"The dust was prodigious," says Friedrich, weather being dry and ground sandy; for a space of time you could see nothing but one huge whirlpool of dust, with the gleam of steel flickering madly in it: however, Buddenbrock, outflanking the Austrian first line of horse, did hurl them from their place; by and by you see the dust- tempest running south, faster and faster south,--that is to say, the Austrian horse in flight; for Buddenbrock, outflanking them by three squadrons, has tumbled their first line topsy-turvy, and they rush to rearward, he following away and away. [
But now again, see, do not the dust-clouds pause? They pause, mounting higher and higher; they dance wildly, then roll back towards us; too evidently back. Buddenbrock has come upon the secoud line of Austrian horse; in too loose order Buddenbrock, by this time, and they have broken him:--and it is a mutual defeat of horse on this wing, the Prussian rather the worse of the two. And might have been serious,--had not Rothenburg plunged furiously in, at this crisis, quite through to the Austrian infantry, and restored matters, or more. Making a confused result of it in this quarter. Austrian horse-regiments there now were that fled quite away; as did even one or two foot-regiments, while the Prussian infantry dashed forward on them, escorted by Rothenburg in this manner,--who got badly wounded in the business; and was long an object of solicitude to Friedrich. And contrariwise certain Prussian horse also, it was too visible, did not compose themselves till fairly arear of our foot. This is Shock First in the Battle; there are Three Shocks in all.
Partial charging, fencing and flourishing went on; but nothing very effectual was done by the horse in this quarter farther. Nor did the fire or effort of the Prussian Infantry in this their right wing continue; Austrian fury and chief effort having, by this time, broken out in an opposite quarter. So that the strain of the Fight lies now in the other wing over about Chotusitz and the Brtlinka Brook; and thither I perceive his Majesty has galloped, being "always in the thickest of the danger" this day. Shock Second is now on. The Austrians have attacked at Chotusitz; and are threatening to do wonders there.
Prince Leopold's Left Wing, as we said, was entirely defective in the eye of tacticians (after the event). Far from leaning on the wall of the Deer-park, he did not even reach the Brook,--or had to weaken his force in Chotusitz Village for that object. So that when the Austrian foot comes storming upon Chotusitz, there is but "half a regiment" to defend it. And as for cavalry, what is to become of cavalry, slowly threading, under cannon-shot and musketry, these intricate quagmires and gullies, and dangerously breaking into files and strings, before ever it can find ground to charge? Accordingly, the Austrian foot took Chotusitz, after obstinate resistance; and old Konigseck, very ill of gout, got seated in one of the huts there; and the Prussian cavalry, embarrassed to get through the gullies, could not charge except piecemeal, and then though in some cases with desperate valor, yet in all without effectual result. Konigseck sits in Chotusitz;--and yet withal the Russians are not out of it, will not be driven out of it, but cling obstinately; whereupon the Austrians set fire to the place; its dry thatch goes up in flame, and poor old Konigseck, quite lame of gout, narrowly escaped burning, they say.
And, see, the Austrian horse have got across the Brtlinka, are spread almost to the Deer-park, and strive hard to take us in flank,--did not the Brook, the bad ground and the platoon-firing (fearfully swift, from discipline and the iron ramrods) hold them back in some measure. They make a violent attempt or two; but the problem is very rugged. Nor can the Austrian infantry, behind or to the west of burning Chotusitz, make an impression, though they try it, with 1evelled bayonets and deadly energy, again and again: the Prussian ranks are as if built of rock, and their fire is so sure and swift. Here is one Austrian regiment, came rushing on like lions; would not let go, death or no-death:--and here it lies, shot down in ranks; whole swaths of dead men, and their muskets by them, --as if they had got the word to take that posture, and had done it hurriedly! A small transitory gleam of proud rage is visible, deep down, in the soul of Friedrich as he records this fact. Shock Second was very violent.
The Austrian horse, after such experimenting in the Brtlinka quarter, gallop off to try to charge the Prussians in the rear;-- "pleasanter by far," judge many of them, "to plunder the Prussian Camp," which they descry in those regions; whither accordingly they rush. Too many of them; and the Hussars as one man. To the sorrowful indignation of Prince Karl, whose right arm (or wing) is fallen paralytic in this manner. After the Fight, they repented in dust and ashes; and went to say so, as if with the rope about their neck; upon which he pardoned them.
Nor is Prince Karl's left wing gaining garlands just at this moment. Shock Third is awakening;--and will be decisive on Prince Karl. Chotusitz, set on fire an hour since (about 9 A.M.), still burns; cutting him in two, as it were, or disjoining his left wing from his right: and it is on his right wing that Prince Karl is depending for victory, at present; his left wing, ruffled by those first Prussian charges of horse, with occasional Prussian swift musketry ever since, being left to its own inferior luck, which is beginning to produce impression on it. And, lo, on the sudden (what brought finis to the business), Friedrich, seizing the moment, commands a united charge on this left wing: Friedrich's right wing dashes forward on it, double-quick, takes it furiously, on front and flank; fifteen field-pieces preceding, and intolerable musketry behind them. So that the Austrian left wing cannot stand it at all.
The Austrian left wing, stormed in upon in this manner, swags and sways, threatening to tumble pell-mell upon the right wing; which latter has its own hands full. No Chotusitz or point of defence to hold by, Prince Karl is eminently ill off, and will be hurled wholly into the Brtlinka, and the islands and gullies, unless he mind! Prince Karl,--what a moment for him!--noticing this undeniable phenomenon, rapidly gives the word for retreat, to avoid worse. It is near upon Noon; four hours of battle; very fierce on both the wings, together or alternately; in the centre (westward of Chotusitz) mostly insignificant: "more than half the Prussians" standing with arms shouldered. Prince Karl rolls rapidly away, through Czaslau towards southwest again; loses guns in Czaslau; goes, not quite broken, but at double-quick time for five miles; cavalry, Prussian and Austrian, bickering in the rear of him; and vanishes over the horizon towards Willimow and Haber that night, the way he had come.