Prince Karl, since we last heard of him, had hung about in the Brunn and other Moravian regions, rallying his forces, pushing out Croat parties upon Prince Dietrich's home-march, and the like; very ill off for food, for draught-cattle, in a wasted Country. So that he had soon quitted Mahren; made for Budweis and neighborhood:-- dangerous to Broglio's outposts there? To a "Castle of Frauenberg," across the Moldau from Budweis; which is Broglio's bulwark there, and has cost Broglio much revictualling, reinforcing, and flurry for the last two months. Prince Karl did not meddle with Brauenberg, or Broglio, on this occasion; leaves Lobkowitz, with some Reserve-party, hovering about in those parts;--and himself advances, by Teutschbrod (well known to the poor retreating Saxons latcey!) towards Chrudim, on his grand Problem, that of 25th February last. Cautiously, not too willingly, old Konigseck and he. But they were inflexibly urged to it by the Heads at Vienna; who, what with their Bavarian successes, what with their Moravian and other, had got into a high key;--and scorned the notion of "Peace," when Hyndford (getting Friedrich's permission, in the late Chrudim interval) had urged it again. [Orlich, i. 226.]
Broglio is in boundless flurry; nothing but spectres of attack looming in from Karl, from Khevenhuller, from everybody; and Eger hardly yet got. [19th April (
Friedrich's beautiful Encampment at Chrudim lasted only two days. Precursor Tolpatcheries (and, in fact, Prince Karl's Vanguard, if we knew it) come storming about, rifer and rifer; attempting the Bridge of Kolin (road to our Magazines); attempting this and that; meaning to get between us and Prag; and, what is worse, to seize the Magazines, Podiebrad, Nimburg, which we have in that quarter! Tuesday, May 15th, accordingly, Friedrich himself gets on march, with a strong swift Vanguard, horse and foot (grenadiers, hussars, dragoons), Prag-ward,--probably as far as Kuttenberg, a fine high- lying post, which commands those Kodin parts;--will march with despatch, and see how that matter is. The main Army is to follow under Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau to-morrow, Wednesday," so soon as their loaves have come from Konigsgratz,"--for "an Army goes on its belly," says Friedrich often. Loaves do not come, owing to evil chance, on this occasion: Leopold's people "take meal instead;" but will follow, next morning, all the same, according to bidding. Readers may as well take their Map, and accompany in these movements; which issue in a notable conclusive thing.
Tuesday morning, 15th May, Friedrich marches from Chrudim; on which same morning of the 15th, Prince Karl, steadily on the advance he too, is starting,--and towards the same point,--from a place called Chotieborz, only fifteen miles to southward of Chrudim. In this way, mutually unaware, but Prince Karl getting soonest aware, the Vanguards of the Two Armies (Prince Karl's Vanguard being in many branches, of Tolpatch nature) are cast athwart each other; and make, both to Friedrich and Prince Karl, an enigmatic business of it for the next two days. Tuesday, 15th, Friedrich marching along, vigilantly observant on both hands, some fifteen miles space, came that evening to a Village called Podhorzan, with Height near by; [Stille, pp. 60, 61.] Height which he judged unattackable, and on the side of which he pitches his camp accordingly,--himself mounting the Height to look for news. News sure enough: there, south of us on the heights of Ronnow, three or four miles off, are the Enemy, camped or pickeering about, 7 or 8,000 as we judge. Lobkowitz, surely not Lobkowitz? He has been gliding about, on the French outskirts, far in the southwest lately: can this be Lobkowitz, about to join Prince Karl in these parts?--Truly, your Majesty, this is not Lobkowitz at all; this is Prince Karl's Vanguard, and Prince Karl himself actually in it for the moment,-- anxiously taking view of your Vanguard; recognizing, and admitting to himself, "Pooh, they will be at Kuttenberg before us; no use in hastening. Head-quarters at Willimow to-night; here at Ronnow to-morrow: that is all we can do!" [Orlich, i. 233.]
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.