1759 - Russian campaign in Brandenburg
The campaign lasted from April to September 1759
Description of Events
Operations in Farther Pomerania
The Russian army, estimated at about 65,000 men (including light troops), had remained in Poland after the campaign of 1758.
Since the beginning of December 1758, a small Prussian force (the 2 bns of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt and 8 sqns of the Malachowski Hussars) under Major-General von Malachowski had been left in Stargard and Köslin (present-day Koszalin) in Farther Pomerania to secure the region against raids of Russian light troops launched from the Vistula.
In January 1759, as Lieutenant-General Dohna’s Army marched back to Swedish Pomerania, its need for more light cavalry became evident. In fact Dohna could count only on 7 sqns of Ruesch Hussars. At his request, Frederick II instructed Major-General von Malachowski to march with 4 sqns of Malachowski Hussars to Swedish Pomerania. Meanwhile, Major-General von Platen with the Alt-Platen Dragoons would leave Dohna’s Army and march to Farther Pomerania where Platen would assume command in these quarters.
On January 7, Malachowski set off from the vicinity of Stargard with 4 sqns of Malachowski Hussars and marched towards Grimmen in Swedish Pomerania where he would remain until the end of the month. The other 4 sqns of Malachowski Hussars under Colonel von Gersdorff remained in Farther Pomerania. Colonel Count Hordt assumed interim command of the detachment left there, until the arrival of Major-General von Platen.
In mid-January, after the reception of an Austrian memorandum proposing joint operations, discussions began at the Konferéntsiya (Conference of the Highest Court) in St. Petersburg to plan the operations of the coming campaign. General en Chef Count Fermor and Lieutenant-General Count Rumyantsev were recall from the field army to participate in these discussions, where Lieutenant-Quartermaster-Generel Baron von Tillier, arriving from Vienna, represented Austria.
After Fermor’s departure, Lieutenant-General Frolov-Bagreev assumed command of the operational army which was quartered on the Lower Vistula between Dirschau (present-day Tczew/PL), Königsberg (present-day Kaliningrad/RUS) and Thorn (present-day Toruń/PL). Detachments of Cossacks posted in a line extending from Danzig (present-day Gdańsk/PL), Konitz (present-day Chojnice/PL) and Posen (present-day Poznań/PL) up to Thorn, secured the winter-quarters.
At the beginning of February, Count Hordt sent a reconnaissance party (100 hussars) across the Polish border up to Konitz but nothing significant was learned about the Russians.
On February 3, Platen arrived at Gollnow (present-day Goleniów) with his dragoons. He was now at the head of 9 sqns and 2 bns:
Platen was soon reinforced with the 2 sqns of the Pomeranian Provincial Hussars von Hohendorff.
On February 15, Platen’s Corps arrived at Stolp (present-day Słupsk) where Platen received a message from Frederick, ordering him to support the incursion General von Wobersnow towards Posen and to detach Colonel von Gersdorff against the Russian magazines located between the Vistula and the Netze (present-day Noteć River).
Around mid-February, an alarming report sent by Colonel Dalke of the Cossacks reached Posen. According to this report, a Prussian army of 40,000 Prussians with a numerous artillery was assembling near Glogau (present-day Głogów/PL) to march on Posen; and Frederick planned to start his advance on February 23. At the same moment, news came from Farther Pomerania, stating that Frei-Infanterie von Hordt had advanced to Stolp and Schlawe (present-day Sławno/PL) where the Prussian already had some dragoons and hussars. This information cause the greatest consternation at the Russian headquarters where the commanders thought that Frederick would advance from Glogau against the Vistula in several columns, while Dohna would simultaneously advance from the Oder through Farther Pomerania.
On February 24, Frolov-Bagreev held a council of war where it was decided to send reconnaissance parties towards the Silesian border, to Neumark and to Farther Pomerania; and to reinforce the light troops posted at Konitz, as well as those posted at Dirschau, on the west bank of the Vistula River; and to support them with the infantry brigade of Prince Volkonsky. The Russian army had to be kept in readiness to assemble on the Vistula. The fortifications of Thorn were improved and reconnaissances were made on the Drewenz (present-day Drwęca River) to identify a good location to counter the Prussian offensive.
Soon afterwards, Dalke reported the advance of Wobersnow from Glogau in the direction of Posen. Lieutenant-General Frolov-Bagreev ordered to assemble the Russian army so that each division would occupy a defensive position along the Vistula or the Drewenz. He also ordered the artillery, which was for a large part quartered near Pillau (present-day Baltijsk/RUS), to join the army as soon as possible.
Dalke had retreated from Posen before Wobersnow. He was soon reinforced with a Cossack regiment and instructed to delay Wobersnow’s advance.
At the beginning of March, the Konferéntsiya sent Lieutenant-General Kastiurin to the Operation Army to investigate complaints made against Fermor by several high ranking officers.
At the beginning of March, Platen received reports indicating that the Russians were threatening Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg). At that time, Colberg was defended by only 4 bns (Land Militia Battalion Schmeling, Land Militia Battalion Kleist and 2 incomplete bns of Garrison Regiment I Puttkamer) under Colonel von der Heyde. Platen decided to retire with most of his corps from Stolp to Köslin to better cover the Fortress of Colberg, leaving weak cavalry detachments along the border at Neustettin (present-day Szczecinek/PL), Bu blitz (present-day Bobolice/PL), Pollnow (present-day Polanów/PL) and Schlawe.
On March 3, Wobersnow retired from Posen, after having destroyed some magazines, and marched in the direction of Glogau.
On March 10, Frolov-Bagreev sent back his troops to their winter-quarters.
In mid-March, Major-General von Schlabrendorff assumed command of Platen’s detachment while Major-General Platen, who had just been promoted to lieutenant-general, left Farther Pomerania to take command of the cavalry of the Army of Saxony under Prince Heinrich.
To cover Colberg, Schlabrendorff occupied Belgard (present-day Białogard) and Köslin with the main body of his detachment. He was anxious to spot the approach of the Russians as early as possible and to put a stop to Cossack raids. He placed small detachments at road junctions and in the Pomeranian Lake District.
On March 26, Fermor, who had left St. Petersburg as soon as he had been informed of the march of a Prussian corps towards the Vistula, arrived at Posen and re-assumed command of the Russian army.
The Russian commanders were putting most of their energy in the creation and supply of the magazines that would support the advance of their army. South of the Netze River, in Polish territory, these tasks had been confided to entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, to the north of the river, the Russians sent their Cossacks, supported by horse grenadier and infantry detachments, to requisition supply from Pomeranian towns and villages.
On March 31
- These 2 Freigrenadier coys arrived at Neustettin which stood across one of the Cossacks’ preferred roads to launch raids into Farther Pomerania.
- The Pomeranian Provincial Hussars von Hohendorff advanced from Neustettin to Hammerstein (present-day Czarne/PL) where Cossack detachments had been reported. Near Soltnitz (present-day Żółtnica/PL), Captain von Hohendorff bumped into a large troop of Cossacks and immediately attacked, driving them back. The Freigrenadier Wussow had followed Hohendorff and were able to take part in combat. In this action, the Cossacks lost 30 men killed or wounded while the Prussians lost only 1 officer.
During the next few days, many reports confirmed that several thousands Cossacks were gathering under the command of Brigadier Krasnochekov near Hammerstein.
At the beginning of April, Fermor received the operational plan concocted in St. Petersburg. According to this plan, the Russian army should begin its concentration around Posen at the end of May.
On April 6, Russian mounted troops were seen in the vicinity of Neustettin.
On April 7
- Engagement near Hammerstein
- Brigadier Krasnochekov set off from Hammerstein at the head of a detachment of several hundreds Cossacks and hussars with a few guns of the horse artillery and marched towards Neustettin.
- Hohendorff rode back to Soltnitz with the Pomeranian Provincial Hussars von Hohendorff to reconnoitre in the direction of Hammerstein.
- When the Prussian hussars spotted Krasnochekov’s vanguard, they immediately attacked it. Hohendorff was defeated and fled towards Neustettin, after suffering heavy casualties.
- During the combat, Captain von Wussow had followed Hohendorff’s detachment with the 2 coys of Freigrenadier Wussow. Rapidly evaluating the situation, Wussow deployed his grenadiers along the west edge of a swamp, on the road leading from Hammerstein to a dam, to support the routed hussars.
- The Russians cavalrymen dismounted and attacked Wussow’s positions but were repulsed. Artillery on both sides took an active part in the engagement.
- Brigadier Krasnochekov retired to Hammerstein.
- In this engagement, the Prussians lost 9 men killed (including Captain Wussow), 34 wounded and 13 taken prisoners.
- Major-General Schlabrendorff sent Colonel von Gersdorff with a detachment of cavalry to reinforce the garrison of Neustettin.
On April 8, Gersdorff’s detachment arrived at Neustettin. Schlabrendorff now considered that his right flank was sufficiently secured and that he could advance from Belgard and Köslin to Stolp with the rest of his troops.
At Stolp, Schlabrendorff had to chase away Colonel Tököli’s patrols. He was convinced that the Russian cavalry not only had the task of plundering the country, but above all, as in previous years, that it had to screen the movements of the main army, whose advance was now expected.
On April 9, the Russians started to build a bridge of boat near Marienwerder (present-day Kwidzyn/PL) and soon afterwards the installation of a pontoon bridge near Schwetz (present-day Świecie/PL).
In the second half of April, Schlabrendorff received intelligence that a strong Russian corps was assembling in the region of Preussisch-Stargard (present-day Starogard Gdański). He now feared for Colberg once more.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the Russian Army at the beginning of the campaign.|
On April 24
- Worried by the news received from Reimer, the Prussian resident in Danzig, Frederick ordered Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel (who assumed interim command in Swedish Pomerania during Dohna’s illness) to immediately send 5 bns (Grenadier Battalion Lossow, Gabelentz Fusiliers, Diericke Fusiliers) and 6 sqns (4 sqns of Schorlemmer Dragoons, 2 sqns of Ruesch Hussars) under Major-General von Diericke from Swedish Pomerania to support Schlabrendorff’s detachment in Farther Pomerania. On its way, Diericke's detachment would be join by Tresckow Infantry at Stettin (Frederick had ordered this rgt to march from Neisse (present-day Nysa/PL) to Stettin).
- Fermor reorganised his army (70 bns, 80 sqns, 50 sotnias) in:
- a vanguard: 4 musketeer rgts, 5 horse grenadier rgts (each of 3 sqns), 1 hussar rgt (of 5 sqns), 5 various hussar sqns and 1,000 Don Cossacks for a total of 8 bns, 25 sqns and 10 sotnias
- 1st Division: 2 grenadier rgts, 10 musketeer rgts, 5 cuirassier rgts (2 at 5 sqns each, and 3 at 3 sqns each), 2 hussar rgts (each of 5 sqns) and 2,000 Don Cossacks, for a total of 24 bns, 29 sqns and 20 sotnias
- 2nd Division: 2 grenadier rgts, 10 musketeer rgts, 2 dragoon rgts (each of 4 sqns), 1 hussar rgts (of 5 sqns), 13 various hussar sqns, and 1,000 Don Cossacks, for a total of 24 bns, 26 sqns and 10 sotnias
- an Observation Corps: 1 grenadier rgt (of 2 bns), 4 musketeer rgts (each of 3 bns) and 1,000 Don Cossacks for a total of 14 bns and 10 sotnias
- Fermor reorganised his army (70 bns, 80 sqns, 50 sotnias) in:
On April 27, Russian troops marched to the location where they would cross the Vistula River.
By the end of April, the bridge of boat near Marienwerder and the pontoon bridge near Schwetz were both ready and the Russian army gradually crossed the Vistula River.
At the beginning of May, the Russian army was just leaving its cantonments behind the Vistula. Urged into action by their French and Austrians allies, the Russians prepared their army for the summer campaign and slowly began to move from their winter-quarters around Thorn in Inner Poland towards the city of Posen on the Warthe River. In fact their final destination was the Oder River, where they hoped to join forces with Field-Marshal Count Daun and the main Austrian army. The officer in command was Lieutenant-General Count Villim Vilimovich Fermor.
At the beginning of May, Diericke’s Prussian detachment set off from Swedish Pomerania.
On May 8, a small cavalry engagement took place near Muttrin (present-day Motarzyno), to the southeast of Stolp, between one of Schlabrendorff’s patrol and the Cossacks of Colonel Tököli.
On May 11, Diericke’s detachment reached Plathe (present-day Płoty/PL) where it stopped.
At about this time, Schlabrendorff retired from his positions between Neustettin and Stolp to new positions extending from Belgard to Köslin, leaving only hussar patrols along the border.
- The Russian army was posted as follows:
- the vanguard under Lieutenant-General Mordvinov near Thorn.
- the Observation Corps under Lieutenant-General Prince Golitsyn near Bromberg (present-day Bydgoszcz/PL).
- The 2nd Division under Lieutenant-General Villebois near Schwetz
- the 1st Division under Lieutenant-General Frolov-Bagreev near Münsterwalde (present-day Opalenie/PL) and Dirschau.
- The Russian army was posted as follows:
- Even though there were signs indicating that the main Russian army was preparing to march towards Neumark or Lower Silesia, Reimer reported from Danzig that a strong Russian corps would advance along the Netze River (present-day Noteć River) by way of Driesen (present-day Drezdenko) to surprise the Fortress of Colberg.
On May 17
- Fermor established his headquarters at Schwetz. His army counted 65,000 men, 5,000 Cossacks and 201 field pieces (some of these pieces had not yet rejoined the army).
- A corps of 8 infantry rgts, 14 dragoon and hussar sqns, 500 Cossacks and a few field artillery pieces for a total of 9,000 men under the command of Lieutenant-General Rumyantsev had been left behind on the Vistula to cover East Prussia. The infantry rgts of this corps were quite weak because they had contributed men to bring the rgts of the field army to full strength. Similarly, its cavalry units had contributed horses. Most of the infantry was assembled in a camp near Marienwerder. Magazines had been established at Elbing (present-day Elbląg/PL), Marienwerder, Kulm (present-day Chełmno/PL) and Thorn; and field-hospitals at Elbing and Marienwerder. The most careful arrangements had been made to secure the Vistula between Elbing and Thorn. Light troops were constantly patrolling the area in front of these positions and there were numerous scouts in Poland and on the Prussian frontier.
- Manteuffel’s Army set off from Greifswald in Swedish Pomerania and marched by way of Stettin towards Stargard. Manteuffel had left only a small corps of 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, Grenadier Battalion Willemey, Kleist Infantry, Prinz Moritz Infantry) and 7 sqns (the 5 sqns of Plettenberg Dragoons, 1 sqn of Malachowski Hussars and 1 sqn of Ruesch Hussars) under Major-General von Kleist behind to oppose the Swedes in Swedish Pomerania.
On May 19
- Manteuffel reached Schwerinsburg with his army. There he received orders from the king to immediately detach 2 infantry rgts, 1 dragoon rgt and some 250 hussars towards Berlin because an Austrian Corps of some 3,500 men (Vehla’s Corps) was advancing into Lusatia.
- Manteuffel detached Major-General von Gabelentz with 4 bns (Bevern Infantry, Gabelentz Fusiliers) and 6 sqns (3 sqns of Schorlemmer Dragoons, 3 sqns of Ruesch Hussars) from Schwerinsburg by way of Friedland to Eberswalde where the detachment would remain until May 28.
On May 21, the Russian vanguard (approx. 9,000 men) under Mordvinov and the Observation Corps (15,000 men) set off from Thorn and Bromberg. As Mordvinov reached Pakosch (present-day Pakość/PL), he received a report of Colonel Dalke, who was posted at Posen with his Cossacks, that Prussian troops were assembled at Guhrau (present-day Góra/PL). Mordvinov then force marched towards Posen, hoping to reach the place before the Prussians. Similarly, the vanguard of the Observation Corps under Lieutenant-General Oliz hurried towards Posen. When they learned that the Prussians had retired behind the Oder, Oliz and Mordvinov halted at Kletzko (present-day Kłecko/PL) and Pudewitz (present-day Pobiedziska/PL), to allow for the Observation Corps to catch up with its vanguard.
On May 22, the 1st Division under Frolov-Bagreev was at Meiburg (present-day Nowe/PL).
On May 23, the Russian 2nd Division advanced from Schwetz.
On May 25
- The 1st Division arrived at Preussisch-Stargard (present-day Starogard Gdański/PL).
- While the Russians were on their way to Posen, Frederick began to take some countermeasures.
- Schlabrendorff's detachment, which had been deployed in a line extending from Neustettin and Stolp to Stargard and Köslin, was ordered by Frederick to take new positions at Dramburg (present-day Drawsko Pomorskie/PL) and Nörenberg (present-day Ińsko/PL) to cover Manteuffel’s Army against raids of Russian light troops posted on the Netze.
- Major-General Diericke’s detachment remained at Plathe to better support Colberg if necessary.
Dohna Advance in Greater Poland
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of Dohna's Army at the end of May.|
On May 26
- Manteuffel’s Army (Dohna had not yet re-assumed command) reached Stargard and encamped there. He could not learn anything about the movements of the Russians, ignoring if they were already on the march and in which direction, nor the strength of each of their columns. The well-established Prussian spies failed completely to gather any intelligence.
- By that date, Manteuffel’s forces (some 17,600 men with 46 heavy artillery pieces) were deployed as follows:
- Schlabrendorff’s detachment (2 bns, 9 sqns) acting as vanguard at Nörenberg and Dramburg.
- Manteuffel’s main body (9 bns, 7 sqns) near Stargard
- Diericke’s detachment (5 bns, 6 sqns) near Plathe
- Gabelentz's detachment (4 bns, 6 sqns) near Eberswalde
- Kleist’s Corps (6 bns, 7 sqns) near Bartow
- Dohna had now recovered from his illness and Frederick instructed him to rejoin his army in Farther Pomerania where Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel would inform him of the situation.
- The Russian commanders perfectly hid their plans and narrowly watched any suspect. In addition, the Russians intimidated the residents and authorities of the occupied territories, threatening them and enforcing severe penalties. Furthermore, the Russian light cavalry very effectively screened the main body of the army, preventing the Prussian cavalry from obtaining any information on its positions.
On May 28, the Russian 1st Division advanced from Preussisch-Stargard.
In the last days of May
- A strong cavalry detachment under Colonel Tököli advanced by way of Bütow (present-day Bytów/PL) and roamed the vicinity of Stolp, raising heavy contributions and requisitioning cattle.
- 1 bn of Garrison Regiment I Puttkamer (out of the 2 bns posted in Colberg) was sent to Treptow (present-day Trzebiatów/PL).
On June 2
- Colonel Tököli and his Cossacks, returning from their raid against Stolp, made a junction with the 1st Division at Konitz.
- The 2nd Division reached Nakel (present-day Nakło nad Notecią/PL) on the Netze River, after having marched from Schwetz by way of Krone (present-day Koronowo/PL).
On June 3, the Observation Corps of Prince Golitsyn and Mordvinov’s vanguard (a total of approx. 25,000 men) reached Posen where they encamped on the west bank of the Warthe River. Cossack detachments were sent from Posen towards Silesia to observe the Prussians.
On June 4
- Dohna re-assumed command of his army at Stargard, replacing Manteuffel.
- Judging Dohna’s Army insufficiently strong to stop the advance of the Russians, Frederick sent orders to Prince Heinrich to detach another 10,000 men under Generals Hülsen and Wobersnow to join him.
On June 5
- Adjutant-General von Wobersnow arrived at Stargard with Frederick’s letter to Dohna, whose 18,000 men (26 bns, 55 sqns) were the closest ones to the Russians, instructing him to wait for the support of Prince Heinrich’s Army and then to make diversion against Posen to stop the advance of the Russians towards Silesia. Dohna also had orders to harass the enemy in any possible way, ambush single units on the march, loot or burn baggage trains and supplies depots, keep the Russian under constant threat and slow them down.
- Prince Heinrich, who was stationed at Zwickau in Saxony with his army, detached Lieutenant-General von Hülsen with 10 bns (Grenadier Battalion Bornstedt, Anhalt-Bernburg Infantry (3 bns), Goltz Infantry, Puttkamer Infantry, Lestwitz Infantry) and 20 cuirassiers sqns (Horn Cuirassiers, Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg Cuirassiers, Schlabrendorff Cuirassiers, Spaen Cuirassiers) and 10 twelve-pdrs to reinforce Dohna's Army which was facing the Russians. Frederick also took measures to prepare provisions for these reinforcements.
- Major-General Puttkamer was sent from Spremberg and Muskau (present-day Bad Muskau/DE) with 8 sqns of the Puttkamer Hussars to reinforce Dohna’s Army.
On June 8, Dohna marched from Stargard to Pyritz (present-day Pyrzyce/PL), on his way to Landsberg (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski/PL) with his army.
On June 9, Dohna’s Army marched to Soldin (present-day Myślibórz/PL). From there, he detached Colonel Count Hordt towards Landsberg with Frei-Infanterie von Hordt, Grenadier Battalion Nesse and 200 hussars to cover the establishment of a bridge and a bridgehead on the southern bank of the Warthe.
On June 10
- The 1st Division reached Usch (present-day Ujście/PL) on the Netze River after having marched from Preussisch-Stargard by way of Konitz and Schneidemühl (present-day Piła/PL).
- Dohna gave a rest day to his troops near Soldin.
Since the advance to the Oder to effect a junction with the Austrians was only planned to begin on July 6, Fermor intended to remain in his present positions for a while. His magazine were well supplied and the country along the Netze River very productive. His light troops covered the area between Usch and Obornik (present-day Oborniki/PL) to the west while a Cossack detachment posted north of the Netze secured his line of communication with the Vistula.
Fermor received reports that a Prussian corps of approx. 25,000 men was assembling in the area of Landsberg, Dramburg and Stargard to attack the Russian corps left behind on the Vistula; and that Wobersnow would soon march from Glogau with 15,000 men. Fermor also thought that Prince Heinrich was marching from Saxony towards the Oder with 40,000 men. Therefore, Fermor concluded that he would soon have to face a 80,000 men strong Prussian army. He was particularly concerned for the Russian corps posted on the Vistula. A defeat of this corps would deprive him of his supply base and compromise his entire operational plan. He had to gain time for the group of third bns which was marching from Livonia to reinforce the corps posted on the Vistula.
On June 11
- Dohna’s Army marched from Soldin to Hohenwalde (present-day Wysoka/PL).
- Hülsen’s Corps reached Torgau, after having marched from Zwickau by way of Altenburg and Eilenburg.
On June 12, Dohna marched to Landsberg on the Warthe. His force totalled 20 bns and 30 sqns. He established an entrenched camp on the heights on the northern bank of the Netze.
On June 14
- Fermor wrote to Baron von Lantingshausen, who commanded the Swedish army in Pomerania, to ask him to operate against the rear of Dohna’s Army. However, Fermor was soon reassured when he received intelligence that Dohna was advancing on Posen instead of the Vistula. He decided to reinforce the troops already posted there while keeping the possibility to come to the support of the corps posted on the Vistula.
On June 15
On June 16, Fermor gave orders to the 2nd Division to march from Nakel towards Posen.
On June 17, Frederick wrote to Manteuffel and Dohna that they would not get any intelligence on the Russian army if they stayed in the middle of their own country without sending cavalry to the border.
On June 18
- A corps of 4 infantry rgts and 2,000 light cavalry set off from Usch under Major-General Volkonsky to take position in Farther Pomerania.
- Wobersnow proposed two operation plans to Frederick for Dohna’s Army. The first called for an advance on Posen which would certainly lead to a battle against the Russians assembling there; the second, for an advance along the Warthe up to Wronke (present-day Wronki/PL) or Obornik, where the army would cross the river and mach on Thorn. Wobersnow hoped that the Russians would then retire to the Vistula, thus removing any threat against Pomerania, Silesia and Neumark.
- Hearing that a Russian detachment of 1,000 light cavalry was posted at Schneidemühl, Major-General Malachowski advance to Filehne (present-day Wieleń/PL) with his own detachment.
- Hordt marched with Frei-Infanterie von Hordt and his 2 grenadier bns to the southern bank of the Netze while another grenadier bn sent from Landsberg replaced them to cover the south flank.
- A party of Zieten Hussars under Major Reitzenstein engaged once more a Cossack detachment on the border of Silesia.
On June 19
- Volkonsky’s Corps reached Deutsch-Krone (present-day Wałcz/PL). From there, Volkonsky sent forward three strong reconnaissance parties towards the vicinity of Stargard. He was soon informed that Stargard was garrisoned by only 2 coys (sent from Stettin by Bevern) and that Arnswalde (present-day Choszczno/PL) had only a weak garrison.
- In St. Petersburg, Empress Elizabeth decided to replace Fermor by General en Chef Count Piotr Semionovitch Saltykov at the head of the Russian Operation Army.
- Hülsen’s Corps reached Frankfurt (Oder), after having marched from Torgau in Saxony by way of Herzberg, Luckau, Lübben and Beeskow.
- To allow Hülsen’s Corps to take some rest after its long march, Dohna fixed the beginning of operation to June 23.
On June 20, Frederick chose the second plan of Wobersnow and Dohna, which proposed an advance along the Warthe towards Thorn.
On June 21, Volkonsky’s Corps reached Kallies (present-day Kalisz Pomorski/PL) by way of Märkisch-Friedland (present-day Mirosławiec/PL).
On June 22
- The 1st Division, under the command of General Frolov-Bagreev, was encamped near Usch on the Netze.
- Fermor arrived at Posen with the 2nd Division. He quickly established four pontoon-bridges on the Warthe River and, soon afterwards, a raft-bridge.
- With the 15 pontoons recently arrived from Berlin, Dohna established a second bridge across the Warthe at Landsberg.
- Malachowski advanced towards Arnswalde to intercept Volkonsky’s Corps, but, upon his arrival, the latter had already retired.
On June 23
- Major-General von Totleben advanced from Posen towards Schrimm (present-day Śrem/PL) with 4 horse grenadier rgts to induce the Prussians to believe that Fermor’s Army was marching on Breslau.
- The Rizhskiy Horse Grenadiers had recently been sent to Kalisch (present-day Kalisz/PL) to reinforce the Cossack detachment guarding the magazines there.
- Dohna's army marched from Landsberg to Schwerin (present-day Skwierzyna/PL).
On June 24
- The last elements of the 2nd Division reached Posen after having marched from Nakel by way of Wongrowitz (present-day Wągrowiec/PL).
- Hülsen’s Corps made a junction with Dohna’s Army at Schwerin.
- Wobersnow informed Frederick that the Russians had not yet completed their concentration at Posen but were rather dispersed in three groups near Posen, Schneidemühl and Nakel, stressing that Dohna could easily defeat each group separately if he acted rapidly. Frederick underestimated the strength, the general condition and the fighting value of the Russian army and considered that Dohna could defeat it in four weeks and then launch a diversion in Hesse.
On June 25
- Dohna’s Army sojourned near Schwerin. With the reinforcement brought by Puttkamer and Hülsen, this army now counted 30 bns and 58 sqns with 60 battalion guns and 56 heavy artillery pieces and 750 artillerymen, for a total of 28,100 men.
- In the evening, Dohna detached Major-General von Wobersnow from his camp at Schwerin with 6 bns (Goltz Infantry, Kanitz Infantry, Gabelentz Fusiliers), the 10 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars and 7 heavy artillery pieces (5 x 12-pdr guns, 2 x howitzers) in the direction of Pinne (present-day Pniewy/PL).
On June 26
- The Russian 1st Division set off from Usch and marched by way of Obornik towards Posen.
- Volkonsky’s Corps reached Filehne by way of Grüneberg (unidentified location). There, he learned that a Prussian corps had arrived at Birnbaum. To avoid being cut off from the main army, he decided to retire.
- A report sent by Brigadier Krasnochekov arrived at Fermor’s headquarters, informing him that a Prussian corps of 14 rgts, which was previously posted at Landsberg, was arrived at Schwerin and prepared to march to Birnbaum. Fermor transferred the 2nd Division to the west bank of the Warthe where it established an entrenched camp facing towards Birnbaum, between the vanguard and the Observation Corps. The heavy baggage of the Observation Corps were gathered in an island on the Warthe, while those of the 2nd Division, vanguard and artillery remained on the east bank.
- Fermor informed Major-General von Springer, who was returning to Daun’s headquarters, that a corps of 40,000 Prussians was marching in four columns into Poland in the direction of Posen to attack the Russians.
- Early in the morning, Dohna’s Army marched eastwards from its camp near Schwerin, along the north bank of the Warthe. The roads were very bad and the army marched for 14 hours to cover a distance of 21 km. In the evening, the first elements of the army finally reached Birnbaum (present-day Międzychód/PL). The rest gradually arrived during the night.
- Wobersnow’s detachment reached Kähme (unidentified location). Wobersnow spread the rumor everywhere that Dohna’s Army intended to march on Glogau. However, he received new orders instructing him to recross the Warthe at Zirke (present-day Sieraków/PL) and to advance to Czarnikau (present-day Czarnków/PL) to cut off Volkonsky’s Corps from Posen. Dohna sent the Schorlemmer Dragoons to reinforce Wobersnow.
- Malachowski’s detachment marched by way of Woldenberg (present-day Dobiegniew/PL) towards Driesen.
- Hasslocher’s detachment retired to Glogau.
On June 27
- Totleben’s detachment left Schrimm and returned to Posen.
- Totleben informed Fermor that a strong Prussian detachment had reached Fraustadt (present-day Wschowa/PL). It was the detachment of Lieutenant-Colonel Hasslocher (2 bns Garrison Regiment V Jung-Sydow and 5 sqns of Zieten Hussars) which was arriving from Glogau. However, Fermor thought that it was the vanguard of a 6,000 men strong corps under Frederick personal command. Fermor ordered to work day and night to the entrenchments of the camp of Posen. The artillery was assembled on the west bank and posted in well protected batteries.
- Fermor sent orders to the 1st Division to leave its baggage under strong escort and to march as quickly as possible towards Posen.
- Volkonsky’s Corps crossed the the Netze and reached Lubasch (present-day Lubasz/PL).
- Wobersnow’s Corps reached Zirke, crossed the Warthe and advanced up to Lubasch, without encountering any opposition.
- Dohna’s main body sojourned at Birnbaum.
On June 28
- Volkonsky’s Corps reached Obornik. There Azovskiy Infantry, belonging to the 1st Division, joined this corps. Fermor had hoped that Volkonsky’s raid would induce the Swedes to advance but they remained idle in Swedish Pomerania. However, this raid had allowed the Russians to check that no Prussian troops were posted in Farther Pomerania. Fermor thus felt reassured for his forces on the Vistula and for the Russian troops occupying East Prussia.
- Dohna’s Army reached the vicinity of Zirke.
- Wobersnow’s Corps encamped at Wronke on the north bank of the Warthe. In the evening, a bread convoy reached its camp, escorted by Major-General von Malachowski and Grenadier Battalion Beyer.
On June 29
- Saltykov arrived at Posen to replace Fermor as commander-in-chief. Fermor remained with the army to second Saltykov. He received command of the 1st Division in place of Lieutenant-General Frolov-Bagreev who assumed command of the Corps of the Vistula because Rumyantsev had been recalled to serve with the Operation Army.
- The 1st Division arrived at Posen and encamped on the west bank of the Warthe behind the 2nd Division.
- The vanguard under Wobersnow marched from Wronke to Obersitzko (present-day Obrzycko/PL), where he learned that there were only a few thousand Russians posted on both banks of the Netze and that the whole Russian army was already encamped near Posen in two entrenched camps on both sides of the Warthe. These two camps were linked by six bridges. Wobersnow realised that an advance on Thorn was impossible.
- Dohna’s Army arrived at Wronke.
On June 30
- Volkonsky’s Corps arrived at Posen. Now all of Fermor’s Army was assembled at Posen, but Volkonsky’s Corps was the only one posted on the east bank of the Warthe. It was charged to protect the baggage of the army.
- Saltykov assumed command of the Operation Army (approx. 69,000 men) assembled at Posen.
- Wobersnow marched to Obornik with the vanguard.
- Dohna remained at Wronke with the main body of his army.
Dohna never had a chance to beat the Russians in the race for Posen. If he had acted with the necessary speed when he still outnumbered his foes, he might have taken Posen by storm capturing the Russian vanguard and the baggage train and delivering a mortal blow to the Russians, forcing them to delay if not abandon altogether any war plans for the summer.
On July 1, Dohna marched to Stobnica with the main body of his army, threatening the communications of the Russian army.
On July 2
- Saltykov held a council of war where it was decided to send three strong detachments of light troops to reconnoitre in the directions of Rogasen (present-day Rogoźno/PL), Obornik and Schwerin. Lieutenant-General Panin should then follow the light troops sent towards Rogasen with the vanguard of the army which had been reinforced. Panin was ordered to engage Prussian forces if he had the opportunity to do so. Quartermaster-General Baron von Stoffeln was instructed to reconnoitre the vicinity of Obornik with a strong escort. Meanwhile, the main army would be kept in readiness to support Panin if he engaged the Prussians, leaving a strong detachment of all arms at Posen to cover the baggage.
- Dohna’s main body encamped near Kowanowo, east of Obornik.
- Count Hordt, who was still posted in Driesen and Landsberg with Frei-Infanterie von Hordt and Grenadier Battalion Nesse, received orders to recall all his detachments and to transfer the field bakery, the flour and the pontoons to Obornik. Land-Bataillon Arnim sent two detachments of 100 men each to occupy Driesen and Landsberg.
- The 5 sqns of Zieten Hussars which were arriving from Glogau were instructed to join Dohna’s Army at Obornik.
- Informed that the Russians had a small magazine at Rogasen, Dohna detached Major von Troschke with 2 bns (II./Lehwaldt Infantry, II./Bevern Infantry), 200 dragoons and 100 hussars to capture this magazine and bring back the provisions to the army.
- Wobersnow set off from his camp at Obornik with 6 bns (Kanitz Infantry, Goltz Infantry, Gabelentz Fusiliers), 32 sqns (Alt-Platen Dragoons (5 sqns), Schorlemmer Dragoons (10 sqns), Puttkamer Hussars (10 sqns), Malachowski Hussars (7 sqns)) and 7 heavy artillery pieces to attack the Russian “wagenburg” established on the east bank of the Warthe. In the evening Wobersnow reached Murowana-Goslin (present-day Murowana Goslina/PL).
On July 3
- Prussian attempt against the Russian camps at Posen
- Early in the morning, leaving I./Gabelentz Fusiliers at Murowana-Goslin to protect the passage of the Warthe, Wobersnow advanced towards Posen. Soon he came to contact with 2,000 Cossacks and hussars who had taken position in the numerous gorges and in the thick forest. However, these troops soon retired.
- Lieutenant-General Panin, who was posted at Owinsk (present-day Owińska/PL) with a few thousands foot and dragoons, retreated towards Posen.
- By 9:00 a.m., Wobersnow’s Corps was within cannon range from Posen. However, He noted that a strong Russian force had taken position behind the redoubts and batteries established on the outskirts of the eastern suburb, while Saltykov’s Army was rapidly crossing from the west bank of the Warthe to the east bank on its numerous bridges. At the same time, a strong artillery force was established on a height overlooking the entire terrain on the left wing of the Russian position. To make matters worse, a muddy stream cut through the entire width of the battlefield, which lay under the effective fire of the Russian batteries. Wobersnow decided to abandon his design and retired to Murowana-Goslin, where he would remain for two days.
- Meanwhile, to create a diversion, Lieutenant-General von Kanitz had crossed to the west bank of the Warthe on two bridges at Obornik with 8 bns and 500 hussars and advanced against the Russian entrenched camp on that side of the river. He soon stopped his advance and just established a bridgehead to cover the two bridges. In fact, the Russians had already transferred most of their troops to the east bank and Kanitz would have met with very little resistance had he advanced on the Russian entrenched camp on that side of the river.
- Troschke’s detachment captured the magazine of Rogasen.
In the night of July 3 to 4, Troschke’s detachment brought back the captured provisions to the camp of Obornik.
On July 4
- Hordt’s detachment arrived at Obornik with the field bakery and the pontoon train.
- Wobersnow reported to Frederick that, after his attempt to attack Posen from the east bank of the Warthe, he was convinced that there were no chances of success for an enterprise on that bank. The terrain was not suited for cavalry and the Russian positions in the suburb of Posen almost unassailable. Wobersnow proposed to cross to the west bank of the Warthe at Obornik and to reconnoitre the Russian positions to see if an attack on Posen was possible on that bank.
On July 5
- Dohna crossed the Warthe at Obornik with the main body of his army and established a camp at Bogdanowo.
- Frederick, who was very disappointed by the slowness and timidity of Dohna, urged him to attack the Russian army on its march from Posen towards Silesia.
- Panin retired to the main camp and informed Saltykov that the Prussians had crossed the Warthe at Obornik.
- Saltykov held a council of war where it was decided to quit Posen and to march towards the Oder to make a junction with the Austrians. To deceive Dohna, a small detachment of all arms would take position on the right bank of the Warthe near Owinsk and make a lot of noise as if a large army was still encamped on the eastern bank of the river.
On July 6
- Stoffeln reconnoitred in the direction of Obornik.
- Dohna’s Army sojourned at Bogdanowo while the vanguard under Wobersnow marched from Murowana-Goslin along the Warthe up to Oberzerze (present-day Objezierze/PL).
On July 7
- Unable to reconnoitre the Russian positions around Posen from his camp at Bogdanowo, Dohna marched to Oberzerze with his army while the vanguard advanced to Krzyszkowo. Dohna had more and more problems to find provisions. Due to a drought, the waters of the Oder and the Warthe were too low to use these rivers to transport supplies from the magazines of Stettin and Cüstrin (present-day Kostrzyn nad Odrą). Furthermore, the lack of horses made it impossible to transport supplies by land. To make things worse, the Poles refused to provide provisions against vouchers and asked for cash, which Dohna did not have.
- Dohna’s field bakery was transferred from Kowanowo to Bogdanowo.
- On July 7, Colonel Count Hordt set off from Obornik with Frei-Infanterie von Hordt and 200 hussars, a total of some 1,500 men. He had been charged to advance towards the Vistula and to intercept artillery, ammunition, provisions, fodder and transport destined to Saltykov’s Army at Posen. If possible, he also had to destroy the Russian magazines in Thorn and Kulm. On this first day, Hordt marched to Rogasen.
- In the evening, Stoffeln, his reconnaissance done, returned to Posen and reported that the main body of Dohna’s Army was already on the west bank of the Warthe and that Wobersnow was nearby at Jankowitz a few km to the north of Obornik. With no more threat against his “Wagenburg” on the right bank of the Warthe, Saltykov recalled the troops and the 400 Cossacks previously sent to Owinsk.
Russian Advance into Brandenburg
On July 8
- Saltykov set off from Posen with the his army which transported enough provisions to last until August 12. The army marched westwards in several columns to Jankowitz (present-day Jankowice/PL) and Tornowa (present-day Tarnowo Podgórne), to cut Dohna’s line of communication with Silesia.
- The heavy baggage were left at Posen with a strong escort. The sick were also left there and the town was garrisoned by Troitskiy Infantry, 500 men of the Observation Corps and 500 hussars.
- Totleben’s light corps took position near Gurten (probably present-day Górczyn/PL).
- A detachment of 5,400 men (4 infantry rgts and 2 dragoon rgts) was left near Posen under Lieutenant-General Mordvinov to protect the line of communication with the Vistula.
- The Moldavskiy Hussars were posted at Schrimm and the Rizhskiy Horse Grenadiers at Kalisch to stop raids launched against Posen from Silesia.
- Dohna detached 200 hussars to Samter (present-day Szamotuly/PL).
- Hordt destroyed the grain and flour that he found in the mills in the vicinity of Rogasen before marching to Wongrowitz.
- Russian attempt against the camp of Krzyszkowo
- Around 2:00 a.m., Totleben set off from Gurten with 7 hussar sqns and 600 Cossacks to reconnoitre the Prussian camp near Krzyszkowo. He soon found that the camp was protected on all sides by forests and morasses, and that the few passages were occupied by Prussian troops. Nevertheless, Totleben managed to find a passage near the village of Cerekwica when the small garrison evacuated the post at his approach. Totleben then advanced on Wobersnow’s camp.
- Major-General von Wobersnow was at the head of 6 bns and 16 sqns with 7 heavy artillery pieces, more precisely:
- Totleben had not yet reached Wobersnow’s camp when he was attacked by hussars, soon supported by infantry and artillery. A long skirmish followed and around 9:00 a.m., Totleben decided to retire. However, he remained near the Prussian positions.
- Meanwhile, the main body of Dohna’s Army had been alarmed by the din of battle coming from Krzyszkowo. Soon peasants arrived reporting that the entire Russian army was marching against the Prussian vanguard. Dohna sent his troops forward to support Wobersnow and deployed them in order of battle. Dohna was determined to interdict the road towards Silesia to the Russian army and marched westwards to Kazmierz, on bad roads through defiles and forests. His army had to march in a single column and the last elements only reached their destination in the morning of July 9.
On July 9
- Saltykov sent a detachment of Cossacks to Samter on the Prussian right to cover his advance towards Silesia.
- Saltykov’s Army sojourned at Jankowitz. Prussian prisoners mentioned that King Frederick was on his way with 19 bns and 18 heavy artillery pieces to reinforce Dohna’s Army. Saltykov believed this information. Moreover, he had received reports from his light cavalry posted the right bank of the Warthe about the actions of Prussian troops in the vicinity of Rogasen (it was in fact Hordt’s detachment). Saltykov began to worry about the “Wagenburg” at Posen and about the Corps of the Vistula. He finally decided to stop his advance to be able to come rapidly to the rescue of his magazines at Posen or of is corps on the Vistula if ever they were threatened.
- Wobersnow sent an additional 400 hussars to reinforce the 200 already posted at Samter and to drive back the large Cossack detachment which had taken position nearby.
- Dohna transferred his bakery closer to his main body to protect it from raids by Russian light troops. Dohna feared that shortage of bread would soon force him to leave the road leading to Silesia open for the Russians.
- Russian light troops harassed Dohna’s Army. Brigadier Krasnochekov managed to capture a large number of wagons. In this action, Horn Cuirassiers lost 14 wagons; Dohna Infantry, 5 wagons; Gabelentz Fusiliers, 2 wagons; and Tresckow Infantry, 1 wagon. Meanwhile the convoy of flour which followed the Prussian army lost a few loaded wagons.
- In the evening, Dohna detached Major-General von Puttkamer with 1,000 cavalrymen to reconnoitre the Russian positions near Jankowitz.
On July 10
- Saltykov received intelligence (which would prove false) that Frederick was not marching towards Posen but towards Bohemia. However, at the same time, he received letters intercepted by Krasnochekov’s troops, mentioning that the main objective of the Prussians was to cut the line of communication of the Russian army. Saltykov then decided to attack the Prussians, considering that it was the best way to secure his communication with his magazines on the Vistula. He ordered to move the baggage of his army from Posen to his present camp. He also instructed Colonel Persiliev, who was posted on the east bank of the Warthe with his light cavalry, to advance towards Obornik and to find out if any strong Prussian detachment was present on this bank and could threaten his magazines on the Vistula.
- Dohna and Wobersnow decided to attack the Russians but part of their troops which had reached the camp only in the morning of July 9 needed some rest before engaging the enemy.
- Puttkamer’s detachment returned to the Prussian camp. To keep an eye on the Russian army, Dohna sent him out with fresh horses to make another reconnaissance.
On the night of July 10 to 11, Persiliev reached the vicinity of Obornik.
On July 11
- In the morning, Persiliev attacked a long convoy arriving from Cüstrin and Landsberg which transported fodder, the field pharmacy, three pontoons and artillery horses. The Cossacks captured the field pharmacy, the pontoons, 99 artillery horses, 120 wagons loaded with fodder and 300 Taler. The Prussian lost Surgeon-General Theden, 16 surgeons and 30 men of the Neumark Kammer Hussars. Persiliev then marched towards Rogasen, hoping to intercept Hordt’s detachment.
- Totleben’s light troops constantly harassed Dohna’s rearguard without much results.
- Brigadier Krasnochekov captured 23 wagons loaded with flour while the Prussians burnt another part of their own convoy to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Russians.
- After marching by way of Gollantsch (present-day Gołańcz/PL) and Exin (present-day Kcynia/PL), Hordt’s detachment reached Zuin (probably present-day Żnin/PL) on the road leading from Thorn to Posen. On its way, it had destroyed all provisions which it found in the nearby villages. It also destroyed a small magazine in Zuin.
- Confrontation near Senkowa
- Early in the morning the Russian army set of from its camp near Kazmierz and marched to turn the right flank of Dohna’s Army.
- At 7:00 a.m., Dohna’s Army came out of its camp near Kazmierz and advanced on the Russian positions at Jankowitz.
- Near Młodasko, Saltykov received a message from Quartermaster-General Stoffeln, who was riding with the vanguard, informing him that the Prussians were advancing on his positions. Saltykov immediately deployed his army in order of battle.
- Dohna too was informed of the movements of the Russian, considering that the lay of the terrain was not to his advantage, he sought to reach the heights of Senkowa (present-day Sękowo/PL) to prevent Saltykov from marching further west.
- The Russians were also trying to seize these heights, but Dohna managed to occupy the village of Gorschewice (present-day Gorszewice/PL) on the north shore of Lake Bythin and the aforementioned heights just before the Russian light troops.
- A skirmish then took place between the Prussian hussars and the Russian light troops. Prussian artillery posted on the heights soon supported the hussars while Russian artillery established between Bythin and Wilzinna (present-day Wilczyna/PL) answered. The artillery duel lasted till the afternoon without much effect.
- The Prussian established their camp behind the heights of Senkowa with their right wing extending up to Wilzinna. Their bakery and their train were placed near the village of Senkowa, between the two lines of the army. Opposite the Prussians, the Russian camp extended beyond the lake of Bythin, with its left wing anchored on the village of Bythin (present-day Bytyń/PL).
On July 12
- New confrontation near Senkowa
- In the morning, Saltykov set off from his camp to turn the left wing of the Dohna’s Army, which extended up to Polko. Saltykov left only 9,000 men at Bythin to protect his line of retreat and then advanced by way of Gorschewice.
- From the height of Senkowa, the Prussians could clearly observe the two lines of Russian army marching by their right. Dohna decided to take advantage of his strong position and to attack the Russians as they come around the northeastern corner of Lake Bythin. For this purpose, he wanted to march by his left by way of Wierzchaczewo which was crossed by a stream, flowing northwestwards from Lake Bythin through marshes. Dohna’s advance was also covered by the heights of Sokolnik (present-day Sokolniki Wielkie/PL). His entire cavalry was supposed to lead and and then stop the advance of the Russian army until the arrival of the Prussian infantry. Dohna also planned to leave an infantry brigade and some cavalry to observe the Russian detachment left behind at Bythin.
- However, Dohna took too long to move out of his camp and the Russians reached the heights of Sokolnik before the Prussians had even reached the defile of Wirzchaczewo. Saltykov immediately established a battery to control movements across the low grounds. He then marched his army in order of battle.
- Dohna realised that it was impossible to attack in such conditions. He just planted a few batteries to answer to the Russian artillery; and pulled back his left wing up to the heights to the northwest of Senkowa and waited in these positions for the attack of the Russians.
- Saltykov too was not eager to launch an attack across the marshy lowlands dominated by the Prussian batteries. He called for the troops left at Bythin to join the army. Afterwards, he marched towards Przystanki, making a wide detour north of the lowlands. There, he established a camp facing southwards. In these positions, his army stood directly against the flank of Dohna’s Army but could not attack it because the two armies were separated by a swamp.
- Dohna finally decided to modify his positions. He marched by his left and deployed his army facing northwards with its left wing anchored on the village of Podrzewie.
- In the evening, Hordt’s detachment. Which had been sent towards Thorn, turned back and marched during the night through the forest to Schubin (present-day Szubin/PL) from where Hordt sent reconnaissance parties towards Pakosch and Thorn, These parties did not locate any magazine or Russian detachment. Hordt had spread the rumour that his small detachment was the vanguard of a 20,000 men strong corps under Wobersnow which was advancing on Thorn. Hordt decided to march to Bromberg, where he had heard that the Russians had a large quantity of provisions. He had to act quickly because the Russians had already sent boat to pick up these provisions and to transfer them to more secure locations.
On July 13
- Confrontation near Podrzewie
- Both army were held in readiness for battle in their respective camps. The artillery duel lasted for the whole day and light troops engaged in several skirmishes.
- In the afternoon, Dohna received intelligence which convinced him that Saltykov intended to march to Pinne to cut his line of communication with the Neumark and Frankfurt an der Oder. Furthermore, the lack of bread was becoming serious because the Prussian field bakery had not been operational during the last days. Dohna had to find a solution and he finally decided to retire to Neustadt bei Pinne (present-day Lwówek/PL).
- At 10:00 p.m., Dohna’s Army set off from its camp at Podrzewie in two columns by way of Brodki and Sliwno towards Neustadt bei Pinne. The artillery, the field bakery and the convoy of flour marched between these two columns. The artillery park and the rest of the wagons and carts accompanied the column farther from the enemy. Part of the vehicles, which had become useless, were burnt before leaving. Major-General von Wobersnow led the vanguard while a strong rearguard covered the retreat of the army.
On the night of July 13 to 14, the Russians were soon informed of the departure of Dohna’s Army. Light troops were immediately sent forward to observe the movements of the Prussians. Around midnight, Major-General Count Totleben was instructed to advance towards Pinne with the main body of the light cavalry and to occupy the most important posts in the area. 3 bns with some field artillery followed Totleben’s light corps to support it. Quartermaster-General von Stoffeln joined this vanguard with the Chuguev Cossacks.
On July 14
- Confrontation at Neustadt bei Pinne
- Around 2:30 a.m., Saltykov’s Army, in order of battle, followed the vanguard.
- Soon after his departure of the camp of Przystanki, Saltykov was informed that Dohna’s Army was marching towards Neustadt bei Pinne and was still in the forest to the left of the Russian army, held up by swamps and other obstacles. Saltykov then decided to speed up his advance and to march beyond Pinne to Neustadt bei Pinne to cut Dohna’s line of communication and put him in a difficult situation to supply his army. The Russian light troops were immediately ordered to attack the vanguard and the rearguard of the Prussians to stop or delay their advance. Saltykov reinforced his light troops with 12 sqns of horse grenadiers for this purpose.
- Wobersnow managed to reach Neustadt bei Pinne around noon with the Prussian vanguard. He drove the Cossacks occupying the town out of it, and detached troops to follow them up to Pinne. This brought the entire Russian army to a temporary halt, allowing Dohna enough time to reach a height to the northwest of Neustadt bei Pinne where he established a battery.
- Dohna then anchored his left to this height and encamped with his positions facing northwards and extending up to the village of Posadowo. The field bakery went to Neustadt bei Pinne but Dohna did not dare to install it because he was expecting an attack.
- During this time, the Russians had established a camp between Konin, Pinne and Zamorze where they established their headquarters.
- With the short distance separating the Prussian left wing from the Russian right wing, a long artillery duel followed. Dohna was forced to move the cavalry of the left wing back but otherwise the duel produced no tangible result.
On July 15
- At daybreak, Dohna’s Army, which almost no bread left, marched to Betsche (present-day Pszczew/PL). However, it was impossible to install the field bakery there. By the evening there was no bread left. Desertion increased. Dohna decided to continue his retreat westwards. Any hope to stop or even just delay the Russian army now had to be abandoned.
- Saltykov charged Major-General Count Totleben to follow the retreating Prussians with his light troops, while he sojourned at the camp of Zamorze where he held a council of war. It was decided to march towards the Oder by the shortest road. The detachment left behind at Posen under Mordvinov was recalled to the army, it would be replaced at Posen by 2 musketeer rgts sent from Thorn by the Corps of the Vistula. Furthermore, the artillery equipment stored at Thorn were to be transferred to Posen, before joining the main army.
- Totleben’s light corps returned to the Russian camp at Zamorze.
- Engagement near Kamin in the region of the Vistula
- On the Vistula, before daybreak, Hordt’s vanguard appeared before Bromberg. The small garrison quickly evacuated the town. It then made front but was defeated and suffered heavy losses. Hordt then destroyed the magazines and loaded boats at Bromberg. In the evening, his detachment marched to Krone.
- A few Russian infantry rgts and Cossack parties were gradually sent out from Marienwerder and Thorn to intercept Hordt’s detachment which was now retiring towards Preussisch-Friedland (present-day Debrzno/PL).
- Another engagement took place in the vicinity of Kamin (present-day Kamień Krajeński/PL). Chased by much superior Russian forces, Hordt decided to retreat towards the Warthe River and rejoin Dohna’s Army.
- The Russians followed his small detachment up to Preussisch-Friedland. Afterwards, he was free to retreat unhindered towards Arnswalde.
On July 16
- Early in the morning, Totleben’s light corps set off for Bentschen (present-day Zbąszyń/PL). The main army followed it a few hours later, marching southwestwards towards the Oder by way of Neustadt bei Pinne, and reached the mill of Bobruwke (unidentified location) midway between Neustadt bei Pinne and Bentschen.
- Dohna’s Army retired to Meseritz (present-day Miedzyrzecz/PL) where it finally managed to install its field bakery.
On July 17
- Saltykov’s Army marched to Bentschen.
- Cossacks captured a few wagons transporting bricks for the construction of the Prussian field bakery at Meseritz.
- From his new positions at Meseritz, Dohna could not prevent the Russians from marching towards Silesia.
On July 18
- Saltykov’s Army sojourned near Bentschen to allow its train to catch up.
- Totleben reconnoitred towards the Prussian frontier, east of Züllichau (present-day Sulechów/PL).
- Dohna was informed that the Russian army had reached Bentschen. He decided to march to Züllichau. He was late as usual. He had failed to interpose himself between the Russians and the bridge at Crossen (present-day Krosno Odrzańskie/PL), but he could at least delay them.
- In the evening, Wobersnow reached Paradieskloster (present-day Gościkowo/PL) with the vanguard.
On July 19
- Saltykov’s Army marched from Bentschen to (present-day Babimost/PL).
- Saltykov sent a hussar detachment to Züllichau.
- Dohna marched to Paradieskloster with the main body of his army. The field bakery was left at Meseritz under strong guard.
- Wobersnow marched to Schwiebus (present-day Świebodzin/PL) with the vanguard.
- Dohna’s Army then reached Schwiebus where it rested for only three hours before advancing on Züllichau.
- Annoyed by Dohna’s unsatisfactory performance, King Frederick wrote to Dohna from his camp at Schmottseifen (present-day Pławna Dolna/PL) to inform him that he was too sick to lead an army and that he had chosen Lieutenant-General Carl Heinrich von Wedel, one of the youngest generals of the Prussian army, to replace him at the head of the army. He stressed the point that he had given him full powers and had instructed him to attack the Russians wherever he could find them.
On July 20
- Saltykov’s Army crossed the Prussian border and encamped near Goltzen (present-day Kolesin/PL).
- A hussar detachment raised a contribution of 3,000 Talers at Züllichau. Despite Saltykov’s orders, the Russian light troops began to plunder and burn estates.
- In the morning, Dohna’s Army reached Züllichau where Wobersnow’s vanguard came to contact with the Russian hussar detachment, which occupied the town, and drove it back.
- Dohna joined his vanguard shortly after the action. He was relieved to find that the Russians had not yet crossed the Oder. The Prussian army encamped in two lines in a strong position, facing eastwards, on the heights between Züllichau, Mosau (present-day Mozów/PL) and Kalzig (present-day Kalsk/PL).
- The Prussian field bakery was moved and joined the army late at night. The headquarters and the field bakery at Züllichau were guarded by 3 grenadier bns (Grenadier Battalion Bornstedt, Grenadier Battalion Lossow, Grenadier Battalion Tann). Dohna established batteries in front of his camp and a redoubt manned by 4 bns (Grenadier Battalion Beyer, Grenadier Battalion Nesse, I. and II./Garrison Regiment V Jung-Sydow) on the Eichberg on his left wing to further strengthen his positions. The 7 sqns of Malachowski Hussars were deployed between the redoubt and Kalzig.
- As ordered by Frederick, Dohna detached Lieutenant-Colonel von der Tann with Grenadier Battalion Tann and Major von Podewils with 200 Schorlemmer Dragoons to escort Lieutenant-General von Wedel from Crossen. On the way, Major Podewils noted that a Russian detachment (1,100 horse and foot) was foraging in the vicinity of the village of Radewitsch (could be Radowice but the village is in the opposite direction to Crossen). He attacked this detachment, capturing 66 prisoners and 80 horses without suffering any casualty.
Saltykov had now accomplished his part of the plan: he was near the Oder, ready to make a junction with Daun’s Austrian army. However, he had no news from Daun since July 18 and did not know whether the junction should be effected at Crossen or Carolath (present-day Siedlisko/PL). Saltykov decided to wait for the arrival of the Austrians. He encamped on the Faule Obra, skillfully using the heights between the village of Nieder Klemzig (present-day Klępsk/PL), Langmeil (present-day Okunin/PL), Groß Schmollen (present-day Smolno Wielkie/PL)and Lake Woynowo (present-day Lake Wojnowo), facing westwards, with uninterrupted defensive lines enveloping his front and flanks.
On July 21
- Saltykov received a message from Major-General von Springer from the Austrian camp near Marklissa, containing information on Daun’s march towards the Oder to make a junction at Crossen. However, the road to Crossen was blocked by the Prussian army.
- In the afternoon, Saltykov and his generals, with a strong escort, reconnoitred the left wing of the Prussian positions. He found them unassailable and decided to make a wide detour around the Prussian left wing to reach the road leading to Crossen.
On Sunday July 22
- In the morning, Saltykov held a council where his generals approved of his plan.
- Around 2:00 p.m., Saltykov’s Army set off from its camp along the Faule Obra and marched through the woods to Buckow (present-day Buków/PL) where it arrived in the night of July 22 to 23.
- At noon, Lieutenant-General von Wedel arrived at Dohna’s headquarters in Züllichau escorted by Grenadier Battalion Tann and 200 men of the Schorlemmer Dragoons, along with 150 Russian prisoners that they had captured on the way. His arrival, needless to say, was not welcomed by most of his colleagues, not only Dohna but many others thought that Wobersnow would have been a better choice. Wedel assumed command and immediately inspected his troops and found them in good conditions. He was convinced that the Russians planned to cross the Oder at Tschicherzig (present-day Cigacice/PL), south of Züllichau, to make a junction with the Austrians.
- In the afternoon, Wedel discussed the situation with his generals. Wobersnow informed him that, according to his recent reconnaissance, the right wing of the Russians was unassailable. Wedel resolved to reconnoitre the left wing of the Russian positions on the following morning.
Battle of Paltzig
On July 23
- Around 1:00 a.m., Saltykov deployed his army in order of battle facing southwards between Buckow and Harthe (present-day Karczyn/PL). The Russian army rested. Each man carried provisions for three days. All carts and wagons of the baggage and ammunition train had been left behind in the camp on the Faule Obra under the guard of a detachment (1,100 men) formed from 45 men of each infantry rgt where they would be joined early in the morning by Mordvinov’s Corps (8 bns, 8 sqns).
- Around noon, Dohna quitted the army, escorted by a few hussars.
- Battle of Paltzig
- Saltykov manoeuvred to turn Wedel's left and to advance towards Crossen. The two armies clashed in the Battle of Paltzig where the Prussians were totally defeated.
- After his defeat, Lieutenant-General von Wedel was well aware that he could no longer prevent the Russians from marching to Crossen. Nor could he expose his army, which had just been beaten with heavy losses, to another battle. If he wanted to prevent the Russians from making a junction with the Austrians, he had no other choice than to follow their movements along the south bank of the Oder and contest them the crossing of this river. Accordingly, he decided to cross the Oder near Tschicherzig the next day and to encamp nearby on the south bank of the river.
- Late in the evening, Wedel sent his pontoons, baggage and train towards Tschicherzig, under the escort of by his grenadier bns. Work immediately began to establish a bridge and the train crossed as soon as it was ready.
On the night of July 23 to 24, Wedel sent Adjutant-Lieutenant von Bonin from Kay to Frederick’s camp to announce the results of the Battle of Paltzig.
Frederick tries to intercept the Austrian Reinforcements
On July 24
- At at daybreak, Wedel’s Army left its camp near Kay and marched to Tschicherzig. Around 9:00 a.m., the artillery and infantry began to cross the Oder on the bridge established there while the cavalry forded the river nearby, because the water level was very low due to the persistent drought. By 3:00 p.m., all of Wedel’s Army was assembled on the south bank of the Oder. The Prussians were also able to recover their bridging equipment. The army then encamped near the village of Sawade (present-day Zawada/PL).
- Frederick received the news of the defeat at Paltzig. They were brought to him by Bonin. Frederick criticized Wedel for the manner in which he had conducted the battle, but he could not forget that his general had acted so foolishly because he had been following his instructions to the letter and, after all, he had replaced Dohna with him also because, if there was a quality that Wedel did have and Dohna didn’t, that was his boldness.
- Saltykov gave a rest day to his army. He only sent a few hundreds light cavalry under Major-General Count Totleben to follow the retiring Prussians. The latter informed him that the Prussians had precipitously crossed the Oder. Saltykov reinforced Totleben’s detachment with 4 sqns of horse grenadiers and 4 horse cavalry pieces. Thus Saltykov let pass an occasion rarely offered in war to totally annihilate his opponents.
- Saltykov also detached Major-General Prince Volkonski with 2 infantry rgts, 6 horse grenadier sqns, 100 hussars and 400 Cossacks to Crossen to establish communication with the Austrians.
- Several Austrian detachments were on the move:
- Loudon marched to Rothenburg/Oberlausitz.
- Macquire marched to Krewitz (unidentified location).
- Hadik marched to Lauban (present-day Lubań/PL).
- Several Austrian detachments were on the move:
The intentions of these Austrian detachments now became clearer to Frederick who saw that they were trying to make a junction with Saltykov's Russian army at Crossen. The main obstacle on their way was Wedel's army posted in front of Crossen.
On July 25
- Saltykov gave another rest day to his army. Baggage were transferred from Goltzen to Paltzig and wagons requisitioned in the neighbourhood of Paltzig. He had his wounded transported by wagons to Posen along with his prisoners under the escort of 1,000 picked foot.
- On July 25, Wedel sent his wounded to Glogau and received ammunition and new battalion guns to replace those lost at Paltzig.
- Engagement of Crossen
- Wedel was informed that the Russians planned to march from Paltzig to Crossen. The Land-Battalion de Rège was already posted at Crossen to cover the bridge and the magazine. Wedel immediately detached Lieutenant-General von Kanitz with 8 bns, the Schorlemmer Dragoons and all his hussars to Crossen. Major-General von Malachowski, at the head of the hussars, crossed the Oder on the bridge of Crossen and reconnoitred towards Kay.
- Malachowski had just crossed the Oder when Russian troops appeared, forcing him to retire to Crossen. Soon, Volkonski’s detachment arrived and started to fire on the northern suburb of Crossen. Malachowski and his hussars retired along with the Land-Battalion de Rège after trying to destroy the bridge. The Russian occupied Crossen and, with the assistance of the inhabitants, rapidly repaired the bridge. They captured 46,000 portions of bread and a large quantity of flour.
- The Prussian hussars retired to Plau (present-day Pław/PL), where they joined Kanitz’s vanguard. In its retreat, the Land-Battalion de Rège lost a few men taken prisoners and one 6-pdr gun to the Cossacks who were harassing them. Wedel sent this militia bn back to Grünberg (present-day Zielona Góra/PL), where he had already sent 200 men from the Garrison Regiment V Jung-Sydow and 30 hussars under Major von Heucking.
- Totleben’s detachment reinforced Volkonski at Crossen. The inhabitants of the vicinity of Crossen were instructed to prepare provisions for the Russian army to supply it until August 11.
On July 26
- Saltykov’s Army set off from Paltzig and marched along the right bank of the Oder towards Crossen, reaching Krämersborn (present-day Grabin/PL). Saltykov but did not intend to cross the river.
- The combined corps under Hadik reached Lehnau (unidentified location).
- Wedel retired from Sawade towards Plau, in the vicinity of Crossen, pushing his vanguard up to Gersdorf (present-day Dąbie/PL).
On July 27
- Saltykov waited at Krämersborn for the arrival of his baggage.
- Hadik left Lehnau and marched towards Priebus (present-day Przewoz/PL).
On July 28
- In the morning, Lieutenant-General de Villebois set off from Krämersborn with 5 infantry rgts, 2 horse grenadier rgts, 1 hussar rgt and 1 Cossack rgt, and marched towards Frankfurt (Oder) with instructions to advance on Berlin. By this movement, Saltykov hoped to force Kleist’s Corps to evacuate Western Pomerania to protect Berlin and thus open the road of Berlin to the Swedish army of Lantingshausen.
- The main Russian army (with the exception of Villebois’ Corps) arrived at Crossen and its bridge on the Oder where Saltykov hoped to join forces with the Austrians. But neither Hadik nor Loudon were there waiting for him. The Russian army established a camp on the northern bank of the Oder.
- Wedel’s main body was at Plau while his vanguard, under Kanitz was posted near Gersdorf.
On July 29
- Saltykov’s Army was facing the remnants of Wedel’s Army on the opposite bank of the Oder.
- Saltykov, master of the bridge of Crossen, sent Lieutenant-General Prince Galitsyn with a few infantry rgts of the Observation Corps against Gersdorf, on the south bank of the Oder.
- An Austrian officer arrived at Saltykov’s headquarters with the news that Daun had ordered Loudon to march from Rothenburg with 20,000 men to make a junction with the Russians on the Oder and to place himself under Saltykov’s command. Saltykov decided to march on Frankfurt, some 70 km further down the Oder, for resupply
- Loudon, who still was at Priebus, was informed of the movements of the corps of Prince Heinrich and of the Prince of Württemberg. He instantly realised that the road to join the Russian army by way of Guben (present-day Gubin/PL) was open to him. He detached Major-General von Bethlen to Linderode (present-day Lipinki Łużyckie/PL), west of Sorau (present-day Żary/PL), with 3 cavalry rgts.
- A cavalry detachment belonging to Loudon’s Corps established communication with elements of Saltykov’s Army. Saltykov sent instructions to Loudon to direct his march towards Frankfurt (Oder).
- In the evening, Loudon force marched from Priebus in the direction of Sommerfeld (present-day Lubsko/PL).
- Wedel’s Army retired to a good position near Grunow. There Wedel learned of Frederick’s march and received instructions to try to lure the Russian army to the south bank of the Oder.
- The Prince of Württemberg joined Prince Heinrich and other minor Prussian detachments at Sagan (present-day Żagań/PL).
During the night of July 29 to 30, Frederick arrived at Sagan with his own corps. He had no choice but to rush to Brandenburg to reinforce Wedel.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of Loudon's Corps at the end of July.|
On July 30
- Villebois’ Corps marched by way of Dobersaul (present-day Dobrosułów/PL) and reached Matschdorf (present-day Maczków/PL).
- Loudon’s Corps reached Sommerfeld by way of Gross-Hennersdorf (unidentified location).
- Hadik marched from Priebus to Triebel (present-day Trzebiel/PL).
- In Saxony, Maquire followed Finck’s Corps with his detachment, marching from Hermsdorf to Königswartha.
- In Saxony, 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. 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.
- At Sagan, Frederick was at the head of 21 bns, 35 sqns and 93 heavy artillery pieces, for a total of 19,100 men:
- 15 bns, 19 sqns and 57 heavy artillery pieces coming from the Army of Saxony (Prince Heinrich)
- 6 bns, 16 sqns and 16 heavy artillery pieces coming from the corps of the Prince of Württemberg
- 20 sqns coming from Frederick’s main army at Schmottseiffen (present-day Lubomierz/PL).
- Frederick gave a day rest to his troops. He knew that Loudon’s Corps was in Priebus, intending to march by way of Priebus to effect a junction with the Russian army. He thought that Hadik was in the vicinity of Bautzen and Vehla and Gemmingen were still in Upper Lusatia. Frederick thought that Hadik would advance in Saxony to establish communication with the Reichsarmee. He advised Lieutenant-General von Finck, who was posted near Hoyerswerda to cover Torgau and to block any attempt against Berlin.
- Hordt’s small detachment, which had made an incursion towards the Vistula, reached Arnswalde.
On July 31
- Early in the morning, Villebois’ Corps appeared before the suburb of Frankfurt on the eastern bank of the Oder where there was a fortified bridgehead. Frankfurt was defended by the [Neumark Land-Battalion III|Land-Bataillon Arnim]]. There were also 700 convalescents in town. Villebois vainly summoned Major von Arnim to surrender.
- As the Russians were approaching the town, Arnim had removed the deck of the bridge to prevent them from gaining access to the town.
- Early in the morning, Villebois sent his Cossack rgt and 1 sqn of hussars to the west bank of the Oder near Lebus to cut communication between Frankfurt and Cüstrin.
- Villebois occupied the suburb of Damm and his heavy artillery fired a few shots on the gate of the town and its drawbridge.
- The small Prussian garrison evacuated Frankfurt at the request of the magistrates who feared that the town could suffer the same fate as Cüstrin on the previous year. The garrison marched towards Cüstrin.
- The bridge on the Oder was rapidly re-established and Villebois entered into Frankfurt.
- Colonel Soritch with the Vengerskiy Hussars and Colonel von Bülow with the horse grenadiers hurried to catch up with the retiring Prussian garrison.
- Nevertheless, Land-Bataillon Arnim would have managed to escape if Villebois had not send Cossacks and hussars to Lebus. Finding his way blocked, Arnim vainly tried to break through his enemy and, after a brief engagement, decided to retire towards Berlin. However, by this time, Soritch’s detachment had caught up with Land-Bataillon Arnim, attacked it, and thrown it in disorder. When Bülow appeared on its flank with his horse grenadiers, Arnim was forced to surrender as prisoners of war. The Russians also captured two 6-pdrs and a coffer of money.
- Saltykov was informed that Frederick was at Sagan with some 40,000 men and intended to make a junction with Wedel’s Army and then attack him.
- Early in the morning, Villebois’ Corps appeared before the suburb of Frankfurt on the eastern bank of the Oder where there was a fortified bridgehead. Frankfurt was defended by the [Neumark Land-Battalion III|Land-Bataillon Arnim]]. There were also 700 convalescents in town. Villebois vainly summoned Major von Arnim to surrender.
- Several Austrian corps were on the move to join the Russian army:
- Hadik marched to Pförten (present-day Gmina Brody)
- Loudon marched from Sommerfeld to Starzeddel (present-day Starosiedle/PL).
- Several Austrian corps were on the move to join the Russian army:
- Wedel, according to Frederick’s orders, retired to a new camp between Logau (unidentified location) and Treppeln on his way, his rearguard was harassed by Totleben’s light troops, which captured a large number of cattle and a few horses.
- Frederick’s Army marched from Sagan to Christianstadt (present-day Krzystkowice/PL) by way of Naumburg on the Bober (present-day Nowogrod Bobrzansky/PL). There he received a letter from Loudon to Saltykov dated from July 28, which had been captured by Wedel, where he learned that Hadik had also been instructed to make a junction with the Russian army. Frederick immediately informed Finck of the situation, instructing him to narrowly observe Hadik’s movements and, if he advanced towards the Oder, to speedily march by way of Spremberg to make a junction with his own Army. Frederick also received intelligence that London planned to march from Priebus to Sommerfeld on the following day.
Around the beginning of August, Troitskiy Infantry joined Saltykov’s Army.
On August 1
- Early in the morning, Frederick marched in the direction of Sommerfeld, hoping to engage and defeat Loudon’s Corps. However, he arrived too late to intercept the Austrians and learned that Loudon and Hadik had already reached Guben. Frederick decided that, even though his main objective was Saltykov’s Army, he first had to eliminate these Austrian corps before turning his attention against the Russians. He informed Wedel of his decision and instructed him to remain in his fortified camp.
- In the evening, Frederick’s Army set off from Sommerfeld and advanced in the direction of Guben. Near Kohlo (unidentified location), its vanguard under Colonel von Kleist came to contact with Austrian hussars under FML von Pálffy belonging to Hadik’s Corps. These hussars retired and hurriedly informed Hadik of the approach of strong Prussian force.
- In Saxony, Finck’s Corps set off from Hoyerswerda and marched in the direction of Torgau by way of Ortrand and Kröbeln.
- Saltykov set off from Crossen with the main army and marched in the direction of Frankfurt (Oder), away from the Austrian main army. He reached Kurtschow (present-day Korczycow). He had left a small rearguard at Crossen which destroyed the bridge on the Oder. Saltykov also sent his pontoons to Fürstenberg to establish a bridge.
- Hadik reached Guben.
- Loudon’s Corps marched to Gross-Breesen, north of Guben. Since his field bakery and his heavy provision wagons were trailing behind, unable to keep up with the rapid pace of the rest of the corps, Loudon decided to leave them behind under the protection of Colonel Count Lanius with 2 Grenzer bns. He then force marched to make a junction with the Russian army.
- Hadik, informed of Frederick’s advance, recognized the danger. He realized that after the tremendous efforts of the past few days, his corps could no longer continue to force march to make a junction with the Russians without being overtaken by Frederick. He decided, therefore, to avoid combat while drawing Frederick away from Loudon’s Corps and from the Russians. At the same time, he wanted to re-establish communication with Daun’s Army and his magazines. Accordingly, Hadik gave orders to part of his troops, which had just reached Guben in the morning, to retire upstream along the western bank of the Neisse to Weissagk near Forst and Klinge (probably present-day Klinger See).
- Around 9:00 p.m., Hadik’s Corps set off from Guben, Pálffy forming the rearguard. Its baggage, escorted by 1 bn of Blau Würzburg Infantry and 1 sqn of Modena Cuirassiers, followed a parallel road on the side opposite to Frederick’s Army.
On the night of August 1 to 2, Loudon’s field bakery and heavy provision wagons marched from Forst towards Guben. During the night march, the convoy was surprised and captured by the Prussians, but Lanius managed to escape with his 2 Grenzer bns and to join Hadik’s Corps.
On August 2
- Saltykov’s Army marched to Aurith. It the evening, Saltykov sent his baggage forward to Frankfurt (Oder).
- Hadik had already sent all his cavalry to join Loudon and, with all his infantry, he set out to do his best to draw the Prussians away from Loudon's column.
- Loudon’s Corps marched from Gross-Breesen to Ziltendorf. On his way, he received orders from Saltykov, instructing him to cross the Oder near Fürstenberg and to make a junction with the Russian army. Since these orders were contrary to Daun’s own orders, specifying the Loudon’s Corps must remain on the left bank of the Oder as long as Frederick’s Army was on this same bank, Loudon decided to remain at Ziltendorf.
- Around noon, Loudon personally arrived at Aurith where he met with Saltykov to plan operations. He vainly tried to convince Saltykov to cross, at least with part of his army, to the left bank of the Oder. Saltykov answered that he would need specific instructions from St. Petersburg before doing so.
- In the morning, Colonel Kleist, who had remained at Kohlo awaiting the infantry of Frederick’s vanguard, was informed of Hadik’s retreat. Kleist immediately marched to Markersdorf (present-day Markosice/PL) with Kleist Hussars and Krockow Dragoons and crossed the Neisse. However, most of Hadik’s Corps had already reached Griessen where it had deployed in order of battle while the tails of the columns rejoined the rest of the corps. However, Hadik’s baggage had not progressed as fast as his troops during the night. Confusion had spread among this column as soon as it had set off from Guben so that its last elements had left Guben as Hadik’s Corps was already arriving at Griessen. Thus the baggage column stretched over many km. Hadik had not been informed of that situation and did not reinforce the escort of the baggage train. When the Kleist Hussars caught up with Hadik’s baggage train, panic rapidly spread among the column, part of the personnel fled with the horses, other took refuge in marshes and other plundered their own convoy. Furthermore, peasant destroyed some of the abandoned wagons. Blau Würzburg Infantry was surrounded by the Prussian cavalry and forced to surrender along with 4 artillery pieces. The sqn of Modena Cuirassiers suffered the same fate. Confusion also spread to the tail of the main column, even though it was not threatened by the Kleist Hussars. This part of the column included Hadik’s artillery and his ammunition wagons. Here too, part of the personnel panicked and several ammunition wagons were abandoned or destroyed.
- In the afternoon, Frederick’s Corps which had marched during the whole night, reached Markersdorf. Frederick realised that he was only dealing with Hadik’s Corps and that his pursuit had allowed Loudon’s Corps to gain a big lead. However, when Frederick was informed that Saltykov was advancing towards Frankfurt (Oder), instead of attempting to make a junction with Daun’s main army, he realised that he had an opportunity to defeat the Russians before they could count on the assistance of Daun. Frederick sent orders to Wedel and Finck to march towards Frankfurt with their corps and to make a junction with his own army.
- Seeing that the Russians were moving towards Frankfurt (Oder), Wedel marched back towards Crossen with his army, encamping near Rusdorf (unidentified location). Informed that the Russian rearguard had evacuated Crossen after damaging the bridge, he placed troops in the town and its northern suburb and began to repair the bridge.
On August 3
- Hadik continued his retreat and reached Spremberg where he gave a rest day to his exhausted troops. He had lost the largest part of his baggage and some ammunition wagons along with 1,497 men and 198 horses. These losses would significantly impact the mobility of his corps in the next weeks.
- Loudon’s Corps (19,200 men with 10 heavy artillery pieces) marched towards Frankfurt (Oder), according to Saltykov’s instructions. It arrived there around noon and encamped on the left bank between the town and the village of Tzschetzschnow. Loudon was then informed of the loss of his field bakery and flour wagons. These news reinforced his opinion that Saltykov should cross as soon as possible to the left bank of the Oder and advance against Frederick.
- Saltykov’s Army marched from Aurith and arrived in the vicinity of Frankfurt (Oder) late in the evening. It encamped, facing south, on the heights extending from Kunersdorf (present-day Kunowice/PL) to Frankfurt on the east (right) bank of the Oder. Saltykov ordered the construction of a pontoon-bridge and of a bridge of boats to establish communication with Loudon’s Corps. However, Saltykov did not intend to cross the Oder until Daun’s main army would reach the region. He was also expecting a supply and ammunition convoy from Posen with 60 new artillery pieces (several of his gun carriages had been damaged during the Battle of Paltzig) around August 14. He planned to send detachments in the Mark to bring back horses, cattle, provisions and money; and to threaten Berlin with a large detachment under Rumyantsev.
- Frederick marched from Markersdorf towards Frankfurt (Oder) by way of Beeskow to avoid an encounter with Loudon and the Russians before the junction of his own corps with Wedel and Finck. His infantry reached Groß-Briesen and his cavalry, Beeskow.
- Frederick learned of the victory of Ferdinand of Brunswick at Minden a few days earlier (August 1).
- Wedel’s Army marched to Merzwiese (present-day Wężyska/PL), on its way to make a junction with Frederick’s Army.
- In Saxony, 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
- Early in the morning, Frederick set off in the direction of Müllrose. His vanguard drove Loudon’s light troops out of Müllrose and occupied the town and its bridge which allowed the crossing of the Friedrich-Wilhelm Canal. Part of the cavalry was sent forward to Hohenwalde, in the direction of Frankfurt (Oder) while the rest of the army encamped near Müllrose but to the south of the canal. Frederick then waited for the arrival of Wedel’s and Finck’s Corps.
- In Saxony, Finck’s Corps marched from Torgau to Herzberg.
- Hadik retired to Spremberg and Daun was informed of the defeat of the Prussians at Palzig. He sent an officer to Saltykov to coordinate future movements.
On August 5
- With Frederick approaching, Saltykov abandoned his plan to send Rumyantsev against Berlin, and began to entrench his camp.
- Loudon, leaving only part of his 5,000 light troops on the left bank of the Oder, crossed the river with 14 bns, 38 dragoon and hussar sqns and made a junction with the right wing of the Russian army. Together the two armies could now muster approx. 64,000 men.
On the night of August 5 to 6, a strong Cossack detachment attacked a Prussian outpost in the western suburb of Cüstrin and destroyed a magazine full of straw.
On August 6
- Wedel’s Corps made a junction with Frederick’s Army at Müllrose, near Müllrose, after having marched by way of Guben and Grunow (present-day Grunow-Dammendorf/DE).
- Finck’s Corps marched to Lübben by way of Luckau. There, 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.
On August 7
- Frederick’s Army marched in 2 columns to a stronger position between Wulkow and Booßen. From there Frederick had a good line of communication with the Fortress of Cüstrin and covered Berlin. His vanguard under Seydlitz encamped on the height to the north of Wuste-Kunersdorf, facing Frankfurt (Oder). Lebus was occupied by Prussian light troops. Frederick was now just waiting for the arrival of Finck’s Corps to give battle.
- 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 Austrian light troops could hinder his advance. Accordingly, he redirected his march to Storkow.
On August 8
- Finck’s Corps marched from Storkow to Falkenhagen. The first elements of this corps made their junction with the main army.
- Hordt’s small detachment arrived at Landsberg. During its expedition against the Russian magazines in the vicinity of the Vistula, Frei-Infanterie von Hordt had lost 100 men to desertion. Even if successful, this operation had no influence on the campaign. It only briefly interrupted the flow of supplies from the Vistula to Posen.
On August 9
- The Austro-Russian army was encamped on the heights on the right bank of the Oder near Frankfurt.
- In the afternoon, Major-General Springer, the Russian military envoy arrived from Daun’s headquarters to Frankfurt (Oder) to try to make Saltykov more accommodating.
- Early in the morning, Frederick instructed Colonel von Thadden, commanding at Cüstrin, to rapidly assemble material to build a bridge.
- The rest of Finck's Corps made its junction with Frederick’s main army, encamping near Alt-Zeschdorf. Frederick was now at the head of 63 bns, 110 sqns and 160 heavy artillery pieces for a total of approx. 49,900 men.
- Frederick considered that Hadik’s Corps would probably make a raid against Berlin and that he could no longer hope for Daun to remain idle in his camp. For these reasons, he wanted to come as soon as possible to a decisive battle with the Russians. After considering to cross the Oder at Lebus, he chose Göritz (present-day Gorzyca/PL) because the opposite bank was covered by heights which his vanguard could seize to protect the crossing. Furthermore, Göritz was more distant from the Russian camp than Lebus. He also sent orders to Colonel Count Hordt, who was posted in Landsberg with his detachment, to be in readiness to attack the flanks of the Russian army if it retired towards Posen.
- Frederick and his troops celebrated the victory of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick at Minden.
- In the afternoon, Frederick sent the pontoons of his army, escorted by Bredow Fusiliers, from Lebus towards Reitwein.
- In the evening, Frederick sent all carpenters of his army towards Cüstrin where they immediately began to prepare the material for a bridge.
On August 10
- Saltykov held a council of war where Loudon and Springer were both present. After a heated debate, it was resolved, against Fermor's advice, to set off towards Crossen on August 13 with the whole army and to cross the Oder River on August 17 to effect a junction with Daun’s Army. Heavy baggage would be sent forward on August 12. Saltykov immediately notified Daun of these measures, specifying that after the crossing of the Oder, he would march southeastwards along the right bank of the Bober River. He also asked Daun to use Hadik’s and Beck’s corps to cover his right flank against any attack by Frederick. He also required that the Austrians would send him a number of artillery pieces and draught horses, and provisions.
- At 4:00 p.m., Colonel von Thadden sent the requested bridging equipment from Cüstrin towards Göritz. In each wagon, equipment was covered with hay and straw to deceive the enemy patrols. Upon arrival, the convoy was hidden in a cove until nightfall.
- At 6:00 p.m., Frederick’s vanguard, which consisted of 8 bns, marched from Wüste-Kunersdorf to Reitwein.
- At 7:00 p.m., Frederick’s main army set off from its camp near Wulkow in three columns. Major-General von Wunsch remained at Lebus with Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch, Freibataillon Collignon and the 7 sqns of Malachowski Hussars to cover the march of the army. He had been instructed to make himself master of Frankfurt (Oder) during the ensuing battle.
- In the evening, the Bredow Fusiliers crossed the Oder on barges near Göritz and took post near this village. North of Göritz, the Oder split in two branches which flow again together some 3.5 km farther. The right branch was navigable while the left branch was to shallow for boats.
- In the evening,, the Ruesch Hussars escorted the baggage with the exception of tents, to Cüstrin.
- At 9:00 p.m., work began to erect a bridge at Göritz while a pontoon-bridge was established nearby. Soon a battery was established on the left bank to cover the construction of these two bridges.
On the night of August 10 to 11, news arrived at Saltykov’s headquarters that all of Frederick’s Army had set off from Wulkow and was marching towards Lebus and that Prussian hussars had already crossed to the right bank of the Oder. Saltykov immediately gave orders to Major-General Count Totleben and his light troops to prevent, if possible, the crossing of the Oder by the Prussian army.
On August 11
- Crossing of the Oder by the Prussians
- Just before daybreak, the two bridges near Göritz were completed. Immediately the vanguard crossed on the pontoon-bridge and occupied the heights east of Ötscher (present-day Owczary/PL).
- The main body then crossed the Oder River. The infantry and artillery used the two bridges while the cavalry forded the river near Ötscher. The knapsacks of the infantry and the coat sacks of the cavalry and all tents were left on the left bank of the Oder near the crossing place.
- Major-General von Fleming covered the crossing from Göritz with 7 bns (Anhalt-Bernburg Infantry (3 bns), Tresckow Infantry and Gabelentz Fusiliers). The rest of the army marched to Leissow (present-day Lisow/PL) and the heights of Ötscher in order of battle.
- After the crossing, the knapsacks, coat sacks and tents were transported to the right bank of the Oder.
- The Prussian army then marched in three columns to the vicinity of Bischofsee (present-day Stare Biskupice/PL). The Prussian cavalry drove back Totleben’s light cavalry behind the Hühnerfliess.
- Around noon, the Prussian army (53 weak bns, 95 sqns for a total of about 40,000 men) reached Bischofsee and established its camp. Finck’s Corps took position on the Trettiner Spitzberg to the northeast of Trettin between the Oder and the lake of Bischofsee. Close to its left, the Kleist Hussars and Puttkamer Hussars were encamped in a wood between Trettin and the lake of Heiligensee, with outposts along the Hühnerfliess. To the east of these hussars, the vanguard had taken position behind the marshy banks of a stream. The Jung-Billerbeck Grenadiers guarded Frederick’s headquarters at Bischofsee. The main body was encamped north of Bischofsee with the infantry in two lines extending from Leissow on its right to the road leading from Storkow to Bischofsee to its left. The cavalry bivouacked behind the left wing of the infantry. The army spend the night of August 11 to 12 in this camp without fire and tent.
- Frederick personally went to these heights from where he reconnoitred the Russian positions around the village of Kunersdorf (present-day Kunowice/PL).
- At daybreak, Totleben reported that the Prussians had already started to cross the Oder near Reitwein and that his light corps had been forced to retire in front of superior forces.
- Saltykov immediately joined his troops in their camp and moved his headquarters from Frankfurt to the “Klein Mühl.” The Russian generals inspected once more the entire positions and their surroundings. All the infantry was posted behind entrenchments, its left wing forming a semicircle around the Mühl-Berg. It was deployed in two lines facing southeastwards because an attack through the marshlands to the north was impossible. The regiments of the former Villebois’ Corps, which had previously been deployed on the Falkenstein-Berg and the Juden-Berg, facing towards the Oder, now turned southwards and extended the front of the first line of infantry up to the sloping banks of the Oder. The regular cavalry deployed behind the two lines of infantry. Loudon’s Austrian Corps was posted behind the right wing of the Russians on the northern slope of the Juden-Berg, facing northwards and westwards. All Russian light troops posted on the left bank of the Oder were recalled to support Totleben, so that the latter was now at the head of almost all the Russian light cavalry. Totleben had previously taken position in the vicinity of Frauendorf to observe the Prussian army while it was crossing the Oder, but had not undertaken any serious action. Gradually, Totleben retired to the Hühnerfliess, a stream south of Bischofsee. Totleben then deployed his light troops in a wide arc behind the Hühnerfliess to cover the Russian positions. The bridges leading across the Hühnerfliess near the mills of Rätsch, Bäcker and “Gross Mühle” were destroyed.
- A courier rode to order the supply convoy arriving from Posen to immediately turn around and move away from the Prussian army.
- Saltykov had soon realised that Frederick would not initiate a battle on this day but expected to be attacked on the next day. Therefore, he abandoned his plan to march towards Crossen. His strength clearly lay in defence, and his present position was exceptionally good for a defensive battle. Accordingly, Saltykov decided to remain in his present positions. He sent a request to Hadik, asking him to send as soon as possible his cavalry forward in the direction of Frankfurt.
- The baggage of the Russian army along with the provision wagons had previously been grouped in a “Wagenburg” in a meadow to the southeast of Frankfort between the Russian camp and the Oder. They were now transferred to the left bank of the river, where they were placed under the protection of the Vyatskiy Infantry with a few artillery pieces in a new “Wagenburg” near Tzschetzschnow. To speed up the transfer of such a large number of wagons, Saltykov had a third bridge established on the Oder upstream from his two existing bridges. This new bridge was defended by an entrenchment occupied by 1 coy of the Troitskiy Infantry. The Grenzer light troops also entrenched themselves nearby, supported by the rest of the Troitskiy Infantry. Despite all these measures, only a small portion of the baggage and provision wagons managed to cross the Oder on that day. In fact, they would still be moving across the river at the end of the battle of the next day.
- Hadik sent his cavalry from Guben forward to join Loudon and the Russian army while he remained at Guben with his infantry.
Battle of Kunersdorf
On August 12, at the battle of Kunersdorf, Frederick suffered a crushing defeat. At 5:00 pm, while battle still raged at Kunersdorf, Wunsch appeared in front of Frankfurt and took position on the heights overlooking the suburb of Guben. He captured the garrison and guarded the bridges. However, when he learnt of Frederick's defeat, he returned to his initial position.
On August 12, Hadik marched from Spremberg towards Forst.
On August 13 at noon, Frederick had completed the reorganisation of his army. In the evening, the remnants of the Prussian army repassed the Oder to Reitwein and broke the bridges. By the end of the day some 23,000 fugitives had joined Frederick on the left bank of the Oder.
On August 14, Daun marched to Triebel closer to his Russian allies.
On August 16, the Prussian army marched to Malvitz (maybe Madlitz) while Saltykov passed the Oder and encamped with his right at Tzetschenow (later renamed Güldendorf), his left at Lossow, Loudon's corps to his right and Hadik's corps (about 14,000 men) at Hohenwalde.
On August 18, the Prussian army under the command of Frederick marched to Fürstenwalde where it guarded the passages on the Spree and covered Berlin. Frederick had recalled Kleist who previously operated in Pomerania against the Swedes with 6 bns and 7 sqns (about 5,000 men). He also reconstituted his artillery park and was able to re-assemble an army of about 29,000 men. The Russians were still at Lossow.
When Saltykov realised that the Austrians were letting his army do all the fighting, he informed Daun that his troops had now done enough and that the Austrians should pursue Frederick's army to finish what he had begun. Meanwhile, Saltykov intended to march to Guben, closer to the Oder and to his magazine at Posen.
Daun had a meeting with Saltykov at Guben where it was resolved that, would the Austrians supply proper supplies, the Russian army would remain on the left bank of the Oder until the capture of Dresden. After the capture of this city, both armies would then march into Silesia and would winter there if the Austrians were able to capture Neisse (present-day Nysa).
On August 21, Frederick sent a Prussian detachment under Wunsch (his own regiment) from Fürstenwalde to come to the help of Dresden which was threatened by the Austro-Imperial invasion of Saxony.
On August 28, Zieten arrived at Sagan with the Prussian vanguard. The same day, the main Russian army finally quitted Lossow and marched towards Saxony.
On August 30, the Russian army encamped at Lieberose while Hadik's Austrian corps reached Lamsfeld. The same day, Frederick left his camp at Fürstenwalde.
On August 31, Frederick reached the camp of Waldow on the road from Lieberose to Lübben, thus covering Lübben and Luckau and his lines of communication with Berlin, Saxony and Lusatia. He sent a party forward on Lübben and Vetschau to clear the region from Austrian light troops.
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 368-379
- 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. 239-244
- Vol. 10 Kunersdorf, Berlin, 1912, pp. 13-15, 28-29, 33, 50-54, 86-104, 109-149, 170-225, Anhang 6
- Jomini, baron de, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 66-67, 69, 76, 92-108, 116, 150-154
Alessandro Colaiacomo for the entire initial version of this article