Friedrich's Orders, which Leopold is studying, were: "Hold by Chotusitz for Centre; your left wing, see you lean it on something, towards Dobrowa side,--on that intricate Brook (Brtlinka) or Park- wall of Schuschitz, [SBISLAU, Friedrich hastily calls it (
Leopold was not there in person, arranging that left wing; Leopold is looking after centre and right. He perceives, the right wing will be his best chance; knows that, in general, cavalry must be on both wings. On a little eminence in front of his right, he sees how the Enemy comes on; Czaslau, lately on their left, is now getting to rear of them:--"And you, stout old General Buddenbrock, spread yourself out to right a little, hidden behind this rising ground; I think we may outflank their left wing by a few squadrons, which will be an advantage."
Buddenbrock spreads himself out, as bidden: had Buddenbrock been reinforced by most of the horse that could do no good on our LEFT wing, it is thought the Battle had gone better. Buddenbrock in this way, secretly, outflanks the Austrians; to HIS right all forward, he has that string of marshy pools (Lakes of Czirkwitz so called, outflowings from the Brook of Neuhof), and cannot be taken in flank by any means. Brook of Neuhof, which his Majesty crossed yesterday, farther north;--and ought to have recrossed by this time?--said Brook, hereabouts a mere fringe of quagmires and marshy pools, is our extreme boundary on the west or right; Brook of Brtlinka (unluckily NOT wall of the Deer-park) bounds us eastward, or on our left, Prince Karl, drawn up by this time, is in two lines, cavalry on right and left, but rather in bent order; bent towards us at both ends (being dainty of his ground, I suppose); and comes on in hollow-crescent form;--which is not reckoned orthodox by military men. What all these Villages, human individuals and terrified deer, are thinking, I never can conjecture! Thick-soled peasants, terrified nursing-mothers: Better to run and hide, I should say; mount your garron plough-horses, hide your butter-pots, meal- barrels; run at least ten miles or so!--
It is now past seven, a hot May morning, the Austrians very near;-- and yonder, of a surety, is his Majesty coming. Majesty has marched since four; and is here at his time, loaves and all. His men rank at once in the corner left for them; one of his horse-generals, Lehwald, is sent to the left, to put straight what my be awry there (cannot quite do it, he either);--and the attack by Buddenhrock, who secretly outflanks here on the right, this shall at once take effect. No sooner has his Majesty got upon the little eminence or rising ground, and scanned the Austrian lines for an instant or two, than his cannon-batteries awaken here; give the Austrian horse a good blast, by way of morning salutation and overture to the concert of the day. And Buddenbrock, deploying under cover of that, charges, "first at a trot, then at a gallop," to see what can be done upon them with the white weapon. Old Uuddenbrock, surely, did not himself RIDE in the charge? He is an old man of seventy; has fought at Oudenarde, Malplaquet, nay at Steenkirk, and been run through the body, under Dutch William; is an old acquaintance of Charles XII.s even; and sat solemnly by Friedrich Wilhelm's coffin, after so much attendance during life. The special leader of the charge was Bredow; also a veteran gentleman, but still only in the fifties; he, I conclude, made the charge; first at a trot, then at a gallop,--with swords flashing hideous, and eyebrows knit.
"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.