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Poor Julia fortunately found, for her horror-stricken and

source:iostime:2023-11-30 00:19:42

By Warburg Ferdinand had got the Diemel; on the north bank of which he spread himself out, impassable to Broglio, who lay trying on the opposite bank:--"No Hanover by this road." Broglio thereupon drew back a little; pushed out circuitously from his right wing, which reaches far eastward of Ferdinand, a considerable Brigade,-- circuitously, round by the Weser-Fulda Country, and beyond the embouchure of Diemel,--to try it by that method. Got actually a few miles into Hanoverian territory, by that method; laid hold of Gottingen, also of Munden, which secures a road thither: and at Gottingen there, "ever since August 4th," Broglio has been throwing up works, and shooting out hussar-parties to a good distance; intending, it would seem, to maintain himself, and to be mischievous, in that post. Would, in fact, fain entice Ferdinand across the Weser, to help Gottingen. "Across Weser, yes;--and so leave Broglio free to take Lippstadt from me, as he might after a short siege," thinks Ferdinand always; "which would beautifully shorten Broglio's communication [quite direct then, and without interruption, all the way to Wesel], and make Hanover itself, Hanover and Brunswick, the central Seat of War!" Which Ferdinand, grieved as he is for Gottingen, will by no means consent to.

Poor Julia fortunately found, for her horror-stricken and

Ferdinand, strong only as one to two, cannot hinder Broglio, though he tries variously; and is much at a loss, seeing Broglio irrepressibly busy this way, all through August and on into September;--has heard, however, from Wesel, through secret partisans there, that Wesel, considered altogether out of risk, is left in a very weak condition; weak in garrison, weak even in gunners. Reflecting upon which, in his difficulties, Ferdinand asks himself, "A sudden stroke at Wesel, 200 miles away, might it not astonish Broglio, who is so busy on us just here?"--and, September 22d, despatches the Hereditary Prince on that errand. A man likely for it, if there be one in the world:--unable to do it, however, as the issue told. Here is what I find noted.

Poor Julia fortunately found, for her horror-stricken and

"SEPTEMBER 22d, the Erbprinz, with a chosen Corps of 15,000, mostly English, left these Diemel regions towards Wesel, at his speediest. September 29th, Erbprinz and vanguard, Corps rapidly following, are got to Dorsten, within 20 miles of Wesel. A most swift Erbprinz; likely for such work. And it is thought by judges, Had he had either siege-artillery or scaling apparatus, he might really have attacked Wesel with good chance upon it. But he has not even a ladder ready, much less a siege-gun. Siege-guns are at Bielefeld [come from Bremen, I suppose, by English boating, up the Weser so far]; but that is six score miles of wheel-carriage; roads bad, and threatening to be worse, as it is equinoctial weather. There is nothing for it but to wait for those guns.

Poor Julia fortunately found, for her horror-stricken and

"The Erbprinz, hopefully waiting, does his endeavor in the interim; throws a bridge over the Rhine, pounces upon Cleve garrison (prisoners, with their furnitures), pounces upon this and that; 'spreads terror' on the French thereabouts 'up to Dusseldorf and Koln,--and on Broglio himself, so far off, the due astonishment. 'Wesel to be snatched,--ye Heavens! Our Netherlands road cut off: Dusseldorf, Koln, our Rhine Magazines, all and sundry, fallen to the hawks,--who, the lighter-winged of them, might pay visits in France itself!' Broglio has to suspend his Gottingen operations, and detach Marquis de Castries with (say ultimately, for Castries is to grow and gather by the road) 35,000, to relieve Wesel. Castries marches double-quick; weather very rainy;--arrives in those parts OCTOBER 13th;--hardly a gun from Bielefeld come to hand yet, Erbprinz merely filling men with terror. And so,

"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 "Miscellen aus den neuesten auslandischen Litteratur (1824, No. 3, p. 409)," a Book which none of us ever saw, "That the real hero [equal to a Roman Decius or more] was not Captain d'Assas, of the Regiment Auvergne, but a poor Private Soldier of it, called Dubois"!--Is not this a strange turn, after such be-PENSIONING, be-painting, singing and celebrating, as rose upon poor D'Assas, or the Family of D'Assas, twenty years afterwards (1777-1790)!--Both Dubois and D'Assas, I conclude, lay among the slain at Kloster Kampen, silent they forever:--and a painful doubt does rise, As to the miraculous operation of Posthumous Rumor and Wonder; and Whether there was any "miracle of heroism," or other miracle at all, and not rather a poor nocturnal accident,--poor sentry in the edge of the wood, shrieking out, on apparition of the stealthy English, "Ho, Auvergne, help!" probably firing withal; and getting killed in consequence? NON NOSTRUM EST.] It is certain, Auvergne gave fire; awoke Castries bodily; and saved him from what was otherwise inevitable. Surprise now there was none farther; but a complex Fight, managed in the darkness with uncommon obstinacy; ending in withdrawal of the Erbprinz, as from a thing that could not be done. His loss in killed, wounded and prisoners, was 1,638; that of Castries, by his own counting, 2,036: but Kloster Kampen, in the wide-awake state, could not be won.

"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 George Second, iii. 299.] An unaccountable Enterprise, my poor Gazetteer friends,-- very evidently an unsuccessful one, so far as Wesel went. Many English fallen in it, too: "the English showed here again a GANZ AUSNEHMENDE TAPFERKEIT," says Mauvillon; and probably their share of the loss was proportionate.

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.