"Cassel he could not take, after a month's siege under the best of Siege-Captains; Ziegenhayn still less under one of the worst. Provisions, ammunitions, were not to be had by force of wagonry: scant food for soldiers, doubly scant the food of Sieges;"--"the road from Beverungen [where the Weser-boats have to stop, which is 30 miles from Cassel, perhaps 60 from Ziegenhayn, and perhaps 100 from the outmost or southern-most of Ferdinand's parties] is paved with dead horses," nor has even Cassel nearly enough of ammunition:--in a word, Broglio, finding the time come, bursts up from his Frankfurt Position (March 14th-21st) in a sharp and determined manner; drives Ferdinand's people back, beats the Erbprinz himself one day (by surprisal, 'My compliment for Langensalza'), and sets his people running. Ferdinand sees the affair to be over; and deliberately retires; lucky, perhaps, that he still can deliberately: and matters return to their old posture. Broglio resumes his quarters, somewhat altered in shape, and not quite so grasping as formerly; and beyond his half-filled Magazines, has lost nothing considerable, or more considerable than has Ferdinand himself." [Tempelhof, v. 15-45; Mauvillon, ii. 135-148.]
The vital element in Ferdinand's Adventure was the Siege of Cassel; all had to fail, when this, by defect of means, under the best of management, declared itself a failure. Siege Captain was a Graf von Lippe-Buckeburg, Ferdinand's Ordnance-Master, who is supposed to be "the best Artillery Officer in the world,"--and is a man of great mark in military and other circles. He is Son and Successor of that fantastic Lippe-Buckeburg, by whom Friedrich was introduced to Free-Masonry long since. He has himself a good deal of the fantast again, but with a better basis of solidity beneath it. A man of excellent knowledge and faculty in various departments; strict as steel, in regard to discipline, to practice and conduct of all kinds; a most punctilious, silently supercilious gentleman, of polite but privately irrefragable turn of mind. A tall, lean, dusky figure; much seen to by neighbors, as he stalks loftily through this puddle of a world, on terms of his own. Concerning whom there circulates in military circles this Anecdote, among many others;-- which is set down as a fact; and may be, whether quite believable or not, a symbol of all the rest, and of a man not unimportant in these Wars. "Two years ago, on King Friedrich's birthday, 24th January, 1759, the Count had a select dinner-party in his tent in Ferdinand's Camp, in honor of the occasion. Dinner was well over, and wine handsomely flowing, when somebody at last thought of asking, 'What is it, then, Herr Graf, that whistling kind of noise we hear every now and then overhead?' 'That is nothing,' said the Graf, in his calm, dusky way: 'that is only my Artillery-people practising; I have bidden them hit the pole of our tent if they can: unhappily there is not the slightest danger. Push the bottles on.'" [Archenholtz, ii. 356; Zimmermann,
Some careless Books say, Friedrich had at first good hopes of this Enterprise; and "had himself lent 7,000 men to it:" which is the fact, but not the whole fact. Friedrich had approved, and even advised this plan of Ferdinand's, and had agreed to send 7,000 men to co-operate at Langensalza,--which, so far out in Thuringen, and pointing as if to the Reichsfolk, is itself an eye-sorrow to Friedrich. The issue we have seen. His 7,000 went accordingly, under a General Syburg; met the Ferdinand people (General Sporken head of these, and Walpole's "Conway" one of them); found the Unstrut in flood, but crossed nevertheless; dashed in upon the French and Saxons there, and made a brilliant thing of it at Langensalza. [
Towards the end of Ferdinand's Affair, Cassel Siege now evidently like to fail, Friedrich organized a small Expedition for his own behoof: expedition into Voigtland, or Frankenland, against the intrusive Reichs-people, who have not now a Broglio or Langensalza to look across to, but are mischievous upon our outposts on the edge of the Voigtland yonder. The expedition lasted only ten days (APRIL 1st it left quarters; APRIL 11th was home again); a sharp, swift and very pretty expedition; [Tempelhof, v. 48-57.] of which we can here say only that it was beautifully impressive on the Reichs gentlemen, and sent their Croateries and them home again, to Bamberg, to Eger, quite over the horizon, in a considerably flurried state. After which there was no Small-War farther, and everybody rested in cantonment, making ready till the Great should come.
The Prussian wounded are all in Leipzig this Winter; a crowded stirring Town; young Archenholtz, among many others, going about in convalescent state,--not attending Gellert's course, that I hear of,--but noticing vividly to right and left. Much difficulty about the contributions, Archenholtz observes;--of course an ever- increasing difficulty, here as everywhere, in regard to finance! From Archenholtz chiefly, I present the following particulars; which, though in loose form, and without date, except the general one of Winter 1760-1761, to any of them, are to be held substantially correct.
... "'It is impossible to pay that Contribution,' exclaim the Leipzigers: 'you said, long since, it was to be 75,000 pounds on us by the year; and this year you rise to 160,000 pounds; more than double!'--'Perhaps that is because you favored the Reichsfolk while here?' answer the Prussians, if they answer anything: 'It is the King's order. Pay it you must.'--'Cannot; simply impossible.' 'Possible, we tell you, and also certain; we will burn your Leipzig if you don't!' And they actually, these Collector fellows, a stony- hearted set, who had a percentage of their own on the sums levied, got soldiers drawn out more than once pitch-link in hand, as if for immediate burning: hut the Leipzigers thought to themselves, 'King Friedrich is not a Soltikof!' and openly laughed at those pitch- links. Whereupon about a hundred of their Chief Merchants were thrown into prison,--one hundred or so, riddled down in a day or two to Seventeen; which latter Seventeen, as they stood out, were detained a good many days, how many is not said, but only that they were amazingly firm. Black-hole for lodging, bread-and-water for diet, straw for bed: nothing would avail on the Seventeen: 'Impossible,' they answered always; each unit of them, in sight of the other sixteen, was upon his honor, and could not think of flinching. 'You shall go for soldiers, then;--possibly you will prefer that, you fine powdered velvet gentlemen? Up then, and march; here are your firelocks, your seventeen knapsacks: to the road with us; to Magdeburg, there to get on drill!' Upon which the Seventeen, horror-struck at such quasi-ACTUAL possibility, gave in.
"Magnanimous Gotzkowsky, who had come to Leipzig on business at the time [which will give us a date for this by and by], and been solemnly applied to by Deputation of the Rath, pleaded with his usual zealous fidelity on their behalf; got various alleviations, abatements; gave bills:--'Never was seen such magnanimity!' said the Leipzig Town-Council solemnly, as that of Berlin, in October last, had done." [Archenholtz, ii. 187-192.]
Of course the difficulties, financial and other, are increasing every Winter;--not on Friedrich's side only. Here, for instance, from the Duchy of Gottingen, are some items in the French Account current, this Winter, which are also furnished by Archenholtz:--