1760 - Austrian campaign in Saxony
The campaign lasted from February to December 1760
The Opposing Armies
The Prussian Army
The various Prussian armies had not been equally affected by the campaign of 1759. The army of Prince Heinrich, which had remained encamped at Schmottseiffen for a large part of the campaign, had been almost entirely spared from combat losses. However, it had suffered from illness due to the harsh weather, and to its numerous manoeuvres and strenuous marches. Nevertheless, it was in far better conditions, than the other Prussian armies, which had heavily suffered in the battles of Palzig and Kunersdorf, and been forced to converge several weak battalions of their infantry regiments. Furthermore, at the end of the year, all of Finck's Corps had been forced to surrender as prisoners of war at Maxen. Finally, Diericke's detachment had been captured near Meissen. Overall, 12 infantry rgts and 6 cavalry rgts had been captured during that campaign. With all these losses, Frederick's Army suffered from a serious lack of experienced officers.
In January 1760, Fredrick's infantry in Saxony comprised 15 grenadier bns and 42 musketeer bns for a total of 771 officers and 27,340 men (at full strength they should have counted 1,156 officers and 46,416 men). His cavalry comprised 109 sqns for a total of 439 officers and 10,937 men (at full strength they should have counted 685 officers and 17,533 men). Including the freikorps and the jägers, Frederick's Army in Saxony numbered 1,272 officers, 40,561 men and 11,079 horses.
By January 20, 10 interim bns of convalescents (each of 450 men) had been established and organised in two brigades under Major-General von Stutterheim and Major-General von Hauss. The first brigade included Du Moulin Grenadier Battalion, Hommerstedt Grenadier Battalion, Kahlenberg and Sydow (2 bns); the second, Zastrow, Luck, Hasslocher, Ponickau Grenadier Battalion and Seher Grenadier Battalion.
Officers were sent to Brandenburg, Pomerania, Magdeburg, Halberstadt and Silesia to enlist recruits. Other recruits were enlisted in the occupied territories of Saxony (6,000 men), Thuringia, Anhalt and Mecklenburg. All grenadier bns, which had been captured in 1759, were re-established at half-strength and combined in three converged bns: Schwerin, Kleist, and Benckendorff.
Some of the units in the process of being rebuilt could initially only be used in fortresses. That was the case for Rebentisch Infantry, and Knobloch Infantry assigned to the Fortress of Breslau; Zastrow Fusiliers, Münchow Fusiliers and the 2 bns of Tresckow Infantry, in Schweidnitz. To compensate, 9 garrison bns were equipped for campaign with battalion guns, wagons, and horses: I./Alt-Sydow and II./Alt-Sydow at Breslau, I./Mellin, II./Mellin, III./Mellin and IV./Mellin at Schweidnitz; and I,/Jung-Sydow, II./Jung-Sydow and IV./Lattorf.
Losses among cavalry units were less important and most of them were able to replenish their ranks. The hussars in particular rapidly returned to full strength with the recruitment of volunteers. A few dragoon rgts received smaller Polish horses instead of the usual German horses.
The troopers returning from captivity were used to re-establish Horn Cuirassiers and Vasold Cuirassiers at half-strength. The two were temporarily combined to form a single 5 sqns rgt. Bredow Cuirassiers and Jung-Platen Dragoons, each counted only 2 sqns for the campaign of 1760. The Württemberg Dragoons, whose recruiting cantons were in the hands of the Russians, could only field a single sqn. The Gersdorff Hussars fielded only 3 sqns. To compensate for his depleted cavalry, Frederick recalled to Saxony the Holstein-Gottorp Dragoons and the Finckenstein Dragoons, who had been operating in Western Germany in 1759. In Saxony, Colonel von Kleist added 2 sqns to his Free-Hussars and raised 4 sqns of light dragoons.
Throughout winter, the Prussian artillery received new pieces recently cast in Berlin and Breslau. For the first time, the Prussian orders of battle showed the heavy artillery organised in batteries of 10 pieces. Each infantry brigade was supposed to be accompanied by such a battery. The horse artillery, which had been captured at Maxen, was not re-established before June, when Prince Heinrich allocated 6 light 6-pdrs to the Bayreuth Dragoons at Landsberg.
The Austrian Army
The Austrian Army had suffered very low casualties during the campaign of 1759. However, there were a lot of illness due to this unusually long campaign. By April 15, 1760, most rgts were at full strength. However, the new recruits had not yet joined their respective rgts and had been kept in "depot" behind the front. Furthermore, 20,000 men were in hospitals.
Prelude to the Campaign
At the beginning of 1760, the Allied Corps under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick stayed in Saxony until February 15 to assist the Prussian Army. Meanwhile Frederick II tried to recapture Dresden. Frederick advanced upon the positions of Maquire's Corps near Dippoldiswalde but found them unassailable. He then abandoned his project.
In January, Frederick sent troops to Western Saxony and Thuringia to enforce his requisitions of recruits, money and provisions. Lieutenant-Colonel von Kottwitz of the Prussian Gens d'Armes marched with 300 horse towards Querfurt and Langensalza. Similarly Captain Kovacs went to Duderstadt and the Eichsfelde with the Free Hussars; Major-General von Bandemer, towards Zeitz with the Leib-Carabiniers; and Captain de Froideville, towards Zwickau with a detachment (250 men) of Schorlemmer Dragoons. Complaints from the affected districts reached Bamberg, where Field Marshal Serbelloni had assumed command of the Reichsarmee. Serbelloni ordered FML Luszinsky, who was posted near Plauen and Scheitz with a corps of Austrian light troops, to send patrols forward in the direction of Gera, the Vogtland and downstream along the Saale River.
Around mid January, Frederick put his troops into partial cantonments. From this moment, he did not make use of the Hereditary Prince's Corps. His right wing and headquarters were at Freiberg with his troops spread in the villages from Wilsdruff, in the centre, and his left wing southward. General Schmettau was at Görlitz with 7 bns and 15 sqns. Meanwhile, Field-Marshal Count Daun inexplicably remained in its unassailable entrenchments in the vale of Plauen near Dresden. Feldzeugmeister Count Lacy was cantoned on the right bank of the Elbe with a large corps while FML Beck's Corps was pushed forward to Zittau. The Saxon cavalry was posted near the Silesian border in front of Görlitz, facing Schmettau's Corps. This general situation lasted until April.
For the campaign of 1760, Daun had, as usual, the chief command of the Grand Army (100,000 men) in Saxony. He was assisted by the Reichsarmee. According to the general plan settled upon for the campaign, Daun with his Grand Army would fix Frederick in Saxony and would follow him if ever he marched to the rescue of Silesia. Meanwhile, Feldzeugmeister Loudon would lead a large corps in Silesia and operate jointly with the Russian Army of Count Saltykov.
At the beginning of February, Prince Heinrich left the army because of illness and, with the permission of the king, went to Wittenberg. Margrave Karl temporarily replaced him as commander of the left wing of the army, quartered in the vicinity of Wilsdruff. Frederick ordered Lieutenant-General von Wedel to second the margrave.
On February 14, a small detachment of Leib-Carabiniers was attacked in Naumburg by Austrian hussars, who captured 1 officer and 16 men.
In mid-February, Beck resolved to attack the Prussian positions at Cossdorf (present-day Koßdorf) across the Elbe. These positions covered Torgau and the towns of the area.
On February 19, an Austrian detachment (Erzherzog Leopold Cuirassiers, Hessen-Darmstadt Dragoons under Major-General von Wiese, Bethlen Hussars and Dessewffy Hussars under Colonel Hintzmann, 4 grenadier coys and 500 Grenzer light troops under Colonel Zedtwitz) marched to Grossenhain. After a short halt, the detachment crossed the Röder creek and proceeded to Cossdorf, which was defended by General Ernst Heinrich von Czettritz.
At dawn on February 20, Beck's troops surprised Czettritz's detachment in the Engagement of Cossdorf. A few hours later, the Prussians re-advanced, repulsed Beck and recovered Cossdorf. During this affair, the Austrians had captured Czettritz's personal baggage, where they found a copy of the book "The General Principles of War," which was in fact a set of secret instructions given by Frederick II to his generals. The book would be published in Austria in 1761.
On March 5, fearing another attack, Colonel Dingelstedt, who had assumed command after the capture of Czettritz, retired to new positions between Blumberg and Torgau with his detachment.
When Major-General von Schmettau, who was posted in and around Görtlitz with his corps, was informed of Beck's attack on Czettritz's positions, he decided to outflank Beck's Corps and to attack it in the rear. However, General Fouqué, to whom Schmettau was subordinate, drew his attention to the fact that in this case the enemy corps stationed at Zittau could also advance and seize the Prussian posts at Görlitz and Lauban. Shortly afterwards, Schmettau learned that the Austrians were reinforcing their detachments at Bautzen, Löbau, Zittau and Reichenberg, and planned to attack him. So not only did Schmettau abandoned his design against Beck's Corps, but he also asked Frederick whether he might withdraw in front of the vastly superior Austrian forces. The king agreed, provided that circumstances required it.
On March 8, seeing that the Austro-Imperials were pushing detachments in Western Saxony, Frederick ordered the Leib-Carabiniers to retire from Zeitz to Weissenfels.
On March 10, Schmettau's Corps retired behind the Queiss River at Lauban, where it was very close to Fouqué's quarters.
On March 16, Major-General von Bandemer, who commanded the Leib-Carabiniers posted at Zeitz, fell ill and confided command to Colonel von Arnstädt. The sqns of the regiment were instructed to concentrate at Teuchern in preparation for the planned march towards Weissenfels.
On March 17 early in the morning, 2 sqns of the Leib-Carabiniers, who had not yet left Zeitz, were surrounded by Austrian light troops (Baranyay Hussars, a detachment of Kurfürstin Leib-Dragoner, Otto Jägerkorps, a few hundred Grenzer light troops and a detachment of Saxon Revertenten). As the first troopers rode out of the Pegau Gate, they bumped into Grenzer light troops who occupied the suburb. Without hesitation, Lieutenant von Krahn broke through these light troops with his troopers. However, he found that the Elster Bridge was occupied by Otto Jägercorps. As it proved impossible to force his way across the bridge, Lieutenant von Krahn turned right and rode further downstream where his detachment swam across the Elster. Colonel von Arnstädt did not follow Krahn's example, choosing instead to get out of Zeitz through the Gera Gate with the rest of the 2 sqns. As his troopers came out of this gate, they were attacked by the enemy cavalry, which threw them down the slope towards the Elster, while the Austrian infantry, who had meanwhile entered the town, fired on them from behind. Most of Arnstädt's troopers were taken prisoners. In this action, the Leib-Carabiniers lost 14 officers and 202 men, as well as a kettle-drum and two standards.
On March 18, the Austrian detachment retired from Zeitz to Gera.
King Frederick was very angry when he heard of the action at Zeitz, which he blamed on Arnstädt's carelessness.
On March 21, Frederick sent Major-General von Schenckendorff with a strong detachment to Zeitz to prevent further incursions by the Austrian light troops.
On March 25, Schenckendorff's detachment (Grenadier Battalion Nimschöfsky, Grenadier Battalion Bähr, Grenadier Battalion Schwartz, the rest of the Leib-Carabiniers, Lieutenant-Colonel von Kottwitz's 300 horse and 200 Kleist Hussars with 2 twelve-pdrs) arrived at Zeitz.
By April, the entire Saxon cavalry corps (now counting 5,288 men) was attached to Lacy's Corps posted near Radeberg. The Uhlans encamped near Strehla, the Chevauxlegers at Königsbrück.
On April 8
- On April 8 in the evening, Kleefeld's light corps arrived at Zwickau. When he heard that a Prussian convoy was spending the night at Niedermülsen, he set off from Zwickau at midnight and marched along the eastern bank of the Mulde.
On April 9
- Engagement of Niedermülsen
- When Froideville saw that the Austrian light troops caught up with his convoy, he took position on a height between Niedermülsen and Wernsdorf and tried to oppose resistance.
- The Prussian cavalry was broken and Froideville was taken prisoner along with 4 officers and 98 men. The 100 men of Prinz Moritz Infantry under Captain von Lentz resisted steadfastly and were able to retire.
- Schenckendorff's detachment returned to Borna, after completing its mission.
In mid-April, Schenckendorff's detachment left Borna and rejoined Frederick's main army. Major-General Salenmon was sent to the vicinity of Merseburg with Freibataillon Salenmon (recently re-raised in Leipzig) and Captain Kovacs' Frei-Hussars to cover Leipzig and to observe the Reichsarmee.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of the Austrian forces operating in Saxony in early June|
On the evening of April 25, Frederick left his cantonments at Freiberg and retired northward on Korbitz and Meissen. He then encamped himself between the Elbe and the Hill-Country. His left was anchored on Meissen and the Elbe while his right was at the village of Katzenhauser (unidentified location), an uncommonly strong camp. His centre camp was at Schletta. His line extended from Meissen southward about 16 km, commanding the passes of the Erzegebirge (Metal Mountains) and defending Leipzig, Torgau and Saxony in general. Frederick built large entrenchments and equipped them with a numerous artillery (250 guns in the front alone). He lay in this position more than 6 weeks till mid June.
Meanwhile, Daun, for the last two weeks, had taken the field, posting himself astride of the Elbe, half in Dresden, half on the opposite or northern bank of the river. Lacy was thrown out ahead in good force on this vacant side. When Frederick retired on Korbitz, Daun sent Berlichingen forward to Wilsdruff.
Race to Silesia
On June 1, the Saxon Major-General von Zezschwitz launched a raid on Cossdorf with a combined Austrian-Saxon detachment. Cossdorf was defended by Zieten Hussars and 2 sqns of Kleist Hussars. Zezschwitz captured 4 officers and 69 men.
On June 6, Frederick established a strong battery at Seilitz.
On June 11, Frederick detached General Krockow with 30 sqns to Cossdorf by Torgau to cover the passage of the Elbe by observing Lacy's Corps encamped on the heights of Boxdorf.
On June 14, upon hearing of the advance of another Austrian army into Silesia, Frederick got on march from Schletta with 30,000 men. During the night of June 14 to 15, part of Frederick's Army passed the Elbe between Diera-Zehren and Zadel: his first line of infantry aboard boats, his cavalry on a bridge of boats. The second line of infantry, under the command of General Bülow, remained at the camp of Schletta and Hülsen took position at Katzenhauser to cover this operation. The bridge was then transferred to Meissen and a second one was established at Kohlhof (unidentified location).
On June 15 in the afternoon, Frederick pitched camp at Proschwitz, short way north of Meissen and straight towards Lacy who was posted at Moritzburg with 30,000 men, only 16 km to eastward. From this position, Frederick could choose to march towards Grossenhain or towards Radeburg, only 6 km northward of Lacy. Daun himself was encamped at Reichenberg, within 3 km of Lacy, inexpugnably entrenched as usual. Instead of seizing the opportunity presented by the divided Prussian Army, Daun advanced the first line of his right wing to Wilschdorf to support Lacy if ever he was attacked by the Prussians.
On June 16, Buccow's Corps went to Boxdorf where it effected a junction with Lacy's Corps.
On June 17, Daun marched with the rest of his right wing to Boxdorf where he replaced Lacy's Corps who advanced by Bärnsdorf towards Radeburg. Daun's left wing joined him at Boxdorf soon afterwards and he entrenched his camp. The same day, Bülow abandoned his camp at Schletta and joined Frederick on the other bank of the Elbe.
On June 18, when Frederick was informed of Lacy's movement on Radeburg, he resolved to attack him. He started accordingly at 3:00 a.m. in 3 columns and got encamped on the southward side of Radeburg, his position extending up to Berbisdorf, ready to cross the Rodern Stream the following day. His reconnaissance parties fell on one of Lacy's outposts occupied by Saxon light horse. They chased them and reconnoitred Lacy's camp at Bärnsdorf, 5 km to southward of Frederick's positions. Daun was only another 5 km to south of Lacy. Frederick instructed Hülsen to leave 7 bns and 5 sqns at his current position and to join him with the rest of his corps. He then assembled his generals to prepare the plan of an attack on Lacy's positions.
On June 19 at 4:00 a.m., the Prussian Army was on the move for Bärnsdorf when he was informed that Lacy had retired. Indeed, as soon as Daun had heard of Frederick's advance, he had immediately recalled all the Austrian detachment on the left bank of the Elbe and instructed Lacy to take position at Lause (unidentified location) to cover the right flank of his army. The entire Austrian Army of 60,000 men was thus concentrated and entrenched on the hill of Reichenberg. Frederick rode out, with Frei-Infanterie Quintus Icilius, to reconnoitre the enemy position and found it unassailable. Frederick then returned to his camp, sending a detachment to occupy Bärnsdorf and another (9 bns) on the Heights of Bärwalde. He also posted Hülsen towards Großdobritz to support Linden who was still at Schletta with a small force. Frederick remained in these positions for a week. The overcautious Daun did not react.
On June 22, the Reichsarmee coming from Franconia arrived at the camp of Plauen near Dresden to make a junction with Daun's Army. It encamped in the Vale of Plauen. These reinforcements brought the Austro-Imperial Army to a total of 80,000 men.
Meanwhile, Frederick sent orders to Magdeburg for the preparation of a siege artillery train for the planned siege of Dresden.
Wednesday June 25, Daun received the news of the capture of Fouqué's Corps at Landeshut and made a bonfire. Frederick soon heard of it too.
On June 26, hoping to lure Daun in an open battle, Frederick abandoned his camp of Radeburg and retired in 3 columns to Großdobritz. However, Daun remained idle in his camp of Boxdorf, pushing detachments on Schönfeld, Brockwitz and Grossenhain to observe the road to Ortrand. The same day, Daun also sent General di Stampa to reinforce the Austrian Army of Silesia.
In the morning of June 29, Frederick learned that Lacy, reinforced with part of the Austrian Main Army, had quitted Lause and was marching on Krakau (near Königsbrück) by Radeburg. Frederick sent General of cavalry Zieten to Lampertswalde, vainly hoping for an engagement.
On July 1, Frederick resolved to march towards Silesia and sent off his bakery and heavy baggage.
On Wednesday July 2, Frederick marched eastward in two columns from Großdobritz to Quosdorf (unidentified location to the east of Königsbrück) in a woody country, crossing the Röder and the Pulsnitz. The baggage, bakery and artillery formed a third column. On their march, the Prussians were attacked by some uhlans and hussars which were easily repulsed. The march lasted from 3:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and covered 32 km, leaving Daun's positions to the right. The Prussian army crossed the Pulsnitz at Krakau, the first village in Lusatia and established its headquarters in the poor hamlet of Quosdorf, 2 km farther on. Daun, realising that Frederick was aiming for Silesia, feared for Loudon and instantly reinforced Lacy's Division to about 20,000 men. He then ordered Lacy to follow up Frederick and to harass him. Accordingly, Lacy took position at Lichtenberg. The same day, Frederick sent back Hülsen to the camp of Schletta on the left bank of the Elbe.
On Thursday July 3, the Prussian Army rested around Krakau. Frederick reconnoitred Lacy's position from the Keulenberg and immediately decided to attack it. He planned to march at midnight. The same day, the Austrian Main Army marched from Boxdorf to Grossharthau. Still the same day, FML Count Lanthieri replaced by FML Count Schallenberg at the head of the Austrian cavalry division.
On Friday July 4, just after midnight, the Prussian Army was on march. Baggages and bakeries were left behind with Frei-Infanterie Quintus Icilius to watch them. Frederick was with the vanguard. The region was full of boggy intricacies, lakelets, tangly thickets, stocks and stumps. The march was thus retarded and Lacy got notice of it and vanished away to Bischofswerda. Frederick encamped on the Heights of Neues Dorf and established his headquarters east of Pulsnitz towards Ohorn. By midnight Quintus had joined him with the baggage. In the meantime, Daun had sent his second line under Count Wied to secure the road of Bautzen and block Frederick's advance on Silesia.
On Saturday July 5 at 3:00 a.m., the Prussian army was on the march again, heading northward to the Abbey of Sankt Marienstern, 24 km farther. Frederick established his headquarters at the abbey. Meanwhile, Daun had hastily set off for Bautzen, with his 50 or 60,000 men. He reached the town at night. Lacy formed his rearguard at Bischofswerda.
On Sunday July 6, learning that Daun was ahead of him on the road to Silesia, Frederick left the Abbey of Sankt Marienstern in three columns at 3:00 a.m.. He marched eastward, intending to cross the Spree and, leaving Bautzen to his right, to take post somewhere to north-east of Bautzen, on the flank of Daun. In front of each column went wagons with a few pontoons, there being many brooks and little streams to cross. The day was very warm and soldiers, disobeying orders, drank at the streams. Consequently, 105 Prussian soldiers died during the march that day. Meanwhile, Daun wanting to block the road to Silesia, marched to Reichenbach, on his way to Görlitz, losing 200 men on the road. When Frederick heard that Daun had already left Bautzen, he realised that Daun was now hopelessly ahead on the road to Silesia. Therefore, Frederick changed his plan and decided to attack Lacy whose position extended from the village of Göda westward on several km. Frederick then ordered to wheel to the right and to cross the Spree farther down. He settled within 3 km of Bautzen with his left at Doberschütz. During the evening, Zieten occupied Bautzen.
On Monday July 7, the Prussian Army rested in Bautzen neighbourhood. Frederick went westward with a party of dragoons and hussars to reconnoitre Lacy's position. At Göda, a small town 10 km west of Bautzen, Frederick's party first met Austrian cavalry parties. He ordered infantry support but, without waiting for it, he attacked Göda and captured 100 prisoners. However, Lacy's cavalry counter-attacked with Saxon dragoon regiments and several other regiments reinforcing them. Neither force dared to move off, lest, on the instant of turning, it be charged and overwhelmed. A battalion of Prussian grenadiers finally arrived and chased the Austrian cavalry, allowing Frederick's squadrons to rally. Frederick lost about 200 men and Lacy hardly so many. The same day, Daun reached Görlitz, passed the Neisse River and proceeded to Naumburg where he took position.
Siege of Dresden
On Tuesday July 8 at 8:00 p.m., the tents of the Prussian Army were struck and it recrossed the Spree near Bautzen. Frederick had silently issued, with his best speed, in three columns, by three roads, towards Lacy. Of the columns, two were of infantry: the leftmost and the rightmost. The column of cavalry was in the middle. But Lacy was vigilant and cautious. He learned by his Grenzers that Frederick was advancing in his direction and immediately gathered his troops. Meanwhile Daun had continued his advance and had finally crossed the Queiss and entered into Silesia. He encamped at Ottendorf (present-day Ocice) where Loudon joined him to have a conference. They resolved to besiege Glatz (present-day Kłodzko).
On July 9 at 1:00 a.m., Lacy left Göda. He first retreated to Bischofswerda, then westward at an extraordinary rate, hurrying towards Dresden and the Reichsarmee. Lacy finally halted on the Height of Weissenhirsch, within 3 km of Dresden. Frederick marched by Bischofswerda to Harta (probably Grossharthau). He vainly sent his cavalry to catch up with Lacy.
On July 10, Lacy crossed Dresden bridge and encamped near the Reichsarmee in a strong position at Großsedlitz near the Plauen Chasm. Frederick then decided to besiege Dresden and advanced to Durrenbuhlau (unidentified location). However, the time allowable for capture of Dresden was very brief. Daun could trace back his steps to Dresden within a week. Nevertheless, Frederick calculated that Daun would be slow to react. This allowed him a good two weeks to besiege Dresden. An interval that Frederick considered sufficient to capture the town. The same day, Daun was informed that Frederick was marching back upon Dresden. Daun detached General Ried to follow up the Prussians, moved his vanguard back to Bautzen and then awaited further information.
On July 12, the first line of the Prussian Army reached the abandoned camp of Boxdorf near Dresden and destroyed the entrenched camp previously built by Daun. The second Prussian line remained at Weißig about 12 km east of Dresden. The Siege of Dresden lasted till July 29. Then Frederick had to raise it because Daun was arriving with overwhelming forces.
Another Attempt to reach Silesia
On July 30, Frederick detached Hülsen westward at Kesselsdorf with 10,000 men and Wedel at Kienast near Meissen to secure a crossing place over the Elbe and to build a bridge. Frederick encamped at Unkersdorf. The same day, Lacy advanced to Plauen.
On July 31, Frederick marched to Meissen, intending to cross the Elbe there and to make for Silesia as fast as he could. He sent Wedel across the Elbe to cover this passage. However, Lacy followed Frederick's movements, crossed the Elbe and took post at Uebigau while Daun returned to Bischofswerda to block the road to Silesia without moving too far away from Dresden. Daun sent light troops under Brentano and Ried to burn all the bridges on the Röder and the Spree. Beck did the same on the Spree, the Neiss and the Queiss rivers. The same day, Hülsen marched from Kesselsdorf to Schletta to defend Saxony with his small corps (17 bns, 25 sqns) against the combined forces of the Reichsarmee and General of cavalry Andreas Hadik totalling some 35,000 men.
On August 1 from 2:00 to 5:00 a.m., Frederick crossed the Elbe at Zehren (present-day Diera-Zehren) near Schieritz, as near Meissen as he could. He camped that night between Wantewitz and Dallwitz.
On August 2, Frederick's Army rested at Dallwitz, waiting for its bakeries and baggages. The same day, Daun sent his baggage ahead.
On Sunday August 3 at 2:00 a.m., Frederick marched in three columns. The left column would form his first line of battle in case of fighting. The second column would also become the second line while the third column would be kept as a reserve. The chaises and money-wagons of all generals as well as the wagons of the regimental surgeons remained with their respective battalions. The heavy batteries also remained with the brigades to which they belong. When the march was through woody country, the cavalry regiments went in between the battalions to be ready against the operations of the Grenzers light troops. Zieten Hussars and Frei-Infanterie de Courbière formed the vanguard of the first column while Möhring Hussars and Frei-Infanterie Quintus Icilius formed its rearguard. The vanguard of the second column was made of Normann Dragoons and Krockow Dragoons while Czettritz Dragoons formed its rearguard. Holstein-Gottorp Dragoons were at the vanguard of the third column while Finckenstein Dragoons were closing the column. During every march, two battalions of the second column joined the third column so that the third column consisted of 10 battalions and the second of 6, while on march. Three pontoon wagons went ahead of each column. There were 500 wagons in each of the second and third columns.
The march proceeded through the Röder and the Pulsnitz, encamping at Königsbrück on the evening of August 3. The same day, Daun, at Bischofswerda, foresaw this march and his light troops tried to spoil the road as much as they could, breaking all bridges. As soon as Frederick's march was confirmed, Daun left Bischofswerda marching towards Bautzen and trying to stay ahead of Frederick's advance towards Silesia. Lacy was charged with harrassing Frederick with Grenzers light troops parties. He marched from Uebigau to Lichtenau (unidentified location), sending light troops to delay the march of the Prussian columns.
On August 4, Frederick marched by Kamenz to Radibor. The same day Daun marched to Reichenbach in Upper Lusatia while Ried's Corps marched from Bautzen to Weissenberg and Lacy's Corps reached Bischofswerda.
On August 5, Frederick marched to Döbschütz north of Bautzen. The same day, Daun marched to Neukretscham (unidentified location), leaving his Reserve at Richenbach. Ried marched to Löbau while Lacy followed up the Prussian columns, encamping at Geblitz (unidentified location, maybe Gebelzig).
On August 6, Frederick passed the Rothwasser to enter into Silesia and encamped at Oberrothwasser (near present-day Czerwona Woda). The same day, Daun passed the Queis (present-day Kwisa) and occupied the camp of Schmottseifen (present-day Pławna Dolna). Frederick and Daun had now left the Saxon theatre of operations for Silesia (for further details about Frederick's operations see the relation of his campaign in Silesia).
Saxony left without a Prussian Army to defend it
The Duke of Zweibrücken, who commanded the Reichsarmee in Saxony, formed the design to attack the isolated and feeble corps left in Saxony under the command of Hülsen.
On August 9, the Austro-Imperial Army issued from its entrenched camp of Plauen, sending its light troops to Wilsdruff and Nossen while the corps under the command of the Prince of Stolberg reached Kesselsdorf and Kleefeld's Corps marched towards Freiberg. Hülsen at Meissen, with his small Prussian corps (17 bns, 25 sqns), was now alone to defend Saxony.
On August 13, the Austro-Imperial Army reached Wilsdruff while Stolberg chased the Prussians from Siebeneichen while Zedwitz took position on the Heights Broschwitz (probably Porschnitz). Meanwhile, Kleefeld had taken position on the Heights of Katzenberg.
On August 14, Guasco and Kleefeld attacked the Prussians at Krögis, driving them out of their posts, but failed to capture Stroischen.
On August 15, the Austro-Imperials rested, Stolberg taking position on its left flank and Zedwitz at Zadel on the right bank of the Elbe.
On August 16, the small Prussian force of Colonel Kleist left Döbeln and made a junction with Linden at Jagen (maybe Jahna). At noon, Stolberg marched to encamp at Ziegenhain. At 8:00 p.m., fearing to be cut from Torgau, Hülsen retired from Meissen northwards to Riesa while Kleist acted as rearguard.
On August 17, the Austro-Imperial Army followed up Hülsen and marched to Lommatzsch while Stolberg advanced to Staucha.
On August 18, Hülsen encamped at Strehla, placing 10 bns in a single line behind the existing entrenchments, 5 sqns in support to the left and 4 grenadier battalions on the Dürrenberg. These grenadiers were isolated 1,500 paces from his main position. Hülsen also sent his train to Torgau where he intended to retire as soon as possible. The Austro-Imperial Army reached Riesa, its vanguard Gröba and Merzdorf, and Stolberg took position at Kleinragewitz and Ganzig.
On August 19, Colonel Kleist reconnoitred Stolberg's positions and discovered that these positions could be easily overpowered.
During the night of August 19 to 20, Hülsen marched out of Strehla in an attempt to retire on Torgau. When his force reached the Otterberg, he could see a long line of fire camps and returned to his camp at Strehla. Indeed, the Austro-Imperial Army was preparing to attack him.
On August 20, at the Combat of Strehla in the Schlettau-Meissen Country, the Austro-Imperial Army (30,000 men) made an attack on Hülsen (10,000 men). Hülsen's principal post was on the Dürrenberg. Hülsen stood to his ground and Kleist distinguished himself with his hussars. Hülsen remained master of the field and captured 1,217 prisoners (one prince among them) and one gun. In this action, the Austrians lost more than 3,000 men dead, wounded or taken prisoners; the Prussians lost some 500 men.
On August 21, Hülsen remained in his positions until 8:00 a.m.. Seeing that the Prince of Stolberg was reorganizing his corps, he retired on Strehla. At noon, Hülsen left Strehla and marched towards Torgau. The Austro-Imperial Army immediately occupied his former camp at Strehla, sending its light troops as far as Meissen.
On August 22, Hülsen encamped at Torgau. The same day, the Austro-Imperial Main Army reached Belgern while Stolberg marched to Sitzenroda, Kleefeld to Schildau and Veczay to Matritzchen (unidentified location). Furthermore, Luzinsky, arriving from Thuringia by Weimar and Naumburg with an Austrian Corps, reached Eilenburg.
On August 23, Zedwitz passed the Elbe at Droskow (unidentified location), threatening to invest Torgau.
On August 24, Guasco and his grenadiers made a junction with Zedwitz at Droskow.
On August 25, the Austro-Imperial Main Army encamped at Altbelgern while Kleefeld and Stolberg took position at Belgern.
On August 26, Kleefeld and Stolberg passed the Elbe while Luzinsky marched from Eilenburg to Bitterfeld and the Austro-Imperial Main Army encamped at Tristewitz (present-day Arzberg) and its reserve at Zwethau.
On August 27, Hülsen changed the front of his camp to face the Elbe, his right anchored on Torgau and his left 4 km north at Repitz. He also sent Linden to occupy the post of Vogelgesang to prevent the crossing of the Elbe by the Austro-Imperial Army downstream from Torgau.
On August 28, Luzinsky's Austrian Corps marched to Halle while the Austro-Imperial Main Army, seeing that the Prussians continued to defend Torgau and his magazine, repassed the Elbe near Strehla and encamped at Schildau.
On September 2, Hülsen retook his initial camp and sent a battalion to defend Leipzig. The same day, the Austro-Imperial Army encamped at Strelln and Doberschütz while Stolberg took position at Schildau and Kleefeld occupied several villages (Mockrehna, Wildenhain...) and Zedwitz remained at Belgern.
The two armies then remained in these positions, observing each other, until September 21.
On September 12, the Württemberger Contingent (10,000 men), led personally by the Duke of Württemberg, arrived on this theatre of operation to reinforce the Austro-Imperial Army and occupied Halle.
On September 21, the Duke of Württemberg made a junction with the Austrian Corps of Luzinsky and encamped at Pretzsch on the Elbe 24 km downstream of Torgau.
On September 23, Zedwitz encamped at Mahitzschen and passed the Elbe shortly after.
On September 24, the Austro-Imperial Army marched on Torgau and cannonaded the town without significant results. It then encamped at Großwig, sending its grenadiers to Liptitz (unidentified location).
On September 25, the Duke of Württemberg, who still was at Pretzsch, threw a bridge on the Elbe. Luzinsky did the same at Dommitzsch and sent his vanguard across the Elbe.
On September 26, Hülsen resolved to retire on the right bank of the Elbe, his sudden orders causing disorders while crossing the bridge. The same day at noon, the Austro-Imperial Army was on the move, listlessly following up the retiring Prussian force.
On September 27, Hülsen marched to Lichtemberg (unidentified location), planning to attack the Corps of the Duke of Württemberg who had already retired on Jessen on the Elster. The same day, Torgau surrendered to the Austro-Imperial Army.
On September 28, the Austro-Imperial Army passed the Elbe and encamped at Lichtemberg while Luzinsky encamped at Lebien.
On September 29, Luzinsky's Corps encamped at Grabo.
On September 30, Hülsen encamped near Wittenberg. The same day, the Austro-Imperial Main Army reached Elster while Luzinsky marched to Gallin and the Duke of Württemberg marched to Wartenburg on the left bank of the Elbe.
On October 2, Hülsen heard of the Austro-Russian attack on Berlin, he resolved to abandon Wittenberg and Saxony. The same day, the Austro-Imperial Army advanced to attack Hülsen and to cut him from Berlin. After an artillery preparation, the Austrian division attacked the Prussian left but was repulsed. The Austro-Imperials marched to Mochau, blocking the direct road to Berlin by Treuenbrietzen.
On October 3, Hülsen left Wittenberg and marched to Kosnig (unidentified location, maybe Coswig). The same day, the Austro-Imperials lay siege to Wittenberg. Without any Prussian Army to defend them, Torgau was taken and Wittenberg besieged.
On October 8, the Austro-Imperial Army was at Wittenberg.
Meanwhile, taking advantage of the departure of Frederick who was marching to the relief of Berlin, Daun had marched from Silesia with 60,000 men and advanced towards Saxony.
On October 14, Wittenberg surrendered. The same day, Daun marched to Ullersdorf in Saxony.
Leipzig, Torgau, Wittenberg and all that country had fallen to the Reichsarmee. Not a town or a magazine now belonged to Frederick in Saxony.
Return of the king
On October 15, now that Berlin was free, Prince Eugen and Hülsen hastened for relief of Wittenberg but they only found a heap of ruins with the Prussian garrison gone, as prisoners of war. Prince Eugen retired from Belzig to Ziesar where he took post within reach of Magdeburg and supply and waited for new order. Meanwhile, he despatched Kleist upon the Duke of Württemberg army in Halle Country. The duke immediately withdrew in Württemberg.
N.B.: Prince Eugen of Württemberg commanded a Prussian Army while the Duke of Württemberg commanded the contingent of his own duchy subsidized by Austria. They were brothers serving in enemy armies.
On October 16, Daun reached Mikel (unidentified location) on the Spree. The same day, the Austro-Imperial Army (35,000) men repassed the Elbe at Bernsdorf midway between Königsbrück and Hoyerswerda.
On October 17, Prince Eugen marched to Treuenbritzen. The same day, Daun's Army reached the region of Kamenz and remained there for two days due to bad weather and poor road conditions
On October 19, Daun reached Hermsdorf near Ruhland, advancing towards Torgau.
On October 20, Daun marched to Frauenheim Röderaue near Elsterwerda.
On October 21, Daun marched to Martinskirch (unidentified location).
On October 22, after two days of march from Lübben in Brandenburg, Frederick with 30,000 men arrived at Jessen on the Elbe, near Wittenberg. He had now resolved to concentrate his army against Saxony. The same day, Daun reached Tristewitz (present-day Arzberg) opposite Torgau where Lacy made a junction with the main army.
On October 23, Frederick established his right wing at Wittenberg and his left wing, under Zieten, at Jessen. The Austro-Imperial troops previously occupying Wittenberg fell back southwards to Bad Düben. The same day, Daun threw a bridge on the Elbe and sent his reserve along with his grenadiers to Dommitzsch on the left bank.
On October 24, Frederick threw a bridge on the Elbe at Rosslau. Prince Eugen marched eastwards from Kalbe to Dessau, closing the gap between his corps and the Prussian Main Army. The same day, Daun passed the Elbe with the Austrian Main Army and encamped at Großwig. Lacy's Corps remained at Tschekau (unidentified location, maybe Zwethau on the right bank) while Ried took position at Pretzsch with the light troops. Meanwhile, the main body of the Reichsarmee was at Wittenberg.
On October 25, Frederick marched to Coswig with the right wing and 10 bns of the left wing.
On October 26, Frederick crossed the Elbe at Rosslau, in Dessau Country, between Rosslau and Klikau, 28 km below Wittenberg, about midway between Wittenberg and the inflow of the Mulda into Elbe. He encamped at Jonitz where he was joined by Prince Eugen and Hülsen who were waiting for him in this area with 14,000 men. These reinforcements brought Frederick’s army to about 80,000 men.
On October 27, the Prussian Army marched to Kemberg. The Reichsarmee immediately withdrew from Bad Düben to Leipzig. Hearing that Frederick was across the Elbe, Daun moved southward and planted himself at Eilenburg to support the Reichsarmee. The same day, Ried's light troops were attacked near Grauischen (unidentified location) and forced to retire on Bad Düben.
On October 28, Lacy passed the Elbe and encamped at Süptitz.
On October 29, Frederick posted himself at Bad Düben between Daun and the Reichsarmee. He then detached Hülsen with a considerable force to attack the Reichsarmee in Leipzig. Frederick then began to form a small magazine in Bad Düben to supplement Magdeburg who was his only available magazine in this area. The same day, Daun marched back to his camp of Torgau deploying his right at Zinna and his left towards Großwig. Lacy took position behind Schildau, the grenadiers behind Großwig and Brentano at Betaune (unidentified location).
On October 30, Lacy retired to Mockrehna, Ried at Strellen (maybe Strehla) and the grenadiers to Weidenhain Dreiheide. The same day, Frederick marched to Eilenburg and encamped near Thallwitz. Hülsen passed the Mulde and encamped at Gostewitz (unidentified location), detaching Linden with 9 bns and 15 sqns on Leipzig. In the evening, Linden found the Reichsarmee taking refuge in Leipzig.
During the night of October 30-31, Linden summoned Leipzig. At about 5:00 a.m. he found that the Reichsarmee had vanished in the mist. In fact, it was marching full speed towards Wechselburg. Daun, with Frederick ahead of him, made not the least attempt to help them.
Battle of Torgau
On November 2, Linden threw 2 bns, including Frei-Infanterie Quintus Icilius, in Leipzig as garrison, and rejoined Hülsen who returned to Bad Düben to join Frederick. The Prussian Main Army marched in four columns towards Torgau, leaving Roebel's Brigade at Eilenburg. It camped at Schildau that night, some 11 km on the southward side of Torgau. Frederick was with the vanguard as usual. Ried's Austrian light troops retired to Mockrehna.
On November 3, Frederick tried to attack the entrenched Austrian Army on two fronts. His manoeuvres were delayed and his first attacks ended unsuccessfully. Finally, Zieten's Corps attacked in the evening and, after a confused fight, won the Battle of Torgau. Frederick had taken shelter in the little church of Elsnig for the night. The news of the Prussian victory at Torgau soon reached him. He moved his headquarters to Torgau. During this battle, Daun had lost about 12,000 killed and wounded, 8,000 prisoners, 45 guns, 29 flags and 1 standard. The Prussian loss was between 13 and 14,000 men, of whom 4,000 prisoners. General Buccow briefly assumed command of the Austrian Army to replace Daun who had been wounded. However, Buccow was wounded too and O’Donnell took command.
End of the Campaign
On November 4, there was pursuit of Lacy and some prisoners and furnitures were got from him. Frederick encamped at 10:00 a.m. with his right at Süptitz and his left at Neiden. Hülsen was detached with 10 bns and 25 sqns to occupy Torgau, seizing 20 boats used for the Austrian bridges.
On November 5, the Prussian Army rested while the Austrian Army retired along the right bank of the Elbe through Mühlberg to Sagritz (east of Riesa).
On November 7, the Reichsarmee retired on Chemnitz. Frederick detached Hülsen against the Reichsarmee.
On November 8, the Austrian Main Army passed the Elbe and made a junction at Dresden with Lacy's and Macquire's Corps who had quitted the Reichsarmee to reinforce Daun. These combined forces then took post behind the inaccessible Plauen Chasms.
On November 12, Frederick encamped near Dresden, which he hoped to recapture, with his right at Grumbach and his left at Roitzsch while General Queiss passed the Elbe on a bridge established at Meißen and marched to Tschaila (unidentified location) with 9 bns and 8 sqns, facing Beck's Corps. Meanwhile, Prince Eugen left with 8 bns and 5 sqns to put a stop to the incursions of the cossacks in the Brandenburger Neumark.
By the end of November, harassed by Hülsen, the Reichsarmee had retired behind the Saale where it took its winter-quarters.
Frederick's headquarters were at Leipzig where he arrived on December 8. He dispatched 10,000 men under the command of General Forcade through Thuringia to make a junction with the Allied Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick who was operating against the French. However, roads were in such bad conditions that Forcade had to stop on his way.
On December 11, Daun and Frederick signed a convention, Frederick took his winter-quarters in the Meissen-Freyberg Country, in front of the Austrians and their impassable Plauen Chasms. Daun then went to Vienna this winter, in need of surgery.
To the exception of a small area around Dresden, Frederick had managed to recapture most of Saxony.
This article is essentially a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 12 Landeshut und Liegnitz, Berlin, 1913, pp. 11-16, 30-35
- Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 511, 513-518, 535, 538-542
- Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 20
- Jomini, Baron de: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 223, 245, 257-266, 268-270, 282-284, 308, 324-333, 341-342, 365-366
- Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 481-486
- Wengen, F. Von: Geschichte des k. k. österreichischen 13. Dragoner-Regimentes Prinz Eugen von Savoyen, Brandeis 1879