To-morrow, 16th May, before sunrise at Podhorzan, the supposed Lobkowitz is clean vanished: there is no Enemy visible to Friedrich, at Ronnow or elsewhere. Leaving Friedrich in considerable uncertainty: clear only that there are Enemies copiously about; that he himself will hold on for Kuttenberg; that young Leopold must get hitherward, with steady celerity at the top of his effort,--parts of the ground being difficult; especially a muddy Stream, called Dobrowa, which has only one Bridge on it fit for artillery, the Bridge of Sbislau, a mile or two ahead of this. Instructions are sent Leopold to that effect; and farther that Leopold must quarter in Czaslau (a substantial little Town, with bogs about it, and military virtues); and, on the whole, keep close to heel of us, the Enemy in force being near, Upon which, his Majesty pushes on for Kuttenberg; Prince Leopold following with best diligence, according to Program. His Majesty passed a little place called Neuhof that afternoon (Wednesday, 16th May); and encamped a short way from Kuttenberg, behind or north of that Town,--out of which, on his approach, there fled a considerable cloud of Austrian Irregulars, and "left a large baking of bread." Bread just about ready to their order, and coming hot out of the ovens; which was very welcome to his Majesty that night; and will yield refreshment, partial refreshment, next morning, to Prince Leopold, not too comfortable on his meal-diet just now.
Poor Prince Leopold had his own difficulties this day; rough ground, very difficult to pass; and coming on the Height of Podhorzan where his Majesty was yesterday, Leopold sees crowds of Hussars, needing a cannon-shot or two; sees evident symptoms, to southward, that the whole Force of the Enemy is advancing upon him! "Speed, then, for Sbislau Bridge yonder; across the Dobrowa, with our Artillery-wagons, or we are lost!" Prince Karl, with Hussar- parties all about, is fully aware of Prince Leopold and his movements, and is rolling on, Ronnow-ward all day, to cut him off, in his detached state, if possible. Prince Karl might, with ease, have broken this Dobrowa Bridge; and Leopold and military men recognize it as a capital neglect that he did not.
Leopold, overloaded with such intricacies and anxieties, sends off three messengers, Officers of mark (Schmettau Junior one of them), to apprise the King: the Officers return, unable to get across to his Majesty; Leopold sends proper detachment of horse with them,-- uncertain still whether they will get through. And night is falling; we shall evidently be too late for getting Czaslau: well if we can occupy Chotusitz and the environs; a small clay Hamlet, three miles nearer us. It was 11 at night before the rear- guard got into Chotusitz: Czaslau, three miles south of us, we cannot attend to till to-morrow morning. [Orlich, pp. 236-239.] And the three messengers, despatched with escort, send back no word. Have they ever got to his Majesty? Leopold sends off a fourth. This fourth one does get through; reports to his Majesty, That, by all appearance, there will be Battle on the morrow early; that not Czaslau, but only Chotusitz is ours; and that Instructions are wanted. Deep in the night, this fourth messenger returns; a welcome awakening for Prince Leopold; who studies his Majesty's Instructions, and will make his dispositions accordingly.
It is 2 or 3 in the morning, [Ib. p. 238.] in Leopold's Camp,-- Bivouac rather, with its face to the south, and Chotusitz ahead. Thursday, 17th May, 1742; a furiously important Day about to dawn. High Problem of the 23th February last; Britannic Majesty and his Hyndfords and Robinsons vainly protesting:--it had to be tried; Hungarian Majesty having got, from Britannic, the sinews for trying it: and this is to be the Day.
Kuttenberg, Czaslau, Chotusitz and all these other places lie in what is called the Valley of the Elbe, but what to the eye has not the least appearance of a hollow, but of an extensive plain rather, dimpled here and there; and, if anything, rather sloping FROM the Elbe,--were it not that dull bushless brooks, one or two, sauntering to NORTHward, not southward, warn you of the contrary. Conceive a flat tract of this kind, some three or four miles square, with Czaslau on its southern border, Chotusitz on its northern; flanked, on the west, by a straggle of Lakelets, ponds and quagmires (which in our time are drained away, all but a tenth part or so of remainder); flanked, on the east, by a considerable puddle of a Stream called the Dobrowa; and cut in the middle by a nameless poor Brook ("BRTLINKA" some write it, if anybody could pronounce), running parallel and independent,--which latter, of more concernment to us here, springs beyond Czaslau, and is got to be of some size, and more intricate than usual, with "islands" and the like, as it passes Chotusitz (a little to east of Chotusitz);-- this is our Field of Battle. Sixty or more miles to eastward of Prag, eight miles or more to southward of Elbe River and the Ford of Elbe-Teinitz (which we shall hear of, in years coming). A scene worth visiting by the curious, though it is by no means of picturesque character.
Uncomfortably bare, like most German plains; mean little hamlets, which are full of litter when you enter them, lie sprinkled about; little church-spires (like suffragans to Chotusitz spire, which is near you); a ragged untrimmed country: beyond the Brook, towards the Dobrowa, two or more miles from Chotusitz, is still noticeable: something like a Deer-park, with umbrageous features, bushy clumps, and shadowy vestiges of a Mansion, the one regular edifice within your horizon. Schuschitz is the name of this Mansion and Deer-park; farther on lies Sbislau, where Leopold happily found his Bridge unbroken yesterday.
The general landscape is scrubby, littery; ill-tilled, scratched rather than ploughed; physiognomic of Czech Populations, who are seldom trim at elbows: any beauty it has is on the farther side of the Dobrowa, which does not concern Prince Leopold, Prince Karl, or us at present. Prince Leopold's camp lies east and west, short way to north of Chotusitz. Schuschitz Hamlet (a good mile northward of Sbislau) covers his left, the chain of Lakelets covers his right: and Chotusitz, one of his outposts, lies centrally in front. Prince Karl is coming on, in four columns, from the Hills and intricacies south of Czaslau,--has been on march all night, intending a night-attack or camisado if he could; but could not in the least, owing to the intricate roadways, and the discrepancies of pace between his four columns. The sun was up before anything of him appeared:--drawing out, visibly yonder, by the east side of Czaslau; 30,000 strong, they say. Friedrich's united force, were Friedrich himself on the ground, will be about 28,000.
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 (