1756 - Prussian invasion of Saxony – Relief Attempts

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1756 - Prussian invasion of Saxony >> Relief Attempts

The campaign lasted from August to October 1756

Introduction

The reversal of Alliances in Europe and the preparations of Austria and Prussia for the incoming conflict are described in our article Context and preparations (January 1 to August 26, 1756).

The advance of the Prussian columns into Saxony and the capture of Dresden are described in our article Prussian invasion of Saxony (August 26 to September 9, 1756).

The Prussian manoeuvres to surround and blockade the Saxon entrenched camp of Pirna and the detachment of a Prussian corps towards the border with Western Bohemia to prevent any relief by the Austrians are described in our article Blockade of the Saxon entrenched camp of Pirna (September 10 to September 27, 1756).

Frederick II advances against the Austrian relief force

Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of the Prussian Army of Saxony in the evening of September 27 1756

On Tuesday September 28, Frederick II quitted Zehista in the Pirna Country by the Prague road with 8 battalions and 20 squadrons, leaving the remainder of his divisions under the command of Margrave Karl to continue the blockade. He reached Johnsdorf the same day. Meanwhile, Grenadier Battalion Puttkamer left Dresden with a 6 days provision of bread for Keith's Army. The same day, Frederick, informed that Austrian light troops were advancing from Böhmisch-Kamnitz towards Schandau on the Elbe, decided to reinforce his outposts on both banks of the Elbe at Schandau and Krippen. He sent Meyerinck Infantry to Schandau where it replaced Grenadier Battalion Finck who advanced to Wendisch-Fähre. Meanwhile, 4 of the 5 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars posted on the Bevernschanze marched under Lieutenant-Colonel Warnery to Hinter-Hermsdorf, 15 km to the east of Schandau. Warnery also pushed a detachment of 200 hussars forward up to the neighbourhood of Böhmisch-Kamnitz. Finally, Major-General von Forcade at the head of II./Kalckstein, II./Wietersheim Fusiliers and II. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben reinforced the single sqn of Puttkamer Hussars previously posted at Krippen. Forcade pushed forward a detachment of infantry at Pabstdorf to occupy a redoubt. The Feldjäger zu Fuß left Rosenthal and took position in the woods between Cunnersdorf and Hermsdorf.

On Wednesday September 29, the Prussian bread convoy arrived at Johnsdorf from Dresden. Then, taking command of Keith's force, Frederick broke up camp and marched ahead with 8 bns, 10 dragoon sqns and 400 hussars directly towards Browne's position. He encamped in Türmitz area that night. There, he was informed that Browne would pass the Eger the next day as soon as he received pontoons to do so. In fact, on this day, Major-General Count von Guasco was establishing a camp at Lobositz under the protection of a detachment of 1,000 men.

Map of the manoeuvres on September 30 1756 on the eve of the Battle of Lobositz.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab, Courtesy of Tony Flores
Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of Frederick's Army on September 30 1756

Detailed order of battle of Browne's Army, end September 1756

On Thursday September 30, Frederick's force continued its advance while the Prussian Main Army under Keith followed him in three columns. The first column advanced by Karbitz, Hottowitz, Hlinai, Profanken, Boreslau on the Pascopol, the road between Dresden and Prague leading to Budin, while the second marched on Kottomirsch by Türmitz, Staditz and Kletschen (maybe present-day Kletečná); the third column marched along the Elbe to Lobositz. Frederick then reached the “Pascopol”. As the Prussian Army was approaching the town of Kletschen, Frederick spotted Browne's camp down by Lobositz some 16 km away. In fact, Browne had crossed the Eger very early the same day and pitched camp at Lobositz around noon. An hour before sunset, Frederick's vanguard debouched from the hills at Welmina (present-day Velemín) less than 2 km from Browne's camp. There, he observed the right flank of the Austrian camp resting on the Elbe and extending from Sulowitz (present-day Sulejovice), through Lobositz, to Welhoten close to the Elbe. During the evening, Frederick at the head of a detachment (part of Szekely Hussars, 2 bns of Braunschweig Infantry and 2 bns of Quadt Infantry) and Bevern leading another detachment (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck, Grenadier Battalion Grumbkow and I. and II./Anhalt-Dessau Infantry) occupied a hollow and some rising grounds commanding Lobositz. The Prussian Main Army arrived at Welmina during the night and was deployed in column in preparation for the battle. Blanckensee Infantry was then dispatched forward to reinforce Bevern's Brigade; I./Münchow Fusiliers was assigned to escort the field artillery and the II./Münchow Fusiliers and 2 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons to guard the wagons. Frederick also gave orders to Lieutenant-Colonel Kleist (II./Zastrow and III. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion Gemmingen) to prevent any attack from the direction of Aussig where the heavy baggage was sent. As mentioned above, the same day, Browne had marched from his camp near Budin to the camp of Lobositz previously established by Major-General Count Guasco. Browne's vanguard, under Major-General Count O'Donell, consisted of 4 sqns of Baranyay Hussars and 12 coys of carabiniers and horse-grenadiers. The Austrian main body had followed in four columns and reached the camp of Lobositz around noon. The same day, at Pirna, by noon the Saxon Army was ready to march, expecting a battle between Frederick and Browne. In the evening, Margrave Karl held a war council with Prince Moritz, Zieten and Winterfeldt at his headquarters in Gross-Sedlitz. Prussian troops were put in readiness to repulse any attack from the Saxons.

Battle of Lobositz

On Friday October 1, the two armies clashed in the Battle of Lobositz. Soon the fight centered on the Austrian defence of Lobositz. Frederick won the day by taking the village. After the battle, Browne retired 2 to 4 km towards Budin without being pursued. He then halted and rearranged his army. Meanwhile, the Prussians evacuated their wounded to Welmina where the defiles were guarded by Bayreuth Dragoons and Truchseß Dragoons. The same day around Pirna, Colonel von Plotho at the head of II./Prinz Ferdinand von Preußen, Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff and 2 sqns of Normann Dragoons took position on the heights to the south of Hellendorf to cover the main road to Bohemia while the detachment of Zieten Hussars previously posted at Hellendorf advanced to Markersbach.

On October 2, Frederick detached Bevern with a strong party southward, out of Lobositz, to lay hold of Tschischkowitz (present-day Čížkovice) on the road towards Budin. Bevern's force consisted of five battalions (Grenadier Battalion Puttkamer, I./Braunschweig, I./Zastrow, Grenadier Battalion Grumbkow, II./Münchow Fusiliers), 600 commandeered cuirassiers, Szekely Hussars and Oertzen Dragoons (5 sqns)). Bevern established his camp at Tschischkowitz with his front facing south Meanwhile, II./Blankensee occupied the village of Sulowitz and Major-General von Manstein (Grenadier Battalion Ramin and 3 sqns of Zieten Hussars) occupied the Castle of Dux to cover the right flank of Frederick's Army and sent patrols towards the Eger up to Komotau (present-day Chomutov). To avoid being cut off of his supplies, Browne then marched by night back to Budin.

The Prussians remained in the area of Lobositz for a couple of weeks, awaiting Browne reaction.

Browne makes a last attempt to relieve the Saxon Army

Map of the manoeuvres during the first part of October as Browne made a second attempt to relieve Pirna.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab, Courtesy of Tony Flores

The Prussian force blockading Pirna noisily celebrated the victory at Lobositz while the blockaded Saxon Army felt despair at this news.

Despite this defeat, Maria Theresa did not waver from her initial resolution and ordered Field-Marshal Browne to relieve the Saxon Army at all cost. Browne managed to communicate with the Elector of Saxony, asking him to hold until October 11. This was asking a lot to Saxon troops who were already on half short rations and who had seen an increase in sickness due to bad weather. The message was received in the Saxon camp on Thursday October 7.

On October 5, the Saxon garrison of Pirna moved to Königstein, leaving behind only 116 men of the Wittenberg Garrison. Despite bad conditions, desertion remained remarkably low in the Saxon Army.

On October 6 near Pirna, the Prussians erected a redoubt at Copitz and manned it with 200 men and 4 pieces.

On October 7, Browne left his camp of Budin at the head of a selected force of 8,000 horse and foot, the infantry under the command of FZM Count Kolowrath, FML Duke von Arenberg and GFWM Maquire, the cavalry under the command of Lt. Gen Prinz von Lichtenstein:

Browne marched to Raudnitz (present-day Roudnice nad Labem) where he crossed the Elbe and then advanced on bad mountain roads to Gastorf (present-day Hoštka) and Bleiswedel (present-day Blíževedly). He intended to make a wide sweeping movement eastward by the foothills of Lusatia. To conceal his march, he had deployed a chain of outposts along the Elbe between Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice) to Schreckenstein (present-day Střekov).

On Friday October 8, Field-Marshal Rutowski, general-in-chief of the Saxon Army, had a squad of boatmen, steersmen and peasants ready to tow boats towards Königstein to build a bridge. They were escorted by a few battalions with field-pieces to screen them from the Prussian batteries on the opposite north bank.

During the night of October 8 to 9, the flotilla of towed small crafts set under way. Around 1 a.m., it was spotted from the Prussian redoubt at Pötzscha (50 men of the Grenadier Battalion Kanitz and 2 pieces) who opened fire on it. The Saxon field-pieces were no match for these batteries. The towing party soon routed. Soldiers from the escort had to replace them but to no avail. The operation had to be interrupted. The Prussians captured 7 boats and sunk a few others. Meanwhile, Prussian Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz had rushed from Mockethal to the Heights of Wehlen at the head of Schwerin Infantry and II./Brandes Fusiliers.

On October 9, Lestwitz built entrenchments on the Heights of Wehlen and fired upon the Saxon pontoons lying on the opposite bank of the Elbe. Lestwitz then sent back II./Schwerin to his camp near Rosenthal while he occupied Wehlen with I./Schwerin and II./Brandes Fusiliers. For its part, the II. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben went from Krippen to Porschdorf where it took post in the entrenchements near Wendishfähre. The Grenadier Battalion Finck reinforced the Grenadier Battalion Kanitz at Waltersdorf; they both took post on each side of the Lilienstein up to the Elbe. Meanwhile, a cannonade took place between the Saxon battery near Weissig and the Prussian outpost at Gerswege, forcing the latter to evacuate their entrenchments on the bank of the river. The same day, Browne's detachment went unnoticed by Böhmisch Leipa (present-day Česká Lípa) and reached Böhmisch-Kamnitz (present-day Česká Kamenice) with an advanced party of 100 Grenzers at Rumburg (present-day Rumburk).

During the night of October 9 to 10, another vain attempt was made to bring boats to Königstein.

On Sunday October 10, now considering that it was impossible to bring boats to Königstein, Rutowski changed his plan and ordered the pontoons to be carted from Pirna to Thürmsdorf about 1,6 km from Königstein. The same day, I./Forcade, I./Schwerin and II./Brandes Fusiliers returned to the Prussian camp of Mockethal. Meanwhile, Winterfeldt received orders from Frederick asking for reinforcements. Winterfeldt then sent Prinz von Preußen Infantry with 10 25-pdr mortars to Hellendorf to join Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff before marching towards Frederick's. The resulting gap in the Prussian positions near the camp of Gross-Sedlitz was filled by the Grenadier-Battalion Lengefeld arriving from Dresden. The same day, Browne's relief force reached Zeidler (present-day Brtníky).

On Monday October 11, Prinz von Preußen Infantry with the 10 mortars reached Cotta on its way to Frederick's camp while II./Winterfeldt Infantry marched from Cotta to Zehista. Winterfeldt still ignored Browne's approach but he was now pretty sure that the Saxon would soon try to break his blockade at Lilienstein.

The same day in the afternoon, Browne arrived on the heights of Mittelndorf, after a march of 97 km in terrible weather conditions (heavy rain and even hailstorm) from his camp near Budin, his troops marching from 15 to 18 hours a day after leaving tents and baggage on the frontier. Browne was now only 11 km from Königstein. A patrol of Puttkamer Hussars was driven back from Lichtenhayn. Seeing this, Meyerinck with Meyerinck Infantry, II./Kalckstein, II./Wietersheim Fusiliers, II. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben retired behind Altendorf. In the evening, Meyerinck moved to Schandau. Meanwhile, I./Forcade moved from Wehlen to Rathmannsdorf.

The Saxons were supposed to move across the Elbe at Thürmsdorf under cover of the guns at Königstein. The plan called for Austrians to take position at Lichtenhayn while Saxons would concentrate at Ebenheit during the night. Then, the following day, the Saxons were to fire two cannon-shots from Königstein as a signal to start the simultaneous attacks on the Prussian posts. However, on the Saxon side of the river, the pontoons had not yet been assembled into a bridge. Rutowski attributed this to the small number of pontoniers or trained bridge-builders available. The Prussian General Leschwitz was posted between Schandau and Wendischefere with 11 battalions and 15 squadrons, blocking the way to Field-Marshal Browne who was encamped opposite to this Prussian Corps between Mittelndorf and Altendorf. The small plain where the Saxons intended to land was dominated by the Lilienstein Mountain. Both sides of this mountain were guarded by 5 battalions of Prussian grenadiers entrenched behind breastworks. Two Prussian infantry brigade were deployed 500 paces behind in the defile of Burgersdorf, supported by 5 squadrons of dragoons.

In the night of October 11 to 12, the Prussian Major-General von Manteuffel at the head of I./Schwerin and II./Brandes Fusiliers left his camp at Mockethal. From their camp at Pirna, the Saxons could see Browne's camp fires.

Order of Battle
Detailed order of march of the Saxon Army on October 12 1756

On Tuesday October 12, the expected signal from the Saxon Army did not come. Its pontoniers with some officers and soldiers were still actively working on the building of the pontoon bridge. Meanwhile, the Prussian commander was reinforcing his posts in the area of the Lilienstein and Lichtenhayn, now fully aware of the enterprises of Rutowski and Browne. At 5 a.m., II./Forcade set off from the camp of Gross-Sedlitz while Meyerinck reoccupied the heights with his 5 bns. At 10 a.m., II./Prinz Moritz von Anhalt set off from the camp of Gross-Sedlitz while the Grenadier Battalion Bandemer with 3 sqns of the Württemberg Dragoons advanced from the bridge of boats at Pratzschwitz, leaving only 100 men of I./Prinz Moritz von Anhalt and 2 sqns of Württemberg Dragoons to guard the bridge. By 10 p.m., all these units had taken reached the barrier to the west of Lilienstein. Furthermore, Warnery with 4 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars moved from Hinter-Hermsdoef to Ottendorf then to Altendorf and the Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff marched from Hellendorf to Krippen.

The Saxon Army crosses the Elbe

From 9:00 p.m. during the night of October 12 to 13, the Saxon Army(18,558 men) moved under heavy rain from its positions extending from Pirna to Hennersdorf to reach the crossing place at Thürmsdorf. Due to very narrow roads it could only advance in a single column. Darkness and fog increased difficulties. The army had to abandon most of its guns on the soaked roads. At 11h30 p.m., the crossing on the pontoon bridge began, the Bennigsen Grenadier Battalion leading the way. The movement was still under way when day broke, only the 7 converged grenadier battalions having completed the crossing with 2 battalion guns. Fog prevented the Saxon artillery of the fortresses of Sonnenstein and Königstein to cover the movement of the army. Meanwhile, the Elector of Saxony and his court had taken refuge into the Fortress of Königstein.

Map of the crossing of the Elbe by the Saxon army on October 13 1756.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab

On Wednesday October 13, heavy rain continued to pour while the Saxons were crossing the Elbe. At 8:00 a.m., Margrave Karl, informed of the retreat of the Saxon Army, sent forward the Grenadier Garde and I./Prinz Moritz from their post near the bridge of Pratzschwitz along with 2 sqns of the Württemberg Dragoons. Meanwhile, Margrave Karl took position on the Height near Himmelreich with 6 bns and 3 sqns. From there, he sent Winterfeldt at the head of Winterfeldt Infantry and Grenadier Battalion Lengefeld towards Sonnenstein. Winterfeldt soon established a truce with the commander of the place and occupied Pirna. Winterfeldt then crossed the Elbe and reached Wehlen late in the evening. Margrave Karl also instructed Prince Moritz to immediately leave his positions at Gross-Sedlitz and Gottleuba to pursue the retreating Saxon troops at the head of 12 bns marching in two columns (the first by Neundorf, the second by Rottwerndorf). He entered into the Saxon camp in seven columns. Zieten formed the Prussian vanguard with 200 hussars. He made contact with 4 Saxon sqns forming the rearguard and sporadic firefights ensued. The Saxons had to abandon most of their baggage. When he arrived close to Thürmsdorf, Zieten took into the woods, firing on the disorganized Saxon troops awaiting their turn to cross the pontoon bridge over the Elbe. Meanwhile, heavier Prussian units were still too distant to engage the Saxons. Nevertheless, they managed to fire a couple of cannon-shots towards Thürmsdorf, spreading confusion in the Saxon ranks. Around 3:00 p.m., the Saxon army finally completed its crossing. The pontoon bridge was now cut adrift. However, the Prussians recovered the pontoon bridge drifting on the Elbe at Rathen, a few km downstream and rebuilt it. Now 14,000 Saxon troops stood on the north bank of the Elbe. By 4:00 p.m., the Saxon infantry had formed near Ebenheit while the cavalry and artillery (now counting only 8 pieces) were still along the bank of the Elbe. With their ammunition soaked by the continuous rain, the Saxon infantry could not consider an attack on the Prussian entrenchments. As the Saxon bridge was carried away, Margrave Karl, who had reached Struppen, the former Saxon headquarters near Königstein, was forced to halt and encamp for the night. His Feldjäger zu Fuß occupied Thürmsdorf while Zieten Hussars patrolled the banks of the Elbe. The right flank of the Prussian camp was covered by Grenadier Battalion Möllendorff and 1 sqn of Zieten Hussars posted in the forest of Königstein. Furthermore, 5 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars deployed to the east of Königstein. On the left wing of the camp of Margrave Karl, Prinz von Preußen Infantry and I./Prinz Ferdinand von Preußen Infantry were posted at Naundorf. Finally, II./Markgraf Carl Infantry and 100 men of II. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben guarded Karl's headquarters at Struppen where the troops from Hellendorf had returned along with II./Prinz Ferdinand von Preußen Infantry and 2 sqns of Normann Dragoons. The same morning, when Frederick heard about the operations in Pirna Country, he quickly returned from Lobositz with 15 dragoon sqns (10 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons and 5 sqns of Truchseß Dragoons) and the grenadier coy of I.Leibgarde Bataillon and reached Arbesan the same day. Late in the evening, a sick Browne still waiting in his camp at Lichtenhayn and unaware that the Saxon had successfully crossed the Elbe, decided to retreat the following day.

On the other side of the Elbe, Prussian reinforcements (Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff, II./Schwerin Infantry, 2additional bns and 2 sqns under Retzow) had poured all day long in the entrenchments at Lilienstein placed under the command of Major-General von Forcade. The II./Prinz Moritz von Anhalt was kept in reserve with 10 battalion guns. The 3 sqns of Württemberg Dragoons previously posted at Lilienstein were sent back to join the 2 other sqns who were with Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz' Corps.

The Saxon Army surrenders at Ebenheit

Lilienstein as seen from the Fortress of Königstein.
 
Source: Franzfoto in Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday October 14, even though it had succeeded in the crossing of the Elbe, the small Saxon Army was still facing formidable obstacles. The way to the hamlets of Halbestadt and Ebenheit was but a steep slippery footpath. Then between Ebenheit and Browne's camp stood the abrupt rocky mountain of Lilienstein whose slopes were defended by a well entrenched Prussian battery (16 battalion guns) and where Winterfeldt had taken command early in the morning. Further away, other Prussian batteries commanded the valley, then the Ziegenrück, another rocky height, stood on the way. Finally, 12,000 Prussians were waiting in redoubts near Lichtenhayn... Nevertheless, the Saxons were ordered to advance. The Prussian II./Prinz Ferdinand von Preußen Infantry joined its first battalion at Naundorf. All this while Browne was packing up, planning to leave around 9:00 a.m. About noon, the long awaited signal was fired from Königstein, but Browne was not in the area any more. With rain still pouring and no help in sight, Rutowski summoned a council of war in Ebenheit where it was decided to surrender. Consequently, Rutowsky wrote a letter to Elector Friedrich August II, informing him of the impossibility of any further defence. The Elector initially refused to capitulate. The same day at 1:00 p.m., Frederick accompanied by his dragoons arrived at Struppen. He kept Truchseß Dragoons at Struppen and sent Bayreuth Dragoons to Langen-Hennersdorf while the grenadier coy of the I.Leibgarde Bataillon occupied Gross-Cotta. Margrave Karl sent Normann Dragoons to reinforce the Prussian positions on the Lilienstein. In addition to the bridge at Pratzschwitz, the Prussian re-established three additional bridges across the Elbe at Pirna, Rathen and Krippen. Around 2:30 p.m., Lestwitz who was observing Browne's Corps realised that it was retreating under the protection of a rearguard placed under the command of Hadik (300 hussars and 200 Grenzers). Lestwitz immediately sent Lieutenant-Colonel Warnery with 300 horse to harass this rearguard. However, Hadik was retreating very orderly and Warnery could not initially find an opportunity to attack. Finally an engagement took place to the east of Lichtenhain where the Austrians lost 80 grenadiers and 7 hussars while the Prussian lost Major von Kleist and 7 hussars killed, 19 wounded and 4 missing. Warnery retired to the Prussian camp and Browne resumed his march up to Hinter-Hermsdorf. Still the same day, after rejecting the first summons, the commander of the Fortress of Sonnenstein, the Saxon Colonel von Preuß, finally accepted to capitulate after negotiations with Lieutenant-Colonel von Thaum.

On Friday October 15, Browne continued his retreat, reaching Schönlinde (present-day Krásná Lípa). The same day in the moring, the Prussians occupied the Fortress of Sonnenstein. Meanwhile Rutowski had crossed back to Struppen. Without the Elector's authorisation, he opened negotiations with Winterfeldt and Frederick II. Rutowsky then informed the Elector who finally authorised him to negotiate a capitulation. The Elector's main concerns were to obtain free withdrawal to Warsaw for himself and his court; to prevent forced integration of his army into the Prussian Army; to keep the Fortress of Königstein neutral for the duration of the war; and to prevent imprisonment of his gurads and cadets. However, Frederick II rejected most of these conditions: he insisted that Elector Friedrich August II. Should simply “give him his troops”; no exception was made for guards and cadets:; however, Saxon officers would not be forced to serve in Prussian army if they promised not to fight any more against the Prussians. The final terms granted to the Saxon Army were hard enough:

  1. Kettle-drums, standards and other insignia had to be carried to Königstein who would be a neutral fortress throughout the war. The Elector of Saxony retained his liberty of movement.
  2. Officers were allowed to leave providing that they give their parole not to serve against Prussia during the war.
  3. Rest of the Army (some 14,000 men) with all its equipments and munitions was compelled to surrender (and eventually to join the Prussian army).

On Saturday October 16, Browne reached Böhmisch-Kamnitz with his main corps. He was informed that the Prussians were working at a bridge at Tetschen, thus threatening his line of retreat. Browne then detached Lieutenant-Colonel Loudon from Kamnitz with 500 foot of the Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer under Lieutenant-Colonel MacElliot and 60 hussars to attack Tetschen. Loudon was also accompanied by Browne's son, Lieutenant-Colonel von Browne, by Colonel von Kheil, Colonel von Mitrowski and several other volunteers. The same day in the evening, the capitulation of the Saxon Army was signed and bread was sent to its soldiers. Frederick II then sent Major-General von Ingersleben with orders to have all Saxon soldiers swear allegiance to him. FM Rutowski sent General von Arnim to Frederick II to protest against this measure but this was to no avail.

On Sunday October 17, Frederick II crossed to Niederrathen, where the rebuilt pontoon bridge was thrown over the Elbe. He then went to Waltersdorf to review the captured Saxon Army. Saxon officers were separated from their regiment and sent back home (from a total of some 600 officers, only 37 accepted to enter in the Prussian service). Saxon soldiers for their part passed between two battalions of Prussian Gardes and were received by the two battalions of Prinz von Preußen Infantry. They then deposited arms. Till this moment, they did not that they would be taken in Prussian service. Saxon regiments were forced to swear allegiance to FM Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau who had been appointed commander of the “new” regiments. Only a few soldiers swore allegiance, even if the Prussians started to beat them. The Leibgrenadiergarde, Garde du Corps, Grenadierbataillon Kurprinzessin and Königin Infantry all refused to swear allegiance. The same day, Browne reached Politz.

The ceremony of allegiance lasted until October 19. Regiments got Prussian officers and then marched to a camp between Struppen and Pirna, guarded by Prussian soldiers. Frederick tried to convince the Saxon Garde du Corps to join his own Garde du Corps but they initially refused. They have to give up their sabres and Frederick threatened to distribute them among his cavalry regiments. Finally, wishing to remain with their old comrades, the Saxon Gardes du Corps accepted Frederick's offer. All other captured Saxon cuirassier regiments were disbanded and their troops distributed among various Prussian cuirassier regiments. Ten of the thirteen captured Saxon foot regiments were kept intact, dressed with Prussian uniforms and supervised by Prussian officers. The remaining three foot regiment were disbanded and their soldiers distributed among the ten other foot regiment. Saxon officers were allowed to leave on parole. There were 6 other Saxon cavalry regiments (Karabiniergarde 533 men, Prinz Karl Chevauxlegers 766 men, Prinz Albrecht Chevauxlegers 542 men, Graf Brühl Chevauxlegers 766 men, Graf Renard Uhlanen 426 men and Graf Rudnicki Uhlanen 426 men) who were stationed in Poland under the command of Major-General Georg Ludwig Count Nostitz. They represented the sole Saxon units remaining of the Saxon Army.

Reassignment of Saxon units within the Prussian Army
Name in the Saxon Army Name in the Prussian Army
Garde zu Fuss Blanckensee Fusiliers
Königin Infantry disbanded and distributed among the ten remaining regiments
Prinz Friedrich August Infantry Loen Fusiliers
Prinz Maximilian Infantry Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm von Preußen Fusiliers
Prinz Xaver Infantry Jung-Braunschweig-Bevern Fusiliers
Prinz Clemens Infantry Flemming Fusiliers
Graf Brühl Infantry Wylich Fusiliers
Rochow Fusiliers Wietersheim Fusiliers
Minckwitz Infantry Manstein Fusiliers
Prinz Gotha Infantry Saldern Fusiliers
Fürst Lubomirsky Infantry Hauss Fusiliers
Grenadierbataillon Kurprinzessin disbanded and distributed among the ten remaining regiments
Leibgrenadiergarde disbanded and distributed among the ten remaining regiments
Freicompagnie Fürst Anhalt disbanded and distributed among the ten remaining regiments
Adeliges Kadettenkorps disbanded, in part distributed among Prussian regiments, in part released
Grenadiers of the Garde zu Fuss
Grenadiers of Fürst Lubomirsky Infantry
S-52/S-55 Kahlenberg Grenadiers
Grenadiers of Rochow Fusiliers
Grenadiers of Prinz Clemens Infantry
S-50/S-58 Bähr Grenadiers
Grenadiers of Graf Brühl Infantry
Grenadiers of Prinz Maximilian Infantry
S-51/S-59 Bornstädt Grenadiers
Grenadiers of Prinz Xaver Infantry
Grenadiers of Minckwitz Infantry
S-53/S-57 Diezelsky Grenadiers
Grenadiers of Prinz Gotha Infantry
Grenadiers of Prinz Friedrich August Infantry
S-54/S-56 Köller Grenadiers
Garde du Corps incorporated in the Prussian Garde du Corps
Graf Rutowsky Light Dragoons incorporated in Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons
Leibregiment

Königlicher Prinz Cuirassiers
Arnim Cuirassiers
Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau Cuirassiers
Vitzthum Cuirassiers
Plötz Cuirassiers

disbanded and incorporated in various Prussian cuirassier regiments

Later, as soon as they had the opportunity, Saxon infantrymen deserted by whole companies. By the end of 1757, most Saxon regiments had been disbanded and soldiers who had not deserted were distributed among various Prussian regiments. The fate of each Saxon regiment in the Prussian service is detailed in articles dedicated to these new Prussian regiments.

In the night of October 17 to 18 at 3:00 a.m., Loudon's detachment attacked the town of Tetschen defended by two sqns of Szekely Hussars under Lieutenant-Colonel Strozzi. Loudon captured 12 men and 70 horses with their saddlery but the Prussian hussars managed to take refuge into the castle garrisoned by one coy of Zastrow Infantry (150 men under Captain von Diezelsky). Loudon then retired towards Böhmisch-Kamnitz where an Austrian force of about 4,000 men was still posted. In this affair the Prussians lost 5 men killed and 6 men wounded.

Storming of Tetschen by the Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer under Loudon on October 18 1756 - Copyright: Ing. Jiří Sissak Ph.D, reproduced with the kind authorisation of the National Heritage Institute of the Czech Republic

Continuation

The last phase of the campaign is described in the following article:

  • Manoeuvres to take winter-quarters (October 18 to November 14, 1756) describing the manoeuvres of Prussian army to retire from the border with Western Bohemia and take its winter-quarters around Dresden

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761
  • Archenholz, J. W.: The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 10-30
  • Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 17 chapters IV, V
  • Donnersmarck, Victor Amadaeus Henckel von: [1], Karl Zabeler, 1858
    • Tagesbuch des Feldzuges von 1756, pp. 18-130
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und LobositzBerlin, 1901, pp. 62-104, 142, 150-151, 174-241, 251-260, 286-316, Appendix 16
  • "1756 The War in Bohemia-The Journal of Horace St. Paul", translated and edited, with additional material, by Neil Cogswell, Gralene Books, 1996.
  • Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885
  • Tempelhoff, Fr.: History of the Seven Years' War Vol. I Section 4, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793
  • Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 403-408
  • Wienerisches Diarium - 23 October 1756, Zweytes Extra-blat (zu Num.85) 23 Octob. 1756 "Aus dem Lager bey Budyn den 20. October 1756"

Other sources

Grossenhain: Geschichte des koeniglische Saechs, Koenigs-Husaren-Regiments No 18, Leipzig, 1901

Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for information on the Saxon Army during this period