"OCTOBER 14th, after two weeks and a day, the Hereditary Prince sees, not guns from Bielefeld, but Castries pushing into Wesel a 7,000 of additional garrison,--and the Enterprise on Wesel grown impossible. Impossible, and probably far more; Castries in a condition to devour us, if he prove sharp. It behooves the Hereditary Prince to be himself sharp;--which he undoubtedly was, in this sharp crisis. Next day, our Erbprinz, taking survey of Castries in his strong ground of Kloster Kampen, decides, like a gallant fellow, to attack HIM;--and straightway does it. Breaks, that same night (October 15th-16th, 1760), stealthily, through woods and with precautions, into Castries's Post;-- intending surprisal, and mere ruin to Castries. And there ensued, not the SURPRISAL as it turned out, but the BATTLE OF KLOSTER KAMPEN; which again proved unsuccessful, or only half-successful, to the Hereditary Prince. A many-winged, intricate Night-Battle; to be read of in Books. This is where the Chevalier d'Assas, he or Somebody, gave the alarm to the Castries people at the expense of his life. 'A MOI, AUVERGNE, Ho, Auvergne!' shouted D'Assas (if it was D'Assas at all), when the stealthy English came upon him; who was at once cut down. [Preuss (ii. 270 n.) asserts it to be proved, in
"During the Fight, the Erbprinz's Rhine-Bridge had burst in two: his ammunition was running short;--and, it would seem, there is no retreat, either! The Erbprinz put a bold face on the matter, stood to Castries in a threatening attitude; mamoeuvred skilfully for two days longer, face still to Castries, till the Bridge was got mended; then, night of October 18th-19th, crossed to his own side; gathered up his goods; and at a deliberate pace marched home, on those terms;--doing some useful fighting by the road." [Mauvillon, ii. 120-129: Tempelhof, ii. 325-332.]
Had lost nothing, say his admirers, "but one cannon, which burst." One burst cannon left on the field of Kloster Kampen;--but also, as we see, his errand along with it; and 1,600 good fighters lost aud burst: which was more important! Criticisms there were on it in England, perhaps of the unwise sort generally; sorrow in the highest quarter. "An unaccountable expedition," Walpole calls it, "on which Prince Ferdinand suddenly despatched his Nephew, at the head of a considerable force, towards the frontiers of Holland,"-- merely to see the country there?--"which occasioned much solicitude in England, as the Main Army, already unequal to that of France, was thus rendered much weaker. King George felt it with much anxiety." [Walpole's
Clearly enough there is no Wesel to be had. Neither could Broglio, though disturbed in his Gottingen fortifyings and operations, be ejected out of Gottingen. Ferdinand, on failure of Wesel, himself marched to Gottingen, and tried for some days; but found he could not, in such weather, tear out that firmly rooted French Post, but must be content to "mask it," for the present; and, this done, withdrew (December 13th) to his winter-quarters near by, as did Broglio to his,--about the time Friedrich and Daun had finally settled in theirs.
Ferdinand's Campaigns henceforth, which turn all on the defence of Hanover, are highly recommended to professional readers; but to the laic sort do not prove interesting in proportion to the trouble. In fact, the huge War henceforth begins everywhere, or everywhere except in Pitt's department of it, to burn lower, like a lamp with the oil getting done; and has less of brilliancy than formerly. "Let us try for Hanover," the Belleisles, Choiseuls and wise French heads had said to themselves: "Canada, India, everything is lost; but were dear Hanover well in our clutch, Hanover would be a remedy for many things!" Through the remaining Campaigns, as in this now done, that is their fixed plan. Ferdinand, by unwearied effort, succeeded in defending Hanover,--nothing of it but that inconsiderable slice or skirt round Gottingen, which they kept long, could ever be got by the French. Ferdinand defended Hanover; and wore out annually the big French Armies which were missioned thither, as in the spasm of an expiring last effort by this poor hag-ridden France,--at an expense to her, say, of 50,000 men per year. Which was good service on Ferdinand's part; but done less and less in the shining or universally notable way.
So that with him too we are henceforth, thank Heaven, permitted and even bound to be brief. Hardly above two Battles more from him, if even two:--and mostly the wearied Reader's imagination left to conceive for itself those intricate strategies, and endless manoeuvrings on the Diemel and the Dill, on the Ohm River and the Schwalm and the Lippe, or wherever they may be, with small help from a wearied Editor!--
A melancholy little event, which afterwards proved unexpectedly unfortunate for Friedrich, had happened in England ten days before the Battle of Torgau. Saturday, 25th October, 1760, George II., poor old gentleman, suddenly died. He was in his 77th year; feeble, but not feebler than usual,--unless, perhaps, the unaccountable news from Kloster Kampen may have been too agitating to the dim old mind? On the Monday of this week he had, "from a tent in Hyde Park," presided at a Review of Dragoons; and on Thursday, as his Coldstream Guards were on march for Portsmouth and foreign service, "was in his Portico at Kensington to see them pass;"--full of zeal always in regard to military matters, and to this War in particular. Saturday, by sunrise he was on foot; took his cup of chocolate; inquired about the wind, and the chances of mails arriving; opened his window, said he would have a turn in the Gardens, the morning being so fine. It was now between 7 and 8. The valet then withdrew with the chocolate apparatus; but had hardly shut the door, when he heard a deep sigh, and fall of something,--"billet of wood from the fire?" thought he;--upon which, hurrying back, he found it was the King, who had dropt from his seat, "as if in attempting to ring the bell." King said faintly, "Call Amelia," and instantly died. Poor deaf Amelia (Friedrich's old love, now grown old and deaf) listened wildly for some faint sound from those lips now mute forever. George Second was no more; his grandson George Third was now King. [Old Newspapers (in
Intrinsically taken, this seemed no very great event for Friedrich, for Pitt, for England or mankind: but it proved otherwise. The merit of this poor King deceased, who had led his Nation stumbling among the chimney-pots at such a rate in these mad German Wars for Twenty Years past, was, That he did now stand loyal to the Enterprise, now when it had become sane indeed; now when the Nation was broad awake, and a Captain had risen to guide it out of that perilous posture, into never-expected victory and triumph! Poor old George had stood by his Pitt, by his Ferdinand, with a perfect loyalty at all turns; and been devoted, heart and soul and breeches-pocket, to completely beating Bourbon's oppressive ideas out of Bourbon's head. A little fact, but how important, then and there! Under the Successor, all this may be different:--ghastly beings, Old Tutors, Favorites, Mother's-Favorites, flit, as yet invisible, on the new backstairs:--should Bute and Company get into the foreground, people will then know how important it was. Walpole says:--