1760 - Austrian campaign in Saxony

From Project Seven Years War
Revision as of 11:59, 23 December 2014 by RCouture (talk | contribs) (Created page with "<small>Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> {{PAGENAME}}</small> The campaign lasted from February to December 1760 ==Description...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigationJump to search

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1760 - Austrian campaign in Saxony

The campaign lasted from February to December 1760


Prelude to the Campaign

At the beginning of 1760, the Allied Corps under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick stayed in Saxony till February 15 to reinforce 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.

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. This general situation lasted till 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.

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 short halt, the detachment crossed the Röder creek and proceeded to Cossdorf, defended by General von Czetteritz.

At dawn on February 21, Czetteritz's advanced posts were surprised. Czetteritz sent his dragoons and hussars against the advancing Austrians but Major-General von Wiese, who had reached Cossdorf with the Austrian vanguard, attacked Czetteritz's cavalry frontally. Meanwhile, the Austrian hussars attacked the Prussian cavalry in flank and rear. Schmettau Cuirassiers who tried to come to the support of the Prussian dragoons and hussars were intercepted by the Austrian cuirassiers, dragoons and 2 sqns of hussars. Lieutenant Márffy captured one standard of Schmettau Cuirassiers. During this action, Czettritz's cavalry was defeated by the troops of Wiese and Hintzmann. Czettritz, 6 officers and 275 men were taken prisoners. All the new uniforms of Schmettau Cuirassiers and 500 horses were also captured. A few hours later, the Prussians re-advanced, with fresh force, repulsed Beck and recovered Cossdorf.

Timid Manoeuvring

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 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 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 arrived in the region of 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.

March through Lusatia - Source: Richard Knötel, 1895

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.

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.

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 Czetteritz 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.

On October 19, Daun reached Hermsdorf near Ruhland, advancing towards Torgau.

On October 20, Daun marched to Frauenheim Röderaue.

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.

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

Frederick meets Zieten after the Battle of Torgau - Source: Carl Röchling, 1895

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.

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:

  • 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