"Bunzelwitz, Jauernik, Tschechen and Peterwitz, all fortified," continues Archenholtz; "Wurben, in the centre, is like a citadel, looking down upon Striegau Water. Heavy cannon, plenty of them, we have brought from Schweidnitz: we have 460 pieces of cannon in all and 182 mines. Wurben, our citadel and centre, is about five miles from Schweidnitz. Our intrenchments"--You already heard what gulfs some of them were! "Before the lines are palisades, storm-posts, the things we call Spanish Horse (CHEVAUX-DE-FRISE);--woods we have in abundance in our Circuit, and axes busy for carpentries of that kind. There are four intrenched knolls; 24 big batteries, capable of playing beautifully, all like pieces in a concert." Four knolls elaborately intrenched, clothed with cannon; founded upon FLATTER- mines: try where you will to enter, such torrents of death-shot will converge on you, and a concert of 24 big batteries begin their music!--
On the third day, Loudon, looking into this thing, which he has not minded hitherto, finds it such a thing as he never dreamt of before. A thing strong as Gibraltar, in a manner;--which it will be terribly difficult to attack with success! For eight days more Friedrich did not rest from his spadework; made many changes and improvements, till he had artificially made a very Stolpen of it, a Plauen, or more. Cogniazzo, the AUSTRIAN VETERAN, says: "Plauen, and Daun's often ridiculed precautions there, were nothing to it. Not as if Bunzelwitz had been so inaccessible as our sheer rocks there; but because it is a masterpiece of Art, in which the principles of tactics are combined with those of field- fortification, as never before." Tielke grows quite eloquent on it: "A masterpiece of judgment in ground," says he; "and the treatment of it a model of sound, true and consummate field-engineering." [Tielke, iii. ?BUNZELWITZ (which is praised as an attractive Piece); OESTERREICHISCHER VETERAN, iv. 79: cited in PREUSS, ii. 285.]
Ziethen, appointed to that function, watches on the Heights of Wurben, the citadel of the place: keeps a sharp eye to the southwest. All round, in huge half-moon on the edge of the Hills over there, six or more miles from Ziethen, lie the angry Enemies; Austrians south and nearest, about Kunzendorf and Freyberg. Russians are on the top of Striegau Hills, which are well known to some of us; Russian head-quarter is Hohenfriedberg,--who would have thought it, Herr General von Ziethen? Sixteen years ago, we have seen these Heights in other tenancy: Austrian field-music and displayed banners coming down; a thousand and a thousand Austrian watch-fires blazing out yonder, in the silent June night, eve of such a Day! Baireuth Dragoons and their No. 67;--you will find the Baireuth Dragoons still here in a sense, but also in a sense not. Their fencing Chasot is gone to Lubeck long since; will perhaps pay Friedrich a visit by and by: their fiery Gessler is gone much farther, and will never visit anybody more! Many were the reapers then, and they are mostly gone to rest. Here is a new harvest; the old SICKLES are still here; but the hands that wielded them--! "Steady!" answers the Herr General; profoundly aware of all that, but averse to words upon it.
Fancy Loudon's astonishment, on the third day: "While we have sat consulting how to attack him, there is he,--unattackable, shall we say?" Unattackable, Loudon will not consent to think him, though Butturlin has quite consented. "Difficult, murderous," thinks Loudon; "but possible, certain, could Butturlin but be persuaded!" And tries all his rhetoric on Butturlin: "Shame on us!" urges the ardent Loudon: "Imperial and Czarish Majesties; Kriegshofrath, Russian Senate; Vienna, Petersburg, Versailles and all the world,-- what are they expecting of us? To ourselves it seemed certain, and here we sit helplessly gazing!" Loudon is very diligent upon Butturlin: "Do but believe that it is possible. A plan can be made; many plans: the problem is solved, if only your Excellency will believe." Which Butturlin never quite will.
Nobody knows better than Friedrich in what perilous crisis he now stands: beaten here, what army or resource has he left? Silesia is gone from him; by every likelihood, the game is gone. This of Bunzelwitz is his last card; this is now his one stronghold in the world:--we need not say if he is vigilant in regard to this. From about the fourth day, when his engineering was only complete in outline, he particularly expects to be attacked. On the fifth night he concludes it will be; knowing Loudon's way. Towards sunset, that evening (August 25th), all the tents are struck: tents, cookeries, every article of baggage, his own among the rest, are sent to Wurben Heights (to Schweidnitz, Archenholtz says; but has misremembered): the ground cleared for action. And horse and foot, every man marches out, and stands ready under arms.
Contrary to everybody's expectation, not a shot was heard, that night. Nor the next night, nor the next: but the practice of vigilance was continued. Punctual as mathematics: at a given hour of the afternoon, tents are all struck; tents and furnitures, field swept clear; and the 50,000 in their places wait under arms. Next morning, nothing having fallen out, the tents come back; the Army (half of it at once, or almost the whole of it, according to aspects) rests, goes to sleep if it can. By night there is vigilance, is work, and no sleep. It is felt to be a hard life, but a necessary.
Nor in these labors of detail is the King wanting; far from it; the King is there, as ear and eye of the whole. For the King alone there is, near the chief Battery, "on the Pfarrberg, namely, in the clump of trees there," a small Tent, and a bundle of straw where he can lie down, if satisfied to do so. If all is safe, he will do so; but perhaps even still he soon awakens again; and strolls about among his guard-parties, or warms himself by their fires. One evening, among the orders, is heard this item: "And remember, a lock of straw, will you,--that I may not have to sleep on the ground, as last night!" [Seyfarth, ii. 16 n.] Many anecdotes are current to this day, about his pleasant homely ways and affabilities with the sentry people, and the rugged hospitalities they would show him at their watch-fires. "Good evening, children." "The same to thee, Fritz." "What is that you are cooking?"--and would try a spoonful of it, in such company; while the rough fellows would forbid smoking, "Don't you know he dislikes it?" "No, smoke away!" the King would insist.
Mythical mainly, these stories; but the dialect of them true; and very strange to us. Like that of an Arab Sheik among his tribesmen; like that of a man whose authority needs no keeping up, but is a Law of Nature to himself and everybody. He permits a little bantering even; a rough joke against himself, if it spring sincerely from the complexion of the fact. The poor men are terribly tired of this work: such bivouacking, packing, unpacking; and continual waiting for the tug of battle, which never comes. Biscuits, meal are abundant enough; but flesh-meat wearing low; above all, no right sleep to be had. Friedrich's own table, I should think, is very sparingly beset ("A cup of chocolate is my dinner on marching-days," wrote he once, this Season); certainly his Lodging,--damp ground, and the straw sometimes forgotten,--is none of the best. And thus it has to last, night after night and day after day. On September 8th, General Bulow went out for a little butcher's-meat; did bring home "200 head of neat cattle [I fear, not very fat] and 300 sheep." [Tempelhof, v. 172.]