1759 - Reich and Austrian invasion of Saxony
The campaign lasted from July to December 1759
- 1 Description
- 1.1 Situation in Saxony at the beginning of 1759
- 1.2 Prussian Preliminary Operations
- 1.3 Austrian Raids in Saxony
- 1.4 Prince Heinrich on the Defensive
- 1.5 Austro-Imperial Invasion of Saxony
- 1.6 Siege of Dresden
- 1.7 Prussians recapture most of Saxony
- 1.8 Combat of Korbitz
- 1.9 Prince Heinrich faces Daun in Saxony
- 1.10 Austrian retreat towards Dresden
- 1.11 Battle of Maxen
- 1.12 Daun reoccupies part of Saxony
- 2 References
Situation in Saxony at the beginning of 1759
At the beginning of January, 4 Austrian infantry rgts (Botta, Harrach, Hildburghausen and Thürheim) and 1 Austrian cavalry rgt (Bretlach Cuirassiers) were sent from Bohemia to Franconia under FML Count d’Arberg to support the Reichsarmee.
On January 11, the contingent of the Circle of the Upper Rhine arrived at Erfurt to reinforce the garrison (1 bn of Kurmainz Infantry and 1 garrison bn of Gaisruck Infantry). Saalfeld was also occupied by a few bns and a number of horse to protect the line of communication between Erfurt and Franconia.
At the end of January, another Austrian corps was sent to support the Reichsarmee in Franconia. This corps consisted of 5 infantry rgts (Jung-Colloredo, Gyulay, Marschall, Salm, Blau-Würzburg), 5 cavalry rgts (Modena Cuirassiers, Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers, Liechtenstein Dragoons, Prinz Savoyen Dragoons, Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Dragoons), 4 hussar rgts (Baranyay, Hadik, Splényi, Szechényi) and approx. 2,000 Grenzer light troops.
An Austrian Corps (9 bns, 39 sqns, 3,154 Grenzers) under the command of Gemmingen was posted at Postelberg (present-day Postoloprty/CZ) on the Eger (Ohře River) on the frontier between Saxony and Bohemia. Meanwhile, General Andreas Hadik was at the head of another Austrian corps of 19,000 men. This corps had joined the Reichsarmee cantoned in Franconia near the Saxon border with another division on the Werra near Hesse. Globally these Austro-Imperial forces amounted to about 45,000 men.
Overall, there were 6,546 Grenzers from Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1, Karlstädter-Lykaner, Karlstädter-Oguliner, Karlstädter-Szluiner, and 1,454 men from the Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars attached to Hadik’s Corps, Gemmingen’s Corps and the detachment posted on the Werra but the detailed assignment of these troops is not known.
Prussian Preliminary Operations
At the beginning of February, , Ferdinand of Brunswick, who feared a junction between the French Army of the Lower Rhine and this Austro-Imperial Army, asked Frederick to launch a diversionary attack in Thuringia to monopolize the attention of the Reichsarmee. Frederick had a meeting with Prince Heinrich where he instructed him to advance against Gotha and Erfurt, to drive the enemy out of these towns and to seize their magazines. Prince Ysenburg was ordered to support this offensive from Hesse. However, Prince Heinrich was reluctant to take the offensive. Nevertheless, Frederick maintained his orders and joint operations with Ferdinand’s Army were planned for February 27 or 28. By that date, Prince Heinrich should have sent a strong corps forward to Naumburg, from there it would take the shortest road to march on Erfurt. Meanwhile, Aschersleben’s detachment (100 men from the Horn Cuirassiers, 100 men from the Leibregiment zu Pferde, 100 men from the Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers, 100 men from Prinz Heinrich Cuirassiers and 30 men from the Szekely Hussars) would advance from the region north of Langensalza by way of Gotha to the vicinity south of Erfurt. During these movements, Prince Ysenburg would advance from the west on Hersfeld and Vacha. Prince Heinrich’s detached corps would then return to its quarters during the first week of March.
On February 16, observing that the Austro-Imperial Army was fortifying Erfurt, Prince Heinrich sent a detachment under General Knobloch against them.
On February 24, a corps of 7 bns (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck, Grenadier Battalion von Schwartz, Bülow Fusiliers, Finck Infantry, Freibataillon Wunsch), 600 horse (330 men from the Horn Cuirassiers and 300 men from the Meinicke Dragoons), 5 hussar sqns (Szekely Hussars) and 8 heavy artillery pieces (4 x 12-pdr guns, 4 x howitzers) belonging to Prince Heinrich’s Army began to assemble in the vicinity of Naumburg. This corps was placed under the command of Major-General von Knobloch.
In support of an Allied Corps under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, Knobloch launched an incursion in Thuringia. These manoeuvres led the Austro-Imperials to entirely abandon Hesse and to retire to Meiningen in the Country of Bamberg. At the end of this expedition, the Prussians returned into their winter-quarters.
On February 28, Prince Heinrich arrived at Naumburg.
On March 13, after his incursion in Thuringia, Knobloch’s Corps arrived at Naumburg from where the troops returned to their winter-quarters. Freibataillon Wunsch and the Szekely Hussars were posted on the Saale and established outposts between Naumburg and Dornburg.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the Prussian army of Prince Heinrich in mid-April.
Detailed OoB of the Austro-Imperial army in mid-April.
In April, Frederick II instructed Prince Heinrich to launch a raid against the Austrian magazines near the Bohemian border. From April 14 to 23, Prince Heinrich conducted a successful incursion into Bohemia, destroying magazines at Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice).
After this successful operation, Frederick decided to send the Prussian Army of Saxony against the Reichsarmee to put it out of action for a certain time so that he could redirect this same Army of Saxony against the Russians. Accordingly, Frederick instructed Prince Heinrich to enter into Franconia.
From April 29 to June 1, Prince Heinrich conducted operations in Franconia against the Reichsarmee.
In May, dissatisfied by the conduct of the Reichsarmee during the Prussian incursion in Franconia, Empress Maria Theresa recalled 2 cavalry rgts (Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers, Prinz Savoyen Dragoons), 2 hussar rgts (Baranyay, Szechényi) and all the 1,500 Grenzer light troops previously sent to its support.
Austrian Raids in Saxony
When Prince Heinrich launched his offensive in Franconia, the Austrian forces stationed in Northwestern Bohemia, taking advantage of the gaping hole created in the Prussian positions, started to advance towards Saxony to threaten the lines of communication of the Prussians. Field-Marshal Count Leopold Daun had sent Vehla towards Berlin and Gemmingen on Chemnitz and Zwickau.
FML von Gemmingen set off from the vicinity of Budin (present-day Budyně nad Ohří/CZ) with his corps and marched upstream along the Eger River (present-day Ohře River) up to Saaz (present-day Žatec/CZ), sending light troops forward to Karlsbad (present-day Karlovy Vary/CZ) and Falkenau (present-day Sokolov/CZ).
On May 10, Major-General von Horn had been left behind at Asch (present-day Aš/CZ) with a small Prussian detachment of 5 bns (II./Puttkamer Infantry, Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers, Freibataillon Monjou) and 6 sqns (Horn Cuirassiers and 130 men from Belling Hussars) to protect the lines of communication of Prince Heinrich.
On May 15, Grenzer light troops (part of Gemmingen’s Corps) under Major-General von Brentano and Lieutenant-Colonel von Palasti crossed the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) and reached the vicinity of Penig and Altenburg in Saxony.
On May 21, Major-General von Horn detached Lieutenant-Colonel von Wolfersdorff from Hof with a small party (I./Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers, half of Freibataillon Monjou and 130 cuirassiers and hussars) to drive back Palasti’s hussar detachment from the area of Greiz, to the northwest of Reichenbach in Voigtland.
Palasti managed to retired to Schneeberg without significant losses. There, he was reinforced by Grenzer light troops belonging to Brentano’s Corps.
On May 23
With his lines of communication threatened, Prince Heinrich was thus forced to retire from Franconia without having fulfilled his objectives to bring the Reichsarmee to battle and to destroy it. Indeed, the Reichsarmee was still a threat for Saxony.
On May 24
- Schenckendorff’s detachment (now including Wolfersdorff's troops) marched to Reichenbach to secure the line of communication between Hof and Zwickau.
- Lieutenant-General Finck arrived at Hof with the convoy of artillery and baggage of Prince Heinrich’s Army. Finck then assumed command of the Prussian forces assembled at Hof.
On May 25
- Schenckendorff’s detachment advanced to Zwickau.
- Finck sent order to Major-General Schenckendorff to attack the Austrians posted at Schneeberg. He also sent him a reinforcement (II./Salmuth Fusiliers under Major von Cordier, the rest of Freibataillon Monjou and 150 men of the Belling Hussars under Major von Gerlach) to assist him in his attack. This detachment would advance by Oelsnitz and Auerbach to attack the rear of the Austrian positions.
Meanwhile, Brentano had taken position behind the Mulde River between Aue and Bockau.
On May 27
- Engagement of Aue
- At 2:00 a.m., Schenckendorff set off from Zwickau, marched along the eastern bank of the Mulde by way of Wildenfels and Hartenstein.
- Schenckendorff surprised Brentano’s outposts on the Heights of Aue, made himself master of these heights and of the village.
- Schenckendorff then immediately attacked the main positions of Brentano’s light troops (Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2, Karlstädter-Szluiner and Warasdiner-Sankt Georger), hoping to drive back the Austrians on the reinforcements sent by Finck from Hof.
- The detachment sent from Hof had been instructed, once it had reached Auerbach, to turn towards Eibenstock, so that it would cut Brentano’s line of retreat towards Bohemia. However, it did not manage to arrive on time.
- After a long struggle, the Austrians were driven back but they managed to retire through the mountains.
- In this action, the Austrians lost 24 men killed, 63 wounded and only 3 taken prisoners; the Prussians lost 3 men killed and 30 wounded.
- Schenckendorff spent the night on the heights near Aue.
On May 28, Schenckendorff’s detachment returned to Zwickau.
On June 1
- Prince Heinrich’s Army recrossed the border of Saxony. During his retreat, he had been closely followed by Austrian light troops belonging to Kleefeld's, Ried's, Vécsey's and Luzinsky's detachments.
- Seeing that the army of Prince Heinrich was back in Saxony, Gemmingen retired to Bohemia with his corps.
Major von Gerlach and Major von Monjou were both court-martialed because of their delay when leading the Prussian detachment sent from Hof to support intercept Brentano’s Corps. They were both dismissed from service.
Prince Heinrich on the Defensive
In Bohemia, along the Saxon border, there was only a weak Austrian corps (5 bns, 20 sqns, 3,000 Grenzer light troops and 500 Grenzhussars) under Gemmingen and Vehla’s light corps (2,600 Grenzer light troops and 900 Grenzhussars) between Zittau and Ostritz.
On June 2, the Reichsarmee quitted its camp at Forchheim.
By June 3, Prince Heinrich's forces had retired to the neighbourhood of Zwickau in southwest Saxony.
On June 4, General Andreas Hadik, leaving 2 hussar regiments with the Reichsarmee, marched with his Austrian corps to make a junction with Daun in Bohemia. After Hadik’s departure, the Reichsarmee still counted 14,000 foot, 2,000 Grenzer light troops and 5,000 horse.
On June 5
- The Reichsarmee encamped at Forchheim with its vanguard at Wüstenstein. The Austrian light troops assigned to this army advanced up to Hof.
- Prince Heinrich, at Frederick’s request detached Hülsen with 10 bns, 22 sqns, 10 heavy artillery pieces to reinforce Dohna’s Army, which was trying to delay the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. After the departure of these troops, Prince Heinrich had only 31 bns and 35 sqns with 57 heavy artillery pieces, for a total of 25,500 men. These forces were deployed as follows:
- near Zwickau, Major-General von Lindstedt with 6 bns and 400 cuirassiers (picked men from Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers, Horn Cuirassiers, Schlabrendorff Cuirassiers and Spaen Cuirassiers which were part of the reinforcements sent to Dohna, under the command of Major von Wulffen)
- near Chemnitz, Prince Heinrich with 18 bns and 20 sqns
- near Dresden, Lieutenant-General von Finck with 7 bns and 10 sqns to observe the Austrian army operating in Lusatia.
On June 7, Major-General Brentano crossed the mountains with a few Grenzer bns and took position near Annaberg to reconnoitre the Prussian positions. His detachment was soon driven back by Major-General Meinicke.
On June 13, the Prince of Zweibrücken, the commander-in-chief of the Reichsarmee, set off from Forchheim with his army and slowly marched by way of Bamberg and Hofheim towards the forests of Thuringia.
Major-General von Ried was detached with Austrian light troops (1,200 Grenzer light troops and the Szechényi Hussars) in a raid towards Salzungen on the Werrra. From that town, the detachment also launched raids in Hesse.
In mid-June, Prince Heinrich was informed that Hadik’s Austrian corps had been recalled from the Reichsarmee and had marched by way of Eger back towards Bohemia.
On June 15
- Prince Heinrich moved part of his troops closer to Zschopau to secure the Pass of Sebastiansberg (present-day Hora Svatého Šebestiána/CZ).
- Major-General von Lindstedt’s Corps established a new camp near Hartenberg (near present-day Hřebeny/CZ) to better cover the road leading from Karlsbad to Saxony.
On June 19, Prince Heinrich gave orders to Finck to advance from Dresden to Dippoldiswalde to better reconnoitre the Bohemian frontier and to harass Austrian detachments in these quarters. Finck learned that Gemmingen was encamped near Brüx. However, he was unable to get information on Hadik’s whereabouts.
On June 23
- The Reichsarmee occupied a new camp at Hofheim (present-day Hofheim in Unterfranken) on the road from Haßfurt to Königshofen (present-day Bad Königshofen im Grabfeld) on the border between Franconia and Saxony while its light troops took the direction of the Werra towards Meiningen and Salzungen (present-day Bad Salzungen) and other detachments formed a chain of posts from Saalfeld by Schleiz up to Hof.
On June 24, the Prince of Zweibrücken being ill, he went to Mannheim, and FML Count Serbelloni assumed command “ad interim” of the Austro-Imperial army.
At the end of June, when Prince Heinrich was informed that Daun had quitted his camp near Schurz, he immediately realised that the main Austrian army was advancing towards Lusatia. He also thought that Gemmingen’s and Hadik’s corps would join the main army. Accordingly, he made preparations to follow them to Lusatia. He sent reconnaissance parties across the Elbe and towards Neustadtl Schluckenau to the southwest of Zittau on the border between Saxony and Bohemia. He also assembled his whole army near Zschopau with the exception of Finck’s Corps which remained at Plauen.
On July 2, Gemmingen’s Corps crossed the Elbe.
By July 4 the Austro-Imperial army was still encamped at Hofheim.
On July 5, the Austro-Imperial army decamped from Hofheim and reached Römhild where it would remain until July 11.
On July 8, Hadik’s Corps arrived at Aussig (present-day Ústí nad Labem/CZ).
On July 9, Prince Heinrich set off from Zschopau with his army and marched by way of Ober-Schöna to Plauen near Dresden. Frederick had designated Bautzen as a suitable position to oppose the advance of the Austrians into Lusatia.
On July 10, Frederick urged Prince Heinrich to march to Bautzen.
On July 11
- The Austro-Imperial army set off from Römhild in two columns: the weaker one under FZM Baron von Saint-André marched towards Coburg and the main column marched towards Schleusingen.
- As Prince Heinrich approached Dresden, Lieutenant-General von Finck crossed to the right bank of the Elbe with his corps of 7 bns (Finck Infantry, Knobloch Infantry, Hessen-Kassel Fusiliers, II./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch (formerly Monjou)) and 9 sqns (Prinz Heinrich Cuirassiers, 4 sqns of Belling Hussars).
On July 12, Daun, the Austrian commander-in-chief, resolved to merge several Austrian corps operating on the borders of Silesia and Lusatia and to send this new corps towards Brandenburg to make a junction with the Russian army. With this manoeuvre, Daun hoped to draw Prince Heinrich away from Saxony. This project called for a simultaneous advance of the Reichsarmee on Erfurt and Leipzig.
On July 13
- The Prince of Zweibrücken re-assumed command of the main column of the Austro-Imperial army at Schleusingen.
- Prince Heinrich marched towards Dresden in Saxony while Finck marched towards Bischofswerda.
On July 14
- Hadik’s Corps marched from Aussig towards Leitmeritz where it crossed the Elbe. He left 8 bns and 10 sqns, a total of 6,000 men, in Aussig under FML Count Maquire to cover his march.
On July 15
- Ried’s detachment entered in the Prussian County of Hohenstein where it raised contributions.
- Prince Heinrich asked Finck to reconnoitre in the direction of Zittau to discover the whereabouts of Gemmingen’s and Hadik’s Corps.
On July 16
- The Reichsarmee arrived at Ilmenau.
- Gemmingen’s and Hadik’s corps marched towards Bautzen. Some Austrian troops advanced on Crossen, forcing Finck to run after them.
- Prince Heinrich sent Colonel von Kleist with 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion Östenreich, II./Salmuth Fusiliers, Freibataillon Collignon) and 5 sqns (2 sqns of Meinicke Dragoons, 3 sqns of Kleist Hussars) to Stolpen on the right bank of the Elbe.
- Finck received direct orders from Frederick, who thought that Loudon’s Corps was marching towards Sagan, to follow this corps and to try to join the corps of Prince Eugen von Württemberg that Frederick had sent towards Sagan.
On July 17
- Finck's detachment marched from Bischofswerda to the Marienstern Monastery.
- Prince Heinrich decided to reinforce Kleist’s detachment at Stolpen with 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion von Schwartz, Bredow Fusiliers) and 5 sqns (5 sqns of cuirassiers under Major von Wulffen) under Major-General von Knobloch.
On July 18
- The Reichsarmee reached Arnstadt.
- Knobloch's detachment marched to Stolpen.
On July 19, a detachment (800 Grenzer light troops and Baranyay Hussars) of the Austro-Imperial army under Major-General von Kleefeld crossed the Saale River near Iena and Kösen and entered in Saxony by way of Zeitz and Weissenfels.
On the night of July 19 to 20, Prince Heinrich, who had been informed that Hadik had crossed the Elbe and was marching towards Brandenburg, crossed the river with his own army to march in the direction of Kamenz.
On July 21
- The Reichsarmee advanced towards Saxony through Gotha.
- Ried’s detachment launched a raid into Harz up to the gates of Halberstadt. The Prussian militia posted at Halberstadt had time to retire to Magdeburg. Ried raised a contribution of 800,000 Thalers in Halberstadt. Ried later advanced up to Magdeburg and then retired through Querfurt where they raised a contribution of 25,000 Thalers.
- Gemmingen’s Corps arrived at Grosshennersdorf, north of Zittau.
- Even though, Frederick had recalled Prince Eugen, Finck’s Corps was instructed to remain near the Marienstern Monastery.
On July 22
- Hadik’s Corps reached Grosshennersdorf where it joined Gemmingen’s Corps. Hadik was now at the head of 17,300 men (excluding Maquire’s detachment and Vehla’s light corps posted near Zittau).
- Prince Heinrich instructed Finck to retire from Marienstern and to return to Bautzen.
- Prince Heinrich marched to Rothnauslitz with the main body of his army.
- Knobloch’s detachment marched from Stolpen to Bischofswerda.
On July 25
- Prince Heinrich set off from his camps near Bischofswerda and Rothnauslitz with 15 bns (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck, Grenadier Battalion Lubath, Finck Infantry, Hülsen Infantry, Knobloch Infantry, Bredow Fusiliers, Grabow Fusiliers, Wied Fusiliers, I./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch), 19 sqns (Leibregiment zu Pferde, Meinicke Dragoons, 8 sqns of Kleist Hussars, 1 sqn of Frei-Husaren Kleist) and 57 heavy artillery pieces and marched to Königswartha.
- Finck remained in his camp near Bautzen with 12 bns (Grenadier Battalion Östenreich, Grenadier Battalion von Schwartz, Hauss Fusiliers, Bülow Fusiliers, Hessen-Kassel Fusiliers, Zastrow Fusiliers, I./Braun Fusiliers, II./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch) and 17 sqns (Prinz Heinrich Cuirassiers, 5 sqns of converged cuirassiers Wulffen, 5 sqns of Belling Hussars, 2 sqns of Kleist Hussars) to cover the march of Prince Heinrich against any intervention by Hadik’s Corps and prevent any raid on Berlin. Furthermore, II./Braun Fusiliers guarded the bakery at Senftenberg, Freibataillon Collignon covered the line of communication at Kamenz, and II./Salmuth Fusiliers was sent back to Dresden.
On July 26
- Saint-André’s column reached Saalfeld.
- Zweibrücken’s column reached Erfurt.
- Maquire’s Corps marched to Bischofswerda.
- Informed of the Prussian defeat at Paltzig, Prince Heinrich marched to Weisswasser in Upper Lusatia.
On July 27, now that Prince Heinrich had left the Saxon theatre of operation, on his way to reinforce Frederick’s Army in Brandenburg, Finck was forced to retire to Kamenz in front of superior Austrian forces.
On July 30
- Maquire followed Finck’s Corps with his detachment, marching from Hermsdorf to Königswartha.
- Finck’s Corps was posted near Hoyersweda, ready to turn against the flanks and rear of Loudon’s and Hadik’s Corps if ever they advanced against the Mark, or to oppose the Reichsarmee if it made enterprise against the Saxon fortresses or tried to advance on Berlin.
Austro-Imperial Invasion of Saxony
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the Austro-Imperial army in August.|
On July 31, the Reichsarmee finally arrived at Auerstedt.
On August 1
- Zweibrücken’s column arrived at Naumburg/Saale while Saint-André’s column reached Gera. Saxony lay undefended before these forces.
- Kleefeld's hussars, who were posted at Pegau and Weissenfels, raided the vicinity of Leipzig and reconnoitred up to the Mulde River.
- Hussars belonging to Ried’s detachment appeared in front of Halle.
- East of the Elbe, there was only Finck’s Corps operating in Saxony; the fortresses on the Elbe were manned by weak garrisons; only Dresden was in a state to oppose some resistance.
- Finck was informed that advanced elements of the Reichsarmee had occupied Halle and that its main body had already reached the Saale and was advancing on Leipzig.
- Finck’s Corps set off from Hoyerswerda and marched in the direction of Torgau by way of Ortrand and Kröbeln.
In the following days, the Reichsarmee also made itself master of Zeitz and Halle. General Vécsey occupied Halle. Austrian light troops attached to the Reichsarmee moved towards Dresden on both banks of the Elbe.
On August 3
- Kleefeld’s detachment of light troops appeared before Leipzig, and Kleefeld summoned the commander of the place, Major-General von Hauss, to surrender. If Hauss would refuse to surrender, the Prince of Zweibrücken threatened to burn the suburbs and to set the city of Halle on fire.
- Brentano offered Count Schmettau, the Prussian governor of Dresden, the imperial grace and a sum of 118,000 thalers in exchange for the surrender of Dresden. Schmettau indignantly declined the offer.
- The garrison of Leipzig consisted of 4 bns (former Saxon Plotho Fusiliers, I./Salmuth Fusiliers and II./Hoffmann Fusiliers) some convalescents and a detachment of Belling Hussars. The place was insufficiently fortified and, besides battalion guns, only a few guns from the Plessenburg were available.
- Finck’s Corps reached Torgau where Finck received Frederick’s orders to immediately march to make a junction with the main army at Frankfurt (Oder).
On August 4
- Finck’s Corps marched from Torgau to Herzberg.
- With the departure of Finck's Corps, the only remaining Prussian troops in Saxony were the garrison of Dresden and a few detachments in the towns of Leipzig, Wittenberg and Torgau.
On August 5
- The Reichsarmee crossed the Saale on a bridge established near Naumburg, and encamped on the eastern bank of the river.
- The Austrian light troops attached to the Reichsarmee roamed the counties of Hohenstein and Halberstadt in Prussian territories.
- Kleefeld’s light detachment advanced by way of Weissenfels to Lindenau, near Leipzig.
- Hauss asked to capitulate under condition that the garrison of Leipzig would obtain free withdrawal to Wittenberg.
On August 6
- By that date, Maquire’s Corps had advanced up to Hoyerswerda.
- Torgau was defended only by the I./Garrison Regiment III Grolman and a few hundred convalescents and recruits.
- Finck’s Corps marched to Lübben by way of Luckau, on its way to make a junction with Frederick’s Army in Brandenburg. At Lübben, Finck received instructions from Frederick to reinforce the garrison of Torgau with 2 bns. Finck sent back the Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers and 2 sqns of Kleist Hussars towards Torgau. The Prussians had large magazines and a hospital in Torgau.
On August 7
- FML Maquire, who had no enemy in his way since the departure of Finck’s Corps, advanced from Kamenz towards Hoyerswerda to get closer to Hadik’s Corps.
- The vanguard of the Reichsarmee occupied Leipzig. The magazines, which had not been destroyed as well as the guns of the Pleissenburg fell into the hands of the Reichsarmee. Furthermore, 700 prisoners of war and 20 Bohemian and Franconian hostages were freed.
- The Prussian garrison of Leipzig evacuated the place. On their way to Wittenberg, many Prussian soldiers, particularly those of the former Saxon Plotho Fusiliers, deserted. The garrison reached Düben (present-day Bad Düben).
- Finck recalled the 2 sqns of Kleist Hussars which he had sent towards Torgau on the previous day.
- Finck’s Corps marched from Lübben. On his way, Finck was informed that Frederick had moved his camp to Wulkow and that a large number of light troops could hinder his advance. Accordingly, he redirected his march to Storkow.
On August 8
- Brentano’s light corps marched from Pirna on the west side of the Elbe to the “Grossen Garten” in the suburbs of Dresden. On the opposite bank of the Elbe, Major-General Vehla, who had been detached by FML Count Maquire to reconnoitre in the direction of Dresden, reached the “Weissen Hirsch,” his light troops skirmished with Prussian outposts near the gates of the city. All road leading to Dresden were now blocked by the detachments of Brentano and Vehla. Nevertheless, the Prince of Zweibrücken asked Daun for more troops. The latter gave orders to Maquire to advance towards the Elbe with 8 bns (Harrach (2 bns), Hildburghausen (2 bns), Salm (2 bns), Thürheim (2 bns)) and 5 sqns (Bretlach Cuirassiers).
- The main body of the Reichsarmee arrived at Leipzig by way of Rippach. It then remained idle there for a long period.
- The Prince of Zweibrücken sent the corps of Stolberg, Kleefeld and Luzinsky (about 17,000 men) against Torgau. Once a detachment of the Reichsarmee under FML von Rosenfeld had occupied Halle, generals Ried and Veczay advanced from Halle with their light troops in the direction of Zörbig and Löbejün; while Kleefeld advanced to Eilenburg and Düben. and General Luzinsky crossed the Mulde River at the head of a detachment of light troops.
- Colonel von Wolfersdorff assumed command of the Fortress of Torgau. He was accompanied by 50 men from Kleist Hussars and Belling Hussars. These hussars were immediately sent to reconnoitre in the direction of Eilenburg and soon spotted Austrian hussars belonging to Kleefeld’s detachment. As instructed by Wolfersdorff, they spread the rumor in all villages that a Prussian force of 20,000 men was approaching.
- Hauss reached Wittenberg with the remnants of the garrison of Leipzig.
- Finck’s Corps marched from Storkow to Falkenhagen.
On August 9
- Effern Infantry (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys) and 2 howitzers reinforced Kleefeld’s Corps before Torgau.
- Maquire received orders to move from Hoyerswerda to Görlitz.
- In Torgau, Wolfersdorff lost no time and used the inhabitants to improve the defensive works of the place. He also sent couriers to Dresden and Wittenberg to ask for support.
- A request from the council and the citizens of Halle arrived in Dresden, urging Schmettau to surrender the place. Schmettau also received a letter from the Prince of Zweibrücken, who threatened to burn the suburbs and to raze Halle and the neighbouring salterns. Schmettau answered that he had orders to defend the place to the last man and to set fire to the suburbs if attacked.
- Finck’s Corps made a junction with Frederick’s main army in Brandenburg.
On August ??, the column of FZM St. André, which had marched from Gera to Borna, made a junction with the main body of the Reichsarmee near Leipzig.
|From this point, the details of Finck’s operations are described in the article dedicated to the Russian campaign in Brandenburg.|
On August 10
- Brentano vainly renewed the offer, which he had made to Count Schmettau on August 3 for the surrender of Dresden.
On August 11
- Luzinsky's detachment reached the Elbe River at Riesa, Strehla and Belgern.
- Siege of Torgau
- Kleefeld’s detachment (Effern Infantry, 2 Grenzer bns and some hussars with 2 howitzers) appeared before Torgau. Kleefeld summoned Wolfersdorff to surrender, threatening to plunder and burn down the towns of Halle, Halberstadt and Quedlinburg if the Prussians opposed any resistance. Wolfersdorff answered that he would defend Torgau to the utmost and burn down the suburbs if the enemy approached. To gain some time, he asked to be authorised to send an officer to Frederick for further instructions, but Kleefeld refused.
- In the afternoon, Grenzer light troops entered into the southeastern suburbs of Torgau. Wolfersdorff sent out 200 men to set these suburbs afire. The town was only defended by a wall and a ditch with some earthworks.
- In the evening of August 11, I./Salmuth Fusiliers and II./Hoffmann Fusiliers, which had formed part of the garrison of Leipzig and were retiring from Wittenberg, arrived at Torgau to reinforce the garrison. The commander of Wittenberg was also sending four 12-pdrs and a supply of ammunition. However, from Dresden, Count Schmettau informed Wolfersdorff that he was unable to help him.
On August 12
- Siege of Torgau
- Early in the morning, Kleefeld launched an assault on the suburb of Torgau with the Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer and the grenadiers of Effern Infantry. They occupied the ruins of the suburbs and, from these positions, opened fire on the Prussians soldiers posted on the walls. Wolfersdorff made a sortie with 400 men from the “Castle Gate” and attacked the two flanks of the Grenzers, driving them out of the suburbs.
- Around noon, Kleefeld tried a second time to take position in the suburbs, without success.
- FML Prince Karl von Stolberg, second to Zweibrücken, arrived before Torgau with 2 infantry rgts (Kreisinfanterieregiment Baden-Baden, Kreisinfanterieregiment Fürstenberg, each of 2 bns and 2 grenadier coys), the 3 sqns of Kurpfalz Cuirassiers, a train of battering guns, and 2 twelve-pdrs.
- A battery was established on the left side of the Elbe dam, downstream of Torgau, to destroy the bridge and thus cut the line of retreat of the garrison. Meanwhile Luzinsky's light troops conducted a diversionary attack.
- Wolfersdorff replied with a lively cannonade directed against this redoubt from the city and from the entrenchments on the right bank of the Elbe. He also sent Major Count von Kirchberg across the Elbe with the II./Hoffmann Fusiliers and 2 guns to fire on the men working at the construction of redoubt. Stolberg’s troops suffered severe losses.
- In the evening, Wolfersdorff vainly sent out 200 men to attack the redoubt. He answered to a new summon, saying that he would defend the place until it was a heap of ruins. Work at the improvement of the defensive works continued.
- Vehla remained at Hoyerswerda with his light troops to reconnoitre in the direction of Torgau and Dresden.
On August 13
- Schmettau began to transfer artillery pieces, pontoons and part of the large provision of flour and grain from the new town of Dresden to the old town.
- Siege of Torgau
- Stolberg’s battery was ready to open against the bridge of the Elbe and the entrenchments on the right bank.
- Early in the morning, Grenzer light troops advanced once more into the suburbs and Wolfersdorff sent 400 men out through the Castle Gate to attack them on both flanks. The Austro-Imperials established some guns on the Ratsweinberg and to the southwest of Torgau and began to bombard the place. The Prussian defenders were running short of ammunition for their guns. Wolfersdorff gave orders to cast cannonballs with lead and tin but the defenders could find enough of these metals.
- General Luzinsky now completed the encirclement of Torgau from the right bank of the Elbe. He then marched to Belgern with his hussars and Grenzer light troops and found boats to cross the Elbe.
- In the evening , the Prince of Stolberg offered Wolfersdorff to capitulate with the honours of war. The latter finally accepted.
On August 14, the garrison of Torgau, now out of ammunition, had to capitulate. It was allowed to withdraw freely with some of its artillery and provisions for three days. It left behind a large magazine, 9 guns and a military chest containing 200,000 Thalers in species. Furthermore, a lieutenant-colonel, 13 officers and 300 men; who were hold prisoners in Torgau; were freed. During the brief siege, the Austro-Imperials had lost 1 lieutenant and 5 men killed, and 1 captain and 41 men wounded; the Prussians had lost 31 men killed and 86 wounded. The road to Berlin was now open.
On August 15, the garrison of Torgau marched out of the city with flying colours and drums beating and crossed the bridge of the Elbe and took the direction of Jessen. The adjutant-general of the Prince of Stolberg then invited the Saxon soldiers, who were part of the Prussian garrison and had been forcibly enrolled in the Prussian Army, to desert and join the Austro-Imperial forces. Entire battalions began to desert. Colonel von Wolfersdorff shot down one of the deserters and urged his officers to do the same, thus putting an end to this wave of desertions.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the independent Austrian corps operating in Saxony in mid-August.|
During these manoeuvres of the Reichsarmee, Daun had sent the Austrian Division of Vehla and Brentano towards Dresden to observe the place and to act jointly with the Reichsarmee. Daun later sent Maquire to reinforce Vehla and Brentano. These reinforcements brought the Austrian force near Dresden at some 15,000 men.
On August 16
- At his headquarters in Leipzig, Prince Friedrich von Zweibrücken was informed of Count Piotr Semionovitch Saltykov’s victory at Kunersdorf against the Prussians. However, instead of rushing across the Elbe, he concentrated his efforts on the siege of fortified places in Saxony.
- Wolfersdorff reached Wittenberg with the garrison of Torgau. In Wittenberg, Wolfersdorff received orders from Frederick instructing him to march towards Berlin, which was probably threatened by Hadik.
On August 17
- The Prince of Stolberg left General von Kleefeld with his detachment near Torgau, and marched back with the rest of his troops to join the main body of the Reichsarmee at Leipzig.
- General Luzinsky advanced to Düben. Soon afterwards, he marched towards Mansfeld by way of Bernburg.
- Kleefeld received order to also take the Fortress of Wittenberg, located on the right bank of the Elbe, and connected to the left bank only by a ferry.
- A party of Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer gave effective support to an Austrian outpost near Dresden.
On August 19
- After hearing a report from his staff officers, Schmettau decided to abandon any plan to defend the new town. All guns who could not be transferred to the old town were nailed. The stock of stores, which could not be transferred to the old town, remained the property of the Saxon estates. The Elbe Bridge was not blown up but a mine was installed to destroy it in case of emergency.
- Schmettau received a letter written by Frederick on August 14, just after his crushing defeat at the Battle of Kunersdorf, in which he informed him that he could not count on any support and instructed him to try to maintain himself in the city but, failing which, to obtain a favourable capitulation allowing the free withdrawal of the garrison, war chest, magazine and hospital and to join his own army near Berlin.
On August 20
- General Kleefeld appeared in front of Wittenberg.
- The Prussian General Horn defended the place with 3 Saxon battalions (among which the I./Garrison Regiment III Grolman) captured at Pirna and the Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers. When summoned, Horn refused to surrender. He had the defensive works repaired and the gates barricaded.
- Frederick detached Major-General von Wunsch from Fürstenwalde with a small force to relieve Saxony.
- Wolfersdorff’s detachment reached Königs-Wusterhausen, only 35 km from Berlin, after marching by way of Treuenbrietzen and Potsdam.
On August 21
- A Prussian detachment under Wunsch (including his own Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch) left Fürstenwalde near Berlin to come to the relief of Dresden.
By August 23, all the Prussian posts in those parts had also fell to the Reichsarmee, not one of them capable of standing a siege of more than a few days. The Reichsarmee had now taken all the northward garrison-towns. It placed garrisons in each of these towns, monopolizing some 11,000 men for general protection of this region.
On August 23
- Maquire’s Corps marched from Rothenburg to join the Reichsarmee on the Elbe for the siege of Dresden.
- Colonel Losy von Losenau, colonel of the Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer occupied the fortress of Wittenberg with Kreisinfanterieregiment Baden-Baden and a few hundred Grenzer light troops and Kleefeld returned to Torgau with the rest of his detachment.
- Wunsch assembled Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch and 50 men of the Kleist Hussars in Königs-Wusterhausen where they were reinforced by the former garrison of Torgau (5 bns under Colonel von Wolfersdorff.
- The garrison of Wittenberg marched out of the fortress with the honours of war and reached Jüterbog. Frederick strongly disapproved of Horn’s conduct and had him arrested and court-martialed in Berlin, where he was sentenced to one year of arrest in a fortress.
On August 24
- The main body of the Reichsarmee finally set off from Leipzig and marched towards Dresden by way Wurzen and Hubertusburg.
- A strong corps under FZM Saint-André was left near Leipzig. Including Rosenfeld’s detachment at Halle and the garrisons of Torgau and Wittenberg, Saint-André was at the head of 18 bns, 12 grenadier coys and 17 sqns for a total of 8,300 foot and 1,300 horse. More precisely:
- Kurmainz (4 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kurtrier (2 bns)
- Palatine II./Garde zu Fuss (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy)
- Württemberg (1 bn, 2 grenadier coys)
- Nassau-Weilburg (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy)
- Hessen-Darmstadt (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy)
- Ernestinisch Sachsen (2 bns)
- Baden-Baden (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Hohenlohe (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Salzburg (2 bns, 1 grenadier coy) in Schmalkalden
- Pfalz Hussars (3 sqns) unidentified unit
- Hohenzollern Cuirassiers (4 sqns)
- Bayreuth Cuirassiers (3 sqns)
- Ansbach Dragoons (3 sqns)
- Württemberg Dragoons and Sachsen-Gotha Dragoons (4 sqns)
- Austrian light troops assigned to the Reichsarmee
- From this force, Ried and Weczay were posted in Alsleben and Bernburg; and Luzinsky in Nordhausen.
- With all these detachments, the Prince of Zweibrücken had now only 7,000 foot and 1,100 horse in 13 bns, 14 grenadier bns and 12 sqns for the siege of Dresden. More precisely:
- Kurköln (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys) probably Kurköln Wildenstein Infantry
- Varell (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Cronegk (2 grenadier coys)
- Fürstenberg (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Baden-Durlach (1 bn, 2 grenadier coys)
- Pfalz-Zweibrücken (2 bns)
- Effern (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kurbayern (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers (6 sqns)
- Prinz Savoyen Dragoons (6 sqns)
Siege of Dresden
On August 25
- Maquire’s Corps arrived at Gönnsdorf, east of “Weissen Hirsch,” near Dresden.
- A large artillery park was being readied in Prague for the siege of Dresden.
- Frederick II despatched a second letter to Schmettau, instructing him this time to hold Dresden at all cost! This last letter did not reach Schmettau in due time...
On August 26
- Siege of Dresden
- Maquire took position in front of the new town (Neustadt), a suburb of Dresden located beyond the river to the north, and attacked it but was repulsed by Schmettau.
- Schmettau’s troops precipitously evacuated the suburb of Neustadt, considering it indefensible with his small garrison of 3,700 men. He then strengthened the riverbank and concentrated the garrison inside the old town on the left bank of the Elbe, where the inhabitants were used to erect entrenchments. They were also instructed to accumulate provisions for six weeks. A curfew was imposed and reunions on the streets were prohibited.
- Vehla with his Grenzers rapidly occupied Neustadt where they managed to seize large quantities of wheat, oat, barley and straw along with 136 iron cannon, 4,000 muskets and 3,000 sabres.
- The Duke of Zweibrücken then sent 4 Grenzer bns (including the Warasdiner-Sankt Georger), a few grenadier companies and the Jazygier-Kumanier Hussars to occupy the suburb.
- Count Schmettau received a new summon from the Prince of Zweibrücken. He once more refused to surrender and vainly asked for the authorisation to send an officer to Frederick to receive instructions.
- Schmettau then decided to set fire to the suburbs, bombarding it with red-hot cannonballs.
- Wunsch’s small corps was joined by 2 grenadier bns, the Plettenberg Dragoons and 2 sqns of Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars as it reached Jüterbog, where it made a junction with the former garrison of Wittenberg. Wunsch was now at the head of 11 bns and 8 sqns:
- Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff (1 bn)
- Grenadier Battalion Willemey (1 bn)
- Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers (2 bns)
- II./Hoffmann Fusiliers (1 bn)
- I./Salmuth Fusiliers (1 bn)
- I./Garrison Regiment III Grolman (1 bn)
- Garrison Regiment IV Jungkenn (2 bns)
- Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch (2 bns)
- Plettenberg Dragoons (5 sqns)
- Ruesch Hussars (1 sqn)
- Malachowski Hussars (1 sqn)
- Kleist Hussars (1 sqn)
- N.B.: Plotho Fusiliers and 30 men of Belling Hussars, who previously belonged to the garrison of Wittenberg, were sent back to Berlin.
- Wunsch’s first objective was the recapture of Wittenberg and Torgau (at that time Dresden was not considered to be seriously threatened by the Reichsarmee).
- Wunsch’s small corps was joined by 2 grenadier bns, the Plettenberg Dragoons and 2 sqns of Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars as it reached Jüterbog, where it made a junction with the former garrison of Wittenberg. Wunsch was now at the head of 11 bns and 8 sqns:
On August 27
- Zweibrücken arrived at Meissen with the main body of the Reichsarmee.
- Wunsch’s Corps marched from Jüterbog towards Wittenberg. Near Zahna, Wunsch’s vanguard attacked an Austro-Imperial outpost and captured 130 men of the Swabian Hohenzollern Cuirassiers and 20 men of Szechényi Hussars. Colonel Losy von Losenau accepted the capitulation offered to him on the condition that the garrison would be allowed free withdrawal.
On August 28,
- The garrison of Wittenberg marched out of the fortress and retired towards Leipzig.
- Wunsch found the magazines of Wittenberg intact. He temporarily left 5 bns (I./Salmuth Fusiliers, II./Hoffmann Fusiliers, I./Garrison Regiment III Grolman and Garrison Regiment IV Jungkenn) there to wait for the arrival of the heavy artillery expected from Magdeburg and Berlin, which he would need in the event of a more stubborn resistance of Torgau.
On August 29
- Siege of Dresden
- The main body of the Reichsarmee arrived at Gorbitz, west of the old town of Dresden. Brentano was encamped near Lockwitz. Two bridges of boat were thrown on the Elbe upstream and downstream from Dresden, near Ubigau and Loschwitz, to establish communication with Maquire’s and Vehla’s troops posted on the right bank of the river.
- On the left bank of the Elbe the old town of Dresden was defended by a wall and a wet ditch fed by the waters of the river. Several gates gave access to the city. The parapets were mostly in ruins. The new town on the right bank of the Elbe was protected by a dry moat and largely unfinished walls. In places, especially in the vicinity of the Elbe, the walling had such large gaps that an entire squadron could easily have ridden through it. The covertway was completely leveled, and most of the moat was filled. Several massive multi-storey buildings of the suburbs stood in the immediate vicinity of the city gates, giving an attacker an overview of the defenders of the wall, making it easier to conceal batteries close to the city and severely impairing the field of fire of the defenders. In the old and new towns, there were defensive outworks in front of the walls.
- Schmettau had the ruined walls partly repaired and the half-filled moat emptied. Upstream and downstream from Dresden, barrier chains were pulled across the Elbe, protected on both banks by entrenchments.
- The garrison of Dresden, numbering some 3,350 men, consisted of 6 bns (I./Hoffmann Fusiliers, II./Salmuth Fusiliers, I./Horn Fusiliers (former Saxon), II./Garrison Regiment III Grolman, III./Garrison Regiment VII Lange, V./Garrison Regiment VII Lange and a detachment of cavalry (from Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers, Meinicke Dragoons, Kleist Hussars and Belling Hussars). There were also 300 convalescents in the city. Most of the infantry consisted of Saxons and Austrian deserters, with the rest being recruits (including several Catholics from Upper Silesia). There were sufficient ammunition for firearms and artillery pieces. However, there was a lack of trained artillery crew and each infantry company had to provide 9 men to man the guns.
- Wunsch marched to Torgau.
On August 30
- Siege of Dresden
- Grenzer light troops took position in the eastern suburbs and approached the bridge over the Weisseritz, Schmettau sent an officer to the Prince of Zweibrücken to require the withdrawal of these troops, threatening to set the suburbs on fire if they did not retire. Zweibrûcken answered that, in such a case, he would put the garrison to the sword, burn Berlin and Halle and devastate the provinces belonging to the King of Prussia.
- At 6:00 p.m., Schmettau gave orders to set fire to the suburbs. Austro-Imperial troops did their best to contain the fire, succeeding to do so in many locations. They then took position in the houses of these suburbs and maintained a steady fire against the defenders.
- When FZM Saint-André was informed of the surrender of Wittenberg, he advanced from Leipzig to Eilenburg, leaving a garrison in Leipzig. He then detached Ried with light troops towards the Elbe.
- The Austro-Imperial garrison of Torgau consisted of Kurtrier Infantry, and a few hundred Grenzer light troops under General von Kleefeld.
- In the morning, Wunsch’s Corps appeared before Torgau, after marching by way of Pretzsch and Dommitzsch. The Austrian Szechényi Hussars debouched from the Forest of Weidenhain in its rear on the road coming from Dũben. However, Wunsch sent his hussars and 3 sqns of the Plettenberg Dragoons against them, they retired into the forest. These Austrian hussars belonged to a light corps under General von Ried, which was posted at Düben.
- Wunsch lost no time and immediately initiated preparations to storm the place, bringing in ladders and making fascines to fill the ditch.
- Ferdinand of Brunswick, who commanded the Allied army in Western Germany, promised Frederick that he would send a small detachment from Mülhausen to assist the Prussians in Saxony. This detachment would pretend to be the vanguard of a 12,000 men strong Allied corps. Frederick approved these measures but considered them insufficient to put pressure on the Austro-Imperial forces operating in Saxony.
In the night of August 30 to 31, Wunsch at the head of II./Freiregiment Wunsch and his jägers launched a surprise attack against the Grenzer light troops occupying the suburbs of Torgau. Kleefeld was so shaken by this attack that he asked to capitulate. The garrison obtained free withdrawal to Leipzig. In this action, Wunsch had lost only 1 officer and 10 men. Wunsch decided to wait for the arrival of his heavy artillery, before marching to the relief of Dresden.
On August 31, the Austrian siege artillery, which had been transported from Prague on the Elbe with ample ammunition, arrived at Loschwitz near Dresden.
On September 1
- Siege of Dresden
- The Austrian siege artillery was unloaded from ships and brought to positions in the new town and in the ravaged suburbs.
- The garrison of Dresden opened a lively fire against the Austrian troops occupying the suburb.
- Gradually, several batteries were established all around the city of Dresden. The Prince of Zweibrücken still hoped to avoid the bombardment of a city belonging to his Saxon allies.
- Count Schmettau initiated new negotiations with the besiegers, mentioning that members of the Saxon Court had taken refuge in the cellars of the castle, in the vain hope to delay the bombardment of the city. However, to avoid to submit the city to an attack and to the ensuing plunder, both parties were willing to negotiate an honorable surrender.
- Schmettau assembled the staff officers of the garrison of Dresden and let them know of Frederick’s letter, which had been written on August 14. He also mentioned that he estimated that the city could hold for no longer than six days. The leading artillery officer, Captain von Winterfeldt seconded Schmettau’s assertion.
- Members of the Saxon court managed to communicate with Maquire, imploring him to continue negotiations.
- Saint-André’s Corps marched to Grimma, where he received new orders from the Prince of Zweibrücken, urging him to march back to Torgau and to recapture the place. He received the Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers as reinforcement for this task.
- Four howitzers and four 6-pdrs, which had been sent from Magdeburg, arrived at Torgau along with the bns that Wunsch had previously left at Wittenberg.
On September 2
- Siege of Dresden
- Maquire offered Schmettau to resume negotiations. They both met on the Elbe Bridge and agreed to a 24 hours long ceasefire. Schmettau made it very clear that he would consent to capitulate only if all his conditions were met (free withdrawal with the war chest). Maquire rejected these conditions.
On September 3
- Siege of Dresden
- Maquire resumed the siege of Dresden.
- Maquire, informed of Wunsch approach, detached Vehla with his 4 Grenzer bns to Reichenberg, and instructed General Brentano to take position on the Elbe to support Vehla.
- In the afternoon, Wunsch left Torgau and marched towards Dresden.
On September 4
- Siege of Dresden
- Maquire interrupted the siege and accepted all of Schmettau’s conditions. The Prince of Zweibrücken, whom Maquire kept informed of the progress of negotiations, urged Maquire to conclude negotiations, because Wunsch was approaching. Furthermore, FM Daun was very eager to see Dresden captured, since all other operations depended on this success.
- At 9:00 p.m., the Prussian governor of Dresden capitulated. The garrison obtained free withdrawal to Magdeburg and could bring along everything that belonged to Prussia. Soon afterwards, an Austrian bn occupied the Elbe Bridge and 1 bn of the Reichsarmee took position at the Pirna Gate. The members of the Saxon court were escorted by Austrian troops from the palace to the new town.
- Hadik’s Corps marched from Lamsfeld by way of Peitz to prevent Frederick from sending a relief force towards Dresden.
- Wunsch’s Corps reached Grossenhain by way of Kossdorf. Wunsch had detached his hussars and the Plettenberg Dragoons forward. These troops surprised the Jazygier-Kumanier Hussars near Grossenhain and took several of them prisoners. Colonel von Wolfersdorff, who accompanied the Prussian cavalry detachment, learned from Elbe boatmen that there were rumours that the governor of Dresden was about to capitulate. At these news, Wunsch set out again from Grossenhain at 10:00 p.m., in a last attempt to relieve Dresden.
Prussians recapture most of Saxony
On September 5
- Siege of Dresden
- Schmettau received a second letter from Frederick, this one had been written on August 25 at Fürstenwalde. Frederick now gave him totally different orders enjoining him to hold Dresden.
- Around 5:00 a.m., near Reichenberg, Wunsch’s Corps engaged the light troops of General Vehla, who had taken position on a neighbouring height under cover of the walls of the Weinberg. Freiregiment Wunsch drove back the Austrian light troops and Wunsch resumed his advance through the forest south of Boxdorf towards Dresden.
- Brentano’s Corps, which had been sent to its support by Maquire, soon joined Vehla's detachment (4 grenzer bns).
- Dresden was roused from its sleep by loud firing and battle, audible from the direction of Grossenhain on the north side of the Elbe. It was Wunsch repelling Brentano's Grenzer Corps from the heights of Boxdorf.
- In the afternoon, the combined forces of Brentano and Vehla made another attempt to stop Wunsch’s Corps near Trachau and the Trachenberg, at the débouché of the woods of Moritzburg. The Austrians were driven back at the point of the bayonet towards the “Weissen Hirsch” by Grenadier Battalion Willemey and Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff. Wunsch’s Corps was now approaching the new town of Dresden, but strangely enough, the guns on the walls of Dresden did not fire a single shot. In this action, the Austrians had lost 511 men (321 of Vehla’s detachment and 190 of Brentano’s).
- During the afternoon, musket-fire could also be heard and from the walls of the old town, one could see Austrian troops retiring towards the new town on the right bank of the Elbe. A Prussian relief corps was approaching.
- Wunsch gave orders to Colonel von Wolfersdorff to advance on the bridge that the Austrians had thrown on the Elbe near Übigau with the Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers and a few heavy guns. Meanwhile, Wunsch planned to destroy the bridge near Loschwitz to cover his flank and rear. He sent summons to Maquire, who occupied the new town, to surrender. Afterwards, he intended to storm the new town and establish communication with the Prussian garrison of the old town. The Austrian outposts in the new town were driven back. As Wolfersdorff approached, the Austrians broke down their bridge near Übigau.
- The attack on the bridges was successful and Wunsch resumed his advance, reaching the Fischhaus where Brentano and Vehla had redeployed their troops. Wunsch attacked them and put them to flight once more.
- Maquire did not answer to Wunsch’s summons before the evening. By that time, Wunsch had learned of the surrender of Dresden. He also received a message from his commandant at Torgau, advising him that Saint-André's 14,000 men strong Austrian Corps (10 bns, 9 grenadier coys, 2,000 Grenzers, 18 sqns, 1 carabinier coy and 60 hussars) was upon him and that he could not hold out very long. Wunsch then took the road again to relieve Torgau.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of Finck’s Prussian Corps on September 6.|
On September 6
- After a slow advance, Saint-André finally arrived before Torgau and summoned Colonel von Grolman to surrender the place.
- According to Daun's order, Hadik marched by Spremberg to Hoyeswerda, intending to make a junction with the Reichsarmee at Dresden.
- Saltykov, commander of the Russian field army, was informed of the capture of Dresden.
- Early in the morning, after resting his troops for a few hours near Grossdobritz, Wunsch reached Grossenhain. In this expedition to relieve Dresden, Wunsch had lost 200 men.
- Ignoring the fate of Dresden, Frederick ordered Lieutenant-General von Finck to prevent the junction of Hadik’s Corps with the Reichsarmee and to join Wunsch at Dresden.
- Finck arrived at Vetschau with the Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers and Horn Cuirassiers to assume command of Rebentisch’s and Schenckendorff’s detachments. Hundt’s and Dingelstedt’s hussar detachments were also subordinated to Finck.
- When Finck was informed that Hadik had decamped from Kahren, he initially thought that Hadik’s Corps had taken the direction of Muskau to make a junction with Daun’s main army.
On September 7
- In the afternoon, after 2 force-marches of 32 km each, Wunsch arrived in front of Torgau with Freiregiment Wunsch, I./Salmuth Fusiliers, II./Hoffmann Fusiliers, 3 sqns of Plettenberg Dragoons and 100 hussars. Meanwhile, Wolfersdorff managed to reach Kossdorf with the rest of Wunsch’s troops, the sick, the artillery and the baggage.
- Wunsch took post in the ruins of the North suburb. Realizing that he had to fight Saint-André, he refreshed his men and requested Wolfersdorff, with the rearguard, to join him at Torgau the following day by 10:00 a.m.
- According to Frederick's orders, Finck’s Corps marched southwards from Vetschau in the direction of Senftenberg. It halted in Ogrosen where Finck was informed of the capitulation of Dresden and of Hadik’s arrival at Hoyerswerda. He transmitted the information to Frederick and asked for new instructions. Frederick immediately answered, expressing his dissatisfaction with Finck’s irresolution. He instructed him to follow Hadik’s Corps whether it was marching to join Daun’s Army or the Reichsarmee. Finck answered that he would advance towards Torgau, recall Wunsch’s small corps and, once his whole force assembled, would launch an attack against Hadik.
On Saturday September 8
- Around 4:00 a.m., Wolfersdorff set off from Kossdorf with the rest of Wunsch’s Corps. He arrived at Torgau at 10:00 a.m. After depositing their knapsacks and leaving all baggage behind on the right bank, the troops immediately went over the bridge and through the fortress and paused for a short rest in the burned down western suburbs, under cover of gardens and standing walls, secured by outposts. Wunsch gave each battalion a barrel of wine.
- At 5:00 a.m., Schmettau's troops left Dresden with drums beating. They filed out across the Elbe Bridge through the Neustadt between a double rank of Austrians. The march was so disposed that, all along, there were one or two companies of Prussian infantry and then in the interval, carriages, guns, cavalry and hussars. Schmettau's own carriage was with the rearguard. Austrians encouraged desertions and about half of the whole garrison seized this opportunity to abandon Prussian service. The remnants of the garrison took the direction of Grossdobritz. The hospital and the bakery were transported downstream on the Elbe. The battalion guns, baggage, provisions and war chest accompanied the garrison. During the siege of Dresden, the Prussian garrison had lost 1 officer and 134 men killed, 109 wounded and 31 taken prisoners but it losses almost five times these numbers to desertion during the march towards Magdeburg. The Austrians freed 796 men (including 22 officers) kept prisoners at Dresden. The pontoons, a large part of the weapons stored in the fortress, ammunition supplies and pieces of equipment as well as important provision magazines of the old town were held back in Dresden, contrary to the articles of capitulation, notwithstanding Schmettau's protests.
- Wunsch was summoned by General Baron Saint-André. Wunsch reacted by an attack, utterly defeating Saint-André in the Combat of Zinna.
- Wunsch, even though he could not save Dresden, had now recaptured the northern regions of Saxony again. Only Leipzig was still in enemy's hand.
- Frederick once more wrote to Finck, urging him to act with vivacity.
- Finck’s Corps marched from Ogrosen to Ruhland, on its way to make a junction with Wunsch’s small corps.
- On Frederick’s insistence, Ferdinand sent some 450 light troops against Naumburg, spreading the rumor that an army of 12,000 men was following them.
On Sunday September 9
- Hadik’s Corps reached the Neustadt of Dresden by way of Königsbrück.
- Finck’s Corps (6,000 men) marched from Ruhland to Grossenhain, which it reached in the evening. There, Finck heard of the capture of Dresden. Nevertheless, he pushed on to join Wunsch at Torgau.
On September 10
- Hadik’s Corps (14,000 men) marched through Dresden and effected a junction with Maquire’s Corps and the Reichsarmee in a new camp near Nöthnitz, behind Plauen. The reinforcement brought up by Hadik consisted of:
- Infantry (19 bns)
- Cavalry (29 sqns)
- The 2 hussar rgts (Splényi Hussars and Hadik Hussars) of Hadik’s Corps had been left on the right bank of the Elbe under FML Count Rudolph Pálffy to observe the movements of Finck’s Corps. They advanced to Grossenhain.
- Hadik’s Corps (14,000 men) marched through Dresden and effected a junction with Maquire’s Corps and the Reichsarmee in a new camp near Nöthnitz, behind Plauen. The reinforcement brought up by Hadik consisted of:
- Frederick advised Finck to march towards Torgau and make a junction with Wunsch’s small corps, and to recall the former garrison of Dresden to his own corps.
- Finck abandoned his design against Dresden and marched from Grossenhain towards Torgau, where he encamped east of the Elbe while Wunsch’s Corps remained on the western bank. The united Prussian corps had a strength of approx. 16,000 men.
On September 12
- Finck and Wunsch marched to Eilenburg and Wunsch continued to Leipzig.
- Frederick, who was displeased with Schmettau’s capitulation, instructed him to march to Wittenberg instead of Magdeburg so that his troops could be used against Dresden. Frederick did not consider himself to be bound by the articles of capitulation since the Austrians had not respected them. Schmettau then had to personally go to Berlin where he would remain in disgrace for the rest of the war, receiving no further command.
On September 13
- Finck detached Wunsch with 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, Grenadier Battalion Willemey, Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers, Freiregiment Wunsch), 5 sqns (Plettenberg Dragoons) and 300 hussars towards Leipzig, while he marched to Mutzschen with the rest of his corps.
- In the afternoon, the garrison of Leipzig (1 bn of 592 men of Kreisinfanterieregiment Nassau-Weilburg and 429 men of the II./Kreisinfanterieregiment Hohenlohe) under Major-General Count Hohenlohe capitulated without firing a shot. The Prussian took the whole garrison as prisoners of war and captured 10 colours and 4 artillery pieces. Most prisoners entered the Prussian service.
- Tresckow Infantry (1 bn) occupied Leipzig.
- Wunsch’s detachment then rapidly made a junction with the rest of Finck’s Corps, which marched in the direction of Dresden.
- Daun’s main army reached Bautzen.
- Pálffy advanced to Spremberg with his 2 hussar rgts
- General Vehla advanced to Hoyerswerda with his Grenzer light corps (2 sqns of Banalisten Grenz-Hussars, 6 sqns of Slavonisches Grenz-Hussars and 2,004 grenzers belonging to Karlstädter-Oguliner, Karlstädter-Szluiner, Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment and Slavonisch-Brooder).
- Pálffy’s and Vehla’s detachments made a junction at Hoyerswerda.
On September 14
- Finck had little chance to recapture Dresden from the right bank of the Elbe as long as an important Austro-Imperial army was posted near the Old Town. Even if he managed to take the New Town, he would still have the Elbe River in front of him and he had no pontoons to cross it.
- Daun held a meeting with Hadik and the Prince of Zweibrücken at his headquarters in Teichnitz, north of Bautzen. To cover the Reichsarmee from Finck’s enterprises, it was decided to send the light troops of Brentano, Kleefeld and Ried to observe Finck’s movements, while Hadik’s Corps would march to Nossen.
- Saint-André’s Corps, which was in poor condition after its defeat at Zinna, made a junction with the Reichsarmee. Since it had lost most of its tents in that battle, it was mainly assigned as garrison in Dresden.
On September 15
- Finck’s Corps reached Döbeln.
- Hadik’s Corps advanced to Wilsdruff
On September 16
- Hadik’s Corps marched from Wilsdruff towards Nossen.
- Finck’s Corps continued its march eastwards in the direction of Dresden and came to contact with Hadik’s Corps on the Triebisch River near Nossen. After a long cannonade Hadik withdrew to the right bank of the Triebisch. Rain and obscurity prevented Finck from resuming his advance. He rested his troops near Deutschenbora.
- Frederick instructed Prince Heinrich to leave General von Fouqué behind to cover Silesia and to march towards the Elbe. Prince Heinrich mentioned that he feared Beck’s Corps, which was posted at Reichenberg, would advance as soon as he left for the Elbe and cut his line of communication with Silesia. The reinforcement sent by Daun to General Loudon also worried him. It seemed to him more advantageous to keep a waiting position halfway between Daun’s, Beck’s and Loudon’s forces.
On September 17
- Hadik established his camp on the heights near Seeligstadt.
- Finck sojourned at Deutschenbora.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of Zweibrücken’s Army on September 18.|
On September 18
- As soon as Zweibrücken heard of the movements of Finck’s Corps, he threw 16 bns (including Salm Infantry) into Dresden under FML von Kolb and set off from Wilsdruff with the rest of the Austro-Imperial army (20 bns, 22 grenadier coys, 32 sqns, including Maquire’s Corps) to support Hadik and attack the Prussians.
- Finck sojourned one more day at Deutschenbora.
On September 19
- Early in the morning, Finck’s Corps marched in two columns along the west bank of the Triebisch in the direction of Meissen. Wunsch led the vanguard (5 bns, 10 sqns, 500 hussars). The train formed part of the western column, the farthest away from the enemy. On the way, Austrian light troops harassed the Prussian columns, targeting especially the baggage which were part of the left column. The Austrians were kept away form the baggage.
- At Krögis, Finck’s rearguard had to fight off the Grenzer light troops and the hussars who were closely following them. However, the Austrians failed to interrupt Finck’s advance.
- Finck established his camp on the heights to the southwest of Meissen, near the village of Korbitz (near present-day Korbitzer Strasse). He secured his camp with entrenchments on its southwestern and south eastern sides.
- Wunsch’s vanguard consisted of 5 bns (Grenadier Battalion Willemey, Grenadier Battalion Nesse, II./Hoffmann Fusiliers, Freiregiment Wunsch), 10 sqns (Horn Cuirassiers, Jung-Platen Dragoons) and 500 hussars. It occupied the Lerchenberg Heights between the Elbe and the Triebisch, near Lercha and Siebeneichen. As these heights overlooked the main Prussian camp, they were rapidly entrenched.
On September 20
- The Prince of Zweibrücken with a strong escort carefully reconnoitred Finck’s positions. He decided to attack on the following day: the Reichsarmee would attack Wunsch’s post, while Hadik’s Corps would attack the rest of Finck’s Corps, which was posted on the western bank of the river.
- In the afternoon, Hadik’s Corps crossed the Triebisch near Munzig, south of Miltitz, accompanied by most of the Austrian light troops. However, the pouring rain, which had been falling for hours, had made roads almost impracticable for his artillery.
- Daun sent his Grenadier Corps and his Carabinier Corps towards Hochkirch in preparation for his offensive against Prince Heinrich.
Combat of Korbitz
On September 21
- Early in the morning, the last part of Hadik’s Corps finally reached the vicinity of Miltitz. Hadik immediately informed the Prince of Zweibrücken that his completely soaked troops needed some rest to allow their musket to dry.
- Frederick sent another letter to Prince Heinrich, emphasizing all the advantages that a position of the prince on Daun’s flank, for example near Koenigsbrück or Wittichenau, would offer; and specifying that he could establish communication with Finck’s Corps by throwing a bridge near Meissen. He could then obtain supply from the cities and towns along the Elbe. Meanwhile, Fouqué could protect Silesia if Prince Heinrich sent him a reinforcement of some 5,500 men.
- Wunsch was reinforced by the Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers and the I./Salmuth Fusiliers, the latter was previously posted in Meissen.
- Combat of Korbitz
- At 10:00 a.m., the Reichsarmee attacked Wunsch's positions on the Lerchenberg. Meanwhile, Hadik deployed between Krögis and Stroischen and attacked Finck at noon, cannonading his positions. During the ensuing Combat of Korbitz (aka first Combat of Meissen) near Meissen, the Prussians resisted to several charges of the Austro-Imperial Army and maintained their positions.
On September 22
- Finck remained in his camp near Meissen. He also recalled I./Hoffmann Fusiliers and II./Salmuth Fusiliers, which had been marching towards Wittenberg; and Tresckow Infantry (1 bn) from Leipzig, where it was replaced by Plotho Fusiliers.
- Major von Keller from the Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers assumed command in Leipzig.
- Finck charged Wolfersdorff to re-establish the bridge of Meissen, which had been destroyed by the Prussians in the Autumn of 1757.
- Prince Heinrich answered Frederick that he would set off from the region of Görlitz in the evening of September 23 and force march towards Hoyerswerda to get closer to Finck’s Corps. But he once more emphasized the dangers that his departure would represent for the protection of Silesia.
- Prince Heinrich decided to send his baggage to Lichtenberg (present-day Zgorzelec/PL).
- Zweibrücken’s Army retired from Meissen country.
- Hadik retired to his former camp near Seeligstadt.
On September 23
- The Reichsarmee returned to its camp at Seeligstadt, about 8.5 km from Wilsdruff, where it made a junction with Hadik’s Corps. They would remain there until September 27, without attempting another attack against Finck, despite their superiority.
- Daun’s Army marched to Reichenbach. His advance units drove back Czettritz’s outposts to the heights near Landeskrone.
- At 7:00 p.m., Czettritz evacuated the Landeskrone, leaving hussars behind to maintain campfires to deceive the enemy. He then marched across Görlitz and crossed the Neisse.
- At 7:30 p.m., Prince Heinrich’s Army marched in two columns along the eastern bank of the Neisse towards Rothenburg, where he was joined by the bakery and the supply train arriving from Lauban (present-day Luban/PL). This was followed by baggage, arriving from Lichtenberg. Zieten led the rearguard (4 bns previously posted on the Landeskrone Heights, Freibataillon Quintius, the Fussjägers, Czettritz Dragoons, Zieten Hussars, Möhring Hussars).
On September 24
- Daun informed Vehla that Prince Heinrich was marching towards Silesia to effect a junction with Frederick’s Army. Daun had also received several reports at his headquarters about the march of Prussian detachments eastwards. All these reports would prove to be totally false.
- Early in the morning, Esterházy Hussars, who were following Prince Heinrich's Army established that he was marching towards Rothenburg.
- Daun continued to hesitate, unable to choose between all the conflicting reports. His army remained at Reichenbach, while a strong vanguard occupied Görlitz and the Landeskrone.
- Prince Heinrich’s Army crossed the Neisse at Rothenburg and rested for a few hours.
- Around 5:00 p.m., Prince Heinrich’s Army set off from Rothenburg.
On September 25
- At 2:00 a.m., Prince Heinrich’s Army reached Klitten. Tents were pitched along the road.
- At daybreak, Prince Heinrich’s vanguard (Gersdorff Hussars, Normann Dragoons, Württemberg Dragoons, Seydlitz Cuirassiers, Freibataillon Salenmon) set off for Hoyerswerda under Major-General Lentulus. At 9:00 a.m. the entire army followed, it had already marched some for some 50 hours from Lusatia.
- Combat of Hoyerswerda
- When Lentulus reached the heath east of Hoyerswerda with the vanguard, he was informed by inhabitants that the light corps of Major-General Vehla (2,500 Grenzer light troops and a few hundred hussars) was encamped on the western bank of the Elster. Lentulus did not let his troops go beyond the western edge of the forest and placed them under cover.
- Lentulus and Krockow were then ordered to ford the Elster downstream from Hoyerswerda and to attack Vehla’s Corps in the rear. At the same time, Freibataillon Salenmon, Grenadier Battalion Anhalt, Grenadier Battalion Hacke, and Itzenplitz Infantry came out of the forest and advanced across the open plain between the heath and the city against Vehla’s troops, who rushed to their arms.
- In response to some cannon shots fired by Vehla’s artillery, Prince Heinrich established 7 heavy artillery pieces on the bank of the Elster, southeast Hoyerswerda, and opened fire. He himself advanced with the infantry through the weakly occupied town. Meanwhile, his cavalry had succeeded in crossing the ford undetected.
- While Vehla’s hussars managed to escape encirclement, the Grenzer light troops were forced to make a stand at the edge of the forest, west of Hoyerswerda. They were attacked by the Prussian cavalry and suffered heavy losses. Major-General Vehla was taken prisoners along with 28 officers and 1,784 men. The Prussians also captured three cannon. In this action, the Prussians lost 44 men killed or wounded (mostly from Gersdorff Hussars).
- Prince Heinrich reported to Frederick that this 80 km long force march between Görlitz and Hoyerswerda in two days was the toughest he had ever undertaken.
- In the evening, Prince Heinrich’s Army encamped near Hoyerswerda.
- Daun’s vanguard crossed the Neisse and encamped near Moys, the rest of the army advanced to Görlitz, where Daun received reports confirming that Prince Heinrich was marching westwards from Rothenburg and had not taken the direction of Lower Silesia. Now extremely concerned for Saxony and Dresden, Daun rested his troops a few hours near Görlitz before resuming his march through the night under heavy rain towards Bautzen.
Prince Heinrich, Finck and Wunsch were now well positioned in the Meissen-Torgau region.
On September 26
- Finck was informed that Prince Heinrich was marching towards Saxony.
- Prince Heinrich rested his exhausted troops near Hoyerswerda. His baggage arrived at his camp with its escort. Zieten remained at Lohsa with the rearguard.
- Daun’s Army reached Bautzen.
- Beck’s light corps, which had set off from Reichenberg once Prince Heinrich had marched from Görlitz towards the Elbe, reached Gerlachsheim, west of Marklissa in Upper Lusatia.
On September 27
- Prince Heinrich remained in his camp near Hoyerswerda where he was joined by Zieten’s rearguard. He detached Major-General von Bredow the ford on the Spree at Burg and to watch Pálffy’s hussar brigade which had been reported in the vicinity of Muskau (present-day Bad Muskau). Bredow repulsed one of Pálffy’s detachments, capturing 1 officer and 73 men.
- Prince Heinrich was informed inaccurately that the Reichsarmee along with Hadik's Corps had probably attacked Finck at Korbitz, repulsing him. Prince Heinrich immediately detached Major-General von Bülow with 4 bns and 100 hussars to Ruhland, to reinforce Finck and prepared his corps to march to his relief.
- Daun rested his troops near Bautzen. He detached the cavalry of his left wing under General Count O’Donell to the Monastery of St. Marienstern, halfway to Kamenz.
- Hadik’s Corps and the Reichsarmee returned to the vale of Plauen and encamped near Dresden.
On September 28
- Bülow’s vanguard reached Elsterwerda. Bredow’s detachment rejoined Prince Heinrich’s main army, which marched westwards to Ruhland.
- Daun’s Army marched to Großharthau, southwest of Bischofswerda, while O’Donell remained at Marienstern to cover its flank.
- Pálffy marched to Bautzen with his hussar brigade.
On September 29
- Bülow advanced to Zabeltitz with the vanguard while Prince Heinrich reached Elsterwerda with the main army. There, the latter was informed by Lieutenant von Pfan, Finck’s adjutant, of the situation on the western bank of the Elbe and of Finck’s victory at Korbitz.
- Daun’s Army crossed the Elbe below Dresden on three boat-bridges and encamped at Kesselsdorf. Daun was determined to attack Prince Heinrich.
On September 30
- Prince Heinrich let Bülow’s vanguard advance up to Grossenhain.
- Daun rested his troops at Kesselsdorf.
- O’Donell’s cavalry marched from Marienstern and joined the main army at Kesselsdorf.
- The Reichsarmee remained in its old camp near Dresden. However, its light troops under Ried, Kleefeld and Veczay crossed to the east bank of the Elbe to prevent any threat against Dresden from these quarters.
- Brentano’s Corps observed Finck’s Corps, west of the Elbe.
Prince Heinrich faces Daun in Saxony
On October 1
- Daun’s Army marched from Kesselsdorf by way of Wilsdruff to the heights between Lampersdorf and Blankenstein, where it established communication with Hadik’s Corps.
- Hadik’s Corps (Warasdiner-Sankt Georger Grenzer and Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2) and Brentano (1 bn of Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer, 1 bn of Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer, 1 bn of Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1 and 1 bn of Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer) reached Tannenberg.
- Brentano’s light troops drove back Finck’s outposts on the eastern bank of the Triebisch after a skirmish that lasted several hours.
- Prince Heinrich sent his 24 pontoons to Merschwitz, escorted by Grenadier Battalion Nimschöfsky, to establish a bridge on the Elbe River.
- In the afternoon, Finck’s troops completed the repair of the bridge of Meissen, which was now usable for horses and wagons. Finck realised that his weak corps was in a dangerous situation, and prepared to retreat. His baggage, bakery and field hospital were sent back, part on boats on the Elbe, part by the road leading to Torgau.
- Prince Heinrich was informed that Daun had thrown 3 bridges over the Elbe at Dresden. He also learned that Finck’s Corps was threatened and planned to retreat towards Torgau. He then changed his plan and, instead of crossing the Elbe at Merschwitz, he decided to cross it near Torgau. Accordingly, he recalled General von Bülow from Grossenhain and the pontoon train from Merschwitz.
- In the afternoon, fearing for Finck's Corps, Prince Heinrich sent his vanguard (6 bns, 10 sqns under Major-General von Czettritz) from Elsterwerda towards Torgau to support Finck’s Corps.
On the night of October 1 to 2, Finck’s Corps marched to the vicinity of Strehla, undetected by enemy hussar patrols.
On October 2
- At 6:00 a.m., Daun advanced on Meissen and crossed the Triebisch in several columns to attack Finck’s Corps. However, his advanced posts reported that the Prussians had already abandoned their positions during the night. Daun had lost the opportunity to eliminate this small Prussian corps before the arrival of Prince Heinrich.
- Daun’s Army encamped near the Castle of Heynitz and Daun established his headquarters at Rothschönberg.
- Hadik and Brentano were sent forward to pursue Finck’s Corps. Daun ordered to dismantle the bridge of Meissen.
- The Reichsarmee went to a new camp in the Friedrichstadt suburbs of Dresden. Daun asked Zweibrücken to take action against Prince Heinrich.
- By 7:00 a.m., Finck was encamped at Strehla, about 30 km to the northwest of Meissen.
- Czettritz, who had crossed the Elbe at Torgau, reached Belgern with Prince Heinrich’s vanguard.
- Prince Heinrich’s main body set off from Elsterwerda, Bülow forming the rearguard, and encamped in front of Torgau.
- Prince Heinrich intended to pass the Elbe between Meissen and Strehla and to make a junction with Finck’s Corps.
On October 3
- Daun’s Army followed Finck’s Corps in 7 columns and advanced to Lommatzsch.
- Brentano harrassed Finck's camp at Strehla.
- Prince Heinrich’s main body crossed the Elbe at Torgau and marched to Belgern. During the march the sound of the guns could be heard coming from the direction of Strehla. Prince Heinrich’s hurried ahead to join Czettritz and the vanguard, which was advancing from Belgern to Strehla to bring support to Finck’s Corps. As they were approaching Strehla the guns fell silent. In fact, Brentano’s light troops, which were following Finck’s Corps by way of Riesa, had attacked a Prussian outpost defending the crossing of the Döllnitz stream. After a lively cannonade, Brentano had finally withdrawn.
- Prince Heinrich’s Army encamped near Belgern.
On October 4
- Daun advanced to Heyda, about 10 km north of Lommatzsch. His army counted 64 bns (including 10 grenadier bns) and 75 sqns of heavy cavalry not counting hussars, Grenzer light troops, Brentano's and Gemmingen's Corps and the Reichsarmee.
- Gemmingen (8 bns, 10 sqns) covered the left at Seerhausen.
- Esterhazy was at Hof with light troops.
- Daun then changed his plan and, instead of attacking Prince Heinrich, he resolved to drive him out of Saxony by successive manoeuvres, the first one being an advance on the Prussian magazine at Torgau.
- Prince Heinrich arrived at Strehla where he made a junction with Finck's Corps, thus concluding the masterly manoeuvre which conducted his army from Silesia into the heart of Saxony. The reunited Prussian Army counted 53 bns (including 16 grenadier bns) and 103 sqns. Prince Heinrich encamped with his left wing anchored to the Elbe at Strehla and his right wing on the Dürrenberg, north of Clanzschwitz. The light troops occupied the villages north of the Döllnitz stream and secured the right flank at Liebschütz.
- Major-General von Bülow had been left behind near Torgau on the eastern bank of the Elbe with 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Kleist, Lindstedt Infantry, Münchow Fusiliers, Freibataillon Salenmon) and 10 sqns (Gersdorff Hussars) to cover the magazines and the bakery.
On October 5
- Daun detached Colonel von Bosfort with 4 dragoon sqns, 300 Grenzer light troops, 50 hussars to the vicinity of Grimma and Wurzen on the Mulde River.
- Daun detached Esterhazy at Bautzen.
- Exaggerated news of the size of Bosfort’s detachment reached Prince Heinrich, who feared that the Austrians would advance on Leipzig. He gave orders to Major-General von Bülow to march with his small corps from Torgau towards Eilenburg to maintain communication with Leipzig.
On October 6
- Daun’s Army marched from Heyda to Weida (present-day part of Riesa) and Ganzig, south of the Döllnitz stream, running from Schönnewitz to Borna. Grenzer light troops were posted on the south bank of this stream.
- Hadik was relieved of his command and most of his corps came under the command of FML Baron von Gemmingen, who took position near the left wing of the main army near Zöschau. The rest of Hadik's Corps was incorporated into Daun’s main army and Hadik took leave.
- Brentano’s light corps left Riesa and took position at Oschatz in front of the left wing of the main army.
- Prince Heinrich sent Major-General von Rebentisch with 8 bns and 15 sqns to reinforce Bülow’s Corps.
- Bülow’s Corps reached Leipzig
On October 7
The armies of Prince Heinrich and Daun were facing each other, only separated by the Döllnitz stream. The passages across this stream were in the hands of the Austrians. Since Daun’s army was more numerous, Prince Heinrich expected an attack and gave detailed instructions to his troops. In case of an attack:
- 7 grenadier bns (Lubath, Kreckwitz, Swolinsky, Beyer, Nesse, Willemey, Burgsdorff) under Major-General von Schenckendorff, 10 dragoon sqns (Krockow, Plettenberg Dragoons) under Major-General von Meinicke and 4 heavy 12-pdrs occupied the Ottenberg, east of Terpitz, between the two armies. Strong entrenchments were built on this hill.
- Freibataillon Quintius and the Fussjägers were posted in Liebschütz.
- 25 cuirassier sqns and 20 dragoon sqns were posted behind the Ottenberg. They would move around both sides of this hill and fall on the flanks of the attackers.
- Most of the heavy artillery was allocated to the battalions forming the first line.
- If ever the Ottenberg had to be evacuated, the defenders would fall back to the main line of defence between the windmill east of Leinsnitz, the Dürrenberg and Strehla.
The Austrian army remained in its positions until October 17. Daun did not dare to attack the Prussian entrenchments.
On October 8, Esterházy marched from Bautzen to Lampertswalde.
|Brentano’s Corps||Gemmingen’s Corps|
|Pallavicini Infantry (2 bns)
Mainz-Lamberg Infantry (2 bns)
|Botta Infantry (2 bns)|
Marschall Infantry (1 bn)
On October 12
- Daun placed Brentano’s and Gemmingen’s corps, a total of 15,000 men under the command of G.d.C. Baron Buccow and instructed him to march from Oschatz towards Dahlen, to threaten Prince Heinrich’s right flank.
- Prince Heinrich reacted by sending Major-General Wunsch with 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff, Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers), 5 sqns (Horn Cuirassiers) and 200 hussars to Schildau.
- Prince Heinrich also instructed Rebentisch to march from Eilenburg to Schildau with his corps, thus blocking the road leading to Torgau.
- Colonel von Wolfersdorff immediately set off for Schildau with Wunsch’s detachment (Wunsch was still at the headquarters at Strehla). West of Lampertswalde, 3 km east of Dahlen, he came to contact with Buccow’s forces. Not realising that the enemy was vastly superior, Wolfersdorff advanced against them with drums beating. The Austrians received him with a few shots from their regimental guns. At this moment, Wunsch arrived and ordered his detachment to halt. He then retired in good order eastwards after losing only 30 men.
On October 13
- Wunsch’s detachment reached Schildau. Rebentisch arrived at Schildau with his own detachment and took command of the assembled troops (8,000 men).
- Prince Heinrich occupied the hill of the windmill near Leinsnitz on his right wing with 4 bns, which erected a strong redoubt facing west.
- Brentano marched to Sörnewitz (now part of Cavertitz) in an attempt to cut Rebentisch's detachment, now at Schildau, from Prince Heinrich's main force.
On October 14, Empress Maria Theresa reacted to one of Daun’s report, answering that she did not urge him to attack Prince Heinrich but eagerly wished that something profitable should be done in Saxony during the present campaign, inviting him to move around the Prussian positions, march on Torgau and cut Prince Heinrich from his supply on the left bank of the Elbe. These new instructions coincided with Daun<s current plan.
On October 15
- Buccow’s forces advanced from Dahlen towards Schildau. Until nightfall, Buccow cannonaded Rebentisch’s positions between the villages of Wildschütz and Langenreichenbach, to the northwest of Schildau.
- Prince Heinrich decided to evacuate his positions near Strehla, which were now almost surrounded by the enemy, and to retire towards Torgau.
On the night of October 15 to 16, Rebentisch’s Corps retired from Wildschütz towards Torgau.
On October 16
- Buccow encamped near Schildau.
- At noon, Prince Heinrich sent his train forward under escort. A detachment of 3 bns and 200 hussars under Major-General von Sydow was sent to Beckwitz to cover the flank of the army during the retreat.
- In the evening, as soon as fog fell, Prince Heinrich’s Army marched in three columns towards Torgau. The campfires in the old camp were maintained, while the artillery fired the “Retreat,” and the drums beat the tattoo.
On October 17
- At 2:00 a.m., the sentinels of Prince Heinrich’s camp finally retired to rejoin the army, which encamped near Torgau with his right on the heights of north of Süptitz, his positions extending by way of Zinna up to the Ratsweinberg. The camp was protected with abatis and entrenchments. The left wing was anchored on the “Grosse Teich” (big pond) where part of the neighbouring terrain was flooded. A detachment (Salmuth Fusiliers, Freiregiment Wunsch, Jung-Platen Dragoons, Möhring Hussars and Dingelstedt hussar detachment) under Major-General von Aschersleben covered Torgau on the south side, between the “Grosse Teich” and the Elbe near Belgern and occupied the villages of Wessnig and Losswig.
- After his arrival at Torgau, Prince Heinrich, fearing for Leipzig, detached Lieutenant-General Finck with 14 bns and 25 sqns to Eilenburg to cover the place and observe Buccow’s forces, which were still posted near Schildau.
- Early in the morning, Daun was informed of the retreat of Prince Heinrich towards Torgau. He immediately sent his carabiniers closely followed by the light troops of Esterhazy towards Strehla to occupy Prince Heinrich's former camp and follow the retreating Prussians.
With his threat against the Prussian right wing, Daun had managed to force Prince Heinrich to abandon his positions near Strehla and to retire to Torgau.
On October 18
- Daun marched to Strehla with the rest of his army, and encamped there, while the light troops of Kleefeld and Ried moved closer to Torgau, Palffy marched from Bautzen to Grossenhain by Kamenz.
On October 19
- Daun’s Army marched to Belgern. The vanguard drove the Prussians out of Wessnig.
- Finck reached Groitzsch on the other side of the Mulde.
- Prince Heinrich positioned Schenckendorf's Brigade on the Elbe, 2 bns at Werda (present-day Kunzwerda), 2 more on the opposite bank (probably at Pülswerda).
Daun did not plan to launch an attack against the Prussian positions around Torgau. Preferring to repeat his previous manoeuvre and to threaten the line of communication of Prince Heinrich with Wittenberg and to prevent the Prussians to forage on the western bank of the Elbe, to force them to retire to the eastern bank.
On October 21
- As instructed by the empress, Zweibrücken finally came out of his camp near Dresden with part of his army (4 bns, all the 22 grenadier coys of his army and 16 sqns, for a total of 4,000 foot and 2,140 horse) and advanced along the Elbe up to Grossenhain. The main body of the Reichsarmee remained near Dresden. Zweibrücken planned to effect a junction with the light troops of General Kleefeld, Baron Ried and Count Pálffy.
- Expecting an attack, Prince Heinrich recalled Finck’s Corps to the main army, leaving only a small detachment (Gersdorff Hussars, Freibataillon Salenmon, II./Hoffmann Fusiliers) under Colonel von Gersdorff at Eilenburg. The I./Hoffmann Fusiliers were sent to Leipzig to replace II./Münchow Fusiliers, which rejoined the main army.
- Prince Heinrich reinforced the troops defending Losswig and brought heavy artillery in the entrenchments between the “Grosse Teich” and Losswig.
On October 22
- Daun’s Army marched from Belgern to Schildau in 6 columns.
- Brentano’s Corps advanced to Mockrehna, halfway between Torgau and Eilenburg. The Reserve Corps took position nearby, at Strelln. Both corps were placed under the command of FZM Duke von Arenberg.
- Bosfort’s detachment advanced from Taucha and reconnoitred in the vicinity of Leipzig.
- Major-General Veczay’s detachment (Szechényi Hussars, 3 Grenzer bns) remained near Mehderitzsch south of Torgau on the eastern bank of the Elbe.
|Zweibrücken’s Corps||Brentano’s Corps|
|Converged grenadiers (22 coys)
||Pallavicini Infantry (2 bns)|
Mainz-Lamberg Infantry (2 bns)
|Austrian Reserve Corps||Gemmingen’s Corps|
|De Ligne Infantry (2 bns)
||Botta Infantry (2 bns)|
On October 23
- Gemmingen’s Corps forced Gersdorff’s small detachment to abandon Eilenburg and retire to Leipzig. Gemmingen then encamped near Paschwitz, east of Eilenburg.
On October 24
- Gemmingen, who had been charged to support Arenberg, advanced to Pressel to observe Rebentisch’s detachment.
- Prince Heinrich sent Major-General Rebentisch with a detachment (Rebentisch Infantry, Württemberg Dragoons) to Düben to observe the enemy. Gersdorff’s detachment (Gersdorff Hussars, Freibataillon Salenmon) made a junction with Rebentisch’s detachment near Düben. Rebentisch was now at the head of 3 bns and 15 sqns (Gersdorff had left II./Hoffmann Fusiliers in Leipzig).
|Finck’s Corps (10 bns, 15 sqns)|
|Grenadier Battalion Willemey (1 bn)|
Grenadier Battalion Bähr (1 bn)
On October 25
- In an attempt to cut Prince Heinrich's communication, Zweibrücken’s Corps advanced to Glaubitz and Peritz where it encamped behind the canal leading from Elsterwerda to the Elbe. Zweibrücken threw a bridge on the Elbe at Nünchritz to establish communication with Daun’s Army.
- Ried (2 Grenzer bns and 460 Slavonisches Grenz-Hussars, for a total of 2,650 men) marched to Kossdorf.
- Pálffy (Splényi Hussars and Hadik Hussars for a total of 540 men in 10 sqns) marched from Grossenhain to Uebigau.
- Kleefeld (2 Grenzer bns and 200 Banalisten Grenz-Hussars, for a total of 1,750 men) reached Mühlberg.
- The Austrians threw a bridge over the Elbe at Leutewitz (now a quarter within the district of Cotta in the City of Dresden) to maintain communication between these numerous detachments and Daun's main army.
- Daun continued his encirclement of Prince Heinrich’s Army. Arenberg marched from Strelln, crossed the Falkenberg Forest and reached Dommitzsch on the Elbe.
- Brentano’s Corps covered the right flank of Arenberg during his march.
- Gemmingen’s Corps marched to Dommitzsch where it joined Arenberg’s Corps. They occupied strong positions on the heights to the northwest of the town, facing towards Torgau. The left wing rested on the Elbe and the right wing on almost impassable woods with marshy ground in front of the positions.
- Daun detached FML Guasco with a 5 bns (2 bns of Lacy, 3 bns of Puebla) and 5 sqns of Batthyányi Dragoons to Mölbitz, east of Eilenburg to replace Gemmingen’s Corps, which had now joined Arenberg.
- Rebentisch’s detachment retired westwards from Düben to Bitterfeld.
- Prince Heinrich was informed that strong Austrian columns were crossing the forest to the west of his camp.
- In the afternoon, the vanguard of Brentano’s Corps attacked an outpost of the Normann Dragoons, which was located near Elsnig, in the rear of the Prussian camp at Neiden, northwest of Torgau, Major-General von Krockow deployed the dragoons. He then advanced against Brentano’s vanguard, which already occupied Vogelgesang, where the road from Torgau to Dommitzsch ran across the marshy banks of a stream.
- Prince Heinrich sent Finck with 10 bns and 15 sqns to support Krockow. Together these troops drove the Austrians out of Vogelgesang.
- Finck’s Corps and the Austrians posted at Dommitzsch then cannonaded each others. In this action the Prussians lost 61 men killed or wounded.
- Finck’s Corps remained near Vogelgesang and Elsnig.
|O’Donell’s Corps (9 bns, 20 sqns)|
|Lacy Infantry (2 bns)|
Puebla Infantry (3 bns)
On October 26
- Daun reinforced Guasco’s Corps with 4 bns and 15 sqns and placed this corps under the command of G.d.C. Count O’Donell. Daun, who thought that Rebentisch was still near Düben, instructed O’Donell to drive him away and to cover the line of supply between the main Austrian army and Arenberg’s Corps. When O’Donell realised that Rebentisch’s detachment had already retired from Düben, he took position near Eilenburg.
- In the morning, Prince Heinrich reconnoitred Arenberg's entrenched positions around Dommitzsch, but did not find a way to attack these strong positions. The situation of his army at Torgau was very bad: it was unable to resupply on the west bank of the Elbe, nor could it bring supply across the Elbe; it could also be attacked in front and rear. In such a situation, General von Wunsch suggested to break the encirclement by attacking Arenberg’s Corps.
- In the evening, Wunsch crossed from Torgau to the right bank of the Elbe with 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Homboldt, Grenadier Battalion Willemey, Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff, Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers, II./Salmuth Fusiliers and 10 sqns (Jung-Platen Dragoons with its horse artillery battery, 3 sqns of Möhring Hussars, 200 picked men from Zieten Hussars). Wunsch planned to march along the right bank of the Elbe to Wittenberg where he would recross to the left bank and make a junction with Rebentisch’s Corps. The two corps would then attack Arenberg’s Corps in the rear while Finck would launch a frontal attack from Elsnig.
On October 27
- Wunsch’s detachment reached Wittenberg.
- Prince Heinrich detached Lieutenant-Colonel von Dingelstedt with Grenadier Battalion Swolinsky, 300 dragoons and 300 hussars to Rehfeld, 12 km east of Torgau to observe the movements of the Reichsarmee on the right bank of the Elbe.
- Frederick gave orders to Lieutenant-General von Hülsen to march from Lower Silesia with approx. 16,500 men (19 bns and 30 sqns) to reinforce Prince Heinrich’s Army in Saxony. 30 heavy artillery pieces were allocated to the infantry bns.
- Frederick instructed Hülsen to march by way of Sagan (present-day Zagan/PL), Muskau, Spremberg and Ruhland to Torgau. Hülsen had to spread the rumour that Frederick was marching to Saxony with his whole army: a column on Dresden, another on Mühlberg and a last one on Torgau.
|Hülsen Infantry (1 bn)
Finck Infantry (1 bn)
|Leib-Regiment (5 sqns)
||30 heavy artillery pieces|
In the night of October 27 to 28, grossly overestimating the strength of Dingelstedt’s small detachment and fearing for his positions, Zweibrücken crossed to the left bank of the Elbe on his boat-bridge at Nünchritz and encamped between Leutewitz and Boritz. Zweibrücken then personally returned to Dresden.
On October 28
- Wunsch’s detachment crossed to the left bank of the Elbe on a hastily established boat-bridge.
- Hülsen’s Corps left Lower Silesia for Saxony. Hülsen planned to reach Liebenwerda by November 5.
- Rebentisch’s Corps marched from Bitterfeld to Gräfenhainichen.
- Arenberg was informed of the crossing of the Elbe by Wunsch and of the junction of two Prussian forces to the northwest of his own positions. Daun ordered him to march on October 29 before daybreak towards Kemberg. He also instructed O’Donell to immediately march to Düben to support Arenberg. The two Austrian corps would then attack Wunsch and Rebentisch, drive them back, advance to Wittenberg and clear the left bank from Prussian troops. Arenberg and O’Donell should then send strong detachments to the east bank of the Elbe to cut the supply line of Prince Heinrich’s Army.
During the night of October 28 to 29, Arenberg sent O’Donell orders to stop at Düben. These new orders were based on an erroneous report recently received from O’Donell, that Bosfort’s detachment had spotted Rebentisch’s Corps west of the Mulde between Bitterfeld and Leipzig. Throughout the night, O’Donell tried to confirm the report that Rebentisch’s Corps was still between Bitterfeld and Leipzig.
On October 29,
- Combat of Pretzsch
- As Rebentisch and Wunsch were advancing from Kemberg towards Dommitzsch and Arenberg’s Corps was marching from Dommitzsch towards Kemberg, the two vanguards bumped into each other in the Combat of Pretzsch.
- Knowing that Finck’s Corps was preparing to attack his own corps in the rear, Arenberg managed to escape towards Düben with most of his troops.
- As O’Donell was approaching Düben with his corps, he met runaways, who informed him of Arenberg’s defeat. He was only an hour’s march from Kemberg, when he turned and retired towards Düben.
- In the evening, O’Donell’s Corps made a junction with Arenberg’s and Brentano’s Corps near Düben.
- Around noon, Lieutenant-General von Wedel, who had recently rejoined Prince Heinrich’s Army, was detached from Torgau with 5 bns, 7 sqns and 400 workers to Roitzsch, where he would erect abatis to prevent the intervention of O'Donell’s Corps, which was posted near Eilenburg. Wedel was then supposed to threaten Arenberg’s flank at Trossin, but by the time he could execute this order, the engagement had already taken place.
- Dingelstedt’s detachment advanced to Grossenhain. It then slowly retired towards Torgau by way of Liebenwerda, Uebigau and Herzberg.
- Rebentisch and Wunsch encamped near Meuro.
- Finck encamped at Pretzsch and Dommitzsch.
On October 30
- As ordered by Prince Heinrich, Finck assumed command of Rebentisch’s and Wunsch’s corps, in addition to 3 bns and 10 sqns of his former corps. Finck was now at the head of 12 bns and 35 sqns.
- Arenberg’s Brentano’s and O’Donell’s corps retreated to Eilenburg. During the preceding operations, Daun had sent some 28,000 men in several detachments against the Prussians while he was busy fortifying his own camp.
|Grenadier Battalion Homboldt (1 bn)
Grenadier Battalion Willemey (1 bn)
|Jung-Platen Dragoons (5 sqns)|
On October 31, Finck’s Corps advanced to Düben while the rest of the Prussians troops rejoined the main army at Torgau.
Austrian retreat towards Dresden
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the Austrian army of Daun at the beginning of November.
Detailed OoB of the Prussian army of Frederick in mid-November.
Soon after hearing of Arenberg’s defeat near Pretzsch, Daun was informed that the Russian army had begun its retreat towards Poland and that Prussian troops were marching from Silesia towards Saxony. Now that the Russians did not fix Frederick’s Army on the Oder and that the Prussian Army of Saxony expected important reinforcements, Daun considered that it was hopeless to try to control Saxony throughout the coming winter, and that it would be sufficient to maintain his hold on Dresden and the Erzgebirge. Accordingly, he decided to retire to the region of Plauen. He held a war council, which agreed to retire to strong positions near Dresden, to cover the city against any Prussian attempt to recapture it.
On November 2, Hülsen was at Muskau (present-day Bad Muskau).
On November 4
- Daun’s main army set off from Schildau and retired to Naundorf, where it made a junction with Arenberg’s and O’Donell’s corps. Esterhazy's and Brentano's Corps flanked the main body and reconnoitred the way.
- Finck's Corps marched from Düben to Eilenburg.
- Prince Heinrich detached Major-General Czettritz (Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck, Freibataillon Quintius, Czettritz Dragoons, Zieten Hussars) and Major-General Major-General Aschersleben (Grenadier Battalion Lubath, Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, Freiregiment Wunsch, Plettenberg Dragoons, Möhring Hussars, Dingelstedt’s hussar commando) to Schildau and Belgern. These detachments captured a large number of stragglers.
On November 5
- Prince Heinrich's main body marched from Torgau to Belgern in 3 columns.
- Aschersleben advanced to Strehla while Czettritz remained near Schildau.
- Finck sent his vanguard, consisting of 4 bns and 10 sqns under Wunsch, to Wurzen.
- Finck also received reinforcements (1 bn of Lehwaldt Infantry, 1 bn of Zastrow Fusiliers and 5 sqns of Horn Cuirassiers).
- Hülsen’s Corps, arriving from Lower Silesia, reached Liebenwerda.
- Prince Heinrich informed Finck that, unless Daun would make front at Kesselsdorf, he intended to send additional reinforcement to Finck, who would then turn Daun’s positions by way of Freiberg and Dippoldiswalde.
- Daun’s Army marched to Lommatzsch in 8 columns.
- The corps of the Reichsarmee posted near Leutewitz broke its bridge-boat and returned to its old camp near Dresden. Only light troops were left east of the Elbe: the Kleefeld’s and Ried’s Grenzer light troops were posted at the Fischhause, east of Dresden, and at Weissen Hirsch. Pálffy’s hussar corps took position near Reichenberg to observe the march of the Prussian troops arriving from Lower Silesia.
|De Ligne Infantry (2 bns)
||Serbelloni Cuirassiers (5 sqns)|
On November 6
- Prince Heinrich marched from Belgern to Wellerswalde and Strehla. As the weather was already very rough, his troops took up quarters.
- Aschersleben reached Riesa and Czettritz, Oschatz.
- Finck marched to Mutzschen with 13 bns and 35 sqns.
- Daun’s Army encamped in a strong position near the Katzenhäusern to the northwest of Heynitz. General Veczay and Count Esterházy protected the front of the army with their light troops. Brentano covered the left flank at Rosswein. Colonel von Bosfort returned to Waldheim. FZM Sincere took position on the heights south of the Ketzer stream near Pröda, west of Meissen with the Reserve Corps (16 bns, 15 sqns).
On November 7
- Prince Heinrich’s Army cantonned between Riesa and Lommatzsch, the headquarters were established at Dörschnitz.
- Aschersleben marched von Riesa towards Schieritz. He had been charged to make himself master of the passages over the Ketzerbach at Schieritz and Zehre, to open the way to Meissen. After a long and fruitless cannonade with Sincere’s Corps, which occupied the heights south of the Ketzerbach between the Elbe and Zöthain, Aschersleben cantoned near Naundorf.
- Czettritz’s detachment received reinforcements (I./Salmuth Fusiliers, Normann Dragoons) and was subordinated to Zieten, who cantoned near Lommatzsch.
- Finck’s Corps reached Döbeln.
- Hülsen’s Corps reached the Elbe opposite Riesa.
- Frederick left Glogau in Silesia with a small escort, which included Major von Seelhorst’s cavalry detachment (2 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons, 1 sqn of Werner Hussars, 200 convalescent cuirassiers from the Army of Saxony).
- Beust’s detachment reached Sagan to escort Frederick to Saxony.
On November 8
- The stubborn resistance of the Austrians convinced Prince Heinrich to assemble his army and to encamp north of Lommatzsch between Alt-Sattel and Dörschnitz, while 2 bns guarded his bakery.
- General Aschersleben was detached at Naundorf with 4 bns and 17 sqns.
- Lieutenant-General Wedel was detached at Hirschstein on the Elbe with 7 bns and 10 sqns, to support Aschersleben’s Corps.
- General Schenckendorff was detached at Käbschütz with 2 bns and 8 sqns to keep communication with Finck.
- General Dierike was detached at Grossenhain with 4 bns and 4 sqns.
- Hülsen’s Corps crossed the Elbe on a boat-bridge near Merschwitz and made a junction with Prince Heinrich’s Army.
- Hülsen had left a detachment (2 bns of Kleist Infantry, 1 bn of Kanitz Infantry, 1 bn of Wied Fusiliers, 5 sqns of Prinz Heinrich Cuirassiers, 200 Schorlemmer Dragoons, the 150 Zieten Hussars of Reitzenstein commando and 100 Kleist Hussars) under Major-General Diericke near Kmehlen on the east bank of the Elbe to observe the light troops of the enemy, to secure Frederick’s imminent arrival and to protect the Prussian supply convoys on the Elbe. Diericke realised that he could effectively bombard Sincere’s Corps from the right bank.
- The Hoffmann Fusiliers left Leipzig and joined Finck’s Corps.
On the night of November 8 to 9, Major-General Diericke established 4 twelve-pdrs on a height near Zadel.
On November 9
- Before daybreak, Diericke’s 4 guns opened against Sincere’s camp. Sincere moved his right wing farther from the Elbe and Diericke returned to his camp.
- Planning to turn the Austrian left, Prince Heinrich ordered Finck to advance from Döbeln towards Rosswein. Finck left the Hoffmann Fusiliers at Döbeln to guard his bakery. Grenadier Battalion Kleist joined Finck’s Corps.
- Prince Heinrich detached Colonel von Kleist with the Kleist Hussars), the Schorlemmer Dragoons and the Freibataillon de Collignon to Glaucha to maintain communication with Finck’s Corps.
- Brentano, who was covering the Austrian left flank, retired from Rosswein to Nossen as Finck’s Corps was approaching.
- Daun did not react to the Prussian manoeuvre.
- Worried for Dresden, the Prince of Zweibrücken sent back a strong detachment (all the grenadier coys, 1 bn of Wildenstein, 1 bn of Mengersen, 1 bn of Württemberg, 1 bn of Hildburghausen) under FML von Rosenfeld to take position at Naundörfel opposite Diericke’s positions.
On November 10
- Prince Heinrich changed his mind and sent Kleist’s detachment to Freiberg. To allow Finck to support Kleist’s detachment, he reinforced his corps to 19 bns and 35 sqns. To maintain communication with Finck’s Corps, Prince Heinrich detached Major-General von Schenckendorff with Grenadier Battalion Bähr, Grenadier Battalion Swolinsky, Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers, and 3 sqns of Möhring Hussars (the latter coming from Finck’s Corps) to Churschütz.
On the night of November 11 to 12, one of Kleist’s patrol arrived at Freiberg, where the Swabian Hohenzollern Cuirassiers were encamped. The cuirassiers precipitously retired to Herzogswalde where they were joined by some cavalry belonging to the Reichsarmee.
On Tuesday November 13
- Confrontation at Nossen
- According to Prince Heinrich's orders, Finck’s Corps marched from Rosswein in two columns south of the Mulde River and towards Nossen. Finck had left Major-General von Sydow with 4 bns (Grabow Fusiliers, Zastrow Fusiliers, Lehwaldt Infantry, II./Salmuth Fusiliers) and Vasold Cuirassiers at Rosswein to support Kleist.
- Finck planned to dislodge Brentano from his positions at Nossen and then to advance southwards on Freiberg and to send parties towards Dippoldiswalde and Dohna.
- As soon as the Prussian initiated their attack on Brentano, Daun rushed to the spot and ordered part of his left to deploy en potence towards Deutschenbora.
- Brentano retired across the Mulde River and took position on its east bank near Ober-Gruna. Colonel Bosfort’s detachment was posted at Niederschöna.
- Finck’s vanguard occupied Nossen and his corps encamped on the heights between Zelle (present-day Altzella Monastery) and Siebenlehn at the extreme left of the Austrian positions, thus cutting their communications with Freiberg.
- Finck was now posted behind the left wing of Daun’s Army and threatened the line of communication of this army with Bohemia.
- Kleist’s detachment arrived at Freiberg. Kleist sent patrols up to Dresden.
- Frederick II, who had now recovered from his sickness, arrived at the Castle of Hirschstein, some 10 km north of Lommatzsch, with some 20,000 men and made a junction with Prince Heinrich. The united Prussian Army now totalled some 60,000 men.
- Prince Heinrich received Frederick, who was still quite weak but in a good mood. The Russians were now retreating towards Poland and he could look forward for the total evacuation of Saxony by the Austro-Imperial armies. He mentioned his brother his satisfaction for his conduct of the campaign in Saxony. He now planned to recapture the city of Dresden, hoping to use Saxony as a bargaining token for the coming peace negotiations.
- Frederick ordered Colonel Kleist to launch a raid in Bohemia to destroy the large Austrian magazine in Aussig.
Daun was retreating at his slowest step: in many divisions, covering a wide circuit and sticking to all the strong posts, till his own time for quitting them.
During the night of November 13 to 14, Daun’s main army retired set off from its camp of Katzenhäusern in eight columns, crossed the Triebisch and encamped on the heights between Lampersdorf and Blankenstein. Daun established his headquarters in Wilsdruff.
On November 14
- Finck and his corps were near Nossen some 16 km ahead of Krögis and some 32 west from Dresden harassing the Austrian western flank.
- In the morning, when Finck was informed of the retreat of the Austrians, he detached Major-General von Wunsch from Nossen with the Gersdorff Hussars, the Freibataillon Salenmon, the Grenadier Battalion Willemey and the Grenadier Battalion Homboldt in the direction of Rothschönberg.
- Colonel von Kleist at the head of the Kleist Hussars marched by way of Dippoldiswalde to Maxen, leaving Schorlemmer Dragoons and the Freibataillon de Collignon in Freiberg. At Kleist’s request, Finck also sent the 4 bns (Grabow Fusiliers, Zastrow Fusiliers, Lehwaldt Infantry, II./Salmuth Fusiliers) under Major-General von Sydow, which were previously posted at Rosswein, to Freiberg. Kleist’s patrols reached Zehista, Krebs and, by way of Dohna, Gross Sedilitz on the Elbe. These patrols saw a convoy of baggage on the road from Dresden to Pirna.
- In the morning, when Frederick heard of Daun's retreat, he ordered Wedel to pursue him.
- On the left wing of the Prussian army, Major-General von Aschersleben followed the rearguard of Sincere’s Corps. Freiregiment Wunsch occupied Meissen and the heights of Siebeneichen south of the city, after an engagement near Korbitz (now incorporated into Meissen), where it captured more than a hundred prisoners. The artillery of Diericke’s Corps, posted on the heights near Cölln on the east bank of the Elbe, supported Freiregiment Wunsch during this engagement.
- Frederick, who was still too ill to ride, was transported from Hirschstein by way of Dörschnitz to Lommatzsch, where he joined his vanguard. He then accompanied the vanguard, which reached the vicinity of Heynitz and Miltitz on the Triebisch.
- Around noon, Prince Heinrich followed with the main army in two columns and encamped between Krögis, where Frederick had his headquarters, and Löthain.
- Wedel's Corps reached Korbitz and encamped on the height near Kynast, west of Meissen.
- Frederick then sent orders to Finck to advance to the heights of Neukirchen and Alttanneberg. Frederick then changed his mind and ordered Finck to march at once round that western flank: by way of Freiberg, Dippoldiswalde, then to send a detachment to Maxen (20 km south of Dresden, among the rocky hills), to cut off the communications of the Austrian army with Bohemia. This way, Finck would block the road leading from Dresden to Teplitz (present-day Teplice/CZ) and another road from Dresden by way of Berggiesshübel and the Nollendorf Pass to Bohemia.
- FZM Sincere with the Reserve Corps (including the carabiniers) abandoned his positions on the heights south of the Ketzerbach and retire to the heights near Polenz, south of Meissen.
- Brentano retired to Herzogswalde.
- Aynse occupied Batzdorf on the Elbe in front of Meissen.
- Lieutenant-General Count von Holnstein took position at Dippoldiswalde with 4 bns (Kurbayern Infantry, Effern Infantry) of the Reichsarmee to cover the lines of communication against any raid from Freiberg.
On Thursday November 15
- Kleist returned to Freiberg and reported to Frederick that the enemy was preparing to retire behind the Elbe.
- In the afternoon Kleist’s detachment set off from Freiberg and marched towards Bohemia by way of Marienberg and Sebastiansberg (present-day Hora Svatého Šebestiána/CZ).
- Finck’s Corps (including 18 bns) marched in the direction of Maxen (Frederick had once more changed his mind). His vanguard under Major-General von Wunsch reached Klingenberg, while the main body reached Niederbobritzsch and Hilbersdorf.
- In a letter, Frederick gave detailed instructions to Finck about the new positions that he would occupy at Maxen. From there, Finck would be able to intercept all the Austrian weakly escorted convoys passing by Berggiesshübel.
- Finck made Freiberg his magazine and Dippoldiswalde his halfway house where he left 4 bns.
- Schenckendorff’s detachment marched from Churschütz to Deutschenbora to cover the line of communication between Frederick’s main army and Finck’s Corps. Frederick also clearly specified that Finck should destroy the enemy convoys while avoiding any major engagement.
On Friday November 16
- Brentano’s Corps marched from Herzogswalde by way of Tharandt, on its way to Maxen. When Brentano met Prussian hussar patrols west of Possendorf, he decided to sojourn near Tharandt.
- Frederick repeated his instructions to Finck and asked for thorough reconnaissance towards the Elbe.
- Finck’s Corps resumed its march to Dippoldiswalde. Wunsch’s vanguard, which consisted of 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Kleist, Grenadier Battalion Willemey, Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff, Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers, Freibataillon Salenmon) and 17 sqns (Württemberg Dragoons, Jung-Platen Dragoons and 7 sqns of Gersdorff Hussars), reached Oberhäslich, where it bumped into Holnstein’s detachment (Kurbayern Infantry, Effern Infantry and a few hundred horse). After a opposing a weak resistance, Holnstein’s detachment retired through the forest to Wendischcarsdorf and Possendorf. It was followed by the Gersdorff Hussars and the Freibataillon Salenmon. Near Possendorf, Holnstein’s rearguard fell into disorder while crossing a sunken road, and the Prussians captured 2 Bavarian guns, several ammunition wagons and a number of prisoners.
- Wunsch’s vanguard spent the night in Oberhäslich and Reinholshain.
- Major-General von Lindstedt had been left behind with 4 bns (1 bn of Hülsen Infantry and 1 bn of Knobloch Infantry in Hilbersdorf, 1 bn of Finck Infantry in Nieder-Colmitz and 1 bn of Schenckendorff Infantry in Klingenberg) to wait for the arrival of the artillery and bread wagons of the corps, which had been delayed by bad roads.
- The 4 bns of Major-General von Sydow had been left in Freiberg to cover the bakery established there. Because of the poor conditions of the road, the four heavy 12-pdrs of Finck’s Corps had also to be left behind in Freiberg.
- The rest of Finck’s Corps (5 bns and 3 cuirassier rgts) reached Dippoldiswalde.
On Saturday November 17
- At daybreak, the Reichsarmee set off from Leuben and marched by way of Pirna to a new camp between Klein-Cotta and Berggießhübel. To secure his camp, Zweibrücken sent Major-General Baron von Ried to the vicinity of Glashütte and Liebstadt with his Grenzer light troops. Major-General von Kleefeld and his Grenzer Corps and FML Count Pálffy with his Hussar Corps occupied Dohna and Zehista to cover the march of the Reichsarmee. Rosenfeld’s detachment had been recalled to the army in the previous days.
- Kleefeld advanced to Zaschendorf on the opposite bank of the Elbe with the Grenzer and Hungarian infantry.
- Early in the morning, Daun’s main army, previously posted near Wilsdruff, and his Reserve Corps, previously posted at Polenz, crossed the Weisseritz in several columns and encamped in the dell of Plauen, an impassable chasm stretching southward from Dresden in front of the hill country. The new positions faced northwestwards and were well protected against a frontal assault by steep cliffs. The right wing was anchored to the suburbs of Dresden and the left wing stood on the Windberg, east of Deuben, this height dominated the surrounding country. FZM Sincere took position near Hänichen and Rippien, behind the left wing of the main army, with the Reserve Corps to cover the rear of the Austrian army and to guard the defiles of Possendorf leading to Dresden.
- Early in the morning, Brentano’s Corps set off from Tharandt, marching northeastwards, to take position at Strehlen and then in the vicinity of Nöthnitz.
- Beck’s Corps set off from Rumburg (present-day Rumburk/CZ), where it was posted since the beginning of November, and advanced to Trachau, north of Dresden, by way of Stolpen. Beck left a detachment (300 horse, 400 Grenzer light troops and ⅔ of Luzzara Infantry) to cover the frontier of Bohemia between Friedland (present-day Frýdlant v Čechách/CZ) and Deutsch Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí/CZ). His light troops roamed the woods around Moritzburg up to the Elbe.
- Finck sojourned at Dippoldiswalde, to wait for the rest of his corps. Wunsch marched to Maxen with the vanguard. Once camp established, Wunsch advanced through thick fog towards the Elbe with 5 hussar sqns and the Freibataillon Salenmon. In Dohna, his small force came to contact with Grenzer light troops and Freibataillon Salenmon drove them out of town. When fog lifted, Wunsch could see on the neighbouring heights, a long column of troops marching on the main road leading from Dresden to Pirna, by way of Mügeln. Wunsch quickly returned to Maxen to report his findings, leaving Freibataillon Salenmon and a few hussars in Falkenhain,
- From Dippoldiswalde, Finck immediately informed Frederick of the results of Wunsch’s reconnaissance. He thought that this long column was probably the Reichsarmee. Finck was also informed that Daun’s baggage had been sent from Dresden to the east bank of the Elbe and had taken the road leading to Stolpen. Furthermore, one of Brentano’s adjutant, who had been captured by Wunsch’s vanguard, mentioned that the Austrians were retiring to Bohemia. Finck reported to Frederick that he had decided to advance to Maxen himself on the next day.
- Finck Infantry (1 bn) and Schenckendorff Infantry (1 bn) arrived at Dippoldiswalde with part of the artillery and the bread wagons.
- Frederick’s Army followed the retiring Austrian army. Zieten advanced by way of Wilsdruff and Kesselsdorf with the vanguard. Between Pennrich and Altfranken, this vanguard engaged and drove back the light corps (hussars and Grenzer light troops) of Major-General Count Esterházy, which was covering the march of the main army. Zieten then cantoned his troops in Kesselsdorf and the surrounding villages. Frederick’s Army encamped near Birkenhain and Limbach, where the headquarters were established.
- Schenckendorff’s detachment marched from Deutschenbora to Herzogswalde on the right flank of the main army.
- Major-General von Aschersleben reached the vicinity of Weistropp on the left flank of the main army. Wedel’s Corps followed him, reaching Röhrsdorf and Klipphausen.
- Frederick also sent a hussar party under Grüne Kleist who, burnt an important Austrian magazine at Aussig beyond the Erzgebebirge.
On Sunday November 18
- Brentano’s Corps set off from Nöthnitz and advanced in the direction of Maxen. However, when Brentano realised that Finck’s Corps had already reached Maxen, he took position on the heights near Nickern and Sobrigau, behind the Lockwitzbach.
- In the afternoon, Austrian light troops belonging to Brentano’s Corps crossed the Lockwitzbach to the northwest of Gombsen and advanced in the direction of Maxen but a few cannonballs put an end to their progress. The Gersdorff Hussars then drove them back beyond the Lockwitzbach.
- When snow began to fall, Frederick let his army take quarters between the Elbe, the Wilde Sau, which flowed into the Elbe near Wilsdruff, and the Zschonerbach, which flowed northeastwards from Kesselsdorf. He also established a camp with only 7 bns (grenadier bns Pieverlingk, Nesse, Beyer, Lattorf Infantry, Wedel Infantry) and 20 sqns (Leibregiment, Leib-Carabiniers, Schmettau Cuirassiers, Czettritz Dragoons) on the heights of Kaufbach, between Wilsdruff and Kesselsdorf. Frederick personally went to Wilsdruff. In case of an alarm, he had instructed his army to form a line between Wilsdruff and Unkersdorf. To deceive the enemy, he also had peasants keeping watch fires in the neighbouring villages. Zieten’s vanguard secured outposts extending from Braunsdorf, where Schenckendorff took position on the heights of Altfranken and the banks of the Zschonerbach down to the Elbe.
- On the eastern bank of the Elbe, Major-General Diericke advanced to Coswig and Naundorf. A bridge was thrown on the Elbe near Sörnewitz to maintain communication between Frederick’s Army and Diericke’s detachment.
- Hülsen Infantry (1 bn) and Knobloch Infantry (1 bn) arrived at Dippoldiswalde with the rest of Finck’s artillery and the bread wagons.
- Lehwaldt Infantry (1 bn) arrived from Freiberg at Dippoldiswalde.
- Early in the morning, Finck set off from Dippoldiswalde with the main body of his corps and marched to Maxen. Finck had left Major-General von Lindstedt at Dippoldiswalde with a small detachment (Finck Infantry (1 bn), Hülsen Infantry (1 bn), Knobloch Infantry (1 bn), Lehwaldt Infantry (1 bn), Vasold Cuirassiers) to protect his line of communication with Freiberg. Finck also left 3 sqns of Gersdorff Hussars at Oberhäslich under Major von Haugwitz to patrol in the direction of Possendorf and Rabenau.
- In the morning, Frederick wrote Finck to reprimand him for having left Lindstedt’s detachment at Dippoldiswalde, isolated from his main body.
- Wunsch was sent with the Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers, Freibataillon Salenmon, which had been left at Falkenhain, and 3 hussar sqns to clear Dohna of Grenzer light troops.
- Finck sent the Münchow Fusiliers, which were posted at Ploschwitz, to reinforce Wunsch’s detachment, while the main body of his corps encamped near Maxen.
- In the afternoon, Finck instructed Lindstedt to rejoin his corps at Maxen. Major von Haugwitz remained near Oberhäslich with 3 sqns of Gersdorff Hussars.
- In the evening, 1 bn of Zastrow Fusiliers and 1 bn of Grabow Fusiliers arrived from Freiberg at Dippoldiswalde with a convoy of bread. Major-General von Sydow with II./Salmuth Fusiliers was still posted at Freiberg, where he had been joined by Hoffmann Fusiliers, arriving from Döbeln on November 15.
In the night of November 18 to 19, Frederick sent one of Zieten’s report to Finck. In this report, Zieten, who was posted at Kesselsdorf, mentioned that an Austrian corporal, who had deserted, asserted that Sincere’s Corps had retired behind Plauen with the main army, but had later taken the direction of Dippoldiswalde; and that Brentano was advancing on Maxen. The news about Brentano’s movements were accurate, as Finck had already found out. However, Sincere was not marching to Dippoldiswalde, but had established his camp at Rippien to cover the march of the main army against Finck’s Corps.
The news of the presence of a strong Prussian corps on the line of communication of the main army with Bohemia was not very well received at Daun’s headquarters. The army could not take its winter-quarters in Saxony in such conditions. Bad news also arrived from Bohemia, where Colonel von Kleist and his detachment had set fire to the town of Dux and destroyed the magazines at Aussig, capturing a large number of prisoners. Kleist Hussars had made rich booty and Freibataillon de Collignon had plundered the Monastery of Ossegg. Daun was unable to put a stop to Kleist’s raids as long as Finck’s Corps blocked his communications with Bohemia.
Daun, urged on by Lacy, decided to launch concentric attacks on Finck's positions in the hills. He planned a combined operation with Zweibrücken and his Reichsarmee (12,000 horse and foot). The latter would advance against the rear of Finck's positions by Dohna while Brentano would attack them frontally and Daun and Sincère would attack by Dippoldiswalde to cut Finck's retreat. Sincere's Reserve Corps (16 bns and 40 sqns, including 3,000 light troops) was reinforced with 6 bns (Baden-Durlach, Haller, Tillier) and 10 sqns (Stampach Cuirassiers, Anhalt-Zerbst Cuirassiers), belonging to the second line of the main army and with the Szechényi Hussars. With these reinforcements, the Reserve Corps was brought to about 30,000 men, who were placed under G.d.C. Count O'Donell’s command.
On Monday November 19
- At 7:00 a.m., O’Donell set off from Rippien with the reinforcements (6 bns, 10 cavalry sqns, 1 hussar rgt) and marched directly on Dippoldiswalde. Daun personally accompanied this corps. The movement was initially hidden by a heavy fog.
- Brentano had to be ready to launch an attack from Lockwitz.
- Zweibrücken sent FML Duke Stolberg with 6 bns and 5 sqns to Burkhardswalde on the eastern side of Maxen to prevent Finck’s Corps from retiring in this direction.
- O’Donell’s Corps reached Oberhäslich, harassed by the hussars of Major von Haugwitz. The Austrians fired a few cannon shots against the Prussian troops at Reinhardtsgrimma and dispatched 3 bns to occupy Dippoldiswalde. The march of the Austrian column was severely delayed by the icy roads. By nightfall, the entire corps had finally reached Oberhäslich. Daun put a stop to the advance and let his troops encamp west of Oberhäslich.
- Daun, with his main force of 27,000 men, took camp on the heights of Malter near Dippoldiswalde with his left at Oberhäslich while
- Once his army safely encamped, Daun returned to Dresden for the night to see if Frederick was quiet. Before leaving, he had instructed O’Donell to march on Maxen at 7:00 a.m. on the following day.
- The large forest of Tharandt laid between Frederick’s Army and Finck’s Corps. Very few roads traversed this forest.
- Frederick instructed Major-General von Schenckendorf, who was posted in Braunsdorf, to stand ready to march to Dippoldiswalde to support Finck and to thoroughly reconnoitre southeastwards.
- When the fog lifted, Finck’s outposts could see a long column marching on the road by way of Possendorf towards Wendischcarsdorf (present-day Karsdorf). Finck rode to Gombsen and saw this column. He also received confirmation from Major von Haugwitz, who was posted at Oberhäslich.
- Finck immediately sent Major-General von Platen with Horn Cuirassiers and Württemberg Dragoons to join and escort his threatened bread convoy, which had left Dippoldiswalde in the morning for Maxen. He also detached Major-General von Mosel with the Grenadier Battalion Billerbeck and Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff for the same purpose. They met the convoy along with the 2 bns (Zastrow Fusiliers, Grabow Fusiliers) escorting it near Reinhardtsgrimma. All these troops took position behind a deep ravine to the southeast of Reinhardtsgrimma. Grabow Fusiliers (1 bn) occupied the height west of Hausdorf. The bread-convoy then resumed its advance towards Maxen.
- All that day, Finck did his best to prepare his corps and saw his numerous enemies settle round him. Finck completely ascertained where the enemy's three attacks were to be: from Dippoldiswalde, Tronitz and Dohna. Finck prepared his positions for defence. Wunsch was left on the heights of Ploschwitz with 5 bns and 3 sqns to contain the Reichsarmee. The rest of Finck's Corps deployed in a crescent shaped line around Maxen. Its line extended from Muhlbach to the heights of Wittgensdorf. Lindstedt covered the right with 3 bns on the heights of Schmorsdorf.
- Once the Austrians had taken possession of Dippoldiswalde, Finck was isolated from Frederick’s Army. The situation was serious but Finck was confident that the king would already know of Daun’s enterprise against his corps, and would come to his support. To re-establish communication with Frederick, Finck sent more hussars and couriers. However, most of them returned without having achieved anything. In the evening a hussar arrived at Finck’s camp with a message from Colonel von Kleist, informing him of the success of his raids in Bohemia. Finck sent him to Frederick and the hussar managed to reach Wilsdruff during the night. He was also carrying a message from Finck, stating that he was not sure if the Austrians wanted to attack his corps or simply secure their way for a retreat to Bohemia.
- On the east bank of the Elbe, Diericke’s hussars came to contact with the light troops of FML Baron Beck.
Battle of Maxen
On November 20, Frederick sent Hülsen with 9 bns and 20 sqns by the forest of Tharandt to reinforce Finck. But his reaction came too late. In the afternoon, Daun launched the attack on Finck's positions from the south under Lieutenant-general Lacy and from the north under Brentano. During the ensuing Battle of Maxen', Finck's Corps was completely surrounded and forced to surrender with about 13,750 man while the Austrian lost no more than 1,000 men.
Daun reoccupies part of Saxony
On November 21, Hülsen was at Dippoldiswalde with the reinforcements when he heard of Finck's capitulation. He immediately retired to Freiberg while Frederick sent 4 bns to Mohorn to keep communications with Hülsen open.
Daun then cantoned his army near Dresden.
On November 25, the Reichsarmee encamped around Berggießhübel.
Meanwhile, Frederick took position in front of the Austrians. His vanguard (9 bns, 24 sqns) was at Kesselsdorf; his first line (23 bns) between Wilsdruff and Limbach; his second line (8 bns) in the neighbourhood of Blankenstein and Meissen; his third line (28 sqns) near Herzogswalde; his reserve (11 bns, 35 sqns) under Hülsen near Freiberg. Frederick also detached Diericke with 6 bns and 1,000 horse at Cölln (now a district of Meissen) on the right bank of the Elbe, in front of Meissen to secure the road leading from Torgau to Berlin.
Around end of November, Daun asked to transfer the Saxon cavalry from Silesia to Saxony. One column (Prinz Albrecht Chevauxlegers and the Karabiniergarde) marched from Trautenau by Schlukenau (present day Šluknov/CZ) and Neustadt; the other (Herzog von Kurland Chevauxlegers and Graf Brühl Chevauxlegers) by Reichenberg (present day Liberec/CZ) and Zittau. Graf Rudnicki Uhlanen came from Brünn (present day Brno/CZ) while Schiebel Uhlanen had arrived earlier.
Daun resolved to attacked Dierecke's isolated detachment. To do so, he recalled Beck's Corps (6,086 men, including 2,221 Grenzers from the Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1 under Colonel Zetwitz and Warasdiner-Sankt Georger under Colonel Riese) from Zittau. Furthermore, since Dierecke occupied a very advantageous position on the heights of Zaschendorf and Spaar, Daun reinforced Beck's Corps with Pelegrini's 5 bns and 500 carabiniers.
In the night of December 2 to 3, Beck's Corps set off towards Dierecke's positions.
On December 3, FML Beck appeared in front of Dierecke's positions but did not attack immediately. No reinforcement was possible because Dierecke was on the wrong side of the Elbe. Beck finally attacked Dierecke during the Combat of Meissen which lasted until December 4 when Dierecke was forced to surrender along with 1,500 men. After this new defeat, Frederick asked to Ferdinand of Brunswick, commanding the Allied Army, to send him reinforcements. Beck, informed that a Prussian convoy was heading for Torgau, sent General Nauendorf to Marschwitz at the head of 500 Grenzers and 550 line infantry with 3 cannon to intercept it. The same day, the Reichsarmee set off for Franconia to take its winter-quarters.
On December 4, the Reichsarmee took its winter-quarters. It was accompanied by Kleefeld's Light Corps of Grenzers, Banat militia and Slavonier Grenz-Hussars and by Luzinsky's Corps.
On December 6, Nauendorf's detachment burned 22 vessels laden with grain at Riesa on the Elbe.
On December 12, the Elbe froze. Nauendorf, fearing to be cut from Dresden, retired to Grossenhain.
Daun then came out of the Plauen Chasm with some 72,000 men. Frederick II with his 36,000 men formed into line of battle. Daun retired behind the Plauen Chasm again to protect Dresden from recapture. He carted his provision out of Bohemia. Frederick too, waited under arms for six weeks. The whole campaign finally came to an end.
On December 25, an Allied reinforcement of 15 bns and 19 sqns, led by the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, made a junction with Frederick's Army. The Prussian Main Army then took its winter-quarters, and Frederick went to Freiberg.
The Saxon cavalry spent winter near Stolpen in Saxony.
On December 31, fearing a Prussian attack on Dippoldiswalde, Hadik concentrated his corps.
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. 451-463
- Brabant, Artur: 1759 The Empire at War, Vol. 2, translated, edited & illustrated by Sharman, Lange & Cogswell, plate 122b
- Carlyle T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 19
- Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763
- Vol. 9 Bergen, Berlin, 1911, pp. 40, 54, 103-107, 110, 113, 226-228
- Vol. 10 Kunersdorf, Berlin, 1912, pp. 47-50, 55-68, 196-197, 305-308
- Vol. 11 Minden und Maxen, Berlin, 1912, pp. 62, 92-118, 123-129, 134-134, 140, 147-196
- Jomini, baron de, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 5, 66-67. 70-71, 76-80, 90-94, 141-148, 156, 164-174, 180-193
- Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885
- Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 458-481
Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009
Wengen, F. von: Geschichte des k. k. österreichischen 13. Dragoner-Regimentes Prinz Eugen von Savoyen, Brandeis 1879
Harald Skala for information on the Saxon cavalry during this period