1757 - Austrian invasion of Silesia – The Prussians retreat to Lusatia
The campaign lasted from June to December 1757
The manoeuvres of the Prussians in Northern Bohemia as they tried to hold their ground against the Austrians are described in our article The Prussians try to hold Northern Bohemia (June 24 to July 14, 1757).
The retreat of the Prince of Prussia
On July 15
- The Prince of Prussia at Böhmisch-Leipa summoned a council of war to determine if he should join the king at Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice/CZ) or relieve Puttkamer at Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí/CZ) with his 25,000 men or retreat to Zittau leaving Puttkamer to his fate. Winterfeldt proposed to march on Gabel and the prince agreed to do so. However, departure was postponed to bake a three-days provision of bread for the army. The sound of guns coming from Gabel could not be heard any more. However, by noon, artillery fire resumed. In the afternoon, the Prince of Prussia received confirmation that Puttkamer's detachment was still in Gabel. In the evening, the prince decided to send Major-General von Rebentisch with 3 bns and 10 sqns to reinforce Puttkamer.
- In the evening, Puttkamer at Gabel had to surrender with his wagons, ensigns, kettledrums. The high road to Zittau was now open to the Austrians.
- The Austrian main army reached Hühnerwasser (present-day Kuřívody/Ralsko). The first line advanced beyond the Polzen in the area to the north of Niemes (present-day Mimoň/CZ).
- In the morning, Arenberg reinforced Maquire's troops posted to the south of Gabel.
- The Austrians attacked Gabel. Puttkamer defended the place, expecting relief within a few hours (see Siege of Gabel).
Around mid-July, I./Rohr Fusiliers marched from Berggießhübel to Dresden.
On July 16
- Rebentisch's detachment set off from Böhmisch-Leipa (present-day Ceska Lipa/CZ). He encountered Austrian troops, probably Hadik's Corps, and did not dare to go further than Wellnitz (present-day Velenice/CZ). The Prince of Prussia then sent 3 additional bns under Major-General Manteuffel to reinforce Rebentisch. They were then informed that Gabel had already capitulated and their united detachments returned unmolested to the camp at Böhmisch-Leipa.
- With Gabel taken, the Prince of Prussia had now only the roads through Rumburg (present-day Rumburk/CZ), or even farther to the wast, opened to him to retire towards Lusatia. The prince, fearing that he could not take unopposed the good direct road by Georgenthal (present-day Jiřetín pod Jedlovou/CZ) to Rumburg, decided to make a detour by Böhmisch-Kamnitz (present-day Česká Kamenice/CZ) and Kreibitz (present-day Chřibská/CZ), despite Winterfeldt's terrible experience of the previous days.
In the night of July 16 to 17
- Lieutenant-General Count Schmettau force marched from the camp near Böhmisch-Leipa with a vanguard of 9 bns (Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, Grenadier Battalion Carlowitz, Lestwitz Infantry, 1 bn of Schultze Infantry, 1 bn Münchow Fusiliers, 1 bn Wied Fusiliers, II./Kreytzen Fusiliers), 10 sqns (Normann Dragoons, 5 sqns Werner Hussars) and 6 heavy pieces (four 12-pdr guns, two mortars) to reach as soon as possible the Eckartsberg Heights to the north of Zittau. Next came pontoons, provisions and baggage escorted by 3 bns and (Grenadier Battalion Kahlenberg, I,/Manstein Fusiliers, II./Wietersheim Fusiliers) 5 sqns of Wartenberg Hussars under Major-General von Wietersheim.
- The two grenadier bns still posted in Reichstadt (present-day Zákupy) rejoined the army of the Prince of Prussia. Immediately, Grenzer light troops advanced from Götzdorf (unidentified location) and occupied Reichstadt.
- After the capture of Gabel, Morocz occupied Krombach (present-day Krompach) and Kratzau (present-day Chrastava) and sent patrols forward up to Grottau (present-day Hrádek nad Nisou/CZ), Grafenstein (present-day Grabštejn) and Ullersdorf (present-day Oldřichov v Hájích/CZ).
On July 17
- In the evening, the main body (24 bns, 35 sqns) of the army of the Prince of Prussia set off from Böhmisch-Leipa and retreated by a circuitous road. Zieten formed the rearguard with 5 grenadier bns (Gemmingen, Lubath, Ostenreich, Manteuffel, Unruh), Freibataillon le Noble, the Feldjäger zu Fuß and 25 sqns (Stechow Dragoons, 10 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars, 5 sqns of Wartenberg Hussars and 5 sqns of Werner Hussars). The difficult roads in the hills with their jolts and precipitous windings slowed the advance of the Prince of Prussia who encamped at Ober-Liebich. Meanwhile, Schmettau encamped to the north of Böhmisch-Kamnitz.
- Maquire marched to Petersdorf (unidentified location) while Arenberg remained at Gabel.
- Nádasdy remained at Gastorf (present-day Hoštka).
On July 17, the Austrian main army, under Prince Charles and Daun, reached Niemes, not above 6,5 km from the eastern outpost of the Prince of Prussia. Maquire marched to Eichgraben (unidentified location), 5 km south of Zittau. Meanwhile, Kheul advanced in two columns to Gabel with the second line of the right wing of main Austrian army.
Since the fall of Gabel, Colonel von Diericke from Sers Fusiliers, who commanded at Zittau, was daily expecting an Austrian attack. The garrison consisted of 6 weak bns (Grenadier Battalion Bähr, Grenadier Battalion Kremzow, Kurssell Fusiliers, II./Markgraf Heinrich Fusiliers, I./Sers Fusiliers). Diericke posted his light guns at the best positions and cleared their line of fire. Zittau was a very important Prussian magazine which, including 900 four-horse wagons kept inside the town, could supply 40,000 men for a period of three weeks.
On July 18
- Early in the morning, Lieutenant-General von Winterfeldt set off from Ober-Liebich with 6 bns and 10 sqns. Throughout the day, the advance of the main body of the Prince of Prussia through Wolfersdorf (present-day Volfartice) and Gersdorf (present-day Kerhartice) was hampered by wagons and vehicles of the bakery. It barely managed to reach the camp to the north of Böhmisch-Kamnitz. Zieten's rearguard remained to the south of the town to block Hadik's advance. Meanwhile, Winterfeldt reached Kunnersdorf (present-day Kunratice) where part of the wagons transporting baggage were still struggling to advance. For his part, Schmettau managed to come out of the mountains unmolested and to reach Schönborn (unidentified location) where he encamped around 6:00 p.m. He had left 1 bn of Wied Fusiliers at the pond of Bernsdorf (probably Velký Rybník) under the command of Major von Böhm to cover the advance of Wietersheim's wagons.
- During his march, the Prince of Prussia sent several messages to Frederick, describing his situation. However, most of these messages were intercepted by Austrian hussars and the few who got through were not taken seriously by Frederick.
- In the evening, the Prince of Prussia was informed that 2,000 Grenzer light troops and 200 hussars were advancing from Steinschönau (present-day Kamenický Šenov) on Böhmisch-Kamnitz and had already reached the neighbourhood of Hasel (present-day Líska). The prince immediately detached Freibataillon le Noble and the Feldjäger zu Fuß from the rearguard to take position in the woods near Hasel and on the Kaltenberg to protect the lagging wagons. Wietersheim precipitously formed his wagons in a Wagenburg near Kreibitz. In fact, FML Morocz rather advanced towards Zwickau (present-day Cvikov).
- Prinz Moritz Infantry was detached from Frederick's Army at Leitmeritz to march towards Stettin (present-day Szczecin in Poland) to reinforce the Prussian corps defending Pomerania against the Swedes. It was joined on the way at Torgau by Flemming Fusiliers (a former Saxon rgt) who had previously been posted at Wittenberg.
- Maquire's Corps arrived in front of Zittau and Maquire immediately summoned the place who refused to surrender.
- Some Austrian troops had occupied the pass and defile near Böhmisch-Kamnitz and awaited the approaching Prussians.
- FZM Kheul, commanding a corps of the Austrian right wing and Arenberg's vanguard posted at Gabel, received orders to march on Zittau. Major-General Lucchesi should follow with another corps. The Austrians wanted to reach Zittau before the Prince of Prussia, but their reacted too slowly.
In the night of July 18 to 19
- A Prussian column tried to break through at Ober Kamnitz and Hasel (present-day Líska) with its train and pontoons. However, it was opposed by 1,000 Warasdiner and Slavonische Grenzers and 300 hussars led by Colonel Emerich Count Esterházy. In the very dark night, the Prussians lit lanterns and torches, thus offering a good target to the Grenzers. FML Lewin Baron von Beck, advancing from Reichstadt, had taken position on the heights near Hasel with 1,000 Warasdiner and Slavonier and 300 hussars. Beck then launched an attack with his Grenzers on three sides of the Prussian column. Freibataillon le Noble and the Feldjäger zu Fuß counter-attacked in flank from the Kaltenberg while the escort of the convoy maintained a lively fire. Finally, Lieutenant-Colonel Gablentz with I./Kreytzen Fusiliers advanced from the road. Several Saxon and Bohemian conductors fled with their wagons who overturned or collided, blocking the narrow road. Overall, the Prussians had lost 9 filed ovens (parts were missing from 14 others), 139 wagons, 72 carts and 706 horses.
- Morocz's vanguard (500 men of the Baranyay Hussars, 600 Grenzers and 2 pieces), posted at Zwickau, was led by Colonel Ferdinand Franz von Ujházy. This vanguard attacked the head of Wietersheim's column on both flanks at Kreibitz and engaged a Prussian detachment (600 hussars, 1 grenadier battalion and 2 pieces). The Prussian hussars soon routed, leaving the grenadiers to their fate. However, these grenadiers bravely held their ground and drove back Ujházy. Platoons of Wied Fusiliers managed to protect this part of the convoy. As Morocz's main body appeared, the Prussian grenadiers were forced to retire. In this action, they lost 26 men and their 2 pieces. In his report to the headquarters, Morocz praised his Grenzers whose courage had been at par with the Prussian grenadiers. After the combat, Major von Böhm with 340 men from Wied Fusiliers marched towards Löbau, engaging the Austrians once more near Schönborn.
On July 19
- Heavy fighting continued around Kaltenberg. Initially, the Slavonische Grenzers were stopped by the fire of the Prussian grenadiers who were supported by four guns. The Warasdiner Grenzers, supported by 180 dismounted hussars, then came to the rescue and drove back the Prussian grenadiers. The Grenzers then attacked the column of wagons, hamstringing some horses, destroying a few wagons and capturing 8 pieces (6 of which had been made unusable), several wagons and 500 horses. They then tried to bring back their booty to Falckenau (present-day Falknov) but bad roads and the arrival of Prussian reinforcements prevented them to do so. However, they managed to bring back the 500 captured horses to the Austrian camp. In this action, the Prussians lost all baggage, several wagons, ammunition and all their pontoons. They also lost 261 men taken prisoners and 43 deserters. The number of men killed or wounded is not known. For their part, the Austrians lost 72 men killed and 94 wounded. FML Beck's favourite horse was killed under him.
- The army of the Prince of Prussia could not advance before Winterfeldt's detachment had cleared the road near Hasel from the broken wagons. Finally, at 4:00 p.m., the army set off from the area of Böhmisch-Kamnitz.
- Schmettau's detachment (9 bns, 10 sqns) arrived near Zittau from Rumburg. When Schmettau saw the large Austrian force already posted around Zittau, he did not dare to take position on the Eckartsberg as initially planned but rather took refuge in Zittau with his troops and the heavy artillery that he escorted.
- Late in the evening, Winterfeldt and Lestwitz finally reached the heights north of Kreibitz. After the previous attacks, the Prince of Prussia did not dare to resume his march during the night. His army had no more bread and more than 1,500 soldiers deserted.
- At Leitmeritz in Bohemia, Frederick assembled the baggage and provisions of his army.
- At 5:00 p.m. near the Kaltenbach, FML Andreas von Hadik and colonels Ried and Kleefeld, at the head of 4 bns (among which elements of the Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer and Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer) and 8 pieces, who had taken positions on the heights of the Kaltenberg (present-day Studený), attacked from south the II./Jung-Braunschweig who closed the march in Winterfeldt's column. The Austrians attacked the Prussian column, capturing 46 wagons with baggage, ammunition and 184 horses. The Prince of Prussia sent 3 bns under Lieutenant-General Lestwitz to help Winterfeldt to drive back the attackers. The Markgraf Heinrich Fusiliers launched a counter-attack. The Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer and Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer, led by Colonel Wenzel Baron Hnogek von Kleefeld, drove back the attack. In this action, the Prussians lost 486 men killed, 264 wounded, 135 taken prisoners and 423 deserters. For their part, the Austrians lost 164 men killed and 214 wounded (including Colonel Ried).
- In the afternoon, Kheul's, Arenberg's and Maquire's corps effected a junction near Zittau. FZM Kheul assumed command of the Austrian forces blockading Zittau. He cut off the place from water supply and started to surround it. Maquire posted his troops on both sides of Olbersdorf. Arenberg prepared to cross the Neisse and to take position on the Eckartsberg.
- Maquire's guns opened on Zittau and the newly arrived heavy guns answered with a strong fire.
- Kheul moved Maquire's and Arenberg's troops to the right bank of the Neisse, guarding the bridge at Klein-Schönau (present-day Sieniawka).
- Lucchesi at the head of the first line of the right wing of the main Austrian army marched from Niemes to Gabel.
On July 20
- Winterfeldt marched to Neudörfel (unidentified location) where he put his men to work to clear a path through the broken wagons. Only after he had been replaced by 5 bns under Major-General Kleist at Neudörfel did Winterfeldt send Lestwitz' 3 bns by Schönlinde (present-day Krásná Lípa) to Rumburg to cover the dam west of Bernsdorf ponds. At 11:00 p.m., Winterfeldt finally reached Rumburg. He let 5 bns who had lost their tents in the town and encamped the rest on the heights south of Rumburg.
- In the afternoon, the main body of the Prince of Prussia marched with cavalry and infantry brigades alternating in the order of march. Wietersheim made it halfway between Schönlinde and Rumburg with the artillery train and formed a Wagenburg. Zieten with the rearguard burnt the broken wagons and all supplies who could not be transported. The main body encamped south of Schönlinde while Zieten remained north of the Bernsdorf ponds, Freibataillon le Noble and the Feldjäger zu Fuß guarding the dam.
- Schmettau sent his 10 sqns under the command of Major-General von Seydlitz to Seifhennersdorf because there was insufficient forage in Zittau to feed horses. Schmettau also ordered to unload several ammunition wagon and reload them with bread destined to the army of the Prince of Prussia.
- Görlitz was evacuated.
- In the afternoon, the provision-wagons, the bakery and the artillery train of Frederick's Army set off from Leitmeritz and marched towards Aussig (present-day Ústí´nad Labem), escorted by Grenadier Battalion Wedel and I./Markgraf Karl Infantry. All the flour that could not be transported was thrown into the Elbe and the bridges were burned. In the evening, baggage followed, escorted by 2 bns (II./Markgraf Karl Infantry, [[Meyerinck Infantry|I./Meyerinck Infantry) and 13 sqns (Garde du Corps, Gens d'Armes, Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers) under Lieutenant-General von Kyau and reached Hlinnay (present-day Hlinná).
- Lucchesi's Corps arrived at the camp between Klein-Schönau and Grottau near Zittau.
- Daun and Prince Charles personally went to Zittau. Prince Charles sent Kheul's cavalry across the Neisse to the Eckartsberg to observe the place.
- The entire left wing of the main Austrian army marched to Gabel. Meanwhile, Lucchesi set off from Gabel and marched in the direction of Zittau.
- Morocz advanced towards Rumburg by Krombach
- Beck with 2,000 Grenzer light troops and 500 hussars marched from Falckenau to Tollenstein (present-day Rozhled), leaving a garrison (100 Grenzers and 100 hussars) in Georgenthal and advancing part of his troops to Neudörfel. Only 200 men were left on the Kaltenberg to observe the movements of the Prussians.
In the night of July 20 to 21, most of Grenadier Battalion Kahlenberg (a former Saxon unit) deserted. Only 200 men remained with the Prussians. Prince Heinrich doubled his cavalry outposts to prevent desertion.
On July 21
- Winterfeldt let his exhausted troops rest at Rumburg. The Prince of Prussia sent him the rearguard as reinforcement.
- The Prince of Prussia, still encamped at Schönlinde, received messages from Schmettau and Winterfeldt informing him of the situation at Zittau which was surrounded by a force estimated at approx. 15,000 men. Around noon, the Prince of Prussia set off from Schönlinde and marched in two columns by Schönborn to Seifhennersdorf. Winterfeldt reinforced Seydlitz's rearguard with the Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons and sent it to Warnsdorf (present-day Varnsdorf) to cover Morocz's and Beck's movements in the area of Groß-Schönau since a large number of Austrian hussar detachments continuously harassed his avant-garde while he was taking position on the heights north of Seifhennersdorf with his infantry and 5 sqns of Werner Hussars to cover the march of the main body. Once the main body of the Prince of Prussia had reached Seifhennersdorf, Winterfeldt marched to Spitzkunnersdorf where he established his camp on the south slope of the Steinberg where he made a junction with Seydlitz's forces. The Werner Hussars, who secured the front of the camp, captured 30 Austrian hussars. The main body of the army encamped on the north-west slope of the Steinberg, the infantry in the first line and the cavalry in the second; with its left wing at Unter-Leutersdorf and its right extending towards Seifhennersforf, facing Groß-Schönau and Morocz's Corps.
- In Bohemia, at 4:00 a.m., Prince Heinrich's Corps, belonging to Frederick's Army, passed to the left bank of the Elbe and marched to Leitmeritz. The bridge was then set afire. Some Grenzer light troops vainly tried to extinguish this fire. With his entire army, Frederick then marched to Sullowitz (present-day Sulejovice) on the Elbe.
- At Zittau, Colonel Walter von Waldenau of the Austrian artillery unsuccessfully summoned Lieutenant-General Schmettau, commanding the place, to capitulate.
- The left wing of the main army arrived from Gabel. The entire army encamped behind the Neisse from Türchau (present-day Turoszów) by Ober-Ullersdorf (probably near Oldřichov v Hájích), where headquarters of Prince Charles were established, up to Grottau, Daun's headquarters. FML Count Wied had been left at Gabel with 7 bns of the Reserve, Pálffy Cuirassiers and Porporati Dragoons. FML Count Nicolaus Esterházy with 3 bns (Nikolaus Esterházy and Mainz), Batthyányi Dragoons and the Saxon Karabiniergarde occupied a pass midway between the main army and Gabel. These detachments should secure the line of supply and the line of communication with Nádasdy if Frederick ever decided to advance from Leitmeritz against the rear of the Austrian positions.
- Morocz advanced to Olbersdorf.
- Nádasdy's Corps reached Gastorf. In the afternoon, Nádasdy let 9 sqns of Kaiser Hussars and Dessewffy Hussars under FML Count Kálnoky swim across the Elbe. They drove back the Prussian cavalry outposts and reached Leitmeritz which was still covered by Frederick's left wing cavalry.
In the night of July 21 to 22, the Prince of Prussia received a message from Schmettau informing his that the situation in Zittau was rapidly deteriorating: most of the main Austrian army had now reached the place and was encamped behind the Neisse. A summon to surrender by Prince Charles had been rejected.
The situation of the army of the Prince of Prussia was now critical. Since two days, it lacked the most basic provisions and the Austrians had taken position between it and the Prussian magazines at Zittau. During the retreat, some 2,500 men had deserted.
On Friday July 22
- The Prince of Prussia left Seifhennersdorf at 9:00 a.m. and marched in two columns. At 11:00 a.m., Winterfeldt came into sight of Zittau with the advance guard. When they saw Winterfeldt's force appear on the plain of Herwigsdorf, the Austrians immediately took possession of the heights of the Eckartsberg commanding Zittau and blocking the prince's line of supply from this place.
- To avoid marching through the difficult terrain in the area of Herwigsdorf with the Austrians so close, the Prince of Prussia turned left at Nieder-Odernitz towards the Huthberg (unidentified location). He then assembled his generals to determine how they should proceed to bring bread from Zittau to the army. Winterfeldt suggested to take position east of Herwigsdorf with the right wing extending towards Zittau to face the low ground between Ober-Seifersdorf and the Eckartsberg. However, other generals argued that additional Austrian troops might be massed behind the Eckartsberg. Finally, the Prince of Prussia decided to march his army to the north-west of Herwigsdorf and to encamp with his right wing at the Landberg and his left at the Huthberg. That night, the troops of the Prince of Prussia did not pitch tents but lay upon their arms.
- Lieutenant-General von Winterfeldt with the 9 bns of the avant-garde and 25 sqns (Normann Dragoons, Puttkamer Hussars, Werner Hussars) then undertook a task considered as too dangerous for the entire army. He tried to establish communication with Schmettau's troops in Zittau and to bring a convoy of bread to the army. As Winterfeldt's cavalry advanced, the Austrians retreated partly through Ober-Seifersdorf, partly near Pethau on the right bank of the Mandau. The Austrian troops posted on the Eckartsberg took arms and their guns opened, quite ineffectually, on Winterfeldt's infantry advancing on Herwigsdorf. Schmettau then came out of Zittau with 8 bns and a provision of bread for 36 hours. Winterfeldt's and Schmettau's troops then took position on the right wing. Furthermore, Herwigsdorf received a garrison of 6 bns. Zittau was now occupied by only 5 depleted bns (2 bns of Kurssell Fusiliers, 2 bns of Sers Fusiliers and the grenadiers of Markgraf von Brandenburg Fusiliers) under Colonel von Diericke. Its artillery was left outside the town because it could not be effectively planted on the walls.
- In Bohemia, Frederick's Army resumed its retreat. Freibataillon Mayr, Freibataillon Kalben, Zieten Hussars and Seydlitz Hussars occupied the heights to the west of the Paskopol to cover the marching columns. Indeed, Loudon was posted at Mileschau (present day Milešov) and intended to harass the Prussians as they passed the mountains. The first column (the infantry right wing) marched on the Paskopol and passed the Biela midway to Hlinnay. Grumbkow formed the rearguard with his 4 bns. He was soon joined by the free corps and the hussars who had covered the march. The rearguard was also joined by Grenadier Battalion Kleist and II./Alt-Braunschweig Infantry, who had previously been posted at Wellemin (present-day Velemín), and by 5 sqns of Szekely Hussars. Meanwhile, the second column (the infantry left wing) advanced east of Wellemin towards Hlinnay. Its rearguard consisted of Freibataillon Angelelli and 5 sqns of Szekely Hussars, Furthermore, Meinicke Dragoons arriving from Wellemin, joined the rearguard. A third column (cavalry) advanced north of the Loboschberg. Its rearguard consisted of Grenadier Battalion Finck and the Leib-Carabiniers. For the night,18 bns and 28 sqns encamped at Lochtschitz (unidentified location) where Frederick established his headquarters while 30 bns and 60 sqns under FM Keith remained on the heights on the left bank of the Biela, north of Hlinnay.
- Frederick ordered Keith to reinforce the garrison of Aussig, consisting only of I./Darmstadt Infantry and 1 coy of II./Wylich Fusiliers where his bakery would be established. Keith sent Grenadier Battalion Ramin and Grenadier Battalion Wedel to Aussig. Meanwhile, I./Markgraf Karl Infantry, who had escorted the provision-wagons, rejoined the King's Army.
- In the morning, the two lines of the Austrian right wing passed the Neisse and took position between the Schanzberg and the Eckartsberg. Troops left behind at the Pass and Gabel were recalled to the army. Indeed, Nádasdy had reported that Frederick's Army at Leitmeritz was making preparations for a retreat towards Saxony and the line of communication of the main Austrian army with Bohemia was not threatened any more.
- The Austrian main army was now encamped impregnable on both sides of the Neisse River with its left extending to Grottau and its right to the wood of Reichenau (present-day Bogatynia). A large force was also posted on the Eckartsberg, and hussar parties roamed the vicinities of Ober-Seifersdorf, Herwigsdorf and Hornitz, observing the movements of the Prussians.
- The Austrian artillery, which was not yet fully deployed, opened a quite ineffective bombardment of the town. In the afternoon, batteries were established batteries in front of Zittau. In the evening, these batteries (32 heavy guns and 10 howitzers) opened on Zittau to destroy the Prussian magazines. With his weak garrison (5 bns) Colonel von Diericke was unable to prevent the Austrians from taking position in the suburbs and in the churchyard.
- Some 100 hussars were sent to occupy Görlitz which had been abandoned by the Prussians.
- In Bohemia, Kálnoky's detachment recrossed the Elbe.
The arrangement of Frederick's Army in two distinct camps already reflected his future intentions. The troops in the camp of Lochtschitz would effect a junction with the remnants of the army of the Prince of Prussia while Keith with the troops encamped on the Biela and 30 heavy guns should remain in Bohemia as long as forage would be available. Prince Heinrich and Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick accompanied Frederick.
In the night of July 22 to 23, the bombardment of Zittau was interrupted.
On Saturday July 23, it rained heavily
- At 9:00 a.m., the Prince of Prussia had ordered his army to strike tents. The closest Prussian magazines were at Bautzen, guarded by Grenadier Battalion Plötz, 100 men of Grenadier Battalion Kahlenberg and 114 hussars from 3 different rgts. These magazines were quite small but Goltz had been ordered to send sufficient flour for six days from Pirna and Dresden to Bautzen.
- In Bohemia, Frederick's infantry rested at Lochtschitz while baggage, and 42 heavy guns, escorted by Grenadier Battalion Bülow, Markgraf Carl Infantry and 4 sqns of Zieten Hussars under the command of Major-General von Bülow marched to Nollendorf (present-day Nakléřov). Around noon, Lieutenant-General von Kyau followed with 18 sqns (Garde du Corps, Gens d'Armes, Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers and Katte Dragoons). Austrian hussars emerged from the woods north of Kulm (present-day Chlumec u Chabařovic) but were driven back by the Prussian cavalry.
- At about 11:00 a.m., from his fully established batteries (12 x 6- or 3-pdr guns, 6 x 12-pdr howitzers, 6 x 6-pdr howitzers, 4 x 3-pdr howitzers) on the Eckartsberg (mainly in the churchyard of the"Zur Lieben Frau"), Colonel Waldenau fired red-hot balls upon Zittau. By noon, half the town was in flames. The Prince of Prussia then sent a detachment (Major-General Rebentisch with 3 bns) to get some food from the magazine at Zittau, but it arrived too late and came back empty handed. Colonel von Diericke, commanding what was left of the garrison, was withdrawing to join the Prussian army when he was ordered to defend Zittau to the last man. Accordingly, he re-entered the town. Prince Charles summoned the place once more. Diericke asked for more time to consult the Prince of Prussia and sent him an adjutant. After waiting for an hour, the Austrians resumed the bombardment of the place. Bombardment ceased around 5:00 p.m. But the town was now completely afire. It was impossible for the homeless inhabitants to remain in the streets, so they tried to take refuge in the already damaged Frauentor. Those who tried to flee from the burning town were intercepted by patrols of Austrian cuirassiers, dragoons and hussars who robbed them of their belongings. Prussian soldiers also started to desert. Major-General Ludwig Baron von Buttler at the head of 1,000 converged grenadiers was preparing to storm the town but this became unnecessary. Finally, around 4:00 p.m., Colonel Diericke learned that most of Grenadier Battalion Bähr (a former Saxon unit) had mutinied and surrendered. Soon afterwards, he hoisted the white flag and capitulated with his garrison. Colonel Diericke, Major-General Kleist, 10 officers and 240 men of I./Markgraf von Brandenburg Fusiliers and Sers Fusiliers (which lost five colours) became prisoners of war (several soldiers had however managed to escape before the capitulation). By sunset, Zittau was but a cinder-heap, its 10,000 inhabitants homeless. However, the magazines were not yet hurt. The Austrians then sent 2 infantry regiments (Carl Lothringen and Harsch) under Major-General Buttler to bring the blaze under control. Nevertheless, fire still raged all night and destroyed two third of the houses.
- Nádasdy's Corps was at Levin.
N.B.: According to an article published in the "Erlanger Zeitung" (August 13, 1757), on July 23 between 11:00 a.m. and 5 p.m., the Austrian artillery fired around 4,000 cannonballs or shells on the town. Overall , 547 small houses and 104 patrician houses burned down, both churches were destroyed as well as all towers. Furthermore, the town hall with its entire archives was razed. From the inhabitants, 90 died in the cellars, 50 more in the streets. After this disaster, people from all countries of the monarchy contributed money to rebuild the town. Maria Theresa granted 30,000 fl. for the same purpose.
With Zittau gone, the doors of Saxony and Silesia were wide open. Daun had only to choose.
On Sunday July 24
- At dusk, the Prince of Prussia sent forward his artillery train and his baggage towards Löbau, escorted by 7 bns and Wartenberg Hussars. At 10:00 p.m., Winterfeldt marched with 9 bns, 20 sqns soon followed by the main body. Campfire had been left burning and guards standing.
- Wied Fusiliers (only 1 weak bn) was posted at Löbau to cover the junction of the two Prussian armies.
- In Saxony, Frederick marched to Nollendorf with the main body in two columns with Freibataillon Angelelli and 6 sqns of Zieten Hussars acting as rearguard. The same day, Bülow reached Cotta with baggage and Kyau, Rottwerndorf.
- In Bohemia, Tetschen (present-day Děčín) was evacuated by its Prussian garrison (7 coys of Wylich Fusiliers) who marched to Nollendorf where it reinforced Asseburg's forces (Grenadier Battalion Bornstädt, II./Darmstadt Infantry and Pannewitz Infantry) while II./Goltz Infantry was at Berggießhübel and II./Prinz Friedrich Fusiliers, at Gottleuba.
- The Austrians sent detachments from 15 regiments, (each of 1 officer and 40 men) into Zittau to extinguish fires and maintain order. They managed to save large quantities of flour and powder.
- Nádasdy moved his camp to Wegstädtl (present-day Štětí.
In the night of July 24 to 25, the army of the Prince of Prussia, who had no bread ration left, stroke its tents at 2:00 a.m. and marched in a single column towards the nearest Prussian magazines at Bautzen. Its rearguard (12 bns, 15 sqns) could not leave the Huthberg before daylight.
On July 25
- At noon, the army of the Prince of Prussia reached Löbau unmolested and encamped behind the Löbauer Wasser with its left wing anchored on the town.
- In Saxony, Frederick's Corps marched to a camp at Gießhübel (present-day Bad Gottleuba-Berggießhübel) near Goes. General-Adjutant von Krokow arrived at this camp to report on the situation of the army of the Prince of Prussia since its arrival in the neighbourhoods of Zittau. The boat-bridges were moved from Pirna closer to Dresden.
- Frederick ordered Marshal Keith to rejoin him in Lusatia with his corps (about 25,000 men), leaving a strong detachment of 10,000 men (15 bns, 20 sqns) under Prince Moritz at Cotta on the left bank of the Elbe to cover Dresden against any incursion by Loudon or the Reichsarmee.
- In Silesia, Kreytzen sent 200 men from Garnison-Regiment Mützschefahl and a few hussars under Major von Heyking to occupy Striegau (present-day Strzegom).
- The Austrian headquarters were moved from Ullersdorf to Klein-Schönau.
- The Austrians sent only small detachment of hussars and Grenzer light troops in pursuit of the army of the Prince of Prussia but they were easily stopped by Freibataillon le Noble.
On July 26
- The army of the Prince of Prussia rested in its camp at Löbau. A two-days ration of bread arrived from Bautzen.
- In the afternoon, Winterfeldt took possession of the heights of Hochkirch to cover the march of the army of the Prince of Prussia to Bautzen.
- In Saxony, Frederick moved his headquarters to Pirna. Oldenburg Fusiliers marched from Dresden and joined the army in this camp. There, Frederick was informed of the retreat of the Prince of Prussia to Bautzen. Baggage were sent to Dresden. The I.Leibgarde Bataillon was sent to Torgau.
In the night of July 26 to 27
- Lieutenant-General von Schultze reached Bautzen with the remaining baggage and artillery train of the army of the Prince of Prussia.
- In Silesia, Major Heyking's detachment fiercely engaged Austrian troops who were driven back on Freiberg (more probably Freiburg, present-day Świebodzice). The 2 bns of Garnison-Regiment Mützschefahl, who were preparing to come to its support, saw that there were no needs any more. However, the Austrians reoccupied Striegau with some 450 men as soon as the Prussians evacuated it.
- In Silesia, Jahnus received reinforcements.
On July ??, Jahnus let his hussars roam the Silesian countryside while he advanced to Hohenfriedeberg (present-day Dobromierz) with the main body of his corps.
On July 27
- The army of the Prince of Prussia marched to Bautzen in two columns and encamped in three lines east of Bautzen with the Spree at its back. On reaching this town, the prince was warned that his brother would be there in a day or two. During his retreat, the prince had lost more than 8,000 men, his entire train, all his pontoons and some artillery pieces. The regiments Prinz Moritz Infantry, Braunschweig-Bevern Infantry and Manstein Infantry, who had suffered so much at Kolin, were detached under Major-General Manteuffel to reinforce the Prussian forces defending Pomerania against the Swedes.
- In Bohemia, with Major-General Count Drašković threatening Aussig. Keith had already reinforced the garrison, commanded by Major-General von Grabow, with I./Asseburg Infantry, I./Forcade Infantry and eight 12-pdr guns. In the evening, the Prussian bakery escorted by Grenadier Battalion Wedel and I./Asseburg, set off from Aussig for Nollendorf from where it was later escorted to Pirna by Wylich Fusiliers.
- Emperor Franz sent a letter to his brother, Prince Charles, to express his disappointment that the Prussian garrison had been allowed to escape from Zittau with some provisions for the main Prussian army.
- Part of Beck's Corps (1,000 Grenzer light troops and 50 hussars) occupied Görlitz while parties advanced to Wurschen by Weißenberg. Beck took post at Herrnhut with the rest of his corps. Meanwhile, Morocz advanced to Bernstadt auf dem Eigen by Hirschfelde; Hadik remained on the left flank of the army of the Prince of Prussia; and Major-General de Ville took post north of the road leading from Löbau to Bautzen with 1,000 horse.
- Nádasdy's Corps was at Tetschen on the right bank of the Elbe and an advanced party occupied Schandau (present-day Bad Schandau).
- In Bohemia, Major-General Count Drašković from Nádasdy's Corps received the order to take Burg Schreckenstein (present-day Střekov near Ústí nad Labem) then occupied by the Prussians. The castle was perched on a rock near Aussig. Colonel Loudon sent part of his troops to reinforce Drašković who, at the head of 500 Banal-Grenzer and 200 hussars stormed the castle. After a feeble resistance of the garrison (2 coys of Wylich Fusiliers, a former Saxon unit), Drašković captured the commander, 7 officers, 260 men and 2 cannon. Loudon's troops then occupied the country between Kraupen (present-day Krupka) and Zinnwald (present-day Cinovec).
Frederick tries to stop the Austrians on the Silesian border
|Order of Battle|
|Order of battle of the Austrian Army in Lusatia on July 28|
On July 28
- Winterfeldt retired from Hochkirch and effected a junction with the army of the Prince of Prussia at Bautzen.
- Frederick's Army passed the Elbe on pontoon-bridges at Pirna and marched in two columns by Lohmen to Groß-Harthau. Austrian light troops were seen at Neustadt and Stolpen.
- FM Keith sent his heavy artillery and baggage to Nollendorf, escorted by 2 bns of Kleist Infantry, 15 sqns (Leibregiment zu Pferde, Leib-Carabiniers, Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers) and 100 men from Szekely Hussars under Major-General Baron Schönaich. A Grenzer detachment (Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer under Loudon and Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2 under Major Poticky) attacked Schönaich's column at Arbesau (present-day Varvažov), capturing one 12-pdr gun, 11 ammunition-wagons, and some 40 baggage and supply wagons. Major-General von Asseburg sent 2 bns to the help of the convoy but they arrived too late.
On July 29
- Frederick's Army (15 bns, 28 sqns) passed the Spree midway from Bautzen and effected a junction with the army of the Prince of Prussia. At 10:00 a.m., Frederick arrived. The Prince of Prussia and all his generals, except Goltz and Winterfeldt, were there at his arrival. Frederick did not greet the Prince of Prussia who had no choice but to follow the king. Frederick expressed to Winterfeldt his dissatisfaction of the behaviour of the Prince of Prussia and of his generals, stating that they would all deserve to be court-martialed and executed but that he could not forget that the Prince of Prussia was his own brother. Winterfeldt then had to transmit this message to the Prince of Prussia and his generals. The Prince of Prussia immediately stepped out of the circle of his generals and, without exchanging a word with Frederick, rode to Bautzen. He then wrote a letter to the king in which he announced his decision to leave the army because he could not stay longer after losing his honour and reputation. Frederick also dismissed Schmettau. Frederick's troops then took quarters in the suburbs of Bautzen. The combined Prussian corps now amounted to some 45,000 men.
- At 4:00 a.m., Keith's Corps set off in two columns, each led by cavalry units. First came an avant-garde of 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion Finck, Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff and Freibataillon Mayr) and 10 sqns of Seydlitz Hussars under Major-General von Itzenplitz. The rearguard, under Major-General Retzow, consisted of Grenadier Battalion Hacke, Grenadier Battalion Jung Billerbeck, Freibataillon Kalben and Szekely Hussars. Major-General von Grabow marched to the south of Arbesau with the right column. During the retreat from Aussig, the Prussians were harassed by Drašković and lost additional wagons. Around Arbesau and Kulm, the Prussian columns came under fire of light troops hidden in the bushes and woods while the flank of the western column became the target of guns posted on the heights north of Kulm. Keith sent Kannacher Infantry and Frei-Infanterie von Mayr to drive the enemy back. In this action, the Prussians lost 84 men killed or wounded. Keith encamped on the height of Nollendorf. He then sent his heavy artillery and baggage to Schönwald (present-day Krásný Les, Petrovice).
- De Ville's Corps, who had been betrayed by a spy, narrowly escaped encirclement near Löbau.
- Nádasdy's Corps reached Kreibitz between Kamnitz and Rumburg.
- The first division of a corps of 8,000 Grenzer light troops arriving from Hungary reached the camp of the main army. Most of them were destined fro Silesia.
After the junction with Keith, Frederick intended to advance against the Austrians and to lock the doors of Silesia and Saxony again.
|Order of Battle|
|Order of battle of Frederick's Army in Lusatia on July 30|
On July 30
- Frederick sent Zieten with a detachment (Werner Hussars, the Feldjäger zu Fuß and Prinz von Preußen Infantry) to reconnoitre the area of Hochkirch and Weißenberg. They found only small Austrian detachments around Hochkirch. However, some 2,500 light troops belonging to Beck's Corps had taken position at Weißenberg. At 8:00 p.m., Frederick advanced towards Weißenberg with part of his army (20 bns, 58 sqns) to better observe the Austrian positions, driving back Beck's light troops who retired to Bernstadt auf dem Eigen. The Duke of Bevern had assumed command of the part of the army (40 bns, 45 sqns) left at Bautzen.
- At Bautzen, three former Saxon units (Wietersheim Fusiliers, Grenadier Battalion Bähr and Grenadier Battalion Kahlenberg), then totalling 1,256 men, were disbanded and their troops incorporated into old Prussian regiments. Frederick's Army in Lusatia now counted 60 bns and 103 sqns.
- Keith's heavy artillery and baggage were sent from Schönwald to Cotta. His corps soon followed unmolested. According to Frederick's orders, Keith sent 15 bns, 20 sqns and 17 heavy guns at Berggießhübel and Cotta under Prince Moritz to cover Dresden and Pirna against raids of Loudon's light troops and the Reichsarmee. Keith then marched to Goes with 10 bns, 40 sqns and eight 12-pdr guns on his way to effect a junction with Frederick's Army.
- Nádasdy's Corps marched to Rumburg. It was now within a day's march of the main army.
In the night of July 30 and 31, Frederick continued his march. Beck retired to Reichenbach.
On July 31
- At daybreak, Frederick's Corps reached Weißenberg. Prinz Ferdinand Infantry occupied the town while the rest of the corps encamped south of the Löbauer Wasser. Freibataillon le Noble along with Zieten Hussars and Wartenberg Hussars were posted at Nostitz to secure the front of the camp while Freibataillon Angelelli along with Puttkamer Hussars and Werner Hussars were posted at Maltitz on the left flank. The Stromberg was occupied by the Feldjäger zu Fuß and 200 foot. Frederick then sent Colonel von Warnery with 5 sqns of Wartenberg Hussars to re-established communication with Brandenburg.
- Keith's Corps reached Pirna.
- Austrian troops were sent downstream along the Neisse to Priebus (present-day Przewóz) and Muskau (unidentified location).
- Emperor Franz wrote to his brother, the Duke of Lorraine, that he should not focus on the conquest of Silesia but rather on the destruction of the Prussian army.
On August 1
On August 2
- The second division (2,000 men) of a corps of 8,000 Grenzer light troops arriving from Hungary reached the camp of the main army. Half this division was sent to reinforce Loudon's Corps.
In the night of August 2 to 3 in Silesia, Kreytzen attacked Striegau. His initial attack was driven back.
On August 3
- In Silesia, the Austrian garrison of Striegau (part of Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer under Major Bauer) capitulated, obtaining free withdrawal under the condition that it would not operate against the Prussians for 48 hours. Kreytzen threw I./Garnison-Regiment Quadt into the place and returned to Schweidnitz with the rest of his force.
- In Silesia, Jahnus resolved to withdraw to Landeshut (present-day Kamenia Gora).
On August 4
- Keith established his camp behind the Schwarzwasser near Roth-Naußlitz along the road leading from Dresden to Bautzen to protect the line of communication between Frederick's Army and Dresden.
- Freibataillon Mayr was occupying Cotta; Kleist Infantry, Berggießhübel; Darmstadt Infantry, Gottleuba. The two regular infantry rgts were under the command of Major-General von Itzenplitz.
- Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff and 100 hussars escorted a convoy of 800 wagons transporting sick and wounded from Bautzen to Gehda (unidentified location).
- Loudon advanced to Breitenau and Hellendorf. His hussars made themselves master of a Prussian magazine at Freiberg.
- Austrian light troops were roaming between Bautzen and Dresden and all convoys had to be strongly escorted.
The Prussian army operating in Lusatia was now organised in three corps in an area of 30 km extending from Weißenberg by Bautzen to the neighbourhoods of Bischofswerda. The entire army could be assembled within a day to march against the main Austrian army. Frederick wanted to launch an offensive as soon as a nine-days bread supply would be ready, but his bakery did not have enough flour to produce such a quantity of bread. He urged Retzow and Goltz to resupply the army as soon as possible.
In the night of August 4 to 5, another Prussian convoy of a few hundreds wagons left Roth-Naußlitz for Dresden, escorted by Grenadier Battalion Hacke, Pannewitz Infantry and 100 hussars under Major-General von Oldenburg. In Dresden, these wagons were then loaded with flour.
On August 6
- During a reconnaissance towards Reichenbach, a Prussian detachment under Colonel von Werner took 36 prisoners.
- The third division (1,500 men) of a corps of 8,000 Grenzer light troops arriving from Hungary reached the camp of the main army.
On August 7
- A grand celebration took place at the main camp in honour of the French victory at Hastenbeck (July 26).
- A detachment of two hussar rgts and 2,000 Grenzer light troops posted at Stolpen sent patrols as far as the wood near Radeberg where they captured several provision wagons going from Dresden to the Prussian army.
|Order of Battle|
|Order of battle of Bevern's Corps in Lusatia on August 8|
On August 8
- Frederick was informed that a strong Austrian corps was advancing on Löbau. He ordered Bevern to move his corps from Bautzen closer to Weißenberg to ease a junction with his own corps. Frederick then led a reconnaissance in force (Grenadier Battalion Kleist, Grenadier Battalion Anhalt, III,/Garde, Freibataillon le Noble, the Feldjäger zu Fuß, Katte Dragoons, Zieten Hussars, Puttkamer Hussars and Werner Hussars) towards Löbau, encountering only small outposts of hussars and Grenzer light troops. However, Frederick was unable to confirm the presence of the main Austrian army. Meanwhile, Bevern marched in two columns to Wurschen with 30 bns and 45 sqns, leaving Major-General Rebentisch at Bautzen with 10 bns and 8 sqns with instructions to entrench his positions.
- Major-General von Meier with Bayreuth Dragoons and III./Anhalt Infantry set off from Keith's camp to join Oldenburg's supply convoy expected at Roth-Naußlitz. Meier left III./Anhalt at Bischofswerda and resumed his advance with Bayreuth Dragoons towards Schmiedefeld. In this wooded country, his column was attacked on both flanks by more than 1,000 hussars under Major-General Count Pálffy who drove it back to Harthau. III./Anhalt rushed to Harthau to support the dragoons. With a few cannon shots, it stopped the advance of the Austrian hussars. In this action, the dragoons lost 2 officers wounded (Captain von Massow, Lieutenant von Normann) 3 officers captured (Colonel von Düring, Lieutenants von Kospoth and von Frankenberg) and 10 men killed, 44 wounded and 57 taken prisoners. When Keith heard the sound of the guns towards Roth-Naußlitz, he immediately sent I./Asseburg Infantry and Meinicke Dragoons to support Meier. Major-General von Oldenburg was informed in time of this combat and redirected his convoy by Radeberg and Pulsnitz.
- At 4:00 a.m., Loudon with 2 bns of Grenzer light troops attacked the entrenched village of Gottleuba so impetuously that he drove Darmstadt Infantry out of the village. The rgt took position on a height to the north of Gottleuba. From there, Major-General von Itzenplitz managed to send a platoon against Loudon's flank. Loudon retired to Hellendorf. Upon hearing the din of battle, Moritz had immediately sent Grenadier Battalion Wedel to the support of Darmstadt Infantry. The Prussians reoccupied Gottleuba and Grenadier Battalion Wedel remained there. Darmstadt Infantry lost 1 officer and 22 men killed; and 3 officers and 165 men wounded.
On August 9
- Retzow, on Frederick's instruction, informed the Prussian Commissariat to prepare provisions for the march of an army by Bautzen, Dresden, Grimma towards Leipzig. Frederick was already forming his plan for an intervention on the western theatre of operation.
- Finck, then governor of Dresden, asked Moritz for a reinforcement of 3 bns to allow him to give a strong escort to the convoy of Major-General von Oldenburg destined to Frederick's Army.
- The recently arrived third division (1,500 men) of Grenzer light troops was sent to reinforce Colonel Jahnus in Silesia.
On August 10
- Moritz recalled the 3 bns (Darmstadt Infantry and Grenadier Battalion Wedel) occupying Gottleuba to Berggießhübel and Loudon immediately occupied Gottleuba. Moritz then sent II./Goltz Infantry and Grenadier Battalion Finck to Dresden.
- Finck asked Moritz to retreat to Groß-Sedlitz with his corps to better protect Dresden from any attack by Nádasdy's Corps. Moritz rejected this request.
- Additional pickets were posted around camps to prevent desertion which was becoming serious.
On August 11
- Oldenburg's convoy finally reached Roth-Naußlitz.
On August 12
- Oldenburg's convoy arrived at Bautzen.
- His mission accomplished, Keith marched from Roth-Naußlitz to Bautzen.
- In Silesia, Kreytzen, at the instigation of Minister von Schlabredorff, finally decided to launch a serious offensive against Jahnus' Corps. He had previously recalled Grenadier Battalion Kreytzen from Cosel (present-day Kędzierzyn-Koźle/PL). In the evening, he marched in two columns to Hartmannsdorf (present-day Jaczków/PL) with 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Kreytzen, Grenadier Battalion Diezelsky, II./Sers Fusiliers, I./Garnison-Regiment Quadt, I./Garnison-Regiment Mützschefahl and II./Garnison-Regiment Mützschefahl) totalling more than 3,000 men and with 70 hussars. Kreytzen knew that Jahnus, expecting an attack, had assembled his troops at Landeshut.
- Lieutenant-Colonel Buttler set off from the camp of the main army with 600 Grenzer light troops and 150 horse and marched for Silesia.
Thanks to their numerous light troops (Beck's Corps at Schöps, Morocz's at Löbau, Hadik's at Gross Postwitz), the Austrian commanders were kept well informed of all movements of the Prussians. Furthermore, Nádasdy occupied Schandau and had sent FML Count Kálnoky with 5 bns and 3 hussar rgts to take position at Stolpen to operate against the line of communication between Dresden and Bischofswerda. With the main body of his corps, Nádasdy advanced towards Rumburg by Böhmisch-Kamnitz and Kreibitz.
On August 13
- In Silesia, Kreytzen's Corps attacked the Austrians in the Combat of Landeshut but was repulsed. After this victory, the Austrians were free to continue their raids in Silesia almost unopposed.
- The Commissary-General of the Army, Baron Netolitzky started to requisition 5,000 vehicles in Bohemia.
On August 14
- Keith's Corps marched to Hochkirch. Rebentisch remained at Bautzen with 8 sqns of Seydlitz Hussars. The 2 other sqns of Seydlitz Hussars were in Dresden. Finally, Warnery, who had been sent to Lower-Lusatia with 5 sqns, rejoined Bevern's Corps. Now that the bread convoy had reached Bautzen, Frederick was ready to launch his offensive.
- There were alarms in Dresden where an attack of Nádasdy's Corps was feared.
- Finck repeated his request for Moritz's Corps to move closer to Dresden. Moritz finally retreated to Groß-Sedlitz deploying his corps behind the Zehista brook with its right wing anchored at Krebs and its left extending to Pirna. Grenadier Battalion Billerbeck (Alt or Jung?) was posted at Zehista and the headquarters were established at Groß-Sedlitz. A detachment of hussars posted at Leuben covered the line of communication with Dresden. Frederick, who had instructed Moritz to remain at Cotta until he receives express orders to abandon this position, was incensed at the news of his retreat to Groß-Sedlitz.
- Nádasdy's Corps advanced from Rumburg and encamped between Herwigsdorf and Zittau. He planned to advance by Ostritz downstream along the Neisse to threaten Frederick's communications with Silesia.
- Loudon advanced to Cotta and Ottendorf as soon as Moritz had evacuated these towns.
- Beck's Corps was posted between Löbau and Görlitz.
- Morocz's detachment (1 hussar rgt, 1 Grenzer bn) was at Löbau.
- Hadik's Corps was at Groß Postwitz. Hadik reported that a spy he had in Bautzen had informed him that Frederick intended to attack the main Austrian army in the next few days.
- Lieutenant-General Kálnoky was posted at Neustadt near Stolpen with Kálnoky Hussars, 3 sqns Kaiser Hussars and 3 Grenzer bns
- On the left, General Schroger commanded Nádasdy Hussars and 3 Grenzer bns.
- In Silesia, after his victory at Landeshut, Major-General Jahnus occupied the Zeiskenberg to the west of Freiburg. He also detached Colonel von Buttler with 700 men to Löwenberg (present-day Lwówek Śląski) .
|Order of Battle|
|Order of battle of the Prussian Army in Lusatia on August 15|
On August 15
- Frederick's Corps suddenly marched in two columns from Weißenberg. His avant-garde consisted of 30 sqns (Katte Dragoons, Zieten Hussars, Werner Hussars and 5 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars), Freibataillon le Noble, Freibataillon Angelelli and the Feldjäger zu Fuß. It marched between Löbau and Reichenbach to Bernstadt, harassed by Austrian light troops along the way, and encamped north of Bernstadt. Angelelli and Le Noble Freikorps along with the Feldjägers took position in the wood to secure the right flank. The hussars were sent forward at Pliesnitz (unidentified location).
- Bevern's Corps marched from Wurschen towards Herwigsdorf. While on the march, north of Spittel, Puttkamer Hussars drove back a strong hussar party.
- Keith's Corps marched from Hochkirch and effected a junction with Bevern's Corps and Keith took command of these united corps which now formed the main body of the Prussian army. All bread wagons accompanied this army and the passage of the Löbauer Wasser caused important delays. The army encamped west of Herwigsdorf which was occupied by 5 grenadier bns. However, the last bns reached the camp only during the night.
- Reacting to Hadik's recent report, Prince Charles and Daun sent their baggage to Grottau. Furthermore, when the march of a Prussian corps to Bernstadt was confirmed, they held a council of war. However, with a corps at Bernstadt and another one at Herwigsdorf, they could not yet figure the exact direction of the attack. They finally decided to leave their own army in its present camp but to prepare a new camp facing Bernstadt as an alternative position.
- Around noon, Nádasdy's Corps marched towards Ostritz. One of his detachment occupied Ostritz but the town was immediately retaken by the Prussians who captured Nádasdy's personal baggage. Nádasdy's Corps had to return to its previous camp between Herwigsdorf and Zittau.
- Colonel Mitrowsky was sent from Peterswalde (present-day Petrovice) with Hadik Hussars, 1 bn of Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer, 3 coys of Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer and 2 sqns of Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars to observe Moritz's Corps
- For his part, Hadik was still posted at Groß Postwitz with 6 sqns of Baranyay Hussars, 5 sqns of Jazygier-Kumanier Hussars, 2 bns of Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer and 2 bns of Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer.
Altogether, Frederick now had about 51,000 men. By these manoeuvres, Frederick had re-established communication with Silesia.
On August 16
- At 6:00 a.m., Keith's Army set off from Herwigsdorf in two columns. The right column under the Duke of Bevern marched to Bernstadt, followed by the pontoons, the heavy artillery and the baggage. The left column under Winterfeldt took the direction of Bernstadt by Kemnitz. Around 11:00 a.m., the heads of the two columns were approaching Bernstadt. Frederick then ordered his own corps to strike tents. He then advanced at the head of 13 bns (grenadier bn Diringshofen, Anhalt, Kleist and Grenadier Garde, Garde, Prinz Ferdinand Infantry, Itzenplitz Infantry, Freikorps Angelelli, Le Noble and Kalben), the Feldjäger zu Fuß and 40 sqns (Katte Dragoons, Württemberg Dragoons, Zieten Hussars, Werner Hussars, Puttkamer Hussars) by Dittersbach (unidentified location) and Burkersdorf (unidentified location). Meanwhile the rest of his corps effected a junction with Keith's Army. Overall, Frederick and Keith were at the head of 60½ bns (35,600 foot), 133 sqns (15,000 cavalrymen and hussars) for a total of 50,600 men with 72 heavy pieces. The right column of the main army passed the Pliesnitz at Kunnersdorf (unidentified location) and took the direction of Wittgendorf by Neuendorf (unidentified location) and Schönbrunn. The left column followed Frederick's avant-garde. The hussars of the avant-garde engaged Austrian hussars near Burkersdorf and drove them back. They then engaged 200 Austrian cuirassiers north of Wittgendorf, capturing 22.
- Shortly after 3:00 p.m., Frederick reconnoitred Austrian positions from the heights west of Dittelsdorf while his army advanced in three divisions. His right wing was in the Wittgendorf wood, his centre at Dittelsdorf and his left at Hirschfelde on the Neisse. Frederick saw that the Austrians were strengthening their forces on the Schanzberg and establishing heavy artillery there and on the plateau between Wittgendorf and Radgendorf (unidentified location). He considered the Schanzberg as unassailable and decided to make himself master of the churchyard of Wittgendorf and to occupy it with infantry. While the Austrians were, with some confusion reorganising their positions, despite the late hour, Frederick would have been able to take advantage of the situation if his main body had been in its assigned position. However, his avant-garde had taken a too great advance while the main body was delayed by the hilly and wooded terrain. By the time Frederick's avant-garde established contact with the Austrians, the main body was still near Dittersbach. Frederick gave orders to speed up the march of the main body and sent the bns of the avant-garde into the woods west of Dittelsdorf. He also ordered Freibataillon le Noble to attack the churchyard of Wittgendorf. Which was defended by Grenzer light troops. Rapidly 400 commandeered troops where sent from the heights on both sides of Wittgendorf to reinforce the defenders. Frederick then sent I./Prinz Ferdinand Infantry to support Le Noble. Austrian batteries opened on these two advancing bns and on the rest of the infantry of the avant-garde who had deployed at the edge of the woods. The attack on Wittgendorf was finally repulsed.
- Around 6:00 p.m., the heads of the columns of the main Prussian army finally arrived. Frederick deployed the infantry in two lines between the Buchberg and Hirschfelde, the cavalry forming a third line. Freibataillon Kalben and the Feldjäger zu Fuß occupied the Buchberg; Grenadier Battalion Manteuffel, Hirschfelde, with 200 men deployed between Hirschfelde and the Neisse. Flank-guards were posted between the two infantry lines: 5 bns on the right wing and 4 bns on the left. Hussars secured the front of the Prussian positions. Freibataillon Angelelli and Freibataillon le Noble guarded the baggage. Frederick established his headquarters in Dittelsdorf. The army encamped upon their arms without tents.
- In the evening, Frederick sent adjutants Krusemarck and Gaudi to reconnoitre the area around Wittgendorf towards Drausendorf. They spotted only two bns deployed there but a strong battery was being erected on a hill near Dittelsdorf. Frederick consulted with Bevern, Winterfeldt and Lestwitz, who knew the region, and decided to attack on the next day. However, Prince Heinrich made representations on the difficulty of an attack on such a strong position. He was of the opinion that, even in case of victory, losses would be so heavy that Frederick would not be able to hold the field against the Austrians.
- The advanced elements of the Austrian army were completely surprised by Frederick's manoeuvres. Beck was chased into Ostritz.
- In the morning, reacting to Frederick's unexpected manoeuvre, Prince Charles redeployed his army in a very strong position on both sides of the Wittgenbach in front of the Eckartsberg. His right wing extended up to the Neisse through Radgendorf while his left wing was anchored upon the high ground of Oberseifersdorf. His whole line, amply supported by artillery, presented a concave front to his Prussian opponents. It faced the hollow around the Eckersbach and the villages of Ober-Seifersdorf and Eckartsberg and had the village of Wittgendorf to its rear. The Austrian right wing was anchored on the woody Schanzberg, north-west from Wittgendorf. When the Prussians were seen approaching, the Austrians stroke their tents and took up arms. Prince Charles also threw parties of Grenzer light troops and 400 infantry into the village of Wittgendorf. Other Grenzer light troops were scattered into the surrounding woods. The Austrian Reserve corps stood on the opposite bank of the Neisse along with Nádasdy's Corps. These two corps were deployed with their left to the Neisse and their right protected by the thick woods of Reichenau.
- While the main Austrian army was taking new positions on each side of Wittgendorf, other Austrian troops appeared on the other bank of the Neisse, south of Gießmannsdorf (unidentified location). It was the Reserve (16 bns, 4 cavalry rgts and 2,400 Grenzer light troops) under the Duke of Arenberg sent to secure the right flank of the main army. Prince Charles sent 5 additional cavalry rgts to reinforce Arenberg. Meanwhile, Nádasdy marched from Herwigsdorf, behind the right wing of the first line, to Drausendorf.
The two armies only separated by the Wittgendorf hollow then cannonaded each other till sunset.
On August 17
- At daybreak, Frederick rode to reconnoitre the Austrian right wing. Beck and Morocz had advanced from Löbau south of Groß-Hennersdorf against the right flank of Frederick's Army. Frederick realised that the Austrian position was impregnable. He decided to send a strong corps mostly composed of cavalry to the right bank of the Neisse. This corps would then advance on Reibersdorf (present-day Rybarzowice) on the Austrian right flank and threaten the line of communication of the Austrian army with Gabel. Frederick charged Winterfeldt of this mission, giving him 15 bns (grenadier bns Schenckendorff, Benckendorff, Kahlden, Unruh, Manteuffel, Anhalt and Diringshofen; Pannewitz Infantry, Manteuffel Infantry, Lestwitz Infantry and Tresckow Infantry), 50 sqns (Normann Dragoons, Württemberg Dragoons, Bayreuth Dragoons, Zieten Hussars, Puttkamer Hussars and Werner Hussars) and 14 heavy pieces. The broken bridge at Hirschfelde was re-established and two pontoon-bridges thrown across the Neisse below Hirschfelde.
- At 9:00 a.m., Winterfeldt passed the Neisse at Hirschfelde. Arenberg's and Nádasdy's artilleries opened on Winterfeldt's columns. Winterfeldt planted his heavy artillery in a position north-west of Hirschfelde to answer. He left Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff and Grenadier Battalion Kahlden to cover the artillery (soon reinforced by Grenadier Battalion Hacke and Grenadier Battalion Kleist sent by Frederick as reinforcements) and advanced with the rest of his corps east of Rohnau (present-day Trzciniec), planning to turn the Austrian right flank by Seitendorf (unidentified location) and Reichenau. However, a strong corps of Austrian infantry (estimated at 20,000 by Winterfeldt) guarded the passage of the stream in these quarters.
- Meanwhile, Frederick had replaced the bns of his second line, which had been assigned to Winterfeldt's Corps, with 20 sqns taken from his third line. He also established batteries of heavy artillery in front of his first line. Around noon, heavy rain broke out and, during the afternoon, Frederick let his men pitch tents. Winterfeldt encamped east of Rohnau which was occupied by 2 grenadier bns.
- Seeing the Prussians throwing bridges over the Neisse, Prince Charles sent Nádasdy's Corps to reinforce Arenberg's Reserve on the right bank of the Neisse, allowing him to extend his right towards Reichenau. The Austrians were deployed behind the marshy Kipperbach.
- In the evening, an Austrian detachment occupied Reichenau.
In the night of August 17 to 18, the Austrians broke down four of the ten remaining bridges on the Neisse.
On August 18, both armies remained face to face. Frederick detached Major-General von Grumbkow with 5 bns (1 bn of Fouqué Fusiliers, 2 bns of Kreytzen Fusiliers and 2 bns of Kurssell Fusiliers), 10 sqns (Prinz von Schönaich-Carolath Cuirassiers and 5 sqns of Wartenberg Hussars) and 12 heavy pieces to Görlitz, marching by Otstritz, to re-establish communication with Silesia.
On August 19, both armies remained face to face once more.
- Frederick's Army was running short of bread. He had his two pontoon-bridges on the Neisse removed.
- Grumbkow took position at Görlitz which had been evacuated by the Austrians.
- The Marquis de Clerici with 6 bns crossed the Neisse and deployed in the gap between the Reserve Corps and O'Donnell's cavalry.
In the night of August 19 to 20, Frederick sent his pontoons and his baggage forward to Schlegel, escorted by 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion Nimschöfsky, I./Anhalt, II./Anhalt) and 10 sqns (Stechow Dragoons and Blanckensee Dragoons) under Major-General von Wietersheim.
|Order of Battle|
|Order of battle of Prussian corps operating in Lusatia and Saxony on August 20|
On August 20
- At 5:00 a.m., Frederick's Army stroke its tents and retired to the heights south-west of Schlegel. It then marched in two columns under the protection of Prince Heinrich's rearguard consisting of 7 bns (Prinz von Preußen Infantry, Kannacher Infantry, Freikorps Le Noble, Angelelli and Kalben), the Feldjäger zu Fuß, 10 sqns (Katte Dragoons, Meinicke Dragoons) and 200 hussars. At Burkersdorf, the Freikorps of the rearguard engaged pursuing light troops, losing some 30 men in the fight. Frederick reached Bernstadt with the left column and established his headquarters there. His troops encamped behind the Pliesnitz. Furthermore, 3 grenadier bns and the hussars remained on the right bank to cover the camp. Freibataillon Angelelli, Freibataillon le Noble and the Feldjägers occupied the forest on the right flank; and Freibataillon Kalben occupied Kemnitz. Bevern passed the Pliesnitz with the right column at Alt-Bernsdorf (more probably Berzdorf) and Schönau and encamped behind the stream. The right wing was 2 km away from the left wing. 2 bns occupied the Huthberg on the right bank; 1 bn was posted at Tauchritz (unidentified location) to maintain communication with Winterfeldt's Corps who had retired from Rohnau downstream along the Neisse at Radmeritz (present-day Radomierzyce/PL) behind the Wittich.
- Prinz von Schönaich-Carolath Cuirassiers were sent back from Grumbkow's Corps to rejoin Bevern's Corps.
- Morocz's and Beck's Corps advanced to Dittersbach and Neundorf on the left bank of the Neisse.
- Nádasdy's Corps reached Königshain (present-day Działoszyn/PL) on the right bank, with FML Count Kálnoky's detachment being sent forward to Seidenberg (present-day Zawidów/PL).
- Hadik Hussars, who were posted at Groß-Postwitz, unsuccessfully harassed a convoy of flour on the left bank of the Spree near Königsbrück. This convoy, escorted by Colonel von Brösigte with 4 bns (I./Alt-Württemberg Fusiliers, I./Sers Fusiliers, I./Jung-Braunschweig Fusiliers, I./Wied Fusiliers) and 200 hussars from Rebentisch's Corps, was advancing from Dresden to Bautzen.
- The main Austrian army remained in its entrenched camp on the heights north of Zittau and to the west of the Neisse with its right wing at Drausendorf on the banks of the Neisse and its left wing anchored on the Schanzberg. The Reserve was at Giessmannsdorf to the east of the Neisse. Austrian light corps took position at Königshain, Seidenberg and north of the Schanzberg. The main army counted some 90,000 regulars in 84 bns, 88 grenadier coys and 190 sqns; and around 22,000 irregulars (hussars and Grenzer light troops) in 35 bns, 14 grenadier coys and 52 sqns.
Frederick had failed to obtain an open battle in Lusatia who would have allowed him to relaunch an offensive in Bohemia. The Austrians were encamped in very strong positions. Meanwhile, the Prussian homeland was threatened by the Russians who had undertaken the invasion of East Prussia. Furthermore, a large French army was proceeding to the invasion of Hanover, advancing towards Prussian territories after defeating the Allies; a Swedish army was assembling at Stralsund; the Reichsarmee (33,000 men) had set off from Fürth in mid-August and was advancing through Thuringia to effect a junction with a second French army placed under the command of the Prince de Soubise. To counter all these threats, Frederick had to reconsider his entire plan of operations. He resolved to first face the Franco-Imperial army assembling in Thuringia. He was confident that he could rapidly defeat this army and be back in Lusatia by the beginning of October.
From August 20 to 24, realising that the Austrians would not move from their entrenched positions near Zittau, Frederick arranged his army to watch them and to guard Silesia. Bevern and Winterfeldt would take command in his absence.
On August 21, Prince Charles detached General Schroger with 2 Grenzer bns and 1 hussar rgt towards Silesia.
On August 22, Frederick was informed of Kreyzten's defeat at Landeshut on August 14. He immediately detached Grenadier Battalion Kahlden and Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff from Winterfeldt's Corps to garrison Görlitz while Major-General von Grumbkow was ordered to march from Görlitz for Silesia with his corps consisting of 5 bns (Kreytzen Fusiliers, Kurssell Fusiliers and 1 bn of Fouqué Fusiliers), the 10 sqns of Wartenberg Hussars and 12 heavy guns to put an end to the depredations of Jahnus' Corps. Grumbkow reached Lauban (present-day Luban/PL) the same day.
By August 23
- Morocz with 2 hussar rgts and Beck's Corps were posted near Grosshennersdorf. Petazzi has taken position in the woods in front of Bernstadt with 2,000 men of the Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer.
- Buttler's Corps retired by Hirschberg (present-day Doksy) and Schmiedeberg (present-day Kovary).
- Jahnus evacuated Landeshut and entrenched his corps in the mountain passes.
- Major-General Krottendorf took position at Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové/CZ) with 5 bns.
- Grumbkow's Corps reached Greiffenberg (present-day Gryfów Śląski/PL), encountering only small Austrian parties.
- Moritz recalled Goltz Infantry from Dresden and advanced on his old positions at Cotta. Loudon precipitously retired in the forest near Berggießhübel, abandoning some tents and wagons. Moritz then returned to his camp near Groß-Sedlitz.
Grumbkow hastened too much to reach Schweidnitz and the Austrians gradually reoccupied their initial positions: Jahnus at Landeshut, Buttler at Hirschberg. Even if the lines of communications had been reopened between Dresden and Silesia, Prussian supply convoys had to be constantly protected from Austrian light troops by strong escorts.
On August 24
- In the evening, Bevern personally arrived from Schönau at Frederick's camp in Bernstadt. There, he was informed that Frederick would march with a small part of his army, leaving him command of the other part. Bevern would be assisted by experienced generals such as Zieten and Winterfeldt and by Major Embers of the Ingenieurkorps who thoroughly knew the country. His intendant was Major-General von der Goltz. Bevern was instructed to hinder any movement of the Austrians against the Mark or Silesia but to avoid open battles as much as possible. Bevern's provisions should be taken directly in Lusatia and complemented by supply from Silesia. Furthermore, he could count on a single convoy transporting flour from Dresden under Major-General von Rebentisch.
- Grumbkow's Corps surprised Buttler's detachment near Greiffenberg.
The next phases of the campaign are described in the following articles:
- The Austrians invade Silesia (August 25 to November 23, 1757) describing Frederick's departure for Saxony and Bevern's gradual retreat in Silesia, including the Combat of Moys, the capture of the Fortress of Schweidnitz by the Austrians and the Battle of Breslau.
- The return of the King (November 24 to December 31, 1757) describing Frederick's precipitous return to Silesia, the Battle of Leuthen, the recapture of Breslau by the Prussians and the retreat of the Austrians to Bohemia.
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, pp. 223-226, 236-240
- Archenholz, J. W.: The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 70-71
- Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 18
- Donnersmarck, Victor Amadaeus Henckel von: Militaerischer Nachlass, Karl Zabeler, 1858
- Gorani, Joseph: Mémoires, Paris: Gallimard, 1944, pp. 64-82
- Relation de la bataille de Leuthen, Vienna, January 1758, pp. 472-477
- Relation de la bataille de Lissa, Berlin, January 1758, pp. 477-483
- Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763
- Vol. 3 Kolin, Berlin, 1901, pp. 115-196, Anhang 30, 38, 39 43
- Vol. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin, 1902, pp. 117-216
- Kyaw, Rudolf v.: Chronik des adeligen und freiherrlichen Geschlechtes von Kyaw, Leipzig, 1870 pp. 385-399
- Tempelhoff, Fr., History of the Seven Years' War Vol. I pp. 121-147 & 176-188 & 190-, 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. 427-433
Cogswell, Neil, Journal of Horace St. Paul 1757: The Advance to Nismes, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XI No. 3 and Vol. XII No. 2
Fuller J. F. C., The Decisive Battles of the Western World, Granada Publishing Ltd, 1970, pp. 571-576
Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009
Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885
Skala, Harald: Rückzug des preussischen Heeres nach der Schlacht bei Kolin 1757, der Fall von Gabel und Zittau
Harald Skala for information on the Saxon cavalry during this period