian armies which crossed the 
frontier into Bohemia and Moravia had been obliged to make 
all these detachments, how many fighting men would have 
mustered on the Marchfeld ? Very few. If these armies had 
waited till troops were formed at home after the course of the 
campaign had been seen, how long would it have required to 
march to the Rossbach ? Probably the advanced guard would 
have still been upon the Elbe when it was actually on the 
Danube. To provide for these duties, and to allow the main 
armies to push forward in almost unimpaired strength, Prussia 
forms on the mobilization of the field army her so-called 
garrison troops.* 

In the formation of these garrison troops, there is a draw- 
back fi-om the general excellence of the Prussian military 
organization, which arises from the Landwehr system. The 
men of the first levy of the Landwehr form, when alone called 
out, as many battalions as do the united levies when nearly the 
whole of the second levy is also called out In both cases 
there are 116 battalions, which consist each of 402 men of the 
first levy, and are only filled up to their full strength of 1,000 
men by men of the second levy. On account of this arrange- 
ment, if only the men of the first levy are required, a large 
number of weak battalions are formed, which are more 
expensive and more difficult to handle than would be a 
smaller number of full battalions. It would appear much 
simpler to have a certain number of battalions composed 
entirely of men of the first levy, and the rest entirely of men 

• These were even more necessary in France, where the bitterly hostile 
feeling of the inhabitants and the Franc-Tireur organization required con« 
stant watching. 


of the second levy ; but in Prussia this simplicity cannot be 
obtained because it is considered advisable to have a Landwehr 
battalion for every recruiting district, and only to enrol the men 
of the district in their own battalion. If, however, treble the 
population which inhabits one of the present recruiting districts 
were included in one district, it would be quite easy to have 
three battalions of Landwehr for each district, one completely 
composed of men of the first levy, the second of the first men. 
of the second, and the third of the later men of the second levy, 
who now complete the battalions up to their full strength.* 

In some respects, which are easily seen, the Prussian Land- 
wehr resembles the British Militia, but there are two vital 
differences between our organization and that of Prussia. The 
first is, that in England when a militia regiment is formed it is 
made up of men who are not old soldiers, and consequently, if 
the regiment is for some years disembodied, all its late recruits 
know nothing of their work except what they can pick up in 
the short period of annual training ; so that in course of time, 
if a regiment remains for many years without being embodied, 
the mass of the ranks contain men who firom want of training 
are unqualified to step on the very outbreak of a war into the 
line of battle. In the second place, the Landwehr of the first 
levy is as much an attendant and concomitant of an army in 
the field as the park of reserve artillery, and it is this which 
makes the Landwehr so valuable, because it thus takes up the 
duties which otherwise would have to be performed by detach- 
ments fi:om the active army. If the Prussian armies in the 
Austrian campaign had been obliged to leave detachments in 
Leipsic, Dresden, Prague, Pardubitz, and along the railway 
from Gorlitz to Briinn, besides troops in Hanover, Hesse, and 
on the lines of communications of the armies which were 
fighting against the Bavarians, how many troops would have 
formed the first lines of battle either on the Danube, or in the 
theatre of war near the Main? It is probable that the number 
of Landwehr men employed on foreign soil, in Saxony, and in 
guarding and garrisoning the rear of the armies whdch were 
concentrated between tlie Thaya and the Danube, would be 

* This has to a certain extent been improved since 1S66. 


under-estimated at 103,000, exclusive of the corps of the regular 
army which was watching Olmiitz. If this estimate be at all 
correct, the armies which were collecting, together 225,000 
regular troops, for the attack upon Vienna, would, unless they 
had had these Landwehr behind them, have been reduced to 
under 125,000 men. In fact, an English army under the 
same circumstances would have been shorn of almost half its 

When a Prussian army with its unimpaired strength is pre- 
paring to fight a battle in an enemy's country, when supplies of 
men are already coming up in anticipation of the losses which 
the action will cause, and when its lines of communication are 
guarded and secured by the garrison troops in its rear, it 
musters an enormous number of soldiers, who must every day 
be provided with food, without which a man can neither fight, 
march, nor live ; and not only must it provide for itself alone, but 
also for the prisoners of the enemy who may fall into its hands, 
—not only food, but hospitals, medicmes, and attendants for 
the sick, surgeries, assistants, and appliances for the wounded, 
and the means of conveying both sick and wounded from the 
places where they fell helpless to convenient spots where they 
may be tended and healed at a safe distance firom the danger 
of battle, or of being taken in case of a sudden advance of the 
enemy. It is extremely difficult fi-om mere figures to realize 
what a gigantic undertaking it was to supply even food alone 
to the armies which fought in the Austrian campaign — more 
diflScult still to appreciate the difficulties in the late campaign 
in France. The difficulties of such a task may be conceived if 
we remember that the firont line of the Prtissian armies in front 
of Vienna mustered nine times the number of British troops 
with which Lord Raglan invaded the Crimea ; that close behind 
this line lay General Miilbe's reserve corps, and a corps of the 
Army of Silesia, which was watching Olmiitz, and that these 
two corps alone were stronger by 4,000 men than all the 
British, German, and Spanish troops that fought at Talavera; 
that behind them again was a large mass of Landwehr ; that 
during the siege of Sebastopol the British army was stationary, 
and had the great advantage of sea transport to within a few 
miles of its camps, while in the late campaigns the Prussian 


anny had been moving forward at an enormously rapid rate* 
and that the men to be fed in the front line alone numbered 
about 250,000 in Austria* — a population as large as that of 
the twelfth part of London. It would be a bold man who 
would undertake to supply the twelfth part of the whole 
population of London with to-morrow's food — a bolder still 
who would undertake the task if this portion of the population 
were about to move bodily to-morrow morning down to Rich- 
mond, and would require to have the meat for their dinner 
delivered to them the moment they arrived there, and who, 
without railway transport, agreed to keep the same crowd daily 
provided with food until moving at the same rate they arrived 
at Plymouth; and yet a general has to do much more than 
this in giving food to his men, — he has, besides the ordinary 
difficulties of such a task, to calculate upon bad roads, weary 
horses, breaking waggons, the attacks of an enemy's cavalry ; 
he has not only to get the food to the troops, but in many cases 
he has to provide it in the first place; he has to keep his 
magazines constantly stocked, to increase the amount of 
transport in exact proportion as his troops advance ; to feed 
not only the fighting men, but all the men who are employed 
in carrying provisions to the combatants, to find hay and com 
for all the horses of the cavalry and for the horses of the 
transport waggons, and to arrange beforehand so that every 
man and horse shall halt for the night in dose proximity to a 
large supply of good water. This is not the lightest nor the 
least of a general's duties. It was the proud boast of England's 
great soldier that "many could lead troops, he could feed 
them." When the enemy is in front, and any moment may 
bring on an action, a general has little time to turn his mind to 
the organization of a system of supply. Then he must sift 
intelligence, weigh information, divine his adversary's intentions 
almost before they are formed, prepare a parry for every blow, 
and speed a thrust into any opening joint of his antagonist's 
harness. The means of supplying troops ought to be given 
ready into the hands of. a general; they should be all arranged 
and organised beforehand, so that he has but to see that they 
are properly administered and made use of. 

* In Fiance, towards the end of the siege of Paris, over Soo^ooa 


The transport which follows a Prussian army in the field, 
exclusive of the waggons of each battalion, the artillery and 
engineer trains, and the field telegraph divisions, is divided 
under two heads, both of which are under the control of the 
Intendantur. The first but smaller portion is kept for the use 
of the Commissariat branch, and is usually retained solely for 
the supply of food to men. The second portion carries the 
medicines and hospital necessaries for the sick and wounded, 
together with the means of carrying disabled men, food for 
horses, stores to supply magazines, and all mathrid except 
munitions of war and regimental equipment 

The first portion for use of the Commissaxiat branch consists 
in the first place of a certain amount of waggons, which are in 
time of peace always kept ready in case of war, and imme- 
diately on the mobilization of the army are provided with 
horses and drivers firom the military train, who are entirely 
under the control of the Intendant-GeneraL Each army hais 
an army intendant ; each corps has with its head-quarters an 
army intendant, and an Intendantur officer is attached to each 
division. These officers, with their subalterns and assistants, 
form the first links of the chain by which a General draws food 
to his troops. The provision columns of each corps d'arm^ 
which are always retained in peace ready to be mobilized, 
consist of five provision columns, each of which has 2 officers, 
98 men, 161 horses, and 32 waggons. If the corps d*arm^ is 
broken up into divisions, a certain portion of these columns 
accompanies each infantry division, the cavalry division, and 
the reserve artillery. The 160 waggons which form these 
columns carry three days' provisions for every man in the 
corps d'arm^ ; as soon as the waggons which cany the first 
day's supply are emptied, they are sent off to the magazines in 
rear, replenished, and must be up again with the troops to 
supply Uie fourth day's food, for in the two days' interval the 
other waggons will have been emptied. As it is easier to cany 
flour than bread in these waggons, each corps d'arm^ is 
accompanied by a field bakery, which consists of i officer and 
118 men, 27 horses, and 5 waggons, which are distributed 
among the troops as may be most convenient; and as the 
horses of both the provision columns and field bakeries have 


very hard work, a dep6t of 86 horses, with 48 spare drivers, 
accompanies each corps d'arm^ These provision columns 
thus tarry three days' provisions, but in a country where 
supplies are not very abundant they can do nothing in the way 
of collecting food ; their duty is simply to bring provisions from 
the magazines where they are gathered together, and to carry 
them to the troops. It is evident, therefore, that as the army 
advances these magazines must advance also, and that means 
must be provided for keeping the magazines full. The collec- 
tion of food in such magazines entails an enormous amount of 
transport; this transport is obtained by hiring waggons and 
carts at home in the country where the war is being carried on, 
or in the countries near it Waggons hired in the country are 
also used for carrying forage for the horses of the cavalry and 
artillery from the magazines to the front, for the provision 
columns only carry food for the men. 

When the army of Prince Frederick Charles advanced from 
Saxony, it made its first marches as if in a totally desert country 
as far as the supply of provisions was concerned, because the 
Prussian Generals knew it was quite possible that the Austrians 
might, in order to retard their progress, lay waste the country. 
Immense magazines were accordingly collected at Gorlitz and 
in Saxony, which, as the army advanced, were brought forward 
by railway and by long trains of country waggons to places 
where they could be conveniently reached by the provision 
waggons and forage carts. These magazines were constantly 
replenished both by food and forage brought by railway from 
the interior of Prussia, or by requisitions levied on Saxony and 
Bohemia of food and forage, for which the Commissariat paid 
by cheques which the fortune of war afterwards allowed to be 
defrayed from the war contributions paid by the Austrian and 
Saxon Governments. Had the fate of arms been different, ot 
course Saxony and Austria would have provided that these 
cheques should be honoured by the Berlin Exchequer. When 
it was found that the country was not laid waste, the provision 
waggons in some cases were filled in the neighbourhood of the 
troops by requisitions, but this was found not to be so good a 
plan as to send them back to magazines where the provisions 
were collected ready for them, because the time taken up in 


gathering together driblets of food and forage from each village, 
and the great distances over which waggons had to move, im- 
posed an enormous amount of work on both the men and horses. 
Although the requisition system was very useful, it was only 
r^arded as 2in auxiliary means of supply, for the armies moved 
prepared every day t<J find that the country in front of them 
might be devastated, and Prussia and Saxony were always 
looked upon as the real sources of supplies; and this was 
absolutely necessary, because it would have been impossible to 
feed such a laige force as the Prussian armies presented by 
requisitions alone, for requisitions cannot conveniently be made 
at great distances from the direct line of communications, and 
in a very short time the quarter of a million of men who were 
in the front lin6 alone would have eat^n up eveiything in the 
country around them if they had been dependent on that tract 
of coimtry only fo^ supplies. Then, even if the troops could 
have got food from more distant places, the villagers and 
country people would have starved ; but it is the interest of a 
general to make his requisitions so that they do not drive the 
inhabitaiits to destitution, for terrible sickness always follows 
in the train of want, and, if t)estilence breaks out among the 
people of the country, it is certain immediately to appear in 
the ranks of the invading army.* 

The trains which accompany the medical department of a 
corps d'arm^ into the field consist of three heavy hospital 
trains, each of which has 14 surgeons, 114 men, 69 horses, and 
1 1 waggons, and twelve light divisional hospital trains, each 
with 13 surgeons, 74 men, 56 horses, and 11 waggons. Each 
light train carries medicines, materials, instruments, and ambu- 
lances for 200 sick. Each corps d'arm^e has, besides, three 
detachments of sick-bearers, who, on the day of battle, are 
divided among the troops ; each battalion has also sixteen men 
appointed as assistant sick-bearers, who, with the regular sick- 
bearers, carry the wounded to the rear ; no other man is ever 
allowed to quit the ranks under fire. When a man is struck, he 
is taken immediately a short distance out of fire to where the 

* In the campaign in France, the system ot requisitions Was ultimately 
abandoned. Stores which were wanted were purchased, and the cost re- 
covered by money contributions levied on the occupied towns and districts. 



battalion surgeons are waiting ; they hastily bind up his wound, 
he is then placed in an ambulance waggon and carried to the 
light divisional field hospital, which is kept out of fire about a 
couple of miles in the rear, The surgeons here perform any 
necessary operation that is absolutely required, but men are 
only kept here until a sufficient number arrive to fill a laige 
ambulance waggon, which, as soon as filled, is sent off to the 
heavy hospital trains which are established in the villages in the 
rear. At the beginning of the battle of Sadowa the regimental 
surgeons were occupied in every sheltered nook of ground 
on the hill of Dub, the divisional hospitals were behind that 
hill and in Milowitz, the heavy hospitals were in and about 
Horitz. When the Austrians retreated and the Prussian troops 
advanced, the divisional hospitals followed \ and, before the 
Austrian guns had ceased firing, were established in Sadowa, 
Chlum, and Lipa, and all the other villages in the field whither 
the indefatigable sick-bearers were rapidly bringing in both 
Austrian and Prussian wounded. 

When the field army, the depot and garrison troops, and the 
provisional and medical department trains have been mobilized, 
the Prussian army is fit to take the field. The necessary com- 
mandants and staffs of the districts where the dep6t troops are 
stationed are composed either of officers detached from the 
regular army or of invalid officers. When the army takes the 
field, its movements must be directed not only so as to pursue 
the original plan of the campaign, but also so as to keep pace 
with the tsnem/s combinations, and the movements of its dif- 
ferent parts must be guided by orders firom the directing generaL 

The above is a sketch of the general system on which the 
Prussian army is normally oiganized. How such an army is 
worked in the field, how its resources are made available, and 
how it achieves the objects for which it has been mobilized, 
must depend in a great measure upon the skill of the General 
to whose direction it is entrusted. What an army so oiganized 
can effect when its motions are guided by a skilful hsmd, the 
rapid victories of the late campaign have shown. When the 
field army enters on the theatre of war, the organizer and ad- 
ministrator has done with it ; his province is then to take care 
that its recruits are forthcoming and its supplies are ready 


when required. But when an army is handed over to the 
general who is to use it, he has a right to expect that when he re- 
ceives his divisions he shall also receive the means of manoeuvr- 
ing them ; and when he assumes the command of his corps he 
shall be provided with every appliance which can help hixh to 
move them in the combination and unisoa without which dif- 
ferent bodies of troops are not an army, but a series of scattered 
detachments, which must be easily defeated in detail, or in 
isolation taken prisoners by an 4ctive and energetic enemy. 
After the plan of a campaign has been once decided upon, the 
means by which a general moves his troops into positions 
where they may act most advantageously, and from which they 
may strike the heavy blows that will gain a speedy and profit- 
able peace — for a peace is the ultimate object of all wars — may 
be classed under the heads of Information, Intelligence, and 
the Transmission of Orders. Information of the enemy's pre- 
parations, of the number of troops be can put into the field, — 
how those troops will be armed, organized, and administered, — 
should be obtained by the Government of the country to which 
the army belongs, and communicated to the general when he 
takes the command of the army. 

To acquire this information concerning foreign armies during 
peace every country in Europe devotes a special department of 
its War Office, which is ever busy collecting and compiling sta- 
tistics of every foreign army, because, however friendly the 
relations of any two countries may be, it can never be known 
how long they may remain so. As soon as hostilities are immi- 
nent, a War Office has little chance of obtaining much informa- 
tion from inside the lines of the probable enemy ; then the 
duty of collecting information devolves upon the general him- 
self who must, by every means he can avail himself of, dis- 
cover, as far as possible, every position and intention of his 
adversary's troops. For this purpose, during war, spies are 
generally employed. Spies have a dangerous task, and not an 
honourable one; consequently, except in very rare and extreme 
cases, officers will not accept the invidious duty, and it is often 
extremely difficult to find persons who will consent to act as 
spies sufficiently conversant with military ra^tters to make their 
information worth having. Money is the great means of obtain^ 

o 2 


ing good spies ; needy adventurers and unscrupulous men wiU, 
if well paid, do the work, and, for the sake of a sufficient sum, 
run the risk of the certain death which awaits them if dis- 
covered in disguise within the hostile outposts. Even if it 
were accurately known how the Prussian information was de- 
rived from within the Austrian lines during the 1866 campaign, 
it would be too delicate a subject to enter upon ; but it may be 
stated here, though such a statement is hardly necessary, that 
all the absurd rumours circulated at the beginning of the cam- 
paign, which implied that Austrian officers were guilty of the 
hideous crime of betra)dng the movements of their army to the 
enemy, were utterly without foundation, and were cruel libels 
against brave men whoj however unfortunate in the result of 
the war, won the admiration of every rank in the Prussian 
army by their gallantry, chivalrous bearing, and courage, not 
only on the field of battle, but in all the trying incidents to 
which a disastrous campaign gives rise. It is not proper even 
to express a guess as to how information was collected^ but the 
Austrians dealt out death with no sparing hand among suspected 
persons found within their lines, so probably they had cause to 
imagine that there were spies in the midst of their troops. 

The information collected from spies is not^ in most cases, 
completely trustworthy. In the first place, the men who 
undertake this duty are nearly always mercenary wretches^ who 
wU sell friend and foe alike as best suits their own interests ; 
in the second place^ spies are seldom sufficiently acquainted 
with military matters not to exaggerate movements of slight 
importance, and miss observing vital combinations. To test 
the accuracy of their reports intelligence is collected by means 
of reconnoitring officers, who, either alone or attended by a 
few troopers, get as close as they can to the enemy's posts ; 
observe as far as possible, without the use of disguise and ixi 
full uniform, the positions of his troops ; and, when discovered 
and pursued by his patrols, fight or ride to bring their intel- 
ligence safe home to their own outposts. Intelligence is also 
culled by every vedette and every advanced sentinel, but the 
reconnoitring officer is the main soiurce. To reconnoitre well 
requires not only a brave but a very able officer, with a quick 
eye, a ready memory, and a great knowledge of the indications 


which tell the presence of hostile troops, and allow an estimate 
to be formed of the force in which they are. Two Prussian 
officers of the staff of Prince Frederick Charles, the afternoon 
before the battle of Koniggratz, boldly approached the 
Austrian lines, observed the positions of the Austrian 
troops, and, though both pursued and assaulted by cavalry, 
got safe home, and brought to their General certain 
intelligence which allowed him to frame the combinations 
that resulted in the morrow's victory. When the reconnoitring 
officer regains the shelter of his own outposts, he must either 
personaUy bring or by sonie means send his intelligence as 
quickly as possible to head-quarters. The plan usually pursued 
m European armies has beep for the officer himself to ride quickly 
to his General, and to be the first bearer of his intelligence. 

When a General receives intelligence, he has to weigh it, 
consider it, and often strike the balance between conflicting 
information. He h^s then to move his own divisions in ac- 
cordance with his deductions, and must send word to any 
cooperating force of what be has heard, and what he is about 
to do. Undoubtedly, the quickest way for a reconnoitring 
officer to despatch his reports to his General, and for the 
General to communicate with his own divisions and with his 
colleagues, would be by electric telegraph; but it would be 
almost impossible tor a reconnoitring officer to communicate 
with head-quarters by electricity. Reconnoitring expeditions 
are made qo suddenly and so uncertainly that, quick as the 
Prussian field telegraph is laid down, this means of communi- 
cation is hardly available with the outposts. Nor is the 
electric telegraph easily used to communicate with every 
division; it might be so used, but its application would 
require a number of extra waggons to be attached to every 
division, and would bring a confusing number of lines into the 
office of the chief of the staff. During the late campaign 
orders were sent to the divisional commanders by mounted 
officers, who were attached to head-quarters for this special 
purpose. Besides these officers a certain number of picked 
troopers are selected from every cavalry regiment, and formed 
into a special corps at the beginning of a campaign, and a 
certain number attached to every General These troopers 


form the GeneraVs escort, and act as orderlies to cany unim- 
portant messages. When an officer is sent with an important 
order, one or two of these soldiers are sent with him, in case 
of his being attacked to act as a defence as far as possible, to 
yield up a horse to him in case of his own breaking down, or, in 
case of his being killed, to carry the order themselves to its 
destination, or, at any rate, to prevent its falling into the hands 
of the enemy if the officer is wounded and likely to be taken. 
During the campaign the communications between head* 
quarters and divisions were kept up by means of mounted 
officers ; but communications between the head-quarters of 
each army and the King were maintained by means of the 
field-telegraph. For this purpose a field-telegraph division is 
attached to the head-quarters of each army. It consists of 
three officers, one hundred and thirty-seven men, seventy- 
three horses, and ten waggons. Two of the waggons contain 
batteries and instruments, and are fitted up as operating 
rooms; the other eight waggons each contain the wires and 
means of putting them up over five miles of country ; thus 
each division can, with its own materials, form telegraphic 
communication over forty miles. These forty miles are, how- 
ever, seldom all required, for the lines of the communications 
of armies usually run along railways, and as far as possible the 
permanent wires arc repaired by the men of the division, and 
made use of for the telegraphic communication of the army. 
Each division carries with it five miles of insulated wire for the 
piupose of laying through rivers or lakes if these should come 
in the way of the line. The wires are coiled inside each 
waggon on rollers, from which they can be uncoiled as the 
waggon moves along, or in bad ground the roller can be 
transferred to a stretcher, which is carried between two men. 
The poles are exceedingly light, and about ten feet high, so 
that where the wire crosses roads it may pass clear over the 
heads of mounted men. As it is equally culpable in war to 
prevent communication by unfair means within the lines of an 
army as it is to seek to obtain the same in disguise between 
the enemy's sentries, any enemy not in uniform, or any one in 
the enemy's pay who is detected cutting the telegraph wire, is 
regarded as a spy, and treated accordingly. 



During the war of 1866 this organization had not been 
entirely introduced into the Prussian army, and the arrange- 
ments for the prosecution of the war consequently slightly 
differed from those which would have been made if time had 
allowed the regulated organization to have been thoroughly 
introduced into the service. 

It may be convenient to subjoin here a summary statement, 
compiled carefully from the best authorities, of the organization 
and strength of the Prussian army, which was employed for the 
various purposes of the war. 

Every Prussian who was twenty years old entered the army 
as a soldier without distinction of rank or wealth. Time of 
service was with the colours three years, in the reserve five 
yearSy and in the Landwehr eleven years. 


a. GUAiux — 4 Regiments of Foot Guards 

of three battalions each 
4 Redments of Grenadiers of 
the Guard . . 

I Regiment of Fusiliers 

s 12 batts* « 12,024 men 



= 12,024 „ 
« 3,006 „ 

9 Regiments of the Guard « 27 batts. s 27,054 men 

b. Li NE. —52 Regiments of Infantry ( 1 3— 

32 and 41—72) of three 

battalions, each . . 

12 Regiments of Grenadiers 

(I— 12). . . . 

8 Regiments of Fusiliers 

(33— 40) 

72 Regiments of the Line . . 

c Riflemen and Light Troops— 

I Batt. of J^ers of the 

Guard .... 

I Batt. Schiitzen . . . 

^ i» Jogc^ of the Line 

156 batts. »> 156,312 men 
36 „ = 36,072 „ 
24 „ = 24,048 „ 

216 battsi s 216,432 men 

^ I batt. = 1,002 men 
= 1 „ = 1,002 „ 
— 8 „ = 8,016 ,, 



of Riflemen 



= 10,020 men 

The total Infantry 

253 batts. = 253,506 men 

The armament of the Infantry regiments was the needle-gun 
with the ordinary bayonet ; that of the Fusilier regiments the 
fusilier musket, whidi only differed from tiie ordinary needle- 


gun in being rather shorter and lighter ; that of the Jagers the 
needle-rifle with sword-bayonet 


a. Guard — l Regiment of Garde du 

Corps of four squad^ 
Tons . . . . = 4 squad, » 6oo horsemen 

1 Regiment of Cuins- 

siers . . . . ss 4 ,, si 600 

3 Regiments of Uhlans = 12 „ = 1,800 

2 Regiments of Dragoons = 8 „ =« 1,200 
I Regiment of Hussars . » 4 „ ■» 600 



3 Re|;i|nents pf Cayalry 

ofthe Guard . . = 32 squad. ■■ 4,800 hoxsemen 

b. Line. — 8 R^ments of Cuirassiers » 32 squad. = 4«8oo horsemen 
12 Regiments of Uhlans . » 48 „ = 7) 200 
12 Regiments of Hussars 

(of which eight had 4 

squadrons, and four 

hads . . . = 52 „ = 7f8oo 

8 Regiments of Dragoons 

(of which four had 4, 

and four had 5 squa« 

drons) . . = 36 „ « 5,400 



40 Regiments of Cavalry of 

the Line . . . b 168 squad. = 25,200 horsemen 
Total of Cavalry . . = 200 squad. = 30,000 horsemen 

The armament of the Cuirassier I'egiments was cuirass, 
helmet, sabre, and pistol ; that of Uhlans, lance, sword, and 
pistol ; of Dragoons and Hussars, sword and needle-carbine. 
Cuirassiers and Uhlans were heavy, Dragoons and Hussars 
light cavalry. The horses were all of Prussian breed, mostly 
from good English sires and grandsires. 


I. — I Brigade of Artillery ofthe Guard, three divisions of 
field batteries, of which each consists of four 
batteries of 6 guns* . . . . . » 72 guns 

I Division of Horse Artillery of the Guard, consisting 

of six batteries of 4 guns each . , . . s= 24 „ 

Total Field Artillery of the Guard . , , = 96 guns 

^ Of these 4 batteries were armed with the rifled 6-pounder gun. 

4 f| f» >f 4 »t 

4 y, „ smooth 12 „ 



Brigades of Artillery of the Line = 144 batteries . = 

Total of Field Artillery 162 batteries . . « 
a Divisions of Garrison Artillery called out =18 



I Battalion of Pioneers of the Guard . 
8 }y ,• Line 


9 Battalions of Pioneers "> 36 companies . . . 


I Battalion of Military Train of the Guard of two 


8 Battalions of Military Train of the Line , 

768 guns 
864 guns 

96 „ 

1,002 men 
8,016 „ 

9,018 men 

1,226 men 
9.808 „ 

Total Military Train 

11,034 men 


Each regiment of Infantry on being mobilized formed a 
dep6t battalion, each regiment of Cavalry a depot squadron, 
each Jager battalion a depot company, each brigade of Ar- 
tillery a depot division, each battalion of Pioneers a depot 
company : — 

81 depdt battalions of Infantry . 

10 ,, companies of Jageis. 

48 ,, s(^uadrons .... 
9 „ divisions of Artillery (228 guns) 
9 „ companies of pioneers . 

Total of Dep6t troops . 

81,162 men 
2,500 „ 
7.200 „ 
7,400 „ 
2,250 „ 

= 100,512 men 

Thus the strength of the Prussian regular army at the com- 
mencement of the campaign was — 

Infantry .... 


Artillery . . . , 


Train . . . 

Non-combatants with negi 

ments, &c. 
Dep6t troops . 
Officers .... 

253.504 men 
30,000 „ 

35f'>oo „ with 864 guns 

9,018 „ 

11,034 n 

18,000 „ 

100,512 „ with 228 guns 
13,000 „ 
Total about 473,600 men, witli 100,000 horses and 1,092 guns. 


The Landwehr, the first levy of which formed the troops 
of reserve supports, and for garrison duties in support of the 
regular army, and consisted of men between twenty-eight and 
thirty-two years of age, was organized as follows : — 

Infantry. — ^4 Regiments of Landwehr of ^ 

the Guard, each of three 
battalions . . . 
32 Regiments of Landwehr S Ii6batt = 118,900 men 
battalions, each of three [ 
and eight independent 
battalions . . . / 

At first the majority of the battalions were formed 500 
strong, and at a later period raised only to the strength of 800 
men by calling up some of the second levy of the Landwehr, 
so that the actual strength of the Landwehr did not reach 
118,900 men. Of these one hundred and sixteen battalions, 
twenty-four were amalgamated together in the first reserve 
corps d'arm^e ; the remainder were used as garrisons for for- 
tresses and for the maintenance of occupied territories. 

The Cavalry of the first levy of the Landwehr consisted of 
twelve regiments : — 

I Heavy Cavalry Regiment of 4 

squadrons = 4 squad. = 600 horsemen 

5 Regiments of Uhlans . . . = 20 „ s= 3,000 

I Regiment of Dragoons . . . = 4 „ = 600 

5 Regiments of Hussars . . . = 20 „ s 3,000 

During the course of the war seven more regi- 
ments of four squadrons each were formed = 4,200 

Total Landwehr Cavaliy . . =11,400 



The remainder of the Landivehr of the second levy, after 
the battalions above mentioned had been filled up to war 
strength, was only called out in special cases, and by par- 
ticular orders. The men were then either sent to increase the 
strength of the battalions under arms, or could be formed in 
independent regiments, which could consist of one hundred 
and sixteen battalions of Infantry, and one hundred and forty- 
four squadrons of Cavalry. 

The regiment of Infantry consisted of three battalions, each 


of four companies. Each company consisted of two divisions. 
The formation for parade was in three ranks; in action the 
third rank men of die whole battalion acted as skirmishers, or 
three of each company formed a third two-rank deep division 
of the company. 

Each squadron of Cavalry was formed of four divisions; 
the formation was always in double rank. 

The Prussian fleet, which till within the last few years has 
never aspired to any very distinguished place amongst those of 
the great maritime Powers, consisted at the beginning of the 
war of eight screw corvettes, namely — 

The Arcona 

. 28 

guns, 400 he 


Gazelle . 

. . 28 

„ 400 


. . 28 

M 400 

Nymph . 

. . 17 

„ 200 


. 14 

** 400 


. . 14 

„ 400 


. 28 

„ 400 


. . 17 

» 200 

of also eight gunboats of the flrst-class, each of which had 
three guns, and was of 80 horse-power ; of fifteen gunboats of 
the second class, each of which mounted two guns, and 
was of 60 horse-power j of also four steam despatch-boats, 
namely — 

The Eagle ... 4 guns, 300 horse-power 

Loreley . . . . 2 „ 120 „ 

Grief . . . . 2 „ p „ 

Grille . . . . 2 .. 160 

»» **~ >» 

of also two paddl&-wheel steamers — 

Arminius ... 4 guns, 300 hone-power 
Cheops • . • • 3 f» 3^^ »i 

Thus the whole steam-fleet mustered altogether only 245 

Of sailing-vessels Prussia possessed the frigates Gepin^ 48 
guns ; Thetis, 36 ; and the Niobe^ 26 : the brigs J^ovcTj 16 
guns; Mosquito, 16; Hela, 6: the schooners litis and 
Leopard^ and the guard-ship Barharossa^ of 9 guns, as well 


as thirty-four sloops of 2 guns each, and four yawls of i gun 

The persmnd of the fleet was formed of a ship's comple- 
ment division of 1,882 men, among whom are included 
officers, officials, and boys; of a dockyard division of 589 
men; and of the marines (infantry and artilleiy), who num- 
bered 952 men. 



Since its last war the Government of Austria has decided 
upon a total re-organization of its army. It is therefore only 
necessary here to show as briefly as possible the organization 
of the Austrian army as it existed at the beginning of the 
campaign, more with a view to deduce therefrom the actual 
number engaged, than to take any special notice of a system 
which the most bitter experience has proved to be grievously 

The Ebipirfe of Austria had at the beginning of the war an 
area of Hbout 294,000 square miles, and a population of about 
35,000,000 inhabitants, of many nationalities, such as German, 
Slave, Magyar, and Czech. Its annual receipts amounted to 
48,850,000/., its annual expenditure to almost 52,100,000/., so 
that every year there was a considerable deficit. To the 
army and navy 11,700,000/. were annually devoted. The 
national debt amounted in April 1864 to 309,600,000/, and 
must since that time have increased by at least 20,000,000/. 

The Austrian army consisted of — 

80 In&ntry regiments of the Line (i — 80) 

I Imperial lament 
32 Battalions of Feldjagers (i — 32) . 
14 Border Infantry regiments I — 14) . 
(Grenz Infantene-regimenter) 

I Border Infantry battalion (Titler) . 

^ Infantry^ 


* The new organization of the Austrian army since 1866, has been 
shown in some able letters which have appeared at intervals in the Times 
cidring Uie last three years. 



[Book III. 

12 Cuirass regiments (i — 12) . 
2 Regiments of Dragoons (i — 2^ 

14 Regiments of Hussars (i— 14) 

13 Regiments of Ubians (i — 13) 

12 Regiments of Artillery (i — 12) 

1 Regiment of Coast Artillery . 

2 Regiments of Engineers 
6 Battalions of Pioneers . 

10 Sanitary companies . 
48 Transport squadrons 

Besides other Administration troops 
and departments. 

10 Regiments of Gens-d'armes 
A military police corps . 
The Tyrolean Provincial corps 
Againsal Provincial Rifle battalions 
Volunteer Companies of Sharp 
shooters iind Landsturm . 


Special Troop?. 

Troops of 

Troops for Pro- 
vincial Defence. 

Each regiment of Infantry of the Line consisted in peace of 
four battalions and a depot The fourth battalion to which 
the depot Was attached remained in peace ii) the district to 
which the regiment belonged, and served as a depot battalion, 
while the three first battalions were, as a rule, quartered in a 
totally dijSerent province than that from which their recruits 
were drawn. In time of war the depot was formed into a 
depot division, and the fourth battaUon was sent into some 
fortress as a garrison battalion, while the three first battalions 
were sent ioto the field to join the army of manoeuvre. 

E)ach battalion mustered, or ought to have mustered, in war, 
1,018 combatants, divided among six companies. Every two 
companies formed the so-called division : each company con- 
sisted of two sub-divisions. 

The Imperial regiment of Jagers had in war six battalions 
and one depdt battalion. Each battalion mustered in six 
companies 1,011 combatants, as did also each battalion of 

The whole of the duty of the Military Borderers was 
divided into three portions. The first levy formed the regular 
border infantry regiments and the Titler battalion : the second, 
the armed population, was only formed for service in its 


own particular province, and consisted of^ in all, 22,000 
men. The third levy was only specially called upon in 
cases of uigent necessity, and formed a force of about 28,000 

In war, each regiment of the Military Borderers of the first 
l^vy consisted of three battalions, each of six companies. The 
first eight regiments formed, at the outbreak of a war, one 
battalion of four companies as a depot ; three others formed 
an independent division for the same purpose. Of these 
eleven regiments three battalions could be put into the field in 
war; of the remaining three of the fourteen border regi- 
ments two battalions could only be put in the field; the 
Titler battalion sent one battalion into the field, so that 
forty battalions of Military Borderers were with the field 

For the defence of fortresses there were left, after the army 
of operation took the field, eighty-four battalions of infantry 
r^ments, and eleven Border battalions, in all about 100,000 

The Tyrolean Provincial corps, as well as the Border troops 
which did not join the army, were retained iq their own par* 
ticular provinces. 

The principal weapon of the Infantry of the Line and of 
the Border regiments was a rifled musket on Lorenz's system, 
with a bayonet The Jagers had a rather shorter musket, the 
rifling of which had a slightly sharper twist than that of the 

Cavalry, — The cuirass r^ments, which were originally 
Cuirassiers, but had previously to the war of 1866 laid aside 
the cuirass, formed the whole of the heavy cavalry. Each 
cuirass regiment, with the exception of the eighth, the old 
Dampier Cuirassiers (which, on account of privilege derived 
as early as 16 19, had never been reduced, and still contained 
six squadrons), consisted of five squadrons. Every light 
cavalry regiment consisted of six squadrons. At the out- 
break of the war each regiment of cavalry left one of its squad- 
rons as a depot squadron at home. The squadron contained 
one hundred and forty-nine mounted men. The whole cavalry 
mustered 29,000 sabres. 


Artillery. — The field artillery consisted of twelve regiments, 
of which nme were formed to accompany the corps d'annee 
of infantry ; the remaining three were intended to form the 
army artillery of reserve, and to be attached to the cavaliy 
of reserve. 

The regiment of cOast-artillery was divided into four bat- 
talions, of which the first and second battalion had in war 
each five active companies, two mountain batteries of eight 
guns, and one dep6t company. The! third and fourth 
battalions each had six active companies and one depot 

The heavy batteries of the field artillery were armed with 
muzzle-loading rifled 8-pounder guns ; the light with muzzle- 
loading rifled 4-pounder guns; the mountain batteries with 
rifled 3-pounders. Garrison artillery of the latest pattem con- 
sisted of rifled breach-loading guns, 6-, 12-, 24-, and 48-poun- 
ders; but there are still many smooth-bored guns and howitzers 
in the armaments of the fortresses. 

An Austrian corps d*arm^e, as a rule, consisted of four 
brigades of infantry, foiu- squadrons of cavalry (one attached 
to each infantry brigade), four 4-pounder field batteries (one 
attached to each infantry brigade), a reserve artillery, two com- 
panies of engineers, and two companies of pioneers, with four 
bridge-trains, besides administrative services. To an army 
which would be formed by the amalgamation of several of 
these corps d*arm^e, would be attached several brigades of 
light cavalry, each of which consisted of two regiments; 
therefore ten squadrons, and one 4-pounder battery of horse- 
^tillery, some divisions of reserve cavalry, an army reserve of 
artillery, a reserve of engineers, and all necessary adminis- 
trative services. 

Recruiting, — In each year in Austria from Sojooo to 
85,000 recruits were called into the army. The time of 
service was ten years, of which the last two were spent in 
the reserve. 

In the Infantry the recruit was kept from one to three 
years with the colours, in the Cavalry seven or eight years, 
in the Engineers and Artillery three years : he was, after his 
period of actual presence with his corps expired, dismissed 


to his home on furlough, and called out annually for military 
exercise till he had accomplished eight years' service, when he 
was transferred to the reserve. 

In case of war the men on furlough were called in to fill up 
the ranks of the army of operation, the men of the reserve to 
join the dep6t and garrison corps. 

The tactical unit in the Inifantry was the division of two 
companies, in the Cavalry the squadron, in the Artillery the 
battery of eight guns. It was laid down as a rule by the Aus- 
trian regulations, that in action every division of troops was to 
retain a dependent reserve. 

The Austrian aimy was divided according to nationalities, 
thus — 

German. Poles. Hungarian. Italian. Siebenbtlrger. Borderers. Mixed. 

Infantry. 23 regts. 13 23 7 7 7 

Jagers . 27 batts. 4322 — 

Cavalry. 12 regts. 13 11 — i 3 i 

Artilleiy — regts. i — — — — X2 

Subjoined is a summary, calculated from the best available 
authorities, of the Austrian troops available for the army of 
operation at the commencement of the war : — 


a. Line. — So Regiments of three battalions of three companies. 

Peace Strength. War Strength. 

I Battalion = 470 = 1,018 

80 Regiments = 240 batts. = 244,480 combatants 

b. Jagers. — One Imperial Jager regiment of six battalions of six com- 

panies, and thirty-two Feldjager battalions of six companies. 
I Battalion = 627 = i,oii combatants 

38 Battalions = 3^,420 „ 

e, BORDE&ERS. -—Eleven Regiments of three battalions, three of two batta« 

lions, and one independent battalion. 
I Battalion = 956 combatants 

40 Battalions =3 38,240 „ 


13 Cuirass regiments of four squadrons . . ^ 7»i42 

I extra squadron . . . «b 149 

2 Regiments of Dragoons of nve squadrons , a i»490 

14 „ Hussars of five squadrons . . a I0»430 
13 ,, Uhlans of five squadrons of 114 

horsemen . , . .&■ 7,410 




Twelve regiments of Artillery and one regiment of coast 
artillery. Of these twelve regiments, the nine which accom- 
panied the corps d*arm^ of Infantry each consisted of — 

6 4-pounder field*batteries of four and eight guns . = 40 guns * 

2 8-pounder field-batteries of eight g^uns . . . = 16 „ 

2 4-pounder horse artillery batteries of eight guns . ■» 16 „ 

I rocket battery of eight guns t < . . . » 8 „ 

\ t^ I «""p»^« - « .. 

I Regiment « 12 batteries . i < = 88 
9 Regiments ^ 108 batteries . . ta 792 


The three regiments which were attached to the reserve and 
cavalry divisions consisted of — 

4 8-pounder field-batteries of eight guns , . . == 32 guns 

5 4-pounder horse artillery batteries (one of four, foui' 
of eight guns) » 40 „ 

I park I 
4 ibrtress ( 

companies .<.... s= 4 


I Regiment « 10 batteries , . . = 76 ,, 

3 Regiments » 30 batteries . . « 228 „ 
I regiment of coast artillery = 2 batteries of eight 

guns - 16 „ 

Total number of guns . . . 1,036 


2 Regiments of Engineers . . . = 6,172 men 

6 Battalions of Pioneers . . . . s 5,022 „ 

Total strength of available combatants in the army of opera- 
tion: — 

Infantry . . . « . 321,140 

Cavalry 26,621 - 

Artillery . . . « . 24,601, with I}036 guns 
Special troops • • < « 1 1, 194 

383.556, with 1,036 guns 

• • -• - 

* Two 4-pounder field batteries have in peace only four guns, which in 
war are combined into one battery of eight guns. 


Austrian Navy, — ^Austria had don^ more for her naVy within 
the few years which immediately preceded the war, than would 
have been anticipated from the small extent of her sea-coast, 
and her little interest in European commerce. The Austrian 
navy mustered twenty-eight screw-vessels, namely — 

1 line-of-batUe ship, 
5 frigates, 

7 armour-plated frigates, 

2 torvettes^ 

7 second-class gunboats, 

3 third-class gunboats^ 
3 schooners, 

12 paddle-wheel steamers, 

besides sixteen sailing-vessels, of which two were frigates, three 
corvettes, three brigs. The above formed the Austrian fleet of 
seagoing vessels ; but for the navigation of interior waters, and 
for the defence of the coast, there were ten screw-steamers, 
sixteen paddle-wheel steamers, and thirty-five guardships. 

The steam fleet of seagoing ships numbered forty vessels, 
which carried 651 guns, amounted to 11,475 horse-power, and 
were manned by 7,772 men. 

The sailing fleet of seagoing vessels, which was only practi- 
cally valuable for purposes of transport, consisted of eighteen 
vessels, with 225 guns, and 1,804 men. 

The twenty-six vessels on the inner waters had together 72 
guns, 1,511 horse-pOwer, and 961 sailors; while the thirty-five 
guardships mounted 115 guns, and bore 1,060 sailors. 

R 2 



Bavaria. — Population, 4,700,000; area, 34,750 square miles ; 
revenue, 4,700,000/. ; national debt, 34,300,000/. In Bavaria 
the time of military service was six years. It was allowed to 
find substitutes for military service. The time of actual pre- 
sence with the colours is twelve months in the first year, eight 
in the second, three in the third, and fourteen days in the 
fourth. Except for this time, the soldier was sent home on 

The army consisted of— « 


16 Regiments of three battalions of six companies, 

I battalion » i»950 men 

8 Battalions of Jagers » 668 „ 

Total . . 50,768 men 

armed with Podewil*s muskets and sword-bayonetf 


3 Regiments of Cairassiers ) 

6 Regiments of Light horse > I regt. of 4 squadrons = 591 horsemen 

3 Regiments of Vblans ) 

12 Regiments . . ^ 7,620 horsemen 

Cuirassiers armed with iron cuirass and helmet, straight sword, 
and pistol; the other regiments with bent sabre and pistol; 
Uhlans with lances. 

* This organization was modified af^er the war of 1866, and will ptx>- 
bably be even more modified in consequence of that of 1870 — 71. 
t In 1870, partly armed with the Werder rifle. 



Four Regiments, of which — 
Na I. and II. each 2 6-pounder batteries of 4 guns = 16 guAs 

3 12- pounder batteries of 4 guns » 24 

III. Horse Artillery, with 4 12- pounder batteries 

of 6 guns =24 

IV. 2 6-poiinder batteries of eight guns . . = 16 „ 
2 1 2-pounder batteries of eight guns . . . = 16 „ 



Total 96 


The 6-pounders were rifled on the Prussian system j the 12- 
pounders were smooth-bore. 

Mngimtrs,-^ On^ regiment of eight companies, 1,380 men. 

The army had divisions, brigades, regiments, and battalions. 
Tactical units were the company in two ranks, the squadron, 
and the battery. The formation for battle of the Bavarian in- 
fantry battalion was four Fusilier companies in line, and the 
two light companies in column in rear of the wings. 

Saxony, — Area, 6,775 square miles; population, 2,225,000; 
revenue, 2,100,000/. ; debt, 9,600,000/. The time of service 
in Saxony was six years in the Line and two years in the 


16 Battalions of four companies, i battalion ^ 9S3 men 
4Battalionsof Jagersof 4CompanieS) I bat. = 999 .^ 
Total . . 19,752 men 

axmed with Podewil's muskets and sword-bayonet 


Total . . 3,217 men. 


I Regiment of field-batteries, with 22 6-pounder 

rifled guns . . . . . . • s 22 guns 

6 rifled 1 2-pounder batteries . . . . = 36 „ 

I Horse Artillery regiment of 2 batteries of 6 guns = 12 „ 

Total . . . . 70 f, 

One company of Engineers and two of Pioneers. 



The army was divided into two divisions, each of which had 
two brigades. One brigade consisted of two regiments and 
one battalion of Jagers. Besides these divisions, there was a 
cavahy division of two brigades, each of two regiments, and 
a corps of artillery ; the infantry fought in three ranks, with 
a reserve formation out of the third rank in rear of the 

Hesse-Cassd. — ^Area, 4,350 square miles; population, 740,000; 
revenue, 500,000/. ; debt, 1,400,000/. 

Military service was universal, and for a period of ten years, 
of which five years w^re spent in the Line and first levy of 
reserve, five in the second levy. The time of actual pre- 
sence with the ptandayds varied firom twenty-one to thirty-four 


2 Brigades of 2 regiments of 2 batts. of 4 companies =& 879 men 

I Jager battalion ....... s 619 „ 

I Scntitzen . . . . . . . . ss 387 „ 

Total . 8,61^ men ' 

armed with the Prussian needle-gun. 


Garde da corps (sword and pistol) . . ^ 264 horsemen 
2 Regiments of Hussars (sword and carbine) = 521 „ 
Total . . i>3o6 horsemen 


I rifled 6-potmder battery . 6 guns 

I smooth 6'pounder battery . 6 „ 

\ smooth i2-pounder battery . 4 „ 

I Horse Artillery 6-poander • 6 ,, 

TotM - . • 92) „ 

I company of Pioneers. 

Hanover. — ^Area, 17,450 square miles; population, 1,890,000; 
incoTQe, 3,750,000/.; debt, 7,200,000/. 


Recndting conducted by conscription : time of service seven 
years, in the cavalry ten years. 


Two divisions, esch of two brigades, each of two regiments and one 
light battalion » 8 regiments, and four light battalions ■■ 18,000 men. 


2 Cuirassier regiments . . = 1,000 horsemen 
4 Dragoon „ . , , = 1,000 „ 

2 Hussar „ , . = 1,000 „ 

Total . . . 3,000 9, 

ARTILLERY— so guns. 

Wurtemburg, — ^Area, 8,875 sq. miles; population, 1,720,000; 
revenue, 1,500,000/. ; debt, 7,500,000/. 

The contingent of Wiirtemburg formed the first division of 
the eighth corps of the Germanic Confederation. 

Recruitmg conducted by conscription, but substitutes allowed^ 
Time of service twelve years, six of which were passed in the 
Line, six in the Landwehr. Time of actual presence with the 
standards about eighteen months. 


I DiTision of 2 brigades of 4 regiments, each 
of 2 battalions (4 companies) 
16 Battalions (i battalion ■» 851 men) . . . a ][3,6i6 i^eji 
2 Battalions of Jagen (i battalion ■- 849 men) » i>698 „ 


Total 15,314 

armed with Fodewil's musket 


I Brigade of 4 regiments, each in 4 squadroqs 
I Regiment i- 714 to 880 horsemen 
To\2l . . . 3,271 

of which one regiment acts as a d^pgt 



!2 Horse Artillery 4-pounder batteries of 8 guns = i6 guns 
2 light field 6-pounder batteries of 8 guns = i6 
2 heavy field i2-pounder batteries of 6 guns s= 12 
3 siege batteries 



Total 44 

210 men on a war footing. 

Baden, — ^Area, 6,950 square miles j population, 1,400,000; 
revenue, 1,700,000/. ; debt, 10,800,000/. 

The contingent formed the second division of the eighth 
corps of the army of the Gennanic Confederation. 


5 Regiments of two battalions \ 

2 Fusilier Battalions. . • r ~ IO>745 ™^i^ 

I Battalion of Jagers • . ) 

armed with Podewil's musket 

3 Regiments of Dragoons, each of 4 squadrons « 2, lOO horsemen. 

ARTILLERY— 38 guns. 

Hesse-Darmstadt, — Area, 3,800 square miles; population, 
860,000 ; revenue, 950,000/. ; debt, 2,000,000/. 

The army of Hesse-Darmstadt formed the third division of 
the eighth corps of the Germanic Confederation. 


Two brigades, each of two regiments, each of two battalions, each in five 

8 Battalions (i battalion = 831 men) . . = 6,648 men 
I Battalion of Jagers ■- 594 »• 

Total 7»a4a „ 

armed with Podewil's musket 



I Brigade of 2 r^ments. 

I Regiment = 648 horsemen. 

Total . . 1,296 horsemen. 


I Horse Artillery battery, with four smooth and 

2 rifled 6-pounder guns . . . . = 6 guns 

3 Field-batteries of 6 guns = 18 „ 

(One 12 -pounder battery, one rifled 6 -pair 

one smooth 6-pounder battery) ... — 

Total 24 „ 

ENGINEERS— I company. 

Nassau* — Area, 2,137 square miles; population, 460,000 


I Brigade of 2 regiments, each of 2 battalions. 
I Battalion ^ i>033 °^cu. 

4 Battalions . . . • . . = 4, 132 men 
I Battalion of Jagers — S09 

Total 4,941 




I rifled 6-pounder battery of 8 guns . . . s 8 guns 
I smooth-bore battery a 8 „ 

Total 16 


The contingents of the other minor states are so small that 
it would be tedious to enter into their composition in detail. 
The military of those which voted for the Austrian motion on 
the 14th June in the Diet were : — 

Saxe-Meiningen .... 2,000 men 

Reusz Grez 400 „ 

Frankfort-on-Maine . . . 1,000 „ 

Total • • • • . 3,400 



Of those which voted against the Austrian motion : — 

The Saxon Duchies . • . . 7,500 men 

Mecklenburg 7f500 „ 

Oldenburg 3,SOO f» 

Lubeck, Bremen, Hamburg . . 3,600 „ 

Anhalt 2,000 „ 

ThetwoLippes 1,200 „ 

Waldech 800 „ 

Reusz-Schleiz 700 „ 

The two Schwarzbuigs . . . . 1,800 „ 

Total 28,600 


Brunswick, Lembuig, and Luxembourg also voted against 
Austria, but the two former put no contingents in the field ; 
the contingent of the last took so much time in its mobiliza- 
tion that it was not ready for employment imtil very nearly the 
conclusion of peace. 



The kingdom of Italy, had with an area of 116,750 square 
miles a population of about 21,775,000 inhabitants. Since the 
formation of this monarchy, in i860, its finances had never 
been in anything but the most unsatisfactory condition. 
Large armies and fleets had been maintained at a ruinous 
expense, and have both proved their incapacity to accomplish 
the purposes for which they were intended ; large numbers of 
useless officials, who did no public work worthy of the name, 
and served as impediments more than as facilities to the 
transaction of business, were suffered to live idly on the 
resources of the State. In the year 1864 the revenue of the 
country amounted to 27,000,000/., the expenditure of the 
Government to nearly 37,000,000/., and since that year this 
annual deficit had remained about constant 

In the year 1864 9,280,000/. were spent upon the army, and 
2,500,000/. upon the navy. 

The Italian army, according to the latest organization 
previous to 1866, consisted of: — 


8 Regiments of Grenadiers (Nos. I — 8). 
72 Regiments of Infantrv of the Line (Nos. I — 72)^ 
5 Regiments of Bersagueri (Nos. I — 5). 

The regiments of Grenadiers and of the Line differed only 
in some slight details of clothing from each other. A regiment 

* The kingdom of Italy is at present engaged in the reorganization of its 
military forces, so that this chapter must be regarded solely as a record of 
the past. 


of either consisted of the regimental staflf, four battalions, and 
a dep6t.* 

Each battalion consisted of four companies, and each on a 
war footing mustered four officers and 149 men. Thyis the 
effective strength of each regiment amounted to, with the staff, 
81 officers and 2,453 men, or altogether 2,534 men; and the 
eighty regiments of Grenadiets and of the Line amounted in all 
to 202,720 combatants. 

The depots remained at home to find and drill recruits, and 
then forward them to the troops in the field. Each depot 
consisted of 14 officers and 61 men. 

Every regiment of Bersaglieri consisted of a staff, eight field 
battalions, each of four companies and a dep6t division. The 
companies of the Bersaglieri were of the same strength as 
those of the Line. Thus the effective strength for war of each 
regiment of Bersaglieri amounted to 152 officers and 4,872 
men, or altogether to 5,024 men. The five regiments there- 
fore would afford 25,120 combatants. 

The Bersaglieri were armed with short rifles and sword 
bayonets: the rest of the infantry with Minid rifles and 
ordinary bayonets, 


4- Regiments of Cavalry of the Line (heavy). 
7 Regiments of Lancers. 
7 Regiments of Light horse. 
I Regiment of Guides. 

With the exception of the regiment of Guides, all the 
regiments of Cavalry had six field squadrons and a depot 

Each squadron on a war footing mustered 5 officers, 145 
men, 112 horses. The regimental staff consisted of 11 
officers, 7 men, and 18 horses. The regiment therefore 
numbered 41 officers, 877 men, and 738 horses. A regiment 
might accordingly be considered to bring about 700 sabres 
into the field. 

This would give for the effective force on a war footing of 
the eighteen regiments (exclusive of the Guides) 12,600 sabres. 

* According to the organization of 1865. 


The dep6t of a regiment consisted of 14 officers and 59 men. 
The regiment of Guides, which was chiefly intended to furnish 
orderlies for general officers, consisted of seven squadrons, and 
had altogether 60 officers, 1,074 ™en, and 858 horses. The 
heavy Cavalry as well as the Lancers carried the lance, 


I Regiment of Pontoniers, who, in the Italian service as in the 

French, are included among the Artillery. 
3 Regiments of Garrison Artillery, Nos. 2, 3, 4. 
I Regiments of Field Artillery, Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. 
6 Companies of Artificers. 

The regiment of Pontoniers had nine companies on a war 
footing; each regiment of Field Artillery had sixteen field- 
batteries and two depot batteries ; each regiment of Garrison 
Artillery had sixteen companies and two depot companies. 
Two batteries of the fifth regiment were Horse Artillery 
batteries. Except these, the Italian army possessed no horse 
artillery. From the five field regiments there could be placed 
in the field eighty field-batteries, each of six guns, forming a 
total artillery force of four hundred and eighty guns. 

These guns were all rifled, and were divided into batteries 
of 8-pounders or i6-pounders. 


Two regiments of Sappers. Each regiment on a war foot- 
ing had eighteen field companies and two depot companies. 


Three regiments. Each regiment had on a war footing 
eight companies and one depot company. Each of the field 
companies mustered 8 officers, 330 men, and 420 horses. 


were divided into seven companies, which contained all the 
hospital attendants and commissariat soldiers. 


The total strength of the Italian army in the field was 
thus : — 

Infantry 202,720 

Bersaglieri 25,120, with 4S0 guns 

Cavalry ...... 13,000 

Organization, — In time of war the army was divided into 
divisions. Each division consisted as a general rule, of: — 

2 Brigades of Infantry, each of two regiments ; 

2 Battalions of Bersaglieri ; 

I Regiment of Light Cavalry ; 

3 Batteries of Artillery (two 8-pomider batteries &nd one 

1 6-pounder battery) ; 
I Company of Sappers. 

Such a division would quite bring into the field a force of 
10,000 Infantry and 700 Cavalry, with 18 guns. 

Several such divisions, generally three or four, were amal- 
gamated into a corps d'armtfe, for which a special reserve was 
then formed. This reserve consisted of one battalion of 
Bersaglieri, four squadrons of Cavalry, and a 1 6-pounder 
battery for each division, which were deducted firom the 
strength of the division. A company of Sappers, and a com- 
pany of Pioneers with a bridge train to throw a bridge over 
three hundred yards, was added to a corps d'armtfe. 

An army was formed by the conjunction of several corps 
d'arm^e, and had an additional force of reserve Artillery and 
Engineers, with a pontoon train capable of constructing a 
bridge six hundred yards long. A division of reserve Cavalry 
was formed out of the four Heavy Cavalry regiments, which 
were divided into two brigades, and of the two Horse 
Artillery batteries of the service. 

Recruiting, — The recruiting of the" Italian army was con- 
ducted by conscription ; substitutes were, however, allowed 
About 50,000 recruits were levied annually before the war. 
These were divided into two portions proportionately to the 
vacancies in the ranks. The recruits of the first portion 
served for eleven years, of which the first five were spent 
under the standards \ those of the second portion were called 
out and then dismissed, but were liable to military service for 
a period of five years. 


Besides the regular army, a National Guard existed in Italy. 
This was of the character of a burgher guard, and existed for 
the most part only upon paper. It was intended, however, 
after 1866, to form, in case of war, a mobilized National 
Guard of 220 battalions, mustering about 110,000 men, to act 
as garrison troops. 

There existed also a corps of Carabineers who did the duty 
of a gendarmerie, and numbered over 20,000 men, but these 
would rarely be ever available against an external enemy, as to 
them were entrusted all the police duties of the Peninsula. 

At the beginning of the war the Italian forces were 
strengthened by the formation of volunteer corps to serve 
under General Garibaldi ; of these there were forty-two bat- 
talions. As with all irregular troops, it was extremely difficult 
to discover what number these corps mustered, but they may 
apparently be safely calculated as 35,000 men. 

Italian Pled. — ^The Italian fleet consisted of: — 

1 screw line-of-battle ship ; 

13 screw frigates ; 

7 steam frigates of the second class, of which six were iron-clad ; 

2 sailing frigates of the second class ; 

8 steam corvettes of the first rank, of which two were iron-dad ; 
2 sailing corvettes ef the first rank ; 

17 corvettes of the second and third rank ; 

14 smaller vessels ; 
8 screw gmiboats } 

25 transport vessels. 

The number of guns mounted on these vessels amounted to 
1,524; the number of men employed in them was 14,000 
officers, seamen, and engineers. 

The Infantry of the Marine consisted of two regiments or- 
ganized on the same principles as those of the Infantry of the 
Line, and clothed and armed in the same manner as the 



The Germanic Confederation possessed five Federal fort- 
resses, originally raised to protect Germany against an invasion 
from France. These were Mainz, Luxembourg, Landau, 
Rastadt, and Ulm. At the end of May the garrisons of Mainz 
and Rastadt, in accordance with the constitution of the Con- 
federation, were composed of a mixed force of Austrian and 
Prussian and some other Federal troops. When it became 
evident that war was likely to break out between the great 
German Powers, Bavaria proposed in the Diet on the ist June, 
that the Prussian and Austrian garrisons should be withdrawn 
jfrom these fortresses, as well as firom the free town of Frank- 
fort, which was occupied in a similar manner, and that the 
guardianship of these places should be handed over partly to 
the troops of the States in which these places were situated, 
partly to the reserve division of the Federal army. 

To prevent the bloodshed which would have in case of ^^fzx 
ensued between the soldiers of these mixed garrisons, the 
motion was unanimously accepted. It was determined tliat 
Mainz should be held for the Confederation by troops of 
Bavaria, Saxe Weimar, Saxe Meiningen, Anhalt, Schwarzbui^, 
and the two Lippes ; Rastadt by those of Baden, Saxe Alten- 
burg, Coburg Gotha, Waldech, and Reusz ; and that a Bavarian 
division should remain in Frankfort 

The Prussian and Austrian troops were, in accordance with 
this resolution, withdrawn from the fortresses of the Confede- 
ration. The Prussians were assembled under the command of 


General Von Beyer at Wetzlar. The Austridns Wert attached 
to the 8th Federal corps, which was placed under the command 
of Prince Alexander of Hesse^ att Austrian general who had 
gained distinction at the battle of Mbntebello in 1859. 

On the 14th June, when Prussia declared thfe Germanic Con- 
federation dissolved, wa^ became inevitable. Prussia had at 
this time concentrated het main atmies on the frontiers of 
Saxony and in Silesid. In rear of these lay the hostile States of 
Hanover and Hesse-Cassel, the troops of which might either 
act against the communications of the JPrussian armies, or by 
withdrawing south of the Maine uhite with the Bavarians and 
Austrians, and swell the armies of these two Powers with their 
contingents. In front of the right wing of the Prussian main 
line lay the hostile kingdom of Saxony, which if left unoccu- 
pied would have formed a convenient ground for the dcbouchi 
from the Bohemian mountains of the Austrian columns, covered 
by the Saxon army. In order to prevent the forces of the two 
former States from causing annbyance to the rear of her armies, 
and to seize the initiative in Saxony, Prussia took most rapid 

The decree dgainst Prussia had been passed at Frankfort on 
the 14th June. 

A telegraphic sunmiohs was despatched to the three States of 
Saxony, Hesse-Cassel, and Hanover, which demanded that they 
should immediately reduce their armies to the peace establish- 
ment which had existed on the ist March, and should agree to 
the Prussian project of the loth June for the reform of the 
Germanic Confederation. If the three States agreed to this 
demand, Prussist would undertake to guarantee to them their 
sovereign rights J if they did not within twelve hours consent to 
do so, war would be declared. 

The Governments of these States did not reply. Prussia 
declared War against them on the evening of the 15th June, and 
on the 1 6th Prussian troops invaded their territories. 

Position or Prussian Troops at the End of the First 
Fortnight of June. — Prussia had commenced her prepara- 
tions for war on the 27th March, when five divisions had been 
placed on a war footing, five brigades of artillery been strength- 
ened, and the fortresses in Silesia and the province of Saxony 


armed. The mobilization of the whole army had been decreed 
on the 7th May, and on the 19th of that month the concentra- 
tion of troops in Silesia, Lusatia, and Thuringia had begun. 
On the I St June the corps d'armee of the Guard had been sent 
to Silesia, and the 8th corps and 14th division despatched to 
Halle : a reserve corps was at the same time formed at BerHn. 
The main Prussian armies were composed of three principal 
sections : — 

isL The First Army, under the command of Frederick 
Charles, which consisted of the and corps d'arm^e (Pomeranian), 
3rd (Brandenburg), 4th (Saxony), and of a cavalry corps formed 
of fifteen regiments. It lay round Heyerswerda and Gorlitz. 

2nd. The Second Army, under the command of the Crown 
Prince of Prussia, which consisted of the Guard corps, the ist 
corps (Prussia), the 2nd (Poland), the 6th (Silesia), and of a 
cavalry corps of seven regiments. It lay in Silesia, 

3rd. The Army of the Elbe, under the command of General 
Herwarth von Bittenfeld, which consisted of the 8th corps 
(Rheinland), and the 14th division of the 7th corps (West- 
phalia), as well as a cavalry corps of three regiments. 

In rear of these was the reserve corps in Berlin, under the 
command of General Miilbe, which consisted of two divisions 
of Landwehr and six regiments of Landwehr cavalry. A third 
division of Landwehr was also in course of formation at Berlin. 

By the 1 5th June Prussia had prepared troops for the inva- 
sion of Saxony, Hanover, and Cassel. The First Army and the 
Army of the Elbe, which was stationed round Halle and 
Torgau, were designed to act against Saxony. Hesse-Cassel 
and Hanover were to be invaded by the then separated divi- 
sions, which after the occupation of these States were united 
under the cojnmand of General Vogel von Falckenstein, and 
on the I St July named the Army of the Maine. 

On the morning of the 15th June, the troops destined to act 
against Hanover consisted of the division which General von 
Manteulfel had mobilized in Schleswig, and with which he had 
invaded Holstein. After the Austrians quitted the latter duchy 
this division had been concentrated at Harburg, where it was 
supported by a flotilla of Prussian gunboats on the Lower Elbe 
^d on the coast of the North Sea. A second division was also 


collected for the same purpose under General von Falckenstein, 
near the fortress of Minden, in that portion of the Prussian 
province of Westphalia which projected into the southern 
boundary of the kingdom of Hanover. The greatest part of 
this division was formed by the 13th division, one division of 
the Westphalian corps d'arm^. The Prussian garrisons which 
had been withdrawn from the Federal fortresses were united 
with some other detachments, and formed into a division under 
General Beyer, which numbered 17,000 men* It was posted at 
Wetzlar, in the Prussian enclave, that was surrounded by the 
territories of Hesse-Cassel and Nassau. 

Positions of the Austrian Army at the End of the 
First Fortnight of June. — Feldzeugmeister Von Benedek, 
the hero of San Martino, assumed the Supreme command of 
the Austrian Army of the North on the i8th May, and spread 
the seven corps d'armde and five divisions of cavalry, of wKich 
it was composed, between Cracow and the Elbe, along the 
lines of railway which run through most parts of the Austrian 
provinces. These seven corps were : — 

The I St, under the command of Count Clam Gallas, which 
was posted at Prague, 

The 2nd, under Count Thun Hohenstadt, at Olmiitz. 

The 3rd, under the Archduke Ernst, at Briinn, 

The 4th, under Count Festetics, at Teschen. 

The 6th, under Baron Ramming, at Olmiitz. 

The 8th, under the Archduke Leopold, at Briinn. 

The loth, under Count Huyn, afterwards under Count 
Gablenz, with only nine battalions, at Bdmisch Triibau. 

The cavalry divisions attached to this army were : — 

The 1st light cavalry division (Baron Edelsheim), consisting 
of six regiments and three batteries of horse artillery. 

The 2nd light cavalry division (Prince Thurn and Taxis), 
four regiments and two batteries. 

ist reserve division of cavalry (Prince Schleswig-Holstein), 
six regiments and two batteries. 

2nd reserve division of cavalry (Von Zajtsek), six regiments 
and two batteries. 

3rd reserve division of cavalry (Count Coudenhove), six regi- 
ments and two batteries. 

I 3 


Positions of the Austrian Army of the South. — The 
Austrian army of the South consisted of three corps d'arm^e, and 
was under the command of the Archduke Albrecht One of 
these held Eastern Venetia and Istria, while the other two were 
posted in the fenowned Quadrilateral formed by the fortresses 
of Peschiera and Mantua on the Mincio, and Verona and 
Legnano on the Adige. 

The third corps d*arm^e, under the Archduke Ernst, served as 
a general reserve, which might be either directed against Italy, or 
sent into Bohemia, as circumstances required. 

Positions of the Italian Army. — The Italian army was 
divided into four Cdrps d'antl^e; llie first of these, under 
Giovanni Durando, was stationed in the middle of June at 
Lodi. It consisted of four divisions, and was intended to act 
upon the Lake of Garda and the Uppet Mincio. The second 
of these divisions, xmder Cuchiari, was at Cremona. It con- 
sisted of three divisions, and was designed to act upon the 
Lower Mincio, and against Mantua. The third, under Delia 
Rocca, was posted in rear of the two fofmer on both sides of 
the Po, with its head-quarters at Plac^enza. It contained four 
divisions. The fourth, under Cialdini, consisted of five divi- 
sions, and had its head-quarters at Bologna, where it was 
intended to operate on the Lower Po arid Lower Adige. 

The campaign on the Mincio did liot commence quite so 
soon as hostilities in Gerniany. It is necessary, in order to 
preserve the clearness of the nanative, to disregard the Italian 
campaign until the course of events in Germany has been 
tolerably developed. It is sufficient here to mention that Italy 
declared war against Austria on the 20th June. 

Army of Saxony. — The army of Saxony had been mobilized, 
and was by the end of the first fortnight of June ready to take 
the field. It was distributed through the kingdom of Saxony, 
with its main body in Dresden and Pima, 

Army of HANOVER.-^The army of Hanovei* was totally 
unprepared for war, and was* for the most part peaceably 
garrisoned in the neighbourhood of the town of Hanover. 

Army of Bavaria — The Bavarian artny was concentrated, 
in the middle of June, between Bamberg and Wiirzberg, under 
Prince Charles of Bavaria, in three divisions of infantry, one 


reserve brigade of infantry, one corps of reserve cavalry, 
containing eight regiments and two batteries, one corps of 
reserve artillery of ten batteries. 

Eighth Federal Corps. — The eighth corps of the Federal 
army was formed at Frankfort, but ngt with great alacrity. 
The GoT^emment of Baden was by no njeai^s eager to put its 
troops into the field against Prussia, but was obliged to do so 
for fear of the duchy being overrun by its powerful neighbours 
in case of refusal to do so. When this corps was formed, it 
occupied Frankfort, an4 was placed ynder the command of 
Prince Alexander of Hesse. The troops which composed it 
were : — 

Those of Wiirtemburg, 14,000 men and 42 gnns. 

Those of Baden, 12,090 men and 38 guns. 

The troops of Hes^e-Darmstadt, 10,090 men ^4 94 guns. 

The Nassau brigade, 5,000 men. 

An Austrian division, formed from th^ garrisons which had 
withdrawn from the Federal fortresses, ^4 mustered 12,000 

The total strength of this corps was in round numbers fifty- 
three thousand infantry, thirly-jtbree sc^uadrons, and one hundred 
and fourteen gunSr 



On the evening of the 15th June, Prussia declared war agamst 
Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, and Saxony. The two former States, 
unless their armies were quickly disabled, could hinder 
effectually the Prussian communications between Berlin and 
the Rhenish provinces. An Austrian occupation of Saxony 
would have much facilitated operations against the open 
province of Brandenburgh and against Berlin, while it would 
have seriously impeded a Prussian advance into Bohemia, 
Against these States, then, it was necessary, that Prussia should 
act with immediate energy, in order, if possible, to disarm, 
certainly to occupy, them before she could turn her attention 
against her principal enemy Austria, and the States allied 
thereto. By excellent combinations punctually carried out this 
result was obtained. In the course of a few days three of the 
most important middle States of Germany were completely 
overrun by Prussian troops : and their sovereigns driven from 
their capitals and countries as if by a thunderbolt. 

The Prussian invasion of Hanover and Hesse-Cassel was 
effected by combined movements from different points far 
apart : the enterprise was accordingly attended with consider- 
able difficulty. It was very undesirable to weaken the main 
Prussian armies on the frontiers of Saxony and Silesia by the 
smallest detachments. Orders were accordingly sent to General 
Falckenstein, who was in Westphalia, to invade these States 
with both his divisions, and to occupy them. Goben's division 
was to be directed from Minden on Hanover, to which town 
that of General Manteuffel from Harburg was also to march. 
Beyer s division was ordered at the same time to invade Hesse- 


Cassel from Wetzlar. The Hanoverian army was not yet 
mobilized, that of Cassel was but a weak contingent^ so that it 
was calculated that it would be quite possible^ with these three 
Prussian divisions, to bring superior numbers to bear upon any 
decisive point It was however necessary, in order to cany 
out these combinations, to withdraw all the troops from 
Holstein, where demonstrations in favour of the Prince of 
Augustenburg might cause trouble. In order to insure tran- 
quillity in that duchy, several Landwehr battalions were 
despatched to Altona and Lauenburg, as soon as the invasion 
of Hanover was resolved upon. Wetzlar was evacuated, but 
the 8th Federal corps at Frankfort was not yet sufficientiy 
organized to cause any apprehension, as for several days it 
would be unable to make a movement forward. 

The rapid progress of affairs and the Prussian declaration of 
war on the 15th had caused great excitement in Hanover. 
When the Austrian troops, round which the army of Hanover 
might have rallied, had been withdrawn from Holstein, all idea 
of defending the capital of that kingdom had been given up ; 
and on war being declared, it was determined to save the army 
by a movement towards the south, where it might unite with 
the Bavarians. This movement was made on the night of the 
15th, chiefly by railway to Gottingen, but with such hurry that 
many important articles of equipment were forgotten: such 
were the reserve ammunition and the field dispenslkries. On 
the morning of the i6th. King George of Hanover followed his 
troops and collected them round Gottingen. General Falcken- 
stein broke up from Minden at daybreak on the i6th, and on 
the 17th, at five o'clock in the afternoon, the first Prussian 
troops, after two forced marches, entered the town of Hanover. 
The railways from Hanover northwards towards Liineburg, 
eastwards to Brunswick, and westwards to Minden, as well as 
the line behind the retreating army of King George, had been 
broken up by the Hanoverians. The main body of the division 
of General Manteuffel had a long portion of railway to restore, 
and was obliged to wait the resumption of transport along the 
line, so that it did not reach Liinebutg until the evening of the 
1 8th. 

Here two battalions of the 25th regiment were placed oA 

I20 SEVEN weeks:" war. [Book IV. 

the railway, and pushed up to the capital : the remainder of 
the division reached the town on the next evening. 

i8M. — ^The government of the country was immediately 
taken under Prussian superintendence, and no opposition 
could be made by a population which was surprised, and 
totally unfit to defend itself, as its members were untrained to 
the use of arms. 

At the same time the Prussian navy had commenced opera- 
tions. A battalion of the 25th regiment was, at ten o'clock 
on the evening of the 17th June, placed on board of the two 
transport vessels, Lordey and CydopSy which belonged to the 
Prussian squadron on the Lower Elbe, and on a private 
steamer which belonged to a merchant of Harbuig. The 
vessel steamed down the Elbe, and, at one o'clock on the 
morning of the i8th, arrived at Twietenfelt Here the bat- 
talion was disembarked, and imme4iatf ly moved against the 
small fortress of Stade. 

At its head marched a detachment of seamen from the 
transport fleet, who were destined to act as pioneers. About 
three o'clock in the morning, the small column reached the 
neighbourhood of Stade. It was observed by a Hanoverian 
cavalry outpost, which immediately galloped back to alarm the 
unsuspecting garrison. The Prussians pursued as quickly as 
they could ; but when they reached the place, th^ gates were 
already closed. 

The sailor-pioneers rushed forward to the gate, and smote upon 
it heavily with their a^^es. After ^ few vigorous blows it gave 
way a little. The axes were more vigorously plied, and in a 
few minutes the door fell with a crash across the roadway. 
Over the obstacle the Pnissian infantry dashed into the town, 
and were received by shots directed from a few of the garrison 
who had located themselves in some of the houses. These 
shots did little execution, and the Prussians pushed on towards 
the market-place. Here some forming detachments of Hano- 
verians opened fire upon them, and a slight skirmish ensued. 
This was terminated by the commandant of the place, who, 
finding his men outnumbered, and in immediate danger of 
being surrounded and captured, ordered them to cease firing, 
^nd demanded a parley. This was granted by the Prussian 


commander; in a few minutes terms of capitulation were 
agreed upon, and Stade by the fortune of war ceased to be a 
fortress of the King of Hanover. 

On the 19th June, Fort William and the batteries on the 
Weser, which were evacuated on the appearance of the Prus- 
sian flotilla, were occupied ; and two days later, in a similar 
manner, Emden and the coast batteries on the Ems fell 
into the hands of the invaders. Thus on the 22nd June, 
the Prussians were in possession of the whole of Hanover 
with the single exception of the southern enclave of Got- 

In consequence of these vigorous and energetic measures, 
all the Hanoverian provisions of weapons and ammunition for 
the war fell into the hands of the Prussians, as well as the 
whole field equipment for the army in the way of waggons and 
materid. These gains amounted to sixty cannon, ten thousand 
new rifled small arms, eight hundred waggons, and a large 
quantity of gunpowder. These losses were of great detriment 
to the Hanoverian cause, and gave into the hands of Prussia 
instruments of offence which her generals knew full well how 
to turn to account 

The Hanoverian army halted at Gottingen, — paralysed, it 
was unable to move, and had to be organized. Had it been 
in a fit state of preparation for war, it might on the i6th or 
17th have reached Cassel, and by the Cassel and Bebra rail- 
way effected a retreat in safety to the south. As it was, how- 
ever, on account of the tardy measures and want of foresight 
of the Hanoverian Ministry, the brave soldiery of which it 
was composed were forced, after a display of great gallantry, 
valour, and devotion, to succumb to a catastrophe which wUl 
be treated of in another portion of this history. 



The Electoral Prince of Hesse-Cassel was fortunate enough 
to save his army from falling into the hands of the enemy, but 
could not prevent the invasion of his country. The troops ot 
Cassel, on the receipt of the Prussian declaration of war, imme- 
diately prepared to retire from Cassel. towards the Maine. On 
the 1 6th the retreat was commenced; and that day, chiefly by 
means of the railway, they reached the neighbourhood of Fulda, 
This movement could not be prevented by the Prussians, for 
the nearest Prussian troops were those at Wetzlar, and the 
railway between Cassel and Marburg had been broken up. On 
the 19th June the army of Hesse-Cassel reached Hanau, and 
secured its communication with the eighth corps of the Federal 
army at Frankfort * 

The territory of Hesse-Cassel did not, however, escape an 
invasion. On the night of the 1 5th June, General Beyer con- 
centrated his troops, which numbered 17,000 combatants, on 
the frontier of Hesse-Cassel at Gieszen, and began his march 
into Hessian territory on the morning of the i6th at two o'clock. 
At Gieszen he published a proclamation, in which he announced 
to the people that Prussia had been obliged to declare wcor 
against the Elector, but that the war was only to be carried on 
against the Government, not against the country, which, on the 
contrary, was about to behold the da^vn of better days and more 
fortunate circumstances. 

On the 16th Beyer's advanced guard reached Marburg. The 
Prussian pushed through this town, and during the next two 
days urged his troops by forced marches towards Cassel. He 
sent a detachment to his right against the railway which leads 


from Cassel by Bebra to Hersfeld and Eisenach, and broke up 
the line at Melsungen. His object in this was to prevent the 
retreat to the south of any Hessian troops which might still be 
in the north of the electorate. He was, however, too late to 
attain this object, as Cassel had been cleared of its garrison on 
the night of the i6th, and it was already at Hanau. 

On the evening and during the night of the 19th the Prussian 
troops passed into Cassel, the capital of the electorate, which is 
about eighty miles, or five long ordinary marches, from Wetzlar. 
The Elector had not gone away with his troops, but had re- 
mained at his castle of Wilhelmshohe, which was long renowned 
for the orgies held there by Jerome, King of Westphalia. On 
the night of the 22nd the Prussian envoy. General von Roder, 
made fresh propositions to him. Of these the principal was 
that the Elector should agree to the Prussian project for the 
reform of the Germanic Confederation. The latter did not, 
however, feel able to comply with the Prussian demands, and 
on the 22 nd was taken as a State prisoner to the Prussian 
fortress of Stettin on the Oder, where a portion of the old 
castle of the Dukes of Pomerania was given up to him as a 
residence. Shortly afterwards cholera broke out at Stettin, and 
permission was given him to go to Konigsbeig, in East Prussia; 
of this permission, however, he made no use. Hesse-Cassel 
was now in the power of the Prussians. A more important 
result of the invasion was that the Prussian General Beyer was 
established in the rear of the Hanoverian army at Gottingen, 
which, without preparation, commissariat, military train, or 
reserve ammunition, was thus exposed to attack by a force 
nearly as large as its own, in its flank if it attempted to move 
southwards, in its rear if it turned to bay and faced its pursuers 
from the north. The Hanoverian army was already practically 
disarmed, paralysed, and prisoners. 



The troops designed for the invasion of Saxony were the 
army of the Elbe and the First Army. The former was to 
advance from the north, the latter from the east On the 
evening of the 15th June, when the Saxon Government had 
rejected the Prussian ultimatum, and received the declaration 
of war, the retreat of the Saxon army commenced, in order to 
gain Bohemia by way of Bodenbach, and there to unite with 
the Austrians. The funds from the treasury and the royal plate 
had already been packed up, and the waggons in which they 
had been placed accompanied the army. 

Means were also adopted to impede as much as possible the 
advance of the Prussian troops. Saxon pioneers were set to 
work upon the railways which lead from the frontier upon 
Dresden. Of such railways there are two, that which follows 
the valley of the Elbe and joins the Leipsic line at Rieza and 
that which from Gorlitz le^s by Bautzen upon the capital of 
Saxony. At nightfall the Saxon pioneers commenced their 
work, but in the dark, and under constant apprehension of being 
broken in upon by the Prussian advanced guards, they made 
but little progress. The rails were taken up, but were neither 
carried away, nor twisted, nor broken so as not to be again 
immediately available. At eleven o'clock at night the wooden 
bridge which carries the railway branches to Leipsic and 
Chemnitz across the Elbe, near Riea^ was set on fire by means 
of petroleum. Its destruction was not accomplished, for only 
two piers were burnt, and the whole bridge was again made 
passable within a few days. 

While the work of destruction went slowly on in Saxony that 


night, heavy masses of Prussian troops were drawing together, 
and dosing down to the very frontier line of that kingdom. 
Between Gorlitz and the border on the west, Prince Frederick 
Charles marshalled three strong corps d'armfe. On the north 
General Herwarth von Bittenfeld divided his force into three 
columns, which were to advance by Strehla, Dahlen, and 
Wurzen, on the left bank of the Elbe. During the few dark 
hours of the short summer night, the last preparations for the 
invasion were made. The main bodies were collected together 
about midnight, and the soldiers piled arms to rest and wait for 
dawn. Few slept j a dull and heavy murmur continually rose 
from the crowded columns, and told the subdued but deep 
excitement which pervaded the hearts of the men ; and this 
excitement was not without a cause, for the soldiers thought 
that the Austrian was in Dresden, and that there would be a 
battle on the morrow. At last the first faint streaks of dawn 
appeared ; the troops eagerly fell into their ranks, and before 
the sun had risen the advanced guards were pushing briskly 
over Saxon ground. 

The pioneers engaged upon the railway fled before the in- 
vaders' columns, fortunate to avoid being taken. Bittenfeld, 
from the north, reached Rieza about nine o'clock^ and occupied 
that town in force. Two pontoon bridges were thrown across 
the Elbe below the town, a portion of the troops crossed, and 
marched on to Grossenhain, while the rest were directed up the 
left bank of the river, towards Meissen. ^ Hardly had Bitten- 
feld's troops established themselves in Rieza, when a detach- 
ment of the field railway corps came up, who immediately 
commenced the restoration of the lines which had been re- 
moved, while pioneers were set to repair the burnt portions of 
the bridge. 

In the meantime, the columns of the First Army were ad- 
vancing in Lusatia. A detachment entered the town of Lobau, 
which was found without any garrison. The railway bridge 
here was not blown up, though it had been mined. The lines 
were, however, torn up, and laid in confusion on the way ; but 
the Prussians employed the country people immediately to 
restore the railway. Bautzen was also occupied. Here the 
line had again been torn up, but was quickly repaired. But 

126 SEVEN WEEKS IVAR, [Book I\". 

Prince Frederick diaries moved cautiously, for the passes of 
Reichenberg and Gabel were on his left To cover his com- 
munication with Gorlitz, and to shield his left flank, he pushed 
a strong detachment along the Zittau road to a point a little 
beyond Ostritz. 

On the 17 th a detachment was thrown out on the right to 
feel Bittenfeld's left, and the Prince pushed troops to Bisschofs- 
werda, on the Dresden road, while Bittenfeld's advanced guard 
occupied Meissen. On the i8th a simultaneous advance was 
made on the capital. The advancing columns met with no 
opposition, and that afternoon the Prussian colours were hoisted 
over Dresden. 

The Prussian outposts were then pushed forward without 
encountering any opposition up to the frontier of Bohemia. 
Leipzic and Chemnitz were occupied, and tlie line of railway 
between Leipzic and Plauen, as well as that between Dresden 
and Chemnitz, secured by Prussian troops. On the 20th June 
the whole of Saxony was in the undisturbed possession of the 
troops of Prince Frederick Charles and of Herwarth, except 
where the Saxon standard floated above the virgin fortress of 

At the time of the inruption into Saxony, Prince Frederick 
Charles of Prussia issued this address to the inhabitants : — 

"His Majesty the King of Prussia, my most gracious master, having been 
compelled to declare war against the King of Saxony, a portion of the troops 
under my command have to-day crossed the frontier between Prussian and 
Saxon Lusatia. 

" We are not at war with the people and country of Saxony, but only 
with the Government, which by its inveterate hostility has forced us to take 
up arms. 

"Private property will be everywhere respected by my troops, who are 
also directed to protect every peaceful citizen from injury. 

" I intreat you to repose confidence in our intentions, and to be assured 
that my soldiers, by strict discipline and good fellowship, will alleviate the 
hardships of war as much as possible. Provisions will never be exacted 
without a due receipt for them. 

" FREDERICK CHARLES, Gmcral of Cavalry. 

"Head Quarters, GOrlitz, June 16, 1866." 

The administration of the country was undertaken by Royal 
Commissioners ; but the Saxon officials and organs of adminis- 
tration were retained. A kindly feeling soon sprang up between 



the soldiery and the inhabiunts, although dicre were occasional 
disturbances with the officials, chiefly with regard to the war 
contribudons of fuel and forage which the country was required 
to fiimish. The excellent discipline of the Prussian soldiery 
showed itself conspicuously in Saxony. The fears and pre- 
judices of the inhabitants subsided more and more every hour, 
and the Prussians within a few days regarded themselves and 
were regarded as if in a friendly country. 

At this time, as a security against the chances of an Austrian 
attack, and as a support for further operations, the reserve corps 
of General Miilbe was ordered up from Berlin to Dresden. 
The positions of the armies about to be engaged in hostilities 
were, on 30th June, after the occupation of Saxony, as shown 
in the subjoined sketch : — 



The Prussian dash into Saxony was a great military success. 
It gave Prince Frederick Charles the advantage of being able 
to attack the Austrians on a narrow front, if they should issue 
from the passes of the mountains, instead of being obliged to 
fight them on their own terms in an open country, as would 


have been the case had they been allowed to occupy this 
kingdom. At that moment the Prussian patrols and pickets 
were pushed close up to the Austrian frontier, the issue of the 
narrow defile which the Elbe cleaves in the Iron Mountains 
was secured, the Saxon troops had retired into Bohemia, and 
without pulling a trigger the Prussian army had, by the rapid 
action of its chief, gained as great advantages as could have 
been looked for from a victorious battle in this part of the 
theatre of war. There was only one point in Saxony where 
Saxon troops were still found, and where the Saxon standard 
was still hoisted. The little fortress of Konigstein, situated on 
an isolated sandstone cliff on the left bank of the Elbe, about 
nine miles from the Austrian frontier, was still occupied by a 
Saxon garrison. Inaccessible, from the steepness of the rock 
on which it stands, and at a considerable distance from the 
surrounding heights, this fortress has never been reduced. 
From the hill of LiUenstein, which stands on the opposite side 
of the river, and has a command OVer the fortress of more than 
150 feet, Napoleon attempted to bombard Konigstein, but his 
artillery was not heavy enough to send shot over the 3,000 
yards which separate the summit of the two hills. With their 
rifled cannon the Prussian artillery could now easily, from the 
hill of Lilienstein or from that of Paffenstein on the opposite 
side, haVe engaged the guns of the fort oti equal terms ; but 
the Prussian commander did not deem it worth while to drag 
artillery to the top of these steep hills in order to force the 
capitulation of the small garrison of 1,200 men, who, in the 
event of Saxony remaining in his possession, must fall into his 
hands, and, in case of his being obliged to retire, could add so 
little to the force of his enemies. Konigstein, guarded by its 
escarpments and impossibility of approach, was still allowed to 
retain its reputation for impregnability. 

In most of the villages and hamlets of Saxony, certainly in 
all those which lay on roads leading to the frontier, Prussian 
soldiers were billeted ; cavalry and artillery horses filled the 
farmsteadings of the border farmers, atld field gUns atid artillery 
carriages were parked on many a village green. But the Saxons 
had no complaints to make, and, as far as could be judged from 
appearances, seemed highly to approve the occupation of their 


county by the Prussian army. The Saxon peasantry and the 
soldiers were on the most friendly terms, and a stranger who 
did not know the Prussian uniform, in passing through the 
villages, would have supposed that the troops were quartered 
among the people of their own country. As soon as the 
Prussian vanguards crossed the frontier, Prince Frederick 
Charles issued a most stringent order, in which he insisted 
upon the troops showing every respect for private property and 
for the comfort of the inhabitants. This order was strictly 
strictly observed both by officers and men. The kind-hearted 
soldiers brought with them none of those horrors which too often 
follow in the train of an army which occupies a strange country. 
On the contrary, had it not been for the swords and bayonets 
of patrols which glittered in the sun along every road, the scene 
was one of perfect peace. In some places the men were help- 
ing the peasantry to carry the hay harvest, in others they might 
be seen working in the cottage gardens, and nearly always 
were spending money in the village shops; the bare-legged 
country urchins got taken up for rides on the cavalry or 
artillery horses as they went to be watered, or were invited, 
half afraid, to peep into the muzzle of a rifled gun ; only when, 
with the contempt bred by the familiarity, some too adventurous 
youngster tried to introduce a handful of cornflowers into the 
mouth of a piece of ordnance, was he warned off the precincts 
of the battery by the reluctant sentry.* 

The Prussian military authorities took care to make the in- 
conveniences of the existing state of affairs sit as lightly as 
possible on the inhabitants of the coimtry in which the troops 
where quartered. Passenger traffic on the railways of Saxony 
was soon resumed, except where the broken bridge of Rieza 
caused a gap. Telegraphic messages were received at the 
bureaux, and were certainly and regularly delivered. 

The successful occupation of the kingdom of Saxony gave 
the Prussian leader also great moral, material, and strategical 
advantages. His adversaries had seen the energy and vigour 
with which the Prussian blows were delivered. Two armies 
were established on hostile territory, which facilitated the supply 

* It must be remembered that this was a war of Germans against 


13© SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IV. 

of provisions to these laige masses of troops. The theatre of 
war for the armies was also transferred to foreign soil. But the 
main advantages were gained in reference to the whole theatre 
of the war throughout Germany. The wide semicircle in which 
the Prussian army had been spread along the Saxon and 
Bohemian frontiers, was much contracted by the advances of 
Prince Frederick Charles and Herwarth. The communication 
between the individual armies was much facilitated by the pos- 
session of the Saxon railways, and an invasion of Bohemia was 
rendered possible, because the frontier passes of the mountains 
were secured ; while in the case of its being necessary to act on 
the defensive, the £rz-Gebirge and the Lusatian hills afforded 
much superior military positions to any along the quite open 
frontier between Saxony and Prussia. 

The invasion of Saxony brought immediately conditions of 
open war between Prussia and Austria. Saxony appealed to 
the Diet at Frankfort, from which Prussia and several other 
States had since 14th June withdrawn their representatives. 
The remaining members of the Diet decreed, on tiie 1 6th June, 
that Austria and Bavaria should give aid against Prussia ; not 
only to Saxony, but also to Hanover and Hesse-CasseL Austria 
declared herself ready to devote all her military forces to the 
support of the States which had been invaded by Prussian 
troops. This declaration was regarded by Prussia as an open 
and official announcement of a declaration of war. That 
Austria also intended it to be such was shown by the publi- 
cation, on the 17th June, of this war manifesto of the 
Emperor : — 


" While engaged in a work of peace, which was undertaken for the pnr- 
pose of laying the foundation for a Constitution which should augment the 
unity and power of the empire, and at the same time secure to my several 
countries and peoples free internal development, my duties as a Sovereign 
have obliged me to place my whole army under arms. 

" On the frontiers of my empire, in the south and in the north, stand the 
armies of two enemies who have allied with the intention of breaking the 
power of Austria as a great European State. 

'* To neither of those enemies have I given cause for war. I call on an 
Omniscient God to bear witness that I have always considered it my first, 
my most sacred duty, to do all in my power to secure for my peoples the 
blessings of peace. 

<< One of the hostile Powers requires no excuse. Having a loiaging to 


depriTe me of parts of my empire, a favoarable opportunity is for him a 
sufficient cause for going to war. 

" Allied with the Prussian troops, which are now up in arms against us, 
a part of my faithful and valorous army two years ago went to the shores of 
the North Sea. I entered into an alliance with Prussia for the purpose of 
upholding rights secured by treaties, to protect an imperilled German race, 
to confine within the narrowest possible limits an unavoidable war, and by 
means of an intimate connexion of the two central European Powers— whose 
principal duty it is to maintain the peace of Europe — to obtain a lasting 
guarantee for the peace of my empire, of Germany, and of Europe. 

'* Conquests 1 have never sought for. Unselfish in my alliance with 
Prussia^ 1 did not, in the Vienna Treaty of Peace, seek to obtain any ad- 
vantage for myself. Austria is not to blame for the series of unfortunate 
complications which could not have arisen had Prussia been equally disin- 
terested and equally mindful of her Federal duties. Those complications 
were brought about for the furtherance of selfish purposes, and, con- 
sequently, could not be done away with by my Government in a peace- 
ful way. 

"The state of affairs became more and more serious. 

"Even when it was notorious that the two hostile States were making 
prepaxations for war, and that there was an understanding which could only 
be based on an intention to make in common an attack on my empire, I, 
being mindfiil of my duties as a Sovereign, remained in a state of profound 
peace, as I was willing to make all those concessions which were compatible 
with the welfare and honour of my peoples. But when I saw that further 
delay would not only render it difficult to ward off the intended blow, 
but also imperil the safety of the monarchy, I was obliged to resolve on 
maldng those heavy sacnfices which are inseparable from preparations 
for war. 

" The assurances given bv my Government of my love of peace, and the 
repeated declarations which were made of my readiness to disarm at the 
same time with Prussia, were replied to by propositions which could not be 
accepted without sacrificing the honour and safety of the monarchy. 
Prussia not only insisted on complete disarmament in the northern pro- 
vinces of the empire, but also in those parts of it which touch on Italy, 
where a hostile army was standing, for whose love of peace no guarantee 
could either be given or offered. 

** The negotiations with Prussia in respect to the Elbe duchies clearly 
proved that a settlement of the question in a way compatible with the disunity 
of Austria, and with the rights and interests of Germany and the duchies, 
could not be brought about, as Prussia was violent and intent on conquest. 
The negotiations were therefore broken off, the whole affair was referred to 
the Bund, and at the same time the legal representatives of Holstein were 

"The danger of war induced the three powers— France, England, and 
Russia — to invite my Government to participate in General Conferences, 
the object of which was to be {sein solUe) the maintenance of peace. My 
Government, in accordance with my views, and, if possible, to secure the 
blessing of peace for my peoples, did not refuse to share in the Conferences, 
but made their acceptance dependent on the confirmation of the supposition 
that the public law of Europe and the existing treaties were to form the 
basis of the attempt at mediation, and that the powers represented would 
not seek to uphold special interests which could only be prejudicial to the 
balance of power in Europe and to the rights of Austria. The fact that the 
attempt to mediate failed because these natural suppositions were made is a 

K a 

132 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IV. 

proof that the Conferences could not have led to the maintenance of 

" The recent events clearly prove that Prussia substitutes open violence 
for right and justice. 

'* The rights and the honour of Austria, the rights and the honour of the 
whole German nation, are no longer a barrier against the inordinate ambi- 
tion of Prussia. Prussian troops have entered Holstein ; the Estates con- 
voked by the Imperial Stadtholder have been violently dissolved ; the 
Government of Holstein, which the Treaty of Vienna gives to Austria and 
Prussia in common, has been claimed for Prussia alone ; and the 
Austrian garrison has been obliged to give way to a force ten times as 
strong as itself. 

" When the German Bund, which saw in the measure no infraction of 
the Federal Iaws> accepted the Austrian proposition to 'mobilize' the 
Federal troops, Prussia, who prides herself on being the defender of the 
interests of Germany, resolved to complete the work she had b^un. 
Violently severing the tie which unites the German races, Prussia announced 
her secession from the Bund, required from the German Governments the 
acceptance of a so-called project of Reform, which in reality is a division of 
Germany, and now she employs military force against those Sovereigns who 
have faithfully discharged their Federal duties. 

"The most pernicious of wars, a war of Germans against Germans, has 
become inevitable, and I now summon before the tribunal of history, before 
the tribunal of an eternal and all-powerful God, those persons who have 
brought it about, and make them responsible for the misfortunes which may 
fall on individuals, families, districts, and countries. 

" I begin the war with confidence, arising from the knowledge that my 
cause is a just one, and with the consciousness of the power which is pos- 
sessed by a great empire when the Prince and the people have one and the 
same thought— that the rights of their country must be stedfastly upheld. 
My heart beats high at the sight of my gallant and well-appointed anny^ 
the bulwark against which the force of the enemies of Austria will be broken 
^-and of my faithful peoples, who are full of loyal confidence and self devo- 
tion. The pure fire of patriotic enthusiasm bums with equal strength and 
steadiness in all parts of my vast empire. Joyfully do the furlough men and 
reserves take their places in the ranks of the army ; numerous volunteeis 
present themselves ; the whole of the able-bodied population of the countries 
which are most exposed are preparing to take the field, and everything that 
can possibly be done to assist the army and provide for its necessities is 
willingly done. All the inhabitants of my kingdoms and countries have one 
and the same feeling — the feeling that they belong to one and the same 
nation, that unity gives strength, and that a gross violation of justice has 
been committed. 

** It is doubly painful to me that the settlement of the questions relative 
to the internal constitution of the Empire has not yet made so much pro- 
gress that I, at this important moment, can assemble around my throne 
the representatives of all my peoples. Although I am now deprived of 
this support, my duty as a Sovereign has become clearer, and my reso- 
lution stronger, that for all future time my empire shall have the bene- 
fit of it. 

** We shall not be alone in the struggle which is about to take place. 
The Princes and peoples of Germany know that their liberty and indepen- 
dence are menaced by a Power which listens but to the dictates of egotism, 
and is under the influence of an ungovernable craving after aggrandizement, 
and they also know that in Austria they have an upholder of the freedom. 


power, and integrity of the whole of the German Fatherland. We and ou- 
Gennan brethren have taken up arms in defence of the most precious rights 
of nations. We have been forced so to do, and we neither can nor will disx 
arm until the internal development of my empire and of the German States 
which are allied with it has been secured, and also their power and influence 
in Europe. 

'* My hopes are not based on unity of purpose, on power alone, I con6de 
in an sdmighty and just God, whom my house from its venr foundations has 
faithfully served, a God who never forsakes those who righteously put their 
trust in Him. To Him I pray for assistance and success, and I call on my 
peoples to join me in that prayer. 

" Given in my residence and metropolis of Vienna, on this 17th of Tune, 


On the same day the following general order was also issued 
to the Austrian Army of the North by Feldzeugmeistei 
Benedek : — 

" Head Quarters, OLHth% 

" Soldiers,— We are on the eve of grave and sanguinary events. As in 
1859, you are collected in great numbers around our flag. Soldiers, we 
have now to repair in the eyes of the world the fiiults of that period ; 
vrt have to punish an arrogant and faithless enemy. I have the full and 
entire conviction that you are aware of and are worthy of this mission. 
Have also confidence in me, and be assured that on my part I will exert my 
best efforts to bring this campaign to a speedy and glorious termination. 
We are now faced by inimical forces, composed partly of troops of the Line 
and partly of Landwehr. The first comprises young men not accustomed 
to pnvations and fatigues, and who have never yet made an important cam- 
paign ; the latter is composed of doubtful and dissatisfied elements, which, 
rather than fight against us, would prefer the downfall of their Government. 
In consequence of a long course of years of peace, the enemy does not pos- 
sess a single general who has had an opportunity of learning his duties on 
the field of battle. Veterans of the Mincio and of Palestro, I hope that 
with tried leaders you will not allow the slightest advantage to such an adver- 
sary. On the day of battle the infantry will adopt its lightest campaign 
accoutrement, and will leave behind their knapsacks and camping materialt 
in order that they may be able to throw themselves with rapidity and 
promptitude upon the heavily-laden enemy. Each soldier will receive his 
flask filled with wine and water, and a ration of bread and meat easily to 
be carried. The officers wiU discontinue the use of their wide scarves, and 
all the useless insignia of their ranks, which but renders them too distin- 
guishable in action. Every man, without distinction of name or position, 
shall be promoted whenever he shall distinguish himself on the field of 
battle. The bands will place themselves in rear of the front of the 
respective positions, and will play heroic pieces for the warlike ^ance. 
The enemy has for some time vaunted the excellence of their fire-arms, 
but, soldiers, I do not think that will be of much avail to them. We 
will give them no time, but we will attack them with the bayonet and 
with crossed muskets. When, with God's help, we shall have beaten 
and compelled to retreat our enemies, we wiU pursue them without in- 
termission, and you shall then find repose upon the enemy's soil, and 
those compensations which a glorious and victorious army has a right 
to demand " 





Whoever casts a glance upon the map of Central Europe 
must at once observe the range of mountains which, starting 
from the Black Forest, passes through Germany from west to 
east, separates the basin of the Danube from the plain through 
which the Weser, the Elbe, and the Oder glide to the German 
and Baltic seas, and terminates in the chain of the Carpathian 
Hills. This range about midway divides into t\i'o branches 
near the source of the Saale, which again join together near the 
east of the county of Glatz, and enclose in the so-formed quad- 
rilateral the kingdom of Bohemia. On the north of Uiese 
mountains lie the kingdoms of Saxony and Prussia ; on the 
south the territories ruled by the Emperor of Austria. Bohemia, 
although a dependency of the Austrian empire, is geographically 
separated from the valley of the Danube, in which lie the ma- 
jority of the provinces of the Kaiser, by the hills of the Bohe- 
mian Forest and the mountains of Moravia. The advanced 
post of Austria towards the north, it stands as a strong bastion 
against an invasion of the empire from that direction, and is 
also a most valuable base of operations from which to hurl 
troops against the valleys of the Elbe or the Oder. It was this 
position of Bohemia which caused the destruction of Napoleon 
in 1813, when Prussia and Russia held the Elbe, and Austria 
from Bohemia menaced his right flank. If he quitted his 
central position at Dresden to march on the Elbe, the Austrians 
issued from Bohemia, and cut off his communication with the 



Rhine ; if he advanced against Bohemia, as soon as he passed 
the northern mountains of that province the allies debouched 
from the line of the Elbe, and separated him from France. It 
was a consequence of the natural configuration of Bohemia that, 
after having prevented the junction of his enemies by the vic- 
tory of Dresden, the great Napoleon was surrounded at Leipsic. 

In the midsummer of 1866, Bohemia was again about to 
play an important part in a European war. Austrian troops 
were collected there. Beyond the Erz-Gebirge, or Iron Moun- 
tains, and the Riesen-Gebirge, or Giant Hills, which form the 
Bohemian frontier on the north, lies in the first place the king- 
dom of Saxony, but beyond this again are the southern pro- 
vinces of Prussia, from which two Prussian armies available for 
service in the field had now advanced. In the event of war, 
Saxony appeared likely to be the first battle-field, if the Aus- 
trian general should assmne the offensive. But in a life-and- 
death struggle between the great German Powers it was impos- 
sible that the theatre of war could be restricted to one tiny 
kingdom; the area of operations on the contrary extended 
nearly throughout the district which spreads from the sea on 
the north to the Danube on the south, from the Rhine on the 
west to the Vistula on the east. 

This is a district not unacquainted with war. After the last 
attempt to overthrow an established monarchy in England it 
was the scene of that Seven Years* strife through whose baptism 
of blood Prussia advanced into the hierarchy of the great 
Powers of Europe. It was repeatedly trodden under foot by 
the conquering legions of the First Emperor of the French, and 
it was in its very centre that the battle was fought which led to 
the first overthrow of his power. Its wide extent is inhabited 
by two distinct races, and is the seat of two antagonistic creeds. 
The Teutonic r^ce prevails in the north, and the generally 
established religion is Protestant ; the Slavonic blood predomi- 
nates in the south, owns the Catholic faith, and politically was 
under the sway of the Kaiser. 

The basin of the Elbe is the central geographical division of 
Germany. This basin is divided into two ; that of the Upper 
Elbe forms a plateau surrounded by mountains, and is the 
kingdom of Bohemia ; that of the Lower contains Saxony and 

136 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book V. 

the central provinces of Prussia. The upper basin is in general 
ill cultivated, and little has been done to develop its resources. 
It possesses, however, forests, considerable iron mines, and 
breeds horses which are valuable in war. Its roads, except one 
or two main chaussees^ are few, mountainous, and bad ; but it is 
a country easily defensible, for its forests, mountains, and rivers 
present at every point obstacles to an invading army. Hie 
lower basin of this river is, on the other hand^ a country of 
plains, marshes, and small lakes: not very fertile, but well 
cultivated, thickly populated, and opened up by a multitude of 
roads. The Elbe, entering it from a close defile between the 
mountains of Northern Bohemia, runs through its whole length, 
passing by the fortress of Konigstein, Dresden, the capital of 
Saxony, and the fortified town of Wittenberg. This river, 
within Prussian territory, supported by the fortresses of Torgau 
and Magdeburg, forms a strong line of defence against an army 
advancing on Berlin from the west, but one which can easily 
be turned from Bohemia. 

The basin of the Oder, bounded on the south by the moun- 
tains which overhang Biaunau, Glatz, and Troppau, contains 
on the upper course of the river the province of Prussian 
Silesia. The river itself forms an angle near Breslau, which 
allows of its being used as a line of defence for the eastern 
districts of the kingdom of Prussia against an attack fi*om either 
the south or west This line is supported by the fortresses of 
Glogau, Kiistrin, and Stettin. The country through which the 
Oder flows is in general fiat, marshy, and woody ; the land is 
fertile only in pasture, but is well cultivated, and inhabited by 
an active and industrious population. 

The basin of the Weser, in which lies the western portion of 
the kingdom of Hanover, is bounded on the south by the 
mountains of the Thuringian Forest and the Hartz, and is in 
geheral sandy and covered with thickets ; its principal riches 
are flocks and herds. The Danube, the southernmost of the 
four rivers which were introduced into the theatre of war in 
Central Germany, runs through a plain which lies on the south 
side of the Bohemian and Moravian mountains. 

Starting from the confluence of the Main nvnth the Rhine at 
Mayence, following upwards the valley of the former river, 


skirting the southern slopes of the Thuringian Forest, passing 
along the summits of the £rz-Gebirge, the Riesen-Gebiige, and 
the mountains of Moravia, and terminating at the southernmost 
point of Upper Silesia, runs the line which geographically 
divides Northern from Southern Germany. This line now 
divided from one another the territories occupied by the troops 
of the two great parties into which the Germanic Confederation 
was rapidly splitting. By the sudden razzia made by her troops 
into Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, and Saxony, and by surrounding 
the Hanoverian troops, Prussia secured free communication 
between her Rhenish provinces and Berlin, disarmed the hostile 
forces in her re^^, and divided the whole of Germany into two 
distinct areas for military operations. 

These northern and southern areas, separated by the central 
geographical line of Germany, were now in the possession of 
the troops of the northern and southern antagonists respectively. 

The Prussian occupation of Saxony had also the effect of 
separating the troops of the southern league quartered on the 
east of the line of the Saale from those assembled on the west, 
and divided Germany into an eastern and western theatre 
of war. 

On the western theatre the Prussian troops which had in- 
vaded Hanover and Hesse-Cassel were ranged against the 
Hanoverians, the Bavarians, the troops of Cassel, and those of 
the eighth Federal corps. 

On the eastern theatre the main armies of Prussia were 
drawn up against that of Austria with its Saxon allies, where 
they occupied, positions in Saxony and Silesia on the one side, 
on Bohemia and Moravia on the other. Between Bohemia 
and Saxony lie the chains of the Iron and Giant Mountains ; 
between Moravia and Silesia, a part of the Giant chain, the 
mountains of Schweidnitz, and the Sudetic hills. These moun- 
tains as a rule are steep towards Prussia, and slope more 
gently towards Bohemia. They consist of several parallel 
ridges, and are of very unequal heights, sometimes falling as 
low as a thousand feet, sometimes, raising their peaks high 
into the air, they tower over spurs themselves fifteen hundred 
feet high. On the west of Bohemia the Fichtel Mountains 
divide the passes which lead from North Germany into Bohemia 




'from those which by the sources of the SaaJe lead in the 
neighbourhood of Hof and Eger into Bavaria. This feet added 
to the importance and to the value of the Prussian occupation 
of Saxony, for the presence of the troops of Prince Frederick 
Charles in that kingdom, if it did not entirely prevent, certain^ 

threw great difficulties in the way of a junction between the 
Austrians and Bavarians, and placed the Prussians in about 
the advantageous position of having broken the line of the 
armies of the South German Stales. 

The south-western frontier of Bohemia is formed by the hills 
of the Bohemian Forest; the south-eastern by the mountains of 
Moravia, The eastern theatre of operations lay between the 
mountains which separate Bohemia and Mora\-ia from Saxony 
and Prussia and the Danube. 

In this theatre two main lines of railway exist, and show the 
lines along which the troops on either side would draw together, 


in order to repel an offensive movement of the enemy. The 
northern line is that which runs from Oderberg, by Oppeln, 
Brieg, Breslau, and Gorlitz to Dresden and Leipzic; the 
southern is that which leads from Prerau by Olmiitz and Pai- 
dubitz to Prague. These Imes at three pomts are joined to 
each other by lines from Dresden to Prague, from Lobau to 
Tiimau, and from Oderberg to Prerau. 

Within Bohemia lies the important quadrilateral of railways 
between Prague, Tiimau, Josephstadt, and Pardubitz, from 
which lines lead to Leipzic, Dresden, Berlin, Gorlitz, Breslau, 
Cracow, Vienna, Pilsen, Niiremberg, and Regensburg, and 
which, in consequence, forms a highly advantageous position 
for the concentration of troops. 

The fortresses enclosed in this theatre are, on the Austrian 
side, Cracow on the Vistula, Olmutz on the March, Joseph- 
stadt and Koniggratz on the Upper Elbe, Prague on the 
Moldau, and Theresienstadt on the Eger. On the Prussian 
side are Kosel on the Oder, Neisse on the Neisse, Glatz, 
Schweidnitz,. and Torgau, on the Elbe. From Schweidnitz, 
which is oif little importance as a fortress, to Torgau, the 
distance is about one hundred and fifty miles. 

After the Piussian occupation of Saxony, the main armies of 
the two great Powers were separated by the moimtains along 
which run the northern frontier lines of Bohemia and Moravia. 
The Prussian army consisted of three principal parts, which all 
received orders from the King as commander-in-chief of all 
the forces, and numbered, inclusive of the reserve corps of 
General Miilbe in Dresden, about 280,000 combatants, with 
900 guns. 

The Austrian army, on die south of the mountains, mustered 
about 245,000 combatants, with 600 guns, to which was added 
the Saxon army, that had retired into Bohemia, with a force of 
25,000 combatants, and 60 guns. 

Plan of Operations. — ^The Austrian army was not in such 
a forward state of preparation for taking the field as the Prus- 
sian. Feldzeugmeister Von Benedek had not apparently 
anticipated such extreme rapidity and energy of movement as 
was exhibited by the Prussians, and had before the outbreak of 


hostilities announced his intention of assuming the offensive, 
and of invading Prussian territory, when he had given most 
humane and praiseworthy directions to his own troops for their 
beWviour in the enemy's country. An Austrian invasion of 
Prussia may be effected by either of two routes : the first leads 
over the Lusatian mountains to Bautzen and Gorlitz to Bezlin; 
the second by the valley of the Oder into Silesia. An offensive 
movement by the first route would have given the Austrians 
the advantage of seizing Saxony, and of covering the passage 
of the Bavarians by the passes of the Saale to Wittenberg, 
where the whole of the invading army might have been united. 
The other route did not offer these advantages, and in it lay as 
obstacles the Prussian fortresses of Glatz, Neisse, and Kosel. 

The rapid invasion of Saxony by Prussia, and the consequent 
retreat of the Saxons, appears to have determined the Austrian 
commander to relinquish any attempt of crossing the moun- 
tains into that kingdom. His army was concentrated round 
Briinn and Olmiitz ; he could not draw it together in time to 
seize the passes into Saxony ; and he appears to have then 
determined to act upon the defensive, and to hold one portion 
of the Prussian troops in check, while he threw himself with 
strong force on the others issuing from the mountain passes, in 
order to crush them in detail. To secure a favourable position 
for this operation, he concentrated his army towards Joseph- 
stadt. He sent one corps d'arm^e with the Saxon troops to 
cover the issues of the passes firom Saxony, there to check the 
armies of Prince Frederick Charles. With his forces from 
Josephstadt he intended to hold the Crown Prince in issuing 
from the mountains, and to reinforce Clam Gallas to cmsh 
Prince Frederick Charles at Gitschin. On the 19th June the 
Austrian movements with this aim commenced : that day the 
head-quarters of Feldzeugmeister Von Benedek were moved 
from Olmiitz to Bohmisch Triiban, and on the 23rd June his 
army occupied the following positions : — 

The I St corps, the Saxons, the brigade Kalik, and the ist 
light cavalry division, were posted under the supreme command 
of Count Clam Gallas, amounting altogether to nine brigades, 
with 60,000 men, on the left bank of the Iser, between Weiss- 
wasser, Miinchengratz, and Tiimau, in order here to check the 



enemy advancing from the north-west. The 4th and 8th corps, 
and I St division of reserve cavalry, were at Josephstadt \ the 
loth and 6th corps were pushed forward to the Silesian frontier 
on the north-east of Josephstadt ; the 3rd corps and the 2nd and 
3rd divisions of reserve cavalry were held in reserve north of 
Pardubitz ; the 2nd corps and the 2nd light cavalry division 
formed the extreme right of the Austrian line at Bohmisch 

* tJULO 

Triiban. By this disposition of his troops, Feldzeugmeister 
Benedek held a force much superior to that of the Crown 
Prince, immediately opposite to the defiles leading to Silesia, 
and covered the ground on which all the roads from Saxony 
and lower Silesia unite together in Bohemia, so that he actually 
stood in front of the point where the armies of Prince Frederick 
Charles and of the Crown Prince must unite. 

Prussian Plan of Operations. — How and why Prussia 
assumed the offensive in Saxony has been already seen. To 
increase the advantages gained by the possession of this king- 
dom, it was extremely desirable to push forward into Bohemia, 
and thus diminish, by a concentration forwards, the extent of 
the arc covered by the different armies. Political and financial 
reasons also required a speedy termination of the war. It was 
determined in the Prussian councils to assume the offensive. 

An invasion of the Austrian dominions from the positions of 
the Prussian armies could be effected in two ways : by the first 
the armies could cross the north-eastern and north-western 
frontiers of Bohemia, and be directed to unite in the north of 

142 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book V. 

Bohemia. By the second plan the Elbe Army and the Fiist 
Army could have been ordered to cross the frontier, and to 
move on Prague, while the Second made an offensive move- 
ment against Olmiitz. The latter plan was considered too 
dangerous ; by its prosecution the communications between the 
two armies would have been entirely broken ; and if Benedek 
had ignored the Second Army he could have fallen with much 
superior forces on Prince Frederick Charles, and overthrown 
him, when the distance from Olmiitz to Vienna would not have 
been less than that from Josephstadt to Berlin. The first plan 
was accordingly adopted ; and in order to carry it out, it was 
determined that the Army of the Elbe, acting as the extreme 
right wing of the Prussian advance, should move from Dres- 
den by Neustadt, and over the mountains by the passes of 
Schluckenau or GabeL The First Army, which formed die 
centre of the invading forces, was to move with the cavalry 
corps from Zittau, Gorlitz, and Lobau, by the passes of Krottau 
Friedland and Neustadtl or Reichenbeig. The Second Army, 
as the lefl wing, was to move from Landshut and the county 
of Glatz through the passes near Schatzlar or Trautenau, and 
through the pass of Nachod or Skalitz. 

The First Army and the Army of the Elbe were to unite 
near the Iser, and to gain together the left bank of that river 
towards Gitschin. The Second was to gain the right bank of 
the Elbe. When these points were gained, the two armies 
would be in close communication, and could act in conjunction 
along the line of railway leading by Pardubitz and Brtinn to 

The distance from Schluckenau to the county of Glatz, along 
which the Prussian front extended, is about one hundred miles. 
The Army of the Elbe and the First Army, which were to 
move through passes only about thirty or thirty-five miles 
distant from each other, could unite on the Iser in four 
' marches, and immediately assail the enemy with four and a 
half corps d'armde, if the Austrians attempted to make an 
offensive movement towards Silesia, The circumstances of the 
country, and the strategical situation, threw more difficulties in 
the way of the Second Army during its defiling through the 
mountains, and tliere was considerable danger that it might be 


attacked while still isolated. On this account the Army of 
Silesia was made stronger by one corps d'armde than the First 
Army, and was to commence its movements four days later, so 
as to allow the Austrian attention to have been distracted by 
the presence of Prince Frederick Charles in Bohemia, and to 
permit of the complete junction of the First Army and of the 
Army of the Elbe on the Iser. 

To hold the Austrian commander as long as possible in un- 
certainty as to the points at which the army of the Crown 
Prince was about to break into Bohemia, and, if possible, to 
make him remove his guards from the passes by which the 
descent was really to be effected, a false demonstration was 
made by the Second Army. This army had been concentrated 
round Landshut and Waldenburg, but on the 15th June, the 
Crown Prince, leaving only one corps d'arm^e in its original 
position, moved two of his remaining three corps thirty miles 
to the south-east, and there placed them in position near Neisse, 
sent at the same time the Guards to Brieg, and shifted his own 
head-quarters to the fortress of Neisse, in order to make the 
Austrians believe that the Army of Silesia intended to await 
attack in a defensive position near the fortress, or to break out 
southwards from that point upon Olmiitz. 

The possession of Saxony and of the passes over the Iron 
Mountains, enabled the defence of that kingdom to be en- 
trusted to the single reserve corps of General Miilbe. In case, 
however, that Austrian raids might be made into Saxony, or to 
oppose the Bavarians in case they might attempt by way of 
Hof into that country, fortifications were thrown up round 

On the left wing of the Prussian base of operations. Lower 
And Middle Silesia were covered from an Austrian attack by the 
nature of the Prussian offensive movement as well as by the 
fortresses of Glatz and Neisse. That portion of Silesia, how- 
ever, above Oppeln, which penetrates into Austrian territory, 
was exposed to hostile attacks from Oderberg and from Galicia. 
In order not to weaken the armies of operations by detaching 
troops to protect this portion of the province, new and peculiar 
means were adopted. Two scouting parties were formed which 
were to support each other ; and in case of formidable attack, 

144 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book V. 

to withdraw into the fortress of KoseL One of these was 
under General Knoblesdorf, and consisted oi three battalions 
of infantry, some battalions of Landwehr, a regiment of cavaliy 
of the Line, and one battery. Its head-quarters were at 
Ratibor. The other consisted of Landwehr only, and mustered 
six battalions, two regiments of cavalry, two companies of 
Jagers, and one battery. It was commanded by Count Stol- 
berg, and stationed at Nicolai. These parties were not only 
intended to watch the frontier and oppose an irruption by the 
Austrians, but were also to annoy the enemy beyond the fron- 
tier, and to break up hi^ railway communications. As a con- 
sequence of these arrangements, a lively war of detachments 
was soon developed along .the Upper Silesian frontier, the 
details of which aflford many interesting records of personal 
adventure, and the results of which demonstrated that the 
Prussian possesses in rapidity, subtlety, and endurance, all the 
qualities necessary for the accidents of petty warfare. Each 
detachment protected well its own position of the frontier, and 
only at a few points did the enemy succeed in effecting 
momentary sallies : they kept the Austrian troops in Western 
Galicia in check, and did considerable damage to their enemy. 
In one instance they destroyed the railway from Oswiecin to 
Oderberg so thoroughly, that the communication from Cracow 
to Bohemia as well as to Vienna was completely broken. 



On the 23rd June the Army of the Elbe and the First Anny 
were to cross the Bohemian frontier. When it is considered 
that not only the concentration and advance of the troops had 
to be arranged after the occupation of Saxony, but also the 
supply of provisions and ammunition, the establishment of 
hospitals, and the bringing up of reserves, it seems wonderful 
that these two armies could have been ready in so few days to 
take the field. 

The southern boundary of Saxon Lusatia runs forward for a 
distance of about fifteen English miles within the general line 
of the Bohemian frontier of Austria. In the salient angle of 
Saxony formed by this peculiar tracing of the border line stands 
within Saxon territory the frontier town of Zittau. This town 
covers the issue of the passes which lead from Reichenberg and 
Friedland in Bohemia, through the mountains into Lusatia, 
and commands the railway which by the pass of Reichenberg 
runs fix>m Tiimau to Bautzen. About six miles to the north- 
east of Zittau and about seventeen south-west of Gorlitz the 
village of Hirschfeld is situated on the Neisse, at a point where 
this river receives a small aflluent called the Kipper. To this 
village the head-quarters of the First Army were moved on the 
22nd June. Directly to the south were clearly seen the bold 
swelling masses of the Bohemian mountains, which here rise 
higher than in any part of the chain except where the Schnee- 
koppe looms over the passes whicji lead into Silesia. The 
bre^ in the mountain line which shows the defile through 
which passes the road to Reichenberg could be distinctly seen 
from here. Many eyes were often turned towards the gap in 

146 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book V. 

the clear relief of the hills against the sky, and many sought to 
know whether Prince Frederick Charies had come south to 
force that pass, or expected the Austrians to issue from it But 
those who had that day marched along the seventeen miles of 
dusty road from Gorlitz could have little doubt with what 
object the First Army had advanced ; the amount of transport 
which stretched in almost a continuous line for twelve miles of 
the way, told clearly that it was attached to an army destined 
for more than the mere defence of a frontier. 

Prince Frederick Charles on the 22nd broke up his quarters 
at Gorlitz, drew the First Army together, and launched it by 
the two roads which lead through Zittau and Seidenberg re- 
spectively, towards the Austrian frontier. The head-quarter 
staff left Gorlitz about three in the afternoon, and pushed along 
a road crowded with marching troops and military carriages to 
Hirschfeld. The road from Gorlitz to that place was covered 
with an almost unbroken stream of infantry regiments, batteries 
of artillery, cavalry detachments, military carriages, and a long 
line of country waggons as supplementary transport, while the 
thick cloud of dust, which rose about a mile and a half to the 
left, showed that an equally strong column was pushing forward 
by the Seidenberg road. The heat was great, and the dust, 
rising in dense clouds from beneadi the feet of the men and 
horses, or wheels of the carriages, hung heavily upon the march- 
ing columns ; but the men stepped out cheerily, for they were 
anxious to advance, and they did not seem to suflFer from 
fatigue. The regiments marched in with drums and fifes play- 
ing, ranks closed up, no stragglers, and the men keeping step 
so well that, but for the dust on their clothes and appointments, 
they might have been imagined to be going for instead of 
returning from a march. 

The chausste leading from Gorlitz to Zittau is broad enough 
to allow four carriages to pass. The march was excellently 
arranged ; there was no confusion, and no halts had to be made 
except those which were necessary to aUow the men to rest 
The carriages of the military train were scrupulously kept to 
one side of the road, so as to leave the rest clear for die troops. 
Its own baggage marched in the rear of each battalion, but it 
was not much ; only one waggon with the reserve ammunition. 


a cart for the officers* baggage, three or four packhorses to 
carry the paymaster's books, and the doctors' medicine carts. 
The soldiers marched strongly; their faces were % lit up with 
excitement, for they knew that every pace brought them 
nearer to the enemy, and they longed for battle. The country 
people on the road or working by the wayside exchanged kind 
words with the men, and expressed many good wishes for their 
success, and did so with sincerity, for the Prussian soldiers who 
had been billeted in the Saxon hamlets had made themselves 
great favourites with the villagers. 

Never was a march better conducted. The standing crops 
which fringed the road for almost its entire length were in no 
single place either trampled down or passed through. The 
road was crowded and dusty, but the men never left it, and, 
if there was a halt where com grew by the wayside, no soldier 
went further from the line of march than to sit on the narrow 
fringe of grass which separates the chaussee from the cultivated 
ground, and in no case were the field, intruded upon. The staff 
officers, too, with a wise provision for the comfort of the troops, 
and with a careful regard for the farmers, had arranged that 
halts of long duration should be made by alternate regiments 
at places where the hay had been cut and carried home, and 
the short grass could, without itself suffering any harm, afford 
relief to the heated feet of the soldiers. 

The road about a mile south of Gorlitz descends a steep hill, 
formed by the spur of the Landeskrone, which runs down to 
the edge of the Neisse, and on which the town of Gorlitz is 
built It then runs along the valley as far as Ostritz ; on the 
right are wide unenclosed fields covered with rich crops, which 
terminate on the low line of hills that fringes the valley towards 
the west ; on the left runs the slow stream of the Neisse, 
shrouded in willows; beyond the river a chain of gentle ele- 
vations separates its valley from that formed by the Rolte 
rivulet, up which runs the road from Gorlitz by Seidenberg to 
Friedland. A mile south of Ostritz a chain of hills, standing 
directly across the road, forms a defile through which the river 
winds with a narrowed stream, the road bends to the right, and 
goes over a hill thickly covered witli fir-trees, but soon descends 
again, and at Hirschfeld rejoins the course of the river. Two 

L 2 

148 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book V. 

good military positions for an army retreating on Gorlitz are 
afforded on this road — that behind Hirschfeld, where in front 
of the hill a rivulet crosses the way ; and a second where, in 
front of Gorlitz, the road dips down into the valley. 

The Prussian troops were on the night of the 22nd in force 
in Zittau and Seidenberg, and the troops were placed along the 
road which connects those two towns. Head-quarters were 
established in a very picturesque, but not over-clean, Saxon 
village. Prince Frederick Charles and his staff occupied the 
village inn ; the square in front, half market-place, half green, 
was crowded with the carriages of the military train. Soldiers 
were billeted in every cottage, and chargers stood in every 
stable. The little hamlet was a continual scene of busy tur- 
moil ; horses were being attended to, arms were being cleaned, 
and the men were making ready for to-morrow's march ; while 
now and then a distant trumpet on the left told that the even- 
ing watches were being set by the troops that lay towards the 

The resources of this little village were sorely taxed by the 
sudden inroad of hungry men ; the common room of the inn 
was filled with a multitude of soldiers hungry with a long day's 
march. Each man bought a large piece of bread and a junk 
of meat, and retiring to a side table, or bench, cut it up with 
his pocket-knife, and made a hearty meal. The regimental 
officers fared no better than their men. The campaign had 
already begun, and a great deal of the outward distinctions of 
ranks had been, as is always the case, shaken off, but the real 
discipline was unimpaired. 

The health of the army was excellent ; the sick only averaged 
2 J per cent, which would be a remarkably small number even 
in a period of profound peace. The sanitary arrangements 
were so good that there seemed to be every chance of this 
small proportion of illness being maintained. 

The surgeons, hospital attendants, and sick-bearers wore on 
their lefl arm a white band with a red cross, as a mark of their 
profession and their neutrality. 

No declaration of war against Austria was made by Prussia ; 
but on the morning of the 23rd, at daybreak, Prince Frederick 
Charles sent one of his aides-de-camp, Major von Rauch, to 


announce to the commander of the nearest Austrian post that 
he in the course of the day intended to pass the Bohemian 
frontier. Von Rauch, as is usual in such cases, accompanied 
by a trumpeter, whom he caused constantly to sound, and 
himself waving a white handkerchief, fell in with one of the 
Austrian patrols, which was furnished by Radetzky's hussars. 
The patrol fired on the staff officer, fortunately without effect ; 
he boldly rode up to it, and on explaining the object of his 
visit, was conducted blindfold to the commandant of the ad- 
vanced post, which was Reichenberg ; this officer, of course, 
apologized for the mistake which his patrol had made, and 
the aide-de-camp, after a 'long and early ride, was escorted back 
to within a short distance of the Saxon frontier, where he soon 
met the advancing columns of his own army. 

Prince Frederick Charles, late on the night of the 22nd, issued 
the following General Order to the First Army : — 

" Head Quarters, GOrlitz, June 22. 

" Soldiers ! — Austria, faithless and regardless of treaties, has for some 
time, without declaring war, not respected the Prussian frontier in Upper 
Silesia. I therefore, likewise, without a declaration of war, might have 
Passed the frontier of Bohemia. I have not done so. I have caused a 
public declaration to be sent, and now we enter the territory of the enemy 
in order to defend our own country. 

"Let our undertaking rest with God. Let us leave our affairs in the 
°ands of Him who rules the hearts of men, who decides the fate of natioiLs, 
jnd the issue of battles. As it stands written in Holy Writ — *Let your 
hearts beat to God, and your hands on the enemy.* 

**In this war are concerned — ^you know it — the maintenance of Prussia's 
most sacred rights, and the very existence of our dear native land. Her 
«iemies have declared their intention to dismember and to destroy her. 
Shall the streams of blood which your fathers and mine poured out imder 
Frederick the Great, in the War of Independence, and which we ourselves 
latterly shed at Diippel and Alsen, have been spilt in vain ? Never ! We will 
^intain Prussia as she is, and by victories make her stronger and mightier. 
We would be worthy of our fathers. 

. ** We rely on the God of our fathers, who will be mighty in us, and will 
bless the arms of Prussia. 

"So, forward with our old battle cry, * With God for King and 
' atberland ! Long live the King ! * 

"FREDERICK CHARLES, General of Cavalry.'' 

On the morning of the 23rd the Prussian armies crossed the 
frontier of the Austrian territories. General Herwarth von 
Kttenfeld, with the Army of the Elbe, marched by the high 

150 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book V. 

road from Schluckenau to Rumburg. Prince Frederick Charles, 
with the 4th corps d'arm^e, followed by the 2nd corps, and the 
cavalry corps^ advanced along the road and railway leading 
from Zittau to Reichenberg, while the 3rd corps moved from 
Seidenberg and Marklissa over the passes of Schonwald and 
Neustadtl on Friedland. 

The troops were early under arms, and fell into their ranks a 
little after daybreak, under a steady downfall of drizzling rain. 
They had to march many miles from their billets to the places 
where they were to form columns for the advance, but they 
stepped out well over the slippery grass and sloppy roads, and 
were all ranged in proper order close to the Austrian frontier, 
but still on Saxon ground, a litde after 7. At 6 the Com- 
mander-in-chief lefl his last night*s quarters at Hirschfeld, and 
by the Zittau road reached the frontier a little before 8. The 
frontier is marked on the road by a tollhouse, in front of which 
a long bar supplies the place of a gate. This bar balances near 
its end furthest from the tollhouse on a pivot, and, by means 
of a weight at the end of its shorter arm, can be raised almost 
perpendicularly upwards when the road is to be left open for a 
free passage. On this bar are painted the alternate black and 
gold stripes which are the distinctive colours of Austria. The 
bar was raised that day, but not quite in a vertical position ; 
high enough to allow a man on horseback to ride under it, it 
still sloped over the road. It was here that Prince Frederick 
Charles took up his position to watch his troops march over 
the border. He had hardly arrived there before he gave the 
necessary orders, and in a few moments the Uhlans, who 
formed the advanced guard of the regiments that marched by 
this line, were over the frontier. Then followed the infantry. 
As the leading ranks of each battalion arrived at the first point 
on the road from which they caught sight of the Austrian 
colours that showed the frontier, they raised a cheer, which 
was quickly caught up by those in the rear, and was repeated 
again and again till, when the men came up to the tollhouse 
and saw their soldier Prince standing on the border line, it 
swelled into a roar of rapturous delight, which only ceased to 
be replaced by a martial song that was caught up by each 
battalion as it poured into Bohemia. Their chief himself stood 


by the roadside calm and collected ; but he gazed proudly on 
the passing sections, and well he might, for never did an army 
cross an enemy's frontier better equipped, better cared for, or 
with a higher courage than that which marched out of Saxony 
that day« Ever and anon he would call from a passing bat- 
talion some officer or soldier who had before served under him, 
and with a kindly inquiry or cheerful word, won a heart, for 
soldiers love officers who take an interest in diem. Everywhere 
the Prince was greeted by the troops with loud cries of joy; as 
he rode along the way by which the regiments were marching 
they cheered him continuously. At one point his reception was 
peculiarly remarkable. A Pomeranian regiment (the 2nd), 
which had served under him when he was a divisional general, 
had piled its arms for a halt, and the men were lying down by 
the side of the road to rest Suddenly the word was passed 
among them that the Prince was coming; with one accord 
they sprang as if by magic to their feet, made two long lines 
along the road through which he might pass, and gave him such 
a cheer as only old soldiers can. 

The concentration of the troops and the advance into 
Bohemia were most excellently managed. This same army 
had exactly a week before entered Saxony, prepared to fight in 
that country ; within that time Saxony had been entirely occu- 
pied, and within six days the majority of the troops were again 
concentrated, and began their march into Austria. The advance 
was conducted in this way: — The troops the previous night 
were concentrated on the frontier; on the morning of the 23rd, 
on the right, Herwarth von Bittenfeld pushed forward two 
columns from Dresden by Schluckenau and Rumburg ; Prince 
Frederick Charles advanced frx>m Saxony ; his troops marched 
in five columns; the column on the right followed the high 
road from Zittau ; the right centre column marched along the 
railway lying to the left of that road; the centre column 
followed a road to the left of the railway. The left centre 
column marched by the Seidenberg road, and the left column 
by the Marklissa road east of this highway. Thus on a broad 
front, and by several roads all within a distance which would 
allow the different corps to concentrate in a very few hours, 
the army moved to the front well in hand and without incon- 

152 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book V. 

venience to the troops. The march within Austrian territory 
was distinguished by the same regard for private property that 
was so scrupulously observed in Saxony. The Austrian villagers 
at first looked on the irruption of the army of the northern 
Germans half in fear, half in curiosity, but soon they came to 
be on speaking terms with the soldiers, and then were quickly 
seen supplying them with drinking water and doing them other 
good services. 

The Castle of Grafenstein, in which the head quarters were 
fixed on the night of the 23rd, is the property of Count Clam 
Gallas, who commanded the first Austrian corps in Bohemia ; 
it is beautifully situated on the top of a hill, covered with thick 
foliage, which rises abruptly from the low ground of the valley 
of the Neisse. The Count had not left much furniture for the 
use of his unexpected guests, as nearly all the moveables were 
sent away some time before to Vienna, but a stock of mattresses 
were found in the house which the servants good-naturedly lent 
to the temporary occupants, and a Prince of Prussia and his 
staff were accommodated in the rooms of an officer who was 
waiting to fight a battle with their army beyond the mountains. 
Two of Radetzky's hussars were taken prisoners ; they were 
out with a patrol and came into collision with a patrol ot the 
Prussian regiment of Magdeburg hussars ; in the skirmish the 
horses of these two Austrians were shot, and the men were 
taken. They were tlie first prisoners of the war. The rapid 
concentration of the Prussian army produced some feats in 
marching, which were quite extraordinary for troops who had 
only just taken the field. The 5th Pomeranian hussars 
marched three days successively for long distances, and on 
the 22nd made fifty English miles; they were again on the 
line of march on the 24th, with horses in excellent condition, 
and the men looking as if they had only just turned out of 

The Prussians were now on the northern slopes of the 
mountains, and one day's march would, without opposition, 
take them through the passes. The highest hills were now so 
close that with a glass the stems of the fir-trees which clothed 
them could be easily distinguished. The road to Reiclienberg 
lay straight and open before thenL The march of the 23rd 


was different from that of the preceding day ; it was a march 
which showed that the enemy might be found in front The 
heavy baggage and reserve commissariat transport was all a 
day's march in rear ; the only carriages which were present in 
the column of route were the guns and waggons of the artil- 
lery, the hospital carnages, and the few waggons which are 
necessary to regiments when actually about to fight. 

The advanced posts, on the evening of the 23rd, were pushed 
forwards about seven miles; there were vigilant patrols and 
pickets out, and all was provided for against a surprise. These 
precautions are of course always necessary with an army in the 
field ; in the present case their utility was not put to the test, 
for the Austrians were not in force in the neighbourhood. 

Count Clam Gallas, to whom the Austrian commander had 
entrasted the guidance of the Austrian and Saxon troops on 
the Iser, had only pushed patrols of light cavalry up to and 
beyond Reichenbeig. Several skirmishes took place between 
them and the Prussian hussars, dragoons, and lancers, who 
formed the advanced scouts in front of each column, in which 
the Austrian cavalry was generally outnumbered and obliged to 

It rained steadily all the night of the 23rd, and the morning 
brought no improvement in the weather, but the troops were in 
high sphits, and appeared to care nothing for the wet On the 
24th the army of Prince Frederick Charles marched by three 
roads : the left column by way of Eisniedel on Reichenberg ; 
the centre by Kratzkau on the same town ; while General von 
Bittenfeld came from the mountains, and moved upon Gabel. 
Some of the regiments halted at Reichenbeig, and were billeted 
in the town for the night; others were pushed through and 
took up positions in front Many battalions had to bivouac 
that evening; but, although the ground was moist and damp 
from incessant rain, the weather was warm, and the troops did 
not take much harm from their first night in the open. The 
srmy was now drawn together and concentrated round Reich- 
enberg ; for General von Bittenfeld at Gabel was only twelve 
miles to the right On the night of the 24th, the Prussian 
advanced posts near Kratzkau could see the light of the 
Austrian bivouac fires, and the next morning the Magdeburg 

154 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book V. 

hussars who cleared the way for the army had a skirmish with 
some of Radetzky's Austrian hussars. Shots were exchanged, 
two of the Prussians were wounded and five of the Austrians 
were wounded, with two killed. A combat was expected at 
Reichenberg. Three Austrian cavalry regiments, Lichtenstein's 
hussars, Radetzky's hussars, and the hussars- of the regiment of 
Hesse-Cassel, were known to be in front of the Prussian 
advance, and it was anticipated that in the fine strategical posi- 
tion of Reichenberg the Austrians might stand to fight \ for this 
town covers the junction of roads which leads over the moun- 
tains by Gabel, Grottau, Friedland, and from Hirschberg. But 
the Austrian cavalry retired through the town, and it was 
occupied about ten o'clock by the Prussian advanced guard ; 
and Prince Frederick Charles, without a blow, gained the 
south side of the mountains, and commanded the issues of the 

The march of the 24th, although over a hill country, was not 
over a severe road, for the summit of the mountain chain dips 
so deeply into the gorge which forms the defile of Reichenberg, 
that the road through the pass both ascends and descends with 
a moderate gradient ; on either side of the way the mountains 
rise high, but not steep, for the whole character of this range is 
more rounded and swelling than bold and sharp. As the army 
passed between the hills in the early morning, the tops were 
shrouded in a dense mist, which occasionally lifted high enough 
to show the lower parts of the dense fir woods which clothe 
the upper mountain sides, but never to afford a glimpse of their 
summits. The rain fell heavily and without ceasing; it battered 
down the grain which grew in the fields by the wayside, and 
filled the mountain watercourses with rushing mud-coloured 
streams ; there was no wind to give it a slanting direction, and 
it came straight down on the men's helmets, only to roll off in 
large drops upon their backs and shoulders, but it did not seem 
to depress the spirits of the troops ; they stepped along cheerily, 
marching as well as they did the first day they left their garri- 
sons, and many of the soldiers said that they preferred the wet 
weather to heat All along the line of march the commander 
of the army was loudly cheered. 

When Prince Frederick Charles reached the market-place of 


Reichenbeig, he halted to await the arrival of the troops who 
had marched by the Friedland road. The town looked dull, 
for as it was Sunday the shops were all shut, and at first the 
Bohemians seemed inclined to remain in their houses ; but the 
bands of the marching regiments roused their curiosity, and they 
soon collected and lined the street in dense crowds to see the 
troops go by. The soldiers who had arrived early and had been 
dismissed from their ranks joined in the crowd, and a common 
language soon made them great friends with the townspeople. 
Many tales are told of the dreadful devastation to which a 
country is subjected by the plunderers of an invading army. 
So far as the Prussian army had yet advanced into Bohemia the 
soldiers had treated the Austrians with the greatest kindness ; 
as in the British service, everything that a soldier wished to buy 
must be scrupulously paid for, and there seemed to be no desire 
among the men that it should be otherwise ; in fact, the troops 
were much more plundered than plunderers, for the cigar mer- 
chants and public-house keepers were driving a most prosperous 
trade, and took very good care that they themselves did not 
suffer, for the soldiers were unaccustomed to Austrian currency, 
and had to pay an equivalent of Prussian coin. 

Reichenberg was, on the morning of the 24th, occupied by the 
Prussians about ten o'clock. Before evening nearly the whole 
army, attended by artillery and waggons, marched through the 
narrow winding streets of a town which to these artificial disad- 
vantages for free locomotion adds the natural one of being built 
upon a steep hill ; still there was no confusion in the marching 
columns, and, although the troops had to move by different 
streets and were sometimes obliged to march in and out of the 
town by country lanes and narrow paths, no column took a 
false direction or made an unnecessary halt ; yet the Quarter- 
master-General von Stiilpnagel had only a few minutes allowed 
him in which he could arrange his plans. 

The column which had marched by the Friedland route was 
brought through the market-place and past the Commander-in- 
chief. This corps was composed of men of the province of 
Brandenburg ; they were taller than the average of the Prussian 
infantry, but were not so thick and stout, and did not look so 
strong as the sturdy Pomeranians; but they had intelligent 


156 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book W 

faces, and could readily be seen to be, as they were, men of an 
education superior to that which is usually found in the ranks. 
The regiment of the late King led ; the men bore his cj^her on 
their shoulder cords, instead of a number. The whole corps 
marched magnificendy. After a wet day and a long journey 
they came up the hill of Reichenberg with ranks closed up, 
with as perfect a step as on a holiday parade, and went swing- 
ing along as if they could not know fatigue ; yet they were 
heavily encumbered, for every man carried his knapsack, the 
weight of which tells severely against a soldier's marching, and 
might, in a country where transport is plentiful, be carried for 
him. After the late King's regiment came the 64th, Prince 
Frederick Charles's own : the faces of the soldiers showed that 
they recognised their colonel, and they went past him without 
cheering, for in the town the men marched as on parade, but 
with that appearance which is more pleasing to a soldier than 
any acclamations. 

The head-quarters were established in the Schloss or Castle 
of Reichenberg, another of the properties of Count Clam Gallas, 
who thus twice became the involuntary host of Prince Frederick 
Charles. Here a curious scene was afforded : the castle stands 
on a hill, overlooks the picturesque town, and commands a 
beautiful view of the plains and mountains beyond it The 
side of this hill below the castle was covered with carefully- 
tended turf, and luxuriant shrubberies. The place seemed only 
fit to be the quiet home of a country gentleman, but up and 
down its gravelled avenue chargers were being led ready sad- 
dled for the aides-de-camp, who were waiting to carry out the 
evening orders ; military train horses were being led to water, 
soldiers, in stable dress, were hurrying about, mounted dragoons 
were in attendance as orderlies, and near the door of the castle 
stood the horse of the officer of Uhlans, who had brought in 
the last report from the outposts. 

On the afternoon of the 24th, the Tburingian regiment of 
Uhlans, who are much the same as lancers, took up outpost 
duty, and one squadron of them had a skirmish with some of 
Radetzky's hussars. The hussars were led by a staff officer, 
who came too near the Prussian infantry picket, and the deadly 
Heedle-gun shot the first officer who fell a victim to this war. 


The hussars and Uhlans mutually chaiiged each other, and in 
the me/Se which ensued, two Prussian officers and seventeen 
men were wounded. The Austrian loss was not ascertained. 

The possession of Reichenberg allowed Prince Frederick 
Charles to open railway communication with the Silesian and 
Saxon lines, which was of great importance in the supply of the 
amiy's necessities. The railway from Reichenberg to Zittau 
was almost immediately restored, for to each Prussian army was 
attached a corps of pioneers, architects, and railway officials, 
who followed Uie advancing army, laid down the lines torn up 
by the enemy, and rapidly reorganized the working of the line 
for the purposes of military transport 

Two other excellent institutions of the Prussian army were 
quickly established, and put in working order at every halting- 
place ; they were the Field Telegraph and the Field Post-office. 
As soon as it was determined where head-quarters were to be 
fixed for the night, the field telegraph division started off to the 
nearest permanent telegraph station where the line could be 
fixed in working order ; from this starting point they carried a 
single line along the side of the shortest road to the head- 
quarter house, and generally by the time the chief of the staflf 
amved at his quarters he found his telegraph ready, by which 
he could get information or send his orders. The field post- 
office was established also at head-quarters, but had branch 
offices at the head-quarters of each corps d'armde ; it carried 
the private letters of soldiers and officers, as well as official 
tlespatches, and sent out a mail nearly daily. This was a 
greater convenience than the field telegraph, but the latter was 
one of the neatest appliances of modem science to the art of 
^ar which it is possible to conceive. The whole of its ap- 
paratus was carried in some light waggons ; one contained the 
hatteries and needles, and was used as a small room in which 
the telegraphist worked ; the other waggons carried the poles 
and wires, with the implements for putting them up. The 
wires Were coiled round revolving discs, which were fitted in 
the waggon, so that the wire could be passed as the waggon 
^ent along, or the disc could be transferred to a stretcher ear- 
ned between two men, so that it might be laid oflf the road in 
places where it was desirable to cut oflf comers. The detach- 


ment who laid the lines were all instructed in repairing damage 
done to the permanent wires. When it is remembered that on 
the morning of the 23rd the Austrians were close up to the 
frontier, and that at midday the Castle of Grafenstein, five miles 
firom the nearest permanent station, was in direct telegraphic 
communication with Berlin, some idea can be formed of the 
advantages which this apparatus gives to an army in the field 

The head-quarters of the First Army halted at Reichenberg 
on the 25th, to allow the cavalry that came by the Friedland 
road which had covered the march of the column to come in. 
During the day the outposts were pushed forward, but the 
Austrians were not felt 

Count Clam Gallas had drawn his army together on the 
south of the line of Iser, round Miinchengratz. The Poschacher 
brigade, supported by the light cavalry, was posted as his 
advanced guard on the northern side of the river, and was 
pushed forward along the road to Reichenberg. This was the 
same Austrian brigade which had in Schleswig, in 1864, on 
account of the sturdy manner in which it stormed and oc- 
cupied the Konigsberg, gained the name of the " iron 
brigade." It was now destined to commence the contest 
against its former allies in the 


The Austrian brigade occupied the hills south of the village 
of Liebenau, about half way between Reichenberg and Tiimau, 
and had pushed detachments into the village itself. 

The road from Reichenberg to Tiimau crosses a range of 
hills which separates the valley of the Upper Neisse fi'om the 
country beyond, and drops down from this range by some 
sharp zigzags to the valley in which lies the village of Liebenau. 

This village is built on the banks of a stream which forms a 
defile through a second range of hills lying between Liebenau 
and Tiimau. This rivulet, in the part of its course above the 
village of Liebenau, mns at right angles to the defile, and forais 
a valley between the two hills which lie north of Liebenau 
towards Reichenberg, and those which lie to the south towards 
Tiimau. The railway from Liebenau to Tiimau passes through 



the defile formed by the stream which rans through the village ; 
but the road turns to the left and ascends the southern range, 
passing near the top between a steep cutting through rocks. 
This cutting is about 100 yards in length, and here the road is 
only about 30 feet wide. The hills are on their side covered 
with thick plantations of fir trees; but when the traveller 
leaving Liebenau has by the road gained the summit of the 
range which lies south of the village, he finds before him a wild 
plateau extending for about two miles in the direction of 
Tiimau. This plateau was this morning covered with high- 
standing crops of wheat and barley, already whitening for the 
harvest The road runs through the corn-fields, and at the end 
of the plateau drops down by a gentle slope into the valley ot 
the Iser. From the brow of this slope Tiimau can be seen 
lying on the river towards the left front The Schloss of 
Sichrow, standing on the very edge of the Liebenau defile, is 
directly on the right, and the view to the front is bounded by 
the fir-clad and fantastically rocky hills which form the southern 
boundary of the valley of tfie Iser, while on the left the church 
of Gentschowitz stands raised on a knoll above the general 
plain, and looking down upon the orchards and cottages of the 
little hamlet which clusters round its foot 

Between the bottom of the slope which falls firom this flat 
plain into the valley and the Iser, and about half way between 
the foot of the hill and the river itself, there runs a low range 
of hills, having an elevation considerably inferior to that of the 
plateau. On this lower range, immediately surrounded by 
orchards, but in the midst of a wide-stretching com land, Ues 
the village of Kositz. 

On the evening of the 25th the Prussian advanced posts 
were pushed forward to the tops of the range of hills which 
bound the valley of Liebenau on the north. The next morn- 
ing General von Home, who with the 8th division held the 
outposts, had advanced early to occupy Liebenau. As his 
advanced guard entered the village, the Austrian rear-guard 
were discovered tearing up the pavement, in order to form a 
barricade across the narrow street through which the high road 
runs. On the approach of the advanced guard they retired to 
the hill over which the road to Tiimau passes south of the 

i6o SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book V. 

village. Here the Austrians took up position; their artil- 
lery, placed on the brow of the hill, looked down upon the 
village of Liebenau, which Home had just occupied, and their 
cavalry covered the guns. But they were not in force. They 
had little infantry, and their main strength appeared to be only 
four regiments of cavalry, with two batteries of horse artillery. 
Home's division passed through the village, and began to 
ascend the hill, while General von Hann came down to 
Liebenau with the Pmssian cavalry, and the field artillery took 
up a position on the hills which bound the Liebenau valley on 
the north. Thus the guns of the Austrians were on the 
southern, those of the Prussians on the northern range, which 
form the valley of Liebenau ; the valley between them is about 
600 yards wide, and there seemed to be an opportunity for a 
smart combat Down in Liebanau, between the opposed 
batteries, were the wings of Home's divisions, and columns 
were already issuing from the village, making their way along 
both the railway and the chaussee^ while the skirmishers were 
getting among the short spruce firs that clothe the hill beside 
the road. 

A little before nine o'clock Prince Frederick Charles and his 
staff came upon the hill where the artillery was placed. It was 
almost exactly the same hour when a flash of fire, with a heavy 
puff of white smoke on the Austrian hill, showed that their 
artillery had opened, and a rifle shell came whistling over the 
heads of Home's division. The Prussian artillery answered, 
and for a few minutes the hills echoed with the noise of their 
rapid discharges ; while the smoke, drifting but slowly on the 
lazy breeze, hid from sight the opposite guns, though the quick 
reports and the whistling of the shells told that they were not 
idle. But the Pmssian guns were too numerous. Home's 
division was pushing up the hill, and the Austrian artillery had 
to retire. Then the Pmssian cavalry pushed forward by the 
road, and in a short time, eight fine cavalry regiments were 
formed on the northem edge of the plateau. The Thuringian 
Uhlans, the Uhlans of the Prince of Hohenlohe, and the 
dragoons of the Prince of Mecklenburg were extended to the 
left, while the Brandenburg hussars of Ziethen, conspicuous by 
their red uniform, were nearer the road. On the right of the 


cavalry was the horse artilleiy, and Prince Frederick Charies, 
himself a cavalry officer, was in the front 

The retreat of the Austrians could be traced by the broad 
paths trampled down in the com, and every now and then they 
halted, their artillery came into action, and two or three rounds 
were fired at the forming lines. When Prince Frederick Charles 
had completed his dispositions he ordered the advance, and the 
troops pressed forward. The cavalry and artillery moved on 
the plateau, while Home's infantry, on the right, made for the 
Schloss of Sichrow and the woods around it The cavalry 
pushed on quickly, and the guns moved well with it, but every 
now and then halted and came into action. The Austrians, 
inferior in numbers and already retiring, could not hope to 
stand against the force thus displayed, and they drew quickly 
over the plateau, making for the hills of Kositz. Three regi- 
ments of cavalry were launched after them, and went dashing 
through the com, but did not reach the retiring troops before 
the latter had quitted the plateau, and then the woods and 
broken ground on the side of the slopes impeded their progress. 
As soon as the Austrians gained the Kositz hills their artillery 
opened, and poured shells briskly into the advancing lines, but 
the gliding motion of the advancing troops and the undulating 
ground deceived their aim, for only about twenty casualties 
occurred When the Prussian guns gained the southem brow 
of the plateau, they opened on the Austrian batteries ; a smart 
cannonade ensued, but the Austrians were ultimately silenced 
Yet they did well, for they made good their retreat ; but had 
not the Pmssian horse been detained by having to pass through 
the narrow street of Liebenau, the field artillery which that day 
fired into the Pmssian ranks would probably have gone as a 
trophy to Berlin. 

It is evident that the Austrian commander had not calcu- 
lated on the rapid advance of General von Home. His 
dispositions for the defence of the Liebenau position were 
incomplete ; the street of Liebenau was not rendered imprac- 
ticable, for the workmen were disturbed by the Pmssian ad- 
vance guard, and in the cutting which the road leading from 
the village passes through at the top of the hill leading on to 
the plateau, although the trees which stood by the wayside had 

i62 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, [Book V. 

been cut down, they were not fonned into abattis^ nor was the 
cutting blocked by waggons or any barricade. The Austrians 
retreated across the Iser, and broke the bridge of Tiimau, but 
the Prussians after the combat occupied that town with Home's 
division, while the main body of the anny bivouacked on the 
plateau, and one division occupied Gablenz, which lies five 
miles to the north-east 

On the same day the 14th division, which belonged to the 
Army of the Elbe, occupied Bohmisch Aicha, and assured free 
commmiication between Prince Frederick Charies and General 
Herwarth von Bittenfeld. 

The plateau that looks down on Liebenau was sadly changed 
in the coarse of the day. The com was trampled down by the 
feet of horses and the wheels of artilleiy ; dead horses lay 
dotted here and there over the plain, while large holes in the 
ground showed where shells had struck and burst But these 
marks were not frequent, for the Austrian shells often pene- 
trated into the earth without bursting, and several were dag out 
by the soldiers in the aflemoon. Nor was the practice of their 
artillery good. The Ziethen hussars, whose red uniforms drew 
their fire, were at one time exposed to a heavy cannonade ; 
but though above fifty shells struck the ground around them, 
not one fell among their ranks, not at that time had they a man 

The result of the combat of Liebenau was not over-valued in 
the Prussian army ; the officers on that side did not despise 
their enemy, and they fully recognised the fact that it was to 
superior numbers that the Austrians yielded. They had great 
confidence in their chief and in the needle-gun and their rifled 
cannon, but they had no vain assurance. They knew that 
the Austrian army was a good one, and they determined to 
omit nothing that their skill or science could suggest to let 
their troops meet it on the best of terms. 

The Austrians retired to Podoll in order to hold that im- 
portant point, where not only the road to Miinchengratz but 
also the railway between Tiimau, Kralup, and Prague crosses 
the Iser. 

General Home, after the action of Liebenau, pushed forward 
to the Iser and occupied Tiimau, the junction of the railway 


from Reichenberg with that to Prague. After a bridge of 
pontoons had been thrown across the river here in order to 
replace the one broken by the Austrians, he determined to 
occupy the bridges of Podoll five miles below Tiimau. The 
movement by which he effected this brought on the 


The railway and high road which lead down the valley of 
the Iser from Tiimau to Miinchengratz run for a distance of 
about five miles from the former town on the north side of the 
river, but on reaching the village of Podoll cross to the south 
bank by two bridges, which are about aoo yards distant from 
each oAer, that of the railway being on the right, and that by 
which the road crosses on the left of a person, looking towards 
Miinchengratz. The railway bridge is constructed of iron ; 
that which carries the road across the stream is made of wood, 
and lies on a level with the causeway, which is raised on an 
embankment about ten feet above the fiat meadows lying 
alongside it The Iser is at Podoll near upon 100 yards wide, 
and runs with a deep but fast stream between steep banks, 
which only rise about four feet above the level of the water. 
By the side of the road and on the banks of the stream grow 
large willow-trees, planted at equal distances from each other, 
and at about ten yards apart. Three roads lead from the 
plateau of Sichrow to the high road that runs down the valley 
of the Iser. That on the east, a country road, which leaves 
the plateau near the Schloss of Sichrow and joins the highway 
near tlie village of Swierzin, almost at an equal distance between 
Tiimau and Podoll ; in the centre the chauss'ee from Liebenau 
strikes into the high road halfway between Swierzin and 
Tiimau, and the road from Gentschowitz on the west joins it 
close to this town. 

On the afternoon of the 26th, Prince Frederick Charles threw 
a light pontoon bridge over the river a Httle below the broken 
bridge of Tiimau, and occupied the town with a small force 
without opposition. Part of Home's division marched at the 
same time by the country road on the east, occupied the 
village of Swierzin, and pushed its advanced guard towards 

M 2 

i64 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book V. 

PodolL The troops directed on this point consisted of two 
companies of the 4th Jager battalion, the 2nd and fusilier 
battalions of the 31st regiment, and the ist battalion of the 
71st. The Jagers, who were leading, got to within three- 
quarters of a mile of Podoll-bridge before they came into 
collision with Austrian outposts, but here they found the 
enemy, and a sharp action ensued, for the Austrians had six 
battalions in the village, and meant to hold the place and cover 
the passage of the river. 

It was about 8 o'clock, and the dusk of the evening was 
rapidly closing in, when the Jagers first felt their enemy. On 
the right-hand side of the road, about half a mile before the 
bridge, stands the first house of the village. It is a large square 
farm-house, with windows without glass, but with heavy gratings. 
The Austrians had occupied it in force, and their outlying 
pickets, as they retired before the advancing Prussians, formed 
line across the road beside it. As soon as the Jagers came 
within sight the garrison of the farmhouse and the formed-up 
pickets opened a bitter fire upon them. From the grated win- 
dows and from the line of soldiers in the road there came one 
rapid volley, which told severely on the Prussian riflemen, but 
these went quickly to work, and had fired about three times 
before the Austrians, armed only with muzzle-loading rifles, 
were able to reply. Then the noise of musketry rose high, 
occasionally swelling into a heavy roar, but sometimes falling 
oflf so that the ear could distinguish the separate reports. But 
this did not last Major von Hagen, commanding the 2nd 
battalion of the 31st, which was following the Jagers on the 
first sound of the firing, had put his troops into double quick 
time, and was soon up to reinforce the riflemen. It was now 
nearly dark, and the flashes of the rifles, the reports of the 
shots, and the shouts of the combatants were almost the only 
indications of the positions of the troops ; yet it could be seen 
that the rapid fire of the needle-gun was telling on the Austrian 
line in the road, and the advancing cheers of the Prussians 
showing that they were gaining ground. Then while the 
exchange of shots was still proceeding rapidly between the 
window-gratings of the farm-house and the Prussian firing 
parties, who had extended into a cornfield on the right of the 


highway, there was a sudden pause in the firing on the road, 
for the Jagers, supported by the 31st, had made a dash, and 
were bearing the Austrians back beyond the farm-house to 
where the cottages of the village closed on each side of the 
road, and where the defenders had hastily thrown some hewn 
down willow-trees as a barricade across the way. 

Then the tumult of the fight increased. Darkness had com- 
pletely closed in, and the moon had not yet risen j the Prussians 
pressed up to the barricade, the Austrians stoutly stood their 
ground behind it, and, three paces distant, assailants and de- 
fenders poured their fire into each other's breasts. Little could 
be seen, though the flashes of the discharges cast a fitful light 
over the surging masses ; but in the pauses of the firing the 
voices of the officers were heard encouraging their men, and 
half-stifled shrieks or gurgling cries told that the bullets were 
traly aimed. This was too severe to endure. The Prussians, 
firing much more quickly, and in the narrow street, where 
neither side could show their whole strength, not feeling the 
inferiority of numbers, succeeded in tearing away the barricade, 
and slowly pressed their adversaries back along the village 
street Yet the Austrians fought bravely, and their plans for 
the defence of the houses had been skilfiilly though hastily 
made ; fi-om every window muskets flashed out fire, and sent 
bullets into the thick ranks of the advancing Prussians, while on 
each balcony behind a wooden barricade Jagers crouched to 
take their deadly aim ; but in the street the soldiers, huddled 
together and encumbered with clumsy ramrods, were unable to 
load with ease, and could return no adequate fire to that of the 
Prussians, while these, from the advantage of a better arm, 
poured their quick volleys into an almost defenceless 

As the battle in the street was pushed inch by inch towards 
the Iser, the Austrians, in every house which the foremost 
ranks of the Prussians passed, were cut off" from their retreat, 
and were sooner or later made prisoners, for the houses of the 
village do not join on to each other, but are detached by spaces 
of a few yards, and there is no communication from one house 
to the other except by the open street The whole of the 
Prussian force was now up, and extending between the houses 

i66 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book V. 

which the first combatants had passed by, cut off the escape of 
their garrisons, and exchanged shots with the defenders. 

With shrieks and shouts, amid the crashing of broken win- 
dows, the heavy sounds of falling beams, and the perpetual 
rattle of the fire-arms, the battle was heavily pressed down the 
narrow street, and about half-past eleven the moon came up 
clear and full to show the Austrian rearmost ranks turning 
viciously to bar the Prussians from the bridge. The moonlight, 
reflected in the stream, told the assailants that they were near 
the object of their labour, and showed the Austrians that now 
or never the enemy must be hurled back. Both sides threw 
out skirmishers along the river bank, and the moon gave them 
light to direct their aim across the stream ; while on the first 
plank of the bridge the Austrians turned to bay, and the Prus- 
sians pausing some short paces fi'om them, the combatants 
gazed at each other for a few moments. Then they began a 
fiercer fight than ever. The discharges were more frequent, 
and in the narrower way the bullets told with more severe effect. 
Herr von Drygalski, leading the fusilier battalion of the 31st, 
a lieutenant-colonel of only two days* standing, went down with 
two bullets in his forehead, and a captain at his side was shot 
in both legs ; many men fell, and the grey horse of a Prussian 
field-officer, with a ball in his heart, fell heavily against the 
wall, kicking amid the ranks; but he was soon quieted for 
ever, and at that moment men regarded but little such wounds 
as could be inflicted by an iron-shod hoof, even in the agonies 
of death. The Austrians stood gallantly, and made an attempt 
to set fire to the bridge ; but the difference of their armament 
again told upon them here ; and it is said that, galled by their 
hard fortune, they charged with the bayonet, but that the 
Prussians also took kindly to the steel, and this charge caused 
no change in the fortune of the fight : certain it is that the 
defenders were ultimately obliged to retire across the bridge. 

While this combat was proceeding slowly along the street, 
another fight was carried on upon the railway almost with an 
equal progress, and with an almost similar result. A party of 
the Austrians fell back from the point where shots were first 
exchanged, and where the railway crosses the road, along 
the line. They were pushed by some Prussian detaclmients, 


but neither side was here in strong force, and the principal 
fighting was done upon the road ; but here, too, the needle- 
gun showed its advantage over the old-fashioned weapons of 
the Auslrians, for the latter fell in the proportion of six to one 
Prussian. The railway bridge was not broken, but the lines 
were torn up bj the retiring troops, and the line was not pas- 
sable by trains. The Prussians pushed over both bridges after 
the retreatijQg Austrians ; the latter threw a strong detachment 
into a large unfinished house, which stood by the chamshj 
about a quarter of a mile beyond the bridge, and again made a 
stand, but not of long duration ; they had lost many killed, 
wounded, and prisoners ; many of their officers were dead or 
taken ; but they stood till they could gather in all the strag- 
glers who had escaped from the houses of the village, and, 
harassed by the pursuing Prussians, drew off sullenly by the 
main road to Miinchengrats. Thus terminated a contest which, 
fought upon both sides with the greatest vigour and determi- 
nation, yet lesuked in a clear victory for the Prussians ; for, 
when the last dropping shots ceased, about four o'clock in the 
morning, there were no Austrian solders within three miles of 
Podoll-bridge except the wounded and the taken. There was 
no ajtilleiy engaged on either side ; it was purely an infantry 
action, and the Prussians derived in it great advantage from 
the superiority of their arms over that of their opponents, not 
only in the rapidity, but in the direction of their fire, for a man 
with an arm on the nipple of which he has to place a cap, 
naturally raises the muzzle in the air, and in the hurry and 
excitement of action often forgets to lower it, and only sends 
his bullet over the heads of the opposite ranks, while the 
tidier armed with a breech-loading musket keeps his muzzle 
down, and if in haste he fires it off without raising the butt to 
his shoulder, his shot still takes effect, though often low, and a 
proof of this is that very many of the Austrian prisoners were 
wounded in the legs. 

The road to PodoU was next morning crowded with hospital 
waggons and ambulance cars bringing in the wounded ; every 
cottage in the way was converted into a temporary hospital, 
^nd the litde village of Swierzin was entirely filled with stricken 
men- The sick-bearers, one of the most useful corps which 

i68 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book V. 

any army possesses, were at work from the very beginning Of 
the action. As the combatants passed on these noble-minded 
men, regardless of the bullets and careless of personal danger, 
removed with equal hand both friend and enemy who were left 
writhing on the road, and carried them carefully to the rear, 
where the medical officers made no distinction in their care for 
both Austrian and Prussian. Not only was it those whose 
special dut)' is the care of the wounded who alone were doing 
their best to ease the sufferings of those who had suffered in 
the combat ; soldiers not on duty might be seen canying water 
for prisoners of both sides alike, and gladly affording any com- 
fort which it was in their power to give to those who overnight 
had been firing against their own hearts ! Nor is this wonder- 
ful ; for after the flush of the battle was over, and the din of 
the musketry had died away, the men of the Prussian army 
could not forget that one common language linked them to 
their adversaries, and that, after all, it was probably German 
blood which, flowing from an Austrian breast, trickled over the 
white livery of the House of Hapsburg. 

In the village the utmost disorder gave evidence of the se- 
verity of the contest Austrian knapsacks, shakos, clothes, 
and arms were scattered about in wild confusion. Dead horses 
lay in the ditches by the roadside. White coats and cloaks, 
which had been thrown off in the hurry of the fight, lay scat- 
tered along the road ; the trees which had formed the Austrian 
barricade were still on the side of the street, and many held a 
bullet The cottages had been ransacked of their furniture, 
and their beams and roof-trees had been torn down to form 
defences for the doors and windows 3 while along the street 
and upon the banks of the river lay objects which in the dis- 
tance look like bundles of untidy uniform, but which on nearer 
approach were seen to be the bodies of slain soldiers. Some- 
times they lay in groups of twos or threes, twisted together as 
if they had gripped one another in their mortal agony, and 
sometimes single figures lay on their backs, staring with livid 
countenance and half-closed hazy eyes, straight up against the 
hot morning sun. The dark-blue uniform with red facings of 
Prussia, and the white with light-blue of Austria, laid side by 
side, but the numbers of the latter much preponderated, and 


on one part of the railway three Prussian corpses opposite 
nineteen Austrian formed a grisly trophy of the superiority of 
the needle-gun. 

Close on 500 unwounded Austrian prisoners were next 
morning marched up to head-quarters, and the Austrian loss 
in killed and wounded was very considerable. The Prussians 
lost two officers dead, and seven or eight wounded. The 
medical officers officially reported that the proportion of 
wounded Austrians to wounded Prussians was as five to one. 
Thus the needle-gun told both on the battle-field and in the 

On the 27th the head-quarters of the First Army halted at 
the Castle of Sichrow. There had been no skirmishing ; but 
white smoke curling up from beyond some fir woods beside the 
Iser told that the bridge of Mohelnitz, about five miles below 
Podoll, which the Austrians had set on fire to obstruct pursuit, 
was burning steadily. 

The results of the actions of Liebenau and Podoll were, that 
two of the important passages of the Iser, those of Tiimau and 
Podoll, fell into the hands of the First Prussian Army. That 
of Miinchengratz still was in the hands of the Austrians, but 
was soon also to be seized from their grasp. The Army of the 
Elbe had advanced on the 23rd by Schluckenau, and on the 
26th the fourteenth division, under the command of General 
Mundter, had been pushed to Bomisch Aicha in order to feel 
Prince Frederick Charles's right 

Count Clam Gallas had only opposed a few hussar regi- 
ments to the advance of General Herwarth von Bittenfeld, so 
that this general met with no serious opposition in issuing 
from the mountains. On the 27 th, the day after the night 
action of Podoll, his eighth corps, which was advancing from 
Gabel by Niemes, in the direction of Miinchengratz, first fell 
in with any serious hostile force. The Prussian advanced guard, 
consisting of two squadrons and two battalions of Scholer's 
brigade, which, followed by the whole 8th corps, was on the 
inarch from Hayda, pushed forward on a reconnaissance as far 
*s Hiihnerwasser. 

The Austrians, bound only to furnish intelligence, and 
ordered not to engage seriously, retreated, after a slight 


skinnish to Munchengratz, and evacuated the right bank of the 
Iser, thus permitting a full communication to be opened 
between the Army of the Elbe and that of Prince Frederick 
Charles. The two armies were able on the following day to 
advance in concert, so as to take possession of the whole line 
of the Iser. 

Count Clam Gallas, after the skirmish at Hiihnerwasser, 
withdrew the greater part of his force to the left bank of the 
Iser, occupied Miinchengratz in force, and made preparations 
for the destruction of the bridge over the river on the west of 
the town. The Prussian plan to seize that place brought 
on the 


On the 27th Prince Frederick Charles halted in the position 
of Sichrow, and made his dispositions for his ftirther advance. 
The seventh division had occupied Tiimau, where the engi- 
neers had quickly thrown a pontoon bridge over the Iser, to 
replace the permanent one, which had been burnt by the 
retiring Austrian cavalry. The eighth division, under General 
Home, occupied the village and bridge of PodoU ; the sixth 
division, under General Manstein, moved forward to the 
support of Home. The main body of the army was on the 
plateau of Sichrow, and General Herwarth von Bittenfeld, 
after a sharp skirmish, in which he took many prisoners, 
seized Hiihnerwasser. 

The road and railway which lead from Tiimau to Jung 
Bunzlau cross the Iser near together at the village of PodoU, 
and run beside each other on the southern side of the river to 
a point about three miles below Miinchengratz; about a 
quarter of a mile below PodoU the hiUs which form the 
plateau of Sichrow, tuming southwards, come close to the 
northem bank of the Iser, and form a chain of heights which 
descend with a steep slope to the water's edge. The hills 
which form the southern boundary of the valley of the Iser 
rise to a height of about 500 feet in the Muskey Berg, which, 
running parallel to the road for a mile of its length from its 
extremity nearest PodoU, then trends southwards and strikes 
the road from Miinchengratz to Unter Bautzen at the vUlage 



of Bossin. The Muskey Berg presents towards the river on 
its upper part a rocky, precipitous front ; below this the dkbris 
^en from the rocks has accumulated and formed a slope, 

which, although steep, would, were it not for the precipice 
above, be still practicable for light infantry. This lower slope 
is covered with a dense forest of fir trees ; the summit of the 
hill is in general a flat plateau, clothed with greensward, but 
near the edge of the precipice fir trees are thickly planted, 
and form a belt along the summit, with an average breadth of 
loo paces, while, conspicuous near the place where the hill 
line turns towards Bossin, stands a high solitary cone rising 
loo feet above the plateau, bare of trees, but covered with 
green grass. Opposite this high cone of the Muskey Berg, 
and close to the river, but still on the southern bank, lies the 
isolated hill of the Kaczowberg. It is considerably lower than 
the Muskey Berg range, and is not wooded. Its length is 
about 500 yards, and its longitudinal direction is at right 
angles to that of the stream. The distance between the 

172 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book V. 

summits of the Muskey Berg and the Kaczowberg is about 
two miles, and through the valley between these two hills run 
the road and railway from PodoU to Miinchengratz. Between 
these hills the valley is a dead flat plain. It was at the time of 
the action richly cultivated, intersected by rows of fruit trees, 
and covered with wheat, barley, clover, and potato patches. 
No hedges divided the different farms, but brooks and ditches 
made the ground very difficult for the action of cavalry. Look- 
ing from the bridge of PodoU along the valley towards Miin- 
chengratz, the Muskey Berg lies to the left front, the Kaczow- 
berg to the right front ; between them are seen in the distance 
the Schloss and spires of the town, but furtlier view is stopped 
by a low range of elevations, topped by dwarf plantations, 
which lie between the roads from Miinchengratz to Fursten- 
briick, and from Miinchengratz to Jung Bunzlau, and runs 
from the village of Bossin to that of Wessely. 

The Austrians had thrown up a redoubt and a battery for 
eight guns on the Kaczowberg; the latter would have enfi- 
laded the Podoll road, but no guns were in it, for the Prussian 
advance had been rapid, and there was not time to arm the 
work. Still, it was expected that the enemy would stand here, 
and the Prussian commander advanced prepared to fight He 
intended to strike for no meagre victory. He formed a plan 
by which to capture the whole opposing force; but, though 
skilfully designed and punctually executed, his adversary did 
not stand quite long enough to allow of its complete develop- 
ment, for the Austrian commander sacrificed his position and 
the town of Miinchengratz, after a sharp combat, but without 
a regular battle. 

The Prussian leader calculated that if he made a demonstra- 
tion of a careless march towards Miinchengratz by the high 
road and railway, the Austrians who might be on the Muskey 
Berg would lie there quiet till the heads of his columns had 
passed their position, in order that their artillery might take 
the marching troops in reverse, and that he might himself in 
the meantime turn their position. By the same bait he also 
hoped to hold his adversaries on the Kaczowberg until their 
retreat was cut off. To effect this double object the 7th 
division was to move from Tumau by a road on the south side 


of the Iser, which at the village of Wschen crosses the road 

from Podoll to Sobotka, at Zdiar. It was then to take the 

Austrians on the Muskey Berg in rear, for this hill slopes 

gently on its reverse side towards a rivulet which forms the 

little lake of Zdiar. The division was afterwards to push on 

over the hill and strike the road from Miinchengratz to Fiir- 

stenbriick, between the village of Bossin and the former place. 

On the right bank of the river General Herwarth was to 

advance from Hiihnerwasser on Miinchengratz, cross the Iser, 

and occupy the town, throwing out at the same time the 

fourteenth division to his left, which by Mohelnitz and Lauke- 

witz should take in reverse the defenders of the Kaczowberg. 

The divisions of Home and Manstein were to push down 

the main road from Podoll, while strong reserves closed 

down to PodolL A division of infantry was to cross at 

Hubelow and attack the Kaczowberg in front, while a division 

of cavalry kept the communications open between the divisions 

on the right bank of the river. A strong division of cavalry 

was also sent from Tiimau to scour the country towards Jicin, 

in the direction of Josephstadt 

About eight o'dock on the morning of the 28th, Prince 
Frederick Charles, with General von Voigt-Rhetz, his chief of 
the staff, and General Stiilpnagel, his Quartermaster-General, 
came down to the bridge of Podoll, and almost immediately 
the Jagers, who formed the advance guard of Home's division, 
crossed the bridge, but not before an opening cannonade in 
the direction of Miinchengratz told that Bittenfeld was already 
engaged. On a hill upon the northern bank there was a con- 
venient spot from which to see the whole theatre of the 
combat, and here the Prussian staff went to watch the course 
of the action. 

There was not a cloud upon the sky, and the sun poured down 
a tremendous heat ; thick clouds of dust rose from the columns 
on the road, but this line was only followed by the artillery, the 
train, and the main body of the regiment As the Jagers 
passed the bridge they threw out skirmishers to the right and 
left, who went in a long wavy line pushing through the stand- 
ing com. The cavalry scouts clustered thickly on the flanks 
of the skirmishers, and horsemen in more solid formation 

174 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book V. 

followed in their rear. It was a fine sight ; the long line of 
rifles extending almost across the valley, felt carefully through 
tlie crops. The Uhlans, with their tall lances and fantastic 
pennants, hovered about the flank, and the heavy masses on 
the road pushed on steadily behind the centre of the light troops. 
But attention was called towards Miinchengratz, where the 
progress of Bittenfeld's attack could be traced by the puffs of 
white smoke which rose from the discharges of the artilleiy. 
The Prussian cannonade was seen to be slowly advancing, and 
that of the Austrian to be retiring, while a heavy cloud of black 
smoke rising close beside the town showed that the Austrians 
had retired from the right bank of the river and had burnt the 
bridge. For a short time the fight was stationary, but in about 
a quarter of an hour a bright flash of flame and a much heavier 
smoke rising from the Austrian line told that an ammunition 
waggon had exploded. Their battery then ceased firing, and 
rapidly retired, while a quick advance of the Prussian can- 
nonade showed that Bittenfeld*s pioneers had quickly thrown 
. their bridge, and that his corps was across the Iser. But the 
Austrians did not go far, for in a short time they were again 
in action in the direction of the Jung Bunzlau road, and one 
battery was drawing off* towards Fiirstenbriick. It then seemed 
that Bittenfeld had halted ; the cannonade ceased in this direc- 
tion. The view of the Muskey Berg from the position occupied 
by the staff" is extremely beautiful, but it was not the sandstone 
cliff's of the opposite mountain, nor even the advancing 
Prussians in the plain, that General Voigt-Rhetz, the chief of 
Prince Frederick Charles's staff*, was so carefully scanning with 
his glass, — he saw a group on the highest point of the cone of 
the Muskey Berg which looked like a general's staff", and he 
smiled quietly as he saw his adversaries getting entangled in 
the toils which had been so carefully woven for them. The 
heads of the Prussian columns were some way past the hill, 
and were pushing steadily towards Miinchengratz, when the 
well-known puff" of smoke rising from the dark firs on the 
Muskey Berg plateau showed that the Austrians had opened 
fire upon them. The battery on the hill did not appear to be 
of more than four guns, and at first they fired slowly, nor did 
they do much execution. Their shells, projected from so great 


a height, went straight into the ground, and did not ricochet 
among the troops; but they were well aimed, and in most 
cases burst at the proper moment, and every now and then a 
man went down. As soon as the Austrian guns opened fire 
the troops in the road were turned into the fields, and moved 
on in open order ; the train waggons were also hurried on to 
the softer ground, and halted separately where best concealed. 
Four Prussian batteries quickly opened fire, but the Austrian 
guns stood high, and the height of the hill deceived their aim ; 
at first their shells feU short, but soon they got the range ; still 
the fir-trees and rocks protected the Austrian gunners, and the 
batteries in the plain seemed to do little execution. 

Orders were soon sent to them to cease firing, for the enemy's 
guns did not much harass the marching troops, and other 
means were taken for clearing the hill A squadron of Uhlans 
was directed to pass dose along the foot of the Muskey Berg, 
so that the guns on the plateau could not be depressed sufiH- 
ciently to hurt them, and were to gain a steep path which leads 
to the summit between the highest point and Bossin, while an 
infantry brigade was to support the movement ; but before this 
plan could be carried into execution the seventh division was 
heard engaged on the reverse side, and the Austrian battery 
quickly limbered up and retired. The guns were not inter- 
cepted by the seventh division, but here General Franzecky 
made 600 prisoners from the infantry which was on the hill to 
support the battery. While the seventh division was still 
engaged behind the Muskey Berg, four Austrian guns appeared 
on the summit of the hill, between Bossin and Wessely, and 
opened fire against the Prussian columns, who were now again 
advancing over the plain. But Franzecky was pushing towards 
them, and his artillery threatened to enfilade them, so that they 
soon had to retire. The seventh division then struck the road 
between Miinchengratz and Bossin, and attacked the latter 
village. Bittenfeld had already pushed towards it from Miin- 
chengratz, and supported this attack. The first round of 
Franzecky's artillery set fire to a house, which began to bum 
fiercely, and the flames were soon communicated to the next, 
for most of the cottages in this country are built of wood, 
^Wch, dried in the hot summer sun, readily takes fire. After 

176 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, [Book V. 

a sharp skirmish the Austrians were driven from the village and 
retired in the direction of Fiirstenbriick, and they left here 200 
prisoners, and General Herwarth von Bittenfeld had already- 
captured 200. The Austrian soldiers who had been taken 
chiefly belonged to Italian regiments, and showed no disposi- 
tion to fight ; twenty-five of them in one mass laid down their 
arms to Lieutenant von Billow, who, being one of Prince 
Frederick Charles's aides-de-camp, was returning from deliver- 
ing an order, and saw these men separated from their regiment. 
He collected about half-a-dozen train soldiers and rode up to 
them, when they surrendered without offering any resistance. 

The Austrians made no attempt to hold the Kaczowberg. 
The only points they attempted to defend were the Muskey 
Berg, Miinchengratz, and the village of Bossin. They lost at 
least a thousand prisoners, and about three hundred killed and 

With the occupation of the village of Bossin ended the 
combat of Miinchengratz, in which by a series of strategical 
movements, with little fighting, and slight loss — ^for the Prus- 
sian killed, wounded, and missing did not number 100 — 
Prince Frederick Charles gained about twjslve miles of countr>% 
and took 1,000 prisoners, turned the strong position of the 
Kaczowberg, and effected his secure junction with the corps 
of General Bittenfeld. 

The head-quarters of the Army of the Elbe and of the 
First Army were established at Miinchengratz. The majority 
of the inhabitants had fled from the town; the army had 
outmarched its provision trains, and there was nothing to be 
bought in the place. On account of actual necessity the 
soldiers were allowed to take what eatables they could find in 
the place, but little had been left, for the Austrian army was 
there the night before, and their commissariat appears to have 
been as miserably corrupt as it was in the Italian campaign. 
The prisoners reported that they had had nothing to eat for 
two days, and begged for a morsel of bread ; but the Prussian 
army was hard set itself for provisions, and there was but 
little to give away. Nor were the Austrian hospital arrange- 
ments such as they ought to have been. Twenty-six wounded 
men were found here when the Prussians marched in, lying in 


a cottage on a floor covered with blood, untended, with their 
wounds undressed, and saying that they had had no nourish- 
ment for forty-eight hours; no surgeon had remained with 
them, nor was their condition reported to the Prussian com- 
mander; fortunately they were discovered accidentally by a 
Prussian staff officer. Hospital necessaries were scarce, but 
Prussian medical men were sent to attend them, and applica- 
tion was made to the magistracy of Miinchengratz to supply 
linen with which to dress their wounds. These are reported 
to have refused to assist in alleviating the sufferings of their 
fellow-countrymen, who were shot down in defending the very 
passage to their own town, till Count Stohlberg, a Prussian 
officer of Cuirassiers, roused by their barbarity, drew his sword 
on the Buigomaster, and threatened him with death unless the 
wants of the wounded men were attended to, when the 
necessary materials came forth. The Prussian troops were 
very weary. They had marched and fought that day (the 
28th) over a long distance and in a heavy country. There 
was little water away from the river, and the soldiers had 
suffered much from thirst; but they marched nobly. Few 
stragglers were ever seen, except those who had fellen fainting 
out of the ranks, and were lying half stupified by the roadside ; 
but none lay long without succour, for the Krankmtrdger, or 
sick-bearers, hovered with their water-bottles round the flanks 
and in the rear of the marching as weU as of the fighting 
battalions, and gave a willing aid to all that needed it 

The army of Prince Frederick Charles was now concen- 
trated round Miinchengratz ; two divisions were near or in 
Bossin : a large force covered the left at Zehrow and south of 
Tiimau, and threw its outposts towards Sobotka. The force 
in front of Prince Frederick Charles was the Austrian first 
corps d'arm^, the brigade Kalik, which had lately returned 
from Holstein, and the cavalry division of General Edelsheim. 
To these the Saxon army was joined, and the whole allied 
force was under the command of Prince Albert, Crown Prince 
of Saxony. 

By the actions of Liebenau, Hiihnerwasser, Podoll, and 
Miinchengratz, the whole line of the Iser was won by the 
Prussians, and a great strategical advantage gained, 'the 

,78 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, L^ook V. 

distance from the Second Army which had on the 27th com- 
menced its advance from Silesia, was still, however, great ; for 
from thirty to thirty-five miles lay between the left wing of 
Prince Frederick Charles and the extreme right wing of the 
Crown Prince : difficulties still existed which had to be over- 
come before the junction of the two armies could be effected. 
Count Clam Gailas, on being driven from the line of the Iser, 
retired to Gitschin, and there took up a defensive position. 
Before tracing the means which Prince Frederick Charles 
adopted to dislodge him from this point, it is desirable to cast 
a glance over the preceding actions. 

The actions of Liebenau and Hiihnerwasser were fought by 
the Austrians merely as reconnaissances, and may be passed 
over in silence. But why did Count Clam Gailas neglect to 
defend Tiimau at all, and hold PodoU with only a single 
brigade? It was undoubtedly his object to hold the line of 
the Iser and to there check his enemy for as long a time as 
possible. Miinchengratz is, at the most, but twelve miles 
distant from Tiimau ; he had 60,000 men at his disposal, and 
could therefore have well held the whole line had he thrown 
up the necessary intrenchments. It seems, however, that the 
Austrian general committed the great error of despising his 
enemy. Had he ranged part of his army on the plateau 
south of Tiimau and PodoU, broken the bridges at these 
places, and thrown up earthworks to impede the passage of 
the river, and at the same time collected the other part or his 
force at Miinchengratz, and there made similar defensive pre- 
parations, the line of the Iser might, indeed, still have been 
forced by the Prussians, but only by the employment of their 
whole strength ; and, probably, only after the lapse of a 
considerable amount of time. Had it been forced, the 
Austrian retreat from both points to Sobotka would have 
been secure. Had it not, the Pmssians would have been 
compelled to seek for a passage ftirther to the north at 
Eisenbrod or Semil, and to have made a flank march in a 
country which in that direction is broken into ravines and 
hollows by the spurs of the Giant Mountains. It might be 
urged against such dispositions that by breaking the bridges 
Count Clam Gailas would have deprived himself of all chance 


of assuming the offensive in case of a favourable opportunity. 
His duty and object, however, was not to crush but to detain 
Prince Frederick Charles: the defeat of the Prussian First 
Army was to have been effected by the arrival of Feldzeug- 
meister Benedek himself with overwhelming forces, before or 
after having disposed of the Crown Prince. 

The Austrian position on the Muskey Berg was tactically 
strong, but strategically weak. By the surrender of Tiimau, 
Count Clam Gallas exposed the right flank of that position, 
and allowed his retreat to Gitschin to be threatened. 

N 2 



The fourth Prussian corps, consisting of the seventh and 
eighth divisions, had been sharply engaged at PodoU and 
Miinchengratz, and was allowed to halt at the latter place on 
the 29th June. That evening it marched as the reserve of the 
First Army, which moved from the Iser towards Gitschin by 
three roads — the left from TUmau by Rowensko, the centre 
from PodoU by Sobotka, the right from Miinchengratz by 
Ober Bautzen on Sobotka, while the Army pf the Elbe moved 
on the right wing of the First Army by Unter Bautzen and 

On the evening of the 28th, the fifth division was pushed 
forward from Tiimau as far as Rowensko, on the road to 
Gitschin, where it halted for the night, with the sixth division 
a short distance in rear of it The same evening the third 
division, with the fourth in rear, was pushed to Zehrow, on the 
road fix)m PodoU to Sobotka ; and its advanced guard, con- 
sisting of the 14th regiment and two companies of the second 
Jager battalion, in the course of the night occupied the defile 
of Podkost, after a sharp skirmish. 

On the afternoon of the 29th, the fifth division broke up 
from Rowensko at two o'clock, and advanced towards Gitschin. 
The third division, which had a longer march before it, left 
Zehrow for the same place at mid-day. 

The distance from Tiimau to Gitschin is about fifteen miles ; 
from Miinchengratz to the same town about twenty miles; and 
PodoU to Podkost about six miles. 

Four roads lead from the town of Gitschin, almost towards 
the four points 01 the compass ; that of the north to Tiimau, 


of the west to Sobotka, of the south to Kosteltz, and of the 
east, but bending southwards, to Horitz. From the Kosteltz 
road to the Tiimau road runs, about three miles' distance from 
Gitschin, a semicircular range of steep broken hills ; on their 
slopes and summits spruce and silver firs grow in thick woods 
which occasionally reach down into the cultivated ground. 
Here and there upon these hills are patches of corn or clover 
land, while at various intervals there are little villages, which 
generally consist of ten or twelve large wooden cottages 
separated from each other, and standing in orchards. Near 
the foot of the range of hills the ground is much broken up 
by shallow ravines and gullies. 

The Austrian first corps and the Saxons held an excellent 
position along this range of hills, the right flank of which 
rested on Eisenstadt, and the left on the Anna Berg, a pro- 
minent elevation on the south side of the Sobotka road. In 
the centre were the heights of Brada, which had been strength- 
ened. The reserve was drawn up between these hills and the 
town of Gitschin. 

Where the road from Sobotka passes through the hills they 
dip down so as to form a narrow pass, and the fir forests on 
each side run down close to the road. On the Sobotka side 
of the woods there is a ravine about loo feet deep, but with 
banks not so steep but that the road can descend and ascend 
them in a direct line. A quarter of a mile from this ravine, 
and nearer Gitschin, the road drops again into a similar 
hollow, but here the forest has retired from the side of the 
chaussie, and the ground is covered with standing crops, among 
which firuit trees are thickly studded. At about the same 
distance fiirther on towards the town, a third break in the 
ground causes another sharp undulation of the roadway. On 
the Gitschin side of this hollow ground, partly on the bank, 
but more on the brow of the slope, and on the more level 
country beyond, stands the little village of Lochow, forming 
a clump of houses with low walls, but having high thatched 
roofs, which just rise above the tops of the orchard trees that 
cluster closely among and around the cottages. A quarter of 
a mile beyond the village lies the last break in the ground, for 
beyond this a flat plain stretches to the little river whichj 

1 82 - SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book V. 

passing the town of Gitschin on its Lochow side, falls into the 
Iser near Tiiroau. This last ravine is rather deeper and wider 
than the others ; at the bottom there is a rivulet, which the 
road, after descending the Lochow bank, crosses by a low 
stone bridge, and then runs straight up the opposite side of the 
nullah, as it might be termed in Indian phrase^ to gain the 
level plain. 

The 2nd corps of General von Schmitt, which marched from 
the neighbourhood of Podoll, struck at Sobotka the road from 
Miinchengratz to Gitschin. General von Schmitt there changed 
the direction of his march to the left, and advanced towards 
Gitschin. He moved with his two divisions at some distance 
apart ; that of General von Werder, or the 3rd division, led 
the way. Von Werder's advanced guard consisted of the 2nd 
battalion of Jagers and the 3rd battalion of the 42nd regiment. 
In the rear of these followed the three battalions of the 
regiment of the late King of Prussia (the 2nd), the two 
remaining battalions of the 42nd, and one battalion of the 
14th regiment, with one six-pounder and two four-pounder 
field batteries. 

A strong Austrian force held the wood behind the first 
ravine, with its sharp-shooters behind the trunks of the fir-trees, 
with the view of compensating for the inferiority of their rifle 
to the Prussian needle-gun. Behind each marksman two 
soldiers were placed, whose only duty was to load their rifles 
and hand them to the picked men to whom the firing was 
entrusted. The Austrian artillery was placed behind the wood, 
so that it could bring a cross-fire on the opening in firont 
through which the chausske passes^ and strike heavily on the 
Sobotka bank of the ravine and the open country beyond. As 
the Prussian advanced guard approached the ravine, the 
Austrian batteries opened fire upon them, and the marksmen 
from behind the trees also soon commenced a biting fire. The 
Jagers and the men of the 42nd quickly spread out as skir- 
mishers, and, regardless of the withering fire to which they 
themselves were exposed, showered bullets from their quickly- 
loaded arms against the defenders of the wood, while some of 
their artillery, quickly brought into action, tried to silence the 
Austrian guns. But the fight was unequal, the sharpshooters 


behind the trees could rarely be seen, and the fire of the 
Prussians did not tell much upon their concealed enemies; 
nor were their guns in sufficient force to engage successfully 
the more numerous Austrian pieces. The Jagers from among 
the trees were aiming well ; the men of the 42nd were ficdling 
fast, and it seemed that the defenders would be able to hold 
the wood. But the rest of the Prussian division was coming 
up ; more artillery was already in action ; and the Austrian 
gunners began to fire with less effect The regiment of the 
King of Prussia soon arrived. The Prussian soldiers, unable 
to make much impression with their fire on the riflemen in the 
trees, were already anxious to come to close quarters, and then 
General von Werder sent his men forward to take the woods 
with the bayonet They were carried, but not without loss, 
for the Austrians retired from tree to tree, and only when 
pressed beyond the last skirt of the wood retired under cover 
of their guns and reserves to take up a position on the further 
brow of the next ravine. The musketry fire recommenced. 
The opponents stood on either bank of the hollow, and poured 
volley after volley into each other's ranks, while the artillery, 
from positions on the flanks of both lines, sent their shells 
truly among their adversary's infantry. But here the needle- 
gun had more success, for the Austrians stood up clear against 
the sky, and soon the white uniforms began to go down 
quickly. No troops so ill-armed could have stood before the 
murderous fire which the Prussians directed against the opposite 
line. The Austrians did all that men could do; but, after 
losing fearfully, were obliged to fall back, and take up their 
third position in the village of Lochow, and on the Anna Berg. 
The 42nd regiment and the second Jager battalion were sent 
against the Anna Berg, while the 2nd and the 14th attacked the 

It was now about seven o'clock in the evening ; the combat 
had already lasted almost two hours, but here it was renewed 
more fiercely than ever. The Prussians, encouraged by their 
success — brave soldiers and bravely led — eagerly came to the 
attack. With hearts as big, and with officers as devoted, the 
Austrians stood with a desperate calmness to receive them. On 
both sides the fighting was hard; but at any distance the 

l84 SEVEN weeks:* WAR, [Book V. 

Austrian rifle had no chance against the needle-gun, and at 
close quarters the boyish soldiers of the Kaiser could not cope 
with the broad-shouldered men of Pomerania, who form die 
corps d'arm^e, one division of which was here engaged. Yet 
for three-quarters of an hour the little village of Lochow was 
held, and the continuous rattle of the rifles and the heavy 
cannonade of the guns remaining almost stationary told the 
determination of the assault and the stoutness of the defence. 
But the Austrians were slowly forced from house to house and 
from orchard to orchard, and had to retreat to their last 
vantage ground on the top of the Gitschin bank of the fourth 

And here both sides re-engaged in the fight with the utmost 
fury. The defenders felt that this was their last standing point, 
and on its maintenance depended the possession of Gitschin ; 
the assailants knew that success here would almost certainly 
bring them to the object of all their exertions. The Prussian 
line soon formed on the top of the opposite bank to that held 
by the Austrians, and then began to fire rapidly against the 
brow where the Austrians stood. The latter returned the fire, 
but from necessity more slowly; still their guns smote the 
Prussian troops heavily, and the shells bursting in front of the 
assailants' line, caused many casualties. But the Pomeranians 
were highly excited, and it is said that a heavy mass of the 
Prussians dashed down the road and rushed up the opposite 
slope with their rifles at the charge. A fierce struggle ensued. 
The strong men of Pomerania pressed hard against their 
lighter opponents, and pushed them beyond the brow of the 
slope on to the level plain ; yet the lithe and active Austrians 
fought hard, and strove to drive their bayonets into the faces 
of their taller antagonists; but strength and weight told, for 
their more powerfiil adversaries urged them back foot by foot 
till a gap was clearly opened in the defenders' line. The 
musketry bullets had also told sharply on the Saxons and 
Austrians, and they were obliged to retire. They drew oflf 
across the plain towards Gitschin, but not in rout ; slowly and 
sullenly the Saxon rear-guard drew back, suffering awful loss in 
the open plain, where the needle-gun had a fair range; but 
they fought for every yard of ground, ever turning to send 


among the advancing Prussians shots which were often truly 
aimed, but which formed no sufficient return for the showers of 
bullets which were rained upon themselves. For long the 
plain was the scene of the advancing combat, and it was not 
until near midnight that General von Werder occupied Gitschin. 
In the town the Austrians did not stand; they held some 
houses at the entrance for a short time, but these were carried, 
and then they retired rapidly towards the south. In their 
haste they left their hospitals, and here, as in Lochow, Von 
Werder*s division took a large number of prisoners. 

But this was not the only combat that evening. On the 
northern side of Gitschin the Austrian position extended 
beyond the Tiimau road, to cover the town against the 
Prussians advancing from the direction of Tiimau. The range 
of hills which runs round the north-western side of Gitschin 
drops with a steep slope down to the Tiimau road, near the 
village of Brada, and sends out a much lower prolongation of 
the range which mns at right angles to the direction of the 
road, and beyond it, as far as the river that passes by Gitschin 
and joins the Iser near Tiimau. Over this lower spur the road 
runs, and on its summit lies on the Prussian right of the road, 
and close to it, the village of Podultz ; while further to the 
right and on the top of the high hills is the village of Brada, 
standing about 300 yards fiirther southwards than Podultz. 

The 5th division, under General Tiimpling, on the afternoon 
of the 29th, advanced from Rowensko, and about half-past four 
o'clock came within 2,000 yards of the village of Podultz. His 
division consisted of the 8th, 12th, 18th, and 48th regiments, 
with four batteries of artillery. As the Prussians advanced 
they saw the village of Podultz close to the road, and on their 
right, standing on the top of the gentle ascent by which the 
road rises to the top of the lower spur, on the other side of the 
road, and about three hundred yards from it nearer to the 
advancing division by two hundred 3rards than Podultz, the 
village of Diletz lying in the plain ; while high on their right 
they could see the chimneys of Brada above the thick fir wood 
which, lying on the hill side, in front of that village, runs down 
nearly to Podultz, and trace by the different colour of the 
foliage the groimd occupied by its orchards. 

i86 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book V. 

The three villages and the fir wood were held by Austrian 
and Saxon troops, supported by seven batteries of artillery, 
which were placed both on the spur and on Brada hill, while 
behind the spur were hidden three of Austria's finest cavalry 
regiments — tlie hussars of Radetzky, of Lichtenstein, and of the 
Austrian regiment of the King of Prussia. In front of the 
village of Brada and of the fir wood an abattis was constructed 
which ran down the steep slope nearly as far as Podultz. As 
soon as the Prussians came within range the Austrian batteries 
opened upon them ; the Prussian guns replied, and under the 
cover of their artillery the columns advanced to the attack of 
the position. The 8th and 48th regiments advanced against the 
village of Diletz, which was garrisoned by the ist, 2nd, 3rd, and 
4th Saxon battalions, and where, as the prisoners reported, the 
Crown Prince of Saxony himself took part in the fight The 
Fusilier battalion of the 48th engaged the garrison of the 
village, while the rest of the regiment with the 8th turned 
towards Eisenstadt, but were sharply attacked by an Austrian 
column, and driven back to Zames. Both columns were 
exposed to a very hot fire. After a severe struggle both 
villages were carried, though that of Podultz, set on fire by a 
shell, was burning when the Prussians occupied it Then 
General Edelsheim, who commanded the Austrian cavalry, 
with a desperate valour attacked the burning village, but the 
horses would not face the flames,, and the Prussian infantry 
from behind the blazing houses fired on the disordered squad- 
rons and killed many troopers. After taking Podultz the 12 th 
and 1 8th regiments pushed past Brada, leaving it to their right, 
and made for the Lochow road, in order to cut off the retreat 
of the Austriaus, who were retiring from Lochow on Gitschin. 
The Austrian cavalry charged tlie advancing Prussians, but the 
latter received them without forming square, and the horsemen 
recoiled broken by their steady fire. The Austrian troops in 
Brada and the Saxons and Austrians in Diletz were quite 
separated by the capture of the village of Podultz, and the 
former were almost entirely taken ; the latter were cut off from 
retreat in large numbers, for Von Werder was pressing towards 
Gitschin, the roads were crowded, and the little river formed 
on the right of the broken allies a wide extent of marshy ground, 


which it was almost impossible to cross. The loss of the 
Saxons between Diletz and Gitschin was tremendous; they 
fell thickly, and the ground was covered with corpses. The 
Prussians suffered much, but they fought most bravely, and, 
with only four regiments and half as many guns as their 
opponents, carried a very strong position held by a much 
superior force; for the Prussians had in the field but 16,000 
men, and the allied strength in the first line was estimated at 
30,000. Under a crushing fire they advanced to the attack 
of Podultz and Diletz, and the vacancies in the muster-roll show 
how fearfully they suffered; but every man who fell on the 
Prussian side was trebly avenged, and a long broad track of 
fallen enemies marked the line of march of the four regiments 
who fought near Diletz. But though the Austrian position was 
strong, it was badly occupied. The troops on the hill of Brada 
seem to have been so enclosed in their defensive works that 
they could make no counter attack on the Prussian columns 
engaged at Podultz, nor could they attack in fiank the 12th 
and 1 8th regiments as they passed. Many officers fell on both 
sides. General Tiimpling, who commanded the Prussian 
division, was wounded, fortunately not severely. 

The field of Diletz was thickly strewn with killed and 
wounded. Here the Prussians lay more thickly than at 
Lochow, for the more numerous artillery of the defenders 
ploughed with terrible effect through the dense columns of the 
assailants as they advanced to the attack. But between Diletz 
and Gitschin the ground was covered with broken arms, knap- 
sacks, shakos, and fallen men, who were mostly either Saxons 
or Austrians, for here the needle-gun was more used than 

The Prussians took about 7,000 prisoners in the two combats, 
niany officers, and the Austrian loss in killed and wounded was 
about 3,000, so that the actions of that evening withdrew 
10,000 soldiers from under the Austrian colours. 

The Prussian head-quarters were moved to Gitschin. The 
town had been almost entirely deserted by the inhabitants, the 
streets were filled with military carriages and marching troops, 
while a Prussian garrison bivouacked under the colonnade 
which runs all round the market-place. 

l88 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book V. 

On the afternoon of the 30th, the strategic object of the 
movements of the two Prussian armies was achieved, for com- 
munications were opened in Bohemia between Prince Frederick 
Charles and the Crown Prince. A regiment of dragoons sent 
from Gitschin that day to feel for the Second Army found the 
advanced troops of the Crown Prince at Amau, and sent back 
intelligence that he had secured the passages of the Upper 
Elbe at Amau and Koniginhof. The Ziethen regiment of 
hussars in the front defeated an Austrian regiment, and cap- 
tured a convoy of about fifty waggons on the same day. 

Count Clam Gallas sent to Benedek to announce the defeat 
of his force at Gitschin, his incapability of any longer holding 
the First Prussian Army in check, and that he was retreating 
hastily on Koniggratz. This report reached the Austrian com- 
mander-in-chief early on the morning of the 30th, and had an 
important effect on the dispositions which he was making 
against the army of the Crown Prince. It is now necessary 
to trace the course by which the Second Army gained the posi- 
tion in which its outposts were found by the cavalry of Prince 
Frederick Charles on the 30th June. 



The First Army and the Army of the Elbe, united under the 
command of Prince Frederick Charles, on the 30th June, 
opened communication in Bohemia with the Second Army, 
which had marched through the mountains from Prussian 
Silesia, under the command of the Crown Prince of Prussia. 
It is necessary now to follow the steps by which the Crown 
Prince brought his army successfully through the passes of the 
Suderic Hills. 

The Crown Prince had been appointed Commander-in-chief 
of the Second Army on the 19th May, and on the 2nd June was 
also named Military Governor of Prussian Silesia. On the 4th 
June he moved his head-quarters from Berlin to that province. 
The Second Army consisted of the corps of the Guards, and the 
first, fifth, and sixth corps d*arm^ of the Line. 

When the Crown Prince assumed the command in Silesia, he 
fixed his head-quarters at the Castle of Fiirstenstein. At 
this time the fifth corps lay round Landshut, the sixth round 
Waldenburg, the cavaby division round Striegau, and the first 
corps, which was on the line of march from Gorlitz, was moving 
to Hirschberg and Schonau. The independent corps, under 
General Knobelsdorf and Count Stolberg,* had pushed detach- 
ments close up to the Austrian frontier. The fortresses of Glatz, 
Neisse, Cosel, and Glogau were armed, and new fortifications 
were thrown up round Schweidnitz. 

* See page 144. 

190 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, [Book VI. 

As has been already noticed, the Army of Silesia in the 
course of the second week of June, in order to deceive the 
Austrian commander, and to secure the safety of Prussian 
Silesia against a hostile invasion, took up a defensive position, 
on the loth of that month, near the fortress of Neisse, behind 
the line of the river of that name. At the same time the corps 
of the Guards joined the Second Army from Berlin, and was 
posted at Brieg, but left one division to watch the passes of the 
mountains on the west of the county of Glatz, and to keep 
open the communications with the First Army, which was near 

At this time six of the Austrian corps which Feldzeugmeister 
Benedek held at his disposal were posted in Austrian Silesia 
and in Moravia. Political events developed themselves rapidly. 
The decree of the Diet, the declaration of war by Prussia 
against Saxony, and the irruption of General Herwarth von 
Bittenfeld and of Prince Frederick Charles into that country, 
followed each other in quick succession. The Saxon army 
retired into Bohemia, and the Austrian troops began moving 
towards Josephstadt. 

On the evening of the 19th of June, the Crown Prince re- 
ceived orders from the King, through General von Moltke, the 
chief of the staff of the army, to leave only one corps on the 
Neisse, to move the first corps to Landshut, and to station the 
two other corps in such positions that they might be ready, 
either in conjunction with the first corps, to move into Bo- 
hemia, in order to effect a junction with the First Army, or, if 
it were necessary, to be equally ready to strengthen the corps 
on the Neisse. 

As the Austrian troops kept moving into Bohemia, it became 
hourly more probable that the Prussian Second Army would be 
required to cross the mountains into that province. In order to 
lead the Austrian staff to believe that this movement was not 
contemplated, the sixth corps was drawn entirely to the left 
bank of the Neisse, and received orders that it should, immedi- 
ately on the outbreak of hostilities, make a strong demonstra- 
tion against the Austrian frontier in that direction. Officers 

* Seep. 124. 


were at the same time sent to prepare quarters for all the corps 
on the right bank of the Oder, as if a general movement in that 
direction was intended 

On the evening of the 20th June, a further order came from 
the King, which directed the Crown Prince to send intimation 
in writing to the commanders of the several Austrian outposts, 
that Prussia considered Austria's bearing at Frankfort as a 
virtual declaration of war. 

As soon as the existence of war between the two great 
Powers was actually recognised, the Crown Prince issued the 
following general order to his troops : — 

" Neisse, TOth June, 

"Soldiers op the Second Army !— You have heard the wonk of 
our King and Commander-in-chief I The attempts of his Majesty to 
preserve peace to our country have proved fruitless. With a heavy heart, 
but with strong confidence in the spirit and valour of his army, the King 
has determined to do battle for the honour and independence of Prussia, 
and for a new organization of Germany on a powerful basis. I, placed by 
the grace and confidence of my royal father at your head, am proud, as the 
first servant of our King, to risk with you my blood and property for the 
most sacred rights of our native country. Soldiers 1 for the first time for 
fifty years a worthy foeman is opposed to our army. Confident in your 
prowess, and in our excellent and proved arms, it behoves us to conquer 
the same enemy as our greatest King defeated with a small army. And 
now, forward with the old Prussian battle-cry — * With God, for King and 


On the 22nd of June the Crown Prince received from the 
King the order to prepare to assume the offensive in Bohemia, 
in order to join the First Army in the direction of Gitschin. 

This order had been anticipated by the Crown Prince. On 
the previous day he had sent a letter by post, to request per- 
mission from the King to move towards his right At the same 
time he expressed a wish to be allowed to send the sixth corps, 
which had been ordered to remain near Neisse, into the county 
of Glatz. By this disposition the sixth corps would both be 
available for the defence of its native province, Silesia, and, if 
necessary, could more easily be joined to the main army than 
from its previous position. 

On the 23rd June the Crown Prince received by telegraph 
permission to move the sixth corps as he desired. He had, 

192 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, [Book VI. 

however, on the 22nd, already acted before receiving this per- 
mission. That day he sent the sixth corps from Neisse in the 
direction of Olmiitz. This corps crossed the Austrian frontier, 
and moved through the highland border districts of Friedberg, 
Freywalde, and Zuchmantel, while the soldiers everywhere 
spread the news that they formed the advanced guard of the 
entire army of the Crown Prince. Some slight skirmishes 
between the advanced guardsr and some Austrian hussars 
. ensued without much damage to either side. In consequence 
of this demonstration, however, Feldzeugmeister Benedek held 
the second and third Austrian corps between Hohenmauth and 
Bomisch Triibau in such a position that they could not be 
opposed to the Prussian columns at the point where the latter 
readly crossed the frontier. On this day, the 22nd June, the 
head-quarters of the Crown Prince remained at Neisse ; the 
fifth corps was in the neighbourhood of Ottmachau ; the corps 
of the Guards was drawn together round Miinsterberg ; the 
first corps was at Landshut, the sixth corps, as already stated, 
over the Austrian frontier, and engaged in its demonstration 
against Austrian Silesia. 

The Second Army was now moved into positions which 
would facilitate its irruption into Bohemia ; and on the 25th 
June, its one hundred and twenty-five thousand warriors were 
posted, so that the first corps was at Sciiomberg, the Guards at 
Schlegel, the fifth corps between Glatz and Reinerz, the first 
brigade of the sixth corps at Glatz, and the remainder of the 
sixth corps at Patschkau, the cavalry division at Waldenburg. 
On the same day the Crown Prince changed his head-quarters 
from Neisse by way of Camenz to Eckersdorf, 

The staff of the Crown Prince knew that the Austrian first 
corps and the army of Saxony were engaged against Prince 
Frederick Charles, and that the second Austrian corps had 
pushed forward towards the county of Glatz. It was, therefore, 
correctly argued, that only fom* Austrian corps could be opposed 
to the Prussians in issuing from the mountains ; but «ven under 
these circumstances the march of the Army of Silesia through 
the passes was exposed to great difficulties, and to considerable 

The county of Glatz forms a salient bastion of hills in the 


highland frontier between Prussian Silesia and Bohemia. 
From Glatz four great roads lead into the Imperial dominions : 
the first on the north-west by Wiinschelburg to Braunau, the 
second on the west by Reinerz to Nachod and Josephstadt, 
the third on the south by Mittelwalde to Gabel and Wilden- 
schwert, the fourth on the south-east by Wilhelmsthal to 
Altstadt On .the east of the county of Glatz, a road runs 
from Neisse by Ziegenhals and Wiirbenthal in the direction of 
Olmiitz, and on the west of the county a road runs from 
Landshut by Liebau to Trautenau and Josephstadt The 
passage of the frontier by the Second Army had necessarily 
to be effected by one of the six frontier passes. The strategical 
intention of effecting a junction as soon as possible in Bohemia 
with the First Army, determined the selection of the three 
roads to Trautenau, Braunau, and Nachod, the directions of 
which also afforded to the Army of Silesia the advantage of 
being able to make its advance in three columns, which could 
afford to each other mutual assistance in case of any one being 
attacked by the enemy. 

The roads on either flank were good. That by Reinerz and 
Nachod led through a defile five miles in length, and it was 
only beyond Nachod that troops who marched through it 
could deploy. The pass to Braunau in the centre had the 
advantage that the Bohemian frontier at this point advanced 
for a space of twenty miles. In consequence of this geogra- 
phical configuration it was the least liable to be blocked or 
broken up by the enemy, and the troops that marched by it 
were the least likely to be impeded in their formation after 
debouching. They would consequently be available to sup- 
port either of the flank columns in case of opposition being 
made to their issue from the mountains. After passing the 
mountains, the junction of the Army of Silesia with that of 
Prince Frederick Charles could only be effected by a flank 
move to the right. In order to facilitate this subsequent 
movement, the plan of the passage of the army of tlie Crown 
Prince was determined as follows: — ^The right wing, which 
consisted of the first corps, was to move, followed by the 
cavalry division, from Landshut by Liebau on Trautenau. 
The fifth corps on the left was to occupy the pass of Nachod. 

194 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book VI. 

The corps of the Guards in the centre was to m^ve by i*ie 
intermediate road from Wiinschelburg on Eraunau, in order to 
act as a reserve to either of the flank corps, or if necessary to 
occupy the pass of E)rpel. The sixth corps was to remain for 
a short time on the south of the fortress of Neisse, but as soon 
as possible was to be withdrawn from this position and to be 
advanced to Reinerz to support the fifth corps. The pro- 
tection of Upper Silesia was handed over to the detachments 
under Count Stolberg and General Knobelsdorf. After passing 
the mountains the whole army was to make a wheel to its left, 
pivoted on Nachod and Skalitz, to seize the railway from 
Josephstadt to Tiimau, and along that line gain its junction 
with the First Army. 

To carry out the preliminaries of this plan, on the evening of 
the 26th June the first Prussian corps was stationed at Landshut 
with its advanced guard at Liebau. The guards occupied 
MUnsterberg with advanced posts at Frankenstein and Silber- 
berg. The fifth corps was at Ottmachau with its advanced 
guard at Lewin. The main body of the sixth corps was near 

The Austrian commander thought that he had secured the 
kft wing of his whole army by the first Austrian corps and the 
Saxons under Count Clam Gallas, and on the 26th June held 
his remaining forces in the following positions: — The tenth 
Austrian corps was at Pilnikau, the fourth at Koniginhof, the 
sixth moved that day from Opocna to Skalitz, the eighth was 
in the rear of Josephstadt, the second further south in reserve, 
and the third round Bomisch Triibau. 

It is naturally difiicult to say what was the intention of 
Feldzeugmeister Benedek : if, however, he had the idea of at 
any time assuming the offensive, he ought to have with might 
and main attacked the heads of the Prussian columns with 
overwhelming masses as they issued from the mountains. He 
was bound at any cost to prevent the passage of the fifth 
corps, which was the pivot of the Prussian army, and on the 
same terms to defeat the first corps and the Guards before 
they could reach the line of the Aupa, It must have been on 
the defeat of the army of the Crown Prince that he depended 
to be able to assume the offensive with superior numbers 


against the First Prassian Army and the Army of the 

Early in the afternoon of the 26th of June, the first 
Prussian corps was concentrated near Liebau, the corps 
of the Guards round Wiinschelburg, and the fifth corps at 

That evening the heads of the columns of the Guards pushed 
across the frontier at Tunschendorf and Johannisberg, under 
the direction of the Crown Prince in person. The troops 
cheered loudly as they stepped upon Austrian ground. Some 
detachments of the third regiment of Uhlans of the Guard 
had a little beyond the frontier a skirmish with some of the 
Austriafi Windischgratz dragoons and Mexican Uhlans, in 
which the Prussians had the advantage. Certainly Austrian 
prisoners and captured horses were brought into the Prussian 
head-quarters, and the cavalry of the Second Army acquired 
the idea that it was fully equal if not superior to the horsemen 
opposed to it. The Guards bivouacked that night between 
Politz and Braunau. 

On the left wing, the fifth corps the same evening was 
pushed forward towards the frontier in the direction of Nachod. 
The bridge over the little river Metau, which forms here the 
boundary line, had been broken ; and as the Prussian scouts 
approached the river, two Austrian vedettes with two infantry 
sentries could be made out hidden behind some willow-trees 
at the Bohemian end of the bridge. These were dislodged by 
a few Prussian Jagers, who forded the river and pushed on in 
pursuit At a toll-house about four hundred yards further on 
they were checked by the fire of two Austrian field-guns, and 
were driven back to the river, where the Prussian pioneers 
were already engaged in the repair of the broken bridge. Two 
Prussian guns were quickly brought up, and after a few shots 
being exchanged the Austrian pieces withdrew, with their 
escort of two squadrons of cavalry and about ninety foot 
soldiers. General Lowenfeld, who commanded the leading 
division of the fifth Prussian corps, sent his Jagers in pursuit, 
and secured without opposition the town of Nachod, and the 
strong castle which about three-quarters of a mile from the 
Metau covers the issue of the pass, and could have been easily 

o 2 

196 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book VI. 

held, by a handful of detennined men^ for at least two days 
against the whole Prussian army. 

After these preliminary movements on the 26th, on the 27th 
commenced the series of brilliant operations by which the 
army of the Crown Prince wrestled its way through the 



The first corps» which formed the right column of the army 
of the Crown Prince, was under the command of General von 
Bonin. This officer ordered his advanced guard to advance 
from Liebau at four o'clock on the morning of the 27 th, and to 
follow the road by Golden-Oels to Trautenau. At the latter 
town it was to halt until the main body arrived at Parschnitz 
in the road between Schomberg and Albendorf, then it was to 
move forward upon Amau. The reserves of in&mtry and 
of artillery were to follow the advanced guard, the reserve of 
cavalry the main body. 

The march commenced Hostile dragoons were descried in 
front of the heads of the columns, but did not yet attack. Tht 
main body first came up to the advanced guard, which had 
halted at Parschnitz at eight o'clock, about ten, when the 
latter was ordered to move forward, and soon commenced 


The town of Trautenau lies on the river Aupa, in a basin 
almost surrounded by mountains : by the river the ground is 
wet and marshy, on the hill-sides it is rough and broken, so 
that it is nowhere particularly favourable for the action of 
cavalry or artillery. 

The great heat made the Prussian troops suffer much from 
fatigue and thirst on their march, and they were weary when 
they reached the town of Trautenau. But the Austrians were 
in the town, and (General von Bonin was forced to attack them, 
as his road to join the Crown Prince, who was with the left 


column, led through Trautenau. The head of the advanced 
guard broke down the barricade on the bridge over the Aupa. 
The infantry iight soon began in the streets, and the Austrians 
were pushed back gradually from house to house. But the 
Austrians reinforced their troops, and then maintained their 
position, till the Prussians, calling up more battalions, again 
got a little the better of the combat Both sides suffered 
heavily, and the Prussians gained ground but slowly, for from 
every house and from every comer hidden marksmen poured 
bullets into the ranks of the battalions that tried to push along 
the streets. When aU the Prussian reinforcements had arrived, 
a general attack was made, and the Austrians were pushed out 
of the houses into the open country beyond. The Prussians 
pursued and followed step by step their slowly-retreating 
enemies. Beyond the town one of Austria's most celebrated 
cavalry regiments, the Windischgratz dragoons, stood waiting 
to sweep the Prussian battalions from the open ground if they 
issued from the shelter of the houses. These dragoons have 
long held a high reputation, and, for a record ot brave deeds 
done by the regiment, alone in the Austrian army wear no 
moustache. The Prussian infantry could not advance, and it 
seemed that the houses of Trautenau had been won in vain. 
But assistance was at hand. The ist regiment of the Prussian 
dragoons came trotting along the main street, deployed into 
line almost as they debouched from the town, and with their 
horses well in hand, and their sword-points low, bore in a 
steady canter straight down upon the Austrian cavalry ; these 
did not wait inactive to receive the attack, but rushed forward 
to meet their foes ; no shots were exchanged, not a saddle was 
emptied till the close. When within a few yards of each other, 
both sides raised a cheer, and, welcoming the hug of battle, 
the two lines rushed upon each other. Horse pressed against 
horse, knee against knee, swords went up quick and came 
down heavily on head-piece or on shoulder, points were given 
and received, blows quickly parried were returned with lightning 
speed; here an Austrian was borne to the ground, there a 
Prussian was sent reeling from his seat, and for a few minutes 
the mass of combatants swayed slowly backwards and fonn'ards. 
But then, as if some mighty shell had burst among them, the 


Austrian soldiers flew scattered from the meieej and the Prus- 
sians riding hard after them drove them from the field, but 
themselves being under the fire of small arms suffered a heavy 

The Austrian infantry, which consisted of Mondel's brigade 
of the tenth Austrian corps, formed on a hill called the Capel- 
lenberg, which afforded a strong position beyond the town. 
This hill could only be scaled by the assailant infantry with 
great difficulty. Notwithstanding the unfavourable nature of 
the ground, and the strong resistance of the defenders, the 
right wing of the Prussian advanced guard under Colonel 
Koblinski, which consisted of two battalions of the 4Tst regi- 
ment and a company of Jagers, gained the Capellenberg be* 
tween twelve and one o'clock* The Austrians retired a short 
distance. The Prussian commander ordered eight battalions 
to advance from Parschnitz, cross the Aupa, and attack the 
right flank of the Austrian position. These battalions had 
great difficulties to encounter : the wooded hills close to the 
Aupa could only be traversed in extended order, an4 as soon 
as the open ground was gained they suffered much firom some 
hostile skirmishers concealed in the standing com. 

Notwithstanding these disadvantageous circumstances, they 
gained ground. About three o'clock the advanced guard seized 
the village of Hohenbruck, south of Trautenau, and the brigade 
on the left wing occupied the heights on the west of the road 
from Trautenau to Rognitz. It was now three o'clock, the 
Austrians had retired, and General von Bonin considered that 
the action was over. 

The retreat of the Austrians had, however, been but a 
tactical manoeuvre, and for once in the history of war a tactical 
retreat resulted in an advantage to the general who had made 
it, though even in this case the gain was only of a temporary 
nature. About half-past three o'clock the action began again. 
General Gablenz, who commanded the tenth Austrian corps, 
bad advanced from Pilnikau with his whole force, and at that 
hour made a heavy attack on the Prussian • troops, who were 
already weary with a hot march and a lengthened combat 
General Gablenz directed some of his battalions against the 
Prussian front, and with others made a movement against 

200 SEVEN' WEEKS' WAR, [Book VL 

General Benin's left flank. At half-past four o'clock the Aus- 
trians recovered Hohenbruck, and at five the Prussian troops 
commenced their retreat 

In order to cover this movement General Bamekow, with 
the 43rd Prussian regiment, occupied the commanding hills 
and plantations which lie on the north of the Capellenberg, 
supported by the 3rd regiment of Grenadiers, which was posted 
on the hills l)dng further back. The 43rd stopped the Aus- 
trian pursuit, though with great loss to its own strength, for an 
hour and a half, but they had to be withdrawn a little after six 
o'clock. The grenadiers again brought the Austrians up, and 
stayed their advance until all the Prussian troops had gained 
an unpursued retreat 

General von Bonin had intended to hold the line of the 
Aupa on the north of Trautenau, but General Gablenz pressed 
upon him, and he was forced to continue his retreat to the 
same position as he had occupied on the morning of the day 
of the action, keeping his rear-guard at Golden-Oels, about 
three miles from Trautenau. 

The cavalry division of the army, which was to have fol- 
lowed the first corps through the mountains as soon as the 
defile was cleared, remained at Schomberg. 

The first Prussian corps lost in this action, in killed and 
wounded, sixty-three officers and twelve hundred and fourteen 
men ; the Austrian tenth corps, according to Austrian returns, 
lost one hundred and ninety-six officers and five thousand five 
hundred and thirty-six men ; a terrible disparity in numbers ! 
The Austrian infantry, with a muzzle-loading arm, had indeed' 
gained a victory over an enemy equipped with a breech-loading 
weapon, but at such a sacrifice as made success almost as costly 
as defeat. 

General Gablenz did not pursue beyond Trautenau. He 
kept his advanced guard there for the night, and bivouacked 
at Neu-Rognitz. His corps was considerably shaken by its 
victory, of which it was soon to be deprived by the fortune of 

The corps of the Guards had crossed the Bohemian frontier 
at Steinethal on the evening of the 26th, and had pushed 
forward the second division by Braunau, as far as Weckelsdorl 


On the 27th June this corps was to move in a south-westerly 
direction, in order to open the communication between the 
first corps, which was advancing against Trautenau on the 
right, and the fifth corps at Nachod on the left At mid-day 
the first division of the Guards was to march on Eypel. At 
Qualitch, the general commanding this division hearing the 
heavy firing at Trautenau halted, and sent an offer of assistance 
to General von Bonin. Then the Prussian infantry of the 
first corps, advancing on the road beyond Trautenau, were 
everywhere pressing the Austrians back, when a staff-oflficer 
came up to the conmiander of the first corps, and told him 
that the Prussian Guard was ready to come to his assistance. 
General von Bonin thought his victor}- abeady secure, and 
declined the proffered aid. For another four hours he did not 
want it, for the Prussians kept advancing slowly, steadily, 
pressing the Austrians back, but at four o'clock large reinforce- 
ments of artillery came up upon the Austrian side, and General 
von Bonin ordered his retreat 

The first division 'of the Guard corps, ignorant of the failure 
of the first corps at Trautenau, continued its march, and in he 
evening reached the neighbourhood of Eypel, on the Aupa, 
while the second division moved to Kosteletz, about five miles 
to the south-east of that place. The reserve artillery and heavy 
cavalry were still one day's march in rear. The Prince of 
Wiirtemburg, who commanded the Guards, received in the 
night intelligence fi:om the Crown Prince, and instructions to 
move to its relief— of the result of the action at Trautenau, 
and he immediately gave orders that at daybreak the next 
morning his corps should cross the Aupa, attack the corps of 
General Gablenz, and thus disengage the first Prussian corps, 
and restore the broken communication with General von 
Bonin. According to the disposition of the Prince of Wiirtem- 
burg, the first division of the Prussian Guard was to advance 
by Eypel, in a westerly direction, and the second division to 
move firom Kosteletz to Eypel, to serve as a support to the 
first division. The first division, under General Hiller, defiled 
over the Aupa at Eypel on the 28th June, at five in the morn- 
ing, and threw out cavalry patrols in the direction of both 
Trautenau and Koniginhofl These patrols- discovered that 


General Gablenz was bivouacked with the main body of his 
corps at Neu-Rognitz, about two miles south of Trautenau, 
and that he held the latter town with a strong advanced guard. 
His position was therefore pointed northward against the first 
Prussian corps, and his right flank was now threatened by the 
advance of the Guards from EypeL The Prussian patrols also 
discovered that the baggage of the corps of General Gablenz 
was drawing off towards Koniginhof, but was stiU five miles 
distant from that town. Under these favourable strategical 
conditions, the first division of the Guards received orders 
immediately to advance by Standenz, to attack the enemy in 
the direction of Koniginhof, while the second division, as a 
reserve, was advanced beyond the defile of Eypel. At the 
same time two battalions of the Franz Grenadiers were sent 
forward towards the north-west against Trautenau, in order to 
cover the right wing of the advance. These dispositions led 
to the 


General Gablenz desired to change his front to the right, in 
consequence of finding his right wing thus threatened. To 
cover this evolution he ranged his whole artillery, covered by 
Knobel's brigade, on the hills between Neu-Rognitz and 
Burgersdorfl In this he succeeded, and extended his right 
wing to Prausnitz, where he gave his hand to Fleischhacker's 
brigade of the fourth Austrian corps, which had been sent to 
his assistance. The advance of the two Prussian grenadier 
battalions against Alt-Rognitz threatened, however, to cut oflf 
from him the brigade which he had posted in TrautenaiL 

The Prussian advanced guard, under Colonel Kessel, which 
consisted of four battalions of the Fusiliers, one company of 
the Jagers of the Guard, two companies of the pioneers of the 
Guard, the fourth squadron of the hussars of the Guard, and 
one 4-pounder battery, came upon the Austrian position before 
the whole of General Gablenz's guns were formed. It was, 
however, received by a hot fire from twenty-four pieces, which 
had already .taken up their position. The single Prussian 
battery engaged these guns wiih considerable rashness, while 


the infantry attacked the plantations west of Standenz, and 
drove the Austrian position slightly in. 

Soon the guns of General Gablenz were all in position, and 
sixty-four pieces opened a withering fire on the six Prussian 
guns, which, however, held their ground, though with great 
loss. While the Fusiliers and the Jagers of the advanced 
guard sought to gain some ground, some of the battalions of 
the Prussian main body, under General Alvensleben, came up, 
and hurried into the action wherever they were most required. 
Next arrived the first and second battalions of the Fusiliers, 
and the second company of the Jagers of the Guard, who 
moved in the direction of Burgersdorf and Alt-Rognitz. After 
these followed the second regiment of Grenadiers, and with 
them came a very welcome field-battery, which immediately 
opened fire to support the only Prussian battery as yet in 
action. Burgersdorf and the plantations near it were now 
captured by the Prussians, and at that moment the rest of the 
Prussian infantry and the remainder of the artillery came into 
play. The action then became general. The Prussian infantry 
advanced, and stormed the rising ground on which the Austrian 
battalions stood, but at an awful sacrifice; men fell every 
moment, and officers went down so quickly that hardly a 
company reached the summit commanded by its captain. But 
the Guards pressed on, and the Austrians had to retire from 
position to position, while the Prussians advanced steadily, 
urging them backwards. The Austrian corps of Gablenz was 
then defeated, for the troops could not rally under the fire of 
the needle-gun, and every battalion which retreated was routed. 

The two Prussian battalions which had been detached 
towards Trautenau to cover the right wing had been during 
this time heavily engaged. As they moved towards Trautenau, 
some columns were seen advancing towards them. It was 
uncertain at first whether these were some of the troops of the 
first Prussian corps, or some of the Austrians firom Trautenau. 
The doubt was soon dispelled. As they approached, it became 
clear that, while three of the Austrian brigades of the corps of 
General Gablenz were resisting the front of the Prussian attack, 
^lie remaining brigade, that of Grivicics, had been ordered 
to sally from Trautenau against the Prussian right wing, and 

204 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book VI. 

to it the advancing columns belonged — a movement which, 
but for the precautions of the Prince of Wiirtembuig, would 
have had an important influence on the action. The two 
Prussian battalions withstood the attack of this brigade with 
the greatest courage. The greater part of the officers and 
one-third of the soldiers of these battalions were laid on the 
field, either dead or dying, but they held their ground until 
the second division of the Guards, which had been held in. 
reserve, could hurry up to their assistance. This division 
coming up, drove the brigade of Grivicics back into Trautenau, 
cut it off from the main body of Gablenz's corps, stormed the 
town, and captured there a stand of colours and over three 
thousand prisoners. 

General Gablenz withdrew the rest of his corps along the 
road to Koniginhof The Prussians were too much fatigued 
to pursue in force : and the Austrian brigade of Fleischhacker, 
which belonged to the fourth corps, was allowed to pass the 
night at Soor unmolested as a rear-guard, while the first division 
of the Prussian Guards bivouacked opposite to it at Burgers- 
dorC The next morning this brigade also retired at daybreak, 
towards Koniginhof The Guards had but eleven hundred men 
in killed and wounded in this action. The Austrians left 
behind them five thousand prisoners, three standards, and ten 

By the successful issue of this action the communication 
with the first corps which had been broken on the 27th by its 
failure at Trautenau, was completely re-established. 

On the morning of the 29th, the Crown Prince caused the 
first corps, which had been defeated at Trautenau on the 27th, 
to march past before him through that town, where the victory 
of the Guards on the 28th had opened a free passage 
for it 

The Guards on the 29th moved fix)m Burgersdorf and Trau- 
tenau, on Koniginhof and Rettendorf. Early in the morning 
of that day, one of the regiments in issuing from Burgersdorf 
had a skirmish with some detachments of scattered Austrians 
who had been cut off from their corps, and passed the night in 
the woods. 

As the advanced guard of the first division of the Guards 


approached Koniginhof, it again fell in with the army, and a 
combat ensued which terminated in the 


The advanced guard of the first division of the Guards, con- 
sisting of four battalions of Fusiliers, two companies of Jagers, 
and two field batteries, broke up firom Burgersdorf at mid-day 
on the 29th, and were ordered to advance and occupy the 
town of Koniginhof. The brigade of Fleischhacker, which 
belonged to the fourth Austrian coips, was posted as garrison 
of the place, and had drawn up several infantry columns, 
covered by skirmishers, in the corn-fields on the north of the 
town. The Prussian riflemen quickly engaged them : the slow 
shots of the muzzle-loading arms did little execution against 
the rapid discharges of the needle-gun, and these advanced 
columns were soon driven to seek shelter in flight The 
defence of the houses was entrusted to the Austrian regiment 
of Coranini, and here took place a hot contest, for this gallant 
corps defended each yard of every street, and each window of 
every house. The Fusiliers of the Prussian Guards pressed on, 
overthrew their opponents in the streets, and, dashing past the 
loopholed houses, occupied the bridge over the Elbe. The 
majority of the defenders were still in the town, and were com- 
pletely surrounded Nothing was left to them but to lay down 
their arms. The Prussians here captured four hundred prisoners 
and two standards. 

The weak remnant of the Coranini regiment retreated to 
Miletin. The Prussian Guards were concentrated in the 
neighbourhood of Koniginhof, and the first Prussian corps 
advanced to Pilnikau. 

Feldzeugmeister Benedek had in the meantime drawn the 
second Austrian corps to the vicinity of Josephstadt It 
arrived, however, too late to aid in a defence of the line of the 
Elbe at Koniginhof. That important point for the passage of 
the river was already in the possession of the Prussian Guards, 
when, on the 30th June, Count Thum appeared with his corps 
on the heights south of the Elbe, at Koniginhof. This Austrian 
general could do nothing more than open an ineffectual can- 
nonade against the Prussian corps of the Guards, on the 30th 


June. That day one division of the latter corps bivouacked 
near Gradlitz, on the left bank of the Elbe, about two miles 
out of Koniginhof, and the same day the first Prussian corps 
advanced to Amau, on the river, about seven miles to the 
north of the same place. 

It is now necessary to trace tjie passage of the left column of 
the Crown Prince's army through the mountains, and to show 
how, on the 30th June, it was able to eflfect a junction with the 
right and central columns on the banks of the Elbe. 



To the fifth Prassian corps, which formed the head of the 
left column of the army of the Crown Prince, and which he 
himself most closely directed, was the most difficult task given. 
Only one narrow road leads from the county of Glatz to 
Nachod, which beyond the Bohemian frontier runs in a \i'inding 
course near the town of Nachod, through a difficult defile. A 
corps d'armde, with all its trains and baggage advancing by 
one road, forms a column of march twenty miles long. If 
only the combatants themselves and the most necessary train, 
such as ammunition columns and field hospitals, form the 
columns, it still will stretch over ten miles ; so that if the head 
of the column is attacked as it issues from a defile where the 
troops cannot move off the road, the rearmost battalion will 
not be able to support the most advanced until four hours have 

In order to ensure the safe issue from the mountain passes, 
the advanced guard of the fifth corps, under General von 
Lowenfeld, was pushed forward as far as Nachod on the even- 
ing of the 26th June. The Austrians held the defile with a 
veiy weak force, and did not stand obstinately in the Castle of 
Nachod, so that the Prussian advanced guard occupied that 
strong post with very slight opposition. General Ramming, 
who had been posted with the sixth Austrian corps and a 
portion of the first division of reserve cavalry at Opocna, about 
ten miles to the south of Nachod, marched on the 26th towards 
Skalitz, by order of Feldzeugmeister Benedek. He was in- 
tended next day to fall upon the head of the Prussian fifth 
corps as it issued from the pass, and drive it back into the 


defile. At the same time the eighth Austrian corps under the 
command of the Archduke Leopold was posted on the railway 
to Josephstadt, in order to act as a reserve to General Ram- 
ming. The next day the advanced guard of the Prussian fifth 
corps brought on the 


On the 27th, the same day that the first corps was defeated at 
Trautenau, as the advanced guard of the fifth Prussian corps 
d*armde was, about ten o'clock in the morning, moving out of 
Nachod towards Skalitz, in order to take up a position covering 
the strategical point where the roads to Josephstadt and Neustadt 
branch, its patrols observed heavy Austrian columns advancing 
by the road from Neustadt, and two Austrian cuirass regiments 
drew up across the road to bar the way against the Prussian in- 
fantry. These were supported by two Austrian infantry brigades, 
while a third stood in liie rear as a reserve. The Prussians were 
then in a dangerous position, for the road through the defile of 
Nachod behind them was choked with the carriages of the 
artillery, and only a few battalions and two squadrons had 
gained the open ground. General von Lowenfeld, who com- 
manded the advanced guard, threw his infantry into a wood 
which was beside the road, where, protected by the trees to a 
certain extent from the shells of the Austrian guns, they main- 
tained their position until their artillery had cleared the defile. 
At the same time the small body of Prussian cavalry who were 
with the infantry charged straight down the road against the 
centre of the line of the cuirass regiments. The Austrians 
numbered eight times as many sabres as the Prussians, and 
their cavalry bore the highest reputation in Europe. All 
expected to see the Prussians hurled back, broken and de* 
stroyed, by their collision with the Austrian line, but the result 
was far different ; the Prussian squadrons thundered down the 
road, and seemed merely by the speed at which they were 
galloping to cut clean through the centre of the line of 
Cuirassiers; but, though they were thus successful in their 
first onslaught, they were quickly assailed in fiank and rear by 
overwhelming numbers, and with difl[iculty escaped without 
being cut to pieces. Many, however, managed to shake them- 


selves free from the mUke^ and, galloping back, rallied under 
the protection of the fire of their infantry in the wood ; but the 
Austrians pressed forward, and they had to retire; and it 
seemed that the issue of the defile would be lost, for Austrian 
infantry were quickly coming up, and were preparing to attack 
the wood held by the Prussians. At the first intelligence of 
the advance of the enemy the Crown Prince in person hurried 
up to the front Then upon Lowenfeld's battalions depended 
not only the safe passage of the fifth corps through the defile, 
but also tlie preservation of the whole of the artillery, for so 
crowded with carriages was the road that, had the Austrians 
pressed on, every gun and waggon must have fallen into their 
hands. But the infantry proved worthy of the trust placed in 
them, and notliing availed to dislodge them from the trees, 
though the shells went whistling in quick succession through 
the trunks, and the splinters carried away the branches above 
the heads of the soldiers, and tore up the turf beneath their 

The Crown Prince was in Nachod when the firing com- 
menced, but he pushed his way with difficulty through the 
crowded defile, and came to his advanced guard in order him- 
self to be with his soldiers in their time of trial. Behind him 
followed as quickly as possible the battalions of the main body 
of the corps, and the guns of the artillery were also pushed for- 
ward ; but the road was long and crowded, and both regiments 
and guns made their way with difiiculty. In the meantime 
the Austrians pressed hard upon the little band in the wood, 
and seemed as though they would pass it by, and close the 
defile with their columns. But before they could do so the 
battalions of the main body gained the end of the defile, and 
the Prussian guns began to come quickly forward, for waggons 
and all encumbrances had been pushed off the road into the 
ditches to facilitate the free passage of the troops going into 
action. The newly-arrived troops reinforced those in the wood, 
and the artillery replied to the Austrian batteries ; but at noon 
the batde was still stationary, and the Prussians had not advanced 
their position since the beginning of the fight, for the Austrian 
cavalry stood prepared to charge the Prussian infantry if it 
attempted to move forward on the open ground. The Crown 


Prince knew that on breaking that cavalry line depended the 
passage of the fifth corps into Bohemia, and he sent against 
it the eighth Prussian regiment of dragoons, and the first 
Uhlan regimentr It was as exciting moment The Prussians, 
nerved by the importance of the issue of their charge, and with 
the eyes of their infantry upon them, sprang forward readily : 
the Austrian horsemen, proud of their high renown, and eager 
to wipe out the memory of the former skirmish, also bounded 
forward as soon as they saw the Prussians approaching. The 
two lines met about half way, for one moment formed a tangled 
struggling crowd, and then the Prussian Uhlans, with their 
lance-points low and heads bent down, were seen pursuing. 
The most famous cavalry in Europe had been overthrown. 

Before and during this charge both divisions of the fifth 
Prussian corps had cleared the defile, and scarcely had the 
effect of the cavalry charge been seen than General Steinmetz, 
who commanded the whole corps, determined to assume the 
offensive. Then, in rear of their cavalry, the Prussian infantry 
and artillery dashed forward. Some of the battalions turning 
aside, marched against the village of Wisokow, already in flames 
from a Prussian shell, with their bayonets at the charge. Among 
the burning houses the Austrians waited for them : a sharp 
struggle ensued, but the village was carried, and the Austrians 
were driven out of it 

In the meantime the Austrian heavy horsemen had rallied, 
and again returned to the charge. This time they advanced 
with skill as well as courage, and bore down on the flank of the 
Uhlans ; but their approach was seen, and before they reached 
the Prussian line it had quickly changed its front, and met the 
advancing squadrons face to face. Again the Austrians re- 
coiled, but now without a chance of rallying ; they were broken 
and scattered, and the Uhlans, spreading out in pursuit, went 
dashing in small knots over the plain after them, and captured 
two guns from their horse artillery. This cavalry charge de- 
cided the fortune of the day, and the Austrians retired, pressed 
by the Prussian infantry. General Steinmetz, who commanded 
the fifth corps, which was here engaged, led forward all his 
troops, leaving only three battalions of the royal regiment in 
reserve, and pushed the enemy bacL But his men, after a long 


march and a severe action, were too fatigued to pursue in mass, 
so they were halted, and the cavahy and one or two battalions 
alone followed up the pursuit; but they did well, for they 
brought back 2,000 prisoners and three guns, besides the two 
taken by the Uhlans ; and these were not the only trophies, for 
three sets of infantry colours were taken by the Prussians, and 
the standards of the Austrian cuirassiers fell into the hands of 
the Uhlans. The Crown Prince thanked General Steinmetz on 
the field in the name of the King for the victory, and well the 
general and his troops merited the compliment, for all the 
first part of the action was fought with twenty-two battalions 
against twenty-nine, and with an inferior force of cavalry and 

This victory cost the Prussians a loss of nine hundred men 
killed and wounded ; among the latter were the two generals, 
Von OUech and Von Wunck. The fifth Prussian corps, not- 
withstanding that on the 27 th it had marched over fifteen miles 
through a narrow defile, and been engaged in action for eight 
hours, was still so strong and so confident that General Stein- 
metz resolved to resume the attack the ensuing day without loss 
of time. 

General Ramming, who had deservedly the reputation of 
being one of the most able and talented generals of the Impe- 
rial army, after having engaged the Prussians at Nachod, with 
his whole force retreated to Skalitz on the evening of the 27 th. 
On arriving at that place he sent a despatch to the head- 
quarters of the army, in which he requested that the eighth 
Austrian corps, which was posted at Josephstadt, might be 
allowed to assist him with two brigades. Feldzeugmeister 
Benedek thereupon ordered that the eighth corps should 
advance to Skalitz, and be prepared to engage in the first 
line, while that of General Ramming should form its reserve. 
Both corps were placed under the command of the Archduke 
l^opold. One brigade of the Prussian sixth corps, which was 
to follow the fifth corps through the defile of Nachod, had 
reached Nachod on the evening of the 27 th, and was ready 
that day to advance with General Steinmetz. General Stein- 
metz determined to advance. At the same time the Austrian 
general replaced the sixth corps by the eighth corps at Skalitz, 

p 2 

212 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book VI. 

in order to oppose the Prussians and drive them bacL Hence 
arose the 


The Austrians were soon forced to quit all hopes of the offen- 
sive, and to assume the defensive energetically in front of 
Skalitz, on the road and railway, which are flanked on the 
north and south by two woods. The country was entirely un- 
favourable for the action of cavalry. Either side brought up as 
much force as possible. The battle swayed hither and thither, 
but ultimately the superior strength and armament of the Prus- 
sian soldier told against his weaker antagonist 

On the north of the railway the 37 th and 58th Prussian rai- 
ments and 4th dragoons with three batteries advanced ; while 
on the south the King's own regiment, though exposed to a 
terrible fire of artillery, gained the wood on the south of the 
town, and here succeeded in sustaining the assaults of far 
superior numbers, until the 6th, 46th, and 52nd and 47th regi- 
ments could come up to its aid, and join with it in an attack on 

This attack was made about 3 p.m. On the north side of the 
town the 6th and 52nd regiments advanced, and along the 
high road the 7th, 37th, 58th, and 47th regiments. 

The Austrian position was forced, and the Archduke Leopold 
compelled to fall back to a strong position behind the Aupa, 
where he intended to hold his ground, supported by his nume- 
rous artillery. This position was however also carried by the 
Prussians, who there took many prisoners, and by it they gdned 
the command of the defile of the Aupa. 

General Steinmetz, by this victory, captured four thousand 
, prisoners, eight guns, and several stands of colours. On this 
day, the 28th, depended whether the Army of Silesia would 
effect its issue from the mountains, or fail in the attempt. The 
corps of the Guards was engaged at Trautenau, the fifth corps 
at Skalitz. The Crown Prince, in person, could not be present 
at either action. He was obliged to choose a position between 
the two, whence he could proceed to any point where his pre- 
sence might be necessary. He accordingly posted himself on a 
hill near Kosteletz, where the heavy cavalry of the Guard took 


up its position on coming through the hills, and where it was 
joined at a later period of the day by the reserve artillery of the 
Guard. The time passed heavily on that hill of Kosteletz. 
The thunder of cannon rose ever louder from Skalitz on the 
south, and from the direction of Trautenau on the north. With 
anxious ears the Commander-in-chief and his staff listened to 
the progress of the cannonade, and with eager eyes scanned 
the positions of the eddying clouds of white smoke which rose 
from the engaged artillery. It was the intention of the Crown 
Prince, if an unfavourable report of the progress of the action 
on either side was brought to him, to repair to that point, and 
in person to encourage his pressed troops. But every orderly 
officer, every aide-de-camp, brought the intelligence that the 
battles in both places were going well for the Prussians. 

At last, between three and four o'clock, the Commander-in- 
chief received the positive report from General Steinmetz that 
he had stormed Skalitz, and driven back two of the enemy's 
corps. No longer had the Crown Prince to give a thought to 
this side. He immediately started for Eypel, in order to be 
present at the action in which the Guards were engaged. At 
this place the news reached him that the Guard had also victo- 
riously achieved its task, and not only had forced the defile 
from Eypel, but had also opened the pass from Trautenau* 
Here, then, were the three issues from the mountains, the 
defiles of Trautenau, Eypel, and Nachod, popularly called the 
gates of Bohemia, in the secure possession of the Second Prus- 
sian Army, and the junction of the hitherto separated corps 
almost certain to be effected on the following day. To accom- 
plish the junction of his united army with that of Prince 
Frederick Charles, the Crown Prince ordered the advance the 
next morning to be made as far as the Elbe. 

The quarters of the Crown Prince on the night of the 28th 
were fixed at Eypel, where he heard for the first time that the 
first corps had only returned on the 27th from Trautenau to 
their former bivouac, and were fit to advance again on the 29th, 
having halted there on the 28th. The report of General von 
Benin had not before reached head -quarters, and all that was 
heard of the first corps was that it had not assisted the Guards 
in the action of the 28th. 


The Crown Prince immediately ordered General von Benin 
to advance at daybreak on the 29th, from Trautenau to Pil- 

On the 29th June, General Steinmetz, with the fifth and 
sixth corps, was to advance from Skalitz in a westerly direction, 
towards Koniginhof, as far as Gradlitz, in order to approach 
the other corps of the Crown Prince, so that the whole Army of 
Silesia might be united on the Elbe before commencing general 
operations in concert with the First Army. Fresh forces of the 
enemy opposed this march, and took post in a situation which 
caused the 


The Austrian troops, which here opposed the advance of the 
Prussian fifth corps, were those of the fourth corps, under the 
command of General Festetics, whom Feldzeugmeister Benedek 
had sent forward from Jaromirz, after he had withdrawn the 6th 
and the 8th corps. Of this corps there were present only three 
brigades, for one brigade had been detached to Koniginhof, 
where on the same day it was engaged in an action against the 
leading battalions of the Prussian Guard, as has been already 
noticed. General Steinmetz attacked, and after an action of 
three hours, which consisted of little more than a cannonade, 
the Austrians were driven back, and retreated under the guns 
of the fortress of Josephstadt, which opened hotly upon the ad- 
vancing Prussians. General Festetics made his retreat in good 
time, in order not to suffer a loss similar to that which had 
befallen the other Austrian corps which had been engaged at 
Trautenau and Skalitz. Early as he retired, however, he lost 
eight hundred prisoners. 

General Steinmetz, after pushing the retreating Austrians 
close up to Josephstadt, did not venture to press fiuther in 
this direction, as by pursuing such a course he would have 
been exposed to be cut off and isolated from the other corps of 
the Crown Prince. He detached, accordingly, one brigade, to 
observe tlie garrison of Josephstadt, and moved the remainder 
of his corps to Gradlitz, about two miles east of Koniginhof, in 
order to concentrate with the rest of the Army of Silesia, He 
arrived there on the night of the 29th June, and took up a 


position near the division of the Guards, which was already 
stationed there. 

The sixth Prassiaa corps, which followed the fifth corps by 
the defile of Nachod, firom the county of Glatz, had only sent 
forward one brigade to aid the corps of General Stemmetz in 
the actions of the 28th and 29th Juae. It reached Gradlitz, 
however, late on the 30th June, so that now three corps of the 
Army of Silesia were concentrated in the vicinity of Koniginhof. 
The first corps had reached Amau, where there is also a bridge 
over the Elbe, about seven miles to the north of Koniginho£ 
Thus the army of the down Prince, four days after its inroad 
into Bohemia, had successfully united its divided columns of 
advance, and had made itself master of the line of the Elbe 
from Amau to near Josephstadt Four Austrian corps had 
been repulsed, three of which were decidedly defeated, and 
had lost ten thousand prisoners, twenty guns, five colours, and 
two standards to the Crown Prince. 

On the 30th of June a cavalry regiment, sent out from 
Gitschin by Prince Frederick Charles, fell in with the outposts 
of the corps of the Crown Prince at Amau. Communi- 
cations between the two main armies were now established 
in Bohemia, and their secure junction almost certain. For the 
sake of simplicity, it may be here advisable to give briefly a 
general sketch of the steps taken each day by the two armies 
from the time oi their crossing the Austrian frontier to bring 
about their common concentration. 


On the 23rd June, the army of Prince Frederick Charles 
advanced in three columns firom Zittau, Gorlitz, and Laubau, 
towards Reichenberg. 

The same day the Army of the Elbe advanced fix)m 

On the 24th, Prince Frederick Charles occupied Reichen- 
berg, and concentrated his three columns, which had passed 
through the mountains. 

On the 26th, the advanced guard of the fifth corps (Army of 

2i6 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book VL. 

Silesia) seized Nachod in the evening, and the Guards crossed 
the frontier of Bohemia by the Wunschelburg road. 

The same evening Prince Frederick Charles secured the 
passage of the Iser at Tiimau and Pod oil, and the Army of the 
Elbe occupied Hayda and B5hmisch Aicha. 

On the 27th, the first corps of the Crown Prince's army 
seized Trautenau, but was defeated and driven back by 
General Gablenz. 

The fifth corps of the Crown Prince's army defeated General 
Ramming in the action of Nachod. 

The Army of the Elbe, after a skirmish, occupied Hiihner- 

On the 28th, the Army of the Elbe and JPrince Frederick 
Charles defeated the corps of Count Clam Gallas at Miinchen- 
gratz, and secured the line of the Iser. 

The Guards, under the Crown Prince, defeated General 
Gablenz at Soor, and cleared the issue from the Trautenau 
defile for the first corps. 

The fifth corps defeated the Archduke Leopold at Skalitz. 

On the 29th, the Guard corps stormed Koniginhof ; and the 
fifth Prussian corps drove General Festetics firom Schwein- 
schadeL The Crown Prince concentrated his army on the left 
bank of the Elbe. 

The army of Prince Frederick Charles that night stormed 

On the 30th, communications were opened between the 
army of Prince Frederick Charles round Gitschin and the first 
corps of the army of the Crown Prince at Arnau. 


For some reason, political or military, Benedek did not 
assume the offensive. He threw this advantage into the hands 
of his adversaries. It is supposed that political causes and 
the request of the Germanic Confederation prevented the 
Austrian general from taking this line of action, and carrying 
the war into Saxony. 

After having determined to fight on the defensive, he in- 
tended to check one portion of his enemy's armies with a 


detachment, while with superior forces he threw himself upon 
the other. The lines of operation of the Prussian armies, con- 
vergent from separate bases, gave him a favourable opportunity 
to reap successful results from such a course. He could either 
send a detachment to hold Prince Frederick Charles while he 
assailed the Crown Prince, or could hold the latter while with 
the mass of his army he threw himself upon the former. To 
hold the Crown Prince, however, while he attacked Frederick 
Charles was much more hazardous than to adopt the alternate 
line. The Crown Prince, if he beat the detachment left to 
bar his way, could sweep down upon the Austrian communi- 
cations with Vienna ere Benedek had laid his grasp upon the 
First Prussian Army. If this had been his intention, he 
should have held the Castle of Nachod and the passes at 
Trautenau and EypeL If, on the other hand, he intended to 
delay Frederick Charles, the line of the Iser should have been 
tenaciously held between Tiimau and Miinchengratz. None 
of these things were done. Inferior forces of the Austrians 
were exposed at almost all points to superior forces of the 
Prussians; while the masses, which cast at the proper 
moment to either side would have turned the scale, oscillated 
vaguely backwards and forwards under vacillatory or contra- 
dictory orders. 

On the evening of the 26th June Benedek knew that the 
Crown Prince was on the frontier, and that Prince Frederick 
Charles was close to the Iser. His corps at this time were 
stationed, the tenth at Pilnikau, the fourth at Koniginhof, the 
sixth near Skalitz, while of the three others, two were south of 
Josephstadt and one as far off as Bohmisch Triibau. On the 
27th, after Tiimau on the Iser had been evacuated without a 
blow by Clam Gallas, and the passage of that stream at PodoU 
stormed by Frederick Charles, Benedek appears to have made 
no movement to support with his reserves his corps at Nachod 
or Trautenau against the Crown Prince, or to send reinforce- 
ments to Clam Gallas. 

On the 28th, the Crown Prince determined to retrieve the 
misfortune of his right on the previous day, by energetically 
attacking the position of the Austrian corps; while at the 
same time the fifth corps, supported by the sixth, should move 

2i8 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book VI. 

against Skalitz. Benedek had had only two corps engaged on 
the previous day. One of these had been defeated at Nachod. 
and driven back to Skalitz, but had by no means been routed. 

The other had well held its own and had repulsed its 
assailants. As yet the Austrian commander had lost nothing 
so important that he might not hope, by vigorous action on 
the 28th, to gain a decided success, and with one blow to turn 
the fortune of the campaign, and the destiny of Austria. 

The first Prussian corps was not on the morning of the 28th 
sufficiently recovered from its repulse on the previous day to 
engage at all. The fifth corps was able to engage, but was 
supported only by one brigade of the sixth, because the three 
remaining brigades of that corps were still in the defile through 
the mountains. 

Thus, the Crown Prince had only the two divisions of the 
Guard corps, the fifth corps, and one brigade of the sixth 

corps ready to go into action on the morning of the 28th, 

in all about 67,000 men. 

General Benedek ought to have known on the 27 th by day- 
break, that he had nothing to fear in the direction of Olmiitz, 
for the demonstration of the sixth Prussian corps made in that 
direction on the previous day had been withdrawn. He could 
therefore on the 27 th have moved the third corps from Boh- 
misch Triibau to Josephstadt that day, and would then have 
had six corps, about 150,000 men, ready to push into action 
energetically on the morning of the 28th, and with them to 
drive the Crown Prince back into the defiles. This great 
opportunity, however, was missed. The sixth Austrian corps 
at Skalitz was indeed reinforced by the eighth ; but the tenth 
corps was left without reinforcements at Trautenau, so that, 
although he had a force at hand double that of his adver- 
sary, on the morning of the 28th only three corps, about 
70,000 men, were placed in position to come under fire. 

It is natural to inquire why Benedek did not employ on the 
28th the three corps which did not come into action that day. 
The reason, as far as can be gathered, appears to be, that 
Benedek made the vital error of attempting to check the 
Crown Prince when he was already past the defiles, and in a 
position to threaten the Austrian communications, with a 


detachment, wh3e he directed his principal blow against 
Prince Frederick Charies. At this time the distance between 
the two Prussian armies was about forty miles. They were 
too far separated to afford each other mutual assistance. The 
distance from Benedek*s headquarters* to the Iser was nearly 
fifty miles ; that from the same place to Skalitz, about eight 
miles ; to Trautenau about twenty. At the two latter places 
the Crown Prince was thrusting against the Austrian detach- 
ments. The Prussian Second Army was thus at less than 
half the distance from the mass of Benedek's troops than was 
the First Army. It was also in a more favourable position to 
sweep down on a vital point of Benedek's line of communica- 
tion with Vienna than was the First Clearly every exertion 
should have been made to crush the Crown Prince on the 
28th. The Feldzeugmeister, however, designed to hold the 
Crown Prince by three corps while he made his great attempt 
against Prince Frederick Charles. Orders were sent to the 
commanders of the corps at Trautenau and Skalitz, not to 
compromise themselves in a serious action, but to retreat 
slowly, if pressed by superior numbers. These orders were 
neglected. If they had been observed, it is doubtful whether 
the Crown Prince would not have pushed them back, and con- 
centrated his army on the Austrian communications, before 
Benedek had time to strike down Prince Frederick Charles, 
and return with his main force to support his troops in front 
of the Second Army. The result of the neglect of the orders 
of the Commander-in-Chief was, however, that the three 
Austrian corps engaged on the 28th near Josephstadt were 
severely mutilated for further operations. Intending to sup- 
port Clam Gallas and the Saxons before he knew of the 
unfortunate issue of the combats of Nachod and Skalitz, 
Benedek mstructed them to stand firm at Gitschin; and 
promised to support them with his third corps on the 29th, 
and ultimately with other corps. This despatch was received 
at the Saxon head-quarters about mid-day on the 29th. The 
Saxons and Clam GaJlas took up a strong position to fight at 
Gitschin. When they were aheady engaged, and had com- 

* Josephstadt 


promised themselves in a serious action with the leading 
divisions of Prince Frederick Charles, a second despatch ar- 
rived from Benedek. This had been written after the results 
of Trautenau and Skalitz on the 28th were known to him. In 
it he ordered the Crown Prince of Saxony to fall back slowly 
before Prince Frederick Charles, while he himself collected 
his forces on the heights above Koniginhof to oppose the 
Second Army. By the crushing defeat at Gitschin, the left 
flank of this position was laid open to the Prussian First 
Army, and the Austrian commander was reduced to make 
fresh dispositions, unable any longer to prevent the junction 
of the two Prussian armies on the ground upon which at the 
outbreak of hostilities he himself stood. Thus, by a neglect 
to strike boldly on his nearest adversary, Benedek sacrificed 
all the advantages which he had possessed from a central 
situation, and the separate lines of operation of his antagonists. 
To the superior armament of the Prussians a degree of im- 
portance has rather hastily been awarded, which seems not to 
be wholly merited. The needle-gun came into action imder 
certainly favourable circumstances. At Podoll the Prussians 
armed with breech-loaders fired upon the troops of Clam 
Gallas while the latter were crowded together in the narrow 
street of a village. At Nachod the soldiers of Steinmetz fired 
from the cover of a wood upon their Austrian assailants in the 
open. In both cases the rapid discharges told fearfriUy upon 
the men who were armed with the more slowly loaded 
weapons. The consequence was that the Prussians gained a 
great moral victory at the very beginning. They found con- 
fidence, their opponents lost heart. Yet in the subsequent 
operations the difference of armament had little physical 
effect, Superior strategical capabilities, superior organization, 
and greater activity seemed to have been more powerful in 
gaining the junction of the Prussian armies than superior 
armament Yet the Prussian leaders hazarded much by their 
two convergent lines of operation. The result is but another 
proof of the old maxim that " in war he is the victor who 
makes the fewest errors." 



After his unsuccessful attempts at Soor and Skalitz on the 
28th, to prevent the issue of the columns of the Crown Prince 
from the mountains, Feldzeugmeister Benedek determined to 
take up a strong position on the right bank of the Upper 
Elbe, in order to prevent the passage of that river by the 
Army of Silesia. 

The Elbe, which runs in a course nearly directly from 
north to south between Josephstadt and Koniggratz, forms 
almost a right angle at Uie former fortress. Its upper course 
above that place lies from north-west to east Parallel to the 
stream, and about one mile from it, a chain of hills thickly 
wooded with fir-trees rises with a steep ascent, and forms the 
southern bank of the valley. About half-way up the hillside 
runs the railway which leads from Josephstadt to Tiimau. It 
was along these heights that the Austrian commander designed 
to draw up his troops, in such a manner as to bar the 
passage of the Upper Elbe against the Crown Prince, and 
to command the bridges of Amau, Koniginhof, and Schurz. 

The right wing of the troops under the immediate command 
of Benedek rested on the fortress of Josephstadt, and his 
position extended along the heights towards Daubrowitz, while 
his extreme left was formed and covered by the first corps and 
the Saxons under Count Clam Gallas at Gitschin. In Konig- 
inhof he left one brigade, and at Schweinschadel three brigades 
of his fourth corps, in order to check the advance of the 


Crown Prince while he was making his dispositions. These 
troops were, as has been already said, driven in by the Prus- 
sians on the 29th, when they retired and formed a portion of 
the new Austrian line near Josephstadt. 

On the night of the 29th Prince Frederick Charles stormed 
Gitschin, and defeated Count Clam Gallas, who retired in 
disorder towards Koniggratz. The loss of Gitschin exposed 
the left flank of Benedek's intended position. As soon as he 
heard the news of Count Clam Gallas's failure on the morning 
of the 30th, he was obliged to make new arrangements to 
oppose the advance of the enemy towards Vienna. 

Of his eight corps, five — ^namely, the first corps, the Saxons, 
the sixth, eighth, and tenth — ^had been decidedly beaten, and 
had suffered great loss both in men and morale. The fourth 
corps had also been under fire and suffered, though to a much 
less serious extent. Two corps only remained to the Austrian 
commander which were thoroughly intact He had no hope 
of any supports, reserves, or reinforcements. His lefl flank 
was exposed, and no course remained open to him except to 
retire before he was cut off from his line of communication 
with Vienna, and to accept battle from his adversary in a chosen 
and prepared position. The Austrian army had suffered a loss 
of about forty thousand men since the opening of the campaign 
in its attempts to prevent the junction of the Prussian armies. 
Notwithstanding this, its bravery and power of endurance 
were still great High hopes were entertained that Benedek's 
generalship would retrieve all previous failures by a decisive 

The Austrian commander felt himself unequal to assume the 
offensive. He was forced to seek a defensive position, and 
could ohoose one in either of two entirely distinct manners. 
If he desired a purely defensive position he might withdraw 
behind the Elbe, and take up the line of that river between 
the fortresses of Josephstadt and Koniggratz ; or, what would 
perhaps have been better, he might have concentrated his army 
behind the Adler, between Koniggratz and Hohenbruck. 
Here his left flank would have been secured by the fortress, 
his right by the Adler, and he would have covered a safe 
retreat and source of supply in the railway between Pardubitz 


and Bohmisch TriibaiL On the other side he might choose a 
defensive position, where he would still retain the power of 
assuming the ofifensive. This appears to have been his object 
He hoped in a great battle to repair the misfortunes of the 
last few days, and then on his side to advance as an assailant 
Whether he would have done better to have taken up an 
entirely defensive position until the confidence of his army was 
restored is a question which few could decide. He has been 
blamed for not doing so, but in war success is generally 
regarded as the sole criterion of merit Fortune declared 
against Benedek. He did not reap success. 

On the afternoon of the 30th June, he issued orders for the 
whole army to retire towards Koniggratz, and to concentrate 
in front of that fortress. This retreat along crowded country 
roads was attended with considerable difficulty, and it was not 
till the night of the 2nd July that his whole force was assembled 
in front of Koniggratz, where it took up a position between 
that town and the little river Bistritz. 

On the Prussian side four divisions of the First Army, and 
part of that of General Herwarth von Bittenfeld, had not yet 
been under fire. Of the Second Army three brigades had not 
as yet pulled a trigger. The first corps had had time to recruit 
itself after its defeat at Trautenau, and the remainder of the 
troops were flushed with victory, high of courage, and eager 
for battle. In order to complete effectually the junction 
between the army of the Crown Prince, which on the 30th 
June had concentrated on the left of the Upper Elbe, with that 
of Prince Frederick Charles, which, with the Army of the Elbe 
as its right wing, was halted that day round Gitschin, the 
Second Army would require to make a wheel to its left, pivoted 
on Gradlitz. To carry out this movement, on the ist July the 
first corps, which formed the right wing of the Army of Silesia, 
advanced from Amau to Ober Prausnitz, and threw its ad- 
vanced guard forward to Zelejow on the road to Miletin. The 
cavalry division took post at Neustadd. The first division of 
the Guards occupied Koniginhof, while its advanced guard 
seized the plateau of Daubrowitz, on the bank of the Elbe. 
The second division of the Guards, the reserve artillery, and 
the heavy cavalry of fhe Guard halted at Rettendorf, while the 


fifth and sixth corps concentrated round Gradlitz. The head- 
quarters of the Crown Prince were in Koniginhof. The 
Prussian generals thought that Feldzeugmeister Benedek would 
accept battle on the left bank of the Elbe, with his flanks 
resting on the fortresses of Josephstadt and Koniggratz, which 
lie ten miles apart along the river, and with his front covered 
by the stream ; or that, if he did not do so, he would cross the 
Elbe at Pardubitz, and take up a position there behind the 

Under this idea two and a half Prussian corps were held on 
the left bank of the Elbe both to observe the fortress of 
Josephstadt and to be prepared vigorously to oppose any 
attack made from behind the cover of that fortress against the 
line of communication of the Crown Prince with Silesia. 

Prince Frederick Charles, on the ist July, pushed forward 
from Gitschin. The Army of the Elbe formed his right wing, 
and occupied Smidar and Hoch Wessely. The sixth division, 
with the fifth in its rear, occupied Miletin ; the seventh and 
eighth, Horitz; the third and fourth, with the cavalry corps 
and the reserve artillery corps, were bivouacked along the road 
from Gitschin to Horitz. The head-quarters of the Prince 
were at Kammenitz. 

The small chateau and village of Kamiiiienitz lie on the 
northern slope of an isolated hill, which stands on the left-hand 
side of the road from Gitschin to Horitz, about half-way be- 
tween the two towns. The head-quarters of Prince Frederick 
Charles were moved here on the evening of the ist July from 

From the hill south of the village of Kammenitz a wide 
view could be obtained of the undulating plain which, richly 
cultivated and studded with villages and fir-woods, stretches 
southwards for nearly thirty miles. Near to Kammenitz, the 
smoke of the bivouac fires and the glitter of the sunlight on 
the piled arms marked the position of the Prussian troops, but 
no Austrian outposts could be made out During the march 
of that day a sudden thunderstorm came on, and the rain fell 
heavily for an hour; the road, crowded with thousands of 
waggons and military carriages, ran into ruts under the exces- 
sive transport, and the convoys of Austrian wounded, who had 


been perfofce deserted by their retreating friends, jolted pain-* 
fully along towards the hospitals which had been established at 
Gitschin* The maimed soldiers suffered much, for every time 
the waggons rocked some wound was opened afresh, or some 
bandage came undone, but they bore it patiently, and their 
guardians did all they could to alleviate their sufferings. The 
different coloured facings of the wounded told that many 
Austrian regimentd had been engaged in the late combats, for 
the uniforms of the different infantry regiments could be distin- 
guished, besides those of hussars and riflemen. 

On the night of the ist the main body of the First Army 
lay between Kanunenitz and Horitz. General von Bittenfeld 
had occupied Smidar on the fight flank, and Jung Bunzlau* was 
also occupied in the same direction. The head of the columns 
of the Second Army had crossed the Upper Elbe, a^ the 
whole Prussian force was free iot operations in Bohemia, >br 
the Hanoverians had laid dowti their arms near Erfurth, and 
there wefe now no hostile troops in Northern Germany.t 

The inhabitants of the towns had mostly fled on the approach 
of the Prussian army, but the country villagers, unable to afford 
to pay for transport, had been obliged to remain in their 
houses* Nor did tliey suffer by doing so, for the Prussian 
soldiers behaved well, and there was no plundering where the 
inhabitants remained. In the towns where there was no one 
to sell, the commissariat was obliged to take the necessaries of 
life, for the marches had been long, the roads had been 
crowded with troops, and the provision trains had not always 
been able to keep up with the army. But the soldiers never 
used force to supply their wants. Forage for the horses was 
taken from the bams of the large landed proprietors, who had 
deserted their castles and chateaux ; but the men paid for what 
they had from the peasantry : unable to speak the Bohemian 
language, they by signs made their wants understood, and the 
peasantry, as far as lay in their power, supplied them readily, 
for none were found so ignorant as not to appreciate Prussian 
coin* The villagers were invariably kindly treated; no 

* On the railway between Munchengratz and Pragae4 

t Soe/<^//« 


cottages had been ransacked, their poultry yards had been 
respected, their cattle had not been taken away from them, 
and, though the women of this province are beautiful, no 
Bohemian girl had cause to rue the invasion of her country. 
Yet the inhabitants of a land where a war is carried on must 
always suffer ; troops must move through the standing com, 
cavalry and artillery must trample down the crops; hamlets 
must be occupied, defended, and assaulted, and a shell, in- 
tended to fall among fighting men, must often unintentionally 
set fire to a cottage, which, blazing fiercely, communicates the 
flames to others, and thus a whole hamlet is often destroyed. 
Then the ejected cottagers have little hope of anything but 
starvation, for a vast army with its many hundred thousand 
mouths eats up everything in the country, and can spare little 
after its own necessities are supplied to give away in charity. 
The proprietors of the burnt houses sometimes wandered about 
the fields dejected and desponding, sometimes stood staring 
vacantly at the cinders and charred timbers which marked the 
place where a few days ago stood their homes ; the little money 
that was given to them by kind-hearted officers might keep ofF 
the pangs of hunger for a short time, but was no compensation 
for the heavy losses they had sustained, for oflen their cottage 
and their cowhouse and a litde field was all their wealth, and 
since these were gone and their crop destroyed, they had 
nothing. The young men even in the country districts had 
nearly all fled south, frightened by a report that the Prussians 
w^ould make them join the ranks; for this report there was 
never a foundation, for no recruits had been demanded or 
received in the countries occupied by the armies. 

Brilliant success had attended the skilful plans laid for the 
prosecution of this campaign by the Prussian leaders. The 
army of Prince Frederick Charles had fought five severe 
combats without a reverse, and had secured a favourable posi- 
tion in which to fight a great battle. The Crown Prince fought 
severe actions on the 27th, 28th, and 29th, and had now 
secured his junction with Prince Frederick Charles, bringing 
with him as trophies of his victories 15,000 prisoners, 24 
captured guns, six stands of colours, and two standards. 

The places where there had been fighting did not long retain 


the more ghastly signs of the combat; the wounded were 
always removed as quickly as the krankentrager could work, 
and though broken boughs, burnt houses, and down-trodden 
com marked for a few days the places where the hostile troops 
had been engaged, the broken arms and castaway knapsacks 
wer^ soon removed, and the graves dotted among the fields, 
each with a wooden cross at the head, alone told the spots 
where soldiers had fallen. And these, too, soon disappeared, 
for the sun and the rain rapidly diminished the mounds of 
newly-turned earth, and it will soon be impossible to distinguish 
the positions of the graves from the other parts of the fields. 
But this will matter little to those who sleep below. The 
wounded merited greater commiseration. The hospital re- 
sources of the Prussian army had been tasked to the utmostj 
for more wounded prisoners had been taken than could have 
been anticipated. Every available house and the churches in 
Gitschin had been converted into hospitals, but still there was 
more room required ; nor would the few remaining inhabitants 
help to assist the wounded Austrian soldiers ; in vain did the 
Prussian staff entreat, imprecate, and threaten; the towns- 
people who were still at Gitschin would not evQn carry some of 
the coffee which they had in abundance to give to the wounded, 
and these fi*om the scarcity of provisions in the army fared 
badly. As the news spread abroad in the country that the 
Prussians did not pillage and murder, the people began to 
return to their houses, but they all appeared to be totally 
callous to the sufferings of their fellow-countrymen. The 
Austrian medical men and hospital attendants who were 
captured at Gitschin worked hard, and were aided powerfully 
by the Prussian officers, but they had few materials with which 
to supply the wants of so many; and though none went 
totally unprovided for, and none were entirely neglected, a 
little trouble on the part of the inhabitants would have tended 
inaterially to the comfort and cure of many. 

The inhabitants pleaded as an excuse that the Austrian 
soldiery had treated them badly, and had pillaged ; but this 
did not seem true, for the houses bore no signs of having been 
plundered, and if plundering had been allowed in the Austrian 
amiy the prisoners would, not have had to complain of want oC 

Q a 


food. Railway traffic was already opened to Miinchengratz, 
but the army had now left the line of railway, many miles of 
road separating it from the nearest station ; and in those miles 
of road lay the difficulty of supplying the troops with pro- 
visions. The railway trains easily brought enough to any 
station, but at this time the roads were required for the march- 
ing columns, and everything had to give way for the passage of 
the troops. 

The army carried no tents ; sometimes at night the soldiers 
were billeted in villages, but more often slept in the open air. 
As soon as a regiment arrived at the place where it was to pass 
the night, the rifles were piled four together resting against each 
other, and the knapsacks were taken off and laid on the ground 
beside them. The tnen quickly lighted their fires and began 
cooking their rations ; a couple of stones or a few bricks formed 
their field stoves, and their whole cooking apparatus consisted 
of the one tin can which they carry with them. This serves 
for both boiling the water for coffee and for making their meat 
into a thick soup, which they seem to prefer to roasted food. 
As soon as it got dark each man ky down to sleep wrapped in 
his cloak with his knapsack for a pillow, and the muffied figures 
lay as regularly in the bivouac as they stood in the ranks on 
parade. The officers lay separate in groups of two or three, 
and in rear of the battalion the horses were picketed and 
champed at their bits uneasily all night long, and seldom 
seemed to lie down. When a village was occupied a rush was 
made to secure mattresses, but these were only used by the 
luxurious. The men, as a rule, appeared to prefer straw, and 
if they could get plenty of it were quite content to sleep in the 
open air. General and staff officers usually contrived to get 
into houses, and then there was a heavy drain on the sleeping 
accommodation of the establishment One had a pillow, 
another a mattress^ a third a couple of blankets, and beds were 
made on the floor on the most advanced shake-down principles, 
but all slept soundly, for the day's work was long and tiring, 
and the march generally begun at early morning. The pro- 
prietors of most of the large houses had not only left them, but 
had taken most of their furniture with them, so that the tem- 
porary occupants were entirely dependent on what little had 


been left behind, and had to make it up by by borrowing from 
the nearest cottages. 

On the 30th June the King left Berlin, and on the afternoon 
of the ist July arrived at Gitschin, where in person he assumed 
the supreme command of the three Prussian armies in Bohemia, 
It was decided by him that the troops should halt on the 2nd 
July, to recover from the great fatigues they had lately under- 

A council of war was ordered to assemble at Gitschin, to 
which Prince Frederick Charles and the Crown Prince were 
summoned. It was decided that on the 3rd the First Army 
should send a reconnaissance towards Koniggratz, that the 
Second should send a strong detachment towards Josephstadt, 
and if possible cut that fortress off from communication with 
the army of Feldzeugmeister Benedek \ while the remainder of 
the troops halted in their actual positions. 

These plans were, however, entirely altered within a few 



When Prince Frederick Charles left Kammenitz on the 
morning of Monday, the 2nd July, to attend the council of 
war summoned by the King to meet at Gitschin, he sent out 
two officers to reconnoitre beyond Horitz; both fell in with 
Austrian troops, and had to fight and ride hard to bring their 
information home safely. Major Von Ungar, who went in the 
direction of Koniggratz, escorted by a few dragoons, came 
upon a large force of Austrian cavalry and Jagers before he got 
to the little river Bistritz, over which the road from Horitz to 
Koniggratz crosses, about half way between those two towns. 
A squadron of cavalry made an immediate dash to catch him, 
and he and his dragoons had to ride for their lives ; the 
Austria ns pursued, and those best mounted came up to the 
Prussians, but not in sufficient numbers to stop them, and 
after a running skirmish, in which Von Ungar received a lance 
thrust in the side which carried away most of his coat, but 
hardly grazed the skin, this reconnoitring party safely gained 
the outposts of their own army. More on the Prussian right 
the other reconnoitring officer also found the Austrians in force, 
and was obliged to retire rapidly. From the reports of these 
officers, and from other information which Prince Frederick 
Charles received at Kammenitz on his return from the council 
of war held at Gitschin, he inferred that the Austrian com- 
mander had the intention of advancing the next day from the 
Bistritz, with the object of attacking the First Prussian Army 
with superior force, before its junction with that of the CroiMi 
Prince was practically effected. 

Prince Frederick Charles, in order to secure a favourable 


position in which to accept this probable attack, resolved 
immediately to move his army forward beyond Horitz, and 
sent orders to General Von Bittenfeld to advance with the 
aimy of the Elbe to Neu Bidsow, and be prepared thence to 
fall upon the left wing of the Austrian cohimn of advance, while 
he himself assailed its leading divisions; At the same time he 
sent Lieutenant Von Normand with a letter to the Crown 
Prince, asking him to push forward in the morning from 
Miletin with one corps, and attack the right flank of the 
Austrians while he himself engaged them in front. There was 
some fear that the Austrian cavalry patrols and detachments 
-which were prowling about would intercept the aide-de-camp 
and stop the letter, but Von Normand succeeded in avoiding 
them, and got safely to the Crown Prince's head-quarters at 
one o'clock on the morning of the 3rd, and rejoined Prince 
Frederick Charles at four to report the success of his mission, 
and to bring to the leader of the First Army an assurance of 
the co-operation of the Second. Had this aide-de-camp been 
taken prisoner or killed on his way to Miletin, his loss would 
have probably influenced the whole campaign, for on that letter 
depended in a great measure the issue of the battle. 

The commander of the First Army sent at the same time his 
chief of the staff. General Von Voigt Rhetz, to acquaint the 
King at Gitschin with the steps he was prepared to take, and 
to solicit his approval of them. The King expressed his 
entire approbation of the plan of Prince Frederick Charles, 
and sent an officer of his own staff" to order the Crown Prince 
to advance in the morning against the Austrian right, not with 
one corps alone, but with all his available forces. An officer of 
the King's staff" was also sent to General Herwarth von Bitten- 
feld, with an endorsement of the order already signed by Prince 
Frederick Charles. 

Long before midnight the troops were all in motion, and at 
half-past one in the morning the general staff left Kammenitz. 
The moon occasionally shone out brightly, but was generally 
hidden behind clouds, and then could be distinctly seen the 
decaying bivouac fires in the places which had been occupied 
by the troops along the road. These fires looked like large 
will-o'-the-wisps as their flames flickered about in the wind, and 


Stretched for many a mile, for there were 100,000 soldiers with 
the First Army alone, and the bivouacs of so great a force 
spread over a wide extent of country. Day gradually began to 
break, but with the first symptoms of dawn a drizzling rain 
came on, which lasted until late in the afternoon. The wind 
increased and blew coldly upon the soldiers, for they were 
short of both sleep and food, while frequent gusts bore down 
to the ground the water-laden com in the wide fields alongside 
the way. 

The main road from Horitz to Koniggratz sinks into a deep 
hollow near the village of Milowitz. On the side of this 
hollow fiirthest from Horitz, is placed near the road the village 
of that name, and on the left of the road, on the same bank, 
stands a thick fir wood. A little after midnight the army of 
Prince Frederick Charles was entirely concealed in this hollow, 
ready to issue from its ambush and attack the Austrians if they 
should advance.* Soon after dawn, a person standing between 
the village of Milowitz and the further hill of Dub could see no 
armed men, except a few Prussian vedettes posted along the 
Dub ridge, whose lances stood in relief above the summit, 
against the murky sky. A few dismounted officers were 
standing below a fruit-tree in front of Milowitz, with their 
horses held by some orderlies behind them. These were 
Prince Frederick Charles and his staff. All was still, except 
when the neigh of a horse, or a loud word of command as the 
last divisions formed, rose mysteriously from the hollow of 

Until nearly four o'clock the army remained concealed. 
No Austrian scouts came pricking over the hill of Dub, no 
enemy's skirmishers were detected in the com by the side of 
the high road. Prince Frederick Charles began to fear that the 
Austrian comnoander meant to slip away from the encounter, 
and to steal behind the Elbe, where his right flank would 
be covered by Josephstadt, from the assault of the army of 

* The eighth division and cavalry, with the fifth and sixth divisions in 
rear, were on the left of the road, while the third and fourth divisions 
were behind the villages of Bristau and Stracow respectively, in the same 


To hold the Austrian army in front of the Elbe was abso- 
lutely necessary for the success of the Prussian plans, and 
Prince Frederick Charles resolved, with his own army alone, to 
engage the whole of Benedek's forces, and clinging to the 
Austrian commander, to hold him on the Bistritz until the 
Prussian flank attacks could be developed. A few short words 
passed from the commander of the First Army to the chief 
of his staff; a few aides-de-camp, mounting silently, rode 
quietly away ; and, as it were by the utterance of a magician's 
spell, one hundred thousand Prussian warriors springing into 
sight as if from the bowels of the armed earth, swept over the 
southern edge of the Milowitz ravine, towards the hill of Dub. 

The head of the eighth division was on the main road to 
Koniggratz, while the third and fourth divisions spread through 
the com lands on its right The fifth and sixth divisions fol- 
lowed the eighth in reserve. A brigade of cavalry served on 
the left of the eighth division to connect the main army with 
the seventh division imder Franzecky, which had been sent 
straight from Miletin to Cerekwitz, in order to cover the left 
flank of the First Army. 

About four o'clock in the morning of the 3rd July, the army 
began to advance, and marched slowly up the gentle hill which 
leads from Milowitz to the village of Dub, two miles nearer 
Koniggratz. The com lay heavy and tangled from the rain, 
upon the ground ; the skirmishers pushed through it* nimbly, 
but the battalions which followed behind in crowded columns 
toiled heavily through the down-beaten crops, and the artillery 
horses had to strain hard on their traces to get the wheels of 
the gun-carriages through the sticky soil. At six the whole 
army was close up to Dub, but it was not allowed to go upon 
the summit of the slope, for the ridge on which Dub stands had 
hidden all its motions, and the Austrians could see nothing of 
the troops collected behind the crest Perhaps they thought 
that no Prussians were near them, except ordinary advanced 
posts ; for the cavalry vedettes which had been pushed forward 
thus far over night remained on the top of the ridge, as if nothing 
^ere gomg on behind them. 

From the top of the slight elevation on which the village of 
Dub stands, the ground slopes gently down to the river Bistritz, 


which the road crosses at the village of Sadowa, a mile and a 
quarter from Dub. From Sadowa the ground again rises 
beyond the Bistritz,and to the little village of Chlum, conspicuous 
by its church tower standing at the top of the gentle hlD, a 
mile and a half beyond Sadowa. A person standing that morn- 
ing on the top of the ridge saw Sadowa below him, built of 
wooden cottages, surrounded by orchards, and could distinguish 
among its houses several water-mills, but these were not at work, 
for all the inhabitants of the village had been sent away, and a 
white coat here and there among the cottages was not a pea- 
sant's blouse, but was the uniform of an Austrian soldier ; tfiree 
quarters of a mile down the Bistritz a big red-brick house, with 
a high brick chimney near it, looked like a manufactory, and 
some large wooden buildings alongside it were unmistakeably 
warehouses ; close to these a few wooden cottages, probably 
meant for the workmen employed at the manufactory, completed 
the village of Dohalitz. 

A little more than three quarters of a mile still further do^n 
tlie Bistritz stood the village of Mokrovous, — like most Bohe- 
mian country villages, built of pine-wood cottages enclustered 
in orchard trees. The Chateau of Dohalicka stands midway 
between Dohalitz and Mokrovous, on a knoll overhanging the 
river. Behind Dohalitz, and between that village and the high- 
road which runs through Sadowa, there lies a large thick wood ; 
many of the trees had been cut down about ten feet above the 
ground, and the cut down branches had been t^visted together 
between the standing trunks of the trees which were nearest to 
the river, to make an entrance into the wood from the front 
extremely difficult On the open slope between Dohalitz and 
Dohalicka along the ground there seemed to run a dark dotted 
line of stumpy bushes, but the telescope showed that these were 
guns, and that this battery alone contained about sixty pieces. 
Four miles down the Bistritz, from Sadowa could be seen the 
house-tops of Nechanitz, above which rose the dark fir-woods 
that clustered round the Castle of Hradek. Looking to the 
left, up the course of the Bistritz, the ground was open between 
the orchards of Sadowa and the trees which grow round 
Benatek, a little village about two miles above Sadowu, except 
where, midway between these villages, a broad belt of fir-wood 


runs for three-quarters of a mile. Above and beyond these 
villages and woods on the course of the river, the spire of Chlum 
was seen ; below it a few houses, gardens, and patches of fir- 
wood ; and a little to the left, rather down the hill, the cottages 
of the hamlet of Cistowes, and on the side of the main road 
the orchards, and the house-tops of Lipa. 

On the extreme left, at the foot of the hills, lay the larger 
village of Horenowes, above whidh stood on the bare plateau 
what appeared to be a large single tree.* 

TJie air was thick and hazy, the rain came down steadily, 
and the wind blew bitterly cold, while the infantry and artillery 
were waiting behind the brow of the hill near Dub. At seven 
o'clock Prince Frederick Charles pushed forward some of his 
cavalry and horse artiller}'. They moved down the slope 
towards the Bistritz at a gentle trot, slipping about on the 
greasy ground, but keeping most beautiful lines; the lance flags 
of the Uhlans, wet with the rain, flapping heavily against the 
staves. At the bottom of the hill the trumpets sounded, and in 
making their movements to gain the bridge the squadrons began 
wheeling and hovering about the side of the river, as if they 
courted the fire of the enemy. Then the Austrian guns opened 
upon them from a battery placed in a field near the village at 
which the main road crosses the Bistritz, and the battle of 
Koniggratz began. 

Feldzeugmeister Benedek had drawn up the Austrian army 
to accept battle in this position seen from the Dub hill. His 
centre lay in front of Chlum, where the hills attain their greatest 
height; in his front was the marshy stream of the Bistritz. 
Batteries had been thrown up in some positions favourable for 
bringing a heavy artillery fire to bear against his assailants, and 
the ranges of diffierent distances from these batteries marked by 
poles and barked trees. Little was spared to bring the artillery, 
the best arm of the Austrian service, into action with every 
advantage.t The villages were also barricaded and prepared 

* The supposed solitary tree was in reality two trees, but was taken to be 
one by both Prussian armies, and from the fortress of Koniggrfttz. 

+ The great Joss of Austrian guns was due to the horses and limbers being 
sent under cover of the hill out of fire. When the Prussians advanced only 
tile lightest guns could be saved, and nearly one third of the Austrian pieces 
engaged fell into the hands of the victors. 


with abattis for infantry defence, but not sufficiently. The right 
flank of the Austrian position was covered to a certain extent 
by the Trotina brook, which flows through a deep marshy 
ravine into the Elbe, but little had been done by the engineer 
to aid in opposing the passage of this naturally strong feature. 
The left wing was supported by the wood and castle of Hradek, 
while the left centre was strengthened by possession of the 
villages of Problus and Prim. Feldzeugmeister Benedek had 
formed his army in the following order of battle : — 

The Saxons on the left wing held Problus, with an advanced 
guard in Nechanitz ; in rear of them stood the eighth corps, 
the first light cavalry division, and the second division of reser\'e 
cavalry at Prim. 

In the centre, the tenth corps was posted round Langenhof, 
the third corps round Cistowes, and the fourth corps at Mas- 
lowed, with a detachment in Benatek. 

On the right wing, the second corps and the second division 
of light cavalry were at Sendrasctz, while on the extreme right 
flank the Schwarz-gelb brigade held the Trotina. 

As reserves, the first corps was posted on the left of the main 
road near Rosnitz, the sixth corps on the right of the road on 
the south of Rosberitz ; in rear of these were the first and third 
divisions of reserve cavalry. 

The first shot was fired about half-past seven. The Prussian 
horse artillery, close down to the river, replied to the Austrian 
guns, but neither side fired heavily, and for half an hour the 
cannonade consisted of but little more than single shots. At a 
quarter before eight the King of Prussia arrived on the field, 
and very soon after the horse artillery were reinforced by other 
field batteries, and the Prussian gunners began firing their shells 
quickly into the Austrian position. As soon as the Prussian fire 
actively commenced Austrian guns seemed to appear, as if by 
magic, in every point of the position; from every road, from every 
village, from the orchard of Mokrovous, on the Prussian right, to 
the orchard of Benatek, on their left, came flashes of fire and 
whizzing rifle shells, which, bursting with a sharp crack, sent 
their splinters rattling among the guns, gunners, carriages, and 
horses, often killing a man or horse, sometimes dismoundng a 
gun, but always ploughing up the eartli, and scattering the mud 


in the men's faces. But the Austrians did not confine them- 
selves to firing on the artillery alone, for they threw their shells 
up the slope opposite to them towards Dub, and one shell 
came slap into a squadron of Uhlans, who were close beside 
the King ; burying itself with a heavy thud in the ground, it 
blew up columns of mud some twenty feet in the air, and, 
bursting a moment after, reduced the squadron by four files. 

As soon as the cannonade in front became serious, the gims 
of the seventh division began to bombard the village of 
Benatek, on the Austrian right. The Austrians returned shot 
for shot, and neither side either gained or lost ground. In the 
centre, too, the battle was very even ; the Prussians pushed 
battery after battery into the action, and kept up a tremendous 
fire on the Austrian guns, but these returned it, and sometimes 
with interest, for the Austrian artillery oflUcers knew their 
ground, and every shell fell true ; many officers and men fell, 
and many horses were killed or wounded. More Kranken- 
tragers were sent down to the batteries, and always returned 
carrying on stretchers men whose wounds had been hastily 
bound up under fire, but who seemed to be too much stunned 
to suffer much from pain. 

Gradually the Prussian cannonade appeared to get stronger, 
and the Austrian batteries between Dohalitz and Dohalicka 
retired higher up the hill, but the guns at Mokrovous still stood 
fast, and tlie Prussians had not yet crossed the Bistritz ; many 
guns were now turned on Mokrovous, and at ten o'clock the 
battery there was also obliged to retire a little. 

While this cannonade had been going on, some of the in- 
fantry had been moved down towards the river, where they took 
shelter from the fire under a convenient undulation of ground. 

The eighth division came down on the left-hand side of the 
causeway, and, under the cover of the rising in the ground, 
formed its columns for the attack of the village of Sadowa ; 
while the third and fourth divisions, on the right-hand side of 
the road prepared to storm Dohalitz and Mokrovous. A little 
before their preparations were complete the village of Benatek, 
on the Austrians' right, caught fire, and the seventh division 
made a dash to secure it, but the Austrians were not driven out 
by the flames, and here for the first time in the battle was there 


hand-to-hand fighting. The 27 th regiment led the attack, and 
rushed into the orchards of the village ; the burning houses 
separated the combatants; they poured volley after volley at 
each other through the flames ; but the Prussians found means 
to get round the burning houses, and, taking the defenders in 
reverse, forced them to retire with the loss of many prisoners. 

It was ten o'clock when Prince Frederick Charles sent 
General Stiilpnagel to order the attack on Sadowa, Dohalitz, 
and Mokrovous. The columns advanced covered by skir- 
mishers, and reached the river bank without much loss, but 
from there they had to fight every inch of their way. The 
Austrian infantry held the bridges and villages in force, and 
fired fast upon them as they approached. The Prussians could 
advance but slowly along the narrow ways and against the 
defences of the houses, and the volleys sweeping through the 
ranks seemed to tear the soldiers down. The Prussians fired 
much more quickly than their opponents, but they could not 
see to take their aim ; the houses, trees, and smoke firom the 
Austrian discliarges shrouded the villages. Sheltered by these, 
the Austrian Jagers fired blindly where they could tell by hear- 
ing that the attacking columns were, and the shots told tremen- 
dously on the Prussians in their close formations ; but the 
latter improved their positions, although slowly, and by dint of 
sheer courage and perseverance, for they lost men at every yard 
of their advance, and in some places almost paved the way 
with wounded. Then, to help the infantry, the Prussian 
artillery turned its fire, regardless of the enemy's batteries, on 
the villages, and made tremendous havoc among the houses. 
Mokrovous and Dohalitz both caught fire, and the shells fell 
quickly and with fearful effect among the defenders of the 
flaming hamlets ; the Austrian guns also played upon the 
attacking infantry, but at this time these were sheltered from 
their fire by the houses and trees between. 

In and around the villages die fighting continued for nearly 
an hour; then the Austrian infantry, who had been there, 
driven out by a rush of the Prussians, retired, but only a little 
way up the slope into a line with their batteries. The wood 
above Sadowa was strongly held, and that between Sadowa and 
Benatek, teeming with riflemen, stood to bar the way of the 


seventh division. But General Franzecky, who commanded 
this division, was not to be easily stopped, and he sent his 
infantry at the wood, and turned his artillery on the Austrian 
batteries. The seventh division began firing into the trees, but 
found they could not make any impression, for the defenders 
were concealed, and musketry fire was useless against them. 
PYanzecky let them go, and they dashed in with the bayonet 
The Austrians would not retire, but waited for the struggle, 
and in the wood above Benatek was fought out one of the 
fiercest combats which the war has seen. But the wood was 
carried. The Austrian line of advanced posts was now driven 
in on the Bistritz, but its commander had fonned his main 
line of battle a little higher up the hill, round Lipa, still hold- 
ing the wood which lies above Sadowa, 

Then the Prussian artillery was sent across the Bistritz, and 
began to fire upon the new Austrian position. At the same 
time the smoke of General Herwarth's advance was gradually 
seen moving towards the Austrian left He had at Nechanitz 
found the brigade of Saxon troops which formed the advanced 
front of the corps at Problus, with some Austrian cavalry, and 
was driving them towards Problus and Prim, himself following 
in such a direction that it appeared he would turn the Austrian 
left flank. But the Austrian commander seemed determined 
to hold his position, and heavy masses of infantry and cavalry 
could be seen on the upper part of the slope. 

By eleven o'clock the eighth division of the Prussian infantry 
had taken the village of Sadowa, the fourth that of Dohalitz, 
and the third that of Dohalicka. The eighth division was now 
sent against the wood, which, above these places, runs along 
the side of the Sadowa and Lipa road, while the third and 
fourth divisions attempted to bear the battle up the hill towards 
Lipa, and to attack the left flank of the wood. The Prussians 
advanced against the nearest trees, but did not at first make 
much impression, for the Austrians being here again concealed, 
the fire of the needle-gun did not tell, and a whole battery 
placed at the far end of the wood fired through the trees, and 
told on their ranks with awful effect But the assailants fought 
on, at last broke down the obstacles at the entrance, and then 
dashed in. The fighting continued from tree to tree, and the 


Austrians made many a rush to recover the lost position of the 
wood, but in this close fighting their boyish troops went down 
easily before the the strong men of the eighth division ; but 
when the defenders drew back a little, and their artillery played 
into the trees, the Prussians suffered fearfully, and about half- 
way up in the wood the fight became stationary. 

For two hours more it continued so ; in vain Home, who 
commanded the eighth division, strove to push along the road 
or through the trees to storm the battery beyond. The fire 
was too terrible, and his men became gradually exhausted. 

A few minutes after the Prussians had occupied the villages 
along the Bistritz, Feldzeugmeister Benedek was informed that 
the sixth Prussian corps belonging to the army of the Crown 
Prince was threatening his right flank. He sent orders that 
this attack should be checked or detained, and appears to have 
calculated that the Crown Prince could be held in check until 
he had time to inflict a severe blow upon the army of Prince 
Frederick Charles. With this aim he made his preparations 
for a counter-attack between Problus and Lipa, which was to 
be made as soon as his artillery had shaken the Prussian line 
sufficiently. Sixty-four guns were stationed between Lipa and 
Streselitz to fire on the tiiird and fourth Prussian division, and 
some of the reserves of cavalry and infantry were moved up to 
positions favourable for making the counter-attack. 

At this time the Austrian artillery were making splendid 
practice, and about one o'clock, the whole battle line of the 
Prussians could gain no mofe ground, and was obliged to fight 
hard to retain the position it had won. At one time it seemed 
as if it would be lost, for guns had been dismounted by the 
Austrian fire, and in the wooded ground the needle-gun had no 
fair field, and the infantry fight was very equal 

Then Prince Frederick Charles sent the fifth and sLxth 
divisions forward. They laid down their helmets and knapsacks 
on the ground, and advanced to the river. The King was 
now near to the Bistritz, and the troops cheered him loudly as 
they marched into the battle. They went over the Sadowa 
bridge, disappeared into the wood, and soon the increased 
noise of the musketry told they had begun to fight ; but the 
Austrian gunners sent salvo after salvo among them, and they 


did not push the battle forwards more than a few hundred 
yards, for they fell back themselves, and they could not reach 
the enemy. Not only did the fragments of the shells fly about 
among them, scattering death and awful gashes among their 
ranks, but the portions of the trees, torn by the artiller}' fire, 
flew thickly about, huge ragged splinters that caused even more 
frightful wounds. 

Herwarth, too, was checked upon the right The smoke of 
his musketry and artillery, which had hidierto been pushing 
forward steadily, stood still. 

He had marched with his three divisions from Smidar to 
Nechanitz, and had made himself master of this village at the 
same time as the divisions of Prince Frederick Charles had 
occupied the hamlets further up the Bistritz. The Saxon 
artillery withdrew to the heights by Problus and Prim, and to 
an intrenchment beside the Hradek wood. Then here also 
the batde came to a standstill. It required a long time to 
bring the artillery over the Bistritz, for the Saxons had broken 
the bridge at Nechanitz, no ford could be found, and the banks 
of the river were too marshy to allow of the guns being dragged 
through the stream. 

About one o'clock Herwarth's pioneers had repaired the 
bridge, and his artillery had been brought across the river. He 
then directed the fourteenth division, commanded by General 
Miinster, against Problus through Lubno as his left wing. In 
his centre he sent the fifteenth division, under General Canstein, 
against Prim, while the sixteenth division, under General Etzel, 
made a wide sweep to the right, in order to turn the left of the 
Austrian position at the Castle of Hradek. Problus and Prim 
were strengthened with barricades and abattis. The Saxons 
and the eighth Austrian corps fought nobly. A hot battle 
ensued here, which lasted till past three o'clock. 

Affairs did not apparently go more favourably for the 
Prussians in the centre. The whole of the First Array was 
severely engaged, with the exception of eight batteries of 
artillery and the cavalry which was still held in reserve. The 
reserve artillery of Prince Frederick Charles was sent a little 
distance up the Bistritz, in order to bring a fire against the 
flank of the Sadowa wood, to search out the defenders, and if 


possible to dismount the guns in the batteries in front of Lipa. 
But, noCmthstanding, the Austrians clung obstinately to the 

Franzecky's men, cut to pieces^ could not be sent forward to 
attack the Sadowa wood, for they would have exposed them- 
selves to be taken in rear by the artillery on the right of the 
Austrian line formed in front of Lipa. The First Army 
was certainly checked in its advance. The Prussian com- 
manders began to look anxiously ta the left for the coming of 
the Crown Prince. Some Austrian guns near Lipa were seen 
to be firing towards the Prussian left, amd it was hoped they 
might be directed against the advanced guard of the Second 
Army, but at three o'clock there were no signs of Prussian 
columns advancing against Lipa. The generals became mani- 
festly uneasy, and they drew Home's division out of the 
Sadowa wood. Cavalry was also- formed up^ so that it would 
be available either for the pursuit of the Austrians, or for re- 
tarding their pursuit 

When Prince Frederick Charles sent the night before the 
battle to request the co-operation of the Crown Prince, the 
latter sent back an answer that he would be on the field at two 
o'clock. More than faithful to hi» promise, he was there with 
two corps at half-past twelve, anMi his artillery was engaged 
with the batteries on the Austrian right at that hour. But the 
fire from the Austrian batteries was so- terrible that he could 
not attack with his infantry tiH something had been done 
towards silencing the enemy's guns. The generals directing 
the first attack could see nothing of the Crown Prince's in- 
fantry, as they were hidden in the undulations of the ground. 
The aide-de-camp despatched from the Second Army to tell the 
King that the Crown Prince was engaged had to make a long 
detour^ and did not reach the generals directing the front attack 
till late in the afternoon. Hence arose great uneasiness in the 
front, for from the direction of the Austrian guns they might 
have been firing against the seventh division, which formed the 
left of the front attack, and as nothing could be seen of the 
Crown Prince's troops it began to be feared that he had been 
stopped by some accident As time went on anxiety increased, 
for it was felt that the Austrian position was too strong to be 

Chaf. IL] battle of KONIGGRATZ. 243 

taken by a front attack alone. Glasses were anxiously directed 
to the left, but the day being wet there was no dust to show 
where columns marched, and nothing could be seen to indicate 
the advance of the Second Army against the Austrian right. 
The King himself gazed stedfastly through his glass, looking in 
vain through the misty air. No glimpse could be caught of 
Prussian riflemen on the slope to the left of Lipa, and no bat- 
talions could be seen ; the guns also were out of sight, for they 
were on the reverse side of the Lipa ridge, or were hidden from 
the position of the staff by the wood that runs from Benatek 
up the slope towards Lipa. 

The anxiety of the Prussian generals at Sadowa was, how- 
ever, groundless. While they were still unaware that the Crown 
Prince was upon the field of battle, some of his soldiers were 
already in the very heart of the Austrians' position, and holding 
their ground against repeated attempts by superior numbers to 
dislodge them. 

Advance of the Crown Prince. — On receiving the request* 
from Prince Frederick Charles to move against the Austrians' 
right, and the subsequent order from the King to the same 
effect, the Crown Prince issued orders to the troops to march 
early on the 3rd July. His orders were not sent out till 
nearly five in the morning, but before seven the heads of his 
columns had begun to move. On his left wing the sixth corps 
crossed the Elbe above Jaromir, and marched in two columns 
towards the Trotinka. The twelfth division, under General 
Proudzinsky, which moved down the Elbe close to the river, 
was fired upon by the fortress of Josephstadt, and had to leave 
one brigade to observe the garrison of that place. On the 
right wing the first corps, followed by the cavalry division, was 
ordered to march in two columns by Zabres and Grosz-Trotin 
to Grosz-Biirglitz. In the centre, the corps of the Guards was 
to move from Koniginhof on Jericek and Lhota. The fifth 
corps was to follow the sixth corps as a reserve, and to march 
two hours later from the Elbe to Choteborek. All baggage 
and train were to be left behind. 

The Crown Prince knew nothing of the Austrian position. 
Where he should find the Austrian flank, in what force, and 
how defended, were questions which he and his chief of the 

R 2 


staff could only answer on the actual field of battle, and on the 
spur of the moment The rain had ahready fallen heavily for 
some time when the Second Army commenced its march. The 
Crown Prince witnessed the passage of the Elbe at Koniginhof 
by a portion of the Guards, and then hastened fonvard with his 
staff to place himself at the head of the column. The steep 
roads leading up the high bank of the valley of the Elbe to the 
plateau of Daubrowitz, slippery and heavy with the rain, tried 
severely the strength of both men and horses. 

Directly after passing Daubrowitz the Commander-in-chief of 
the Second Army saw from smoke arising from a cannonade, 
and from burning houses in the direction of Sadowa, that the 
First Army was already engaged. The wind was blowing 
towards the battle, so that he could not hear the cannonade, 
and could not tell in which direction it was moving. He 
directed the head of his column upon Choteborek. The view 
extended with every step forward, and it soon became apparent 
that a great battle was being waged. At a quarter-past eleven 
the Crown Prince had reached the chain of hills to the west of 
Choteborek with the first division of the corps of the Guards 
close behind him. In firont of Choteborek the ground formed 
a low trough about two miles wide, in which there were many 
soft and marshy places. Beyond this trough lay the hill of 
Horenowes, conspicuous with its single tree, and at its foot the 
village of that name. Beyond this hill the view was shut out, 
but on its western side the eye could range clearly down the 
valley of the Bistritz, where it was easy to distinguish the situa- 
tions of the antagonistic lines of battle by the smoke of a great 
number of batteries in action, and by the flames of several 
burning villages. It could be seen that the seventh division, 
which formed the left wing of the First Army, was fighting an 
unequal battle in firont of Benatek, and was already in need of 

Towards Grosz-Biirglitz and Welchow, where the two wings 
of the Second Army were to debouch, heavy woods shut out 
the view. It was certain, however, that if these two corps, in 
execution of the orders which had been given them, had 
reached those places, the further march of the Second Army 
would conduct it against the right flank and partly into the 


rear of the enemy's position. Already the army of the Crown' 
Prince occupied a similar position with regard to the First 
Army, as that of Bliicher to the British line on the day of 

The Crown Prince despatched officers to ascertain the real 
positions of the first and sixth corps. Hardly had they left his 
side when a report came in from General Von Mutius with the 
intelligence that the sixth corps had already reached Welchow, 
and in consequence of the heavy cannonade he had ordered it 
to push on in the direction of the firing. It was this advance 
which, reported to Benedek, was his first intimation of the 
advent of the Crown Prince, and which he ordered to be held 
in check by his second corps. Fortune had ordained that the 
sixth corps should have been casually prepared to advance, 
because, in consequence of the order which it had received to 
make a reconnaissance against Josephstadt, it had already 
crossed the Elbe when the second order for an advance beyond 
Josephstadt reached it 

In a short time the fifth corps was also reported by General 
Steinmetz to be approaching Choteborek. No news had come 
in fi-om the first corps, but it was known that on account of its 
longer march its arrival could hardly yet be expected. 

The Crown Prince determined, with the first division of the 
Guards, which he held available, to seize the hill of Horenowes. 
In order to do so, he was obliged to advance across the marshy 
hollow, where his troops would be exposed, without any cover, 
to the fire of the Austrian guns, which would have plenty of 
time to collect on the hill in large quantities while the Prussians 
were traversing the low ground. To save his men as much as 
possible, the regiments were ordered to spread out and to 
march singly on the Horenowes hill, where their chief pointed 
out the conspicuous trees as their goal 

It was a remarkable circumstance that the columns of the 
Guards could descry no Austrian patrols or outposts to oppose 
their path. One battery of artillery alone could be seen upon 
the Horenowes hilL It was clear that the advance of the 
Guards would turn the line of Austrian gims, which, posted 
between Horenowes and Maslowed, were playing on Fran^ecky, 
and would take some pressure off his struggling division. Ab 


the Guards advanced, these guns were seen to change their 
position, and at half-past eleven forty Austrian pieces were 
ranged beside the single tree, to fire against the advancing 
columns of the Second Army. At ten minutes to twelve the 
first shell was discharged from these batteries against the 
Prussian Guards. 

The advanced guard of the first division of the Prussian 
Guards, under General Alvensleben, had bivouacked the pre- 
vious night at Daubrowitz. It had pushed on in the morning 
by Burglitz and Zizelowes, and had debouched from the latter 
plac6 in the direction of Horenowes, at a quarter-past eleven. 
A quarter of an hour later, five 4-pounder batteries of the 
Guard opened fire against an Austrian battery, and compelled 
it to quit its position between Horenowes and Benatek. A 
6 -pounder Prussian battery at the same time opened upon the 
Austrian artillery, which was beginning to form on the east of 
Horenowes, while the infantry advanced by Wrchwitz, for the 
attack of that village. The other troops of the division followed 
up this attack by way of Jericek. 

The second division of the Guard had lain the previous 
night at Rettendorf, considerably in rear of the first division. 
Its march had been consequently delayed, and the reserve 
artillery of the Guard corps, as weU as the heavy cavalry of the 
Guard, arrived at the scene of action before this division. Its 
direction was by Choteborek to Lhota. 

At eleven o'clock the reserve artillery of the Guard was 
marching on the left rear of the first division. The ground 
heavy with rain, and the high com which wound itself round 
the wheels of the guns, tired the horses excessively. In front 
of Jericek, six batteries opened fire, to signal by their noise to 
the First Army that tlie Crown Prince was near at hand. But 
this salvo was not distinguished by the staff of Prince Frederick 
Charles amidst the general din of battle, and, as the range was 
very great, little harm was done to the Austrians by it 

By the time that General Alvensleben advanced against 
Horenowes, the sixth corps had, on the left, commenced an 
assault against Racicz. Of this corps, one brigade of the 
twelfth division, consisting of six battalions, four squadrons, 
and two batteries, under General Proudzynski, led the way by 



Roznow and Nesnasow. When the eleventh division, con* 
listing of twelve battalions, eight squadrons, and four batteries, 
under General Zastrow, reached Welchow, the former had only 
encountered a few detachments of Austrian cavalry. General 
Mutius then ordered it to keep the enemy in sight, and in its 
further advance to communicate with the eleventh division, 
which he directed against the heights of Horenowes. A report 
was now brought to that general that it was urgently desirable 
that he should send some artillery as quickly as possible to 
support Franzecky's division. Four batteries immediately 
pushed forward at a trot, covered by the 4th regiment of hussars, 
crossed the Trotinka at Luzan, and at half-past eleven opened 
upon the Austrian artillery stationed on the east of Horenowes. 
The two brigades of the eleventh division in the meantime 
advanced in kckd<M^ left in front, and supported by the 8th 
Dragoons crossed the Trotinka with gveat difficulty to the 
south-east of Luzan, and advanced under a heavy artillery fire 
to the attack of Racicz. 

The twelfth division directed its march against Smiritz 
by Roznow, while a squadron of its cavalry regiment, 
whidi had been pushed forward in the direction of Smiritz, 
reported that there were Austrian regiments of cavalry in 
its front 

On the approach of the first division of the Guard to Horen- 
owes, and of the eleventh division to Racicz, and when both 
wings of the position of their artillery began to be thiieatened, 
the Austrians commenced evacuating their position, and had 
entirely withdrawn from it by one o'clock. By the same hour 
the villages of Horenowes and Racicz fell into the hands of 
their assailants, after short contests. The greater portion of 
the troops which had garrisoned these places retired in the 
direction of Sendrasitz, while the first division of the Guard 
pressed forward to the trees on the east of Horenowes, and the 
eleventh division pressed upon the retreating Austrians on the 
south of Racicz. 

The small resistance which the army of the Crown Prince 
here met with appears to be due to the fact that when General 
Franzecky carried the village of Benatek, the Austrian fourth 
corps moved forward to oppose him, drove the battle back, and 


remained engaged with his division in the Maslowed wood. 
The Austrian second corps was thus alone exposed to 
the onset of the whole of the Crown Prince's army, and 
was pushed back by its attack to Sendrasitz. These two 
Austrian movements caused a gap in Benedek's line of 
battle, through which the Prussian Guards penetrating, seized 
Chlum, the key of his position, and turned the fortune of 
the day. 

On the advance of the Prussian Guards to Horenowes some 
Austrian battalions took up a position on the hill east of 
Maslowed. The Guards immediately marched against this 
hill, and carried it without meeting with any serious resistance. 
The village of Maslowed, which lay to their right, was evacu- 
ated, and half a company of Prussian riflemen occupied it 
without drawing a trigger. The sixth corps in the meantime 
engaged the main body of the second Austrian corps, which 
had furnished the garrisons for Horenowes and Racicz, at 
Trotina, Sendrasitz, and Nedelitz, and finally forced it to with- 
draw across the Elbe at Lochenitz. By this contest, which was 
of quite an independent nature, the left wing of the Prussian 
Guard was covered while it took the direction of the village of 
Chlum, guided by the church tower, which forms the highest 
landmark in the field. In this way the Prussian Guard marched 
a distance of about two thousand paces along the rear of the posi- 
tion of the fourth Austrian corps, which was now being pushed 
back by Franzecky in the Maslowed wood. An Austrian brigade 
showed itself between Maslowed and Lipa, the Prussian ad- 
vanced guard formed up to its own right and attacked it ; 
while the main body, under Colonel Von Obemitz, pushed on 
to Chlum, and the fusilier regiment, under Colonel Von Kessel, 
threw itself into Rosberitz. 

The first Prussians who arrived in Chlum saw on the reverse 
side of the hill, between themselves and the fortress of Konig- 
gratz, the whole of the Austrian reserves, mustering about 40,000 
men. Between them and their comrades of the First Army 
were the Austrian corps engaged near Lipa, and in the Sadowa 
wood. Twelve battalions of the Prussian Guards was the 
whole force at hand to hold the key of the battle against the 
whole reserve of the enemy. 


A fierce battle soon began round Rosberitz and Chlum, 
which were seized by the Prussian Guard at a quarter before 
three o'clock. At five minutes before three an aide-de-camp 
reported to Feldzeugmeister Benedek, who was between 
Chlum and Lipa, that the Prussians had occupied the former 
village. The Austrian commander could not credit this 
unexpected intelligence, and hastened himself in person to 
ascertain its truth. On approaching Chlum he was received 
by a withering volley, which told with severe efiect upon 
his staff, and convinced him of the veracity of the report 
He immediately hastened to send up some reserves to retake 
the place. 

About three o'clock the Army of the Elbe carried Problus, 
and Feldzeugmeister Benedek was obliged to send two brigades 
of the nearest Austrian corps, the first, to reinforce his front 
while he directed one brigade against Chlum, and one against 
Problus. At the same time the Saxon artillery of the reserve, 
which was on the further side of the highway fi-om Rosberitz, 
opened with terrible effect on the Prussians in that village, 
and prepared the way for an attack by the sixth Austrian 

The position of the Prussian Guard became every moment 
more critical. The few battalions in Rosberitz could not hold 
their ground, and were driven out of the village, having lost 
among other officers Prince Anton of Hohenzollem. The 
reserve artillery of the Pnissian Guard under the Prince of 
Hohenlohe laboured up to the aid of the battalions in Chlum, 
and, coming into action, smote heavily upon the thick masses 
of the Austrian reserves which were preparing to attack the 
houses. Three times they attacked, twice they almost reached 
the orchard and churchyard, but were received at a few paces 
distance by such a volley from the needle-guns that nearly the 
whole of the attacking force was either killed or wounded. By 
the time of the third attack the advanced guard of the reserve 
division of the Prussian Guard had come up to the support of 
the battalions who were already in occupation. The third 
attack was repulsed, and at the same moment the battle was 
won. The first Prussian corps and the fifth corps, with the 
cavaliy of the Second Army, was pressing up towards Chlum 


and Rosberitz, bringing a reserve of 50,000 fresh soldiers into 
the heart of Benedek's position ; while the main body of the 
second division of the Guards dashed against the wood of 
Lipa, and the batteries of Chlum. 

As yet the Prussian generals at Sadowa were in ignorance of 
the progress of the Crown Prince, for his other divisions were 
on the reverse side of the hill of Chlum, and the attack of the 
second division of the Guard could alone be seen from the 
front. First a swarm of black dots stealing across the fields 
showed the advance of the skirmishers, and the Austrian 
sharpshooters, who had been lying among the com, could 
be seen running* before them to gain the shelter of their 
own Unes; dose behind the skirmishers followed the heavy 
columns of infantry, looking like small black squares gliding 
along the sides of the hill. The Austrian guns played sharply 
on them, but they pushed forward without wavering till within 
a short distance of the batteries ; then a few rapid volleys of 
musketry sent up a cloud of smoke, which, hanging heavily in 
the misty air, shut out the view ; but the sudden silence of the 
Austrian guns told that the Prussians had closed, and that the 
batteries had been stormed. The ground leading up to them 
was steep, and the gunners sent round after round into the 
storming columns, till the leading ranks were close to the 
muzzles of the guns; the riflemen who were ensconced in 
intrenchments beside the batteries, to defend them, sent biting 
volleys into their assailants ; but, caring nought for the fire of 
the infantry or the steepness of the ground, the Prussians dashed 
straight at the guns, and both gunners and slvarpshooters had to 
turn and fly. Then the deadly needle-gun opened its fire on 
the fugitives, and with such precision that the ground was 
covered with dead or wounded Austrians lying thick together. 
In one place forty corpses lay on less than an acre of ground, 
and the wounded appeared to be to the dead as three to one. 

The Austrian defeat was now inevitable. As soon as the 
Crown Prince sent his infantry against the Lipa wood, the 
First Army sprang forward, and, with loud cheers and drums 
beating, went dashing up the hill. The Sadowa road was 
cleared as if by magic, and the battalions went straight against 
the Austrian batteries. No heed was given to take the guns in 


flank ; the soldiers felt certain of victory, and sought it by the 
shortest road Though disordered by the broken ground, and 
out of breath with the rapid ascent, so quickly did they advance 
that the Austrian gunners had no time to limber up, but were 
forced to desert their pieces and seek safety for themselves and 
their horses in flight. Most of the guns which had been placed 
in batteries were taken, but those which acted as field artillery, 
admirably handled, were quickly withdrawn, and were already 
fast forming on a further ridge by Rosnitz to cover the retreat 
of the infantry. 

The Prussians paused but a few moments among the taken 
guns and then rushed on in pursuit The summit of the ridge 
was quickly gained, and there before them they saw the whole 
hollow ground between them and Rosnitz filled with running 
white uniforms. The victorious battalions commenced a rapid 
fire upon them, and men dropped quickly from the flying ranks, 
rolling over and over as they fell on the sloping ground. The 
sixth corps, which the Crown Prince had directed more against 
the Austrian rear, caught the fugitives in flank, and raked the 
ninning ranks with their fire. The Prussian artillery was also 
quickly up, unlimbered, and came into action on the summit of 
the ridge, and sent its shells bursting with a horrible precision 
among the heads of the flying soldiers. And yet the Austrians 
kept their formation, and never let their retreat become a rout 
Such a retreat under such circumstances is as creditable to the 
valour of the Austrian soldiers as a battle won. 

The Prassian cavalry, unable to leave the road till it got to 
nearly the top of the hill, on account of the woods by the side 
of the way, was not up till the Austrian in&ntry had got half 
way across the hollow which separates Chlum from the further 
ridge of Rosnitz, and there the Austrian batteries had taken up 
their position and began to play upon the pursuing troops. 
Then, for a few minutes. Prince Frederick Charles, who was 
leading the hussars and dragoons, had to leave them to make 
his general dispositions for attacking the new position taken up 
by the Austrian artillery, and the cavalry immediately got out 
of hand. By single squadrons, by single troops, and even only 
in knots of a few horsemen, they rushed with wild impetuosity 
at different points of the retreating infantry; but the Austrian 


guns sent shells rapidly among them, and the infantry, though 
running, still kept its formation, and turned, when they came 
too close, to stand and deliver volleys which emptied many a 
saddle. Nor were the Austrian cavalry off the field, though 
they could not face the tremendous fire of the Prussians to 
charge and cover the retreat of their infantry; but when 
attacked by the enemy's cavalry, and when thus the guns 
could not fire upon them, they fought hard, and sacrificed them- 
selves to cover the retreat Then, as the squadrons of the 3rd 
regiment of Prussian dragoons were rushing forward to chaise 
some battalions firing near the village of Wsester, an Austrian 
cuirass brigade, led by an Englishman in the Austrian service 
of the name of Beales, charged them in flank. They drove the 
Prussians back, and, smiting them heavily with their ponderous 
swords, nearly destroyed the dragoons ; but Hohenlohe's Prus- 
sian Uhlans, seeing their comrades worsted, charged with their 
lances couched against the Austrians' flank, and compelled 
them to retire. Pressed hard by the lancers they fell back^ 
fighting hard, but then Ziethen's hussars charged them in the 
rear. A fierce combat ensued ; the Austrian horsemen struck 
strongly about them, fighting for their lives ; but the lancers 
drove their lances into their horses, while the hussars, light and 
active, closed in upon them, and only ten Austrians are re- 
ported to have escaped unwounded from the milke. Beales 
himself was borne wounded to the ground. But the Austrian 
artillery was not long able to hold its new position ; the fire of 
the Prussian guns and the dispositions which were being made 
to attack it compelled it to retire. It then drew off" slowly, but 
on every successive ridge came into action, and fired against 
the pursuers to check them, and gain for its own infantry time 
for retreat Some Prussian horse artillery and cavalry followed 
it, and till after nightfall the pursuit went thundering towards 
the Elbe, and drew the fire of the heavy guns of the fortress. 
The Austrian cavalry retired to Pardubitz, and the remainder 
of the army by seven or eight bridges, thrown across the river 
between that place and Koniggratz, got beyond the stream by 
night without severe loss. 

The Prussian cavalry slowly followed in pursuit along both 
joads. The wounded who were lying on the ground shrieked 


with fear when they saw the cavalry galloping down towards 
them, but Prince Frederick Charles took care that they should 
be avoided, and at one time checked the pursuit in order to 
move his squadrons around, and not go through, a patch of 
standing com, where many wounded Austrians had taken 
refuge. These, when they saw the lancers coming, thought 
they were going to be msissacred, and cried piteously, waving 
white handkerchiefs as a sign of truce ; but they had no cause 
to fear. Large numbers of prisoners were taken, for the 
pursuit was continued to the Elbe, and it was not till nine 
o'clock that all firing had ceased, though the main body of 
the army halted about seven. As the Princes returned, the 
battalions cheered them for their victory; but they left the 
pursuit of their enemies and the cheers of their own victorious 
troops to look after the hospital accommodation provided for 
the wounded. These lay in immense numbers in the field; 
the dead too laid thick, but all they required was done on the 
morrow. Every cottage in the neighbourhood that had not 
been burnt was full of wounded. Austrians and Prussians lay 
side by side, but the Krankentrager were still out, and all were 
not collected till late the next morning. Conspicuous in the 
hospitals, working diligently in their voluntary labour, were the 
Knights of St John of Jerasalem. This Order of Knighthood, 
renewed lately for the succour of the weak and suffering, had 
sent here a large hospital establishment, under the direction of 
Count Theodore Stolberg. From the voluntary contributions 
of the knights, hospitals were maintained in the nearest towns 
and in the field, all necessary hospital stores were carried, by 
the Order, and means of transport accompanied the army, 
hospital nurses were provided, and by their aid many wounded 
were carefully attended to who could not have been looked 
after by the ordinary arrangements. 

The battle of Koniggratz was a great victory for the Prus- 
sians, though its full advantages were not known by them until 
the following day. One hundred and seventy-four guns, twenty 
thousand prisoners, and eleven standards, fell into the hands of 
the conquerors; the total loss of the Austrian army by the 
disaster of the 3rd July amounted to almost forty thousand 
men, while that of the Prussians was not ten thousand. The 

254 seven: WEEKS' WAR. [Book VII. 

morale of the Austrian anny was destroyed, and their infantry 
found that in open column they could not stand against the 
better-armed Prussians. The Austrians had hoped to be able 
to close with the bayonet, and so amend the effects of the fiie 
of the needle-gun ; but the idea of the superiority in the use of 
the bayonet in which the Austrian army prided itself, is one of 
those vanities which are common to every nation, and this war 
proved that at close quarters the stronger men of Prussia in- 
variably overcame the lighter and smaller Austrians. The 
Austrian and Saxon troops engaged amounted to about two 
hundred thousand men, with six hundred guns.* The Prussian 
army in the field mustered in round numbers two hundred and 
sixty thousand combatants, with eight hundred and sixteen 
guns, but of them the fifdi corps, one brigade of the sixth 
corps, and all but the advanced guard of the first corps, in all 
about sixty thousand men, never fired a shot Thus the number 
of casualties were about one thirteenth of the number of men 
actually engaged.f 

The highest proportionate loss of the Prussian army fell upon 
Franzecky's division, which lost two thousand out of a little 
over fourteen thousand men. The greatest loss on the Austrian 
side was incurred by the troops who attempted to retake Chlum, 
and by those who had to retire out of the Lipa and Sadowa 
woods after the Crown Prince had developed his attack. The 
artillery on both sides appeared to fail in causing such numerous 
casualties as might have been anticipated from so large a number 
of rifled guns. Nor did the infantry fire tell except at close 
quarters. Whether this was due to the inferior shooting power 
of the needle-gun or to the practical disadvantage of aiming 
under fire seems to be uncertain. 

The number of cartridges fired by the Prussian army in the 
battle barely exceeded one per man on the ground. Hardly 

* This estimate of the Austrian force is based on an able letter written 
fix)m Olmiitz after the battle by the special correspondent of the Tirms, in 
which that writer states that Benedek had then collected one hundred and 
sixty thousand of the defeated army at Olmiitz. This with the Austrian loss 
would give the above figure. 

f The following list of the proportion of casualties to combatants, in 
some of the most famous battles of the last two centuries, is extracted from 
a careful essay written for the professional papers of the Royal Engineers by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Cooke, R. £. : 

Chap. II. J 



Kame of Battle. 

Malplaquet. 1709 


Prague . 


Breslau . 

Ussa. . 


Hoch Kirch 



Jena • . 

Eylau . 






Leipsic . 

Vittoria . 








On each side. 

70,000 P. ) 
70,000 A. ) 
64,000?. ) 
74,000 A. J 
J 22,000 P. I 

j 55,oooA. \ 

\ 25,000 p. ) 

} 60,000 A. ( 
j 36,000 p. j 
( 8o,oooA. ( 
( 32,000 P. 
j 50,000 R. 
J 50,000 A. 
I 30,000 P. 
j 28, 127 F. I 
\ 30, 850 A. j 

j 90,000 F. 


! 100,000 F. ) 
100,000 P. { 

85,000 F. 


80,000 F. 

50, 000 R. 

J 52,000 E.&S. 

I 50,000 F. 

J 150,000 F. i 

1 130,000 A ! 

J 125,000 F. ) 
j 125,000 R. ( 

K 150,000 F. 

( 280,000 Allies 

i 70,000 E. &c. 

j 27,000 F. 

) 67,600 E. &a 

) 68,900 F. 

i48,09oF.&S. ) 

) 61,640 A. ( 
135.234F.&S. I 


Killed and Wounded. 

163,124 A. 














18,250 Allies. 



to total 


\ 30,050 

/ 25,000 

J 10,000 




8,000 E. ) 
22,800 F. II J 


50,000 IT I 
not known. ( 


14,000 ) 

not known. ( 
4,000 I 

14.4' S I 






• • 

• • 


* az,ooo Austrian prisoners mianng. 
t TOfOoo Austrian prisoners. 
\ ladudet some prisooert. 

f r,ooo French and 3,000 Austrian prisoners. ^ 
f ao,ooo Prussian prisoners. | Includes missing. 
** 8,770 AlUes and 9^290 Auitnans missing. 

2s6 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book VI I. 

any soldier fired so many as ninety, and few more than sixty.* 
The average number of rounds fired by the artillery of Prince 
Frederick Charles's army, was forty-two per gun, and no gun of 
that army fired more than eighty rounds. In the artillery of 
the Guard, the thirteen batteries engaged fired one thousand 
seven hundred and eighty-seven rounds, being an average of 
twenty-three per gun ; one battery fired eighty-one rounds per 

On the evening of the battle, an officer of the Ziethen hussars, 
who were forward in the pursuit, rode as far as the gates of 
Koniggratz, and, finding there were no sentries outside, rode in ; 
the guard, immediately on seeing him in his Prussian unifonn, 
turned out and seized him, when, with a ready presence, he 
declared he had come to demand the capitulation of the fortress. 
He was conducted to the commandant, and made the same 
demand to him, adding that the town would be bombarded if 
not surrendered within an hour; the commandant, unconscious 
that he was not dealing with a legitimate messenger, courteously 
refiised to capitulate ; but the hussar was conducted out of the 
town, passed through the guard at the entrance, and got off 
safely without being made a prisoner. 

That night the Prussian army bivouacked on the field, where 
the main body remained the next day in order to allow the 
troops time to rest after their great fatigues. 

The appearance of the field of battle the next morning 
showed the severity of the fight The wounded had all been 
removed, but few of the dead had been buried, for the number 
of wounded was so great that every man who could be spared 
from duty was required to look after them. All night long the 
Krankentrager had been at work, and had been assisted by a 
large number of soldiers. Every village near the field of battle 
had all its standing houses converted into hospitals, and all the 
surgeons in the army had been busy all night long. In the 
woods and in the broken ground the bodies of Austrians and 
Prussians were tolerably equal in number, generally lying in 
groups of four or five of either nation together, marking the 

* At the battle of Borodino, one of the most sanguinary contests on 
record (see preceding page), the French are said to have fired 1,400,000 
cartridges, which would be at the rate of about 10 per man. 


spot where a shell had burst \ but in the open ground and down 
the reverse side of the Chlum hill the Austrians lay terribly 
thick, and hardly a Prussian uniform was to be seen. Wherever 
the Austrians fought unprotected by cover, and wherever the 
Prussian riflemen, armed with needle-guns, could see their 
enemies, the disproportion of the dead became immediately 
apparent The com was trodden down all over the field as flat 
as if it was straw laid on a stable floor, and the ground was 
ploughed up and dug into holes with shells. 

On the top of the hill of Chlum, and near the village, stood 
a large number of the captured guns, with all their waggons and 
carriages beside them, and on the slope away from Sadowa the 
rest were placed under the charge of the corps of the Guard. 
Everywhere about the field, fatigue parties were digging large 
trenches in which the Austrian and Prussian killed were laid 
side by side, clothed in their uniforms. No other tombstone 
was put to mark each grave than a plain wooden cross, on 
which was written the number of each regiment that lay below. 
The officers were placed in single graves near the men. But 
here and there a few were seen silently carrying some comrade 
to a more retired spot. On one part of the field a Prussian 
general with his staff* was burying his son, who had fallen in the 
attack on the Austrian right Close by, the wife of a private 
soldier who had found her husband's body on the field had had 
it buried by some soldiers, had hung some oak branches on the 
little wooden cross at the head, and was sitting on the freshly- 
turned earth, sobbing her heart out, with his shattered helmet 
in her lap. She had followed his regiment, in order to be near 
him, from the beginning of the campaign, through all the long 
marches the army had made. 

The less severely wounded were moved to Horitz, from 
which, on the approach of the Prussians, the inhabitants had 
nearly all fled. The vacated houses were converted into hos- 
pitals, and at nearly every window and every door men were 
hanging about listlessly, with heads or arms bound up, with a 
half stupefied look, as if they had not yet recovered from the 
stunning effects of the blow which had disabled them. Many 
were Austrians, and prisoners of war ; but the greatest liberty 
seemed to be accorded to them, for they were allowed to 


wander about the streets, and to mix freely with the Prussian 

Long columns of unwounded prisoners were being marched 
continually through the town on their way to the rear. The 
Austrians looked dejected and unhappy, yet marched stolidly 
and silently along ; but the prisoners from the Italian regiments 
laughed and talked cheerily, and on them their imprisonment 
sat lightly. 

Here and there an Austrian officer, prisoner on parole, 
strolled moodily about, stopping every now and then to return 
the courteous salutations of the Prussian officers who passed by. 
To ease the anxiety of their friends at home, they wrote letters 
to announce that they were not killed, but taken, and these 
were sent with a flag of truce to the Austrian lines. The 
greatest courtesy and kindness were shown by the Prussian 
officers to their unfortunate prisoners, and every attempt was 
made to make them feel their position as little as possible. 
Several Austrian officers wounded mortally on the field re- 
quested Prussian officers to send their last message to their 
families, requests which it is needless to say were readily com- 
plied with. 

Field-Marshal Gablenz came to Horitz the day after the 
battle from the Austrian head-quarters, to ask for an armistice 
as a preliminary to peace. It was impossible that Prussia could 
grant an armistice at this moment, when the Austrian army was 
still in the field, and any pause in the operations of the cam- 
paign would be used to collect troops from the Italian frontier 
and from the distant provinces of the empire in order to oppose 
the Prussian armies. Nor could peace be concluded by Prussia 
without the concurrence of Italy, for a treaty existed between 
the Cabinets of Berlin and Florence, by which neither could 
make peace without the sanction of the other. 

The Field-Marshal accordingly returned to his own lines 
without obtaining any result firom his mission. 

The actual junction of the two armies of the Crown Prince 
and of Prince Frederick Charles was effected on the battle-field 
of Koniggratz, and the Austrians had now lost the chance they 
had of falling upon each army separately. 

As the consequence of the defeat of Koniggratz, Austria on 


the 4th July ceded Venetia to the Emperor of the French, who 
was nominally to hold the province, although it was virtually 
then, and practically in the following October, given to the 
kingdom of Italy. 

obserVatioiIs on the battle of koniggrAtz. 

The details of a great battle are, as a general rule, less per- 
fectly known the more closely the time at which they are 
criticised approaches to the date of the action. While the men 
are still living on whom disclosures would draw an inconvenient 
censure, the government of a country which has suffered a 
great reverse in war is naturally unwilling to gratify the curiosity 
of the world by the publication of information which can 
only be certainly found in its own official archives. Without 
such information it is impossible to make any observations on 
the causes or conduct of incidents in war with an assured cer- 
tainty. It is necessary to attempt to lift the veil which shrouds 
such events during the lifetimes of the principal actors with 
only a hesitating and a faltering touch, and to acknowledge 
that any conclusions based upon a crude knowledge of facts are 
enunciated with diffidence. If correct they are fortuitous, if 
incorrect their fallacies will be exposed by future information. 

The position taken up by Feldzeugmeister Benedek in front 
of Koniggratz has been severely criticised It does not, how- 
ever, appear that the river in his rear was any disadvantage to 
him, although his army was defeated, and had its flank turned 
by a strong force. The Austrian commander took the pre- 
caution to throw bridges over the river. With plenty of bridges 
a river in rear of a position became an advantage. After the 
retreating army had withdrawn across the stream, the bridges 
were broken, and the river became an obstacle to the pursuit 
Special as well as general conditions also came into play. The 
pursuing Prussians could not approach with impunity the heads 
of the Austrian bridges. The heavy guns of the fortress scoured 
the banks of the river both up and down stream, and, with 
superior weight of metal and length of range, were able to cover 
the passage of the Austrians. The position was otherwise 
acknowledged on all sides to be a good one, carefully chosen ^ 

8 2 

96o SEVEN" WEEK^ WAR, [Book VII. 

and though the villages were not completely barricaded and 
loopholed, this omission was probably due to the extreme 
rapidity of the movements of Prince Frederick Charles. A 
great disadvantage was the fact that the presence of two oppo- 
nent armies acting from divergent bases against the Austrian 
position caused, as all such conditions always must cause, 
Feldzeugmeister Benedek to fight with his army drawn along 
two sides of an angle. One side was from Prim to Maslowed, 
the other from Maslowed to Lochenitz. By such a formation 
a defeat or even a repulse of either wing must necessarily allow 
the successful enemy to penetrate into the rear of the other. 
Or a success and advance of one or both wings must leave a 
gap at the salient angle. 

Two questions have attracted more notice with reference to 
the battle than others. These are, first — ^Why did Benedek 
allow the Crown Prince to come down so heavily upon his 
right flank ? and secondly, How did the first division of the 
Prussian Guard manage to get into Chlum unobserved ? The 
answer to the first question appears to be that the Austrian 
general was deceived as to the position of the Crown Prince.* 
On the 30th June he knew that the Crown Prince was on the 
Elbe, because fi-om the heights above Koniginhof the Prussians 
were that day cannonaded by an Austrian battery. Between 
the 30th and the 2nd, the Crown Prince pushed troops across 
the river at Amau and Koniginhof, and directed the heads of 
their columns towards Miletin. On the afternoon of the 2nd, 
two of Prince Frederick Charles's divisions occupied Miletin. 
Late on the night of the 2nd, one of these divisions of Prince 
Frederick Charles's army was ordered to move to Milowitz, 
while the other moved to Cerekwitz. It seems probable that 
these movements were reported to Benedek by his spies, but 
erroneously. It would appear that he was told that the main 
body of the Crown Prince's army had joined Frederick Charles 
at Miletin, and that the mass of the united armies on the night 
of the 2nd was moving towards its own right to make a con- 
centrated attack against Benedek's left near Nechanitz, with 
the object of driving in his left, and of cutting him off from 

* This theory is entirely b.ised on hypothesis, and must be accepted only 
ibr what it is worth. 


Pardubitz and the railway to Vienna. The spies would not 
fail to notice that some of the Crown Prince's troops were still 
at Koniginhof, and near Gradlitz. Their presence there would 
be accounted for by the supposition that they were left to watch 
Josephstadt, to hold the line of the Elbe, and prevent a raid 
against the Crown Prince's line of communication with Silesia 
until he had changed that line for the one by which Frederick 
Charles communicated with Saxony. This ideal cause of the 
Austrian conduct on the 3rd July appears to be borne out by 
the following general order which, as it is said, Benedek issued 
late on the night of the 2nd : so late that it only reached his 
second corps on the Trottina at foxir o'clock on the morning of 
the day of the battle. This order would seem to have been 
dictated when the Feldzeugmeister heard that the Prussians 
were moving to their own right from Miletin. It was as follows : — 

" The Saxon corps will occupy the heights of Popowitz and 
Tresowitz, the left wing slightly refused and covered by its own 
cavalry. To the left of this corps and somewhat to the rear> 
the first light cavalry division will take post, on the extreme 
left flank of Problus and Prim. On the right of the Saxons the 
tenth corps ivill take its position ; on the right of the tenth the 
third will occupy the heights of Chlum and Lipa. The eighth 
corps will serve as immediate support to the Saxons. The 
troops not named above are only to hold themselves in readi- 
ness while the attack is confined to the left wing. Should the 
hostile attack assume greater dimensions, the whole army will 
be formed in order of battle. 

" The fourth corps will then move up on the right of the 
third to the heights between Chlum and Nedelitz ; and on the 
extreme right flank next to the fourth the second will take post. 

" The second light cavalry division will take post in rear of 
Nedelitz, and there remain in readiness. The sixth corps will 
take post on the heights near Wsetar ; the first near Rosnitz. 
Both these corps will be in concentrated formation. The first 
and third cavalry divisions will take post at Sweti. In the 
event of a general attack the first and sixth corps, the five 
cavalry divisions, and the reserve artillery of the army, which 
will be posted in rear of the first and sixth corps, are to serve 
as the reserve of the army. 


**The retreat, if necessary, will be made by the high road to 
Hohenmauth, without disturbing the fortress of Koniggratz. 

" The second and fourth corps must at once cause pontoon 
bridges to be thrown across the Elbe. The second corps ytiW 
throw two between Lochenitz and Predmeritz. The first corps 
will also throw a bridge." 

As a digression it may be noticed in passing that these 
bridges mentioned in this order were ready by mid-day. The 
organization of the Austrian army cannot have been so very 
bad as some are now fain to suppose. 

By the general tenor of this order, it appears that the Feld- 
zeugmeister fully expected to be attacked on his left, for much 
the same reason as Wellington at Waterloo fully expected to be 
assailed on his right The part of the order which relates to 
the fourth and second corps shows that he contemplated the 
possibility of an attack on his right ; but not from a very large 
force. Probably the reports of the spies induced him to believe 
that the first corps and the Guards at least of the army of the 
Crown Prince had joined Prince Frederick Charles, and that 
only two corps, or sixty thousand men, were at the most on the 
Elbe. He knew that the two main bodies of these latter two 
corps must defile over the river, and march fifteen miles over 
very bad roads and an extremely difficult country, before they 
could feel his right In the meantime he might have disposed of 
the adversaries in his front The conduct of the Austrian general 
during the action seems also to confirm this. Had he known 
that at ten o'clock Prince Frederick Charles sent only four divi- 
sions across the Bistritz, he would hardly have failed to bear 
down upon them with greatly superior numbers, and crush 
them at once, before the arrival of their assistants. From the 
time of the attack on Benatek until the arrival of the Crown 
Prince, Franzecky was exposed across the Bistritz, separated by 
a wide interval from Home's division in the Sadowa wood 
The country favourable for the action of cavalry. Franzecky 
had with him only one regiment of hussars. The Prussian 
reserve cavalry could not have crossed the stream, on account 
of its marshy banks, to his assistance. Twenty thousand 
Austrian horsemen were at Benedek*s command. He held them 
inactive. Yet the hero of San Martino was not the man to miss 


to Strike a blow if he thought he could do so with safety. He 
must have imagined Franzecky much stronger than he really 
was. Probably the Austrian staff imagined that the Crown 
Prince's corps, which here joined Frederick Charles, were the 
assailants of Benatek. If there is any ground for the above 
supposition, how much must the conclusion reflect upon the 
Austrian system of reconnaissances and patrols. From the 
high bank above Koniginhof, a staff officer Ijdng hidden in the 
fir-wood could, almost with the naked eye, have counted every 
Prussian gun, every Prussian soldier that the Crown Prince 
moved towards Miletin. The eyes of the Austrian army on 
more than one occasion during the campaign failed. Their 
patrol system was very much inferior to that of the Prussians. 
Its inferiority seems to have been due to the want of military 
education among the officers to whom patrols were entrusted. 
In the Prussian army special officers of high intelligence were 
always chosen to reconnoitre. Properly so, for the task is no 
easy one. An eye unskilled, or a mind untutored, can see 
little, where a tried observer detects important movements. A 
line of country, or a few led horses, will tell the officer who is 
accustomed to such duty more than heavy columns or trains of 
artillery will disclose to the unthinking novice. The Prussian 
system never failed, never allowed a surprise. The Austrians 
were repeatedly surprised, and taken unprepared. Yet the out- 
post system of the latter during the Italian war of 1859 merited 
the praise of the Emperor of the French, and was by him pointed 
out to his own army as a model of superiority.* The military 
development of Prussia had not yet been fully appreciated. 

Another fact which may aid to corroborate the theory ad- 
vanced above, is the telegram in which Feldzeugmeister 
Benedek first announced to Vienna the loss of the battle In 
this he said that some of the enemy's troops, under cover of the 
mist, established themselves on his flank, and so caused the 
defeat Probably at that time he thought that the troops 
that got into Chlum were a detachment from those engaged at 
Benatek. If the Austrian general had suspected any attack 
from the direction of Koniginhof, he would surely have watched 

* General Order of the Emperor after the Battle of Solferino, 

364 . SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book YIL 

the country in that direction with his cavalry, but the troops of 
the Crown Prince did not fall in with a single patrol till they 
actually came into collision with the Austrian line of 

How the Prussian Guards were allowed to get into Chlum 
appears inexplicable. From the top of Chlum Church tower 
the whole country can be clearly seen as far as the top of the 
high bank of the Elbe. A staff-officer posted there, even 
through the mist, which was not so heavy as is generally 
supposed, could have easily seen any movements of troops as 
far as Choteborek. A person near Sadowa could see quite 
distinctly Herwarth's attack at Hradek, and, except during occa- 
sional squalls, there was no limit to the view over the surround- 
ing country except where the configuration of the ground or the 
heavy smoke overcame the sight From the top of Chlum 
Church there was a clear view over all the neighbouring hills, 
and the top of the spire generally stood out clear over the 
heavy curtain of hanging smoke which, above the heads of the 
combatants, fringed the side of the Lipa hill from Benatek to 
Nechanitz. So litde apprehensive, however, was Benedek of 
an attack on his right, that he stationed no officer in the tower; 
and himself took up a position above Lipa, where any view 
towards the north was entirely shut out by the hill and houses 
of Chlum. No report appears to have reached him of the 
advance of the Guards, yet they were engaged at Horenowes, 
and passed through Maslowed. From that village, without 
opposition, they marched along the rear of the Austrian line, 
apparently unobserved, until they flung themselves into Chlum 
and Rosberitz. It seems that the fourth corps to whom the 
defence of the ground between Maslowed and Nedelitz was en- 
trusted, seeing their comrades heavily engaged with Franzecky 
in the Maslowed wood, turned to their aid, and pressing for- 
wards towards Benatek quitted their proper ground. A short 
time afterwards the second Austrian corps was defeated by the 
Prussian eleventh division, and retreated towards its bridge at 
Lochenitz. The advance of the fourth corps, and the retreat 
of the second, left a clear gap in the Austrian line, through 
which the Prussian Guards marched unmolested, and without a 
shot seized the key of the position. Once installed they could 


not be ejected, and the battle was practically lost to the 

The Prussian pursuit was tardy, and not pushed. The men 
were fatigued, and night was coming on. The Austrian cavalry 
was moving sullenly towards Pardubitz. The Prussian cavalry 
of the First Army had suffered severely. The Elbe lay between 
the retreating Austrians and the victorious Prussians. The 
victory, although fortuitously decisive, was not improved to such 
advantage as it might have been. 



Before proceeding to review the events which have in the 
meantime been taking place in the western theatre of war, it is 
requisite to cast a glance upon the operations of the two 
Prussian corps which had been left to guard the province of 
Silesia. On the concentration of the Austrian army in 
Bohemia, a corps of 6,000 men, under General Trentinaglia, 
had been left at Cracow. Two Prussian independent corps 
had, as was already noticed, been stationed at Ratibor and 
Nicolai, to shield south-eastern Silesia, against a probable 
attack from this corps. The former was commanded by 
General Knobelsdorf, and consisted of the 62nd regiment of 
infantry, the 2nd regiment of Uhlans, a few battalions of 
Landwehr, and one battery. The latter, under General Count 
Stolberg, was formed of Landwehr alone, and mustered six 
battalions, two regiments of cavalry, two companies of Jagers, 
and one battery. 

The corps of Knobelsdorf was to defend the Moravian 
frontier, that of Stolberg the Gallician ; and both, in case of 
attack by overwhelming numbers, were to fall back under the 
protection of the fortress of KoseL 

On the 2 1 St June, Stolberg*s corps obtained its first im- 
portant although bloodless success. That day it marched 
rapidly, many of the men being conveyed in waggons to 
Pruchna, blew up the railway viaduct there, and so destroyed 
the communication between General Trentinaglia and the main 
Austrian army. 

On the 24th and 26th June, as well as on the intermediate 
days, several Austrian parties made demonstrations of crossing 


the frontier near Oswiecin. Large bodies of troops appeared 
to be in the act of concentration at that place, and General 
Stolberg determined to assure himself of the actual strength of 
the Austrians there by a reconnaissance in force. 

To aid this, General Knobelsdorf sent a part of his troops to 
Myslowitz, to cover the rear of Stolberg's corps while it 
marched on Oswiecin, 

At the latter place. General Stolberg found a considerably 
superior force of the enemy. He seized the buildings of the 
railway station, placed them hastily in a state of defence, and 
determined by making a long halt here to force the Austrians to 
develop their full force 

After he had achieved this object, General Stolberg retired 
to his position near Nicolai. The detachment at Myslowitz 
had at the same time to sustain an action there, and fulfilled 
completely its pxurpose of holding the enemy back from 

On the 30th June, Stolberg's detachment was so weakened 
by the withdrawal of his Landwehr battalions, which were 
called up in order to aid in the formation of a fourth battalion 
to every regiment, that it could no longer hold its own against 
the superior Austrian force near Myslowitz. It retired accord- 
ingly nearer to Ratibor, in the direction of Plesz, and undertook 
from here, in connexion with General Knobelsdorf, expeditions 
into Moravia against Teschen, Biala, and Skotchau, annoyed the 
Austrians considerably, and made the inhabitants of Moravia 
regard the war with aversion. 



As has been already shown in a preceding chapter,* the 
Prussian troops which had invaded Hanover and Hesse-Cassel 
occupied on the 19th June the following positions : — The 
divisions of General Goeben and General Manteuffel were in 
the town of Hanover, and that of General Beyer in CasseL Of 
the allies of Austria the Hanoverian army was at Gottingen, 
the Bavarian in the neighbourhood of Wiirzburg and Bambei^, 
the eighth Federal corps in the vicinity of Frankfort. The latter 
consisted of the troops of Wiirtemberg, Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, 
Nassau, and Hesse-Cassel, to which an Austrian division was 
added. We have seen under what disadvantages the Hanoverian 
army left Hanover, and commenced its southward march. Its 
formation and preparations began only at Gottingen, and they 
were necessarily conducted under every untoward circumstance. 
The soldiers of the reserve, and those who had been absent on 
furlough, nobly responded to the call of their King, and made 
their way through the country which was in Prussian posses- 
sion, and sometimes even through the lines of the enemy, to 
join the ranks at Gottingen. By their firm determination to 
reach their regiments they afforded an earnest of the gallantry 
and courage which they afterwards displayed upon the field of 
battle. By the arrival of these men, the army at Gottingen 
mustered about twenty thousand combatants, with fifty guns. 

Southern Germany expected great deeds of the Bavarian 

♦ See page 118. 


army. It might have thrown serious difficulties in the way of 
the Prussian successes, had not an uncertainty and vacillation 
pervaded all its operations. Prince Charles of Bavaria, the 
Commander-in-Chief, under whose orders the eighth Federal 
Corps was also afterwards placed, seems to have conducted his 
campaign without a definite strategical object, and without 
energy in its prosecution. Against him in command of the 
Prussian Army of the Maine* was a geneml gifted with prudence 
and clear foresight, who pursued his aim with an iron vigour. 
The Bavarian is a smart soldier in time of peace, and conducts 
himself well in battle : but the ranks of Bavaria do not contain 
such intelligence as do those of Prussia, for men drawn for 
military service are allowed to provide substitutes, so that only 
the poorer and less educated classes of society furnish recmits 
for the army. 

The eighth Federal corps did not assemble either with zeal 
or rapidity. The troops of the Grand Duke of Baden not 
only came very late to the place of concentration, but when 
actually in the field were handled in a manner which gave rise 
to grave suspicions of the affection of their government for the 
South-German cause. The kernel of this miscellaneous corps 
was formed by an Austrian division composed of the troops 
which had been withdrawn from the fortresses of Rastadt, 
Mayence, and Frankfort. Even if the princes of the small 
states which furnished their contingents to the eighth corps had 
made clear to themselves the end or object of the war which 
they had undertaken, their reasons for the quarrel had not 
penetrated the lower ranks of their armies. The troops had no 
idea, no knowledge, of the causes for which they were to shed 
their blood, and markedly in this respect contrasted with the 
Pmssian soldiery, which held that the honour, integrity, and 
even existence of its fatherland was in jeopardy. 

The Federal troops did not fail in bravery, but no enthusiasm 
thrilled through their ranks. Individual bodies were doubtless 
animated by a high courage, and in many cases displayed a 
heroic devotion to their leaders and their princes. But the 

• This name was only given on the ist of July to the Prussian divisions 
amalgamated together under the command of General Vogel von Falcken- 


mass did not work evenly ; a want of harmony existed amon.i; 
its heterogeneous units, which, in combination with the clouded 
plans of its chiefs, facilitated the task of General von Falcken- 
stein. There was also dissension in the councils of the leaders. 
Prince Alexander tiot only habitually disagreed with his supe- 
rior. Prince Charles, and so originated causes of disaster \ but 
himself was often engaged in paltry squabbles with the 
lieutenants who commanded the different contingents. 


The Hanoverian army had marched from its capital almost 
totally unprepared to undertake a campaign. It stood in dire 
need of several days* rest in order to be organized, and to 
allow time for the formation of a transport train, as well as for 
the clothing and armament of the soldiers of reserve who had 
been recalled to the ranks, and for the horsing of part of the 
artillery. On this account it was forced to halt until the 20th 
June at Gottingen, and the favourable moment for its unmo- 
lested march to unite with the troops of Bavaria was allow^ed 
to slip away. 

On the iQtli June, by the successful occupation of Cassel by 
Prussian troops, the ultimate retreat of the Hanoverians was 
first endangered. On the same day the Prussian General von 
Falckenstein set out from Hanover with Goeben's division in 
pursuit of them. The Hanoverian army had gained a start of 
almost seventy miles on General von Falckenstein, which was 
of the more importance, inasmuch as the latter could not make 
use of the railroads, which had been torn up and broken. 

The King of Hanover determined to move in a south- 
easterly direction, and to attempt to reach Bavaria by passing 
through Prussian territory on the road which leads by Heiligen- 
stadt and Langensalza, and then by Gotha or Eisenach, or to 
unite with the Bavarians in the neighbourhood of Fulda, The 
roads in this direction through the mountains of the Thuringian 
Forest are very convenient, and by no means difficult Had 
the march been pushed on with certainty and rapidity, there 
seems to have been no reason why it should not have been 
successful in its issue. The portion of the Prussian province 


of Saxony through which the line of march lay from Heiligen- 
stadt to Langensalza was entirely denuded of Prussian troops. 
The only force to oppose the progress of the retreating "army 
on this road was the contingent of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, at 
Gotha. This consisted, however, of only two battalions. It 
seems, therefore, that the direction proposed for their route 
offered considerable chances of success, if on the one side the 
Hanoverians had forced their marches, and on the other the 
Bavarians had pushed forward by Coburg in strength, in order 
to eflfect a junction with their threatened allies. But neither 
the Hanoverian nor Bavarian leaders acted energetically. 

The Prussian staff, on the contrary, took most prompt 
measures to cut off the Hanoverian retreat, and to occupy the 
principal points on their line of march with troops. The Duke 
of Cobuig had declared openly and decidedly on the side of 
Prussia, and his troops were in consequence at the service of 
the Prussian Government On the 20th June, Colonel von 
Fabeck, the commandant of the Coburg contingent, received a 
telegraphic order from Berlin to post himself with his two 
battalions at Eisenach, because it was expected that the 
Hanoverians would there first attempt to break through. Three 
battalions of Landwehr, one squadron of Landwehr cavalry, and 
a battery of four guns, were sent from the garrison of Erfurt to 
reinforce him. A battalion of the fourth regiment of the 
Prussian Guard, which had reached Leipsic on the 19th, was 
also despatched to his aid, a detachment of which, on the 20th, 
rendered the railway tunnel near Eisenach, impassable. 

At the same time General Beyer, pushing forwards from 
Cassel towards Eisenach, occupied the passages of the river 
Werra, between AUendorf and that place. 

The idea of uniting with the Bavarians, by moving from 
Heiligenstadt by Eschewege and Fulda, was under these cir- 
cumstances, given up by the King of Planover. On the 20th 
of June such is said to have been his intention, and on that 
day he moved his advanced guard from Gottingen to Heiligen- 
stadt On the 2 1 St he ordered his whole army to move upon 
Gotha, and crossed the Prussian frontier with his troops, after 
taking leave of his people by means of a proclamation, in 
which he mournfully expressed his hope soon to return vie- 


torious at the head of his army, to the land which he was then 
temporarily forced to quit 

General Arentschild, on entering Prussian territory near 
Heiligenstadt, issued a proclamation in which he disavowed 
any intention of treating the country in a hostile manner, and 
declared that he only desired to be allowed to march through 
without interruption. The Hanoverian army, dependent for 
its subsistence upon requisitions, moved but slowly. On the 
22nd it occupied Miihlhausen, and on the 23rd Grosz-Gottem. 
From this place advanced guards were pushed forward on the 
one side towards Erfurt, on the other to the railway between 
Eisenach and Gotha. The latter found that this line was 
already occupied by the Prussians. On the 24th the Hano- 
verian army reached Langensalza. 

In the meantime Colonel Fabeck, the commander of the 
Coburg contingent, quitting his position at Eisenach, ap- 
proached Gotha, and occupied the road by which the Hano- 
verians might have broken through in this direction. A second 
squadron of Landwehr cavalry and a depdt battalion were sent 
from Erfurt to reinforce him ; and a second battalion of the 
fourth regiment of the infantry of the Prussian Guard \i'as 
hurried up from Berlin. One battalion of this regiment oc- 
cupied Weimar, and the other Eisenach, 

On the 24th June, the force opposed to the Hanoverians at 
Gotha consisted only of six weak battalions, two squadrons, 
and four guns. There can hardly be any question but that, if 
the King of Hanover had marched rapidly on Gotha that day, 
Colonel von Fabeck would have been quite unable to hold his 
position. But the Hanoverian leaders failed to take advantage 
of this last opportunity. The King rejected a proposal made 
by Colonel von Fabeck, that his army should capitulate ; but 
applied to the Duke of Coburg, and asked him to act as a 
mediator with the Prussian Government. The Hanoverians 
desired a free passage to Bavaria, and were in return willing to 
pledge themselves to take no share in the war in Germany 
during six months. The Duke of Coburg insisted that this 
time should be extended to a year, to which the Hanoverians 
assented, and the Duke telegraphed a report of the negotiations 
to Berlin. 


Had the Hanoverians obtained these terms, their intention 
was to move into Italy, and there to act on the Austrian side 
against the Italians, — z, course of action which would have 
recalled to memory the past times in which the Electors of 
Hanover sent so many of their subjects to combat in the cause 
of the republic of Venice. 

The King of Prussia, immediately on the receipt of the tele- 
gram of the Duke of Coburg, despatched his Adjutant-General, 
General von Alvensleben, to Gotha, to treat with the King of 
Hanover. In the meantime an armistice was agreed upon, 
which was to expire on the morning of the 25th. This ar- 
mistice was violated, doubtlessly by some misunderstanding, 
on the night of the 24th, by the Hanoverians, who advanced 
to the Gotha and Eisenach railway, and broke up the line near 
Frotestadt. General von Alvensleben sent a proposal from 
Gotha to the King of Hanover that he should capitulate. To 
this no answer was returned ; but the King expressed a wish 
that General von Alvensleben should repair to his camp, in 
order to treat with him. This wish was complied with early on 
the 25th, when an extension of the armistice was agreed upon, 
and General von Alvensleben hurried back to Berlin for further 
instructions. It was not at this time the interest of the Prussians 
to push matters to extremities. Their troops were widely 
scattered, and the small force at Gotha was unequal to engage 
tlie Hanoverian army with any chance of success. The 
Hanoverians seem to have been ignorant of how small a body 
alone barred the way to Bavaria, and to have hoped that time 
might be afforded for aid to reach them. On the night of the 
24th a messenger was sent to the Bavarian head-quarters at 
Bamberg to report the situation of the Hanoverian army, and 
to solicit speedy assistance. To this request Prince Charles 
only replied that an army of nineteen thousand men ought to 
be able to cut its way through. In consequence of this opinion 
only one Bavarian brigade of light cavalry was advanced on 
the 25th of June to Meiningen, in the valley of the Werra, 
while a few Bavarian detachments were pushed forward along 
the high road as far as Vacha. 

This procedure of Prince Charles of Bavaria was alone suffi- 
cient to condemn him as a general He held his army inactive, 



when, by a bold advance, not only could he have insured the 
safety of the Hanoverians, but could in all probability have 
captured the whole of his enemy's troops at Gotha. Thus he 
would have saved nineteen thousand allies, have captured six 
thousand of his adversary's men, have turned the scale of war 
by twenty-five thousand combatants, have preserved to his own 
cause a skilled and highly trained army, proud of high and 
ancient military reputation, which the faults of politicians had 
placed in a most precarious and unfortunate position. 

On the 25 th Prussian troops were closing in upon the de- 
voted Hanoverians; but telegraphic orders were forwarded 
from Berlin to all their commanders not to engage in hostilities 
until ten o'clock on the morning of the 26th. Colonel von 
Doring was despatched to Langensalza by the Prussian 
Government, with full powers to treat with the King of 
Hanover ; he proposed an alliance with Prussia, on the basis 
of the recognition of the Prussian project for reform of the 
Germanic Confederation, and of the disbandment by Hanover 
of its army. To these terms King George would not agree ; 
deserted by his allies, to them he was still faithful, and still 
expected that the Bavarians must come to his aid. He refused 
to entertain any proposition for the capitulation of his array, 
and demanded a free and unimpeded passage into Bavaria. In 
the meantime, while the King treated, the Bavarians remained 
inactive, and while the Hanoverian army was fatigued by 
marching and countermarching within its lines, the troops of 
Prussia closed round it. On the 25th June the Prussian 
divisions of Goeben and Beyer reached Eisenach. The same 
day General Flies, who had been despatched by General 
Manteuffel with five battalions and two batteries, reached 
Gotha by means of the railway which runs through Magdeburg 
and Halle. On the same evening the Prussian troops at Gotha 
were reinforced by two battalions of the 20th regiment oi 
Landwehr, and a dep6t battalion from the garrison of Afagde- 
buig. General Flies immediately assumed the command of the 
Prussian and Coburg troops at Gotha, and pushed his advanced 
guard that evening to Warza, half-way between Gotha and 

Round this place the Hanoverian army lay. The opportunity 


of forcing its way into Bavaria, while the two battalions of 
Coburg were alone at Gotha, had been lost By the morning 
of the 26th, forty-two thousancf Prussians were placed on the 
south, west, and north, within a day's march of its position, and 
all hopes of escape into Bavaria, or of aid from its southern 
allies, appeared to be vain. 

On the 26th the armistice expired at ten o'clock in the 
morning, but the Prussian Commander-in-chief did not imme- 
diately commence hostilities. His dispositions were not yet 
perfected. That day the Hanoverian army drew more closely 
together, either with the object of accepting battle, or, as some 
say, with the intention of moving by Tennstedt, and endeavour- 
ing to join the Bavarians by a circuitous route. 

That evening the Hanoverians took up a position between 
the villages of Thamsbriick, Merxleben, and the town of Lan- 
gensalza. None of these places were well suited for defence, 
and no artificial fortifications were thrown up on the southern 
side of the position, where General Flies lay. On the northern 
side a few insignificant earthworks and one battery were erected, 
to guard the rear and right flank of the army against the Prus- 
sian corps under General ManteufTel, which lay in the direction 
of Miihlhausen. The soldiers were weary with marching and 
privations, but eager to join battle with the Prussians, who of 
late years had spoken in a disparaging and patronising tone of 
the Hanoverian army, which, since the battle of Langensalza, 
has been exchanged for one of high respect and admiration. 
There had been a false alarm in the Hanoverian lines of an 
advance by the enemy in the night between the 26th and 27th 
June; but an attack was not expected on the 27th. This day 
had been appointed by Royal command to be observed as a 
solemn day of fast and humiliation throughout Prussia, and the 
Hanoverian leaders appear to have imagined that on this 
account the Prussian generals would not attack. In this they 
were deceived, for before evening there had been fought the 


The Prussian troops on the morning of the 27th occupied 

the following positions : — The division of General Manteuffel 

T 2 


was at Muhlhausen ; that of General Beyer at Eisenach ; that 
of General Goeben had one of its brigades, that of General 
Wrangel, pushed forwards towards the north-west of Langen- 
salza, and the other brigade, that of General Kummer, at 
Gotha ; while the corps of General Flies was concentrated on 
the south of Langensalza, at Warza. General Flies, who com- 
manded five battalions of infantry of the Prussian line, one 
depot battalion, two battalions of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg- 
Gotha, and hv^ battalions of Landwehr, with three squadrons, 
in all about twelve thousand men,* with twenty-two guns, 
advanced from Warza, and attacked the Hanoverian position 
on that forenoon. General Flies has been censured by mili- 
tary critics for making this attack so early, while, as will be 
seen in the sequel, his colleagues were still too far distant to 
render him assistance during the action which he thus precipi- 
tated. He has not, however, failed to find defenders of the 
course he pursued. It has been urged that the object of his 
attack was to hold the Hanoverian army on the Unstrut, and 
if this were his only object he was successful Hanoverian 
sources of information, however, hardly allude to the supposi- 
tion that King George was about to move to Tennstedt ; and, 
unless General Flies had strong reasons for belie\'ing that his 
adversary meditated the immediate execution of such a move- 
ment, he was hardly justified in exposing himself to an unne- 
cessary chance of disaster. It has also been said that General 
Manteuifel on the north was to fire two cannon as a signal to 
General Flies tliat he was ready to attack, and that the Hano- 
verians, having discovered this arrangement, gave the signal at 
an early hour from their own batteries. The Hanoverians, 

• 3 Battalions, nth Regiment | ^^^^ ^^ Battalion) . . 5,000 

2 „ Saxe Coburg-Gotha (900 per Battalion) . 1,800 

Dcp6t Battalion 71st Regiment (400 per Battalion) . . 400 
2 Battalions, 20th Landwehr Regiment ) 

2 „ 32nd „ „ > (Soo per Battalion) 4,000 
I Battalion, 27th „ ,, ) 

3 Squadrons (150 horsemen each) 450 

Gunners • • • • . 600 



however, assert that their artillery only fired its first shot after 
General Flies's infantry attack had been well developed. 

The position occupied by the Hanoverian army on the 
morning of the 27th lay along the sloping side of the line of 
hills which rises from the left bank of the river Unstrut The 
right wing and centre rested on the villages of Thamsbriick 
and Merxleben ; the left wing between the villages of Nagel- 
stadt and Merxleben. The third brigade (Von Biilow) formed 
the right wing; the fourth brigade (Von Bothmer) the left; 
while in the centre was posted the first brigade (Von de 
Knesebeck), which at the beginning of the action was held in 
rear of the general line. The village of Merxleben, and the 
ground in front of it, was occupied by the second brigade (De 
Vaux), which had its outposts pushed as far as Henningsleben, 
along the road to Warza. The artillery and cavalry of the 
reserve were posted behind Merxleben, near the road to Sund- 
hausen, where the scanty depots of ammunition and stores 
were established. The front of the position was covered by 
the river, which with its steep banks impeded at first- the Prus- 
sian attack, but afterwards was an obstacle to the offensive 
advance and counter-attack of the Hanoverians. 

At about nine o'clock on the morning of the 27 th, the two 
Coburg battalions which formed the advanced guard of General 
Flies's column reached Henningsleben, and attacked the Hano- 
verian outposts there. These withdrew to Langensalza, occa- 
sionally checking their pursuers by the fire of their skirmishers. 
One Hanoverian battalion remained for a short time in Lan- 
gensalza, but then the whole Hanoverian troops, which had 
been pushed along the Gotha road, withdrew across the Unstrut 
to Merxleben, and the Prussians occupied Langensalza before 
ten o'clock. 

General Flies then made his arrangements for an attack on 
the main Hanoverian position. His artillery was very inferior 
numerically to that of the enemy, so he relied chiefly on his 
infantry fire. He sent a small column to make a feint against 
Thamsbriick, while he advanced two regiments of infantry 
against Merxleben, and detached a column of Landwehr to his 
right, in order to outflank, if possible, and turn the Hano- 
verian left. 


On the Hanoverian side the first gun was fired between ten 
and eleven, from a battery of rifled 6-pounders attached to the 
second brigade, and posted on the left of Merxleben. The 
first brigade was immediately pushed forward to the support of 
the second brigade, and took up its position on the right of 
that village. 

By a singular error, the Hanoverians failed to hold a wood 
and bathing-establishment close to the river, on the right bank, 
opposite Merxleben. Into these the Prussian regiments advanc- 
ing against the village threw themselves. Sheltered by the 
cover, they opened a biting musketry fire against the Hano- 
verian gunners and troops near the village, which lasted till the 
end of the battle, caused great loss in the Hanoverian ranks, 
and made an issue fi-om the village and a passage of the bridge 
most difficult and dangerous. The first gun-shot of the Hano- 
verians was quickly followed by others, and in a few minutes 
the whole of the Prussian and the greater part of the Hanoverian 
pieces were engaged, when the roar of the guns, the explosions 
of bursting shells, and the rapid crackling of small arms^ rose 
loud in the rough harmony of war. 

The Prussian column on the right pressed forward against 
the Hanoverians' left, seemed to be bearing against their line of 
retreat, and threatened to turn their flank* The Hanoverian 
leader seized the opportunity, and resolved to attack with vigour 
the wide-spread Prussian line. 

The first brigade in the centre, with the third brigade on its 
right wing, advanced at mid-day from Merxleben. The fourth 
brigade on the left wing moved forward at the same time against 
the Prussian right, but here the banks of the river were steeper, 
and the time occupied in descending and ascending the banks, 
as well as in wading through the stream, prevented more of this 
brigade than one battalion of rifles from at first taking a share 
in the onset The rest of the Hanoverian troops, however, 
supported by their artillery, pressed steadily forward, and bore 
down upon the Prussians, who retreated. Many prisoners were 
taken, but not without severe loss to the assailants, who 
soon occupied the wood and bathing-establishment beside the 

The Prussians then drew off" from every point, and a favoiur- 


able opportunity occurred for a vigorous pursuit But the dis- 
advantage of a river in front of a position now became apparent 
The cavahy could not ford the stream, nor approach it closely, 
on account of the boggy nature of its banks, and had to depend 
upon the bridges at Thamsbriick, Merxleben, and Nagelstadt 
The Duke of Cambridge's regiment of dragoons issued from the 
latter vilhge, and dashed forward quickly, but unsupported, 
against the Prussian line of retreat, and took several prisoners. 
As soon as the heavy cavalry of the reserve had threaded its 
way across the bridge of Merxleben, it also rushed upon the 
retreating Prussians. Two squares wer^ broken by it, and 
many prisoners made, while Captain von Einein, with his 
squadron of cuirassiers, captured a Prussian battery. But the 
horsemen of Hanover suffered fearfully from the deadly rapidity 
of the needle-gun, and Von Einein fell in the midst of his cap- 
tured cannon. 

The cavalry pursued the Prussians as far as Henningsleben, 
but a further pursuit, or an advance of the infantry even so far, 
was impossible, on account of the fatigue of both men and 
horses, and the scarcity of provisions and ammunition. 

About five o'clock the pursuit terminated, and the Hano- 
verians, masters of the field of battle, posted their outlying 
pickets on the south of Langensalza, 

The total loss of the Hanoverians in killed and wounded 
was one thousand three hundred and ninety two. The 
Prussians lost nine hundred and twelve prisoners, and probably 
about the same number as their enemies in killed and wounded. 
It is said that the Hanoverian infantry engaged did not number 
more than ten thousand men, because the recruits were sent to 
the rear, and during the day one thousand men were employed 
in throwing up earthworks. The Hanoverian cavalry consisted 
of twenty-four squadrons, of which eighteen certainly took part 
in the pursuit, and must have mustered at least nineteen 
hundred sabres. The artillery in action on that side consisted 
of forty-two guns. The Prussian force, as has been shown 
before, numbered about twelve thousand combatants, with 
twenty-two guns. It is extremely questionable how far General 
Flies was justified tmder these circumstances in precipitating 
an action* 


The battle of Langensalza was of little avail to the gallant 
army which had won it The troops of Hanover were now 
too intricately involved in the meshes of Falckenstein's 

This general, on the 28th, closed in his divisions, and drew 
them tightly round the beleaguered Hanoverians, who, by the 
action of Langensalza, had repulsed but not cut through their 
assailants. The division of General Manteufiel and the brigade 


Brigade JVrartgtl 

n {RoiAm-ffeiiifigfn) 

□ Div, Manteuffei 

Vnstrui J?, 



rn Flies 

Div, Btytr 

Kummers Brigudi to Wn 


of General Wrangel were pushed into the Hanoverian rear, and 
took up positions at Alt-Gottem, Rothen-Heiligen, and Boll- 
stedt The division of General Beyer was advanced from 
Eisenach to Hayna. General Flies was at Warza, and the 
brigade of General Kummer at Gotha was held ready to move 


by railway to Weimar, in order to head King George, in case 
he should march to the eastward on the left bank of the 
Unstrut Forty thousand hostile combatants were knitted 
round the unfortunate monarch and his starving but devoted 

When these positions of the Prussians were reported to the 
King, he determined to avoid a holocaust of his soldiery. An 
action could hardly have been successful \ it must have been 
desperate. The terms of capitulation which had been formerly 
proposed by Prussia, were agreed to on the evening of the 29th. 
Arms, carnages, and military stores were handed over to the 
Prussians: the Hanoverian soldiers were dismissed to their 
homes : the officers were allowed to retain their horses and 
their swords, on condition of not again serving against Prussia 
during the war. The King himself and the Crown Prince 
were allowed to depart whither they pleased, except within the 
boundaries of Hanover. 

Political errors, and the supineness of Prince Charles of 
Bavaria, had at one stroke of the pen made a whole army 
captive, and blotted out from the roll of independent states 
one of the most renowned of continental principalities. 

This disaster of the Hanoverian army was due in a less 
degree to the uncertain action of its leaders than to the 
improvidence of its administrators, and the blmdness of the 
political guardians of its country. Still there is no doubt 
that, on the days preceding the 25th June, the army of King 
George could easily have forced its way through the small 
knot of its enemies at Gotha, and have secured a safe re- 
treat, provided only that it had been directed to march 
boldly forward. Its subsequent conduct at Langensalza com- 
pels us to believe that its organization at this time must 
have been sufficiently advanced to allow it to take this course. 
For the reasons that it did not do so its military directors 
must be responsible. 

Yet, whoever is to blame for the calamitous results of its 
expiring campaign, none can regard, without a feeling of 
sympathy and emotion, the last struggles of a proud and 
high-minded soldiery, who bore up ineffectually for days 
against privation, hardship, and superior numbers ; who even 


hoped against hope ; who rallied round their king in the hour 
of his misfortune, and strove to carry him, by the pressure 
of their bayonets, through the clustering bands of hostile com- 
batants. Hanoverians may well look with a mournful satis- 
faction on Langensalza. British soldiers may justly feel a 
generous pride in the last campaign of an army which mingled 
its blood with that of their ancestors on the battle-fields of 
Spain and Belgium, and not unworthily rank the name of the 
batde which closes the last page of Hanoverian history with 
Salamanca, Talavera, Quatre Bras, and Waterloo. 



When Prussia determined upon war, she resolved to throw 
herself with her main force upon Austria, since that Power was 
the leader and backbone of the coalition against her. With the 
intention of crushing the Austrian army in Bohemia and 
Moravia, the whole of the regular corps d'arm^e of the Prussian 
service were directed upon those countries. Westphalia and 
the Rhenish provinces were denuded of their regular troops, 
which were marched to the Austrian frontier. To protect the 
western provinces of Prussia from the allies of Austria, to over- 
run Hanover and Hesse-Cassel, and then to act against the 
allies of Austria in the south-west of Germany, was the task 
entrusted to General Vogel von Falckenstein. He was pro- 
vided with an army hastily collected together from the Elbe 
duchies, and from the garrisons of the neighbouring 

With this army, General von Falckenstein had to be pre- 
pared to take the field against the Bavarians and the seventh 
corps of the kite Germanic Confederation. Previous to en- 
gaging with these adversaries, he was forced to occupy Hanover 
and Hesse-Cassel, and to pursue and disarm the Hanoverian 
troops. These preliminaries cost the Prussian general the loss 
of fourteen days of valuable time, and allowed the eighth 
Federal corps to assemble its heterogeneous constituents, and 
organize them round Frankfort. There can be no doubt but 
that if, on the i8th or 19th June, General Falckenstein had 
been able to concentrate his divisions near Wetzlar, and to 
have marched immediately upon Frankfort, he would have 
entirely prevented the collection of the troops of Baden, Wur- 


tembeig, and Hesse, and have annihilated in detail their 
separated divisions. 

On the other hand, fortune favoured Falckenstein, inasmuch 
as that during this fortnight the main armies of his opponents 
remained inactive, and, with the exception of some petty 
demonstrations, began to develop no energy until quite the end 
of June, when he himself, after the capitulation of the Hano- 
verians, was free to turn his unrestricted attention to them, and 
had concentrated his whole army at Gotha and Eisenach. 

The army thus assembled under General von Falckenstein 
consisted of three divisions. These were the division of 
Lieutenant-General von Goeben, which consisted of the 13th, 
53rd, 15th and S5th regiments of infantry, with the 8th regi- 
ment of hussars, and 4th regiment of cuirassiers. It mustered 
in all, at this time, about thirteen thousand men, with twenty- 
four guns, and was divided into two brigades, one commanded 
by General Kummer, the other by General WrangeL One 
division was the division of General von Beyer, which had 
been formed from the garrisons of the Federal fortresses of 
Mayence, Rastadt, Luxemburg, and Frankfort-on-Maine, and 
consisted of the 19th, 20th, 30th, 32nd, 34th, 39th and 70th 
regiments of infantry, with the 9th regiment of hussars, — ^alto- 
gether twenty-one thousand five hundred men, with forty-two 
guns. Another the division of General von ManteufTel, which 
had formerly garrisoned the duchy of Schleswig ; it consisted 
of the 25th, 36th, I ith, and 59th regiments of infantry, and the 
5th and 9th dragoons, — in all thirteen thousand men, with 
thirty guns. The command of this division was shortly after- 
wards given to General von Flies. To the Army of the Maine 
were also attached two battalions of the duchy of Saxe-Coburg, 
one of Oldenburg, and one of Lippe-Detmold, which num- 
bered together about two thousand five hundred combatants. 
General von Falckenstein had thus under his orders as nearly 
as possible fifty thousand men, with ninety-six guns.* The 
battalions of Landwehr and the depdt troops which had fought 

* Later five fourth battalions, a newly-raised rifle battalion, and three 
newly-raised Landwehr cavalry regiments, as well as the Oldenburg- Han- 
seatic brigade, consibting of seven baitalions, six squadrons, and two batteries, 
reinforced this army. 


at Langensalza were not retained with the army, but were dis- 
missed to rejoin the garrisons of those fortresses from which 
they had been taken. 

Opposed to the Prussian Army of the Maine stood, after the 
capitulation of the Hanoverians, the seventh and eighth corps 
of the Germanic Confederation. The seventh Federal corps 
consisted of the army of Bavaria, which was under the com- 
mand of Prince Charles of Bavaria, who was also Commander- 
in-chief of the two corps. The Bavarian army was divided 
into three divisions, each of which consisted of two brigades. 
A brigade was formed of two regiments of infantry of the Line, 
each of three battalions ; a battalion of light infantry, a regi- 
ment of cavalry, and a battery of artillery. There was also a 
reserve brigade of infantry, which consisted of five Line regi- 
ments and two battalions of rifles. The reserve cavalry con- 
sisted of six regiments, the reserve artillery of two batteries. 
The first division was under the command of General Stephan, 
the second under General Feder, the third under General 
Zoller. The infantry of the reserve was commanded by 
General Hartmann, the cavalry by a prince of the House of 
Thum and Taxis. The whole army numbered over fifty 
thousand sabres and bayonets, with one hundred and thirty-six 
gun&* The chief of the staff of Prince Charles was General 
von der Tann, who was a tried commander of a division. 

The Bavarian army in the middle of June was posted along 
the northern frontier of its own kingdom in positions intended 
to cover that country from an invasion from the north or east 
Its head-quarters were at Bamberg, its extreme right wing at 
Ho^ and its extreme left wing near the confluence of the 

* Each battalion of the Line mustered on paper 950 men ; each rifle 
battalion 668 ; and each regiment of cavalry 591 horsemen. This would 
give a total of 58,036 combatants ; but from this number several deductions 
have to be made for sickness and incomplete battalions. The number 
stated in the text has been carefully compiled from the comparison of nuiny 
authorities. Theoreticallv, Bavaria possessed a large force of Landwehr ; but 
as the cadres of the Lanawehr battalions were not maintained in peace, and 
no arrangements made for their clothing or armament in case of the out- 
break of a war, these auxiliary troops never paraded during the earlier 
operations of the war, except upon paper ; and only once during the whole 
of the campaign, near Bayreuth, did a detachment of these troops take a 
part in any action. 


Franconian Saale with the Maine, between Schweinfurt and 

The eighth Federal corps, under the command of Prince 
Alexander of Hesse, consisted of the Federal contingents of 
Wiirtcmberg, Baden, Hesse, and a combined division ; which 
included the Austrian auxiliary brigade and the troops of 
Nassau. The whole corps mustered forty-nine thousand eight 
hundred sabres and bayonets, with one hundred and thirty-four 
guns.* Prince Alexander assumed the command of this corps 

• The Order of Battle of this eighth Federal corps was : — 
1st (Wiirtemberg) Division. — Lieutenant-General von Hardegg. 

1st Infantry Brigade (ist and 5th Regiments and 3rd Jager Battalion). 

— Major-General von Baumbach. 
2nd Infantry Brigade (2nd and 7th Regiments and 3rd Jager Battalion). 

— Major-General von Fischer. 
3Td Infantry Brigade (3rd and 8th R^;iments and ist Jager Battalion). 

— Major-General Hegelmeier. 
Cavalry Brigade (ist, 3rd, and 4th Regiments). — Major-General 

Count von Scheler. 
ArtillerVf Six Batteries of Eight Guns. 
2nd (Baden) Division. — Prince William of Baden. 

Infantry. — Commander, Lieutenant-General Waag. 
1st Brigade (Grenadier and 5th Regiments and a Jager Battalion).— 

Major-General von la Roche. 
2nd Bngade (2nd and 3rd Regiments and Fusilier Battalion}.— 

Colonel von Neubronn. 
Cavalry, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Dragoons. 
Artillery, Five Batteries of Six Guns. 
3rd (Hesse-Darmstadt) Divison. — Lieutenant-General von Perglas. 

1st Brigade (ist and 2nd Regiments and one Jager Company). — ^Majoi^ 

General Frey. 
2nd Brigade (3rd and 4th Regiments and one Jager Company). — Major- 
General von Stockhausen. 
A Battalion of Sharpshooters was attached to the Division. 
Cavalry Brigade (two Regiments of Light Horse). — Prince Louis of 

Hesse. ^ 

Artillery, Four Batteries of Six Guns. 
4th (Combined) Division. — Lieutenant-Field-Marshal Count Neipperg. 
Austrian Brigade,— Major-General Hohn. 

Three Battalions of the i6th Infantry Regiment (Italians). 
One Battalion of the 49th „ • „ 

One „ „ 2i8t „ „ 

One „ „ 74th „ „ 

The 3Sth Jager Battalion. 
Two Batteries of Eight Guns. 
Nassau Brigade (ist and 2nd Regiments and a Jiiger Battalion).— 

Major-General Roth. 
Artillery, two Batteries of Eight Guns. 
To this division were attached two squadrons of the Hussars of Hesse- 


on the 1 8th June, and established his head-quarters at Darm- 

The Elector of Hesse- Cassel had sent his troops to the south 
as soon as the Prussians invaded his territory. By a decree of 
the Diet of the 22nd June, they were placed under the orders 
of the commander of the eighth Federal corps. On account 
of their rapid retreat from Cassel, their preparations for war 
were interrupted, and little could as yet be expected from them 
in the open field. On the 29th June, when Prince Alexander 
received orders for an advance of his corps, he directed the 
Hesse-Cassel contingent, on this account, to retire to Mainz, 
there to cover the Rhine, and the country in the immediate 
vicinity of that fortress. Two squadrons of hussars alone he 
retained as the divisional cavalry of his fourth division. These, 
as well as the troops of Hesse-Darmstadt, were ready for 
action. The troops of Wiirtemberg and Baden still wanted 
time ; those of Baden particularly : for their duchy entered 
only unwillingly into the war against Prussia. Wiirtemberg 
had sent an infantry brigade, a regiment of cavalry, and two 
batteries on the 1 7th June, to Frankfort These were intended 
to unite with the troops of Hesse-Darmstadt already assembling 
there, and to form a guard for the Rump Diet which still held 
its sittings at that town. 

The next Wiirtemberg brigade joined the corps only on the 
28th June, the last brigade on the 5th July. On the 17th June 
the Gk)vemment called up its furlough and reserve soldiers, and 
organized its division. The first Baden brigade reached Frank- 
fort on the 2Sth June, where the Austrian brigade had arrived 
only a few days before. The rest of the troops and the trans- 
port trains did not come in till the 8th July. The 9th July can 
be considered to have been the first day on which the eighth 
FederaJ corps was first ready to take the field. While these 
minor Governments were still assembling their small contin- 
gents, the troops of Prussia had long been in possession of 
Saxony and Hesse, had caused the surrender of the Hanoverian 
army, and already inflicted a crushing defeat on the main forces 
of Austria, 

The Bavarian army lay along the Maine, with its first division 
towards Hof, its fourth towards Gemiinden. The Bavarian 


Government was anxious to make an advance upon Berlin, by 
way of Hof ; but the general strategical movements of all the 
allies of Austria were, in virtue of a convention concluded 
between Austria and Bavaria on the 14th June, directed from 
Vienna, The directing genius decided against any offensive 
movement in a north-easterly direction : and insisted strongly 
on a junction of the Bavarian and eighth Federal corps between 
Wiirzburg and Frankfort, in order to then move against the 
Prussian provinces, on the north-west The aim of Austria was 
to compel Prussia to detach strong bodies from her troops 
engaged with Benedek, and so to weaken her main army. The 
Bavarian and eighth corps when united were to have the name 
of the West German Federal Army. 

On the 2 1 St June, Prince Charles of Bavaria heard that the 
Hanoverians had moved from Gottingen. On the 23rd he 
knew certainly that they had marched to Miihlhausen and 
Langensalza. On the 25 th for the first time he made any 
movement of importance. On that day the Bavarian army was 
set in motion towards the north. That evening the advanced 
guard of the first cavalry brigade entered Meiningen : the main 
body reached that town in the night between the 26th and 
27th. Communications with the Hanoverians had been cut offj 
and Prince Charles, uncertain of their exact position, on the 
28th had ordered his columns to move towards Fulda. News 
reached him, however, of the commencement of the battle of 
Langensalza, and, changing the direction of his march, he 
moved towards Gotha. The same evening a despatch arrived 
from Vienna which urged a rapid advance of the Bavarians. 
Forced marches were ordered, and the troops, to raise their 
enthusiasm, received double pay for the first two days. On the 
29th, the first division, followed by the second, reached Hil- 
burghausen ; the fourth, followed by the third, pushed past 
Meiningen. It was only when the advanced guards had reached 
Zella, in the Thuringian Forest, that they received counter- 
orders : for Count Ingelheim, the Austrian ambassador at the 
court of King George, had arrived with the intelligence that 
the Hanoverians had laid down their arms. Thus the forced 
marching of two days had been lost, and the Bavarian army had 
commenced its campaign without residt or gloiy, on account of 


too tardy an assumption of the initiative. On the 29th the 
riflemen and light horsemen who formed the advanced guard 
of the first division reached Schleusingen ; on the 30th the 
main column entered that place. The forced marches of the 
29th and 30th had fatigued the troops. The constant succes- 
sion of orders and counter-orders had wearied them, for they 
saw that all their exertions were neutralized by altered com- 
mands, or by changes in the direction of th« line of march. 
Before the commencement of actual war their confidence in 
their leaders had waned, for the men saw no grounds for the 
fatigues laid upon them. The capitulation of the Hanoverians 
dispirited them, the more so as it was popularly attributed to 
the vacillation, the cowardice, sometimes indeed to the 
treachery, of the Bavarian army. Still the Prince hoped to 
unite with the eighth Federal corps by a fiank march to his left, 
along the roads which lead by Giessen to Hiinfeld, and by 
Hildem to Fulda. The success of this movement was however 
prevented, as will be afterwards seen, by the sudden appearance 
of the Prussians. 

The eighth Federal corps had, by the 27th June, assembled 
about 39,000 men, with eighty guns.* Since another Wiirtem- 
bexg brigade, another cavalry regiment, and two more batteries 
were expected to come in on the following day, it considered 
itself strong enough to assume the offensive, and the following 
orders were issued for the 28th June : — The troops of Hesse- 
Darmstadt were to form the advanced guard, with two brigades 
of infantry, two rifled 6-pounder batteries, a regiment of cavalry, 
and a bridge train. The first and fourth divisions formed the 
main body : each consisted of two brigades of infantry ; the 
first division had three batteries of artillery and a regiment of 
cavalry attached to it ; the second had two batteries of artillery, 
a regiment of cavalry, and two squadrons of Hesse-Cassel 
hussars attached. The reserve consisted of five battalions of 
the Bavarian brigade of La Roche, six regiments of cavalry, and 

* 1st Division, 5,200 Infantiy, with 1,100 Cavalry and 16 Guns. 
2nd „ 4,500 „ 240 „ 6 „ 

3rd „ 10,000 „ 2,600 „ 24 „ 

4th „ 12,000 „ 1,000 „ 32 „ 


aoo ^EVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book VHL 

thirty-four guns, of which sixteen were rifled. The advanced 
guard on the 29th June took up a position around Friedberg, 
about eighteen miles north of Frankfort, with its right on the 
river Nidda, On the 30th the Commander-in-chief broke up 
his head-quarters at Frankfort, and ordered a general advance. 
He intended to move upon Alsfeld, a town which, on the 
Schwalen, still in the territory of Hesse-Darmstadt, lies dose to 
the frontier of Hesse-CasseL Prince Alexander considered 
himself secure from any attack on his left flank by Prussian 
detachments from the Rhine provinces^ because of the troops 
of Hesse-Cassel in Mainz. The division of Baden on the ist 
July occupied Giessen, and paid a short visit to the Prussian 
town of Wetzlar, and on the 2nd July Prince Alexander held a 
position from Giessen eastwards to Griinberg, on the road to 

Here he received a despatch from Prince Charles of Bavaria, 
which had been sent from Meiningen on the evening of the 30th 
June. This altered the direction of the march of the eighth 
Federal corps. 

It does not appear clear whether Prince Alexander, in his 
design of an advance to Alsfeld, was acting in comfdiance with 
an order from Prince Charles of Bai^a, or whether on his own 
responsibility he moved forward to cover the territory of Hesse- 
Cassel from invasion. The direction of the movement shows, 
however, that he who ordered it, be he who he may, was singu- 
larly ill-furnished with intelligence of his enemy's movements. 
By making for Alsfeld Prince Alexander not only would have 
exposed his right flank and his line of communication to the 
head of Falckenstein's columns, but would have increased the 
difficulties of his junction with Prince Charles. As it was, at 
the time that Prince Charles sent to change the line of march 
of the eighth corps, these difficulties were already formidable 
enough. An interval of between eighty and ninety miles sepa- 
rated the two bodies : and not only did the valley of the Fulda 
as \i'en as that of the Werra intervene, but rugged hills rose 
between them, such as the Vogels-Berg and the Hohe Rhon. 
It did not need such a keen general as Falcken stein to perceive 
the advantages he would derive if he drove the Prussian army 
as a mighty wedge between these separated corps, and hurled 


himself with full force on the nearest ere the other could arrive 
to its assistance. In his own immediate command Prince 
Charles showed vacillation and uncertainty. He did not strive 
with all energy to liberate the Hanoverians, and unite them 
with his own force. Nor when he found himself too late to 
achieve this object did he take rapid measiures for a concentra- 
tion with the eighth corps. On the contrary, instead of making 
towards his left, he drew away to his right, apparently with the 
object of crossing another difficult mountain country, the Thu- 
ringian forest, and placing that obstacle also between himself 
and his allies, while he left the valley of the Werra open to his 
antagonist as a groove down which to drive the wedge that 
should separate the Bavarians entirely from Prince Alexander. 

On the evening of the 30th June he for the first time appears 
to have decided upon a concentrative movement He then 
issued orders that both corps should seek to unite at Fulda. 
To accomplish this, the Bavarians were to move in a westerly, 
the Federals in an easterly, direction. The latter began to 
move with this object on the 3rd July. Prince Alexander 
moved with his first and third division that day to Ulrichstein, 
a small town on the northern issues of the Vogels-Berg. With 
his second division he occupied Giessen and Wetzlar to secure 
his line of communication with Frankfort, and sent his fourth 
division to Friedberg. His cavalry was sent out to scour the 
country towards Alsfeld and Marburg. He evidently expected 
his enemy by the railway fi^om Marburg, and took these pre- 
cautions to cover his flank march. On the 4th July head- 
quarters remained inactive at Uhichstein, and some patrols 
alone pushed forward Here again was a lack of energy and 
clear-sightedness. Portions of any army which are separated, 
and desire to concentrate in the presence of an enemy, should 
exert all their powers to do so, and not waste a single hour, far 
less halt on the second day of the march. 

How false these news were became soon apparent. On the 
4th July news came to the head-quarters of Prince Alexander, 
that strong Prussian columns were moving on Fulda firom 
Hunfeld and Gerza, towns which lie between the Werra and 
the Fulda. An advance of the eighth corps prepared for 
battle, and with all precautions, was ordered for the next day. 

u 2 


During this, however, the Prussian and Bavarian troops had 
come into contact 

General Falckenstein had, after the capitulation of the Hano- 
verians on the 29th of June, concentrated on the ist July his 
three divisions at Eisenach. To this united corps was given 
the name of the Army of the Maine. On the 2nd July, 
Falckenstein took the main road which leads from Eisenach by 
Fulda to Frankfort, and reached Marksahl that day. His inten- 
tion was to press the Bavarians eastwards. These occupied a 
position at that time with their main body near Meiningen, on 
the west of the Werra. Two divisions were posted on that river, 
near Schmalkalden, to cover the passage of that stream against 
a Prussian corps which was expected from Erfurt. The cavalry 
was intended to open conununications with the eighth corps in 
the direction of Fulda. 

On the night of the 2nd July, the same night that the troops 
of Prince Frederick Charles in Bohemia were moving towards 
the - field of Koniggratz, a Bavarian reconnoitring party fell in 
with one of Falckenstein's patrols. On the 3rd July the Prus- 
sian reconnoitring officers brought in reports that the Bavarians 
were in force round Wiesenthal, on the river Felde. It was 
clear to Falckenstein that this position was held by the heads 
of the Bavarian columns which were moving to unite with the 
eighth corps. The Prussian general could not afford to permit 
the enemy to lie in a position so close and threatening to the 
left fJank of his advance. He ordered General Goeben to push 
them back on the following morning, by forming to his left, and 
attacking the villages on the Felde in front, while General 
Manteuffel's division should move up the stream, and assail 
them on the right flank. The third division, that of General 
Beyer, was in the meantime to push its march towards Fulda. 


The Bavarian general, on the 3rd of July, having obtained 
information of the vicinity of the Prussians, concentrated his 
army. That evening he occupied the villages of Wiesenthal, 
Neidhartshausen, Zella, and Diedorf, with considerable strength. 
His main body bivouacked round Rossdorf, and in rear of that 


At five o'clock in the morning of the 4th July, General 
Goeben sent WrangeFs brigade against Wiesenthal, and Kum- 
mer's against Neidhartshausen. The latter village, as well as 
the neighbouring heights, were found strongly occupied by the 
enemy. They were carried only after a long and hard battle, 
the scene of which was marked by numbers of Prussians killed 
and wounded. Towards noon the Bavarian detachments which 
had been driven from Neidhartshausen and Zella received rein- 
forcements. Prince Charles determined to hold Diedorf. He 
ordered a brigade to advance beyond this village, and take up 
a position on the hills on the further side. The Prussians 
opened a heavy fire of artillery and small arms from Zella upon 
the advancing Bavarians. Under this fire the latter could 
not gain ground, and no change in the positions of the 
com'batants took place at this point, until the termination of 
the action. 

In the meantime a severe combat had been fought at Wie- 
senthal At the same time that General Kummer left D^rm- 
bach, he detached two battalions to his left, which were to 
occupy the defile of Lindenau, while WrangeFs brigade ad- 
vanced against Wiesenthal. WrangeFs advanced guard con- 
sisted of a squadron of cavalry and a battalion of infantry, 
which moved along the road in column of companies. Hardly 
had it reached the high ground in front of the village, when it 
was sharply assailed by a well-directed fire of bullets and shot 
The heavy rain prevented the men from seeing clearly what 
was in their front, but they pressed on, and the enemy was 
pushed back into the barricaded village, and up the hills on its 
southern side. Before the Prussian advanced guard reached 
Wiesenthal the rain cleared up. The Bavarians could be seen 
hurrying to evacuate the place, and taking up a position with 
four battalions, a battery, and several squadrons at the foot of 
the Nebelsberg. The Pnssian battalion from Lindenau had 
arrived on the south flank of Wiesenthal Another battalion 
came up with that of the advanced guard, and the Prussians 
occupied the village. The Prussian artillery also arrived, and 
came into action with great effect against a Bavarian battery 
posted on the south-west of Wiesenthal At the same time the 
needle-gun told severely on the Bavarian battalions at the foot 


of the Nebelsbeig. Three of these retired into the woods 
which cover the sumlnit of that hill, while the fourth took post 
behind the rising ground. Swarms of Prussian skirmishers 
swept swiftly across the plain in front, and made themselves 
masters of the edge of the wood. But the Bavarians held fast 
to the trees inside, and would not be ousted. Two fresh 
batteries of Bavarian artillery, and several new battalions, were 
seen hurrying up from Rossdorf. At this moment it was sup- 
posed that Manteuffel's cannonade was heard opening in the 
direction of Nomshausen. This was in truth but the echo of 
the engaged artillery. But the Prussian columns hurried 
forward, and dashed with the bayonet against the wood-crested 
hill. The Bavarians awaited the charge, and their riflemen 
made serious impressions upon the advancing masses. But the 
men of Westphalia rushed on. After a short, sharp struggle, 
the hill was carried ; and the Bavarians fled down the reverse 
slope, leaving hundreds .of corpses, grisly sacrifices to the 
needle-gun, to mark the line of their flight General Goeben 
had achieved his object He halted his troops, and prepared 
to rejoin Falckenstein. Leaving a rear-guard of one battalion, 
three squadrons, and a battery to cover his movement, and the 
removal of the killed and wounded, he withdrew his two bri- 
gades to Dermbach. The Bavarian march to unite with the 
eighth corps had been checked; and Falckenstein had lodged 
his leading column securely between the separated portions of 
his adversary's army. The Bavarians in the night, finding their 
road barred, retired^ to seek a junction with Prince Alexander 
by some other route. They did not, however, move over the 
western spurs of the Hohe Rhon, in the direction of Briickenau, 
whence they might have stretched a hand to Prince Alexander, 
■ who on the night between the sth and 6th July was only seven 
miles from Fulda. They preferred to move by the woods on 
the eastern side of the mountains towards the Franconian Saale 
and Kissingen. Thus they made a movement which separated 
them from their alties, instead of bringing the two corps close 
together. Prince Alexander had sent an officer to the Bavarian 
camp. He was present on the 4th July at the action of Wie- 
senthal, and returned to the head-quarters of the eighth Federal 
corps with a report of the failure of the Bavarians. On the 


receipt of this intelligence, Prince Alexander appears to have 
abandoned all hope of effecting a junction with Prince Charies 
north of the Maine. He faced about, and moved back to 
Frankfort, a town which, until its subsequent occupation by the 
Prussians, appears always to have had a singular attraction for 
the eighth Federal corps. 

On the 4th July, the same day that General Goeben pressed 
the Bavarians back at Wiesenthal, the leading division of 
Falckenstein's army had a singular skirmish in the direction of 
Hiinfeld. As General Beyer, who commanded the Prussian 
advanced guard, approached that town, he found two squadrons 
of Bavarian cavalry in front of him. Two guns accompanied 
these squadrons, which opened fire on the advancing Prussians. 
The weather was wet, and a clammy mist held the smoke of 
the cannon, so that it hung like a weighty cloud over the 
mouths of the pieces. A Prussian battery opened in reply. 
The first shot so surprised the Bavarians, who had not anti- 
cipated that there was artillery with the advanced guard, 
that the cuirassiers turned about, and sought safety in a wild 
flight They left one of their guns, which in their haste had 
not time to be limbered up. Beyer pressed forward, and found 
Hiinfeld evacuated by the enemy. Indeed it is said that these 
cuirassiers, who had been pushed forward by Prince Alexander 
to open communications with Prince Charles, were so dismayed 
by one well-aimed cannon-shot, that many of them did not 
draw rein till they reached Wurzburg. 

Prince Alexander withdrew towards Frankfort Falckenstein 
pushed forward on the 6th ; he occupied Fulda with Beyer's 
division, while Goeben and Manteuffel encamped on the north 
towards Hiinfeld. The object of the Prussian advance was 
obtained. On the 5th July the Bavarians and the eighth 
Federal corps were separated from each other by only thirty 
miles ; on the 7th seventy miles lay between them. 

Prince Alexander left the Wiirtemberg division to hold the 
passes of the Vogels-Berg towards Giessen. l^e Bavarians, 
after the action of Wiesenthal, drew back and took up a 
position in the neighbourhood of Kissingen, on the Franconian 

General Falckenstein, on the 7th, united his whole army at 


Fulda. He had the choice of attacking either of his separated 
enemies. To pursue the eighth Federal corps by Giessen, 
would probably allow it to unite with the Bavarians by moving 
up the Maine. To advance directly upon Frankfort with the 
Bavarians on the Saale in his flank and rear, and with the 
defiles of Gelnhausen, occupied by the eighth corps, in his 
front, would be extremely hazardous. 

Prince Charles was also considered the more formidable an- 
tagonist, and the one upon whom it was the more necessary to 
inflict a heavy blow. 

On the 8th July General Falckenstein commenced his march 
from Fulda. He did not turn towards Gelnhausen, as was 
expected in the Bavarian camp, but moved against the position 
of Prince Charles. On the 9th the Prussian army reached 
Briickenau, and orders were given for a flank march to the left, 
over the Hohe Rhon, against the Bavarians on the Saale. 
Beyei^s division moved as the right wing along the road to 
Hammelburg ; Goeben advanced in the centre towards Kis- 
singen ; and Manteuffel on the left upon Waldaschach. On 
the morning of the loth July, at nine o'clock, Beyer's division, 
which had received very doubtful intelligence of the presence 
of the Bavarians in Hammelburg, began its march towards that 
town. About eleven the head of the advanced guard fell in 
with the first patrols of the enemy's cavalry in front of Unter 
Erthal, a small village on the road from Briickenau, about two 
miles south of Hammelburg. These retired on the Prussian 
advance, but unmasked a rifled battery, posted beyond the 
houses. A Prussian field-battery quickly unlimbered and came 
into action. Under cover of its fire an infantry regiment made 
a dash at the bridge by which the road from Briickeiiau crosses 
the Thulba stream. The bridge was not seriously defended, 
and after a short cannonade the Bavarians drew back to 
Hammelburg. At mid-day three Prussian batteries topped the 
Hobels Berg, and after a few rounds from the guns the infantry 
rushed down with loud cheers to carry the houses. This was, 
however, not an easy task. The Bavarian General ZoUer held 
the town with something over three thousand men ; he de- 
termined to bar the passage of the Saale. The odds were too 
unequal The Prussians numbered about fifteen thousand men. 


Yet the Bavarians clung with a high courage to the houses, and 
opened a biting fire of small arms on the assailants. Their 
artillery, too, supported well the infantry defence. 

Two Prussian infantry regiments threw out skirmishers, and 
attempted to put down the fire of the Bavarian riflemen. But 
these were protected by the cover of the houses ; and the 
defenders' artillery firom the hill of Saalch splintered its shells 
among the ranks of the Prussian sharpshooters. The fight did 
not gain ground for about an hour. After that interval two 
more Prussian regiments and two additional batteries came 
into play. Heavily the Prussian pieces threw their metal upon 
the Bavarian guns at Saalch. The fire of the latter grew 
weaker and weaker. They were rapidly being silenced by 
superior force. Some houses, kindled by the Prussian shells, 
at the same time caught fire, and the town began to bum 
fiercely in three places. Still the Bavarians clung to the bridge, 
and stood their ground, careless equally of the flames and of 
the heavy cannonade. Beyer sent forward his Jagers to storm 
the place. No longer could the defenders endure the assault. 
The quick bullets of the needle-gun rained in showers among 
the burning buildings, scattering fire and death among the 
garrison* The defence had to be abandoned; and the 
Bavarians, pursued by salvos of artillery, drew off* to the south- 
east, and Uie Prussians gained the passage of the Saale at 

On tjie same day as General Beyer fought the action of 
Hammelburg on the right, Falckenstein's central column was 
heavily engaged with the main body of the Bavarians at the 
celebrated bathing-place of Kissingen. On the 5th July eighty 
Bavarian troopers, flying flrom Hiinfeld, passed in hot haste 
through the town. The visitors and the inhabitants were much 
alarmed, but the Burgomaster quieted them by a promise that 
he would give twenty-four hours' warning if the place was in 
danger of being attacked by the Prussians. This assurance had 
more weight, because even on the 8th July Bavarian staff*- 
oflicers sauntered about the Kurgarten as quietly as if in a 
time of the most profound peace. Some of the troops which 
had been quartered in Kissingen and its neighbourhood were 
on the 9th sent to Hammelbuig. All appeared still, and yet 


the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages were already flying 
from their homes to avoid the Prussians. The Bavarian in- 
telligence department does not appear to have been well 
managed. By mid-day on the 9th it was too late for the 
Burgomaster to give his warning tliat the Prussians were al- 
ready near. The Bavarians concentrated about twenty thousand 
men, and took up their position. The visitors and inhabitants 
could not now retire, a^d had to remain to be the involuntary 
witnesses of an action. Those who lived in the Hotel Sauner, 
which lies on the right bank of the Saale, were allowed to move 
into the less exposed part of the town. None were permitted 
to quit the place for fear of their conveying intelligence of the 
Bavarian dispositions to the enemy. The wooden bridge over 
the Saale, as well as the two iron ones, were destroyed, but of 
one iroii one in front of the Alten Berg the supports were left 
It was through the assistance of these that- the Prussians gained 
the first passage of the river ; for they knew the localities well, 
as many of their stafif-officers had frequently visited the &shion- 
able watering-place of Kissingen. The stone bridge was 
barricaded hastily as well as possible, and its approach pro- 
tected by two i2-pounder guns. Five battalions, with twelve 
guns, held the town itself The Bavarians had chosen a very 
strong position ; they held the houses next to the bridge as well 
as the bank of the Saale beyond the bridge. Their artillery 
was posted on the Stadt Berg, but not on the important Finster 
Berg. A battery on the latter hill would have prevented the 
Prussians from gaining the passage of the river from the Alten 
Berg. Behind the village of Haussen guns were also in. posi- 
tion. All the bridges outside of Kissingen were destroyed, 
and all points fieivourable for defence occupied by in£euitry. 
General 2k>ller commanded the Bavarians. 

On the joth July, at early morning, Prussian hussars ap- 
peared. Columns were soon afterwards descried on the roads 
towards Klaushof and Gantz on the west of Kissingen ; and a 
battery came into position on a hill between Oantz and the 
river. At half-past seven in the morning, the Bavarian guns 
near \Yinkels and the two 12-pounders at the bridge opened 
on the leading Prussian columns, which consisted of General 
Kummer's brigade. Kummer's artillery replied, and in a short 


time the rattle of musketry, mingling with the heavier booming 
of the guns, told that he was sharply engaged. 

The main body of Goeben's division had in the meantime 
reached Schlimhoff. Here it received orders to detach three 
battalions by Poppenroth and Klaushof, who were to attack 
Friedericshall under the command of Colonel Goltz. When 
General WrangeFs brigade approached Kissingen, it received 
orders to advance on the right wing of Kummer's brigade, to 
seize the Alten Berg, and if possible, by extending to its right, 
to outflank the Bavarian position. A squadron was sent at the 
same time to reconnoitre the ground beyond Garitz. A bat- 
talion was despatched as an advanced guard against the Alten 
Berg; and a battery of artillery came into action on the 
northern spur of that hill. The Alten Berg was quickly cleared 
of Bavarian riflemen by the Prussian Jagers. A Company 
under Captain von Busdie was then sent against the bridge on 
the south of Kissingen, which the Bavarians had partially de- 
stroyed, but where the piers had been left standing. Tables, 
forms, and timber were seized from some neighbouring houses, 
and with secrecy and rapidity the broken bridge was so far 
restored that before mid^lay. men could cross it in single file. 
Von Busche led his company over the stream, and then directed 
bis men against a road on the fiirther side, from the cover of 
which the enem3r's marksmen annoyed them considerably. This 
company was followed by a second, and as quickly as possible 
a whole battalion was thrown across the stream. The battalion 
gained the wood on the south-east of Kissingen ; here a column 
was formed, and under cover of many skirmishers advanced 
against the town. More men were pushed across the repaired 
bridge^ and soon two and a half Prussian battalions were en- 
gaged in a street fight among the houses. The remaining 
portion of Wrangel's brigade was at this time .directed in 
support of Kummer against the principal bridge. Infantry 
and artillery fire caused the Prussians severe losses, but 
they pushed on towards the barricade. Their artillery out- 
numbered that of the defending force, and, protected by it, the 
battalions carried the bridge. 

The army of Bavaria boasted to have had at that time a 
hundred and twenty-six cannon. Of these only twelve came 


into action at Kissingen, five at Hammelburg. The rest were 
uselessly scattered along the bank of the Saale, between tliese 
two places. 

The passage of the stream by the Pmssians decided the 
action. They secured the Finster Berg and the Bodenlaube, 
with the old castle of that name, and pushed forward with loud 
cheers into the heart of the town. Here the Bavarian light 
infantry fought hard, and, suffering heavy sacrifices themselves, 
inflicted grievous loss on the Prussians. The Kuigarten, held 
by three hundred riflemen, were stormed three times by 
Wrangel's men without success. It was carried on the fourth 
assault A young lieutenant, who commanded the Bavarians, 
with the whole of his men, refused quarter, and died in the 
place they had held so well At a little after three the whole 
town was carried. 

The Bavarians did not yet renounce the combat The 
corps which retreated firom Kissingen took up a position on 
the hill east of the town, and renewed the battle. WiangeFs 
brigade received orders to clear the hills south of the road 
which leads to Nudlingen, of the enemy. This was to be 
eflected by the fusilier battalion and the second battalion of 
the 55th regiment The first battalion of the same regiment 
cleared the way, and, extended as skirmishers, ad\'anced along 
the road. The other troops followed in reserve. The Bava- 
rians had taken up a position on both sides of the road, and 
greeted the Prussians with an artillery fire firom the Sinn Berg. 
They fought well, and not till seven o'clock did Wrangel 
occupy Winkels. The Bavarians were supposed to be .retiring, 
and WrangeVs troops were about to bivouac, when a report 
came in from the 19th, which had occupied the outposts, that 
the Bavarians were advancing in force. Two battalions of the 
55th, a i2-pounder battery, and a squadron of hussars, were 
immediately sent to reinforce the outlying troops, while two 
companies of the 55th were sent into the hills on the right to 
menace the left flank of the enemy's advance. The battery 
and squadron advanced at a trot General Wrangel in person 
went to the outposts, and was receiving the reports from the 
commanding officer of the 19th, when some rifle bullets came 
from the southern hill into the closed columns of the regiment 


The Bavarians, under Prince Charles himself, had come down 
with nine fresh battalions of their first division. They had 
seized the hills which lie oa^ the north of the road, and were 
pressing rapidly forward under the cover of their artillery. 
The Prussian cavalry and battery, as well as the 19th regi- 
ment, were pushed back. The 55th, coming up, threw them- 
selves into a hollow road, and, under the protection of their 
fire, the retreat was for a time checked Prince Charles urged 
on, however, superior forces, and those, too, had to retire. 

The Prussians now took up a position on the heights south- 
east of Winkels, where two batteries came into play. The 
retreating battalions halted here, and the fight stood stilL One 
battalion of the 19th regiment and two companies of the 
soldiers of Lippe were sent by Wrangel into the hills on the 
north of the road, while the second battalion of the 55th was 
pushed up there on its southern side. As soon as these flanking 
troops had gained their positions, the whole brigade advanced 
in double-quick time, with drums beating. The charge suc- 
ceeded, though the loss was great The Bavarians were driven 
back. The Prussians regained their former position, and 
Prince Charles reUnquished his attack. 

The Prussian left column, which was formed by Manteuflfers 
division, on the loth July also secured the passage at Waldas- 
chach, about five miles above Kissingen, and at Haussen. 
At neither place did the Bavarians make any obstinate stand. 

The Bavarians appear to have been surprised on the Saale. 
The Prussian march, previous to the battle of Kissingen, was 
so rapid that they did not expect an attack till the following 
day. In consequence, their whole force was not concentrated 
on the river. The troops which held Kissingen and Hammel- 
burg were unsupported, while those which should have acted 
as their reserves were too far distant to be of any service. The 
latter, on the other hand, arrived so late that their comrades 
had already been defeated, and they themselves, instead of 
acting as reinforcements, met with only a similar fate to those 
first engaged. The Bavarian staff were unprepared. ITiey 
had no maps of the country, except one which the chief of the 
staff, General von der Tann, borrowed from a native of one of 
the small towns near the field. 



When Prince Alexander of Hesse turned to retreat on the 
Sth July, he might still, by a rapid march along the road which 
leads from Lauterbach to Briickenau, have made an attempt 
to unite with the Bavarians before they were attacked at 
Kissingen by the Prussians. This course he appears, however, 
to have considered too hazardous. He retired to Frankfort, 
and on the 9th July concentrated his troops round that town. 
His first division was at Frankfort: the second in some villages 
north of the town, on the river Nidda ; the third division at 
Bergen, and the fourth at Bockenheim. The reserved cavalry 
was towards Friedberg ; the reserve artillery across the river, 
in Offenbach. The two banks of the Maine were connected 
by a bridge, which leads from Frankfort to Offenbach. 

Frequent alarms made it evident how little stedfast confi- 
dence pervaded the Federal corps of Prince Alexander. The 
news of the victory won by the Prussians at Koniggratz was 
widely circulated through the ranks by the Frankfort journals. 
Every moment reports were rife that Prussian columns were 
advancing towards Frankfort from Wetzlar, or Giessen ; and 
once an officer, by spreading the alarm, caused a whole division 
to lose its nighfs rest, and to take up a position in order of 

At this time the eighth Federal corps was not practically fit 
to take the field. Such confiision reigned in the fortress of 
Mainz, that whole regiments marched into the town and took 
up quarters on their own account, without any report being 
made to the commandant. Newly appointed officers, surgeons, 
and hospital assistants, had to seek for theit regiments without 


being able to obtain accurate intelligence of their whereabouts 
from any one. No firm union existed between the different 
divisions of the eighth coips. The corps had not been con- 
centrated for twenty-four years, and the divisions were totally 
different in uniform, administration, and oiganization. The 
hussars of Hesse-Cassel were dressed and accoutred so simi- 
larly to Prussian cavalry, that the Austrians fired upon them at 
Aschaffenburg. The small arms were of different calibres. 
The four field batteries of the third division were equipped on 
four different systems. 

The day after the victory of Kissingen, General Falckenstein 
could turn his attention against this heterogeneous mass without 
fear of any assault on his rear by the Bavarians. The latter 
retired in such haste, after the battle of Kissingen, towards the 
Maine, that ManteuffeFs division, which was sent in pursuit, 
could not feel them. On the nth July, General Falckenstein 
ordered Beyer's division to march by way of Hammelbui^ and 
Gelnhausen on Hanau. This it accomplished, without, as was 
anticipated, falling in with the Wiirtemberg division at Geln- 
hausen. The latter only held this place till the 14th July, and 
then retired in great haste, without throwing any obstade in 
the way of the advancing Prussians, either by breaking the 
bridges, or by any other means. The division of General 
Goeben was directed at the same time through the defile of the 
Spessart upon Aschaffenburg. Here the passes were not held 
nor barricaded. Notwithstanding the presence in this district 
of large numbers of foresters, no abattis or entanglements were 
placed across the road. None of the almost unassailable 
heights were occupied, either to prevent the direct progress of 
the Prussians, or to threaten their line of march in flank. The 
railway which was still serviceable was not used to convey the 
small number of riflemen and guns, which at Gemiinden, as at 
many other points, would have thrown great difficulty in 
Goeben's way. Manteuffel's division followed Goeben's, and 
scoured the country in the direction of Wiirzburg. 

Between Gemiinden and Aschaffenburg, the river Maine 
makes a deep bend to the south. Into the bow thus formed, 
the mountainous region of the Spessart protrudes, through 
which the road and railway lead directly westward from Ge- 


miinden to the latter town. On the 13th July, the leading 
brigade of Goeben's division, that of Wrangel, was approaching 
Hayn, when a report came in from the squadron of hussars, 
which was clearing the way, that some of the enemy's cavalry 
and infantry were advancing towards that place from Laufach, 
a station on the railroad nearer to Frankfort than Hayn. It was 
soon discovered that these were troops of Hesse-Darmstadt 
The fusilier battalion of the 55th regiment was pushed forward 
to gain the top of the defile, up which the brigade was then 
moving. It advanced in columns of companies and, without 
difficulty, pushed back two hostile battalions which it en- 
countered. The village of Laufach was taken, and the rail- 
way station occupied, while three battalions and a squadron 
were sent forward to seize a cutting beyond the station, and 
to relieve the fusiliers. The relief had not been fully carried 
out when the enemy, with eight or nine battalions and two 
batteries assumed die offensive. The assailants mustered 
about eight thousand men. The battalion ot the 55th threw 
itself into a churchyard surrounded by walls, and placed 
itself on the defensive. The village of Frohnhofen in front 
was occupied by three companies, supported by six com- 
panies posted on tlie hills on the right, and seven on those 
on the left of the railway. The remaining troops of the 
brigade took up a position in front of the station, as a 
reserve. The enemy attacked all points \ so that, by degrees, 
nine companies had to be sent up to Frohnhofen. The most 
severe attack was made on the right wing. General Wrangel 
was obliged to send his two remaining battalions and a battery 
to this point All his available troops were now engaged, and 
the fight for some time was very even. At last, however, all 
the assaults of the Hessians were repulsed, and a counter 
attack made by three battalions and a squadron supported by 
the fire of a 12-pounder battery had great success. The Hes- 
sians drew off from all points towards Aschaffenburg, and left 
more than one hundred prisoners, as well as the greater portion 
of five hundred killed and wounded, in the hands of the victors. 
The latter also captured the majority of the knapsacks of their 
assailants, who had taken them off at the beginning of the 
action, and on retreating left them lying on the ground. The 


advantage of the needle-gun in a defensive position, was well 
demonstrated at Laufath. Whole ranks of corpses of its 
enemies lay in front of the position, and until early morning 
wounded men were found. On the Prussian side the loss was 
very small, in all hardly twenty men, and one officer. 

The Commander-in-chief of the eighth corps was this day 
uncertain whether he should defend Frankfort His troops 
were in scattered positions, and instead of a large concentrated 
mass of troops, only small detachments were pushed out to 
meet the enemy. The division sent in haste to Frohnhofen, 
only brought one of its four field batteries into action, and 
used only one or two squadrons of its whole cavalry to attack 
the Prussians. The two brigades of infantry came in haste 
without rations, and after one another under fire. There was 
no Commander-in-chief, the leader of each brigade acted for 
himself, and led his troops by the most direct road against the 
enemy with great valour, but with little judgment. The blame 
for all these errors is apparently due to General von Perglas, 
the commander of the Darmstadt division, who allowed his 
troops to advance in closed masses unprotected by artillery 
against a wood in which the Prussians, well covered, had firmly 
planted themselves. The advantages of ground, disposition, 
and leading were all on the side of the Prussians, who gained 
their success, although very weary firom a long march, without 
any exertions worthy of mention. They had quickly, but so 
skilfully availed themselves of each local advantage and cover 
for the defence of their line l>y infantry and artillery fire, that 
all the reckless bravery of the Hessians had no other result 
than to inflict upon themselves very severe losses. Among 
these were a regimental commander, a major of the staff, and 
thirty killed or wounded company officers. After the action of 
the 13th July, Wrangel's brigade bivouacked at Laufach, with a 
strong advanced post of three battalions round Frohnhofen. 

On the 14th, at seven in the. morning, the further march on 
Aschaffenburg was to commence. The care of the enemy's 
wounded on the previous day, the collection of scattered arms, 
and waiting for the return of the patrols which had been sent 
out at dawn, delayed the start for half an hour. The reports 
of the latter told that the enemy was retreating fi'om Hosbach. 


A squadron of hussars was sent forward to occupy that village. 
The infantry of Wrangel's brigade followed along the main road 
with flankers pushed out far on the right and left. On the hill 
of Weiberhofen, Wrangel's brigade fell in with that of General 
Kummer, which had moved by a route on the south of the 
railway. A report soon was brought in that the enemy was 
advancing strong detachments from Hosbach. Colonel von 
der Goltz, the commander of the vanguard, was immediately 
ordered to take up a position on the heights south of the main 
road, under cover of which the brigade formed for battle in the 
valley. General Kummer was ordered with his brigade to move 
along the railway towards Aschaflfenbuig. General Goeben 
was in command of the two united brigades. The advance 
guard had hardly formed when a further report announced that 
the enemy was drawing back. General Goeben then ordered 
a general advance. He moved AVrangers brigade along the 
road, Rummer's on the railway embankment; at the same 
time he drew a hussar and cuirassier regiment from the reserve, 
and covered his right flank by moving them through the open 
fields on the south of the road. Hosbach was found unoccu- 
pied by the enemy, as was also Goldbach. On the fiu-ther side 
of the latter village the infantry fire opened. The 15th and 
'55th Prussian regiments pushed forward to the wooded bank 
of the Laufach stream. The Federal troops here consisted of 
the Austrian division under General Count Neipperg, formed 
of troops which had originally garrisoned Mainz, Rastadt, and 
Frankfort There were also some of the Hesse-Darmstadt 
troops here. The infantry fire of the Federal soldiers caused 
the Prussians little loss ; but an Austrian battery, posted on a 
hill south of Aschaffenburg, and admirably served, annoyed 
them much. The Prussian artillery could find no favourable 
position from which to attack this battery with clear advantage, 
and the Austrian guns for some time had the best of the 
action. At last three battalions of the 15th Prussian regiment 
were pushed along the stream nearer to the village of Daurm, 
and made themselves masters of a hill on which stood a tower 
surrounded by a wall Protected by this, the infantry succeeded 
by its musketry fire in forcing the enemy's artillery to retire. The 
advance of some Federal cavalry was also stopped by the same 


means before the squadrons could attack. As soon as the Aus- 
trian battery drew back, a general advance was made against 
Aschaffenburg, which is surrounded with ^ high wall that 
offered the Austrians cover, and a convenient opportunity for 
defence. The Prussian artillery coming into action on the top 
of a hill soon showed itself superior to that of the Austrians. 
After long firing in the environs of the town, and the gardens 
which lay in front of the walls, the Prussians advanced to 
storm, and although they were received with repeated salvos, 
forced their enemy out of his strong position without suffering 
very severe loss. At the railway station there was a sharp 
combat, but at no other point was the resistance very deter- 
mined. The town of Aschaffenburg has only two gates. In 
consequence, as the retreating Austrians were hurrying towards 
the bridge over the Maine a block occurred. The Prussians 
pushing forward, entered the city with the rearmost ranks of 
the enemy, and made two thousand prisoners. These were for 
the most part Italians, who defended themselves without much 
energy. General Goeben occupied the bridge by which the 
railway to Darmstadt crosses the Maine, with three battalions, 
two squadrons, and a battery. These pushed reconnaissances 
towards Frankfort The rest of his troops he cantonned in the 
town of Aschaffenburg. 

The losses of the Prussians in the capture of the town were 
not severe. Those of the Federal troops were considerable \ 
as there were many killed and wounded, besides the large 
number of prisoners. A large quantity of material of war fell 
also into the hands of the conquerors. A regiment of hussars 
of Hesse- Cassel, which Prince Alexander had attached to his 
Austrian division, lost five officers and one hundred and eight 
non-commissioned officers and men, in its attempt to cover 
the retreat of the infantry through the streets. 

While General Goeben advanced towards Aschaffenburg, and 
gained there the passage of the Maine, General Beyer's division 
pushed towards Frankfort, by way of Gelnhausen, The easily 
defensible passage of the Kinzig, near this town, was found 
unoccupied by the Federal troops, and on the 17 th, Beyer 
reached the neighbourhood of Hanau without ever having seen 

an enemy. 

z 2 


During the action of Aschaffenburg, Prince Alexander, 
instead of supporting his Austrian division, which was engaged 
there, remained with the mass of his troops inactive at Seiligen- 
stadt Yet he could by vigorous action have been much 
superior in numbers to Goeben at the former town, have saved 
the passage of the river, and perhaps pushing Goeben and 
Manteuffel backwards, by bearing on their right, have urged 
them into the bend of the Maine, and severed them from 
Beyer and their line of communication with the north. This 
page of the history of the campaign of the leader of the Federal 
corps is but a repetition of the perpetual tale of opportunities 
lost and advantages neglected. The advantage of positions 
was always on the side of the Federal corps, yet these advan- 
tages were sacrificed, always with loss to the Federal side, to 
which the casualties in the Prussian ranks by no means corre- 
sponded. The lives of soldiers were to all appearance trifled 
away and wasted, by strategical ignorance and absence of 
energy on the part of their leader. 

The immediate result of the victorious advance of the Prus- 
sian army of the Maine was the evacuation of Frankfort and 
the line of the Maine, by the eighth Federal corps, and its 
occupation by the Prussians. On the i6th July, General 
Falckenstein entered the town at the head of Goeben's division, 
and was able to report to the King that all the lands north of 
the Maine were in Prussian possession. General Falckenstein 
had within fourteen days defeated two armies, of which each 
was as strong as his own, in two great, and several minor 
actions ; and, in a country by no means very advantageous for 
the offensive, had manoeuvred so as to separate his two adver- 
saries, who on the 5th July were within thirty miles of each 
other, by a distance of sixty miles. 

The following is a summary of the operations north of the 
Maine : — 

Bavarians, — From the 15th to 25th June, halted near 
Schweinfurt In the meantime the Hanoverians were sur- 
rounded, and obliged to capitulate. 

On the 25th June they made various movements, with the 
object of effecting a junction with the eighth Federal corps. 

On the 1 2th July they again returned to Schweinfurt, after 


having been pushed away from their allies by Falckenstein, at 
Wiesenthal and Kissingen. 

The Eighth Federal Carps. — From the 15th June to the 12th 
July occupied strategical positions round Frankfort 

On the 5th July it made a partial march on Fulda. Some 
of its cavalry fell in with some Prussian patrols, and it retreated 
rapidly to the Maine. 

On the 13th and 14th July the actions of Laufach and 
Aschaifenburg were fought, while Prince Alexander lay at 

On the 14th July Prince Alexander concentrated rearwards, 
on the south of the Maine. 

On the 13th July, when the Prussians reached Laufach, not 
more than thirty miles from Frankfort, the residuaiy members 
of the mutilated Germanic Diet retired from the ancient city 
on the Maine, where of old the rulers of the Holy Roman 
Empire were elected and crowned. Their business had, since 
the outbreak of hostilities, been chiefly confined to making 
protests against Prussia. The days when the Confederation 
could enforce its decrees were, however, past, and the Diet had 
found a very different patient of Federal execution from the 
Dane. Its protests were now all spent shot A few of the 
deputies, however, still held together, and styled themselves, in 
diplomatic language, the Diet and Confederation of Germany. 

These, on the 13th July, quitted Frankfort with the docu- 
ments from the Archives of the Bund, and journeyed to 
Augsburg, where the black, red and gold flag of the Gennanic 
Confederation was hoisted over the inn of the sign of the Three 

The last Bavarian battalion left Frankfort on the 14th, and 
the head-quarters of the eighth Federal corps were established 
that night at Dieburg, a station on the railway between 
Aschafifenburg and Darmstadt 

On the 15 th, Prince Alexander drew near to the south, and 
concentrated his corps on the Odenwald. This day his light 
cavalry opened conmiunications with Prince Charles's corps at 
Wiirzburg, by the left bank of the Maine, and the road through 
Holtenbeig and Werbek. 

On the 15th, the Senate of Frankfort published a proclama- 


tion to the inhabitants, in which it was announced that the Diet 
which usually held its sittings in the free city, had temporarily 
withdrawn ; that the city would act as an open town, and that 
there appeared to be no danger of any injury to the lives or 
property of any of the inhabitants. The construction of earth- 
works, which had been commenced by the Federal troops, was 
abandoned, and all was prepared for the advent of the Prussian 
conquerors. At Darmstadt the Russian flag was hoisted on the 
palace of the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, who in person 
started for Munich. 

WrangeVs brigade, after the capture of Aschaffenburg, was 
pushed forward by forced marches to Hanau. About five 
o'clock on the evening of the i6th July, the first Prussians 
arrived near Frankfort, brought in a train from Aschaffenburg. 
They got out of the carriages a short distance from the city 
gates, and took up a position on the Hanau road. This ad- 
vanced guard consisted of a regiment of cuirassiers and a 
regiment of hussars. At seven a patrol of the hussars, led by 
an officer, halted before the city gate. In another quarter of 
an hour the head of the vanguard, consisting of one squadron 
of cuirassiers and the remaining hussars, passed in. The popu- 
lace were for the most part sullenly silent. A few insulting 
cries to the Prussians were occasionally heard from some of the 
windows, but the soldiers took no notice of them. In a few 
minutes the Generals Vogel von Falckenstein, Goeben, Wran- 
gel, and Tresckow, surrounded by the officers of the staff, rode 
in at the head of the main body. The bands of the regiments 
played Prussian national airs. Before ten o'clock the whole 
line of march had entered. The telegraph and post-offices 
were occupied. The railway station was garrisoned, and guards 
established over all the principal buildings. The free town of 
Frankfort was virtually annexed to the Prussian monarchy. 

On the 17th July, the remainder of Falckenstein's troops 
entered the town, and some troops were pushed forwards south 
of the city, who captured a Hessian bridge train. 

General Vogel von Falckenstein established his head-quarters 
in Frankfort, and published a proclamation in which he an- 
nounced that he had assumed temporarily the government of 
the duchy of Nassau, the town and territory of Frankfort, and 


the portions of Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt, which his troops 
had occupied The civil functionaries of these districts were 
retained in their posts, but were directed to receive no order 
except from the Prussian Commander-in-chief. Several of the 
Frankfort papers which had always been distinguished for strong 
anti-Prussian feeling were suppressed. The eleven armed 
unions* which had existed in the city, were abolished ; and the 
functions of the senate and college of burghers established by 
a general order. Six millions of gulden t were demanded from 
the town as a war contribution, and after much grumbling paid 
by the citizens. When, afterwards, on the 20th July, a second 
additional contribution of twenty millions of gulden f was de- 
manded, an universal cry of indignation and horror was raised. 
In the meantime, General von Roeder had been appointed 
Governor of the town, to whom the Burgomaster represented, 
on the 23rd July, that the town had ahready furnished six 
millions of gulden, and about two millions of rations, and re- 
quested to appeal against the subsequent contribution to the 
King of Prussia. So much did this misfortune of his city weigh 
on the Burgomaster that the same night he committed suicide. 
The town sent a deputation to Berlin which treated so eflfectually, 
and was so powerfully supported by the opinions of the foreign 
press, that the contribution was not insisted upon by the King. 
Frankfort shortly afterwards was united definitely to Prussia, 
when the first contribution of six millions was not actually 
returned to the citizens, but was retained by the Government 
to be expended in public works for the benefit of the city. 

General Falckenstein, at Frankfort, issued the following 
general order to his troops : — 

•* Soldiers of the Army of the Maine I — On the 14th of this 
month at AschafTenburg, we have fulfilled the second portion of our task. 
On that day the right bank of the Maine, as far as our arms reached, was 
cleared of the enemy. Before we advance to new deeds, it behoves me 
to express to you all my recognition of the manner in which you have made 
the numerous exertions necessary for our success. Yet it is not that alone 
which I have to praise. It is your valour, and the energy with which, in 
six great and several smaller actions, you have hurled yourselves upon the 
enemy, knitted victory to vour banners, and made thou«!ands of your adver- 
saries prisoners. You defeated the Bavarians in two brilliant engagements 
at Wiesenthal, and Zella on the 4th of this month, crossed the Rhon moun- 

* Vereine. t £600,000. % £2,ooo,ooa 

313 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book Vlir. 

tains in order again to spring upon the Bavarian Army at the foar different 
points of Hammelbur^g, Xissingen, Hausen, and Waldaschach : everywhere 
you were victorious. So soon as the third day after the bloody storming of 
kissingen, the same division had crossed to the Spessart to engage the 
eighth Federal corps. The victory of the thirteenth division over the divi- 
sion of Darmstadt at Laufach, and the capture of AschafTenburg from the 
united Federal and Austrian troops on the 14th, were the earnings of its 
bravery and its toils. On the i6tb Frankfort was occupied by it I must 
express to this division my sp)ecial thanks. Fortunate to be generally at 
the head of the corps, and so the first to come into collision with the enemy, 
it showed itself as worthy of this honourable post, as did the intelligence 
and energy of its leader to take advantage of his opportunities. 

•* Head-Quarters, "VON FALCKENSTEIN, 

" Frankfort, 14th July, 1866. •* Commander-in-Chitf of the Army 



The day that General von Falckenstein published his 
general order to the troops, the Army of the Maine lost its 
commander. The difficult state of affairs in Bohemia, caused 
by the animosities of political parties, which, till the Prussian 
invasion, had been kept down by the strong hand of the 
Austrian Government, had, on the removal of that pressure, 
sprung forth into full life. The importance of the communica- 
tions of the main Prussian armies with the provinces of Saxony 
and Silesia, which were threatened by the three fortresses of 
Theresienstadt, Josephstadt, and Koniggratz, led the King of 
Prussia to appoint General Falckenstein as military Governor- 
General of that province. 

Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel assumed the command 
of the Army of the Maine in Falckenstein's place. The divi- 
sion which General Manteuffel had commanded was placed 
under General Flies. On the i8th July Wiesbaden was occu- 
pied by the Prussians ; and on the 20th Kummef s brigade was 
pushed southwards as an advanced guard and entered Darm- 
stadt, but the main body of the army halted at Frankfort until 
the 2 1 St While he waited at Frankfort General Manteuffel 
received reinforcements. These consisted of three battalions, 
three squadrons, and two batteries of Oldenburg, two battalions 
of Hamburg, one of Liibeck, one of Waldeck, which was de- 
tached to watch the fortress of Mainz, one of Bremen, one of 
Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen. Besides these contingents of the 
allies of Prussia, he also received five fourth battalions of 
Prussian troops, which remained as the garrison of Frankfort, 
the ninth Jager battalion, and three reserve regiments of Land- 


wehr cavalry, — ^in all fifteen battalions, twelve squadrons, and 
twelve guns, which mustered over twelve thousand combatants. 
Of these, five thousand men were left to hold the line of the 
Maine at Frankfort, Hanau, and Aschaffenburg. The re- 
mainder raised the active army to a strength of sixty thousand 

At the same time a second reserve corps was formed at 
Leipsic and placed under the command of the Grand Duke of 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin. It consisted of the division of Meck- 
lenburg-Schwerin, which numbered four battalions of infantry, 
one battalion of Jagers, four squadrons, and two 6-pounder 
batteries, and of a combined Prussian division, which was placed 
under the command of General Home, who had formerly com- 
manded the eighth division of the army of Prince Frederick 
Charles. Home's combined division consisted of the fourth 
regiment of the Pmssian Guard, the fourth battalions of five 
regiments of the line, two battalions of An halt, two regiments 
of Landwehr cavalry, and eight batteries. This second reserve 
corps mustered in all about twenty-three thousand combatants. 
It was intended to enter Bavaria by way of Hof, and either to 
act against the re^r of the united Bavarian and Federal corps, 
while engaged with General Manteuffel, or to force the Bavarian 
army to form firont towards the east, and prevent Prince Charles 
of Bavaria from acting in concert with Prince Alexander against 

By the 21st July, the railway fi"om Frankfort to Cassel had 
been repaired by the railway detachment of the Army of the 
Maine, and was available throughout its whole length, not only 
for military transport, but also for private traffic On that day, 
the main body of the Army of the Maine quitted Frankfort, 
and moved towards the south. Beyer's division at the same 
time advanced from Hanau by Aschaffenburg to the south. 
The Bavarians had not occupied the road from Wiirzburg to 
the passage of the Maine at Heidenfeld. The eighth Federal 
corps was reported to be in retreat through the Odenwald, by 
Hochst and Moltenberg. Further information told that the 
Bavarians were concentrated, and in position near Wiirzburg. 
It then appeared probable that part of the eighth Federal corps 
intended to hold the defiles of the Odenwald, and the line of 


the Neckar, while the remainder of its troops joined the 
Bavarians near the Tauber. To take advantage of two roads, 
in order to move quickly, and if possible to press upon Prince 
Alexander before he was firmly linked with the Bavarians, and 
to shield his right fiank against any detachments lurking in the 
Odenwald, General Manteuffel moved Goeben's division by 
Darmstadt on Konieg, while Flies and Beyer pushed up the 
valley of the Maine by Wurth. At the same time he sent a 
strong reconnaissance up the right bank of the river against 
Heidenfeld. Frankfort and Aschaffenburg were firmly oc- 

On the 23rd July, the Army of the Maine occupied a posi- 
tion near Moltenberg and Amorbach. Along its whole front 
it could firmly feel the eighth Federal corps. It was found 
that the enemy was in force on the Tauber, and that his 
advanced posts were pushed over the river as far as Hundheim. 
On the 24th two actions took place on the Tauber, an affluent 
of the Maine, which falls into the latter stream below 
WertheinL General Manteuffel moved against the Tauber in 
three colunms. On the left Flies's division advanced on 
Wertheim. The two columns on the right were under 
General Goeben. Of these, that on the left consisted of the 
Oldenberg brigade and the battalion of Bremen, which moved 
upon Werbach against the division of Baden. That on the 
right, consisting of the remaining troops of Gk)eben's division, 
with Wrangel's brigade in firont, marched on Tauberbischofs- 
heinL Beyer's division was moved on Dermbach as the 
reserve. At Tauberbischofsheim the Wurtemberg division, 
under General Hardegg was posted, to hold the place itself, 
and then issue from the valley on the road towards Wiirzburg, 
in case of an attack by the Prussians. The artillery fire of the 
advanced guard brigade of Goeben's divisions caused great 
loss among the defenders, and soon forced them to retire from 
the village. General Hardegg withdrew his troops, but en- 
deavoured to hold the Prussians in the houses, and to prevent 
the advance of their batteries. By blowing up the bridge over 
the Tauber, he for a time prevented the progress of the 
Prussian artillery. After a hot combat, which lasted three 
hours, the Wurtembergers were relieved by the fourth division 


of the eighth Federal corps. The action increased in fury, 
but ultimately the Prussians gained the passage of the Tauber 
at Bischofsheim, and pushed their outposts a short distance 
along the road to Wiirzburg. 

The action at Werbach afforded the brigade composed of 
the Oldenburgers and the battalion of Bremen, its first oppor- 
tunity to display its efficiency. As soon as the Prussian ad- 
vanced guard, which attacked Bischofsheim, met with oppo- 
sition, this brigade was pushed against Werbach. The enemy 
evacuated Hochhausen, which lies on the left bank of the 
river, without firing a shot, but set himself stolidly to oppose 
the passage of the stream at Werbach. The attacking troops 
had marched for twelve hours on the 23rd July, and on the 
24th had been moving from ^yt^ o'clock in the morning until 
two in the afternoon. They found their opponents in a good 
position, from which they themselves were exposed to a heavy 
cannonade. The Oldenburg artillery opened, and with such 
a good effect, that it soon got the fire of the opposite batteries 
under. These did not make good practice : the loss they 
inflicted was most trivial. The infantiy, which had been 
hidden behind some rising ground, and in a wood, then ad- 
vanced to the attack of the village of Werbach, threading their 
way through the intricate vineyards which clothed the slope 
down to the Tauber. After a short time spent in skirmishing, 
the Oldenburgers rushed to the assault, part forcing their way 
over the barricades, part wading through the water of the 
stream, which rose breast high against them. Their losses 
were heavy, but their rush successful They carried the 
houses, and drove the defenders clean through the village, and 
themselves covered by the houses, commenced a murderous 
fire on the retreating columns. The combat at Werbach not 
only secured to General Manteuffel the passage of the stream 
at that point, but had a more important result The division 
of Baden retreated so far after its failure here, that the position 
in which tlie Federal corps had determined to fight on the 
Tauber on the following day had to be evacuated. 

At Wertheim, General Flies forced back the Hessians, whom 
he found posted there, and secured the passage of the Tauber 
at this point also. 


The commander of the eighth Federal corps, when he per- 
ceived that he could no longer hold the line of the Tauber, fell 
back to Gerscheim, a village half way between Tauberbischofs- 
heim and Wiirzburg, and about seven miles from either place. 
Here he •determined, on some wooded heights, to await the 
Prussians. In the meantime the Bavarian army, following the 
road from Wiirzburg to Aschaifenburg, closed towards the 
eighth corps, and taking post on the north at Helrostadt, 
and Utingen, formed with it a long line of battle, in rear of 
which lay Wiirzbuig and the Maine. 

Genend Manteuffel was obliged to attack the allied corps in 
this position, altliough they were numerically much superior to 
him. He formed the intention of strengthening his right, and 
pivoting himself on Wertheim, to act with vigour against the 
allied left He hoped thus to push his adversaries off the 
road to Wiirzburg, and to force them into the elbow which 
the Maine forms north of that place. There cut off from their 
communications, and with the river in their rear, they would 
have had almost no resource except that of capitulating. 

On the 25 th, the Prussian Commander-in-chief drew forward 
Beyer's division, which had hitherto remained in reserve in 
rear of his lefl wing, and placed it between those of Goeben 
and Flies. The Army of the Maine now formed a line of 
battle about ten miles long, but only Goeben and Beyer were 
to attack on the 25 th. Flies was to hold himself at Wertheim 
as the pivot of the army. Goeben was to attack the eighth 
Federal corps; Beyer the Bavarians. General Rummer's 
brigade, on the 25th, marched as the advanced guard of 
Goeben's division. When that officer had passed a wood lying 
a short distance in front of Gerscheim, he made out the enemy 
— ^W^iirtembergers, Nassauers, and Austrians drawn up on the 
north of the road in order of battle. Their superiority in 
artillery was very considerable ; they had eight batteries, six 
regiments of cavaliy, and about seventy thousand infantry, 
while Kummer had only six battalions, four squadrons, and 
two batteries. Wrangel's brigade had marched towards the 
right, in order to act against the enemy's left flank. The 
Oldenburg brigade, with the reserve, were behind, but at so 
great a distance that their arrival on the ground could not be 


calculated upon for an hour. Nevertheless General Kummer 
determined at once to attack. His two batteries came into 
position, some infantry occupied the wood beside him, the 
rest of the foot soldiers and the cavalry formed in order of 
battle, and his artillery opened fire. The enemy replied from 
forty pieces, and after a cannonade which lasted three-quarters 
of an hour, compelled the Prussian guns to retire. Prince 
Alexander of Hesse immediately sent some infantry against 
the wood, but the Prussians held the trees firmly, and from the 
cover slaughtered their assailants with their quickly-loaded 
arm. At this time the Oldenburg brigade and the reserves 
came up, and Wrangel was seen advancing against the enemy s 
left. The artillery fire of the alUes told little on the Prussian 
troops, and caused but slight loss in proportion to the number 
of guns engaged. WrangeFs appearance on his left, and 
Rummer's steady hold of the wood, made the enemy begin 
slowly to retire. The Oldenburg artillery joined to Kummer's 
two batteries, fired heavily upon their slowly retreating 
columns. The allied batteries, halting at every favourable 
spot, came into action, and it was not till nightfall that the 
cannonade ceased. By that time the Prussians had occupied 
and passed beyond Gerscheim. On the same day, Beyer ad- 
vanced against the Bavarians, who were in position near 
Helmstadt, by way of Bottingheim and Neubrunn. In front 
of Bottingheim he fell in with some cavalry patrols. At 
Neubrunn some infantry made its appearance. This was the 
advanced guard of the Bavarian main body, which was about 
to advance against VVerbach. This infantry Beyer attacked 
sharply, and drove back towards Helmstadt In rear of 
Neubrunn the retiring Bavarians were reinforced, and halted in 
a swelling plateau, much dotted over with plantations. The 
battle now began in earnest The Prussian advanced 
guard moving towards Madelhofen found an unoccupied 
plantation on the Bavarian left Pivoted on this it wheeled up 
to its left, and moved against Helmstadt At the same time 
Beyer's main body moved straight upon that village. The 
Bavarians could not maintain themselves in that place, but 
their artillery, which drew oflf towards Utingen, took up a 
position beyond Helmstadt, from which their guns rained a 


hot fire of shells upon the heads of the Prussian columns. 
The Prussian artillery, covered by numerous skirmishers in the 
plantations, engaged the Bavarian guns. About three hours 
after the beginning of the fight the enemy's artillery drew off to 
Utingen, and so left the road to Madelhofen, the most direct 
route to Wiirzburg open to Beyer's left wing. The Prussian 
di\asion then made a concentrated attack against a wood near 
Madelhofen, under cover of which heavy masses of Bavarian 
infantry were preparing for an attack towards Neubrunn. At 
the same time, Beyer's two regiments of cavalry dashed against 
the Bavarian horse, which in front of the wood were covering 
the formation. A severe hand to hand combat took place. 
The Bavarian horsemen were finally, however, overcome, and 
forced to quit the field. While the cavalry were engaged, 
some of the Prussian infantry pushed the Bavarian battalions 
back to Waldbrunn. The whole of Beyer's division then 
moved against the plantations near Madelhofen and 
Waldbrunn, but the enemy drew off so quickly that Beyer con- 
cluded the action had terminated, and ordered his troops to 

It was not so, however. Hardly had the Prussian regiments 
taken up their positions for the night, than an attack opened 
upon their left rear in the direction of Helmstadt A part of 
the Bavarian army had, unperceived, advanced in this direction 
from Utingen, and now opened a second action with a heavy 
cannonade. Beyer quickly changed his front left back, forming 
a reserve of the two regiments which had previously been upon 
his right His artillery, as soon as it had taken up its new 
p>osition, opened fire against the line of Bavarian guns, which 
was continually pushing more and more in the direction of 
Neubrunn, in order to outflank the Prussian position. This 
fire, however, did little towards silencing the Bavarian batteries. 
The Prussian reserve, which had a long distance to travel, was 
far firom the left wing. Every moment the attack of the 
enem/s infantry might be expected. Matters seemed very 
critical But the Bavarians did not attack. After a time his 
reserve reached Beyer's left He then ordered a general 
advance, which was successful. Prince Charles of Bavaria was 
forced back to Roszbrunn, where he halted General Beyer 


calculated upon for an hour. Nevertheless General Kummer 
determined at once to attack. His two batteries came into 
position, some infantry occupied tlie wood beside him, the 
rest of the foot soldiers and the cavalry formed in order of 
battle, and his artillery opened fire. The enemy replied from 
forty pieces, and after a cannonade which lasted three-quarters 
of an hour, compelled the Prussian guns to retire. Prince 
Alexander of Hesse immediately sent some infantry against 
the wood, but the Prussians held the trees firmly, and firom the 
cover slaughtered their assailants with their quickly-loaded 
arm. At this time the Oldenburg brigade and the reserves 
came up, and Wrangel was seen advancing against the enemy's 
left. The artillery fire of the allies told little on the Prussian 
troops, and caused but slight loss in proportion to the number 
of guns engaged. Wrangel's appearance on his left, and 
Kummer*s steady hold of the wood, made the enemy begin 
slowly to retire. The Oldenburg artillery joined to Rummer's 
two batteries, fired heavily upon their slowly retreating 
columns. The allied batteries, halting at every favourable 
spot, came into action, and it was not till nightfall that the 
cannonade ceased. By that time the Prussians had occupied 
and passed beyond Gerscheim. On the same day, Beyer ad- 
vanced against the Bavarians, who were in position near 
Helmstadt, by way of Bottingheim and Neubrunn. In firont 
of Bottingheim he fell in with some cavalry patrols. At 
Neubrunn some infantry made its appearance. This was the 
advanced guard of the Bavarian main body, which was about 
to advance against VVerbach. This infantry Beyer attacked 
sharply, and drove back towards Helmstadt In rear of 
Neubrunn the retiring Bavarians were reinforced, and halted in 
a swelling plateau, much dotted over with plantations. The 
battle now began in earnest The Prussian advanced 
guard moving towards Madelhofen found an unoccupied 
plantation on the Bavarian left Pivoted on this it wheeled up 
to its left, and moved against Helmstadt At the same time 
Beyer's main body moved straight upon that village. The 
Bavarians could not maintain themselves in that place, but 
their artillery, which drew off towards Utingen, took up a 
position beyond Helmstadt, from which their guns rained a 


hot fire of shells upon the heads of the Prussian columns. 
The Prussian artillery, covered by numerous skirmishers in the 
plantations, engaged the Bavarian guns. About three hours 
after the beginning of the fight the enera/s artillery drew off to 
Utingen, and so left the road to Madelhofen, the most direct 
route to Wiirzburg open to Beyer's left wing. The Prussian 
division then made a concentrated attack against a wood near 
Madelhofen, under cover of which heavy masses of Bavarian 
infantry were preparing for an attack towards Neubrunn. At 
the same time, Beyer's two regiments of cavalry dashed against 
the Bavarian horse, which in front of the wood were covering 
the formation. A severe hand to hand combat took place. 
The Bavarian horsemen were finally, however, overcome, and 
forced to quit the field. While the cavalry were engaged, 
some of the Prussian infantry pushed the Bavarian battalions 
back to Waldbrunn. The whole of Beyer's division then 
moved against the plantations near Madelhofen and 
Waldbrunn, but the enemy drew off so quickly that Beyer con- 
cluded the action had terminated, and ordered his troops to 

It was not so, however. Hardly had the Prussian regiments 
taken up their positions for the night, than an attack opened 
upon their left rear in the direction of Helmstadt A part of 
the Bavarian army had, unperceived, advanced in this direction 
from Utingen, and now opened a second action with a heavy 
cannonade. Beyer quickly changed his front left back, forming 
a reserve of the two regiments which had previously been upon 
his right His artillery, as soon as it had taken up its new 
position, opened fire against the line of Bavarian guns, which 
was continually pushing more and more in the direction of 
Neubrunn, in order to outflank the Prussian position. This 
fire, however, did little towards silencing the Bavarian batteries. 
The Prussian reserve, which had a long distance to travel, was 
far from the left wing. Every moment the attack of the 
cnem/s infantry might be expected. Matters seemed very 
critical But the Bavarians did not attack. After a time his 
reserve reached Beyer's left. He then ordered a general 
advance, which was successful. Prince Charles of Bavaria was 
forced back to Roszbrunn, where he halted. General Beyer 


bivouacked near Helmstadt Goeben's division halted for the 
night on the road between Gerscheim and Wiirzburg, with its 
outposts at Kist. When Prince Charles's attack against Beyer, 
near Helmstadt, was developed, General Flies moved forward 
from Wertheim to support Beyer. He did not arrive on the 
field before the termination of the battie, but he took a position 
for the night at Utingen, and patrolled towards Roszbrunn. 

This action cost the Prussians about three hundred and 
fifty officers and men, who were placed hors de combat. The 
Bavarians lost seventeen officers and two hundred and thirty- 
nine men killed and wounded, besides three hundred and 
sixty-three prisoners, who for the most part were wounded. 

Prince Alexander, on the evening of the 25 th, withdrew his 
corps to Wiirzburg, and took up a position under shelter of the 
fortress. Prince Charles appears to have received no informa- 
tion of this retreat, for on the morning of the 26th, he not only 
held his position at Roszbrunn, where his rear and his 
communication with Wiirzburg were already threatened by 
Goeben, but he also advanced against Utingen to attack Flies. 
He must in so doing have believed that the eighth Federal 
corps still covered his left, and held the road fix)m Tauber- 
bischofsheim to Wiirzburg. 

As soon as the Bavarian attack on Flies was announced by 
their cannonade, Beyer detached some of his regiments to act 
against Prince Charles's flank. This attack, supported vigorously 
by a simultaneous advance of Flies against his fi-ont, forced the 
Bavarian commander to retire ; not, however, without inflicting 
very severe injury on the Prussians. 

Goeben, on the 26th, pushed his advanced guard towards 
Wiirzburg, and soon discovered by his pajrols that Prince 
Charles, after leaving only a few light troops in fix)nt of the 
town, and a strong garrison in the houses on the left bank of 
the river, had drawn the mass of his troops across the Maine, 
and posted them in the town on the right bank, and in the 

On the 28th, the Bavarian and the eighth Federal corps 
concentrated, and took up a position at Rottendorf, a village 
which Ues in the angle of the Maine, five miles east of Wiirz- 
buig. General Manteuflel that day drew his whole anuy 


together in front of Wiirzburg, with Goeben's division in 
advance, so that Kummer's brigade was opposite Marienberg, 
Wrangel's on its right, and the Oldenburg contingent on its 
left. Kummer pushed his skirmishers close up to Marienberg, 
and with them forced the enemy to quit some earthworks which 
they had begun to throw up. The whole artillery of the army 
of the Maine was then posted on the right and left of the road, 
and opened a cannonade on the houses, to which the enemy's 
guns actively replied. The arsenal and the castle of Marien- 
beig were set on flames, after which the batteries ceased firing. 
The day after that cannonade a flag of truce was sent from the 
Bavarians to General Manteuflel, who announced that an 
armistice had been concluded between the King of Prussia 
and the Bavarian Government The cessation of hostilities 
rescued the allied army from a very precarious position in the 
elbow of the Maine, where it was all but cut off" from the 
territories which it had been intended to defend. 

General Manteuflel had gained a free scope for action ove/ 
the whole of Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, and Baden, because the 
river Maine was placed between those countries and the troops 
of Prince Charles. This general, to defend those countries, 
would have required to cross a swift river in face of a strong 
and already victorious enemy, no easy task for an army which 
had afready lost confidence in its leader. 


The most interesting manoeuvre of the Prussian Army of the 
Maine, after it had occupied Frankfort, was the movement by 
which General Manteuffiel advanced against the Tauber. The 
army marched southwards in the formation A. As soon as 
certain information was received that the enemy was on the 
Tauber, the division wheeled to the left, and stood opposed to 
the enemy in the formation B. The right wing (2), Flies' 
division, had then Goeben's division (i) as a reserve, and could 
with great strength urge the enemy back towards the Maine, 
while Beyer's division at Wertheim prevented him from pushing 
out in that direction. As long as General Manteuffiel could 
prevent the allies from marching up the Tauber he held an 
advantage over them, for the second reserve corps was coming 




[Book VIII. 

down to Number^ against their rear. If the enemy did move 
up the Tauber in spite of his dispositions, General Manteuffel, 
by wheeling division C to the right, restored the order of 
march, in which he had advanced from Frankfort, for further 

It is difficult to perceive with what object Prince Charles, 
after the action on the Tauber, withdrew in the direction of 
Wurzburg, and afterwards took up a position in the bend of the 
Maine. He could hardly have wished here to fight a pitched 
battle, while General Manteuflfel on one side of him, and the 
second Prussian reserve corps on the other, were not separated 
by more than sixty miles, and when he left the initiative of 
attack in the hands of his adversaries. Nor could he have the 
intention of conveying his troops by railway by way of Bam- 
berg, Niimberg, and Regensburg to Vienna. His road in that 
direction was threatened, and before he could have moved half 
his army, the remainder would have been waylaid by the second 
reserve corps. 

The strength of the Bavarian and eighth Federal corps, 
which mustered together at least one hundred thousand men^ 
was frittered away in isolated conflicts, instead of being con- 
centrated for a great battle. Such conflicts could have liad no 


important result, even if they had been successful. On the 
Tauber, the eighth corps fought alone, unsupported by the 
Bavarians. On the 25tl^ the whole right wing of the Bavarians 
came under fire, only in the evening, for the first time ; and 
there was no harmony of either conduct or action between the 
Bavarians and the troops of the eighth corps. On the 26 th, 
Prince Charles made an offensive movement without any 
support from Prince Alexander, and apparently without any 
idea that the latter had withdrawn to Wiirzburg. 

Y 2 



On the i8th July the Grand Duke Frederick Franz of Meck- 
lenbuig-Schiverin assumed the command of the second Prussian 
reserve corps at Leipsic On the same day he ordered this 
corps to move upon Hof, in Bavaria, On the 23rd, the third 
battalion of the fourth regiment of the Guard crossed the 
Bavarian frontier, and captured a detachment of sixty-five 
Bavarian infantry. This battalion was pushed by forced marches 
from Leipsic to Werdau, thence by railway to Plauen. At the 
latter place waggons were raised by requisition firom the country 
people, and the battalion conveyed in them by night to within, 
two miles of Hof Two companies rushed into the town, 
while the others, making a circuitous march, sought to gain the 
exit on the further side, and thus to surround and capture the 
whole of the Bavarian garrison. The greater part of these, 
however, made their escape by a railway train which happened 
to be ready, and an outlying detachment of sixty-five non- 
commissioned officers and men were alone taken prisoners. 

On the 24th July, the head-quarters of the Grand Duke of 
Mecklenburg reached Hof. Here he published a proclamation 
to the inhabitants of Upper Franconia, in which he informed 
them that his invasion of their country was only directed 
against their Government, and that private property and 
interests would be perfectly respected by his troops. In con- 
sequence, he was able to draw from the inhabitants the means 
of supplying his men with rations. 

The head of the Prussian advanced guard reached on the 
28th, the provincial capital Baireulh. The Bavarian garrison 
of this town had been withdrawn by telegraphic orders fi"om 


Munich : and wisely so. Its numbers were far too small to 
have fought an action with any chance of success, and any 
resistance against the invaders could only have served to 
imperil the lives and property of the inhabitants. Niirnberg 
had also, from fear of the fate with which it was threatened, 
solicited the Bavarian Government to allow it to be declared 
an open town. 

On the 29th July, the Grand Duke in person reached 
Baireuth, and there reviewed his troops. Bavaria, which had 
always aspired to a special consideration in the Germanic 
Confederation, because she claimed to be the leader of the 
Middle States, displayed no military force at all proportionate 
to her pretensions. No force worthy the name opposed this 
invasion of Franconia. One only of four brigades of reserve 
which were in course of formation, but, as yet, were hardly 
clothed in uniform, badly equipped and miserably organized, 
had been despatched from Munich towards the Saxon frontier. 
For any efficient protection of the country it was much too 
weak, and the Landwehr, which had so much been vaunted by 
the Bavarian press, as a strong defensive organization, barely 
existed upon paper, and was practically of no account The 
second reserve corps advanced unmolested, as if in time of 
profound peace, and was received by the people always with 
friendship, sometimes with tokens of lively sympathy. The 
Bavarian brigade of reserve retired to Kemnath. A false tele- 
graphic despatch, which announced that an armistice had been 
concluded between Prussia and Bavaria, led the reserve battalion 
of the regiment of the Bavarian guard to again advance, on the 
28th, towards Baireuth. This advance was made without any 
precaution. As soon as it approached near the town it was 
told by the Prussian officer who commanded the advanced 
guard of the second reserve corps that the intelligence of an 
armistice was unfounded. It did not, however, by a forced 
march, attempt to withdraw itself beyond the reach of danger, 
but retired to St Johann's, barely three miles from Baireuth, 
and there calmly took up its quarters for the night As could 
hardly otherwise happen, it was there fallen upon, and fled 
during the night to Seidenburg, and on the 29th to Seibotten- 
reuth. Here it was overtaken by the fusilier battalion of the 


4th regiment of the Prussian Guard, which, in company with 
some Mecklenburg cavalry and Jagers, had been despatched 
from Baireuth in pursuit, and was totally routed. Of the nine 
hundred and fifty men, of whom the battalion had been com- 
posed, hardly five hundred succeeded in escaping firom their 
pursuers, and, by the sacrifice of their knapsacks and many of 
their arms, gaining a railway station between Seibottenreuth and 
Niimberg. This was the only opportunity which the second 
reserve corps had of being engaged. 

On the 31st July, the Prussian advanced guard moving 
forwards occupied the ancient city of Numberg, firom which 
the dynasty of the HohenzoUems was originally transferred to 
Brandenburg. On the first August, the main body reached the 
same place. Here the Grand Duke of Mecklenbiug was only 
separated firom Wiirzburg by a distance of sixty miles, and 
could insure his junction with General Manteuflfel without any 
danger fi-om the eighth Federal corps or the Bavarian army. 
Other reinforcements were also on the way to General 
Manteuffel, for on the 27th July the first Prussian reserve 
corps had been despatched from Bohemia, by way of Pilsen, 
into Bavaria, and had already occupied Weiden and Waldsassen. 
The armistice, however, which commenced on the 2nd of 
August, and which had been granted by Manteuflfel, on the 
30th July, to Prince Alexander and Prince Charles, put an end 
to all further operations, and, in all probability, prevented both 
the army and the capital of Bavaria firom falling into the hands 
of the Prussians. 

The Prussian troops were everywhere victoriously pressing 
forward, and every day their enemies were more paralysed, and 
daily the total disruption of the Germanic Confederation 
became more complete. 

On the 28th July, Baden received a new Ministry, which 
declared that, after the 31st July, the grand duchy would no 
longer consider itself as belonging to the late ConfederatioiL 
The grand ducal representative at the spectral phantom of the 
Diet was recalled, and the fortress of Rastadt was declared to 
belong to the Baden Government The troops of Weimar, 
which formed its garrison, were dismissed to their homes. 

On the I St August, Heidelberg and Mannheim, Ludwighofen, 


Mergentheim, and Erlangen, were occupied by Prussian detach- 
ments. The South-German Governments lost all hope, and 
sought by negotiations for an armistice. Lines of demarcation 
between the armies were agreed upon, and the war on the 
western theatre was finally put an end to by settled conventions. 

Bavaria at first gained merely a purely military suspension oi 
hostilities, but Herr von der Pfordten, who had been despatched 
to the King of Prussia at Nikolsburg,* by the Bavarian Govern- 
ment, obtained one for three weeks, which was to date from the 
28th July. Within that time peace was concluded at Berlin. 

Before the definite conclusion of the armistice, the Prussian 
troops had occupied the Bavarian territory at three points, they 
had also crossed the firontiers of Baden and of Wiirtemberg. 
Darmstadt had long held a Prussian garrison. Wiirzburg, as 
one of the conditions of the suspension of hostilities, received 
a Prussian corps of four thousand men on the 2nd August ; 
the fortress on the Marienberg alone remained in the hands of 
the Bavarians. On the ist August, General von Manteuffel, 
at Wiirzburg, concluded an armistice with General von 
Hardegg, for Wiirtemberg ; on the same day he also concluded 
one for Hesse-Darmstadt, and on the 3rd a plenipotentiary 
from Baden came to Wiirzburg, and there obtained one from 
Manteuffel for the Grand Duchy. The head-quarters of the 
Army of the Maine were established at Wiirzburg during the 
truce, where they remained until the 22nd August 

The King of Prussia despatched, on the ist August, the 
following telegram to the Army of the Maine, through General 
Manteuffel : 

** I chaige you to express to the troops of the Army of the Maine my 
entire satisfaction with their valour and behaviour. I thank the generals, 
the officers, and all the soldiery. With me the armies in Bohemia, Mora- 
via, and Austria send to Uieir Prussian and German comrades greeting and 

At the same time the order of " Pour le M^rite " was sent 
by the King, with an autograph letter to the Grand Duke of 

* See page 400. 


The end of the struggle was notified by General von Man- 
teuflfel to his army, in the following general order : — 

"Head Quarters, WCrzburo, 
^*Auguft2ndt 1866. 

" Soldiers of the Army or the Maine ! — By the victories of the 
arms of Prussia, the enemy has been compelled to seek for an armistice. 
His Majesty the King has granted it. I do not speak to you of the hard- 
ships which you have cheerfully suffered, nor of the bravery with which you 
have everywhere fought. But I recall to your memory the days of actions 
aud the results of your victories. After that, under your skilful and 
esteemed leader, General von Falckenstein, you had seized Hanover, Hesse- 
Cassel, and all the broad territories as far as Frankfort-on-the-Malne ; had 
compelled the Hanoverian army to capitulate ; had defeated the Bavarians 
on the 14th July at Zella and Weisenthal, on the loth July at Hammelbui^, 
Kissingen, Friedericshall,. Hansen, and Waldaschach ; on the I Hh July 
the troops of Hesse-Darmstadt at Oerlenbach ; on the 13th these again at 
Laufach, and on the 14th the Austrians at Aschaffenburg, you made your 
victorious entry into Frankfort After a short rest, again you sought the 
foe ; on the 23rd you defeated the troops of Baden at Hundheim ; on the 
24th, the Austrian, WiLrtemberg, Hesse- Darmstadt, and Nassau division at 
Tauberbischofsheim, and the troops of Baden at Werbach ; on the 25th, 
the whole concentrated eighth Federal Corps at Gerscheim, and the Bava- 
rians at Helmstadt, the latter on the 26th, also at Roszbriinn ; and to-day» 
after twenty victorous greater or minor combats, have entered Wiirzburg as 
conquerors. The resmt of those victories is that not only the countries 
north of the Maine have been won, but that the power of your arms has 
smitten heavily on Hesse-Darmstadt, and deep into Baden and Wiirtem- 
bejqg, and has freed a portion of our land, which could not be directly 
protected by our army from the presence of an enemy. The Wiirtem- 
beigers had occupied HohenzoUem, and had driven away our officials. 
They must now quit that principality ;* the black and white flag waves again 
over the town of HohenzoUem. I must express my thanks to the generals, 
commanders, officers, and to all the rank and file. I also thank the militaiir 
surgeons for their unremitting and self-sacrificing care of the wounded, both 
under fire and in the hospital, as well as to the non-combatant departments 
for their successful administration of the army's supplies. Soldiers of the 
Army of the Maine I I know that you are thankful to God, and I expect 
that during the armistice your recognised manliness and careful behaviour 
towards the inhabitants of the country will be worthy of the Prussiaa 


The relics of the Diet quickly approached dissolution. On 
the I St of August the small knot of diplomatists which at the 
hotel of the Three Moors, at Augsburg, still assumed the 
functions of that august body, were deserted by the ambas- 
sadors of England, France, Spain and Belgium; while the 
Russian representative remained at Augsburg only on accoxmt 

* The principalities of HohenzoUem. 


of illness. The sitting of the 4th August acknowledged the 
end of the last shadow of the Germanic Confederation. Prince 
Charles of Bavaria reported the conclusion of an armistice 
with Prussia by the governments of Austria, Bavaria, Wiirtem- 
bei^, and the Grand Duchy of Hesse; and reported at the 
same time, that he resigned the command-in-chief of the 
western Federal army, which had been bestowed on him by 
the decree of the Diet of the 27th June. 

Brunswick had very tardily placed its troops on a war 
footing, but by the beginning of August they were attached 
to the second Prussian reserve corps. That State a short 
time previously declared its withdrawal from the Confedera- 

The remaining members of the Diet annulled the protests 
which had been made against Prussia, and decreed that no 
obstacle should be offered to the North-German troops in the 
Federal fortresses in retiring to their homes. 

On the 28th July, the troops 01 Saxe-Meiningen had already 
been permitted by the Governor of Mainz to leave that 
fortress, which, in virtue of the subsequent treaties of peace, 
was occupied by and given over entirely to Prussia on the 
26th August 

This decree was the last act of the Diet of the Germanic 
Confederation, which was constructed after the fall of the 
first French Empire. By it, it practically published its own 
death warrant 



Feldzeugmeister von Benedek had headed in person the 
troops with which he attempted to retake Chlum after the 
Prussian Guards had possessed themselves of that village, and 
so turned the scale of the battle of Koniggiatz. After his 
three attacks on the burning houses and the garrisoned church- 
yard had been repulsed, he saw that all was lost, and himself 
in vain attempted to find a soldier's grave on the field of 
battle, and with his blood to wash out the memory of his 
misfortune. The rapid advance of the whole Prussian army 
forced the Austrians speedily to retreat During the night of 
the 3rd of July, in great disorder, having but half of its 
artillery, with its staff separated and scattered, the defeated 
army pushed across the crowded bridges over the Elbe, and 
wearily dragged itself in the direction of Hohenmanth. Bene- 
dek himself retreated to Holitz, on the road to this place, and 
there on the morning of the 4th, made the best arrangement 
he could for the safety of his troops. Their losses in men, 
material^ and guns rendered it impossible for him to think of 
any new dispositions until they were thoroughly re-organized. 
To carry out such a re-organization he must seek a place of 
shelter, and the cover he desired was to be found under the 
guns, and behind the intrenchments of Olmutz. With the 
exception of the tenth corps, which had suffered most severely, 
and which he therefore despatched by railway directly to Vienna^ 



he ordered the remainder of his army to move on the intrenched 
camp at Olmiitz, while he left his first light cavalry division to 
watch the road from Pardubitz to Iglau, and his second to 
delay the enemy, if possible, on that from Pardubitz to Briinn. 

On the 4th July he also sent Field Marshal Gablenz, one of 
the most able of the Austrian generals, to the Prussian head- 
quarters, in order to treat for a suspension of hostilities, as a 
preliminary to the conclusion of peace. This was a new 
proof of the desperate condition of the Austrian army. 
Gablenz reported himself on the 4th July at mid-day, at the 
outposts of the Crown Prince's army, and received permission 
to go to the King's head-quarters. He was blindfolded in 
passing through the army, as is the custom of war, and accom- 
panied by a Prussian officer, was conducted to Horitz. When 
he reached that town the King was absent, as he had gone 
to visit his troops on the field of battle. General Gablenz 
was taken to meet him, and fell in with the King between 
Sadowa and Chlum, who at first took him for a wounded 
Austrian general, and was about to condole with him, but 
being informed of his mission, ordered the bandage to be 
removed, and requested the Austrian general to return with 
him to Horitz. Here Gablenz expressed Benedek's desire of 
an armistice, but no truce could be granted, for Prussia and 
Italy were mutually bound to agree to no suspension of hos- 
tilities without a common agreement General Gablenz re- 
turned unsuccessful to the Austrian head-quarters. 

Equally unsuccessfully did the Austrian Government endea- 
vour to make a separate peace with Italy. It determined, 
however, to leave only garrisons in the fortresses of the 
Venetian quadrilateral, and to transfer all the remaining troops 
of the Army of the South firom the Mincio to the Danube, to 
shield its capital against its northern enemy. 

The Prussian army the night of the battle of Koniggratz, 
bivouacked on the field. The following afternoon it began to 
move forward, to seize the passages over the Elbe. The 
Second Army on the left was directed upon Pardubitz. It 
left behind it the sixth corps d'armde to watch the fortresses 
of Josephstadt and Koniggratz. No siege against these places 
was undertaken. Yet the town of Koniggratz was nearly 

332 SEVEN' WEEKS' WAR, ^ [Book IX. 

destroyed On the 5th July, the day after the Prussian armies 
had marched from the vicinity of the fortress, the commander 
of the troops left to mask the place, opened a cannonade on 
the town from some of the Austrian guns, which had been 
captured in the battle. The shells burst among the dry houses, 
and the place would soon have been in flames had not a gun 
from one of the bastions opened with singular effect upon 
the Prussian gunners and compelled them to withdraw. 

The army of Prince Frederick Charles, and that of Herwarth, 
were both directed upon Przelautsch. At the same time the 
division of Landwehr of the Guard, which had followed in 
rear of the main armies, was despatched to Prague, the capital 
of Bohemia. The Austrian garrison did not attempt to defend 
this town, and the Imperial lieutenant transferred the seat of 
the government of the province to Pilsen. The Prussian 
soldiery here found a very welcome booty in twenty-seven 
millions of cigars, which, as tobacco in Austria is a govern- 
ment monopoly, were confiscated for the benefit of the Prus- 
sian troops. On the 8th July, this division reached the 
ancient town on the Moldau, and hoisted the Prussian flag 
upon^the Hradschin, the palace of the kings of Bohemia. 
On the I ith, General Miilbe took the command of the place, 
having moved the first Prussian reserve corps from Saxony 
into Bohemia. 

The first division of the Landwehr of the Line remained in 
Saxony, to which later a newly-formed second division was 
added. The detachments made from the Prussian main 
armies for masking fortresses, and escorts of prisoners, as well 
as the losses in battle and from sickness, were replaced by a 
portion of eighty-one new battalions, which had been lately 
formed out of the troops left at the regimental depots. The 
first line armies, when they moved from the Elbe, were of the 
same, or rather superior, strength to those which ten days 
before had crossed the Bohemian frontier. 

In consequence of the battle of Koniggratz, Feldzeugmeister 
Benedek resigned the command of the Austrian Army of the 
North, and the Archduke Albrecht, the victor of Custozza, was 
appointed to the supreme command of thewhole army. Until 
its arrival on the Danube, however, Benedek commanded the 


Army of the North. Count Clam Gallas had been ordered to 
give up his command after Gitschin, and the chief of the staft, 
Field Marshal Baron Henikstein, had, before the 3rd July, 
been ordered to cede his post to Major-General Paumgarten, 
who had hitherto commanded in Gallicia. The latter reached 
the army the evening before the battle of Koniggratz, but did 
not interfere with the dispositions of his predecessor. 

One feeling alone « existed in the army of Benedek. He 
possessed the admiration of his officers, and the love of his 
men. This affection towards him only increased in the hour 
of his misfortune in the camp. But the populace of Vienna 
blindly raged against him, and failing to perceive the negli- 
gence and errors of the ministers and administrators who had 
sent the army into the field in its unprepared condition, in- 
veighed in unmeasured terms against the unfortunate general 
who had commanded it 

On the evening of the 4th July, the armies broke up from 
the bivouac they had occupied near the field of battle of 
Koniggratz, and advanced towards the Elbe. 

On the Sth, they crossed the river ; the First Army, under 
Prince Frederick Charles, at Przelautsch ; the Second, under 
the Crown Prince, at Pardubitz. The march was begun the 
previous evening. After going a short way the troops halted 
for the night, and slept by the side of the road. Early on the 
morning of the 5th they again set forward, and reached the 
Elbe late in the afternoon. The villages along the road had 
been mostly deserted, for the inhabitants had fled south with 
the retreating Austrian army. The houses looked desolate, 
with their doors and windows wide open, and shutters flapping 
mournfully in the wind, while there still remained in the street 
in front vestiges of the hasty packing up of such articles as 
could be carried away. A stray dog or two were seen here 
and there, which still stood on the threshold and barked at 
the soldiers as they marched by ; but even these were rare, and 
often the poultry had invaded the dwelling rooms, and were 
roosting among the furniture. For twenty-five miles the army 
marched through a luxuriantly fertile country, but almost en- 
tirely deserted ; sometimes one or two peasants stood by the 
side of the road staring vacantly at the passing troops, or a 

334 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

-few women might be found in a village who, half frightened by 
the sight of the soldiers, supplied them with the drinking water 
which they everywhere requested. But the people had no 
cause to fear; they would have done better to remain, for 
some of the troops had to be billeted in the houses along the 
road, and when the inhabitants were not present, the soldiers 
took what they required, and there was no one to receive pay- 
ment for what they consumed. The children did not seem so 
timid ; they were present along the roads in large numbers, for 
the cherries were just ripening, and they took advantage of the 
panic among their elders to make a raid on the trees which 
grew in long strips by the side of the way. With them the 
soldiers soon became great friends. The boys ran along the 
battalions with their caps full of the fruit, and got coppers in 
exchange for handfuls of it ; the sellers, exulting in the pockets- 
ful of coin they soon collected, seemed to have no scruples as 
to whose property it rightfully was, but laughed with delight at 
this unexpected result of the war. 

But for the most part the country in front of the army was 
still and silent No church clocks sounded, for their guardians 
had fled. There was no one to wind them up, and the hands 
stood motionless on the dials. No horses neighed, for they 
had all been taken to carry away the flying inhabitants, or per- 
haps to aid in dragging off the retreating Austrian guns. The 
flowers before the wayside shrines of the Madonna were dried 
up and withered, for the votaries who were wont to renew them 
had fled, fearful of the invading army. The cattle had been 
driven away, and the pastures were vacant. Broad belts of 
com, trodden flat to the ground, showed the lines along which 
the Austrian battalions had hurried, and here and there lay a 
knapsack or ammunition pouch which some fatigued fugitive 
had cast away as an impediment to his flight 

But where the army marched all was bustle and noise ; the 
infantry tramped monotonously along the roads, while the 
cavalry spread in bending lines through the fields, and behind 
the combatants toiled long trains of waggons, which carried the 
stores of this large army. Along every road and every lane 
foot soldiers marched, and cavalry occupied the intervals be- 
tween the heads of the columns — all pointing southwards, 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRVNN. 335 

towards the Elbe. For miles on either side could be seen the 
clouds of dust raised by the marching troops ; in some places 
it rose from trees and woods, in others from among houses, 
or from the hard straight roads leading through the wide com 
land, where the hot July sun poured its rays straight down 
upon the soldiers' heads and made them suffer much from heat 
and thirst 

As the foremost troops neared the Elbe all ears listened 
eagerly for the sound of cannon, for it was thought that if the 
Austrians could bring their troops under fire again they would 
oppose the passage of the river, and whether they did so or 
not would be accepted as a criterion of how much they had 
suffered by the defeat at Koniggratz. The heads of the columns 
steadily advanced nearer and nearer to the line of willows 
which marked the course of the stream. No cannon sounded, 
no rifle even was discharged, and it seemed that the advanced 
guard must have passed unopposed. At last the news came 
back that the passage was secured, and that there were no signs 
of the enemy on the opposite bank. Soon the troops closed 
down to the river and filed across the wooden bridge which, 
with four arches, spans the muddy stream ; and the black and 
yellow stripes on its parapets were the only visible signs that 
the Prussian army was in the dominions of the Emperor of 

Prince Frederick Charles occupied Przelautsch about six on 
the evening of the 5th, and almost at the same time the Crown 
Prince entered Pardubitz. The line of the Elbe was now 
secured as a basis for future operations, and the Austrian rail- 
way communication between Vienna and Prague was cut At 
the laiter town there were said to be only four Austrian bat- 
talions, and it was expected to be evacuated by them and 
occupied by the Prussians within a few days. 

As was the case. Then, notwithstanding the fortresses of 
Konigstein in Saxony, and Josephstadt, Koniggratz, and The- 
resienstadt in Bohemia, the Prussian armies, after making some 
necessary repairs, obtained railway communication from Pardu- 
bitz and Przelautsch by way of Prague and Reichenberg with 
their own country, which was of great importance to them in 
their further advance. 

336 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, [Book IX. 

The towns of Przelautsch and Pardubitz were entirely filled 
with Prussian soldiers. On every door was written in chalk the 
name of the regiment and company to which the house was 
allotted, and the number of men which it was to accommodate. 
The numbers appeared enormous for the size of the house, fifty 
or sixty men were sometimes billeted in a small house with four 
rooms, but the soldiers managed well enough so long as they 
could get straw to lie upon; but here there was a great scarcity 
of that, and the men had to sleep as they could, on the floors 
or in the gardens. The greatest difficulty prevailed in getting 
any accommodation for horses ; all the stables were occupied 
by the horses of generals, and inferior officers would fedn have 
had sheds, cowhouses, or any place with a cover, for the 
weather looked lowering, and it seemed that it would probably 
rain, but all the sheds were occupied by the troops, and most 
of the horses had to spend the night in the streets. 

But there were advantages here which compensated for more 
than a little overcrowding. Large Austrian stores of bread, 
beer, and cigars had been found, and the soldiers were de- 
lighted to think that they would again have their radons of 
tobacco served out to them, which they had not had since they 
left Saxony; for to a German soldier tobacco is almost as 
necessary as meat, but transport had not been found for 
tobacco with the army, as there had been lately a difficulty in 
bringing up even food. 

The head-quarters of the armies halted on the 6th July in the 
same position as they took up the previous evening. The First 
Army at Przelautsch. The Crown Prince with the Second 
Army was at Pardubitz, whither the King himself went the 
same evening. Detachments were pushed along the railway 
towards Prague. On the morning of the 6th, an advanced 
guard was pushed out to feel the country south of the Elbe. It 
consisted of light cavalry, horse artillery, and some infantry. 
The Weissenfels hussars led the way, followed by the hussars 
of Ziethen, and the 3rd dragoons, whose squadrons were veiy 
weak, for their ranks had been terribly thinned by the battle of 
Koniggratz. As soon as the columns got out of the town the 
hussars spread themselves out over the fields by the side of the 
road, and studded the country with horsemen. Some went 

Chap. I.] ADVAXCE TO BRUXX. 337 

pushing through the com, otliers galloped forward to gain 
every piece of rising ground, and from the summit to scan the 
country beyond. Every wood was carefully beaten, and every 
village inspected by the nimble horsemen before the main body 
approached, for Austrian marksmen might be lurking among the 
trees, or cavalry might lie in ambush behind the houses. But 
no signs of an enemy could be found ; and, although at every 
moment they expected to hear the sharp crack of a rifle and the 
puff of blue smoke which would tell that an outlying post had 
been disturbed, they pursued their way unmolested, and it was 
evident that the Austrians had retreated far south or east. 

But, though the head-quarters halted at Przelautsch and Par- 
dubitz, the 6th was a busy day there. All the sickly and weak 
were draughted out of the ranks, and were sentenced to be left 
behind — a sure sign that long and severe marches were ex- 
pected, and that it was intended that the army should move 
free of all possible encumbrance. In vain did those who were 
selected to be left behind protest that they were the strongest 
men in the regiment, and call upon their comrades to bear 
witness to their marching powers. The doctors were good- 
naturedly obdurate, and the men selected had to bear the dis- 
appointment of not going forward with the army, being solaced 
with the assurance that they should rejoin as soon as possible. 
Those destined to be left behind were far from numerous — 
indeed, their number was surprisingly small, for the army had 
been making long marches and bivouacking out nearly every 
night in most changeable weather. 

Although the Austrians had been obliged to leave the rail- 
way, they had taken care to make it of as little use as possible 
to its subsequent possessors. All the engines and carriages had 
been sent away, and until Prague was occupied none could be 
brought by the Prussians to supply their place. So the line 
stood idle, and the station had a desolate look, made only more 
remarkable by the one or two officials of the indefatigable tele- 
graph corps, who had occupied one of the rooms, and were at 
their work there early that morning flashing despatches and 
reports to the King's staff, and receiving rapid answers which 
were to direct the marches of the troops. 

A number of Austrian baggage waggons had after Konig- 



griitz fallen into the hands of the conquerors, and, after being 
employed in helping to carry the wounded from the field on the 
6th, joined in the long lines of carriages which followed the 
Prussian armies. They were easily distinguished in the line of 
march by their light yellow colour, which contrasted strongly 
with the dark blue with which all the Prussian military carriages 
are painted. Every hour showed how much more severely the 
Austrians had felt their defeat at Koniggratz than was at first 
supposed in the Prussian army. The unopposed passage of the 
Elbe, the mission of Marshal Gablenz, the abandonment of the 
country south of Przelautsch, were successive proofs of the com- 
pleteness of the Prussian victory. The morale of the army had 
now risen high, and the soldiers were convinced that the Aus- 
trian troops could not stand against them — a feeling which was 
no contemptible augury of future victories. But, though the 
soldiers were confident in themselves, their arms, and their 
leaders, their confidence never stepped beyond just bounds; 
they were tender and kind to the wounded and prisoners, not 
only by attending to their wants, but by showing them much 
consideration, and never exulting over the victory in their pre- 
sence, which could hardly be expected from men serving in the 
ranks. But the Prussian system of recruiting enlists in the 
army as privates men of high education and refined feelings, 
and these easily influence their comrades, who are naturally 
warm-hearted, to act kindly and charitably to the unfortunate. 

On the 7th July the Prussian armies advanced from the 
Elbe. The Crown Prince moved from Pardubitz along the 
railway -towards Brandeis, with the object of pushing towards 
Olmiitz. Prince Frederick Charles, leaning slightly in the 
same direction, made for the road which leads from Pardubitz 
by Chrudim to Briinn. On the 7th he reached Hermanmestetz. 
The army of the Elbe marched on the road which leads hoia 
Przelautsch to Iglau and Znaym. 

The march of the 7 th was very different from that of the 5 th. 
The panic among the country people caused by the defeat of 
the Austrians at the battle of Koniggratz did not extend into 
the country lying south of the Elbe, and here the inhabitants 
had not left their houses. All was busy and full of life, peasants 
ivere working in the fields, women and children were abundant 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN. 339 

in the villages, and the soldiers, who seemed to be supplied 
plentifully with money by their friends at home, for their pay 
is small, bought eggs, butter, milk, and poultry as they passed 
along, but in many cases they had little return for their money, 
for eggs are difficult to carry in crowded ranks, and butter is 
inclined to melt when stowed away in a knapsack, so that 
many found when they reached the halting place that their 
prudence in providing themselves with eatables was vain, and 
that they were disappointed of the luxuries they had meant to 
enjoy with their mid-day meal. 

The march was little on the high road, but chiefly by country 
lanes, over ground covered with short, crisp grass, past water- 
mills sunk in the hollows by little streams, and through villages 
whose wide open greens covered with geese and ducks reminded 
one of England. From the top of every rise the country before 
the army could be seen stretching away in a wide rolling plain, 
and bounded by the dark blue line of mountains which, thirty 
miles distant, separates Bohemia from Moravia. The com 
was rapidly ripening ; but the day was cool, yet without rain, 
and the troops, marching easily, did not care to avail them- 
selves of the water along the road, which was abundant, and 
which would have been so grateful on many former marches. 

The town of Hermanmestetz is thoroughly Bohemian ; few 
of even the better class of inhabitants could speak German. 
The signboards of the shops and inns were written only in 
Bohemian, and not in German also, as is generally the case 
further north. As soon as the troops marched in and were 
dismissed from their parades, a rush was made at the shops. 
The soldiers crowded in at the doors and up to the counters, 
calling loudly for tobacco and cigars. These were not to be 
had in any quantity, but coffee was plentiful at first, though the 
whole in the town was soon bought Then arose difficulties 
about money, for the soldiers did not yet thoroughly under- 
stand the Austrian coinage, and the shopkeepers tried to take 
the utmost advantage of their ignorance ; but the men protested 
loudly against flagrant cases of imposition, and, amid a great 
deal of noise and loud talking, the bargains were concluded 
generally considerably to the advantage of the dealer. 

Every taproom was filled by an importunate crowd eager for 

z 2 

340 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book IX. 

food, beer, and wine; knapsacks were piled on the benches, 
rifles stood thickly in the comers, and their owners pressed 
round the bar, each trying by dint of noise to secure the 
services of the landlord for himself. But though they were 
hungry and thirsty, the soldiers were always good-humoured. 
Differences of opinion often arose as to the comparative value 
of kreutzers and silber groschen ; but when the dispute ran 
high the landlord called in the assistance of his wife, and then 
almost invariably the soldier had to retire worsted from the 
contest, exposing discontentedly to his comrades the small 
handful of little coins he had received in change for a dollar. 
As soon as it became dark all noise ceased and all bustle was 
stilled. The men disappeared to go to sleep. Some lay in the 
houses on straw, others in sheds, many in the gardens, for the 
house accommodation was not sufficient for them, and many 
seemed wisely to prefer the summer air to a crowded room. 
Thus the town, before so noisy, grew perfectly still, and no 
sound was heard except the monotonous step of a sentry or 
the uneasy neigh of some restive horse ; but the arms piled, 
with the bayonets fixed, beside each house, with the knapsacks 
laid close to the butts packed and ready to be instantly taken 
up, told that the soldiers were ready, and that the least alarm 
would fill the streets with armed men ready to march. 

The King came to Pardubitz on the morning of the 7 th, held 
a meeting of the principal generals, and probably the future 
plan of the campaign was then discussed. It was still un- 
certain whether the two armies were making for the line of 
railway which runs by Briinn to Vienna, or whether they were 
moving towards Olmutz. 

The King remained on the 8th at Pardubitz, w^here it was 
determined that the Second Army should move against Olmutz 
with the first corps d'arm^e and the cavalry corps leading. 
This advanced guard was if possible to feel the enemy, and 
discover what amount of his army Benedek still held in the 
intrenched camp and what troops he had sent to the south. A 
serious attack on the fortress was not, however, contemplated. 
Any retreat of the Second Army, which might become neces- 
sar}', was to be made, not in the direction of the First Army, 
but on the county of Glatz, with which the Second Army now 

Ch\p. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN', 34^ 

formed a line of communication. The First and Second 
Armies, on the 8th, moved forwards in a south-easterly direc- 
tion ; the Crown Prince, with the Second Army, marched that 
morning in the direction of Marisch Triibau, and halted for the 
night somewhere short of that town. The First Army, under 
Prince Frederick Charles, was that evening scattered round 
Chrast; the 8th division, under General Home, was in the 
town itself, the main body along the road towards Marisch 
Triibau ; the yth was a little to the south at Zumberg ; the 6th 
at Kamenitz, a village still further to the south; and the 
cavalry, marching by roads more to the southwards still, covered 
the right flank of the army. General Herwarth von Bittenfeld, 
with his corps, was moving on Iglau. Eight battalions had 
been detached to Prague, and that town was occupied on the 
morning of this day, the 8th. 

Marshal Gablenz passed through the outposts again the 
same morning, an<i went to Pardubitz to see the King, as a 
commissioner from the Austrian Government, to treat for a 
suspension of hostilities. He was received by General von 
Moltke, but his proposals could not be entertained, and his 
second mission was equally unsuccessful as his first He 
submitted that a suspension of hostilities should be concluded, 
which should last for at least eight weeks and for at most eight 
months; that during this truce the troops of both nations 
should retain their actual positions, and a girdle of two miles in 
width between the outposts be observed as neutral ground. In 
return the Austrian commissioner proposed that the fortresses 
of Josephstadt and Koniggratz should be handed over to the 
Prussians, but without their garrisons and materiel of war. It 
was not in the interest of the Prussian army after a hardly won 
victory, and, in its favourable circumstances, to grant such an 
armistice, especially as it appeared certain that Austria did not 
wish to definitely conclude a peace, but only to gain time to 
bring up her Army of the South from Italy. The passage of 
Marshal Gablenz through the divisions led to many reports of 
the speedy termination of the war, which were more or less 


In the meantime, amid rumours of probable peace, the army 
still continued its steady advance, and its march was conducted 

342 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

with the same precautions and the same circumspection as if 
the campaign was only beginning, and as if an unbroken enemy 
was in front, ready to take advantage of the slightest error. 
Advanced guards were sent forward, who carefully felt the way 
for the marching columns, sending scouts to the top of every 
rise, who, standing out sharp against the sky, peered into the 
distance ; riflemen moved in dotted lines through the fields at 
an even pace with the troops marching on the road, and trod 
through the com as carefully as if they were sportsmen beating 
a covert, or, slipping into a thicket, now appeared, now dis- 
appeared in the foliage much like hounds drawing for a fox. 
The troops on the road pushed along as steadily and perse- 
veringly as on the first day they entered Saxony. The infantry, 
with their trousers turned up and boots often drawn on outside 
them, trudged along merrily, and seemed little to feel the 
heavy yellow cowskin knapsacks and mess tins for cooking 
which they carried on their backs. Their helmets had suffered 
in the campaign more than any other part of their equipment ; 
many had lost the spike on the top, carried away by a bullet or 
the splinter of a shell at the battle of Koniggratz. Some 
looked as if they had been knocked off in the hurry of action, 
and had been marched over heavily by the ranks behind. The 
belts showed a want of pipeclay, and the boots had lost all 
traces of blacking ; but the barrels of the rifles and the blades 
of the bayonets were all bright and clean, and shone out cold 
and gray against the dark blue uniforms. The artillery horses, 
a little thin, and with rather prominent ribs, from hard work 
and scarce forage, stepped briskly out, and almost without 
stretching their traces the straight, steel-barrelled guns rolled 
along behind them, looking on the road a mere plaything to be 
drawn by six horses; but when the ground was heavy from 
falling rain, as on the morning before Koniggratz, it needed 
nearly all the strength of the team to get a gun over the fields 
uphill, and then horses were often wanting, for their bodies, 
larger than those of men, were more liable to be stnick by 
shells or bullets, and many were killed or badly wounded as 
soon as a battery went under fire. After the great battle, the 
positions that had been occupied by the field batteries on either 
side could be traced by the numbers of dead horses lying where 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUXN. 343 

the limbers and waggons had stood. Often twenty or thirty 
lay dead in a line near together along the front of the battery, 
and others limped about near them, and though always moving 
never tried to go away from their dead companions. They, 
too, were soon stretched upon the ground, for the Kranken- 
trager, looking for the sick, mercifully placed a carbine behind 
the ear of every wounded animal, and quickly put it out of 
pain. The mass of the cavalry scoured the country to the 
south of the main army, keeping watch and ward over its right 
flank, but here and there a few turned up in the line of march, 
generally a detachment of some troopers guarding waggons* 
These detachments were of all kinds of horsemen, — cuirassiers 
with their white flannel coats braced tightly in by the cuirass, 
and with heavy-looking high jack-boots, were followed quickly 
by some few men of the Ziethen hussars, with short crimson 
jackets, or oy some of the Weimar light cavalry, with their 
light blue and silver uniforms looking none the worse for 
exposure, while every column was headed by Uhlans, the 
black and white flags of whose lances waved with an almost 
funereal aspect above their smart caps and gay red or yellow 

The army marched in several columns, and from every rise 
could be seen the different lines creeping like long blue ser- 
pents over the country. Dipping into hollows, twisting through 
villages, twining among trees, appearing and disappearing 
through woods and thickets, they stretched for many a long 
mile from front to rear. Always looking steadily ahead, they 
pushed on with the men's faces against the sun, and seemed to 
be bending towards the fortress of Olmiitz, under the walls of 
which the Austrians were reported to have an intrenched 
camp, where there were said to be over 100,000 fighting men, 
vnXh 400 pieces of artillery ensconced in fortifications. Col- 
lected here, the Austrian troops, it was said, meant to bar the 
road southwards from the Prussians ; if these passed on dis- 
regarding them, to issue out, and, seizing the communications 
of the army, cut off* firom it all its supplies of ammunition and 
food from the north. 

Again, on the 8th, the line of March lay through a country 
rich and abundant in supplies, and from which the natives had 

344 S^VEN WEEKS* WAR, [Book IX. 

not fled away ; and again the columns moved through country 
lanes, in some places shadowed in by fruit trees, in others 
leading over breezy uplands where the limestone rocks cropped 
up close to the surface of the ground, and left but a scanty- 
soil to nourish the short grass which grew thick upon it Here 
and there the rocks cropped out of the ground and rose up 
some twenty feet high, forming grotesquely-shaped natural 
grottoes, round which clumps of tall silver fir clustered, and 
at the foot of the trees, spread in great profusion, wild roses, 
sweetbriar, foxglove, and nightshade. All the farm-houses and 
cottages were built of brick, thickly coated with clean white 
plaster, and in the smallest hamlet there was always a church 
with a steeple surmounted by the large globe-like top, often 
gilt, which seems peculiar to Sclavonic countries. No wooden 
cottages were to be seen here, for the people are richer than 
those north of the Elbe, and the army left behind it, when it 
crossed that river, the pine-wood huts, so many of which had 
been lately destroyed by the flames kindled by the fire of the 
artillery. The houses, both outside and inside, were beauti- 
fully clean ; the furniture was of plain deal, without paint, 
scoured to a whiteness which is unknown in Northern Bohe- 
mia ; the brass handles of the drawers and the steel and iron 
round the fire-places shone* bright fi'om much polishing, and 
reflected back distorted images of the soldiers, who, in their 
dusty clothes and heavy boots, dirty from marching, looked 
much out of place in the houses in which they were billeted. 
The inhabitants sighed sadly over the war, for their crops had 
been injured; soldiers of both armies had been billeted in 
their houses, for the Austrians retreated through this part of 
the country two days before ; and some of them had sons or 
brothers in the Austrian service. But there was no ill-will 
between them and the Prussian soldiers. Indeed, the latter 
were always so good-natured that it would have been difllicult 
even for churls to quarrel with them, and such the natives of 
the valley of the Elbe are not They would have preferred 
peace to war; they suffered deeply in ha\ing their houses 
turned into barracks, their corn-fields into bivouacs, their 
barns and outhouses into stables for war horses ; but they did 
not blame the soldiers for injuries for the cause of which the 

Chap. I.] ADVAXCE TO BRUXX. 345 

latter were as innocent as the inhabitants themselves ; they 
gave the men what they could; nor did the villagers and 
peasants attempt to impose upon the soldiers, though the town 
shopkeepers, more keenly alive to their own interests, gene- 
rally managed to make a profit out of the difference of the 
Prussian and Austrian coinage. 

The head-quarters of the First Army were on the night of 
the 8th established in a monastery at Chrast The priests 
were still there, but gave up the greater part of the house to 
Prince Frederick Charles and his staff. Military waggons and 
horses were picketed inside the usually quiet monastery close ; 
soldier servants went whisthng up and down the corridors and 
among the cells, saddle-bags and valises were bundled upstairs, 
and the monastery would soon have been very like a barrack 
were it not that the priests kept flitting about, good-naturedly 
proffering food and drink to both officers and soldiers ; for, 
although they looked on both as the enemies of their 
countr}', and, perhaps, even of their Church, they knew 
that the army had marched far and fast, and they practised 
that charity which should be the connecting link among all 
Christian creeds. 

From the church close by the monastery, as a centre, the 
little town spreads out, its white houses glisteniilg brightly in 
the sun, along four streets, almost at right angles to each 
other. Between and behind the houses lay little gardens, in 
which grew most English greenhouse flowers; vines were 
trained in trellis-work against the walls, and beyond the 
fields stretched away, covered with heavy crops ripening for 
harvest ; and between the cornfields lay long belts of gaudy- 
coloured poppies, which are cultivated in this country in great 
quantities. The churcK bell sounding slowly, probably for 
vespers, for the day was Sunday, and a few women, with 
shawls in Bohemian fashion thrown over their bare heads, 
disappearing into the church door, and just seen within 
crossing themselves with the holy water, would have made 
the whole scene one of perfect peace; but the piles of 
bayonets by every door, the perpetual soldiers bustling along 
the streets, the cantonniers who had established their itinerant 
stalls close outside the church door, and were squabbling with 

346 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

soldiers over the value of black cigars or schnapps, told that 
this smiling little town was . the head-quarters of an army 
which had just marched from a battle-field, and was pressing 
forward again to force its enemy to battle ; for the policy of 
the Prussian army was now to cling to the heels of the 
retreating Austrians and to force them to fight before they had 
time to re-organize their forces. On the 9th July the whole 
force was again moved towards the south-east. That night 
the King's head-quarters were at Hohenmauth; the head- 
quarters of Prince Frederick Charles, commanding the centre, 
were at the village of Reichenberg, about twenty-five miles 
south-east of Pardubitz. The Crown Prince, with the head- 
quarters of the Second Army, halted for the night at Leito- 
mischl, one march to the east of the First Army; and the 
Army of the Elbe was pursuing its way, at an even pace with 
the two others, under General von Bittenfeld, along the road 
which leads to Iglau. No intelligence had yet been received 
of the occupation of Prague, although it was considered cer- 
tain that Prussian troops must have occupied that town. 
Tidings of the capital of Bohemia being actually possessed 
were eagerly looked for, not only by those who took a stra- 
tegical interest in the campaign, but by all who wished to 
receive private supplies from Berlin ; for till the railway com- 
munication was established parcels could hardly be expected 
to arrive ; and tobacco and cigars, which rank in Germany 
almost on a par with food, were very scarce, and a fresh 
supply was eagerly desired. This day's was a short march, 
but the most unpleasant one which the army had yet had. A 
drizzling rain fell in the early morning, and a cold wind was 
blowing, which drove their wet clothes against the soldiers* 
bodies, and made them shiver even as they marched; but 
towards mid-day the rain ceased, and the sun burst through 
the clouds, so that the men got dry ; but heavy rain again fell 
in the afternoon, and the bivouac at night was moist and 
uncomfortable. Again this day the country was found fertile, 
and the inhabitants still in their houses ; all received kindly 
the soldiers who came into the cottages along the line of 
march to buy food or tobacco, and some even expressed a 
desire to become Prussians, stating as a reason that they 

Chap. I.] ADVAXCE TO BRUNN, 347 

should pay less taxes than under the Austrian rule; but 
whether this wish was sincere, or only elicited by the presence 
of the Prussian troops and from a desire of flattering their 
national pride, is open to question. 

■ At this time Feldzeugmeister Benedek was working hard to 
reorganize the relics of the Austrian Army of the North at 
Olmiitz, Although over sixty years old, he displayed a 
capacity for labour, both in the saddle and at the desk, which 
would have shamed many a younger man. He was at this 
time ordered to despatch the mass of his army by rail to 
Vienna, where it was to be united to the Austrian army from 
Italy, under the command of the Archduke Albrecht* 

Count Mensdorf was despatched from Vienna directly, after 
the defeat at Koniggratz, to the head-quarters of the Army of 
the North, in order there to inquire into the circumstances of 
that disaster. The consequences of his mission were that a 
military commission was later assembled at Weiner Neustadt, 
before which Count Clam Gallas and Generals Henikstein, 
Krismanics, and Benedek himself were summoned to appear. 

General von John was appointed Chief of the Staff to the 
Archduke Albrecht The Austrian Government wished, by 
bringing up its Army of the South, to oppose a force to the 
advance of the Prussians, but the troops from Italy did not 
arrive quickly enough. It was only on the 12th July that 
the first detachment of nine thousand men arrived at Vienna. 

From the time of the battle of Koniggratz, the Prussian 
armies had lost all traces of the Austrians until the 8th July, 
when some of the Crown Prince's advanced troops fell in with 
an outpost of the enemy before Zwittau, near the junction of 
the two branches of rail which lead from Olmiitz and Briinn to 
Bohmisch Triibau. After a slight skirmish the Austrians fell 
back, and on the 9th the Crown Prince occupied Mahrisch 
Triibau and Zwittau, two towns of Moravia. That evening the 
first corps d'armde halted at Zwittau, the Guards at Wilden- 
schwert, the fifth corps at Landskron. 

The first intelligence which the Prussians received of the 
retreat of the Austrian army had made it appear probable that 

• Letters from the correspondents of the Times with the Austrian army. 

348 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX, 

Benedek had withdrawn the greater portion of it to Briinn, on 
the direct Hne to Vienna. Now the whole of his movements 
were cleared up. An Austrian field post happened to be 
captured in front of Mahrisch Triibau, and many interesting 
private letters found in it, which established the demoralized 
condition of Benedek's army, as well as a copy of the orders of 
that general for the marches of his corps, and the movements 
of his administrative services. It was thus discovered that 
only the tenth Austrian corps and the heavy cavalry of the 
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein had been sent to Briinn, and 
that the rest of the Army of the North was seeking shelter 
under the guns of Olmiitz until it should be in a fit condition 
to attack the Prussians. A few days later the Austrian cavalry 
retaliated, and captured a Prussian field post, in which a 
despatch was found that gave them some valuable information 
with regard to the Prussian movements. 

On the loth July, the King of Prussia moved his head- 
quarters to Zwittau. This day it was known to the Prussians 
that the Austrian Army of the South had commenced its 
journey to Vienna from Olmiitz by railway. The transport of 
this army was conducted as quickly as possible, and between 
the 7 th and the 13th Benedek despatched three corps — ^the 
3rd, 4th, and 6th — ^to the capital.* When it was ascertained 
that the Austrian army was moving to the south, the march of 
the Crown Prince was directed towards Prerau, that he might 
there cut the railway communication between Olmiitz and Vienna. 

On the loth, a long march of twenty-five miles brought the 
head-quarters of the First Army to the litde town of Neustadt, 
which lies about fifty miles to the northwest of Briinn. It was 
a wet morning; the clouds hung low, and a drizzling rain 
made the soft country road deep for the infantry and heavy for 
the artillery and baggage waggons, for this day the army did 
not move on one of the main chaussees^ but by one of the 
lesser roads which lead through the highland country dividing 
Bohemia from Moravia. As the road ascended, the scenery 

* On no point is there so much popular misunderstanding as on the 
transport of troops by rail in war. The experience of the German cam- 
paign proves that 10,000 men, equipped for the field, is the most that 
can be safely calculated upon to be moved per day on a single railv^'ay. 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN, 349 

became more and more bleak and cold ; the com was in the 
higher parts quite short and green, and in some places not in 
ear ; cultivation was only on patches of ground, and where the 
land was not tilled the grass grew short and bare. Cold, hard- 
looking rocks projected everywhere from the soil ; the surface 
of the ground was thickly strewn with large stones, among 
which a few stunted larch-trees looked as though they had to 
struggle hard to obtain soil sufficient for even their roots. 
Above the road on the hill-sides grow dense forests of spruce 
and silver fir, the tops of which were for the most part shrouded 
in a thick mist The dwellings along the lin^ of march were 
in keeping with the aspect of the country — low, dirty, and 
untidy, without any gardens, and, generally standing alone on 
the bleak hill-side, they seemed fitting habitations for the 
squalid and starved-looking inhabitants who lounged in their 
doorways, watching with a lazy curiosity the soldiers marching 
on the road. The men, thin and with sharply-drawn features, 
seemed to have no work to do, but leant lazily against the 
doorposts smoking long black pipes; the women, with feet 
bare and garments scanty, shivered beside them, holding 
in their arms a dirty infant, or combing out their tangled 

The foot-soldiers trudged sullenly along; the march was 
long for them, and the road bad, but they kept up a good pace 
the whole way, and there were no stragglers. But they had 
had enough of wet, though, in defiance of the rain, they 
marched with their cloaks rolled up, mainly to keep them dry 
for the night bivouac, and longed for dry weather or a harder 
road The horses of the artillery laboured heavily, but got the 
guns and ponderous waggons, weighty with ammunition and 
corn-sacks full of forage piled up on them, up the quickly- 
recurring bits of steep ascent in the road. At every sharp rise 
the drivers flogged and spurred, the gunners pushed behind, 
and, though the horses stumbled and often nearly fell,, and the 
traces were stretched so tight that they looked as if they must 
break, no accident occurred, and every artillery carriage arrived 
safely, at its destination. The baggage-waggons did not fare 
so well. Less strongly horsed and not so well driven, they all 
dropped far behind the troops, and a few remained stranded 

350 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

on the side of the way with a broken axle-tree or a shivered 

Near the little town of Swratka the frontier of Moravia was 
passed, but the road that descends from it still ran along the 
hill country of the frontier, and only came down into a valley 
near Neustadt to rise again at the beginning of the morrow's 
march. Within Moravia the country, though perhaps even 
less fertile, was more pleasing. All pretence of cultivation had 
been given up, for trees grew down close to the road, and 
where there was not wood the ground was wet and marshy, 
and showed no signs of ever having been drained ; and the 
horses of the cavalry who scouted in front of the columns 
floundered along, sinking in it above their fetlocks. 

The monotony of the march was relieved by a spirited 
cavalry skirmish in the little town of Saar, which is about six 
miles to the west of Neustadt. On the previous night the 
Austrian hussars of the regiment of Hesse-Cassel held Saar. 
The Prussian cavalry was to proceed on the loth to Gammy, 
about a mile in front of Saar, and the 9th regiment of Uhlans 
formed its advanced guard on the march. The Austrians 
intended to march the same day to the rear towards Briinn, 
and the hussars were actually assembling for parade previous 
to the march when the first patrols of the Prussian Uhlans came 
rattling into the town. The Austrians were collecting together 
from all the different houses and farmyards; mounted men, 
filing out of bams and strawhouses, were riding slowly to- 
wards their rendezvous in the market-place; men who had 
not yet mounted were leading their horses, strolling carelessly 
alongside them, when, by some fault of their sentinels, they were 
surprised by the Prussians. The Uhlans were much inferior 
in number at first, but their supports were coming up behind 
them, and this disadvantage was compensated for by the 
Austrians being taken unawares. The Uhlans quickly ad- 
vanced, but did not charge before one Austrian squadron had 
time to form, and only while most of the men of the remaining 
divisions were quickly falling into their ranks, though some 
were cut off from the rendezvous by the Prussians advancing 
beyond the doors from which they were issuing, and were 
afterwards made prisoners. 


In the market-place an exciting contest at once began. The 
celebrated cavalry of Austria were attacked by the rather de- 
preciated horsemen of Prussia, and the lance, the " queen of 
weapons,*' as its admirers love to term it, was being engaged in 
real battle against the sword. The first Prussian soldiers who 
rode into the town were very few in number, and they could 
not attack before some more came up. This delay of a few 
minutes gave the hussars a short time to hurry together from 
the other parts of the town, and by the time the Uhlans 
received their reinforcements the Austrians were nearly formed. 

As soon as their supports came up the lancers formed a line 
across the street, advanced a few yards at a walk, then trotted 
for a short distance, their horses' feet pattering on the stones, 
the men's swords jingling, their accoutrements rattling, and 
their lances borne upright, with the black and white flags 
streaming over their heads ; but when near the opening into 
the broader street, which is called the Market-place, a short, 
sharp word of command, a quick, stem note from the trumpet, 
the lance-points came down and were sticking out in front of 
the horses' shoulders, the horses broke into a steady gallop, and 
the lance-flags fluttered rapidly from the motion through the 
air, as the horsemen, with bridle-hands low and bodies bent 
forward, lightly gripped the staves, and drove the points 
straight to the front. 

But when the Prussians began to gallop, the Austrians were 
also in motion. With a looser formation and a greater speed 
they came on, their blue pelisses, trimmed with fur and em- 
broidered with yellow, flowing freely from their left shoulders, 
leaving their sword-arms disencumbere.d. Their heads, well 
up, carried the single eagle's feather in every cap straight in the 
air ', their swords were raised, bright and sharp, ready to strike, 
as their wiry little horses, pressed tight by the knees of the 
riders, came bounding along, and dashed against the Prussian 
ranks as if they would leap over the points of the lances. The 
Uhlans swayed heavily under the shock of the collision ; but, 
recovering again, pressed on, though only at a walk. In front 
of them were mounted men, striking with their swords, parrying 
the lance-thrusts, but unable to reach the lancer; but the 
ground was also covered with men and horses, struggling 

352 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

together to rise; loose horses were galloping away; dis- 
mounted hussars in their blue uniforms and long boots were 
hurrying off to try to catch their chargers or to avoid the lance- 
points. The Uhlan line appeared unbroken, but the hussars 
were almost dispersed. They had dashed up against the firmer 
Prussian ranks, and they had recoiled, shivered, scattered, and 
broken as a wave is broken that dashes against a difil In the 
it'N moments that the ranks were locked together, it seems 
that the horsemen were so closely jammed against each other 
that lance or sword was hardly used. The hussars escaped the 
points in rushing in, but their speed took them so close to the 
lancers* breasts that they had not even room to use their 
swords. Then the Prussians, stouter and taller men, mounted 
on heavier horses, mostly bred from English sires, pressed hard 
on the light frames and the smaller horses of the hussars, and 
by mere weight and physical strength bore them back, and 
forced them from their seats to the ground ; or sometimes, so 
rude was the shock, sent horse and man bounding backwards, 
to come down with a clatter on the pavement 

The few Austrians who remained mounted fought for a short 
time to stop the Prussian advance, but they could make no im- 
pression on the lancers. Wherever a hussar made a dash to 
close three points bristled couched against his chest or his 
horse's breast, for the Austrians were now in inferior numbers 
in the streets to the Prussians, and the narrowness of the way 
would not allow them to retire for their reserves to charge. So 
the Prussians pressed steadily forward in an imailnerable line, 
and the Austrians, impotent to stop them, had to fall back 
before them. Before they had gone far through the town, fight- 
ing this irregular combat more Prussian cavalry came up behind 
the Uhlans, and the Austrians began to draw off. The lancers 
pushed after them, but the hussars got away, and at the end of 
the town the pursuit ceased. One officer and twenty-two non- 
commissioned officers and privates taken prisoners, with nearly 
forty captured horses, fell into the hands of the Uhlans, as the 
trophies of this skirmish. Some of the prisoners were wounded; 
a few hussars killed, and two or three Prussians were left dead 
upon the ground. 

One or two of the privates taken prisoners were Germans, 

Ch^p. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN. 353 

but by far the greater number were Hungarians — smart, soldier- 
like looking fellows, of a wiry build ; they looked the very per- 
fection of light horsemen, but were no match in a mtUe for the 
tall, strong cavalry soldiers of Prussia, who seemed with one 
hand to be able to wring them from their saddles, and hurl them 
to the ground. 

The inhabitants of Neustadt reported that there was ah 
Austrian cavalry division of four regiments at Ostrau, a village 
about six miles south of Saar, and it seemed clear from the 
reports of the prisoners that there was a strong cavalry force in 
front of the advancing Prussians. On the loth July five hun- 
dred Italians, deserters from the Austrian service, surrendered 
themselves to General von Bittenfeld, the commander of the 
Army of the Elbe, and volunteered to serve during the war in 
the Prussian army ; but the King had no need of foreign troops, 
and very naturally declined the proffered services of men who 
had been faithless to one cause, and ordered that they should 
be sent to Italy, where they might perhaps have an opportunity 
of proving their patriotism on the Mincio. 

The same day aU the Saxon prisoners who had been taken 
during the campaign were released and sent to their homes, on 
condition of taking an oath not to serve against Prussia during 
the war. They all took the oath, and went to Saxony ; but 
many seemed to quit their prisons with regret, for they had no 
money, and they feared that there would be no work to be 
found in their own country ; but this fear ought not to have 
been well-grounded, for the harvest in Saxony was close at 
hand, and the crops there had not been trampled down by 
battles or bivouacs. 

The weather .on the nth was better than that of the previous 
day. The sun shone out warm, and lighted up the dark groves 
of fir-wood which hung above the road, and shining on the 
trunks of the silver firs relieved the monotonous dark green of 
the foliage. The road was very hilly, and in some places bad, 
but it was drying quickly under the influence of the sun, and 
the soldiers marched cheerfully, careless of the depressing 
weather which had lately been the rule. The way still lay 
through the Moravian highlands, but the increased heat of the 
sun, the presence of oak and ash among the firs, the yellower 

A A 

354 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

crops and more abundant grass showed that the army was gra- 
dually working down towards the valley of the Schwarzawa : 
but the country did not become more plain, nor did the rivulcti 
tumble down alongside the road in less frequent miniature 
cataracts ; on the contrary, the ground was more broken up in 
hills and valleys. The former were not high, nor did they run 
in any chain, or in any order ; sometimes they rose as huge, 
isolated, rounded masses, the tops of which were shrouded in 
fir plantations, while abutting mica rocks projecting from their 
sides reflected brightly the rays of the sun ; sometimes they ran 
in tortuous ridges, breaking suddenly into a steep ravine, to 
allow the passage of a watercourse ; or throwing up some huge 
masses of rock which, sparkling in the sunlight, contrasted 
strongly with the dark leaves of the surrounding trees, seemed 
to form natural castles to defend the road. In such a country 
a few riflemen might have delayed seriously the march of the 
army, but the advanced guard had patrolled the paths through 
all die woods, had sent scouts to the top of every hill, had 
looked down into every ravine, and, though the Austrian 
cavalry was known to be between them and Briinn, they 
marched on to Tischnowitz without finding an Austrian Jager, 
or meeting with any opposition to their progress. 

Fifteen miles from Neustadt, where it had halted the night 
before, the Head-quarter Staff turned aside from the road, fol- 
lowed a rough country lane for two miles, and then plunged by 
a rugged, winding path into a deep ravine formed by one of 
the feeders of the Schwarzawa. On the side of the ravine over 
which the path led through a thick wood, perched high on a 
prominent rock, and rising above fir-trees, stood the old Schloss 
of Bernstein, where it had been considered advisable to fix 
head-quarters for the night. The battlements and loop-holed 
walls of the old castle strongly lighted up by the sun, the steep 
ravine below sunk in shade, the helmets of the escort, the line 
of armed and mounted men, formed a scene which savoured 
more of romance than of modem war. 

The Prince Frederick Charles and his staff turned down the 
twisting path, crossed the river by a wooden bridge close to a 
water-mill, and, by a more easy ascent on the other side, gained 
the gate, which still bore the marks of where a portcullis had 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN, 355 

been. But in the yard within every-day life was rudely recalled. 
The spare horses of the officers had already arrived, and in- 
dignant grooms were anathematising fiercely because they could 
get no stabling for their charges ; the steep road forbade the 
approach of the forage waggons, and neither hay nor com 
were to be found in the antiquated building. The appearance 
of the Commander-in-Chief for a few moments hushed the* 
clamour, but when he rode on each aggrieved domestic made a 
rush at his master, and loudly poured forth the tale of his 
sorrows. A compromise was effected, for hay and com had 
been provided at a farmhouse near at hand ; and when the 
servants were assured that the horses should have food, they 
bore with resignation that they must be all night without cover. 

But attention Mras soon called away from both the scenery 
and the horses by the arrival of an Uhlan officer from the 
advanced guard, who rode up the yard at a gallop, and, 
jumping off his horse before the Commander-in-Chief, with his 
hand to his forehead, dehvered a hurried report 

The advanced guard had found the enemy's cavalry in strong 
force at Tischnowitz, and the Duke of Mecklenburg had sent 
him to Prince Frederick Charles to report the fact and receive 
his orders. The orders were soon written, and Major von 
Capprivi, a staff-officer, who has a high reputation in this army, 
was entrusted to deliver them to the commander of the 
advanced guard 

Major Capprivi's horse was tired with a long march, and 
Tischnowitz lay fifteen miles ofif, but he had no choice but to 
carry the order, and in a few minutes he was ready to start. 
With him went three officers, who had been employed as aides- 
de-camp at head-quarters, but whose regiments were in the 
advanced guard, and who went to join them for the action 
which was expected. Revolvers were inspected, and the 
priming carefully looked to, for Austrian patrols were expected 
to be on the road, and it was just possible that the little band 
might have to ride for their Hves. But they started in high 
spirits, for the excitement of probable battle nerved them, and 
two hours of a sharp trot brought them to Tischnowitz. 

Here, in a small town on the banks of the Schwarzawa, the 
Austrian cavalry had taken up their position. The road leading 

A A 2 


to the town goes straight along the valley, and keeping a direct 
course is obliged some three or four times to cross by wooden 
bridges the channel of the stream, which is here about fifiy 
feet wide. When the Duke of Mecklenburg, with the advanced 
guard, was approaching Tischnowitz, he perceived that the 
enemy was in the town, and in strong force of cavalry with 
artillery in the plain beyond, where he occupied a position 
which could not be turned by cavalry on account of the rugged 
nature of the hills on either flank. But the Austrians, besides 
the horsemen in the town and on the far side, had thrown out 
three squadrons in the direction of Tischnowitz, of which the 
centre one was in the road and between the bridges, and the 
right and left were thrown into the corn-fields on either side. 
The Prussian troopers, few in number, who formed the advance 
of the advanced guard, had ridden forward toward the bridges, 
and had almost begun to cross the first before they perceived 
the hostile cavalry. Then they found that both their flanks 
were exposed to attack, and that the squadron in the road in 
front of them was getting ready to charge. The Prussian 
advanced guard was fi^om the 2nd regiment of dragoons of the 
Guard ; the Austrian squadrons were lancers, and it seemed 
that the skirmish of the previous day between sword and lanc% 
would be repeated with the weapons in opposite hands. 

But the lieutenant commanding the small Prussian advanced 
guard, seeing that he was too weak to force his way, and 
fearing to be surrounded and cut off, retreated a short distance 
to where a slight rise in the ground gave him a certain advan- 
tage of position, and there drawing up his little force awaited 
an attack, but with no intention of meeting it with the sword. 
While his men were yet retiring, they were unbuckling their 
carbines, and before they had turned to stand, their quickly- 
loaded arms, constructed on the same principle as the needle- 
gun, were ready to fire. And not too soon, for the Austrians 
had begun to advance quickly, and were defiling over the 
bridge, prepared to form line and charge, when a sudden volley 
from the Prussian carbines made them pull up sharp, half 
surprised, half frightened to find that a carbine could be of any 
use, except to make noise or smoke, in the hands of a mounted 
man. But the Prussians did not wait to observe the discom- 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN. 357 

fiture of their enemies ; their officer only noticed that they were 
in too strong force to be allowed to get near his much smaller 
band, and again he retreated a little distance ; and so quick 
were the dragoons with their loading that their carbines were 
almost ready to fire again before they turned to retire. The 
Austrians again formed to charge, and again before they had 
settled into their stride a rapid volley stopped their career. 
Again the Prussians retired, and again faced about ready to 
fire another volley. Again the Austrians came on, and again 
the fire of the dragoons stopped them short ; but this was the 
last time, for the whole of the first squadron of the dragoons 
were now up, and had formed line beside the few who had 
hitherto prevented the advance of the lancers. 

Then the dragoons advanced to charge, and the Austrians, 
glad to exchange the chance of close quarters for the fire of 
the carbines, came forward to meet them. Both sides advanced 
steadily : the lancers, with their spears in rest, came on in an 
apparently impenetrable line; but the dragoons, with their 
sword-points to the fi'ont and their horses well in hand, bore 
steadily down upon them, in the last few yards let their horses 
go, and dashed in through the points of the lances. Their 
commander. Major von Shack, went down, grievously wounded, 
but his men thought of his fall only to avenge it, and rushed 
in so close to the lancers that their spears were useless, smiting 
them heavily with their keen bright swords. A few moments 
only the mtlSe lasted ; then the lancers, turning, flew towards 
the town. The dragoons pursued, but their officer kept them 
well in hand,, and they did not lose their order. When the 
street was gained the lancers turned again, the swordsmen 
thundered down upon them, and by sheer weight and strength 
of blows bore them backwards along the street The fight was 
long and hard. The men, too close together to use their 
weapons, grappled with one another; the horses, frightened 
and enraged, snorted, plunged, reared, and struck out But 
the Prussians had superior weight and strength, and pressed 
their antagonists back along the streets to a wider space in the 
centre of the town, where a high image of the Madonna, 
carved in stone, looked down upon the fray. Here an Austrian 
officer, hurled from his saddle by a tall Prussian dragoon, had 

358 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

his brains dashed out against the foot of the monument, and 
another Austrian, bent backwards over the cantle of his saddle, 
had his spine broken by the strength of his assailant The 
light Austrian men and horses had no chance in this close con- 
flict, and soon they were obliged to turn, and fled down the 
street to where their supports were drawn up behind the town. 
Here there was a strong force of Austrian cavalry, and a 
battery of horse artillery was placed so as to sweep the road. 
But the cavalry drew off" without waiting for an attack, and the 
artillery retired without firing a shot; which can only be 
accounted for by believing, as the country people said, that 
there was no ammunition with the guns. The Prussian 
supports came up and pushed two miles beyond the town, but 
the Austrians had drawn ofl" too quickly to again allow an 
engagement; and the outposts were placed here for the night 
Then the Duke of Mecklenburg made his arrangements for his 
advance to Briinn the next morning ; and when he had given a 
general sketch of his plans, Major von Capprivi and Captain 
von Bergmann, the staff officer attached to the advanced 
guard, retired to a back room in the small country inn of 
Tischnowitz, and, by the light of a single tallow candle, 
discussed till late into the night, and sketched upon their maps, 
the details of the occupation of the capital of Moravia. 

The march was ordered for four o'clock in the morning, for 
it was expected that the Austrian cavalry would defend the 
approach to the town, and it was intended to surprise them 
before they had made their dispositions. It was after midnight 
that the two staff" officers threw themselves on some trusses of 
straw to catch a few short hours of sleep before the commence- 
ment of an operation which might perhaps have been one of 
the most decisive of the campaign, for tlie plans were skilfully 
laid, and it seemed that if the Austrians attempted to stand in 
front of the town a great part of their cavalry would have been 
captured. All that the staff" appeared to fear was that the 
cavalry would draw off" through the town before daylight, and 
too early for the dispositions for their capture to be carried out 
— for the infantry who were required to invest the further side 
of Briinn had marched far in the day, and were too tired to be 
sent forward before daybreak. 


At three o'clock on the morning of the 12th July, the 
soldiers of the advanced gnard of the First Prussian Army 
were roused from their billets, and began making their prepara- 
tions for the march. Horses were saddled ; the cloaks in 
which the men had been sleeping were rolled up and buckled 
on the pommels, girths and bridle reins carefully inspected, and 
the troopers, before they mounted, drew their hands along the 
edges of their swords to test the sharpness of their weapons. 
The officers looked to the loading of their revolvers, and 
buckled their pistols round their waists, so that they might be 
easily got at in case of need ; and it was expected that they 
would be required, for three divisions of Austrian cavalry were 
reported to be between the small town where the advanced 
guard halted the previous night and Briinn^ and the Duke of 
Mecklenburg had only three cavalry regiments with him. 

At a quarter before four, before the sun was up, the troops 
began marching out of Tischnowitz, and in three-quarters of an 
hour formed up before the little village of Hradschau, which 
the most advanced outposts had occupied during the former 
night Here the Duke of Mecklenburg called his principal 
officers round him, and told them that he expected to find 
three divisions of the enemy's cavalry, forming together a force 
of twelve regiments, in front of him ; but that his orders were 
to occupy Briinn if possible, and that he intended to advance 
immediately. The troops were then formed in the order in 
which they were to move behind a ridge of rising ground, over 
which the Briinn road rises and falls, about a quarter of a mile 
beyond Hradschau. The 2nd dragoons of the Guard led; 
they were followed by the Ziethen Hussars and a battery of 
horse artillery ; then came a battalion of Jagers, followed by 
the rest of the infantry and artillery, and a regiment of lancers 
closed the rear. 

As soon as the formation was complete, the dragoons sent 
out their scouts, and in a few minutes the top of the ridge was 
studded with mounted men who showed out clear against the 
morning sky. Every horseman carried his carbine in his right 
hand, ready to fire ; but the staff hstened in vain for the sharp 
crack which would tell that the enemy was in sight ; and the 
scouts, after peering forward for a few moments, dipped down 

36o SEVEN WE Ears* WAR, [Book IX. 

behind the ridge, and were hidden. Then the dragoons ad- 
vanced along the road. When their leading troops gained the 
top of the ascent they spread out right and left, and pushed 
across the fields that lay on either side of the way. The 
hussars, in column of troops, followed along the highway, 
raising a cloud of dust which almost hid them, and from its 
midst rose the steady patter of horses* feet and the jingle of 
steel which mark the march of cavalry. The guns rumbled 
behind, with rammers and sponges ready for action, and limber- 
boxes, unlocked, each closely followed by its moimted gunners, 
prepared to spring down and twist the muzzle round towards 
the front. Carefully beating through the com, and covering 
every piece of rising ground, the dragoons steadily advanced ; 
but no sign of an enemy was seen, and the advanced scouts 
reached the village of Tschepen without finding traces of even 
a last night's bivouac 

Here the road ran through a narrow defile, with high banks 
covered with plantations, and the houses of the village standing 
across the pass would have formed a strong position for the 
Austrians to hold. On approaching the village the cavalry was 
halted, and the riflemen were sent for to beat through the wood 
and push in among the houses. The halt was not long, for in 
a few minutes the Jagers came up quickly with a long swinging 
stride, passed by the cavalry, and burst like a pack of hounds 
into the village and up the sides of the slopes. Now and then 
a dark green uniform appeared among the trees only to dis- 
appear again ; and here and there among the houses the sun- 
light glancing back fi-om a rifle barrel, ever further advanced, 
showed that the skirmishers were working forward, but the 
sound of no shot came back, and it was clear that the village 
was deserted. The cavalry and guns then moved on, and filed 
along the narrow street ; but the Jagers were still kept in fi-ont, 
for the defile did not end till the village of Gurein was passed. 
The dragoons then spread out again, and went peeping in- 
quisitively into every hollow, ferreting out the inhabitants of 
the cottages to give information, and stopping every peasant 
who seemed to be in too pressing a hurry to get away in the 
direction in which the Austrian cavalry was supposed to lie. 

The country people asserted with one accord that the Aus- 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN. 361 

trians had retired through Briinn the night before or early that 
morning, and there were no troops in front of the town j that 
a few dragoons and lancers had bivouacked the previous even- 
ing just outside Briinn, but had passed through at daybreak, 
and were already far on the road to Vienna. 

The road ran over successive ridges, each of which would 
have been an advantageous standing-point for the Austrians 
had they meant to oppose the Prussian advance into the town. 
As position after position was covered by the scouts without 
iinding the enemy, and as the stories of the country people 
were always the same, the staff began to believe that the 
Austrian cavalry had really retired, and that their troops would 
seize the place without opposition. The road from Tischno- 
witz strikes the high road from Zwittau to Briinn about six 
miles before reaching the latter town, and when this point was 
passed it seemed almost sure that the way was clear, and that 
the Austrians had drawn off; and here this assurance received 
a further confirmation, for at this point a dragoon came in 
bringing with him two travellers, who had in the morning left 
Briinn for Zwittau, and had been stopped on their way by the 
foremost Prussian patrol Glad to exchange their information 
for permission to proceed on their journey, they willingly told 
that the town was deserted by troops, and that all the Austrians 
had retired early in the morning. 

But the march was continued, notwithstanding these reports, 
with even greater precaution; the scouts were as alert as 
before, and the main body moved through the com land by 
the side of the road, prepared to form line of battle. About 
eight o'clock the leading troops ascended a gentle slope, 
from the top of which the capital of Moravia could be seen 
lying four miles before them. Here a halt was called, and the 
staflf-ofiicers went forward a litde way to reconnoitre. 

The sun shone brightly on the spires of the churches and 
on the roofs of the houses, but no swords or spear-heads 
glittered in its light ; and on the fort of the Spielberg, on the 
western side of the town, no guns could be seen, and no 
sentinels stood upon the ramparts. White flags of truce were 
flying from every steeple and from every tower, and, instead of 
the Austrian colours, a white sheet waved from the flagstaff of 

362 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX, 

the fort It was evident that the town had surrendered. In 
a few minutes a deputation from the magistracy arrived to 
announce officially that the town was deserted by the Austrian 
troops, and praying that it might not be given up to pillage. 
The Duke of Mecklenburg willingly promised tliat the pro- 
perty of the inhabitants should be secure to them, for there 
had been no intention to allow plundering. 

Then, after an hour's halt, the troops again advanced, and 
soon got between two lines of villas which stand outside the 
town on each side of the road. The scouts came cantering 
in, and, drawing together on the road, formed an advanced 
guard, behind which the Duke of Mecklenburg and his staff 
rode. Before the actual town was reached, a deputation — the 
burgomaster and magistrates — were seen coming to meet the 
troops in cabs with white flags flying from them, and each 
with a broad band of white round his arm. As soon as they 
saw the stafl" they sprang out of their carriages, and, with hats 
in hand, came forward bowing, with many prayers for the 
preservation of their city from pillage. They had much 
wealth in the city, and they feared for their property. 

The Prussian commander answered them courteously, but 
told them that his men had marched early and had no pro- 
visions, and that, therefore, he should be much obliged to 
them to furnish dinner for 8,000 soldiers, and forage for 2,500 
horses. The magistrates started back to the town to procure 
the rations. 

When the deputation was dismissed the troops again ad- 
vanced I'he line of spectators became thicker along the side 
of the road, crowds of inhabitants along the side of the way 
courted the smiles of the soldiers, white flags hung from every 
window, and the inmates of many houses, with a mockery of 
enthusiasm, had hung out green boughs and wreaths of leaves 
to welcome the invaders of their country. 

The dragoons were sent on in advance, and went clattering 
through the town to occupy the bridges on the further side ; 
Jagers swung swiftly forward to seize the railway station, the 
post-office, and the telegraph bureau; and the rest of the 
infantry marched in with music playing, seized the Spielbeig, 
and took possession of the capital of Moravia 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN. 363 

Prince Frederick Charies came in late in the afternoon at 
the head of General Manstein's division. When he reached 
the Platz he halted, and drew on one side to see his men 
march past him. The soldiers had been on the road since two 
o'clock in the morning, but the regiments marched as if they 
had not come two miles. With steady tramp and all in step, 
with unbroken ranks and battalions undiminished by stragglers, 
they marched into the town. Dusty and worn boots alone 
showed that they had come across Bohemia, fought a great 
battle, and had been marching lately over twenty-five miles a 
day ; for they had halted outside to brush their clothes, and 
they came in with cloaks well folded, knapsacks as well put on, 
and arms as clean, as if they had been in garrison at home. 
The 60th, a regiment renowned for its marching, well sustained 
its reputation; the men, shoulder to shoulder, close as if linked 
together, moved forward like a solid wall, and notwithstanding 
their fatigue, for they had come over thirty miles, stepped in 
such perfect cadence from front to rear of the regiment that 
only one footfall was heard upon the pavement The 24th, 
tall men and well-built, came along with heads well up and 
rifles carried as if they could not know fatigue, and were quite 
unaware that they bore a heavy knapsack on their shoulders. 
The other regiments also marched bravely, and their chief 
looked that day as proud of his troops as when he stood 
among them victorious on the summit of the Sadowa hill; 
and well he might, for the Prussian army had given proof of 
an endurance of fatigue and of a power of marching which 
have rarely been equalled in the annals of war; for the 
marches had not been made by small detachments or over 
open ground, but by large masses, along deep and heavy 
roads, encumbered with artillery and crowded with car- 

The head-quarters of the First Army halted at Briinn on the 
13th July. The troops had marched their shoes off their feet, 
and no repairs could be made during the late rapid marches ; 
the horses of the cavalry wanted rest and shoeing, the sad- 
dlery required looking to, reserves of ammunition had to be 
brought up, and it was necessary to establish depots and hos- 
pitals* The advanced guard was, however, pushing on that 


morning to Medritz, about six miles beyond the town, on the 
road to Vienna. All daylong the remaining troops of the 
First Army were marching in. Regiment after regiment, with 
band playing and drums beating, tramped steadily along the 
pavement, drawing behind its long line of glittering bayonets 
the heavy waggons which cany reserve cartridges and hospital 
stores, and always follow close in rear of the battalions. The 
townspeople had quite recovered from the panic caused by the 
approach of the Prussians. All the shops were open, the 
manufactories were at work, the market-place was studded with 
country women who sat among the piled arms or on the poles 
of the artillery carriages, making up nosegays or selling fruit, 
for which there was a great demand among the soldiers. These, 
for many days, had tasted little but black bread and commis- 
sariat meat, carried straight to the camp cooking-fire from the 
newly-killed ox ; for, in order to save transport, the bullocks 
for food were marched in rear of the regiments, and on arriving 
at the halting-place were killed, to be immediately cooked and 
eaten. But here the men had good food, for the magistracy 
was held responsible that they should be supplied with their 

Every hotel, every restaurant, every caf^, was crowded with 
officers, who, having laid aside their dusty marching clothes, 
were dressed in uniforms as bright as would be worn in 
Berlin ; but unshaven beards, close-cropped hair, and the 
absence of epaulettes, showed that they were still on a 

Soldiers with cleaned and pipe-clayed belt, well-brushed 
coats, and smart white trousers, which had been carried, by 
some wonderful means, unsullied in the recesses of their 
knapsacks, crowded the streets, filled the beershops, and drove 
bargains with the proprietors of the tobacco and pipe stalls. 

The lower class of inhabitants mixed freely among the sol- 
diers, and under their guidance inspected, half timidly, half 
curiously, the wonderful needle-gun of which they had heard 
so much, and numbers of which, piled four together, were 
standing in long lines in the market-place. 

Newspapers containing Imperial decrees dated from Vienna 
were freely hawked about the street One of these told 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN, 365 

officially that Field Marshal the Archduke Albrecht had been 
appointed Commander-in-Chief of the whole Austrian army, 
with Field Marshal von John as his Chief of the Staff; and 
another, that Austria was about to open a loan of 200,000,000 
guldens. Cabs pushed about the town, through the crowded 
streets, conveying impatient staflf officers, who had to find 
quarters for some general, or billets for some regiment which 
was just arriving — ^no easy task, for nearly the whole infantry 
of the First Army was in Briinn, and though the magistracy, 
anxious to please the Prussians, crowded the men upon the 
householders, accommodation was scarce. Every house had 
twenty or twenty-five soldiers quartered upon it, but they did 
not give the inmates much trouble, for a couple of rooms with 
a few trusses of straw, and the use of the kitchen fire to cook 
their food, was all they wanted ; and they did not stay much 
in their billets, but wandered about the town or sat in the 
beerhouses smoking with quiet enjoyment the long wooden 
pipes which, from want of tobacco, had been useless for some 
time past, but which had seldom been forgotten or left behind 
on the line of march, while some wrote long letters to their 
friends at home, and sent oflf to wives or mothers in Prussia 
all that they could save from their small pay. 

The King arrived that afternoon, and established his head- 
quarters in the town-hall. With him came Count Bismark and 
die Minister of War. Few people had collected to see him 
enter the town, and the populace made no demonstration of 
any kind ; the magistrates received him with politeness, each 
with the white and red badge of neutrality bound broad roimd 
the left arm. 

Many rumours of an armistice were flying about, for M. 
Benedetti, the French Ambassador at Berlin, was there, and it 
was known that the Emperor of the French was bringing his 
influence to bear upon the Prussian Court in favour of peace. 
Count Bismark was for some time closeted with the Ambas- 
sador in an upper room of the town-hall, where, undisturbed 
by the hum which rose fi"om the crowded streets, they were 
supposed to be discussing the conditions oi an armistice. The 
latest Austrian newspapers said that the Kaiser had deter- 
mined that no attempt should be made to defend the capital 

366 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

itself, for it was thought better to let the town be occupied 
peaceably by an enemy than be exposed to the possibility of 
a bombardment But though at this time it might have been 
intended that the Austrian troops should abandon Vienna, 
preparations were being made to continue the war. The army 
from the Italian frontier was being brought up towards the 
Danube, to add 120,000 men to the troops at present round 
the capital 

WTiile the army halted here, reserve troops were being ad- 
vanced into Bohemia to secure the communications with 
Saxony, and to keep order in lear of the armies, where the 
peasantry, having possessed themselves with weapons from the 
fields of battle, had begun to plunder convoys and to attack 
small escorts or patrols. The first reserve corps occupied 
Bohemia. Prague and Pardubitz were garrisoned in force, 
and the second reserve corps had been organized at Leipzig to 
act against the flank of the Bavarians. General von Falcken- 
stein was named Prussian Commandant of Bohemia, and 
General Manteuffel took his place in the command of the 
Army of the Maine. 

But many considered that all these precautions were useless, 
and that the army would never move south of Briinn. 
The visit of the French Ambassador, quickly reported from 
billet to billet, fell as a cold chill on the enthusiasm of the 
troops, for they longed to go to Vienna, and conclude the 
campaign by an entrance into the capital. But they also 
wished for the end of the war, and longed for home, so they 
hated the idea of delay, and anticipated with disgust an 
armistice, by the conditions of which the army might be re- 
tained at Briinn for a considerable time. A flag of truce was 
sent that day to the Austrian advanced guard, which lay 
beyond Medritz, and the staff officer who went with it carried 
a letter to be given to the Austrian Commander-in-Chief The 
contents of the letter were known only in the King's head- 
quarters, but popular rumour did not fail to assert that the flag 
of truce carried with it a despatch to open negotiations which 
would conclude a peace. 

The railway communication with Saxony was all but restored, 
and was actually opened on the 15 th. 

Chap. I.] ADVANCE TO BRUNN. 367 

When Prague was occupied by the Prussian troops on the 
8th, thirty locomotive engines and some thousand railway 
carriages were found at the railway station, and with this 
supply of rolling stock the railway was soon opened for mili- 
tary purposes between Prague and Briinn. A broken bridge 
between Miinchengratz and Jung-Bunzlau required several 
days for its repair, and still prevented communication with 
Berlin, but as soon as this viaduct was restored the army was 
able to receive supplies by the route of Tiimau, Prague, and 
Pardubitz. The line was long, because the shorter route 
through Josephstadt and Koniggratz was closed by those for- 
tresses, and the guns of Theresienstadt prevented the line 
to Dresden from being used; but communication by it re- 
quired much less time than by the rough roads over which the 
convoys had hitherto to travel, and as soon as it was open 
supplies arrived much more quickly than while they were 
carried for many long miles over rough hill roads, along which 
the waggons jolted slowly and painfully. 

The Army of the Elbe, after the battle of Koniggratz, 
formed the right wing of the general advance of the Prussians 
from Przelautsch and Pardubitz. It followed the most direct 
road southwards, and on the loth July reached Iglau, and 
there crossed the boundary line between Bohemia and Moravia. 
Here it found detachments of General Edelsheim's cavalry in 
its front, but they retired without making any resistance to its 
advance. The capture of the imperial manufactory of cigars 
at Iglau supplied Herwarth's soldiers with plentiful rations of 
tobacco, the want of which is so much missed by German 
troops. In the neighbourhood of Iglau Herwarth captured 
one hundred transport waggons. He then moved forwards in 
the direction of Znaym. 



When the Archduke Albrecht assumed the command of ali 
the Austrian troops in the field, he could not retain Benedek's 
army in Olmiitz, unless he consented to sacrifice Vienna with- 
out a blow, for it was not strong enough to delay the advance 
of the Prussians by acting against their flank and communi- 
cations. He might have determined to occupy the line of the 
March with the Army of the North and the troops from Italy, 
but he had not time to take up a strong position here before 
the Prussians would be upon him. The line of this river was 
also badly suited for a defensive position, as an army l>'ing 
along it would have had a range of mountains, that of the 
Lower Carpathians, in its rear. An occupation of the line of 
the Waag, with his left wing supported on Komom, his centre 
at Leopoldstadt, and his Army of the North posted along the 
hills on the left bank of that river, which entirely command 
the plain on the right bank, while his Army of the South held 
the Danube near Vienna, would have afforded the Archduke 
many advantages. The Prussians could not have advanced 
against Vienna without exposing their flanks and communi- 
cations to the Army of the North, nor could they have moved 
against this army without placing themselves in unfavourable 
circumstances. They would have been obliged to cross the 
March and the Lower Carpathians, to fight a battie where they 
would have had a river and a line of hills in front of them, a 
chain of mountains and a river in their rear. It appears, 
however, that the Archduke feared that the Prussians, by 
seizing the passes of the Carpathians, might have neutralized 
the action of his Army of the North, and have pushed on 

Chap. II.] TOBITSCHAU. 369 

against the capital, for he determined take up the line of the 
Danube from Krems to Pressburg, with his centre resting on 
the fortifications of Florisdorf, in front of Vienna. Yet a 
battle lost here would have yielded up all Hungary to his 
enemy, and have placed Austria entirely at the mercy of 
Prussia. Benedek was ordered to send his army from Olniiitz 
to Vienna, and by the 14th July he had despatched his third, 
fourth, and sixth corps by railway to the capital On the 15 th, 
while more of his troops were actually upon the line, the 
railway conmiunication between Olmiitz and Vienna was cut 
near Lundenbuig, by the cavalry of the advanced guard of 
Prince Charles, which had been pushed forward from Briinn.* 
Benedek could send no more troops by rail ; he resolved, with 
the first, second, and eighth corps, which still remained at 
Olmiitz, to march by road to the Danube. One brigade of the 
eighth corps, followed by a large proportion of artillery, moved 
by way of Tobitschau and Kremser, on the right bank of the 
March. The main body, accompanied by Benedek in person, 
moved on the left bank of the March, by way of Prerau ; while 
a garrison of twenty-five thousand men was left in Olmiitz. 
This movement of the Austrian general brought on the 


The army of the Crown Prince, after leaving Pardubitz, was 
directed, as has been already seen, in the direction of Olmiitz. 
On the 14th July, the advanced guard of the first corps 
d'arm^e reached Prossnitz, about twelve miles to the southward 
of Olmiitz. This advanced guard consisted of General 
Buddenbrock's brigade, which had been reinforced by some 
additional artillery, and was accompanied by the first regiment 
of hussars. Near Prossnitz some detachments of hostile 
cavalry made their appearance, advancing from Wrahartz. 
These were Saxon dragoons, which, after a slight skirmish, the 
Prussian hussars drove back to Kralitz and Biskupitz, on the 
river Blatta. On the 12th the Crown Prince determined to 
leave only one corps to mask Olmiitz and the Austrian 

• See page 384. 

B B 

370 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

entrenched camp. With his other corps he resolved to lean 
towards his right, and keep open his communications with 
Prince Frederick Charles. On this day the Guards were at 
Konitz, the fifth corps at Plumenau. Orders were issued that 
on the 15 th the cavalry reserve by way of Plin, and the first 
corps from Prossnitz, should make an attack on Prerau, and 
there cut the railway between Olmiitz and Lundenbuig. Thus 
on the 15th, while the main body of the Crown Prince's army 
was moving southwards by Urtschitz and Ottaslawitz, General 
Malotki's brigade of the first corps, consisting of six battalions 
and a 4-pounder battery, was at daybreak to march to the east 
of Plumenau, to seize Tobitschau and Traubeck, thus to 
secure the passages over the Blatta, the March, and the 
Beczwa, and to hold them until General Hartman's division of 
reserve cavalry could reach Prerau, destroy the railway 
and return. From Plumenau, by way of Prossnitz, to 
Hnibschitz is ten miles. Malotki reached the heights of 
Hrubschitz soon after six o'clock in the morning. From this 
position he could see a part of the road from Olmiitz to Tobit- 
schau, and on it a heavy Austrian column moving towards the 
latter place. This was Rothkirch's brigade, in rear of which 
Benedek, either ignorant of the proximity of the Prussians, or 
anxious to have a strong force of artillery to cover his left 
flank, had caused a considerable portion of his artillery train to 
march.* At this time the Prussians were ignorant of what 
Austrian force still remained at Olmiitz, although it was calcu- 
lated, as was afterwards proved correctly, that forty thousand 
men could have been moved to Vienna before the railway was 

The Austrian troops in firont of Malotki, under Rothkirch's 
command, consisted of the 25 th Hungarian regiment, the 7 th 
Hungarian regiment, and one Jager battalion: in ^1, seven 
battalions^ which were accompanied by a squadron of Uhlans 
and three field batteries. 

* The accounts of the object with which Rothkirch's brigade moved along 
this road are varied. Some say that he was intended to occupy a position 
on the rivers which unite near Tobitschau, in order to cover the march of 
the main body. Others that Benedek moved him along this route ignorant 
that the Crown Prince was so close at hand, and committed the artillery 
train on it because of its being the better road. 

Chap. II.] TOBITSCHAU. 371 

Malotki deployed his brigade on the east of Hrubschitz to- 
wards Wiklitzer Hof and Klopotowitz, with the 44th regiment in 
the first line, the 4th in the second, and poste<J his artillery' on 
the left flank of his infantry, just south of Klopotowitz. 

The Austrian general brought up twenty-four guns to the- 
hills between the Blatta and the March, and smote with them 
upon the Prussian flank. 

These guns were engaged, but at much disadvantage, by the 
Prussian battery which was attached to Malotki's brigade. 
After a short time, however. General Hartman's division of 
Prussian cavalry arrived on the ground, and reinforced 
Malotki's guns with two batteries of horse artillery, which took 
up a position more to the north, and gradually advancing to 
the Blatta, in about an hour's time succeeded in somewhat 
silencing the Austrian pieces. 

Already, before the artillery on either side had opened fire, 
the 44th regiment, which formed the first line of Malotki's in- 
fantry, began to advance. The fusilier battalion of this regiment 
moved against Wiklitzer Hof, the second battalion on its left 
towards Klopotowitz, and the third battalion between the two 
others. Without coming into collision with the enemy, these 
battalions gained the western bank of the Blatta. The river 
was so deep and broad in consequence of the late heavy rain 
that it could only be crossed at Wiklitzer Hof, where there 
were two bridges. Had the enemy occupied these passages, 
the advance of the brigade would have been exceedingly 
diflicult, perhaps prevented altogether. The fusilier battalion of 
the 44th, which fiist passed the stream, came on the further side 
upon two Austrian companies, which had been thrown out to 
cover Rothkirch's right flank. These, on account of some undu- 
lations in the ground, had as yet seen nothing of the Prussian 
advance. They now threw themselves into a small plantation 
which lay on the south of Tobitschau, and a musketry fight com- 
menced between them and the fusiliers, during which the first 
and second battalions of the 44th deployed to the left of 
the fusiliers. Each battalion threw two companies forward in 
skirmishing order, and retained its two others as reserves in 
close column of companies. The 4th regiment, which formed 
Malotki's second line, crossed the stream after the 44th, with 

B B 2 

372 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, [Book IX. 

its fusilier battalion leading. Two companies of this battalion 
were directed to occupy Tobitschau, seize the passage over the 
March, and to bear upon the Austrian left flank. The rest of 
the regiment followed the first line. 

The niiain body of the brigade then made an attack against 
the plantation, but was received with such a heavy fire of 
artillery and musketry that it reeled under the iron storm. It 
paused a few moments to steady itself, then, covered by 
skirmishers, sprang forwards upon the trees. The Austrians, 
against overpowering numbers, stood their ground with won- 
derful determination, and it was not till bayonets had been 
crossed, that they quitted the cover. The Prussians halted to 
rally at the further edge of the wood, while the Austrians drew 
slowly back along the road towards Olmiitz, but lined the 
ditches in the fields by the wayside with sharpshooters. 

All the Austrian battalions had meanwhile formed, and 
Rothkirch advanced them for a counter-attack, by which he 
hoped to recover the wood, and drive the Prussians again over 
the Blatta. The Prussians awaited their approach till they 
came within one hundred yards of the trees. Then the needle- 
gun opened with its deadly rapidity, and with rapid and per- 
petual volleys broke down the heads of the assailant columns. 
The Austrian battalions were crushed beneath the greeting 
and in partial confusion drew back. The Prussians rallied, 
and followed them as they retired to some open ground near 
the village of Wierowan, beside the road to Olmiitz. 

During the whole of this combat, the Austrian artillery had 
played upon the Prussian left flank. General Malotki directed 
two hundred of the 4th regiment to attack the guns in skir- 
mishing order. The biting fire of the sharpshooters, coupled 
with the salvoes of the Prussian batteries on the west of the 
Blatta, forced the enemy's pieces to withdraw to a more con- 
venient distance, and Malotki could make his preparations for 
a further advance. 

In the meantime, Hartman's cavalry had not been idle. At 
the same time as Malotki advanced, on his lefl flank a Prussian 
detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Kehler, who commanded 
the I St Royal hussars, was pushed forward from Prossnitz, by- 
way of Wrahowitz, towards the village of Dub on the MarclL 

Chap. II.] TOBITSCHAU, 373 

This detachment consisted of the ist Royal hussars, a 4- 
poimder battery, and one battalion of the 5th Prussian regiment 
of the Line. East of Wrahowitz, it fell in with the Austrian 
flanking parties. As these were apparently in much superior 
force, it retired behind the Wallowa, and from the right bank 
of this stream its artillery opened a fire which at least detained 
some of the Austrian artillery accompanying Rothkirch's brigade 
in this direction. 

On the morning of the 15th July, after Malotki's brigade 
had marched on Wiklitzer Hof, Hartman's cavalry division of 
three brigades took post near and behind it, about Klopotowitz 
and Biskupitz. Hartman's three brigades were, the light 
brigade of Landwehr cavalry, consisting of the 2nd regiment 
of Landwehr hussars and the ist regiment of Landwehr 
Uhlans, a light brigade of the Line, consisting of the 2nd 
Royal hussars and the loth Uhlans, and a heavy, or cuirassier 
brigade, consisting of the ist and 5th regiments of cuirassiers. 

As Malotki pressed upon the Austrian brigade, and it began 
to retire from the direction of Tobitschau towards Wierowan, 
Hartman, in order to harass its retreat, formed the design of 
passing his cuirassier brigade, which formed his extreme left, 
over the Blatta, and with it acting against the Austrian right 
flank. Some officers sent to reconnoitre found that the bridge 
over the river near Biskupitz was neither held nor had been 
destroyed by the enemy. 

When the 5th cuirassiers had crossed the bridge and had 
gained the further bank, it perceived the Austrian artillery train 
on the road between Olmutz and Tobitschau, which, on 
account of the action going on near the latter place, had been 
halted north of Rakodau, and appeared to be without any 

Colonel Bredow, who commanded the 5 th cuirassiers, sought 
permission from General Hartman to attack the artillery train. 
This permission was accorded to him, not, however, till the 
Austrian artillery had noticed the Prussian cavalry. The 
gunners unlimbered, and opened upon the horsemen with 
shell, but at a long range, for they saw not the 5 th cuirassiers, 
who were on their own side the stream, but the ist, who were 
still near Biskupitz. 

374 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

Bredow, under cover of some undulating ground, formed his 
regiment in ichelon of squadrons, for the attack of the guns. 
The first squadron he kept towards his right to cover the flank 
of his attack from any Austrian cavahy which might lie in that 
direction, the second and fourth squadrons he directed full 
against the front of the battery, and supported the second with 
the third as a reserve. 

The squadrons moved forward in perfect lines, slowly and 
steadily at first, seeming to glide over the field, gradually 
increasing their pace, regardless of the tremendous fire directed 
upon them, which emptied some saddles. When within a few 
hundred paces of the battery they broke into a steady gallop, 
which increased in rapidity at every stride that brought the 
horses nearer to the Austrian line. All the time of their 
advance the gunners poured round after round into them, 
striving with desperate energy to sweep them away before they 
could gain the mouths of the cannons. Rapid flashes of flame 
breaking firom the mouths of the guns accompanied the dis- 
charge of the shells, which were being blurted forth with a 
nervous haste through the thick clouds of snooke that hung 
heavily before the muzzles. The flank squadrons^ bending a 
little away from their comrades, made for either end of the 
line of guns, in expectation of finding there some supportmg 
cavalry. The two centre ones went straight as an arrow against 
the guns themselves, and hurled themselves through the 
intervals between them upon the gunners. Then the firing 
ceased in a moment, and the smoke began to drift slowly 
away, but all noise was not hushed ; shrieks from men cut 
down by the broad blades of the cuirassiers, cries for quarter, 
the rapid tramp of snorting and excited horses, the rattle of 
steel, shouts, cheers, and imprecations from the excited com- 
batants, rose up to heaven in a wild medley, along with the 
prayers which were being offered up by another armed host not 
many miles distant at Briinn, where on this Sunday the army 
of Prince Frederick Charles was engaged in a solemn thanks- 
giving for their hitherto victorious career. Eighteen guns, 
seven waggons, and one hundred and sixty-eight horses, with 
one hundred and seventy prisoners, fell into the hands of the 
Prussian force — a noble prize to be won by a single regiment 

Chap. IL] TOBITSCHAU, 375 

It lost only twelve men and eight horses, for the swelling 
ground and rapid motion of the gliding squadrons baulked the 
aim of the gunners, who mostly pointed their pieces too high, 
and sent their shells over the heads of the charging horsemen. 
Of the eighteen captured guns seventeen were conveyed to 
Prossnitz. One was too much disabled to be moved. 

While the Prussian cuirassiers were engaged in drawing the 
captured guns to a safe place, a squadron of hostile cavalry 
deployed from Nenakowitz. Colonel Bredow placed himself 
at the head of his first squadron, and charged to cover the 
retreat of his regiment's spoils. This squadron dashed with a 
heavy surge upon the hostile ranks. The lighter Austrian 
horsemen, borne down and scattered by their ponderous shock, 
broke in wild confusion, could not rally, and were driven far 
beyond Nenakowitz. 

The Austrian infantry still held Wierowan, and was thus in 
rear and flank of the cuirassiers, who, under the fire of musketry, 
could not hold their position on the plateau in front of 
the Blatta, and were obliged for a time to retire towards 

The village of Wierowan was, however, soon carried by the 
Prussian infantry, as well as that of Rakodau, which lay behind 
it. Both places were occupied, and one of the Prussian 
batteries crossing the Blatta opened upon the retreating 
Austrians, who drew oflf towards Dub. About mid-day the 
combat terminated at this point. But while this action had 
been going on northwards of Tobitschau, the Prussians had 
reaped other successes in the direction of Traubeck. The two 
fusilier companies of the 4th regiment, which soon after the 
commencement of the action had been directed upon Tobit- 
schau, at that place fell in with three Austrian companies. 
These they drove out of the town, after a short though sharp 
engagement, and captured from them several prisoners. Another 
battalion and the two remaining companies of their own 
battalion were then sent by Malotki to support the Prussian 
advance in this direction. They advanced towards Traubeck, 
and occupied that place without any serious opposition, 
although some stray detachments of the Austrians were in its 
immediate vicinity. Under the cover of the garrison of Trau- 

376 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

beck, a detachment of Hartman's cavalry advanced against 
Prerau. This detachment consisted of three squadrons of the 
second Royal hussars, the regiment of Landwehr hussars, a 
squadron of Polish Uhlans, and a battery of horse artillery, 
and was accompanied by a company of fusiliers, who were 
quickly mounted on some waggons near at hand. Before 
Hartman could develop his attack towards Prerau, an Austrian 
column was seen advancing from Olmiitz towards Dub. It 
consisted of six battalions, a battery, and some squadrons. 
These had been despatched by the commandant of the fortress 
to support Rothkirch's brigade in the neighbourhood of Tobit- 
schau. At the same time as these Austrian reinforcements 
approached the scene of action, Prussian supports were also 
coming up. General von Bonin, who commanded the first 
Prussian corps d'arm^e, and had ordered Malotki's advance, at 
the commencement of the engagement, not knowing in what 
strength the Austrians were, had sent his aides-de-camp to 
order the remaining brigades of his corps to move on Tobit- 
schau. The commanders of these brigades, hearing the 
cannonade, had of their own accord moved in the direction of 
the sound, and the advanced guard, formed of Bamekow's 
brigade, which mustered six battalions and a battery, had 
already reached Biskupitz when the Austrian reinforcements 
from Olmiitz came into sight Biskupitz lies about a mile to 
the west of Wierowan. The rifled battery of Bamekow's 
brigade immediately came into action, and fired against the 
right flank of the Austrian advance. At the same time a 
battery for which Bonin had sent came up, and, joining the 
battery Malotki had previously with him, took up a position on 
the west of the main road. The Austrian guns advanced to 
Dub, and there near the church came into action to cover the 
deployment of their infantry. But the quick handling of the 
Prussian guns and the advance of Bamekow were too formid- 
able for the sallying troops, and they, without engaging with 
Malotki, retired again to the fortress. 

About five o'clock in the afternoon General Hartman, with 
his detachment of cavalry, approached Prerau. He found a 
good ford through the Beczwa near Wichowitz, and passed the 
stream by means of it, leaving his company of fusiliers to 

Chap. II.] TOBITSCHAU. 377 

secure the passage. With his horsemen ne passed on towards 
Dluhonitz and Roketnitz. As soon as he had crossed the 
railway he discovered an Austrian battalion on the west of 
Dluhonitz, and other detachments of hostile infantry could be 
made out partially concealed in the ripe com. General Hart- 
man deployed his cavalry. In the first line he placed the 
Landwehr hussars and the squadron of Uhlans with the battery 
on their left flank, covered by the fourth squadron of Royal 
hussars. The second and third squadrons of the latter regiment 
formed his second line. As soon as the battery had shaken 
the detachments of Austrian infantry, Hartman attacked them. 
In vain the Austrians attempted to form company squares ; the 
horsemen were too quick for them, got among them before 
their formation was complete, and made a large number of 
prisoners, but however without very severe loss to themselves. 

During this attack a large number of Austrian baggage 
waggons were hurrying along the road from Roketnitz towards 
Prerau. Hartman sent his three leading squadrons, under 
Colonel Glasenapp, against the road to cut off the baggage 
trains, and sent away his prisoners with an escort to Tobitschau. 
The drivers of the baggage waggons, perceiving the threatened 
attack, began to overturn the carts in the ditches alongside 
the way. In the meantime some Austrian artillery had come 
into action on the hills north of Roketnitz, which told with 
effect on the Prussian troops. At the same time five squadrons 
of an Austrian cuirass regiment appeared on the left flank of 
the Prussians, while five squadrons of Austrian hussars also 
dashed into the field to protect Feldzeugmeister von Benedek, 
who with his staff had been mixed up with the escort of the 
baggage train, and had been personally engaged in the meUe 
with the Prussian cavalry. 

Colonel Glasenapp tried to retire, but the Austrian Haller 
hussars came down upon him, and he was forced to turn to 
face them. The attack on both sides could only, on account 
of the standing com, be made at a trot. The hand-to-hand 
combat which ensued endured for some ten minutes. Man 
pressed against man — horse against horse ; swords and revolvers 
were freely used, Glasenapp himself went down, and many of 
his troopers beside him were borne to earth. At last the relics 

378 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book IX. 

of his squadrons shook themselves free from the rough embrace 
of their assailants, and managed to gain a retreat As far as 
possible in the time they could spare they broke the railway 
and the telegraph ; and then, recrossing the Beczwa, took up a 
position on its western bank. The Austrian cavalry did not 
pursue. Benedeky threatened on his right flank by the approach 
of the Crown Prince's army, pushed by forced marches towards 
Vienna, and Rothkirch's brigade, which had been engaged at 
Tobitschau, retreated by Kobe, and followed him along the 
Prerau road When the Austrian general reached Hradschin 
he heard that the railway at Lundenburg had been cut by 
Prince Frederick Charles. He then crossed the Carpathians, 
and by a flank march down the valley of the Waag, gained 
Pressburg by way of Tymau. Here, on the 21st July, he 
placed the leading divisions of his army in direct communica- 
tion with that of the Archduke Albrecht, which was round 

On the 17th the army of the Crown Prince occupied Prerau, 
which by that time was entirely deserted by the Austrians. 
This was the result of the action of Tobitschau, which cost the 
Austrians about Ave hundred killed and wounded, five hundred 
prisoners, and seventeen guns; the Prussians about three 
hundred killed, wounded, and missing. 

The army of the Crown Prince, after the action of Tobit- 
schau, left tJie fifth corps d'armde to watch Olmiitz, and moved 
in two columns upon Briinn^ which place it reached on the 
19th July. 




While the Crown Prince had moved in the direction of 
Prerau, Prince Frederick Charles had occupied Briinn on the 
12th July. Here the First Army halted on the 15th.. 

All the 14th the possibilities and probabilities of an armistice 
and of a subsequent peace were discussed warmly by the 
officers and soldiers of the Prussian army at Briinn. In every 
restaurant and in every taproom, over bottles of champagne or 
flagons of beer, amid the light blue smoke of cigars and the 
dark clouds of strong tobacco, there was only this one subject 
of conversation. All kinds of theories were broached ; knots 
of officers discussed it quietly in the hotels and in their quarters, 
crowds of soldiers in the streets stopped every orderly to 
question him as to his knowledge of passing events, or collected 
round some comrade supposed to have good information, to 
hear him dilate upon the intentions of the Emperor of the 
French, or the private views of the Kaiser. But those who 
really knew what was to happen preserved a profound silence, 
and nothing was authentically known beyond the precincts of 
the headquarter-house, and there only to a very few. 

In the meantime the advanced guard was ordered to march 
forward the next morning as far as Moschau, twenty miles 
from Briinn, on the road to Vienna, and the greater part of the 
troops who were at Briinn that night were at the same time to 
move in that direction. But the King remained in the 
Moravian capital, and the headquarters of Prince Frederick 
Charles also halted there another day. The town was still 
thronged by a multitude of Prussian soldiers, who wandered 

38o SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

about idly, looking into the shop windows, or trying to read 
the notices placarded on the walls in the Moravian dialect 
Prussian sentries were mounted on the main guard, and looked 
out of place by the side of the sentry boxes and door posts 
painted with the black and gold colours of Austria. In front 
of the Rathhaus, where the King was lodged, a Prussian guard 
and numerous sentries had taken the place of the civil watch, 
who usually stand at the gate of the meeting-house of the 
Town Council In front, in the Platz, artillery carriages were 
closely parked, and were surrounded by the piled arms of a 
regiment which, billeted in the houses round, had here its place 
for assembly. Thick crowds of the inhabitants, with soldiers 
sprinkled among them, stood to listen to the music of a 
regimental band which, standing between the* gate of the 
Rathhaus and the guns, was playing Prussian airs. Country 
women with bright coloured handkerchiefs over their heads, 
and dressed in highly tinted muslins, wandered about the 
crowd, selling from their baskets gingerbread and sweetmeats 
to the people and the soldiers equally. The theatre was 
crowded with uniforms, knots of officers were smoking at every 
hotel door, and the whole town was alive with a lazy activity, 
except where the closed railway station looked down upon the 
bare line and its deserted warehouses. There were sentinels 
now upon the Spielberg, and Prussian colours floated from its 
flagstaff. Numbers of soldiers were leaning against the parapets 
talking with earnestness, for they were deep in discussion of 
the probabilities of peace, and questioned every one who came 
into the fort as to the latest news, half afraid to hear that an 
armistice was already concluded, and that they would never 
see the capital of Austria. Nor were the privates alone ill 
pleased with the prospect of so speedy a peace ; the officers 
wished for the glory of marching into Vienna, and of ending 
the campaign by the occupation of the enemy's capital ; high 
and low seemed to think that this would only be the just 
reward of their hard work ; and while the younger ones only 
looked forward to the excitement of entering a large town, and 
hoped for a little more fighting and higher promotion, those 
who had planned and carried out the strategy of the campaign 
regarded tiie visit of M. Benedetti to head-quarters much in the 


same light as that in which a skilful chess-player about to 
check-mate his adversary's king would view the intrusion of an 
officious stranger, who suddenly stopped the game by sweeping 
the men off the board and putting Uiem into his pocket 

The order for the march of the troops on the following 
morning gave rise to hopes that a further advance was actually 
decided upon. 

By the evening of the 14th it was known that the negotia- 
tions for an armistice had failed The Prussians sent to the 
Austrians the conditions on which they would agree to a 
cessation of hostilities, and at the same time stated that no 
alteration in the terms would be permitted. One of these 
conditions was that the Prussian army should occupy the line 
of the Thaya, and consequentiy have possession of the railway 
station at Lundenburg. The Austrians sent back a proposal 
that an armistice should be granted for three days, and during 
this time that the Prussian army should remain in its actual 
position. As the acceptance of this proposal would have 
allowed time for the Austrian army at Olmiitz to be withdrawn 
to the neighbourhood of Vienna, and to be placed across the 
line of march of the Prussians towards the capital, it seemed 
clear that the intention of the Austrians was not to conclude 
peace, but only to gain time for the concentration of their 
troops. Negotiations were in consequence broken off, and the 
inarch southward was ordered to be continued. 

All was again activity and excitement in the Prussian army ; 
the whole of the troops who were at Briinn on the 14th, with 
the exception of one division, marched out on the morning of 
the 15th, and pushed forwards towards Thaya. The men, re- 
freshed by their halt, equipped anew with supplies of the articles 
which had been worn out or lost during the late marches and 
actions, went forth in high spirits, for they thought that now 
they were certain to reach Vienna. They had no doubt of the 
result of a battle, if one should have to be fought on the way to 
the Austrian capital, and their fears that peace might be con- 
cluded had been allayed by the news of the failure of the nego- 
tiations; for it was known early on the 15th, that the armistice 
had not been agreed to, and the intelligence spread quickly 
from company to company, and from regiment to regiment. 

382 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

General von Moltke retired to his quarters, and was closeted 
with his maps, making new plans for the further progress of the 
campaign, and for the occupation of Vienna. This skilful 
strategist, who had been the chief director of the movements 
by which the three Prussian armies, starting from different 
points, were collected at the necessary hour on the field of 
Koniggratz, never, except at that battle, appeared in the front 
of the armies. Some distance in the rear, sitting calmly at his 
desk, he traced on the map the course of his troops, and, by 
means of the field telegraph, flashed his orders to the different 
generals in more immediate command, with such skill and fore- 
sight that not a movement failed, and every combination was 
made at exactiy the right moment. A quick, light-blue eye, a 
high forehead, and a well-set figure, mark him an intellectual 
and energetic man, but though quick in action he is so prudent 
in discourse and so guarded in his speech, that from this quality 
and his wide knowledge of European languages he is known in 
the Prussian army as the man who is silent in seven tongues. 
Careful and laborious, he worked out with his own hand, and 
himself calculated, almost every detail of the operations in 
which he took Europe by surprise from the lightning rapidity 
of his strokes and the tremendous consequences of his disposi- 
tions, before which the Austrian army withered away almost 
before it was gathered together, and which have won for him 
from his countrymen the title of the first strategist in Europe. 

But though General von Moltke in so short a time deservedly 
obtained such a high reputation in Prussia, the soldiers and 
officers of the two armies thought almost as highly of the 
Princes who have carried out so ably the plans which were 
formed by tlie Chief of the Royal Staff. Prince Frederick 
Charles, with all the dash and fire of a cavalry officer, can 
equally well lead his squadrons to pursue the broken enemy, 
and direct with patience his infantry and artillery in an attack 
against a firm and steady line ; but his qualities as a general do 
not shine out more in the exciting duties of the battle-field than 
they do in the more tedious and laborious work which is 
necessary for the comfort of his soldiers in quarters or on the 
line of march. lie has a singular power of making his troops 
care little for fatigue and hardship; on the line of march he is 


always with them, and often, from his knowledge of how to deal 
with his men, can, by a few happy words, dose up the strag- 
gling ranks of a weary battalion, and send the men forward 
cheering loudly. In the bivouac, often in person, he inspected 
the rations and heard the applications of the men for favours or 
indulgences, and few applied in vain to their Commander-in- 
chief He had both the confidence and love of his troops, who 
regarded him as a skilful leader and a powerful friend. 

The Crown Prince, by a series of victories in three succes- 
sive days, established his title to be considered a general In 
the Second Army he was looked upon with the same affection 
and confidence as Prince Frederick Charles is in the First. By 
the men of Silesia he was particularly beloved ; for he, as a 
colonel, commanded a regiment at Breslau, and became well 
known then to the whole province. Careless of trouble, ever 
anxious for the welfare of his troops, he visited, personally, 
billets and hospitals, and took the most kindly interest in eveiy 
individual soldier. But in the hour of need he did not spare hiis 
troops, for his affection for them sprang from a sense of duty 
and from no mere desire of popularity. The march from 
Miletin to Koniggratz, and the attack on the Austrian right in 
that battle which crushed Marshal Benedek's army and shook 
the Austrian d3masty, say more for his eneigy in action than 
could be written in any words. 

With such leaders and so well led, with a better arm than 
their enemies, with every mechanical contrivance which modem 
science could suggest adapted to aid the operations of the army, 
it is little wonder that the stout-hearted and long-enduring 
Prussian soldiers proved victorious on every occasion on which 
they went into action. 

The head-quarters of the First Army were ordered to move 
forward on the i6th, to Pawlowitz, a small village twenty-five 
miles from Briinn. The advanced guard, on the 15th, moved 
upon Moschau ; the whole of the army, except one division, 
which stayed another day here to guard the King's head- 
quarters, marched to the vicinity of Medritz, and the campaign 
already recommenced with energy. 

M. Benedettiy unsuccessful in his attempt to procure an 
armistice through the mediation of France, left the Prussian 

384 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book IX. 

head-quarters on the afternoon of the 15th. He was accom- 
panied by Count Colleredo, an Austrian officer, who had come 
in with a flag of truce, and a Prussian staff-officer went with him 
to take him through the outposts, for he went to Vienna, 

The Prussians had now quite got their blood up; in the army it 
was regarded as an established fact that the conditions proposed 
by Austria for an armistice were intended only to gain time to 
move the army of Feldzeugmeister Benedek from Olmiitz to 
the south, and their national feelings were wounded by the idea 
that the Austrians should imagine that they could be so easily 
duped. On the afternoon of the 15 th, the patrols of the cavalry 
of the Prussian advanced guard pushed forward as far as the 
railway station of Coding, which lies on the line that leads from 
Olmiitz to Lundenburg. When the leading horsemen came in 
sight of the railway they could distinguish two trains, one close 
behind the other, with engines puffing and snorting violently, 
as if drawing a heavy load, steaming slowly in the direction 
of Lundenburg. There could be little doubt that in these 
trains were portions of the Austrian army from Olmiitz, which 
were on the way to Vienna. To prevent any more troops from 
being taken south by this line, it was immediately resolved to 
break up the line. Some troopers dismounted, a few pickaxes, 
spades, and axes were found in the neighbouring cottages, and 
the men on foot quickly set to work, while the others held 
their horses. There was no Austrian cavalry to guard the line, 
no infantry picket in the station-house, and tlie demohtion of 
the line by which alone General Benedek could hope to reunite 
his army to protect the capital of the empire began without any 
opposition. Blows fell heavily on the rails and on the sleepers, 
the rails were wrenched out of their places, thrown upon one 
side, and in a i^yf minutes the line was useless for railway 
traffic The work was hardly completed when another train 
came in sight, but before it came up to where the rails were 
taken away the engine-driver saw the Prussian cavalry, reversed 
his engine, and the train drew up short, and after a moment's 
pause began to back slowly in the direction from which it 

The great problem now for the Prussian staff was to discover 
how much of their northern army the Austrians had been able 


to move to Vienna, and how many troops were still in the camp 
before Olmiitz. From the experience of this war many facts 
have been ascertained relative to the railway transport of troops 
which were now useful in assisting this calculation. When the 
Prussians were concentrating their army for the invasion of 
Saxony they found that it required 100 trains to move a corps 
d'arm^e of 30,000 combatants with all its train and baggage, 
and that it Was rarely possible to despatch more than twelve 
trains a day — so that it required nearly ten days for the move- 
ment of a corps. The Austrians, during the concentration of 
their army, despatched fifteen trains a day ; but at that time 
they are supposed to have moved with baggage and train com- 
plete. On such a pressing occasion as the present, they pro- 
bably might let the troops move with almost no baggage and 
little train, and might have managed to despatch twenty trains 
per day, for they had most of the rolling stock which used to 
run upon the line between Vienna and Tiimau by Josephstadt» 
and on this calculation 40,000 men could be moved in about 
six days. This calculation was subsequently found to be 

Another fact concerning railway transport dictated by com- 
mon sense has been fully confirmed by the experience of the 
German war. Railways in an enemy's country have been proved 
to be of no use for the transport of the troops of the invader 
during his advance ; the army acting on the defensive always 
breaks them up, and they cannot be repaired quickly enough 
to allow of troops being moved by them. But for the carriage 
of provisions and stores they are invaluable.* The more 
quickly an advancing army can lay down the rails the more 
quickly can it move forward, and the more free are its motions, 
for the line of railway is the great artery which leading from the 
heart supplies the extremities of the army with means of life and 
action. In laying down the broken lines the band of workmen 
who accompany the Prussian army were singularly rapid and 
successful, but quick as they were they were not yet quick 
enough, for the army transport was conducted by road for 
some days, even after Prague was occupied, and no enemy on 

• This has been amply verified by the late campaign in France. 

• c c 

386 SEVEN WEEKS' WAli. [BooK IX. 

the line stopped the passage of convoys. A broken bridge, 
even though the breach was but only a few yards wide, caused 
a dead stoppage in the locomotion, and the time required to 
shift stores from a train on one side of the impediment to that 
on the other was very great. An engineer who would find 
means of constructing rapidly field bridges which would bear 
the weight of a railway train, would cause an advance in the 
art of war. The road transport of the Prussian army was very 
well organized, but long distances, rapid marches, hilly roads, 
and accidents, were too much in some cases for even its powers. 
With each army corps there were five provision columns, in 
every column there were thirty-two waggons, each drawn by five 
horses, some spare horses being also supplied to the column to 
replace animals which may fall lame or get galled by the saddle 
or collar. These five columns were under the control of the 
Intendantur, and were never used for any other purpose than 
the supply of food for the soldiers ; the forage for the horses 
was carried in waggons hired in the country where the war was 
being carried on, which were also placed under the control of 
the Commissariat. 

Stores of clothing and arms were carried as much as possible 
by railway, and were brought to the army from the nearest 
practicable railway station by trains of waggons, which were 
also under the control of the Intendant-General ; but each bat- 
talion carried with it, besides a medicine cart, a waggon for 
spare ammunition, and an officers* baggage waggon, a waggon 
which held materials for the repair of clothes and shoes, and 
which were thus always present with the troops, so that the old 
proverb that "a stitch in time saves nine" might be, as far as 
possible, acted upon. 

For the transport of ammunition the commanding ofilcer of 
artillery was entirely responsible; and it was conducted by 
means of trains of waggons, which were under his sole control 
There were nine ammunition trains with each corps d'arm^e. 
Each train consisted of thirty-three waggons, and was individually 
organized so as to carry ammunition for infantry, cavalry, 
4-pounder, 6-pounder, and 12-pounder guns. 

A long, hot march, over a road covered deep with dust, 
lldiich rose in thick stifling clouds from under the horses* feet, 


and deposited gritty particles in every pore of the skin, brought 
the head-quarters of Prince Frederick Charles to Pawlowitz, 
which is about six miles south-west of the town of Auspitz, and 
about twelve north-east of the railway junction at Lundenburg. 
This day the army entered a country where the low, rounded 
hills were covered with vineyards, and from which, as a conse- 
quence, trees had almost disappeared. Down by the courses 
of the streams there were a few pollard willows dotted along 
the narrow belts of sward which fringed the banks, and some 
clumps of fir-trees could be made out, stuck like black patches 
against the blue sides of the Pollauer-Gebirge, which stands up 
high above the surrounding country; but everywhere else 
nothing could be seen except, on the lower ground nearer 
the water-courses, long stretches of unbroken corn-land, backed 
on either side by the undulating mounds rather than hills on 
which the vines twined round their poles, planted in straight 
lines with a monotonous regularity. The aspect of the little 
town showed its proximity to the Hungarian frontier. The 
men, dressed in white trousers gathered tight in below the 
knees, and contained by a long black boot, with their black 
jackets trimmed with a bright edging and braided almost like a 
hussar's peHsse, and with their low broad-brimmed black hat, 
round which a red riband was bound with the ends hanging 
down, looked rather like stage peasants, and had little resem- 
blance to the heavy bloused vine-dressers that are seen on the 
banks of the Rhine. The women, with their short bright- 
coloured skirts, white bodices, and handkerchiefs for the head, 
kept up the theatrical appearance of the population. The 
houses were low and small, and not nearly so large as the 
stable which, without exception, was an adjunct to every 

On the night of the i6th the First Army had its advanced 
guard at Lundenburg, and the Duke of Mecklenburg, who 
commanded it, threw some detachments across the Thaya by 
means of a pontoon bridge, for the Austrians had destroyed all 
the bridges which led across the river. General Manstein also 
threw a pontoon bridge near Wistemitz, and led the sixth divi- 
sion across at that point, and two other divisions crossed the 
stream a little higher up. The cavalry was at Feldsburg ; and 

c c 2 

388 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book IX. 

the eighth division was at Coding, en the line to Olmiitz. The 
rest of the army was round Pawlowitz. 

On the 15th July, the same day that Prince Frederick 
Charles pushed forward his troops from Briinn and with his 
advanced guard cut the railway from Olmiitz to Vienna, near 
, Lundenburg, and that the Crown Prince's cavalry after the 
action of Tobitschau cut the same railway near Prerau, Her- 
warth, with the Army of the Elbe, occupied Zna3nn, and secured 
there the passage of the Tbaya, the boundary between Moravia 
and the Crown lands of Austria. 

On the 1 6th, Herwarth was to have pushed his left wing 
down the Thaya, to assist in cutting the railway. As its ad- 
vanced guard approached the road from Nikolsburg to Vienna, 
it received intelligence that Prince Frederick Charles had 
already secured the railway, and that Manstein's division of 
his army was moving along that road. Herwarth, on the 
receipt of this intelligence, drew his left back to the Znaym 
road, and pursued his way along it towards the Danube. At 
Jetzelsdorf the advanced guard of Herwarth's centre, which 
had been pushed along this road, fell in with the Austrian 
cavalry of Wallis*s brigade. A slight skirmish took place 
between Wallis*s horsemen and the first Prussian light cavalry 
division, after which Wall is drew his troops off, and the Prus- 
sians occupied Hollabrun, thirty miles south of Vienna. EtzeVs 
division was at the same time directed in a south-westerly 
direction on Krems, where the Austrians, on its approach, 
blew up the bridge over the Danube. On the 20th July, Her- 
warth's outposts were pushed forward to Stockerau, within 
fifteen miles of Vienna. From the hills near Weikersdorf, the 
advanced guard first saw the Imperial city, which could be dis- 
tinguished easily from afar off by the tall spire of the Cathedral 
of St. Stephen, and the tower of the Castle of Schonbrunn, 
glittering in the sloping rays of the evening sun. In the 
foreground, on the Marchfeld, lay the famous villages of 
Wagram, Aspern, and Eszling, in the midst of rich corn-land 
and fields of bright poppies, which from the distance looked 
like pieces of dazzling mosaic let into a golden pavement, 
fringed by the silver band of the Danube studded widi emerald 
islets. Near the stream were the swelling undulations of the 


Bisamberg, and beyond the river were seen the purple high- 
lands of Austria, with the heavy masses of the Wiener Wald, 
while the dark blue Carpathians bounded the prospect towards 
Hungary. Such a view was a fitting reward for Koniggratz. No 
Prussian army, not even that of the Great Frederick, had ever 
gazed upon the same. 

Late on the night of the i6th, it was ascertained that the 
Austrians had sent forty trains from Olmiitz to the neighbour- 
hood of Vienna before the railroad between those towns was 
broken up by the Prussian cavalry on the isth. The last six 
trains were known to have been filled with Saxon troops. It 
was tolerably certain that all the trains contained infantry only, 
and that the proper complement of cavalry and artillery to 
accompany these foot soldiers had in all probability marched 
by road. This being the case, every train was estimated to 
have carried 1,000 men, so that the Austrian army round 
Vienna had been reinforced by 34,000 Austrian and 6,000 
Saxon infantry, and very likely also by some cavalry and 

Under these circumstances the head-quarters of the First 
Army were on the morning of the 17th moved forward to the 
important railway junction of Lundenburg; the cavalry was 
retained for the morning at Feldsbei*g ; the Army of the Elbe 
and some portions of the First Army were on the right flank, 
and the advanced guard was pushed forward a short distance 
on the road to Vienna. But at the same time the eighth 
division, which had been detached to the left bank of the 
March, marched by way of Coding, and occupied Holitsch. 
From that point this detachment was held able either to 
combine with the rest of the army in a movement upon 
Vienna, or to be pushed forward further into Hungary as an 
advanced portion of the First Army ; for the previous night in- 
formation was received by Prince Frederick Charles which 
showed that the Austrians had been moving troops fi-om the 
country round Vienna towards Pesth, and it was possible that 
the regiments taken from Olmiitz might have been also sent 
into Hungary by Preszburg, in order there to concentrate an 
army for future operations. If the Austrians had concen- 
trated in Hungary, it is probable that Prince Frederick Charles 

390 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

would have been sent across the Carpathians to act against 
them there. 

The 1 7th was a fearfully hot, burning summer day, not a bit 
of shade was to be found on the road by which the army 
marched, except where sometimes the way ran close by the 
side of the Thaya, and a few pollard willows which fringed 
the edges afforded a rtoment*s relief from the scorching rays of 
the sun, but not from the dust which rose in a thick, heavy 
cloud from the soft deep powder on the road every time a man 
stepped on it, or a horse, restive from the attacks of innu- 
merable flies, stamped savagely upon the ground. The bright, 
thick groves of poplars, intermingled with oak, springing from 
beautifully soft and velvety turf which fringed the further bank 
of the river, tantalized the troops by their proximity. 

At Lundenburg the midday sun was pouring down on the 
wide, unpaved, dusty streets, and glaring while houses. Von 
Tiimpling's division lay here that day, and the soldiers wandered 
about slowly, seeking for anything to drink, or for shade from 
the rays of the sun. Every house was a billet, and the atmos- 
phere of the close, small rooms was stifling, while the sun 
poured hotly in through the small "wnndows, and made the 
insides of the houses almost as hot and more disagreeable than 
the open. Several of the houses had no roofs, the thatch bore 
signs of having been recently torn off, and was thrown away to 
some distance ; the bare timbers stood out against the cloud- 
less sky, and some rough, rugged openings made in the walls, 
which looked as if an unskilful mason had been trying to 
break down the walls, were in reality loop-holes ; for in the 
evening of the 1 5th the Austrians held Lundenburg, and meant 
to fight to keep it. 

Here that day were collected Mondel's infantry brigade, 
consisting of the 12th battalion of Jagers, the loth regiment of 
foot (Mazuchelli's), and the 24th regiment of foot (Duke of 
Parma's), with some artillery and some of the cavalry of 
General Edelsheim's division. They had orders to hold the 
town to the last extremity, and they began to make some of 
the houses into temporary fortresses. The inhabitants, afraid 
of coming involuntarily under fire, mostly fled, and left their 
town, expecting never to return and see its houses standing ; 


but before the preparations for defence were concluded the 
Prussian cavalry had broken up the line at Coding, and the 
railway junction of Lundenburg had lost its military value; 
Before, however, the Austrians evacuated the town, Lieutenant 
von Radowitz, who had been sent by Prince Frederick Charles 
to take M. Benedetti, the French Ambassador, as far as the 
Austrian outposts, arrived with the Minister at Lundenburg. 
The Austrians would not allow the Prussian officer to return 
at once to his head -quarters, for fear that he might carry back 
with him intelligence that the place was being given up, but 
thought it necessary that he should follow the Ambassador to 
Weibendorf ; so he was put into the railway and taken to that 
station. As soon as he arrived there he got leave to return, 
but, only able to come by road and in a country waggon, he 
did not reach Pawlowitz, the head-quarters of Prince Frederick 
Charles, till the evening of the i6th. So far the Austrians 
were successful, for they managed to detain the staff-officer; 
but long before his arrival at Pawlowitz, Prince Frederick 
Charles knew of the evacuation of Lundenburg ; and the staff- 
officer, by being taken south among the Austrian troops, sjiw a 
great deal which could never have been known at the Prussian 
head-quarters, had he not been forced to make his involuntary 
railway journey in the direction of Vienna, 

General von Manstein had occupied Nikolsburg with his 
division, after crossing the muddy Thaya by a pontoon bridge, 
which he had to throw across the stream to replace one that 
had been destroyed by the retreating [Austrians. It was 
anticipated that the boggy banks and unsound sides of the 
river would cause a good deal of difficulty in throwing the 
bridge 5 but if there were difficulties Manstein overcame them, 
and said nothing about thenu But this is no proof that his 
passage, although unopposed by the enemy, was an easy one, 
as he was renowned in the army for a quiet determination 
combined with a high daring, and gave many proofs of both as 
well in the war with Denmark as in the Bohemian campaign. 

A short halt in the hot, bare town of Lundenburg, and then 
the march was continued to Feldsberg, through the beautifully 
wooded park of the Prince of Lichtenstein. The cavalry corps 
moved forward in the evening, and there were no troops in 

392 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

Feldsber^on the evening of the 17th, except the head-quarter 
staff, for whom the Prince's large castle afforded plenty of 
accommodation, and a few battalions who were billeted in the 
town for the night The Httle town nestles round the foot of 
the castle in a dip in the ground, beyond it to the south rises a 
gentle rounded elevation, and beyond that lay nothing but flat 
plains as far as the Danube. 

Nothing, on the evening of the 17th, was known of the 
direction of the morrow's march ; at nine o'clock at night, no 
orders had yet come from the King, and it was all uncertain 
whether the First Army was to move on Florisdorf or Hungary. 
There was a general impression that there would be fighting 
in a few days. The troops looked forward to the possibility of 
meeting the enemy with the most perfect confidence of success, 
and they had every reason to do so on account of both their 
generals and their arms. It cannot, however, be denied that 
the army had a most difhcult, and perhaps even dangerous, 
operation before it if it meant to go to Vienna, had the 
Austrians held fast by Florisdorf and the Bisambeig. The 
passage of a river is always a dangerous undertaking, and as 
the Austrian army from Italy was in Vienna, and garrisoned 
the intrenchments in front of the Danube, while a strong force 
of troops brought from Hungary, whither Benedek was also 
hurrying, was at Preszburg, the Prussian generals had a piece of 
work before them difficult of execution. 

On the morning of the i8th the sun shone bright and warm 
on the Schloss and town of Feldsberg. The day seemed 
likely to be as hot as the previous, and consequently the march 
was ordered for the evening. But about two o'clock a sudden 
change occurred in the weather. The sky became in a few 
moments covered with clouds, and an extraordinaiy darkness 
set in. Up to windward a thick, dense black cloud could be 
seen bearing down steadily towards the castle ; but not on the 
sky alone, for like a great volume of heavy smoke it seemed 
rising from the earth, and filled the air for miles. Nearer and 
nearer it came. When it got within a quarter of a mile a 
sudden tempest of wind, which seemed bearing this cloud be- 
hind it, burst upon the place. The trees swayed about, rocked 
by the strong continuous gust, branches were torn off, sheaves 


of corn were torn up, and taken through the air, the Indian corn 
and standing crops in the fields were swept down almost level 
with the ground, and the heavy cloud of dust, which looked in 
the distance like smoke, was driven about by the wind and 
whirled up and down in a most fantastic manner. For a few 
minutes only this tornado lasted, and then was followed by a 
tremendous downpour of rain, which fell for about half an 
hour ; but so dry and parched was the ground that though the 
water came down in torrents it was sucked in in a moment, 
and when the rain ceased not a puddle stood upon the surface 
of the thirsty earth. 

But the rain laid the dust, and the march was more agreeable 
than it had been for some days past The way lay down 
the valley of the March, which divides the Crown lands of 
Austria from Hungary. Flat wide-stretching plains lay on the 
right, in parts covered with standing barley or Indian com j in 
parts black and bleak where the soil had already been turned 
up and prepared to take the seed for the second crop ; and 
here and there, where tlie com had been cut, the sheaves, 
which had been carried hither and thither by the afternoon's 
tempesty were strewn about in confusion. On the left the 
sluggish March twisted about in many channels through 
numerous marshy islets, on which short willows grew densely 
springing up from sedgy ground, which is covered with beds of 
tall bulrushes or tangled water plants. Further on the left the 
blue ridge of the Carpathians stood out against the sombre 
sky, lighted up here and there by some rays from the watery 
sun, which, sinking rapidly, had before going down lighted up 
in the west one small portion of the cloudy sky. 

The road lay close along the railway, upon which the officials 
of the field telegraph division, the principal instmment of the 
success of the campaign, were riding, carefully inspecting the 
wires. Every post was looked at, every joint inspected with a 
careful scmtiny ; but as long as the diligent inspectors could be 
seen, no break was found which called for the assistance of 
their workmen, who followed alongside with their waggons 
filled with tools and materials to repair a flaw, and that night 
telegraphic communication was open between Prince Frederick 
Charles at Hohenau and the King at Nikolsbuig. And it was 

394 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

required, for the approach to the Danube required new combi- 
nations, and again the whole forces of the field were about to 
be removed in unison by orders flashed from the head-quarters 
of the King. 

When the staff reached Radensburg, a little village about 
two miles from Hohenau, a Vienna droschky was seen drawn 
up on one side of the road, with two gentlemen in plain 
clothes and wideawake hats standing beside it, chatting quietly 
with a group of Prussian officers who had their billets in a road- 
side public-house. A little flag beside the coachmen showed 
that the travellers who had come by the carriage were engaged 
in some neutral duty, and a footman dressed in livery, with a 
broad lace band round his cap, who stood with the handle of 
the carriage door in his hand, showed by his dress that he was 
the servant of some high official A nearer approach showed 
that the travellers were M. Benedetti, the French Ambassador 
at Berlin, and his secretary, who had gone to Vienna after the 
unsuccessful attempts to procure an armistice at Briinn, and 
were now on their way back to the King's head-quarters, which 
had been established on the 17th at Nikolsburg, in the old 
castle of Prince Dietrichstein. The King of Prussia during 
his stay here slept in the same room which Napoleon had 
occupied in 1805 after the battle of Austerlitz, and before his 
entry into Vienna on the 9th December. 

Prince Frederick Charles dismounted from his horse, and in 
the middle of the road held a long conversation with the 
Ambassador. Perhaps they were discussing on that rainy 
evening, in the middle of tiie country road, questions which 
might affect the destinies of Europe— perhaps they were only 
having a friendly chat Numbers of suppositions were broached 
by the officers of the staff*, but no one except the two who 
engaged in that conversation know what passed, for all others 
drew out of ear-shot as soon as the Ambassador approached 
the Prince. 

The officers of the staff" were not so delighted to see the 
bearer of news which might possibly lead to an armistice as 
they would have been to receive him if he had come in a 
private capacity, for they feared that negotiations might stop 
the campaign before it found its just conclusion in the occupa^ 


tion of Vienna, and with the feelings of true soldiers they had 
little sympathy with the diplomacy which might arrest the pro- 
gress of their armies. 

The marches of the i8th were short, for the armies were 
drawing together, perhaps for the attack of the Austrian 
intrenched position at Florisdorf, perhaps to force the passage 
of the Danube at some other point, and the army had to move 
slowly in order to give General Herwarth time to close towards 
it from the right, and to let the Army of Silesia come up into 
line. On the 19th Prince Frederick Charles's head-quarters 
were established at Duernkruth ; his advanced guard, with part 
of the seventh division, that afternoon reached and occupied 
the railway junction at Gansemdorf, where the lines of Presz- 
burg and Vienna unite. Another portion of the seventh 
division occupied the passage of the March at Marchegg. The 
cavalry corps under the command of Prince Albrecht was 
round the little town of Anger, about five miles north of 
Gansemdorf The light infantry division was across the March, 
and on the road which leads from Holitsch down the left bank 
of that river billeted in and about St. Johann and Malarzka, 
while the rest of the army was clustered round the head-quarters 
of its Commander-in-chief. 

The Crown Prince in person this day reached Briinn, but his 
army was pushing rapidly forward, and the Guards had already 
arrived at Lundenburg ; he had left a force to mask Olmiitz, 
but the garrison of that place was not watched by this detach- 
ment alone, for Knobelsdorfs troops from Silesia were being 
pushed on to aid in preventing the occupants of the great 
fortress of Moravia from making any demonstration against the 
Prussian line of communications. 

It was quite evident from the movements of the Prussian 
troops that some great operation was meditated, and it was but 
natural to suppose that the present combinations were being 
made with the design of striking a heavy blow against the 
capital of the Austrian empire. 

The Prussian cavalry was being collected together into one 
mass, and when united formed an enormous number of sabres, 
of which it was expected that some use would be made within 
the next few days; for from Ganserndorf to the Danube 


stretches the wide flat plain of the Marclifeld, on which the 
Austrian cavalry might have a fair field for action, and where 
it might strive to regain the world-wide reputation which was so 
rudely shaken by the charges of the Prussian squadrons in the 
earlier parts of the war. The Austrians had, in retreating, 
destroyed the bridges across the March, in order to prevent 
communication between the Prussian columns which might 
advance on either bank of the stream. That of Anger had 
been burnt, and a few charred piles peeping above the water 
were all that showed where the bridge stood j but the Prussian 
engineers had already replaced it by another bridge, made out 
of such materials as came readily to hand, and had thrown 
another, supported upon trestles, at Duemkruth, so that by 
these means infantry and artillery could cross from one side of 
the river to the other, and many fords had been found of which 
the cavalry could make use. 

On the morning of the 19th, Count Hasler, an officer of the 
staff, rode forward beyond the outposts on the northern bank 
of the Danube to destroy the telegraph which communicates 
between Vienna and Preszburg. At Gansemdorf he found two 
cuirassiers, who formed his working party, and picked up a 
hatchet near a roadside house, which formed the whole of the 
tools required. When the point at which the wires were to be 
broken was reached, the chief difficulty of the undertaking was 
found, for the lines ran along the tops of a succession of bare 
slippery poles, up which it was very difficult to dimb. Several 
attempts were made to ascend up the pole, but just as the piece 
of bent iron which supported the porcelain knob round which 
the lowest wire was turned for a support was reached, arms and 
legs gave way and the man came sliding down the dry polished 
wood. At last one of the cuirassiers, making use of his 
comrade's shoulders as a starting point, began on better terms 
than before, and got his hand upon the bent iron ; then to haul 
himself up to the top was comparatively easy; and as he had 
got the hatchet between his teeth he began to deliver some 
smart, quick blows upon the uppermost wire. A few strokes 
severed it, and the two portions of the broken line, parting 
from each other, came surging down to the ground. The same 
process was repeated with the others, and in a few minutes, all 


the wires being broken, the man threw his hatchet to the 
ground, saying, " There, they won't be able now to telegraph 
from Vienna to Preszburg," and came sliding down the post. 
There was no need to break up the railway, for the Austrians 
had already blown up the bridge over the March ; and if they 
had not, the Prussian advanced guard had arrived at Gansem- 
dorf, and their outposts were pushed in advance of the railway 

Rumours of peace were flying about the camp all the 19th ; 
some people asserted that a three days* armistice had been 
agreed upon, and that this was the reason that the marches 
were so short, but that M. Benedetti had terms to propose 
from the Kaiser. Nothing certain with regard to a cessation 
of hostilities was yet decided upon, and the shortness of the 
marches can be accounted for by the necessity of allowing 
time for the Army of the Elbe to make its lateral movement, 
and for that of the Crown Prince to come up close to the First 

In the army, at this time, no one except those in high 
command had any idea of whither the next advance would 
lead : some supposed that the whole Prussian force was to be 
dashed against the parapets and heavily-armed embrasures of 
Florisdorf j others that a sudden raid was to be made by a 
large force into Hungary to beat up the quarters of the Kaiser 
at Pesth, whither the Imperial family had retired from Vienna. 
But all feared the results of M. Benedetti's mission, and were 
much afraid that diplomacy would stand in the way of an entry 
into the capital of Austria, and would deprive the army of what 
they considered would be only a just and fitting termination to 
their rapid but glorious campaign. 

A welcome capture had been made by the Commissariat of 
the First Army by the occupation of Coding, the place near 
which the cavalry of the advanced guard broke up the railway 
between Olmutz and Lundenburg on the 15th. Immense 
magazines of Austrian stores had been found there, and among 
other valuable commodities about 50,000/. worth of cigars, 
intended for issue to the Austrian troops, which were confiscated 
for the use of the Prussians, and, in consequence, the soldiers 
received liberal supplies. They were most grateful, for in the 

398 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

German armies tobacco is considered almost necessar}' to 
existence, and in importance as a ration ranks only second to 
bread or meat 

Head-quarters were established on the igth at Duemkruth, 
in a small white Schloss, which afforded the most limited 
accommodation even for the small number of officers who 
comprised the head-quarter staff. Few, very few, indeed, had 
beds ; colonels and subalterns lay side by side on mattresses 
or trusses of straw upon the floor; a few specially favoured 
had sofas. Among these was Count Stolberg, the President of 
the Prussian House of Lords, who was with the army as a 
Knight of St. John of Jerusalem. But all were very cheerful 
and happy, and would have been perfectly well pleased with 
everything, except that the younger officers expressed loud 
wishes that M. Benedetti was anywhere except in the King's 
head-quarters, for they feared that his presence meant peace, 
and they wanted more fighting, more promotion, and more 
glory, and were extremely anxious to march into Vienna. 
And, although their elders did not express their opinions, it 
was tolerably evident that in their eyes also the prospect of an 
immediate peace was looked upon as anything but a blessing. 
On the further side of the March, which lay about half a mile 
from the head quarter Schloss, wide pasture lands, dotted with 
clumps of willow-trees, stretched over a fiat plain, which was 
raised but a few feet above the level of the water in the river 
towards the Carpathian Mountains, that rise about fifteen miles 
to the east. This plain was covered with droves of horses, 
pigs, and large white cattle, with broad outstretched horns 
about as large as those of buffaloes. These droves were tended 
by boys, clad some in proper Hungarian costume, but more 
frequently in a white flannel cloak, which, hanging from their 
shoulders down to their ankles, formed their only covering. 
But, wild though the country might be, the Prussian generals 
viewed it with favour, for it was generally clear and open, and 
would be a fair field for their needle-guns and rifle artillery. 
Over this plain, on the lefl bank of the March, the eighth 
Prussian division scoured the whole country between the stream 
and the mountains. 

But it did not seem probable that these weapons would be 


required till the Prussians advanced on Vienna. No Austrians 
were reported in front of the outposts, and it appeared that the 
Archduke Albrecht intended to wait in his works at Fiorisdorf 
until the Prussians either attacked him there, or attempted the 
passage of the Danube at some other point In the meantime, 
while the needle-gun was not in active use, its merits formed an 
endless topic of conversation in the army. Of course, its success 
had made it a great favourite, and the Prussians, both men and 
officers, considered the victories which were won at Gitschin 
and PodoU by its means to have established its claim to be re- 
garded as the best weapon in existence. It has certainly been 
most satisfactorily proved that the z^ndnadd-gewehr is better 
than the Austrian muzzle-loader, but we had a pretty good idea 
before this war took place that any breech-loader would be a 
better arm for infantry than any muzzle-loader ; and though the 
great slaughter of the Austrians in the actions of this campaign 
brought the fact more forcibly before our notice, nothing has 
been elicited in the late war to prove that the needle-gun is 
better or even equal to many breech-loading rifles that have 
been invented more lately. The success of the needle-gun has 
established the superiority of the breech-loading over the 
muzzle-loading principle; but there are many breech-loaders 
better adapted for all the purposes of warfare than the needle- 
gun, and any nation which may arm its troops with a servile 
imitation of the Prussian arm may probably find that the next 
European war will show the trouble to have been in vain, and 
the expenses of the armament thrown away.* 

Many attempts were made on the afternoon of the 19th to 
see the Stephanenthurm of Vienna, but the tower could not be 
seen ; for, although the country is in general flat, many swelling 
undulations of ground lay between Duemkruth and the capital, 
which impeded the view. Even from the railway embankment 
at Ganserndorf it could not be made out, for a rising ground 
covered with com lay directly between the village and the city, 
and a man standing on the embankment was not raised high 
enough to see over the swell Nor could a glimpse be caught 

♦ In 1870-71 the chassepot was universally ackno^vledged to be a better 
weapon than the needle-gun. 

400 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

of the position of Florisdorf, or even of the Bisamberg, which 
was also reported to be intrenched, and defended by heavy 
artillery. The Prussian advance had been so rapid that it was 
almost impossible to realise that the army was within thirty 
miles of the Austrian capital, and the troops of the First Array 
would have been glad of some visible proof which would assure 
them of its proximity ; but as yet they could have none, and 
many thought that perhaps the first palpable proof of their 
near approach to Vienna might be the reports of the Austrian 
guns, which were to dispute the passage of the Danube, 

On the evening of the 21st July the Cabinet of Vienna 

expressed itself willing to enter upon a suspension of hostilities 

for five days, on the basis of the Prussian proposals, and on 

the evening of the 22nd an armistice for that time was agreed 

upon at Nikolsburg. It came into effect at noon on the 22nd, 

and was to expire at mid-day on the following Friday, the 

27th. But an action was fought on the morning of the 22nd, 

by the seventh and eighth divisions, who moved at daybreak 

that day on Preszburg, by the left bank of the March. The 

eighth division had moved down the left bank of that river 

from Coding by way of St. Johann and Malaczka in Hungary, 

and on the 21st had neared Stampfen, On the 21st the seventh 

division crossed the March, at Marchegg, under General Fran- 

zecky, who was placed in command of all the troops on the 

left bank of the stream. Prince Frederick Charles knew that 

on the 22nd General Benedek would throw his leading divisions 

over the Danube at Preszburg. If then he could seize that 

place, the remainder of the Feldzeugmeister's troops would 

have to make a dttour by Komom before arriving at Vienna. 

The Commander-in-chief of the First Army, not being av^are 

that any decision had been arrived at relative to the suspension 

of hostilities, on hearing on the night of the 21st that the 

Austrians were in position to bar the way near the village of 

Bystenitz, was forced to order General Franzecky to attack 

them, and so a combat was commenced. 

On the evening of the 21st the seventh and eighth divisions, 
under the orders of General Franzecky, were bivouacked on 
the road which leads down the left side of the March from 
Coding to Preszburg, and occupied a position on that road 


between the villages of Stampfen and Bystenitz, with their 
advanced guard pushed forward a little in front of the latter 
village. The Quartermaster-General of the First Army, General 
Stiilpnagel, attended by Count Hasler, of the general staff, had 
that afternoon been making a reconnaissance of the Austrian 
positions on the north of the Danube, and arrived in the 
evening at the bivouacs of Franzecky's divisions. It was soon 
found that the Austrians held the village of Blumenau, which 
lies on the same road, about five miles nearer Preszburg, in 
strong force ; and as it was extremely desirable to secure the 
town of Preszburg as quickly as possible, Count Hasler was 
despatched to Ebenthal to request Prince Frederick Charles's 
permission for an attack to be made on Blumenau. The 
staff-officer reached head-quarters towards midnight At this 
time Prince Frederick Charles was ignorant that an armistice 
would be agreed to, and he sent back the desired permission. 
A little after midnight Count Hasler left the head-quarters of 
the First Army at Ebenthal, and started on his return journey, 
carrying this important order, on which so much might depend. 
Thirty miles of bad road lay between Ebenthal and Bystenitz ; 
the night was very dark, there was no moon, and clouds shut 
out even the dim light which the stars might have afforded ; 
but the staff-officer pushed his horse resolutely over the March 
by the repaired bridge at Anger, along twisting country lanes, 
past wide ditches and morasses, reached Bystenitz safely at the 
first streaks of dawn, and communicated the Prince's message 
to General Franzecky. Franzecky at once made his disposi- 
tions for attack. At the same time Prince Frederick Charles 
sent orders to General Hann to support Franzecky with his 
division of cavalry. 

The road from Bystenitz to Blmnenau, which is a distance 
of about five English miles, runs close below the extreme 
westerly spurs of the Lower Carpathians, which rise high on 
the left of a traveller journeying from the former to the latter 
place. The ground on the right until the road strikes the 
railway from Gansemdorf to Preszburg is flat and level. The 
mountains on the left are broken by steep and rough ravines, 
down which run little rivulets, making their way with perpetual 
cascades towards the March or the Danube; between the 

D D 

402 SEVEiV WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

courses of these rivulets the spurs of the mountains swell out 
in bluff undulations into the plain through which runs the 
river March. The ground on the mountain sides is every- 
where rough and broken, large stones are scattered over it, and 
in many places jagged lumps of rock start out of the soil and 
form natural fortresses to oppose the passage of troops up the 
hills. A dense forest of oak and pine trees, which, from being 
untended, have grown close together, and intertwined their 
branches so as to form a network of dark-green foliage, through 
which a man can hardly penetrate, grows upon the sides of the 
ravines and the less steep spiurs of the mountains, and runs up 
the sides of the hills all the way from Bystenitz to Preszbuig. 
The roads through the wood are few and at long distances 
apart ; none are practicable for any troops except foot soldiers, 
and only for these when moving with a very narrow front At 
Blumenau the road leads to the left, and runs straight to 
Preszburg through a defile in the hills, being crossed near to 
this village by the railway which leads from Gansemdoif 
to Preszburg, and which, after crossing the road, runs along 
the left-hand side of the latter through the same defile. On 
the side of the road and railway opposite to Blumenau, and 
about three-quarters of a mile to the right, lies the little village 
of Kaltenbrun, situated on rough, broken hills called the 
Theben-Berger, which are thickly clothed with fir woods, and 
fill up the whole triangle enclosed between the railway, the 
March, and the Danube. About three miles from Blumenau, 
nearer Preszburg, the road and railway, side by side, pass over 
a little rivulet which supplies the stream to turn the wheels of 
two watermills — one situated upon each side of the way ; above 
these mills on the left-hand side rises a portion of hill rather 
higher than the surrounding spurs and less thickly covered 
with forest, called the Gamsen-Berg ; a footpath which leaves 
the high road at Bystenitz leads up the mountain side to the 
left of the road, and after a steep and rugged ascent descends 
equally roughly, and again joins the main road behind the 
watermills coming down begide the Gamsen-Berg. 

The Austrian position was shrouded by the woods and by 
the broken ground, but a reconnaissance, made with consider, 
able difficulty, showed that they were in great force. Their 


centre held the villages of Blumenau and Kaltenbrun and the 
ground between, the left was in the fir woods on the Theben- 
Berger stretching toward the March. Their right extended 
from the village of Blumenau about half a mile up the lower 
spurs of the Carpathians. The position was strong and formid- 
able, the ground was extremely favourable to the defenders, 
and gave jio open field for the play of the needle-gun j but 
Franzecky not only determined to carry the position, but also 
had the bold design of cutting off firom Preszburg and capturing 
the greater part of the defending force and all their artillery, 
and in all human probability he would have done so had not 
the good fortune of Austria brought the combat to a prematiure 

General Bose was directed to take two regiments, the 21st 
and 71st, each of three battalions, making a total force of 
under 5,000 men — ^for these regiments had had their ranks 
thinned by the war — by the mountain path leading from Bys- 
tenitz, and gain the rear of the enemy near the Gamsen-Berg, 
so as to cut off their retreat to Preszburg, while Franzecky him- 
self determined, with the remainder of his troops, to attack the 
position in firont About half-past four in the morning Bose's 
men began their march, and, disappearing into the wood to the 
left, began their ascent of the difficult mountain path. Their 
way was long and rugged, so that time had to be allowed them 
to gain the Gamsen-Berg, and it was not till after six that Fran- 
zecky gave the signal for the advance of the troops on the main 

Then the advance guard began to move briskly forward, and 
the rest of the little army followed in battle array. Skirmishers 
pushed forward through the fields on the left, pushing up close 
to the wood on the mountain side ; their supports moved in 
small clumps here and there behind them ; a larger body 
marched along the road, and behind them, spread out right 
and left, came the heavy columns of the infantry and the broad- 
fronted batteries of guns. On the right of the road a squadron 
of the loth hussars glided with the cheery noise of clinking 
sabres and ringing steel over the meadows and flat stubble 
field, pushing forwards to feel their way — scouts, who, carbine in 
hand, spread, a thin curtain of horsemen, before the main body. 

D D 2 

404 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

Scarcely had the troops begun to move when the morning sun 
burst brightly from the clouds over the Carpathians, and fell 
upon the bright swords of the cavalry, the glittering bayonets 
and rifles of the infantry, and even managed to draw a twink- 
ling reflection from the darkly-browned steel of the artillery 
guns. The Prussian soldiers greeted it with joy, for their 
frames were chilled with their night's bivouac, and they marched 
in the full confidence that before it set it would have lighted 
them to another victory. Slowly and steadily the columns 
moved ; the men were very silent, for they all felt that stem 
subdued excitement which always appears to pervade eveiy 
breast when a battle is close at hand ; and the sound of the 
measured tread of the battalions, and the heavy nimble of the 
guns, rose into the air almost unbroken. The advanced guard, 
consisting of the 72nd regiment, approached to within three 
thousand paces of the point where the railway, marked by its 
long line of spectral telegraph posts, could be seen closing into 
the road from the right, and where the dark green fir-woods 
behind it showed that there was the Austrian position ; but no 
signs of the enemy could be seen, except two squadrons erf 
lancers, one considerably in rear of the other, which stood 
on the level ground to the right of the road in front of the rail- 
way, motionless as statues, with the pennons of their lances 
faintly fluttering in the breeze. Then suddenly the well-known 
cloud of white smoke, which shows where a gun has been fired, 
rose from the raised ground between Blumenau and Kalten- 
brun, and a whizzing whistling shell rushed through the air, 
over the heads of the hussars on the right of the road. The 
Prussian guns came quickly into action, and opened on the 
spot where the cloud of smoke had risen, and where, in a few 
moments, repeated flashes of fire and many more clouds ot 
heavy hanging smoke announced that a strong Austrian batten* 
had its post. While the artillery fight was going on, the dark 
green hussars on the right began to move quickly forward, and 
rushed in full career against the foremost squadron of Austrian 
lancers. These did not stand motionless now. Slowly at first, 
and then more quickly, they began to advance against the 
hussars; and when the two squadrons came within a few 
hundred yards of each other, both urged their horses 


to their utmost speed, and with a mighty clatter dashed 

The rough embrace lasted but for a moment; then the 
lancers scattered and fled, for the hussars were stronger and 
better mounted, and their mere weight smashed the lancers' 
ranks. These pursued a short distance, capturing several pri- 
soners ; but they could not follow far, for the other squadron 
of lancers looked threatening, and the hussars had no reserves 
near at hand The cavalry combat, though so short, was severe ; 
many men were down on both sides, and Major von Hymen, 
commanding the hussars, had the whole side of his face laid 
open, but refused to quit the field, and commanded his squadron 
throughout the day. 

In the meantime the cannonade increased in the centre, more 
Prussian guns were brought into action, and more Austrian 
pieces were firing between Blumenau and Kaltenbrun ; and at 
eight o'clock, when the action had lasted about an hour, forty 
Austrian and thirty-six Prussian guns were pounding against 
each other. Casualties began to increase ; one Prussian bat- 
tery in particular was rapidly being unhorsed, for the Austrians 
were making good practice, and their shells were generally 
bursting at the proper moment 

Half an hour later an officer arrived firom Prince Frederick 
Charles to announce that an armistice was agreed upon, and 
that it was to commence at mid-day ; but Franzecky could not 
stop the fight, for Bose was with his brigade committed in the 
mountains, and if the grand firont attack ceased he would pro- 
bably before noon be captured. But no infantry was sent for- 
ward, and the combat was confined to artillery fire alone for 
more than two hours. 

Then Franzecky, fearing for Bose, determined to attack the 
Austrian position with energy, and made his dispositions for a 
general advance. General Gordon, with four battalions, was 
ordered to move by a mountain path, which, leaving the road 
near where the artillery was at present, runs lower down the 
hills than the way taken by Bose, and comes out on the road 
again near Blumenau ; when he felt the Austrian right, he was 
to attack it with vigour and occupy the village of Blumenau. 
At the same time, two battalions were sent against the fir- 

406 SEVEN WEEK'S WAR. [Book IX, 

woods near Kaltenbrun to attack the Austrian left, and, if 
possible, to seize that village, while the main body and the 
artillery were to move straight against the front 

The guns were limbered up; the two battalions began 
moving over the plain towards the wood of Kaltenbrun ; 
Gordon was already on the hill-side, and the main body 
advanced for about one thousand paces, when the guns, again 
unlimbered, came into action, and renewed their fire on the 
Austrian batteries. About eleven o'clock the two battalions 
came within easy distance of the wood near Kaltenbrun, and 
were received by a biting fire from the Austrian sharpshooters 
among the trees, while to the rear of the guns between Blu- 
menau and Kaltenbrun they could see heavy masses of infantry 
ready to resist the front attack. The Prussian battalions 
immediately opened out and began to fire against the infantiy 
in the wood ; but the trees hid their antagonists, and they did 
not seem to cause much diminution of the fire from the forest 

In the meantime a message came from Bose to say that he 
had debouched on the Gamsen-Berg, and had there met the 
celebrated Austrian Schwarz and Gelh brigade. A severe fight 
took place here ; the Austrians poured volley after volley into 
the head of Bose's column as it attempted to come out of the 
trees, and so tangled was the jungle that the Prussian marks- 
men could hardly force through it in order to spread out on 
either side and open fire against the Austrians. But after a 
time they succeeded in penetrating through the thick trunks 
and interwoven branches, and the Prussians debouched and 
deployed on the Gamsen-Berg. Still the fight went on, but 
the Austrians were driven back step by step, and at last Bose 
seized the water-mills and planted his brigade across the road 
and railway to Preszburg, sending a messenger to General 
Franzecky to say that the enemy's retreat was cut off, and that 
now the front attack might be pressed hard. It was the receipt 
of this message that caused Franzecky to order the general 
advance, but before the combat could be finished the laiurels 
that he would have gained by the capture of the enemy, which 
would have certainly been the result of his skilful dispositions, 
were snatched from his grasp. 

Time was getting on; and before the front attack was 


developed, the sun, standing high up in the heavens and 
directly south, showed that mid-day had arrived. In a few 
minutes an Austrian officer came out from the Blumenau posi- 
tion with a flag of trace, and advanced towards the Prassian 
lines. He was met by a Prassian officer, to whom he reported 
that an armistice had been agreed upon, to date from mid-day, 
and that it was already past the hour. In a few minutes the 
signal to cease firing was sounded along the Prassian ranks, 
and the combat was broken off. The sudden silence was 
curious and abrapt ; there were none of the dropping shots or 
single occasional reports in which a cannonade generally dies 
away ; in a moment the roar of the artillery and the patter of 
small arms ceased, and a curious hum of conversation rose 
from the astonished soldiers. 

At first the Austrians would not believe that their retreat was 
cut off, and that they had been in such imminent danger of 
being captured, for no report had been sent up from the rear, 
and they still thought that they commanded the road to Presz- 
burg. But they were soon convinced that they were really 
surrounded, when, on sending back, it was found that Prassian 
troops were drawn up across the only line of retreat for their 

The Austrians lost in the combat between five hundred and 
six hundred men, of whom one hundred were taken prisoners, 
and over three hundred were wounded. The Prassian loss 
was reported only one hundred killed and wounded. 

To speculate on what would have been is generally unprofit- 
able, especially so in war ; but as the Austrians fiilly acknow- 
ledge that they were only saved by a lucky fortune from a 
terrible disaster, it may not be too much for impartial observers 
to believe that the action was virtually gained by the Prassians, 
and that if it had continued all the Austrian artillery must have 
been taken, and probably the greater part of their infantry 
captured ; for there is no road except the one occupied by 
Bose by which the guns could have been withdrawn from Blu- 
menau ; and though there is a rough country lane by which 
men on foot could from Kaltenbran reach the banks of the 
Danube, it is extremely doubtful if the Prassians would not 
have been in Preszburg before the Austrian infantry could 

4o8 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

have gained that line by this roundabout route, and then their 
capture was certain. 

The number of men engaged on each side was about equal 
The Prussians had two divisions, which together consisted of 
twenty-five battalions, in the field, with forty-eight guns, but 
twelve of these were always in reserve. The Austrians had the 
ist, 2nd, and 4th brigades of their second corps d'arm^ and 
Mendel's brigade of the tenth corps engaged, and had forty 

Had this action been allowed to proceed, and had it been 
a victory for the Prussians, it would have been won, not by the 
needle-gun so much as by the brilliant dispositions made by 
General Franzecky for turning his enemy's right flank. This 
was confessed by an Austrian oflicer, who, talking to a Prussian 
officer after the armistice was declared, said, " Your needle- 
gun may be a terrible weapon, and we know by experience how 
well it shoots; but it has not been so bad for us as your 
generals, who have a most diabolical power of manoeuvring." 

Directly the action was over, General Stiilpnagel and Count 
Hasler rode into Preszburg to settle with the commandant of 
that place the line of demarcation which should be observed 
by the troops during the armistice. The Prussian troops were 
all in front of the line that was agreed upon, and ought, accord- 
ing to the strict letter of the law, to have withdrawn at once, 
but it was late in the day when the line was fixed. The 
Austrian officer consented that for the night the Prussians should 
remain where they were, and retire to their new ground in. the 

Then occurred a curious scene. The men of Bose's Prussian 
brigade, who had been planted across tlie Preszburg road, and 
a few hours before had been standing ready, rifle in hand, to 
fire upon the retreating Austrian battalions, were surrounded 
by groups of those very Austrian soldiers whom they had been 
waiting to destroy. The men of the two nations mingled 
together, exchanged tobacco, drank out of each other's flasks, 
talked and laughed over the war in groups equally composed 
of blue and white uniforms, cooked their rations at the same 
fires, and that night Austrian and Prussian battalions lay down 
bivouacked close together, without fear and in perfect security. 


On the morrow all along tlie line of the front of the Prussian 
anny the divisions took up the positions they were to occupy 
during the temporary peace. 

Early on the morning of the 22nd, commissioners from the 
Austrian and Prussian armies had a meeting at a small village 
between Gansemdorf and the Danube, in order to decide upon 
a line which should, during the armistice, form the boundary 
between the troops of the two nations. The Prussian commis- 
sioners were General von Podbielsky, of the King's head- 
quarter staff, and Major von Capprivi, of the stafif of Prince 
Frederick Charles; their colleagues from the Austrian camp 
were General von John and some of his assistants in the 
Austrian head-quarter staff. After some hours of consultation 
the line of demarcation was decided upon. It started on the 
Prussian right at Krems, on the Danube ; followed the north 
bank of the river down as far as Stockerau ; from that town 
ran up the curve of the Gollsbach rivulet to the neighbourhood 
of Fellabrun; then, by taking a lin^ to the village of Weinsteig, 
it struck the Rossbach rivulet close to that village, followed this 
stream as far as Leopoldsdorf, then ran along the road between 
that village and Lasse, and was then drawn along an imaginary 
straight hne to the railway bridge over the March, near March- 
egg. On the left side of the March a straight line from the 
railway bridge carried it to the village of Bistritz, whence it 
followed the eastern edge of the Fahren Wald till it struck the 
main road from Skalitz to Tymau. It was further agreed that 
commanders of detachments and of troops left to mask fort- 
resses should decide with the commanders of the troops 
opposite to them upon the lines of demarcation to be observed 
in the vicinity of their own commands. 

The Prussian cavalry corps, under the command of Prince 
Albrecht, was pushed forward to the line of the Roszbach, and 
had its head-quarters in the neighbourhood of Deutsch Wagram, 
whence the fortifications of Florisdorf could be seen, but their 
details could not be made out. 

While the action of Blumenau was actually being fought. 
General Degenfeld and Count Karolyi, the former Austrian 
Ambassador at Berlin, crossed the space between the outposts 
on the other side of the March, and went to the King's head- 

410 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. ' [Book IX. 

quarters, empowered by the Austrian Government to conclude 
a treaty of peace. 

At the time of the suspension of hostilities, the Prussian 
armies on the Marchfeld and between Vienna and Bhinn 
consisted of the three corps of Prince Frederick Charles, the 
cavalry corps of Prince Albrecht, three divisions under General 
Herwarth, and three and a half corps under the Crown Prince. 
These formed a force of about two hundred and sixty-five 
thousand combatants. Behind these lay the first reserve corps 
under General Miilbe at Briinn, half a corps from the Crown 
Prince's army in firont of Olmiitz, and near the same fortress 
KnobelsdorTs corps, forming together an additional force of 
about fifty-five thousand men. The corps of Knobelsdorf had 
occupied the Austrian town of Troppau on the 9th July, and 
had then been pushed forward to observe Olmiitz and garrison 
the line of railway to Briinn. Count Stolberg was left in 
Silesia with about ten thousand men to watch the Austrian 
detachments in Gallicia, The division of Landwehr of the 
Guard was in Prague. Detachments of Landwehr held Saxony, 
and garrisoned the capital and fortresses of Prussia. 

On the western theatre of war, ManteufFel had sixty thousand 
men in the field. The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg had about 
twenty-five thousand. Five thousand men held Frankfort and 
Hanau, and Landwehr garrisoned Nassau, Hesse-Cassel, and 
Hanover. In all, Prussia had at the lowest computation five 
hundred and twenty thousand fighting men in the field — ^a 
stupendous force to be supplied by a country which with its 
allies did not possess a population of twenty million inhabitants. 
Besides these, there were depot and garrison troops retained in 
the provinces, which numbered at least one hundred thousand 
additional soldiers. 



During the armistice of five days, the Prussian troops 
remained in the Marchfeld 

On the morning of the 23rd, the troops who had been the 
previous day engaged in the combat of Blumenau marched 
back to their positions on their own side of the line of demar- 
cation which was to be observed by the Prussians during the 
armistice. Between this line and that up to which the Austrian 
outposts were pushed forward extended a narrow belt of neutral 
ground, on which the soldiers of either side were forbidden to 
tread, and where the labourers were cutting the corn and 
carrying in the harvest as peaceably and diligently as if there 
was no enemy in their country, and no Prussian vedettes were 
posted along the course of the Roszbach. The troops, not 
ungrateful for a little idleness after their hard work, lay billeted 
in the villages between Ebenthal and the line of demarcation, 
knapsacks were unpacked, and their motley contents laid out 
on the banks by the roadside to be dried and aired in the sun. 
The artillery ammunition went under a careful inspection; 
groups of soldier-tailors sitting together under the trees patched 
up holes made in uniforms either by the wear and tear of the 
campaign, or by the too near approach of a bullet or the 
splinter of a shell Everywhere through the cantonments there 
was a listless, idle air of careless comfort and rest, such as can 
only be thoroughly appreciated by those who have been 
marching and fighting for weeks past under a burning sun or 
heavy soaking rain ; except where the sentinel paced up and 
down before some cottage improvised into a guardhouse, where 
the regimental colours were deposited, or where the vedette 

412 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR. [Book IX. 

sat mounted, with pistol in hand, peering as carefully towards 
Florisdorf and the Danube as if there were no truce agreed 
upon, and as if he expected every moment to have to give the 
signal of the approach of the enemy's columns. No one who 
bore any look of being a spy was allowed to pass either out of 
the lines or into them, and so suspicious were the sentries that 
the country people going out to or returning from work had to 
give satisfactory accounts of themselves before they were 
allowed to pass. The Austrians were equally careful on their 
side, so that no communication could take place with Vienna ; 
and the Stephanenthurm, which looked down on the city where 
so many would like to go if only for an hour, only tantalized 
those who could see it from the line of outposts, and drew forth 
many exclamations of impatience from those who fretted and 
fumed at being tied down to the flat plain of the Marchfeld, 
in the very sight of the capital, where many little luxuries which 
were greatly missed and wanted in the army could so easily 
have been purchased. 

In the meantime the military authorities were not idle in 
their preparations for the continuance of the campaign, in case 
the diplomatists, who were working in mysterious silence at 
Nikolsburg, should fail to come to terms upon the conditions 
of peace. The railway was crowded with trains all the way 
from Gorlitz to Limdenburg, which were bringing up reserves, 
heavy guns, stores, pontoons, and all the other materials which 
would be required for the passage of the Danube. The armis- 
tice had not done the Prussians much harm, even if the war 
should have broken out afresh, except by stopping the action 
of Blumenau, for they would probably have had to pause in 
the middle of active operations to await the arrival of their siege 
guns and their bridge material, even if there had been no 
suspension of hostilities ; and the five days which gave rest to 
the battalions in the front of the army also afforded time to get 
forward the immense train of boats, pontoons, and planks 
which the engineers would have required if they had been 
called upon to throw bridges across the broad, rapid stream 
which flows between the Marchfeld and Vienna, although the 
Danube is not so difficult to cross as most rivers with an 
equal amount of water, for it is broken up into many channels, 

Chap. IV.] THE TRUCE, 413 

enclosing numerous islands which much aid the construction 
of a bridge. 

Now in the different billets many stories were related of 
individual prowess and personal bravery during the campaign. 
There was not a battalion or a squadron which had not its 
special hero, about whom some particular anecdote was re- 
corded ; no two opinions were stated concerning the organiza^ 
tion and equipment of the different branches of the army 
from those who have had the most practical proofs of the 
working of them, by being dependent upon them in the real 
work of war. There were no grumblers ; and though the staff 
officers, who observed carefully every incident of the cam- 
paign, with a view to profit by its experience for further im- 
provement and for further progress, had noted many things 
which were changed or adopted as soon as peace gave time 
and opportunity, the regimental officers were well content 
with everything, and were ready to stand or fall by their con- 
viction that the Prussian army was the most smoothly-worked 
piece of machinery in the whole world. It was curious to find 
from those who had taken part in the cavalry fighting that the 
epaulette, which has of late been discarded in many armies as 
a useless incumbrance, had again risen into high favour. 
None of the Prussian cavalry wore their epaulettes on service 
except the Uhlans, but some officers of these regiments spoke 
most highly of the good service the little plates ^of shoulder 
armour had done in warding off sword cuts. The cuirass, too, 
proved more useful in close encounter than most people would 
have given it credit for, and was in more than one case the 
instrument of saving a man's life, and yet the Prussian cuiras 
ses are thin, ill made, and ill fitted in comparison with those 
of the British Household Cavalry. Still, there was a strong 
party against this defensive armour, for many in the army held 
that its use does not repay the extra weight it puts upon the 
horse, but this party was for the present silenced by the great 
success which tiie 5 th regirnent of cuirassiers, attached to the 
Crown Prince's army, had lately been in the combat near 
Tobitschau, where it took seventeen guns. 

The needle-gun was of course an immense favourite, and the 
Prussian officers justly held that an army provided with a 

414 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX. 

muzzle-loading arm can never hope to stand up to their troops 
in the shock of open battle; but their conclusion that the 
needle-gun is the best possible breech-loader was founded on 
nothing more than the fact that it is superior to a muzzle* 
loading rifle, and they advanced no good grounds for sup- 
posing that no breech-loader has been invented since the 
introduction of the needle-gun into the Prussian service, which 
can be superior to the arm that did such fearful execution 
in the Austrian ranks at Podoll, and in the actions before 

The Prussians entered upon the campaign with their horse 
artillery armed with smooth-bore 12-pounder guns. They 
had long before the armistice bitterly repented this error, and 
will take care to remedy it before they are embroiled in another 
war. The whole of their field artillery is to be armed with 
steel breech-loading rifled gims constructed on Krupp*s system 
— ^good ordnance doubtless, but the Prussian guns did not 
appear in action to make such good practice as the Armstrong 
guns did in China, when the English gunners were stiU un- 
accustomed to them, and as yet looked upon all breech-loading 
ordnance with considerable suspicion.* 

The Prussians on the 24th commenced massing troops 
towards the left of their position, with the view of being able 
to make an immediate dash on Preszburg on the afternoon 
of the 27th, if peace should not be concluded during the time 
that the armistice lasted ; but most in camp looked upon this 
concentration as a needless precaution, for it was considered 
that peace was perfectly certain. But neither the stafi* nor the 
outposts were prevented by this feeling of certainty from using 
all precautions from being taken unawares; the railway still 
teemed with trains loaded heavily with troops and stores. 

No news could be obtained of how the negotiations were 
going on at Nikolsburg, for the diplomatists preserved the 
correct diplomatic silence, and took care that the profanum 
7Ju/gus should gain no clue either to the progress or probable 
result of the discussions held at their mysterious meetings. 

* In 1870-71, a portion of the Prussian field artillery was anned with 
bronze breech-loading guns, and probably in future all the guns for the 
field artillery will be made of bronze. 

Chap. IV.] THE TRUCE, 415 

Rumours, of course, were rife, and all of them prophesied 
peace; some went so far as to assert that the treaty would 
actually be signed on Thursday, the 26th ; but how flax such 
reports were to be trusted could not be established, as popular 
opinion was now swayed about in the most extraordinary way. 
The sudden glance of a Minister, or the wearied look of a 
Plenipotentiary, was interpreted according to the inclination of 
the observer, and had some deep meaning attached to it, pos- 
sibly very remote from what it might really signify. 

Nothing was doing at head-quarters, so a party of officers of 
the staff was made to visit the outposts, partly for the sake of 
something to do, partly in hopes of being able to catch some 
glimpses of the fortifications round Florisdorf, which are rapidly 
becoming famous. A ride of fifteen miles over the flat, wide- 
spreading Marchfeld, carpeted with meadows, clovef-fields, and 
broad belts of stubble, from which most of the com had been 
removed, past dark woods of fir and lighter copses of dark oak, 
took them to Wagranu More than once some one exclaimed, 
" What a beautiful battle-field for cavalry 1 '* as they rode for 
miles over ground unbroken by fences or brooks, and in which 
the only obstacles to the free gallop of horses were a few small 
ditches, and here and there a tiny bank. 

The village of Wagram, celebrated by the battle won here by 
the first Napoleon, contains a chapel where are collected many 
of the arms that were found on the field after that great fight 
A strange feeling of awe comes upon one when brought face to 
face with these truest monuments of the great conflict waged 
here by the mighty dead ; and the loud talk and laughter of 
€:areless soldiers fresh from a field of battle, and reckless of how 
soon they might march to another, were hushed, not more by 
the sanctity of the place than by an almost involuntary reve- 
rence for the visible memorials of the great battle and of the 
warriors who fell in it. But disappointment has also its place 
in the mind ; for how clumsy, how old-^hioned, according to 
otir ideas, look those old flint muskets and heavy swords with 
which but a few years back the fate of Europe was decided ! 
Could the question fail ? Shall we to our successors in the next 
generation appear to have known so little of what science has 
in such a short time developed, and to have been so ignorant 

41 6 SEVEN WEEKS* WAR, [Book IX. 

of mechanical appliances, which, when once unfolded, appear 
so simple and so palpable ? And another thought came into 
every mind, which struck home to the heart ; for it told that m 
a few short years those who had fought at Koniggratz and sur- 
vived the long summer da/s slaughter on the Sadowa hill 
would individually be equally lost to memory as those who fell 
at Wagram — their names mostly unknown, their private deeds 
unrecorded by any historian. 

About two hundred yards south of the village of Wagram lies 
the watercourse of the Roszbach rivulet. This world-known 
brook is about ten feet wide and fifteen feet deep. With sharp 
sides cut almost straight down, and the earth thrown up on 
either bank to form dykes which prevent its winter floods fi-om 
inundating the surrounding country, it looks more like a huge 
artificial drain than like a natural ri\'ulet. Along its banks 
grow rows of pollard willows, closely planted together, which 
formed a gratefiil shade fi-om the burning July sun. The road 
which leads to Florisdorf crosses the brook by a slight wooden 
bridge which could be destroyed in a few minutes by the 
pioneers of a single battalion. On the Wagram side of the 
bridge were two vedettes fi'om Hohenlohe's fine regiment of 
Uhlans, crouching for shade under the willow-trees, but steadily 
gazing out towards Florisdorf, though not an Austrian vedette 
could be seen, for they were all hidden by trees. 

But, though no enemy was in sight, a view was there which 
well repaid the long ride, and which even the soldiers, accus- 
tomed as they had been to marching through fine scenery, were 
admiring to each other. On the right lay the rounded hill of 
the Bisamberg, studded with vineyards, corn-fields, and woods, 
among which vain search with glasses was made to discover any 
signs of the hostile batteries. Beyond the Bisambeig could be 
seen the narrow gorge fi'om which the Danube issues, and 
fiirther still the rough rugged recess of the hills above Kloster- 
neuberg, rising steeply up from the water's edge, with their 
summits capped with heavy masses of dark green foliage, and 
their sides sprinkled over with fir-trees. A little to the left? 
and at the foot of the hills, the city of Vienna lay sparkling in 
the sun ; the tops of the steeples and the roofs of the houses 
glittered in the bright flood of light, but not too powerfiiUy, for 

Chap. IV.] THE TRUCE. 417 

the air between Wagram and the town seemed converted by 
the heat into a heavy transparent ether, which spread a halo 
round the city. In the foreground, a little to the left, a high 
church spire, surrounded by tall poplar-trees, showed the situa- 
tion of the village of Florisdorf ; but no intrenchments could 
be seen, no working parties could be discovered ; they were all 
hidden by a long gentle wave of the ground, which would not 
have been noticed except because it excluded from the view. 
Far away on the left front spread the Marchfeld, beyond 
which could be seen the dim blue line of hills which gird the 
valley south of the Danube, while directly to the left the dark 
Carpathians towered up to the sky, and the gap between the 
Theben-Berger and the main ridge showed where the road ran 
to Preszbuig, and pointed, out the situation of the village of 
Blumenau, the scene of the combat of the 22nd. 

After a long and fruitless search among the poplar-trees for 
any signs of intrenchments, during which heaps of earth were 
pointed out as redoubts, which may have been or may not, the 
officers turned to ride down the Roszbach. The brook was 
almost entirely dry; here and there for a few yards a thin 
sheet of water a few inches deep covered the soft muddy 
bottom, and gave a refuge to flocks of mud-bedaubed ducks, 
but in general the mud which forms the sole of the watercourse 
lay exposed to the sun, and was dried and broken into cracks 
and fissures, which ran into each other, forming a tracery not 
unlike hieroglyphic writing. All along the brook were constant 
vedettes, all hidden in the willows on the bank, which the 
conditions of the armistice had declared to be for the present 
Prussian ground The sound of horses' feet coming along 
drew the sentries out of their ambush far enough to let them 
be seen, but as soon they saw the uniforms of the Prussian 
staff-officers they resumed their steady stare to the front, retiring 
into the shade, and let the officers pass them as if they were 
not aware of our existence ; for outlying sentinels pay no 
compliments in the presence of the enemy. 

The Prussian armies were by the 25 th drawn close together, 
and, concentrated in one huge mass, lay like a crouching lion, 
ready to spring upon the Danube, should the negotiations for 
peace fail, and the orders for an advance be flashed by tele- 

£ E 

4i8 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR, [Book IX, 

graph jfrom Nikolsburg to the different commanders. The 
First Army, under Prince Frederick Charles, was close up to 
the Roszbach and the line of demarcation, with a strong corps 
on the left bank of the March to guard its flank or form its 
advanced guard as might be required, in case the signal should 
be given to move forward. General Herwarth, with the Army 
of the Elbe, was on the right, perhaps with the object of 
crossing the river at a lower point of its course. The Crown 
Prince was in rear of the first, ready to move in any direction 
which occasion might require. 

On the 27 th, at mid-day, the armistice would expire, and, in 
case that it should not be prolonged, or preliminaries of peace 
were not agreed upon by that hour, the Prussian troops were 
on the 26th held in readiness to m^irch at the shortest notice. 
If an advance had been made, there can be no doubt, firom the 
positions of the different divisions, that the great attack against 
the line of the Danube would have been made towards Presz- 
burg ; probably, at the same time, a demonstration might have 
been made towards the Prussian right, and a false attack 
directed on Florisdorf, in order to retain the garrison in their 
fortifications. The action of the 22nd, which at the moment 
of certain victory for the Prussians was interrupted by the 
armistice, had shown the Austrians where the chief attack 
could be made, and the Prussians thought that by the 27 th the 
position of Blumenau would in all likelihood have been arti- 
ficially strengthened, and the road by which Bose advanced 
and gained the rear of the villages would certainly be watched 
on a future occasion. Yet, though there could be no hope of 
succeeding so suddenly as on the 22nd in gaining the command 
of the defile which leads to Preszbuig, and though there was 
no chance, as would probably have been the case if the 
previous Sunday's action had continued, of driving the enemy 
so quickly through the town as to prevent him from destroying 
the bridge, the advantages to be gained fi-om attempting to pass 
the Danube at Preszburg were so great, that an attempt would 
probably have been made to force the defile and to secure that 
town. The fortifications of Florisdorf, a part of which could 
be seen from the church-tower of Wagram, shut out the access 
to such a broad piece of the river bank that veiy different 

Chap. IV.] THE TRUCE. 419 

measures had to be taken for securing the passage than would 
have been most expedient^ if no intrenchments had covered the 
approach across the flat plain from Wagram and Aspem. The 
portion of the works which could be seen through the clear air 
from the church spire embraced four redoubts on the Bisam- 
berg hill, and three on the flat ground between the Bisamberg 
and Florisdorf ; there was also another work on the hill to 
guard the left flank of the position, which lying more towards 
the river could not be seen from Wagram. 

The Prussian cavalry had gained much from the rest afforded 
by the armistice ; fatigued by long marches through the Mo- 
ravian highlands, and stinted for forage, it had a sufficiently 
long period of repose when the army halted at Briinn to restore 
it to the splendid condition in which it entered upon the 
campaign ; but the long rest in the Marchfeld had done it an 
immensity of good, though even here forage had not been 
plentiful Notwithstanding small rations, the horses had 
profited by their rest, for time had been given to replace their 
worn-out shoes, and to afford relief to chafed backs caused by 
the late long marches. The troopers were in high spirits, for 
they had overcome the famed Austrian cavalry in several 
encounters, and now claimed a higher reputation than that 
which for several years past had been accorded to their 
antagonists. The failures of the Austrian cavalry in their 
encounters with the stroi^er and better-mounted horsemen of 
Prussia had not so much astonished the thinking officers of this 
army as had the singularly little use which General Benedek 
had made of his light horse. Although operations had been 
conducted in its own country, where every information con- 
cerning the Prussian movements could have been readily 
obtained from the inhabitants, the Austrian cavalry had made 
no raids against the flank or rear of the advancing army, had 
cut off no ammunition or provision trains, had broken up no 
railway communication behind the marching columns, had 
destroyed no telegraph lines between the front and the base of 
supplies, had made no sudden or night attacks against the 
outposts so as to make the weary infantry stand to their arms 
and lose their night's rest, and, instead of hovering round the 
front and flanks to irritate and annoy the pickets^ had been 

£ £ 2 

420 SEVEN WEEKS' WAR. [Book IX. 

rarely seen or fallen in with except when it had been marched 
down upon and beaten up by the Prussian advanced guards. 

Yet the Prussian cavalry had in many cases lost severely in 
the campaign, especially the 3rd regiment of Dragoons. This 
regiment suffered fearfully from its rough hustle with the 
Austrian cuirassiers at Koniggratz, and now mustered but half 
the men and horses with which it entered upon the campaign. 
More than half the officers and quite half the men who followed 
across the Bohemian frontier the standard which has been 
cherished in their regiment since the year 1704 are now lying 
under the earth of Lipa, or were in the hospitals of Tiimau 
and Gorlitz, for this was the regiment which dashed against 
the heavy mass of cuirass horsemen who sacrificed themselves 
to cover the retreat of the Austrian battalions, and it supported 
its character for dashing courage at a tremendous cost Very 
many of both the officers and men who were not now in the 
ranks were victims to terrible sword cuts, which, coming down 
upon the shoulder, cut clean through the shoulder-blade, and 
often deep down into the body — awful memorials of the strength 
of arm of the Austrian horsemen. Much did the officers of 
this regiment complain of the absence of epaulettes, which 
they estimated would, by defending the shoulder, have saved 
half the men they had left behind them — a complaint which 
was to some extent borne out by the fact that the ultimate 
overthrow of the cuirass regiments of Austria was due to the 
arrival of some of Hohenlohe*s Uhlans, who took them in 
flank. Then, though the heavy horsemen turned upon Hohen- 
lohe's men, their swords were shivered upon the brass plates 
which lay upon the shoulders of the Uhlans, for these, unlike 
the rank and file of the rest of the Prussian cavalrj^ carried 
epaulettes, and though the blows were aimed at the head, the 
smaller object was nearly always missed, and the sharp edge 
descended only to be dinted or broken upon the protected 
shoulder, while the Uhlans, with their lances held short in 
hand, searched out with their spear-heads unguarded portions 
of their antagonists' bodies, or, dealing heavy blows with the 
butt ends of their staves, pressed through the thick ranks of the 
heavy horsemen, marking their track with great heaps of dead, 
dying, or wounded. On the evening of the 26th, th