« ÎnapoiContinuă »
minute and curious questions of fact or to compile the best account he can by credulous tradition : the mode of the comparison of authorities. And he can King's death, “ de dubia cæde Gustavi only recommend to any one who may be Adolphi Regis," furnished materials for as curious as himself, two measures : many—and I have the titles of two the first to procure, if he can, F. E. F. at least under my eyes, about the king's Philippi's “Death of Gustavus Adolmagic sword: “de gladio magico, quocum phus," printed at Leipzig in 1832-it Gustavus Adolphus in prælio apud Lüt- consists only of a hundred pages, and zen pugnaverit.” Lastly, the Wallen- the author “Steuer-rath” at Lützen, stein mania, for which Schiller has to and had a pair of eyes; the next, to answer, produced in our own times such
carry Philippi in his pocket, and visit a number of biographies of that person- the battle-field, which is easily reached age, and of controversial essays on the and may be soon explored. questionable points of his history, gar- The little town of Lützen lies benished with original correspondence and tween several intersecting lines of railextracts from archives, that these alone road, and at some distance from each. furnish a mass formidable to contem- The ordinary tourists' approach to it is plate.
consequently by carriage or omnibus The writer of these pages must not from Leipzig, ten or twelve English pretend to anything like an extensive miles away. But, for my own part, I acquaintance with the vast corpus his- walked to it from the station at Corbetha, toricum of which he has just sketched on the line between Halle and Weimar(and skimmed) the circumference; but a pleasant two hours' stroll, along foothe has read enough to find himself be- paths and cross-roads, through a land of wildered by the utterly irreconcilable teeming fertility, alive with the whole accounts of every main feature of the population of the neighbourhood busy day. It was a stand-up fight, with little at their potato harvest. The pedesof previous manoeuvring, fought be- trian crosses the Saale by a rope-ferrytween midday and sunset, by two armies here a sullen deep stream, cutting its drawn out in a perfectly open field. way through strata of diluvial gravel, “Daylight and champian," one would about the size of the Severn at Worhave thought, could " discover no far- cester; traverses the pretty bowery ther.” And yet this swarm of ingenious village of Vesta, with its aged lindens; penmen have succeeded in obscuring and thence across the open plain which the story with a multitude of contradic- extends to the neighbourhood of Leipzig, tious. Almost everything is disputed : and in the middle of which Lützen is the number of the combatants (to the placed. A rich and joyous-looking extent of 100 per cent.); the number expanse of land, studded with villages and arrangement of regiments, and and tall ungainly church steeples; here names of their commanders; the hour, and there, bedded in the soil, one of place, and circumstances of the King's those problematical boulders of dark-red death; the hour of Pappenheim's arrival granite which the glaciers transported on the field (the critical point of the hither, according to modern belief, from contest); nay, even the important ques- distant Scandinavia, and which now tions, whether Wallenstein was in a chiefly serve as landmarks : far in the litter or on horseback, with his stirrup south, the first blue outlines of the wrapped up in silk to alleviate the pres. Erzgebirge faintly show themselves. sure on his gouty limb—a device of
Such is the aspect of the vast battle-field Charles the Fifth, according to his auto- of Northern Germany, the scene of the biography ; and whether Gustavus's greatest military events of modern hischarger was white, “brown-black," or tory; of which it may be said, with “ apple-grey." Having referred to these even greater truth than of the plains contradictions, the writer intends to round Fleurus and Waterloo, that “not waivo further discussion of them, and an ear of corn is pure from the blood
of men.” For from that elevated station the chimney of an abandoned shaft for at Corbetha, or, still better, from the old digging peat, here found in large decastle tower at Merseburg, the eye em- posits beneath the gravel. But, prebraces at once the site of that ancient sently afterwards, he discovers, close on victory obtained by Henry the Fowler the right hand of the road, the central over the Huns in A.D. 934 ; of the two object of his search—the “ Swedes' battles of Leipzig (or Breitenfeld), in Stone." It stands, as we shall see, not the Thirty Years' War; of Lützen, of exactly on the spot where the King is Rossbach, of Gross-Gorschen, vulgarly supposed to have fallen, but within a called the second battle of Lützen, in few yards of it. The stone is a rough 1813; and may identify the church porphyritic boulder, of the kind already
, towers of some of those villages which described ; and bears on its northern blazed, one by one, that same year, in face, fronting the road, the inscription, the three October days of the “Battle “G. A. 1632." It is surrounded, after of the Nations,” when, for the first and the kindly German fashion, with a little last time in authentic history, half a shrubbery and gravel walk, and surmillion of men were ranged against mounted by a Gothic arch of cast-iron, each other in a pitched field.
placed there some twenty years ago by Approaching Lützen on this (western) subscription ; executed in very fair taste, side, the trareller is able to estimate the but injuring the simplicity of the stern optical error which, as we shall presently old monument. It was a bold ästhetic see, misled the Swedes, and partly dis- thought of his Majesty's equerry and concerted their plans. The lofty old fellow-soldier, Jacob Erichson-though towers of the church and castle, and the carried out with something of the roughhigh-pitched roofs, rising in an open ness of execution belonging to the agefield, and on the farther side of a slight when he harnessed thirteen boors of depression in the ground, seem much the neighbouring village of Meuchen to nearer than they really are.
this stone, which lay at some distance, Lützen itself is a thoroughly old- and made them drag it “with sweat and fashioned forgotten-looking little Saxon tears” to its present site, from whence town, with walls and fosse partially pre- it looks eternally over the northern served, and the open country on all plain of Germany towards the hero's own sides extending close up to them. It distant Scandinavia. 6. Yet this is not has now about 500 bouses, and is tra- the exact spot where the king fell,” adds ditionally believed to have been more the narrative (Vulpius, Megalurgia Marconsiderable in old times ; as indeed tisburgica, i.e. the Marvels of Merseburg), must have been the case, or else the “but their strength was exhausted.” municipality indulged in a fine spirit of Arrived at the Schwedenstein, the local exaggeration when, in a report visitor may make himself master of the dated in 1651, they mention that Wallen- details of the action, with but little stein's troops, before the great battle, difficulty, thanks to the level character set fire to the “suburbs of their city ; of the ground and absence of hedges. represented now by two or three beer- No doubt there are ciceroni to be had; houses only, and one or two farm
but, for my own part, I found that a granges. Passing the town, and fol
two groschen-piece and a shake of the lowing the road to Leipzig, for about hand, administered to a beautiful nymph three-quarters of an English mile, the of seven, who was out potato-gathering traveller sees on his left something like with her family, sufficed to bring about an obelisk, which his imagination will me enough of her friends and admirers at once
a monument of to impart all the information I wanted, the battle, but which is, in truth, only and more than I could understand1 Those of Jena and Auerstadt, though not
although the pure Saxon dialect is á actually in sight, may be added from their civilized one, and comprehensible, with proximity.
some attention, by one who possesses
only the ordinary allowance of book- their armies in vainly confronting one. German.
another, parted as it were by mutual conIn order to make the battle intelli- sent. The Swede moved into Bavaria ; gible, it is not necessary to weary the the Austrian into Saxony, where his reader with much preliminary disserta- hope was to negotiate with and win over tion. It is enough to remember that in the wavering Elector of that country. September, 1632, Gustavus and Wallen- Alarmed lest this scheme should sucstein, having exhausted the country ceed, Gustavus retraced his steps with about Nuremberg, and lost great part of singular rapidity to Nuremberg, and
thence through Thuringia to Erfurt, ment. Wallenstein was then at Weisenwhich he occupied, at the end of Oc- fels, a few miles below, on the river. tober, just as Wallenstein was restoring Satisfied by this proceeding of the King Leipzig and its neighbourhood. On the and by the lateness of the season, that 1st of November the King arrived at he had no cause to dread immediate Naumburg, a town on the Saale, offering attack, he detached Pappenheim with a commanding position, of which he a considerable portion of his army to prepared to avail himself by intrench- Halle, in order to open a communication
with the country beyond, and himself Lützen than they really were. Consefell back from Weissenfels to Lützen. quently, he could not arrive at his Pappenheim was detached on the 4th, chosen ground, east of Lützen, until too and on the same day the King was late for action. Had it been otherwise, made aware of it through an intercepted the 5th of November, old style, would letter.
have added one more to its Protestant On the evening of the 4th of Novem- commemorations, and Wallenstein might ber, therefore, matters stood thus :- have descended to British posterity as a Wallenstein was at Lützen, covering supplementary Guy. the approach from the west to Leipzig, Wallenstein would rather have avoided with a force variously estimated, but fighting; but this day's delay gave him probably not less than 25,000 men;1 time to prepare for the contest, by Gustavus at Naumburg, sixteen English sending a messenger or messengers to miles south-west of Lützen as the crow hurry Pappenheim's return, and by flies, with perhaps an equal number; Pap- intrenching his position as well as he penheim at Halle, sixteen miles north- might. His army was drawn up on West of Lützen, with 15,000 or 20,000; a line of about a mile and a half : its the Saxons at Torgau, forty miles north- right, to the south-west, resting on the east of Lützen, with a force variously town of Lützen, which was
an imestimated at from 8,000 to 16,000. pediment to his being turned on that Under these circumstances, there were flank; his left, north-east, on the western not wanting timorous councillors to ad- bank of the "Flossgraben," a deep vise the King to outmanæuvre the slow drainage ditch and mill-stream (not Wallenstein, turn him by the south, and a canal to float timber, as Mitchell join the Saxons. The King at once supposes); his front covered by the rejected the counsel. Had he attempted high-road from Lützen to Leipzig, of it, Pappenheim and Wallenstein re- which he had deepened both the side uniting might have caught him in a ditches, and filled them with mustrap; had he escaped this danger, the keteers. But it is important to obfidelity of the Elector was doubtful. serve (what neither Harte nor Mitchell It was obviously his business to fight was aware of, but Philippi distinctly Wallenstein at once, before Pappenheim shows) that this high-road did not cocould be recalled from Halle. With incide exactly with the present. It Gustavus, to decide and to act were diverged from the straight line of the almost simultaneous. He might yet sur- present highway, close to the Schwedenprise Wallenstein before his force was stein, curved to the south, and swept concentrated after its march from Weis- back again into the present road senfels. At midnight of the 4th the near the point where this crosses the King began to move. At ten in the Flossgraben. The country-people still morning the towers of Lützen were in point out the old road, rising in a slight sight. But this plan was defeated; in ridge on the corn-fields. The consethe first place, by the unexpected re- quence would appear to be, that the sistance of Solani's Croats and some two armies, being separated by this artillery on the brook at Rippach ; next, winding road, were not drawn up in as Harte avers, by the optical mistake Í straight lines, but the Imperialist front have already mentioned, which made slightly concave, the Swedish convex; the Swedes believe themselves nearer giving the latter something of that
Protestant writers say 40,000; Catholics, advantage, which Marlborough turned 20,000. The latter number seems very im
to such decisive account at Ramillies. probably low. The detachment of Pappenheim The most salient part of the Swedish to Halle was a gross blunder at best; but we line would, on this supposition, have may safely assume that Wallenstein would not have ventured on it in the face of the redoubt
been close to the Schwedenstein. able Swede, if his army had been thereby
Wallenstein's position was, however, reduced below the number of the latter. not a bad one, for an army of equal force
acting on the defensive ; but his order on the presumed use of a toy that of battle was inconceivably perverse,
" has been brandished with bombastic even according to contemporary critics. “ fierceness for upwards of a century, He seems to have been actuated by a “ and has never yet, in fair and manly resolution to proceed in direct oppo- fight, inflicted a mortal wound on a sition to the lessons which the Swedish single man ?” victories had taught his profession. He In thus uniting spearmen with mustook a step back, towards the tactics of keteers, Wallenstein only followed the the old Netherland wars. He is said to fashion ; but his enormous squares, have conceived that Tilly lost the bat- constructed, no doubt, with a view tle of Leipzig through adopting too loose to resist the dreaded impetuosity of an order: though Tilly's solid squares of the Swedes, seem to have been coninfantry, or “tercias,” were 2,000 strong. demned in his own age as pedantic and His own foot were drawn up in five unwieldy. They formed, in fact, the such solid squares, of huge dimensions : last appearance, on any modern stage, four in the centre, one on his right, of the classical and mediæval phalanx; near the windmills. The reader may capable, no doubt, of resisting cavalry be spared the involved mathematical attacks, but unable to move themselves calculations on which these were con- in attack or pursuit, and exposed to structed ; suffice it to say that, if com- utter destruction when artillery could be plete, every such square would consist brought to bear on them. His own
. of 5,000 men, pikemen and musketeers artillery consisted of about eighty heavy in eqửal numbers, and would have at pieces, 24- to 48-pounders, as some inthe angles small projecting bastion-like form us : it was disposed in front of his formations of musketeers, so as to be troops along the whole line of the road. shaped exactly like an ordinary quad- His cavalry were on the flanks, conrangular redoubt.
“ The manner in sisting (as then usual in the Austrian “ which the armies went to work,” says service) of four classes : cuirassiers, as Colonel Mitchell, "in the hour of they were termed, but who wore, in “ battle, with their mixed masses of addition to the cuirass, the vizored helspearmen and musketeers, is a diffi
met, gorget, brassarts, and cuisses ; car“ culty which historians have left un- bineers, with cuirass and carbine ; dra“ decided, and which, at this distance goons, few in number; and light horse, “ of time, we are not well able to ex- then termed Croats, as in later times What were the spearmen
Hussars, on the extremities of the line“ doing, exposed, without any power troops whose special genius lay in the “ of reaction, to the shots where the line of plundering, which they executed “ musketeers were engaged ; and what with a vigour perhaps unequalled in “ became of the musketeers when the military history. His right wing was “ battle came to push of pike?” Per- strongest, as he expected on the left the haps the difficulty does not so strongly almost immediate reinforcement of the present itself to the imagination of the Pappenheimers. His front was covered civilian as of the military writer; at all by musketeers in the deepened ditches, events, this intermixture was regularly on both sides of the
way. practised in drawing up the infantry of Notwithstanding all the successes of European armies, from the invention of the Swedes, the spirit of his army ran the musket down to that of the bayonet. high. Wallenstein was still to them the Marshal Saxe, as we know, preferred the unconquerable one, who had baffled, if pike, thus supported, to the bayonet not defeated, the Swede himself. Gorged itself; concerning which "ricketty ziz
with plunder, and made frantic by the zag,” our own eccentric Colonel exclaims, promise of more, inflamed with that pe“ What will be deemed of the militaryculiar pride of mercenaries, who feel “ intelligence of an age which could themselves for the hour elevated into “ tolerate the tactical puerilities founded the masters of princes and governments,