1758 - Austrian invasion of Saxony

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The campaign lasted from July to November 1758

Description

Early operations in Saxony

At the beginning of 1758, the Reichsarmee had taken up its winter-quarters in three groups:

  1. in Asch (present-day Aš), Hof and in the Upper-Palatinate
  2. around Kronach, Hildburghausen, Meiningen and Schmalkalden
  3. around Kulmbach and Nuremberg

For their part, the Austrian Bretlach Cuirassiers and Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers, and the Blau Würzburg Infantry had taken up their winter-quarters in Bohemia.

On January 10, the Maréchal de Richelieu ordered the Maréchal de Camp Marquis de Voyer to assemble on the Upper Oker a force of 6,000 men recalled from their winter-quarters in Braunschweig, Wolfenbüttel, Schladen and Goslar; and to advance in three columns on Halberstadt which was defended by the Prussian Major-General von Jungkenn.

In the night of January 10 to 11, Voyer set off from the Oker. However, the night march and the cold weather delayed his advance and allowed Jungkenn to discover his design.

On January 11

  • Prussians
    • Jungkenn evacuated Halberstadt and assembled his force on the road leading to Aschersleben.
  • French
    • At 9:00 a.m., two of the French columns arrived at Halberstadt. Voyer occupied the town and sent Turpin with 2 bns and 7 sqns to Quedlinburg.

Alarmed by the French attack, Prince Heinrich sent Colonel von Salmuth with I./Salmuth Fusiliers from Gardelegen to Stassfurt. He also sent 3 sqns of the Leibregiment zu Pferde from Leipzig to reinforce Jungkenn.

On January 16, after putting Halberstadt and its surrounding heavily to contribution (121,000 Talers cash, 79,000 Talers in bills, 11,150 Talers in payment and 1,400 sacks of grain), the French retired to their winter-quarters behind the Oker, leaving 4 bns and Turpin Hussards in the area of Schladen with outposts on the right bank of the Oker.

Frederick II did not let Voyer’s exactions go unpunished. In a letter sent to Richelieu by Prince Heinrich, Frederick announced retaliatory measures in the countries of the French allies and a stricter treatment of the captured French officers. Field-Marshal Keith was also instructed to raise all due contributions in Saxony and Dresden had to pay 500,000 Talers. Furthermore, Frederick ordered to advance Jungkenn’s detachment, sending Colonel von Tauentzien of the I./Garde to replace Jungkenn.

On January 19, Prince Joseph von Hildburghausen ceded the command of the Reichsarmee to FZM Landgrave von Fürstenberg. He then left Nuremberg for Vienna.

On January 22, Kalckreuth Fusiliers were ordered to leave Berlin and to march to Magdeburg where they would replace Hesse-Cassel Fusiliers.

At the end of January, Prince Heinrich assembled Jungkenn’s detachment in the region of Wanzleben, Egeln and Stassfurt and reinforced this detachment with Hesse-Cassel Fusiliers sent from Magdeburg. At Gardelegen, Salmuth’s detachment, covering the Altmark, was replaced by 2 Landbataillons sent from Berlin. Furthermore, II./Kahlden Infantry went from Halle, by Aschersleben to Halberstadt.

On January 30, even if he did not expect success against the French superior forces, Prince Heinrich sent Colonel von Tauentzien’s Corps (Jungkenn Müntzer Fusiliers (2 bns), Salmuth Fusiliers (2 bns), Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers (2 bns), Leibregiment zu Pferde (5 sqns), Meinicke Dragoons (270 men), Szekely Hussars (85 men) and Seydlitz Hussars (50 men)) assembled at Gross Oschersleben against the neighbouring French outposts.

On January 31 before dawn, Tauentzien advanced by Hessen on Hornburg. At 5:00 a.m., he arrived in front of the place and formed two attack groups, each of 1 bn and 100 volunteers who made themselves masters of the gates, totally surprising the garrison (14 officers and approx. 300 men) who surrendered without resistance. In the afternoon, the Prussians retired towards Osterwieck, followed by Turpin Hussards send out from Schladen. Turpin Hussards were lured into an ambush prepared by the Prussian hussars and dragoons, losing 30 men.

On February 2, Tauentzien’s Corps reached Halberstadt and took quarters in the town and surrounding villages. Tauentzien personally returned to Leipzig and Jungkenn re-assumed command. The troops remained undisturbed in these quarters till the end of the month, replenishing their ranks.

In February, the Emperor promoted Prince Friedrich von Pflaz-Zweibrücken to field marshal and appointed him as commander-in-chief of the Reichsarmee. For the coming campaign, the Reichsarmee received wagons for supplies and each battalion, a wagon for its chapel, cashbox, medicines, shoes, etc. Two pieces were also allocated to each battalion. The army was also equipped with a general hospital.

In February, Freibataillon Mayr, which was quartered in Reichenbach im Vogtland drove back enemy troops posted at Plauen and occupied the place.

In mid February, Prince Heinrich detached 10 bns and 15 sqns from the Prussian army under his command in Saxony to assist the Allied winter offensive in West Germany.

In March

  • Prussians
  • Imperials
    • After the success of the Allied winter offensive in West Germany and the false report of a Prussian army of some 23,000 men assembling near Leipzig, the commanders of the Austro-Imperial army feared a Prussian offensive in Franconia. Accordingly, they decided to assemble the Reichsarmee even though its armament was not yet completed.
    • The Prince of Zweibrücken arrived at Nuremberg where he assumed command of the Reichsarmee which consisted of 38 bns, 30 grenadier coys, 26 sqns with 46 3-pdr and 26 4-pdr regimental pieces for a total of 23,200 foot, 3,100 horse, 525 artillerymen and 78 pontoniers. These figures did not change much till the end of October.
  • Austrians
    • Sincere’s Corps assembled on the right bank of the Elbe near Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice) and Melnik, in case that the Prussians would launch an offensive from Lusatia.

On March 11, Prince Heinrich received instructions from Frederick, informing him that he would assume command of the Prussian army presently posted in Saxony under the command of Keith, and that he would have to lead this army against Bohemia. Prince Heinrich replied, expressing his doubts that his little army would suffice to besiege and capture Prague especially because he lacked the necessary artillery and engineers.

Frederick’s answer to Prince Heinrich’s previous message specified that, for the planned siege of Prague, he just had to use the siege artillery stored in the Fortress of Magdeburg and have it moved to the Elbe.

After the capitulation of Minden, on March 15, the strong Prussian detachment previously sent to assist the Allies returned to its winter-quarters in Saxony. Meanwhile, Prince Heinrich was taking his dispositions for the next campaign with his small army (22 bns and 20 sqns).

On March 25, Frederick wrote to Prince Heinrich to refute his last objections, stressing the importance of synchronized operations of the Army of Saxony with his own army. Frederick considered that with the help of the siege artillery which would be transported on the Elbe up to Leitmeritz, Prince Heinrich should have no difficulty to capture the weakly garrisoned City of Prague within eight days. Prince Heinrich argued that there was not enough gunpowder in Magdeburg to sustain a siege and that the Reichsarmee would seize the occasion to march on Leipzig. He rather propose to advance into the territory of the Holy Roman Empire and to confront the Austro-Imperial army. Frederick maintained his orders to march into Bohemia and to lay siege to Prague.

At the end of March

  • Prussians
    • After assisting the Allies in their winter offensive, Prince Heinrich marched by Halberstadt towards Saxony.
    • The units of the Reichsarmee were instructed to assemble at the newly established headquarters at Bamberg.

On March 28, Prince Heinrich arrived at Dresden.

Order of Battle
Detailed OOB of the Prince Heinrich’s Army at the beginning of April.

On April 1, Keith set off from Dresden to rejoin Frederick’s Army.

Austria convinced the Reichsarmee to redeploy on the border between Saxony and Bohemia to protect the latter from a potential Prussian invasion from Saxony. The Reichsarmee was further reinforced by an Austrian Corps under the command of General Dombasle, consisting of Austrian troops who had previously served with the French in Westphalia. The Reichsarmee was cantoned in Franconia with its left linked to the French positions through Thuringia and the Fulda Country and its right linked to the Austrian troops covering Bohemia.

Prince Heinrich wanted to wait until the Army of Saxony was fully assembled before launching operations against the Reichsarmee. However, he learned that the Reichsarmee, which had its quarters in and around Hof, had left its quarters and retired to Kulmbach and Kronach. He then sent a reconnaissance party (Freibataillon Mayr, 150 men of the Szekely Hussars under Colonel von Mayr) from Reichenbach im Vogtland in the direction of Hof. Mayr marched by Plauen and Oelsnitz.

On the morning of April 12, Mayr reached Hof which had not yet been completely evacuated by the Imperials. He took more than a hundred prisoners and found some flour and oat in the magazines of the place. Part of these provisions were distributed among his detachment and the rest destroyed.

On April 13, Frederick wrote to Prince Heinrich mentioning that an advance into the Holy Roman Empire would lead to no decision while the capture of Prague would be a shock for the Court of Vienna. He finally allowed Prince Heinrich to operate against the Reichsarmee until the king captured Olmütz (present-day Olomouc) in Moravia. However, at this moment, he should immediately advance on Prague.

On April 14, informed that the Reichsarmee was assembling to march against him, Mayr retreated.

The commander in Leipzig informed Frederick that there were a few thousands musket destined to the Austrian army in Suhl and 2,000 muskets destined to the Württemberger Contingent in Zella. Frederick immediately instructed Prince Heinrich to seize these supplies.

From April 20, the units of the Reichsarmee gradually arrived at a camp near Bayreuth. Splényi Hussars were charged of the forward protection of the camp. Furthermore, 5 bns under Major-General Count von Holnstein were posted near Waldsassen; and 6 bns under Major-General Prince Karl zu Stolberg, near Kulmbach. Altogether, Zweibrücken's Army consisted of:

  • 15 bns, 14 grenadier coys and 3 cuirassier sqns under General Kolb
  • 17 sqns cantoned in the neighbouring villages
  • Austrian Splényi Hussars occupying Hof

On April 21, Prince Heinrich sent Colonel von Mayr with Freibataillon Mayr and 150 men of the Szekely Hussars to seize the weapons stocked at Suhl and Zella. Mayr’s detachment marched from Reichenbach im Vogtland by Schleiz, Saalfeld and Königsee.

On April 23, Mayr’s detachment reached Ilmenau.

On April 24, Mayr’s detachment reached Suhl after an arduous march through the Thuringian forest which was still covered with ice and snow. His hussars advanced to Zella and Schleusingen. The Austrians had already taken possession of the muskets stored in Suhl. However, in Zella, Freibataillon Mayr seized 1,050 muskets destined the troops of the Swabian contingent of the Reichsarmee.

On April 26, Mayr’s detachment retired from Zella with its booty and retraced its step towards Reichenbach im Vogtland.

On April 29, Mayr’s detachment arrived at Reichenbach im Vogtland.

Order of Battle
Detailed OOB of Serbelloni’s Austrian Army at the end of April.

At the end of April

  • Prussians
    • Frederick sent reinforcements to Prince Heinrich in Saxony. These reinforcements marched by Görlitz and Bautzen towards Dresden.
  • Austrians
    • The Austrians thought that a Prussian offensive from Lusatia now seemed unlikely but that an offensive from Saxony into Bohemia was possible. Serbelloni, who had assumed command of the Austrian corps formerly under Sincère, received instructions to cross to the left bank of the Elbe, leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Török on the right bank with 700 hussars and Grenzer light troops to guard the mountain passes leading to Lusatia.
Detail of a map illustrating movements of the Austrians and Prussians in Saxony from May to August 1758
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen by the German Grosser Generalstab, Vol. 3
Courtesy: Tony Flores
Legend:
Blue: Prussian corps
- Solid blue lines: advance of Prince Heinrich's Army in May
- Blue dashed lines: retreat of Prince Heinrich's Army in August
Red: Austro-Imperial Corps
- Solid red lines: movements of the Reichsarmee
- Dashed red lines: movement of Serbelloni's Corps

At the beginning of May, the Palatine Kurfürstin Leib-Dragoner (5 sqns) were taken in Austrian pay.

By May 1, the concentration of the Reichsarmee near Bayreuth was completed. The initial plan for this campaign was to select some 13,000 men from the best troops of the Reichsarmee who would effect a junction at Eger (present-day Cheb) with a 40,000 men strong Austrian army assembling at Leitmeritz for an offensive in Saxony. Meanwhile, the rest of the Reichsarmee would cover Thuringia and other Imperial territory. Zweibrücken feared that the Prussians could prevent this junction. For his part, Serbelloni did not dare to advance too far to effect this junction because he feared for Prague.

By May 2, Prince Heinrich had finally received the reinforcement sent by Frederick II (2 bns and 20 sqns under General Driesen) as well as the 2 bns sent from Berlin (4 other bns were still on their way). He then started to assemble his army.

By May 4, the Austrian FML Count Maquire was at Niemes (present-day Mimoň) with the main body of Serbelloni’s Army (Prinz Savoyen Dragoons, Bretlach Cuirassiers, Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers, Modena Cuirassiers, Marschall Infantry, Platz Infantry, Salm Infantry, Sincère Infantry and 300 Grenzer light troops).

On May 5, Maquire's Corps marched to Budin (present-day Budyně nad Ohří) where it arrived on May 7.

On May 11, Maquire's Corps reached Laun (present-day Louny).

On May 15

  • Imperials
  • Prussians
    • Prince Heinrich sent Freibataillon Mayr careering about in Franconia once again. Mayr even reached Bayreuth where the camp of the Reichsarmee had lately been.

By May 17, the Austrians had posted 3 bns and 3 cavalry rgts at Saaz (present-day Žatec) under General Count Althann to ease communication with the Reichsarmee. Meanwhile, advanced parties under Hadik blocked the passes across the Erzgebirge from the Elbe up to Graslitz (present-day Kraslice).

On May 19, the main body of the Reichsarmee encamped near Eger after marching from Bayreuth, by Weidenberg, Wunsiedel and Schirnding. Major-General Holnstein joined the army at Schirnding with his troops; and the detachment of the Prince of Stolberg effected a junction with the army at Eger.

By May 20, Prince Heinrich had assembled 18 bns and 27 sqns near Zwickau and Reichenbach im Vogtland for his planned incursion in Franconia. More precisely, his small corps consisted of:

Prince Heinrich left the rest of his field troops (13 bns, 13 sqns) near Freiberg under the command of Lieutenant-General von Hülsen to cover Saxony and protect his line of communication. More precisely, Hülsen’s small corps consisted of:

Hauss Fusiliers, which previously garrisoned Leipzig was replaced there by Saldern Fusiliers. The latter regiment was replaced at Wittenberg by Kalckreuth Fusiliers coming from Magdeburg.

On May 22

  • Prussians
    • Part of Prince Heinrich’s Army advanced from Zwickau and joined the troops already assembled at Reichenbach im Vogtland. The vanguard (the freikorps and hussars) reached Plauen the same day.
  • Imperials
    • The Reichsarmee left Eger and marched towards Saaz in Bohemia.

On May 23

However, the retreat of the Reichsarmee to Bohemia persuaded Prince Heinrich to refrain from further advance, since he did not want the isolated troops left behind at Freiberg in Saxony under Hülsen to be attacked and defeated. Nevertheless, he had not abandon his plan to make an incursion into Franconia. Finally, he decided to remain near Plauen with the main body of his small army but to send forward a strong detachment into the country of Bamberg, hoping that an incursion into the Reich would create such a turmoil that the threatened princes would withdraw their troops from the Reichsarmee and declare neutrality.

For this purpose, Prince Heinrich sent forward Lieutenant-General von Driesen with about 3,500 men:

Driesen’s Corps was ordered to advanced into the Bishopric of Bamberg, collect contributions and launch raids with small detachments in Upper-Palatinate. Prince Heinrich thought that these measures would convince the Bishop of Würzburg that a strong Prussian force would follow.

On May 24, Belling Hussars and part of Szekely Hussars skirmished with a detachment of Splényi Hussars.

On May 25, Belling’s detachment reached Eger where it set fire to a magazine of hay. It then advanced beyond Eger to Unter-Sandau (present-day Dolní Žandov) and Einsiedl (present-day Mnichov u Mariánských Lázní), while the rearguard of the Reichsarmee withdrew to Karlsbad (present-day Karlovy Vary). Belling’s detachment then retreated unmolested towards Oelsnitz.

On May 26, Driesen set out of Hof, marching by Bayreuth and Hollfeld.

On May ??, the rest of the Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers reinforced Driesen’s Corps. Furthermore, Belling Hussars effected a junction with Driesen’s Corps.

On May 28, the Reichsarmee arrived at Saaz where it made a junction with an Austrian Corps under the command of General Andlau. The Duke of Zweibrücken then took command of the combined army which, including the Austrian troops of Serbelloni at Laun and of Hadik at Brüx (present-day Most), now consisted of 43 bns, 41 grenadier coys, 36 grenzer coys and 79 sqns. It counted 35,000 men to which were added 15,000 Austrians of a solid quality.

Reacting to Belling’s raid in the rear of the Reichsarmee, the Prince of Zweibrücken and Serbelloni held a council of war at Saaz where they decided to despatch a corps of 6,000 men under FML Count Esterházy to drive the Prussians out of the district of Eger. Esterházy’s rearguard was placed under the command of Major-General Baron Luzinsky.

Luzinsky followed Belling’s detachment up to Eger as it retreated. Luzinsky then advanced to Asch and Adorf.

The next movements of the Reichsarmee were planned to force Prince Heinrich to retire:

  • G.d.C. Count Althann’s Corps (12,000 men) would drive the troops of Lieutenant-General von Hülsen out of Freiberg
  • Hadik with a few thousands men would attack Pirna and the Fortress of Sonnenstein and capture arms, ammunition and provisions stored there

As Driesen’s detachment approached, Rosenfled’s detachment of the Reichsarmee, which was now posted at Lichtenfels to protect Franconia, retired to Bamberg.

On May 31

  • Prussians
    • Driesen’s Corps arrived at Bamberg. Rosenfeld’s detachment occupied the town. Rosenfeld was summoned to surrender but refused. Driesen then attacked and, after a long firefight, managed to enter into Bamberg. The outbreak of a fire forced Rosenfeld to capitulate under the condition of free withdrawal with weapons, equipment and baggage.
  • Imperials
    • Althann’s Corps set off from Brüx. However, Althann did not advance directly on Freiberg. Because of the advantageous positions of the Prussians and of their strength, Althann considered that an attack was unfeasible.

As Rosenfeld was marching towards Würzburg, Driesen occupied Bamberg but could raise only a small contribution of 20,000 Reichstaler because the court and cathedral treasuries had already been removed to Würzburg when Driesen’s approach became known.

The Prussian hussars raided Mid and Lower-Franconia. There was great consternation in the empire. In Nuremberg, the gates were closed and the war-chest transferred to Rothenburg an der Tauber.

At the beginning of June, Rosenfeld’s detachment effected a junction with the Austrian corps of FML Baron Dombasle at Würzburg. Dombasle’s Corps, which was on the march from the Netherlands, through Mainz and Franconia towards Bohemia. Dombasle’s Corps consisted of:

Dombasle, despite Zweibrücken’s orders to attack the Prussians, considered that his badly equipped troops were almost unusable and would not even be able to hold Würzburg.

To block the way to a possible invasion of Saxony by the Reichsarmee via Sebastiansberg (present-day Hora Svatého Šebestiána), Prince Heinrich ordered Lieutenant-General Hülsen to take position at Zschopau. He also sent Hülsen a reinforcement of 5 bns (Puttkamer Infantry, Hülsen Infantry, Freibataillon Wunsch) and 7 sqns (Leibregiment zu Pferde and 2 sqns of Szekely Hussars) from Plauen to Zschopau under Major-General von Asseburg.

After the return of Driesen’s Corps, Prince Heinrich remained at Plauen with the main body of his army.

On June 3, once Asseburg’s reinforcements had reached Zschopau and Marienberg, Colonel von Wunsch attacked the entrenchments of the Sebastiansberg with Freibataillon Wunsch, Freibataillon Chossignon (detached from Hülsen’s Corps) and 5 sqns of Szekely Hussars. They seized and destroyed the entrenchments, forcing the defenders to retreat to Komotau (present-day Chomutov). Wunsch then retired unmolested to Marienberg while the enemy reoccupied Sebastiansberg.

On June 4, Austrian hussars captured a convoy of flour and oat between Hof and Plauen.

On June 5

  • Prussians
    • Hülsen set off from Freiberg with his corps.
  • Imperials
    • Esterházy’s Corps arrived at Eger.
    • Hadik arrived at Rosenthal (unidentified location) from Teplitz (present-day Teplice).

In the moonlit night of June 5 to 6, Hadik’s Corps marched towards Pirna which it finally reached at daybreak. It was now impossible to launch a surprise attack and Hadik retired by Schönwald (present-day Krásný Les, Petrovice) towards Brüx.

On June 6

  • Prussians
    • Informed that Esterházy was not at Eger and Luzinsky at Asch, Prince Heinrich encamped at Hof with the bulk of his army. He also detached a few bns to escort the transports arriving from Bamberg on the road to Bayreuth.
    • Hülsen’s Corps effected a junction with Asseburg’s reinforcements near Zschopau. Hülsen then assumed command over the entire force.
    • Salmuth Fusiliers occupied Chemnitz.
  • Imperials
    • The Austro-Imperial army remained idle in its camp of Saaz.

On June 9, Hadik arrived at Brüx where Althann’s Corps had halted to cover the frontier and support Hadik’s Corps.

With his incursion in Franconia, Prince Heinrich had not achieved his intended goal: to force the Reichsarmee to retreat. On the contrary, in his present positions, an advance of the Reichsarmee could cut him off from Dresden. Therefore, he decided to recall Driesen’s Corps and to effect a junction with Hülsen’s Corps after Driesen’s arrival.

On June 10

  • Prussians
    • Driesen’s Corps set off from Bamberg.
  • Imperials
    • Soon after Driesen’s departure, Dombasle reoccupied Bamberg where he was joined by the Palatine Kurfürstin Leib-Dragoner.
    • Hadik marched from Brüx towards Saaz.

On June 14, Driesen’s Corps effected a junction with the main body of Prince Heinrich’s Army at Hof.

On June 16, Prince Heinrich retired from Hof.

On June 22, Prince Heinrich reached the vicinity of Zwickau and Reichenbach im Vogtland.

Prince Heinrich stopped for several days, sending detachments towards Asch where Luzinsky had advanced posts. Luzinsky temporarily retired to Asch.

Prince Heinrich let Lieutenant-General Itzenplitz with 8 bns (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck, Grenadier Battalion Lubath, Finck Infantry, I./Kahlden Infantry, II./Kahlden Infantry, II./Hauss Fusiliers, I./Grabow Fusiliers) and 7 sqns (Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers and 2 sqns of Szekely Hussars) at Zwickau to observe Dombasle’s Corps. With the rest of his army, Prince Heinrich then marched by Chemnitz towards Zschopau.

On June 25, Prince Heinrich’s Army effected a junction with Hülsen’s Corps near Zschopau, on the southern side of Saxony with his eye well on the passes of the Erzgebirge (Metal Mountains). His army (21 bns and 40 sqns) encamped in 3 lines at Zschopau. The Freibataillon Mayr and 4 sqns of Belling Hussars were sent by Lössnitz to the vicinity of Marienberg. Afterwards, 1 sqn was sent to make a raid through Thuringia in the region of Fulda, and to spread the rumor that soon a stronger Prussian army would appear there.

Even after the arrival of Prince Heinrich at Zschopau, Zweibrücken remained idle.

On June 26, a detachment (Knobloch Infantry and I./Hauss Fusiliers) under Major-General Knobloch took position at Freiberg to protect the line of communication with Dresden.

Both armies then remained in their respective positions until mid July.

By July, the heavy artillery of the Reichsarmee consisted of:

  • 10 x 6-pdr guns
  • 4 x 12-pdr guns
  • 4 x 12-pdr howitzers

with a pontoon train of 30 wooden pontoons.

Prince Heinrich estimated that he had not to fear any invasion of Saxony by the Reichsarmee as long as he maintained his positions at Zschopau. Accordingly, he contented himself at first with raids on the enemy outposts.

On July 5

  • Prussians
    • Lieutenant-Colonel von Belling set off from Saxony with 3 sqns of Belling Hussars and 1 sqn of Szekely Hussars to join the Prussians operating against the Russians on the Oder.
  • Imperials
    • Zweibrücken was informed that the Prussians had abandoned the siege of Olmütz. These news changed nothing to his passive behaviour. On the contrary, Daun had to persuade Zweibrücken that he could resume his operations against the army of Prince Heinrich without fearing an intervention of Frederick’s Army which was retiring towards Bohemia. Quite reluctantly, Zweibrücken then finally decided to advance in the direction of Pirna with the Reichsarmee.

On July 6, Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck and Grenadier Battalion Lubath, detached from Itzenplitz’s Corps, rejoined the main body of Prince Heinrich’s Army at Zschopau. They were subsequently employed with the Prussian light troops against the enemy outpost at Joachimsthal (present-day Jáchymov).

On July 9, Esterházy’s Corps returned to the main Imperial army at Saaz.

On July 16, the sqn previously sent against Fulda rejoined the main body of Prince Heinrich’s Army at Zschopau after having retired by Eschwege, Dingelstädt, Nordhausen and Merseburg.

The Austro-Imperial Army enters into Saxony

On July 20, now that operations in Moravia had turned in favour of the Austrians, Zweibrücken at the head of the Reichsarmee quitted his camp of Saaz and moved to a new one between Brüx. The Austrian auxiliary troops, assembled at Laun, marched to Bilin (present-day Bílina).

On July 21, the Austro-Imperial vanguard, under the command of Hadik marched to Teplitz.

On July 22, when Prince Heinrich was informed of the departure of the Austro-Imperial Army from Saaz, he immediately transferred the 3 bns (Knobloch Infantry and I./Hauss Fusiliers) posted at Freiberg under Major-General Knobloch to occupy the heights of Lungwitz near Dippoldiswalde and to stop the incursions of the Austrian light troops. He reinforced them with Bredow Fusiliers sent from his camp at Zschopau. He also recalled Itzenplitz’s Corps to his main army.

On July 23, Hadik advanced to Tornow (unidentified location) with the vanguard. To cover the advance of the vanguard, light troops made a diversion on Marienberg.

On July 25, part of Itzenplitz’s Corps set off from Zwickau and marched to Chemnitz. Kahlden Infantry was left at Zwickau and I./Hauss Fusiliers at Freiberg.

When the Austrian General Dombasle was informed of Itzenplitz's retreat, he quitted his camp at Hof and marched northwards to Gefell, sending his light troops as far as Halle.

On July 28, II./Salmuth Fusiliers set off from Chemnitz on their way to Halberstadt to protect the region against French raids.

The advance of Knobloch to Dippoldiswalde worried Zweibrücken who sent detachments to Schönwald and Altenberg.

On July 28, the Austro-Imperial Army marched from Brüx to Dux (present-day Duchcov).

On July 29

  • Imperials
    • The Reichsarmee marched from Dux to Teplitz.
    • Dombasle's Corps moved from Gefell to Plauen.
    • Luzinsky marched to Reichenbach im Vogtland.
  • Prussians

Prince Heinrich realised that the Austro-Imperial army planned to invade Saxony by the Gottleuba (present-day Bad Gottleuba) highway with Daun's support. Accordingly, he resolved to move his main force in the Dresden-Pirna area. To cover the movement of his army towards Dresden, Prince Heinrich made a diversion on the Bohemian border.

On July 30

At his point Zweibrücken interrupted operations, fearing that any further advance would expose Bohemia to an attack by the corps of Prince Heinrich still posted at Zschopau. Therefore Zweibrücken decided to wait until Prince Heinrich had retired to the Elbe before advancing deeper into Saxony. Serbelloni vainly tried to persuade him that an advance on Dresden would force Prince Heinrich to withdraw.

Prince Heinrich decided to detach Major-General von Asseburg (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck , Grenadier Battalion Lubath, Hülsen Infantry, 500 commandeered foot, 400 commandeered horse, Freibataillon Mayr, Freibataillon Chossignon, 2 sqns of Belling Hussars and 4 x 12-pdrs) towards Bohemia to launch an attack against the Austrian positions on the Sebastiansberg, hoping that this would induce the Reichsarmee to withdraw from Saxony.

By July 31

  • Prussians
  • Austrians
    • The vanguard of Dombasle’s Corps, under Luzinsky, occupied Zwickau.
  • Engagements
    • A Prussian detachment attacked the entrenchments of Passberg (unidentified location) defended by 100 man of the Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer and some regular foot. The Austrians stood their ground for four hours before being driven out.
    • Asseburg’s detachment attacked the newly erected entrenchments at Sebastiansberg which were defended by 3 bns (including 1 bn of Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer under the command of Major Vorberg), 2 grenadier coys and some 1,000 horse under General von Kleefeld. Freibataillon Mayr and Freibataillon Chossignon made themselves masters of the forward entrenchments. They then hurled themselves against the main entrenchments but they were finally driven back after several hours of stubborn fighting. Furthermore, Freibataillon Wunsch coming from Annaberg, which was supposed to attack the enemy in flank, was stopped by the inaccessible roads and numerous abatis and did not reach its assigned position. The Prussians retired in disorder towards Marienberg where they rallied around Hülsen Infantry which was posted there. In this action, the Prussians lost 3 officers and 41 men killed; 5 officers (including M. de Chossignon who would later die from his wounds) and 83 men wounded; and 106 men missing or taken prisoners. The Austrians lost 1 officer and 50 men killed or wounded and 26 men taken prisoners. Even though, the engagement of Sebastiansberg resulted in a failure for the Prussians, it strongly influenced Zweibrücken in his decision to halt at Teplitz, fearing even more a Prussian advance into Bohemia.
    • During a skirmish against Prussian hussars near Dippoldiswalde, the Austrian Major-General Baron Mittrowsky was wounded and taken prisoner.

In August, when the Saxon Contingent received 24 4-pdr regimental guns, the Saxon artillerymen who had formerly been integrated as grenadiers in Fürst Lubomirsky Infantry and Prinz Gotha Infantry were detached from these regiment to serve the new artillery pieces.

On August 1, Dombasle sent Colonel Cotvos with 600 horse and hussars to raise contributions in the district of the Saale and the vicinity of Halle.

On August 2, Dombasle’s Corps, advancing by Plauen, reached Reichenbach im Vogtland.

On August 4, Zweibrücken sent his Reserve Corps (6 bns and 2 cavalry rgts) under FML Count Maquire from Teplitz to Brüx and then to Komotau where it encamped to support the troops posted near Sebastiansberg.

On August 5, I./Salmuth Fusiliers arrived at Leipzig.

When Prince Heinrich saw that the Reichsarmee had not retreated after the engagement of Sebastiansberg, he decided to move closer to the Elbe. His situation was getting more difficult with the arrival of Dombasle on this theatre of operation.

Major General von Finck advanced at the head of several bns from Chemnitz on Zwickau. Seeing this, Luzinsky retired on Reichenbach im Vogtland.

On August 6, Prince Heinrich decamped from Zschopau with the main body of his army and retired to Chemnitz and Öderan between Freiberg and Dippoldiswalde.

When the Prussians retired from Zschopau, the Austrian detachments occupying the passes in the Erzgebirge came out of the mountains and harassed them with constant skirmishes.

On August 7, Daun sent Loudon with a strong corps towards Upper Lusatia.

On August 8

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Luzinsky advanced up to Lichtenstein.
    • Dombasle advanced up to Zwickau.
  • Prussians

The retreat of Frederick with the main Prussian army from Skalitz (present-day Česká Skalice) in Bohemia towards Silesia had left the way open to Daun to effect a junction with the Russian army on the Oder, if he so desired.

Detail of a map illustrating movements of the Austrians and Prussians in Saxony and Silesia from August 10 to September 11 1758
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen by the German Grosser Generalstab, Vol. 3
Courtesy: Tony Flores

On August 10

  • Austrians
    • The Austrian main army under Daun quitted its camp at Horzeniowes (present-day Hořiněves) near Smirzitz (present-day Smiřice) and marched towards Zittau in Lusatia, by Gitschin (present-day Jičín), Turnau (present-day Turnov) and Reichenberg (present-day Liberec).
  • Austro-Imperials
    • When Zweibrücken realised that Prince Heinrich could not threaten Bohemia from his new positions, he recalled his Reserve Corps from Komotau to Brüx.

On August 11

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Zweibrücken at the head of the Reichsarmee marched from Teplitz towards Kulm (present-day Chlumec).
  • Prussians
    • The main body of Prince Heinrich’s Army (22 bns, 3 cavalry rgts and most of the hussars) was assembled near Chemnitz and Öderan.
    • Major-General von Knobloch with 4 bns (Knobloch Infantry, Bredow Fusiliers) and 6 sqns (400 commandeered cuirassiers, 2 sqns of Szekely Hussars) was sent to Maxen.

On August 12

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Hadik with the vanguard of Zweibrücken’s Army penetrated up to Berggiesshübel.
    • The Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer attacked by surprise the Prussian camp on the Kohlberg, killing 100 men and capturing horses and baggage. Meanwhile, Maquire's Corps returned to its camp at Teplitz.
  • Prussians
    • Prince Heinrich's Main Army occupied the following positions:
      • Pirna and Sonnenstein guarded by Garrison Regiment Nr. IV von Grape;
      • Kohlberg entrenchments guarded by 1 Frei-Infanterie battalion and 1 fusilier battalion;
      • on the heights of Maxen, Knobloch with 6 bns and 400 horse;
      • at the camp near Chemnitz and Öderan, Prince Heinrich with 12 bns and 10 sqns;
      • at the camp of Hilbersdorf, Hülsen with 5 bns and 5 sqns;
      • at Freiberg, 2 bns;
      • at Waldenburg, Asseburg's Corps consisting of 6 bns and 15 sqns.

On August 13

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Zweibrücken threw a bridge over the Elbe at Aussig (present-day Ústí nad Labem) to establish a better line of communication with Daun's Army.
  • Austrians
    • General Guasco crossed the bridge at Aussig with his newly assembled corps of carabiniers and grenadiers from Daun's force.
  • Prussians
    • Asseburg was mistakenly informed that Dombasle had already reached Chemnitz and Zschopau. Accordingly, he retired from Waldenburg to Penig.

On August 14

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Dombasle’s Corps reached Zschopau.
  • Austrians
    • Guasco reached Tetschen (present-day Děčín) and occupied its castle.

On August 15

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Dombasle's Corps (15,000 Austrians) advanced up to Chemnitz to observe Asseburg's Corps which had retired northwestwards on Penig.
  • Austrians
    • Daun’s Army reached Reichenberg.

On August 16, Guasco's Corps marched to Schandau (present-day Bad Schandau) to cover the construction of a bridge across the Elbe near Krippen and Schandau and thus establish communication with Hadik's Corps at Berggießhübel.

The early capture of Pirna and of the Fortress Sonnenstein was one of the objectives of the Reichsarmee. Indeed these places constituted the starting points for any further operations against Dresden. Furthermore, Pirna offered a secure point to establish communication across the Elbe between the Reichsarmee and Daun’s Army.

On August 17

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Zweibrücken’s main body finally encamped between Schönwald and Peterswalde (present-day Petrovice), in its slow and hesitant advance into Saxony.
    • Maquire's Corps encamped at Nollendorf (present-day Nakléřov).
  • Austrians
    • Daun arrived at Zittau with the Austrian main army, establishing magazines.
    • Loudon pushed up to Seidenberg (present-day Zawidów) where he left General Harsch to guard the Silesian border with a corps of about 11,000 men.

On August 18

  • Austrians
    • Guasco's Corps received the support of 8 bns and 2 cavalry rgts led by FML Count Trautmannsdorf.
  • Prussians
    • 4 sqns of Belling Hussars, which were returning from Brandenburg, joined Asseburg’s Corps at Penig.

Zweibrücken threw a boat bridge across the Elbe at Schandau. It was covered by the Grenadier Corps under Major-General Count Guasco and by a detachment of 8 bns and 2 cavalry rgts under FML Count Trautmansdorff.

As the enemy advance troops approached Pirna, Prince Heinrich decided to gradually reinforce Knobloch’s detachment at Maxen with 4 bns (I./Kahlden Infantry, II./Kahlden Infantry, Finck Infantry). He also posted Freibataillon Monjou and 900 commandeered troops on the Kohlberg near Pirna and ordered them to fortify their positions.

When Prince Heinrich was informed that Daun was advancing towards Zittau and that the Reichsarmee had resumed its advance, he decided to move closer to Pirna with the main body of his army.

Daun enters into Saxony

On August 19, Daun pushed forward from Zittau with nothing but Zieten to cover him in the distance, aiming for Prince Heinrich's rear, not his flank.

On August 20

  • Austrians
    • Daun’s Army marched from Zittau to Görlitz. This movement was intended to cover Loudon's advance from Seidenberg towards Brandenburg where he intended to make a junction with a Russian army. Daun had now abandoned his plan of a junction of his entire army with the Russian army and was waiting for new instructions from Vienna.
  • Prussians
    • Prince Heinrich retired from the region of Chemnitz and Öderan with 8 bns and 12 sqns. He then assembled his army in two main groups: one in a camp near Großsedlitz where he established his headquarters; the other under Lieutenant-General Hülsen in a camp between Maxen and Gamig. Prince Heinrich also sent 5 bns to entrench themselves on the western edge of the ridge extending to the south-east of Pirna.
    • The Prussians had advanced posts near Pirna and the Castle of Sonnenstein.

Kleefeld's Corps marched to Liebstadt where it made a junction with Hadik. Meanwhile, Trautmansdorf's Corps, along with the grenadiers and the reserve under Maquire reached Pirna.

By August 23

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Dombasle’s Corps marched unmolested by Frauenstein to Freiberg.
  • Prussians
    • Margrave Karl, who was posted in Lower Silesia, had advanced with his corps from Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Góra) to Plagwitz (present-day Płakowice), 45 km east of Görlitz to observe Daun’s Army.

Asseburg retired towards the main body of Prince Heinrich’s Army.

By August 25

  • Austrians
    • Loudon had reached Peitz on his way to Brandenburg.
    • The Austrian Corps de Réserve and the Grenadier Corps took position on the Königsteiner hills near Lang-Hennersdorf.

On August 26

  • Austrians
    • Daun's Main Army set off from Görlitz and marched to Bautzen to establish communication with the Reichsarmee, leaving the Prince of Durlach behind at Schonberg with 27 bns, 5 cavalry regiments and 400 grenzers to cover Lusatia, Bohemia and the magazines at Zittau.

On August 27

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Zweibrücken had assembled his army in a camp near Struppen and threw a bridge across the Elbe near Oberrathen and Wehlen (present-day Stadt Wehlen) to establish a line of communication with Daun.
    • Hadik remained at Berggiesshübel.
  • Prussians
    • Asseburg’s detachment reached the vicinity of Kesselsdorf from where its infantry marched to the camp of Maxen.

On August 28

  • Austro-Imperials
    • Dombasle’s Corps effected a junction with the Reichsarmee near Struppen.
  • Austrians
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Török with his hussars and Grenzer light troops advanced to Stolpen on the right bank of the Elbe.

On August 29, Zweibrücken sent a corps of 8,000 men under FZM Prince August von Baden-Durlach to the right bank of the Elbe to secure communication with Daun’s Army. Baden-Durlach’s Corps took position between Hohnstein and Schandau.

At the end of August, overall the 56 infantry rgts of the Austrian Army counted 84,521 men (at full strength, they should have counted 101,820 men). These rgts counted a total of 108 field bns, 111 grenadier coys.

Order of Battle
Detailed OOB of the Prince Heinrich’s Army at the end of August.

During the night of August 31 to September 1, Prince Heinrich's Army quitted its camp at Großsedlitz in two columns in total silence, moved westwards and encamped on the heights of Gamig behind the Müglitz.

On September 1

  • Austrians
    • Daun's Army reached Radeberg north of Dresden.
  • Austro-Imperials
    • Zweibrücken sent a corps against Sonnenstein under Maquire. The Fortress of Sonnenstein was defended by a Prussian garrison under Colonel von Grape.

Daun was attempting to isolate Prince Heinrich from the other Prussian corps and to catch his small army between Zweibrücken's Austro-Imperial Army and his own. However, Daun was informed that Zieten had prevented the planned raid of Loudon's Corps into Brandenburg and that the Russians had been stopped at the Battle of Zorndorf. Furthermore, the Prince of Durlach informed Daun that Margrave Karl was advancing along the Bober towards Sagan (present-day Zagan). Finally, Daun learned that Prince Heinrich had repositioned his army at Gamig.

On September 3

  • Austrians
    • Daun, changing his plan, sent Lacy to make a junction with Zweibrücken's Austro-Imperial Army.
    • Loudon who was back from Brandenburg, was posted at Hoyerswerda to the northeast of Dresden to protect the line of communication with the Prince Durlach's Corps at Löbau.
    • Vela was detached to Görlitz to cover Lusatia.
  • Austro-Imperials
    • Maquire opened the trench in front of Sonnenstein.
  • Prussians
    • Frederick left Cüstrin (present-day Kostrzyn nad Odrą) in Brandenburg and retraced his steps towards Saxony.

On September 5

  • Austrians
    • The main Austrian army arrived at Stolpen.
  • Austro-Imperials
    • Maquire captured Sonnenstein without resistance. Colonel Grape surrendered with Garrison Regiment Nr. IV (1 ,442 men) which were taken as prisoners of war.
    • Zweibrücken's Army occupied the camp of Pirna.
  • Prussians
    • Prince Heinrich built a strong abatis and a redoubt near Weissenhirsch (unidentified location) up to the road to Radeberg.

On the morning of September 6, the captured Prussian garrison marched out of the Fortress of Sonnenstein.

Frederick arrives in Saxony

On September 9

  • Austrians
    • Daun went to Lohmen near the Elbe to discuss with Zweibrücken the combined attack planned for the following day. Zweibrücken asked to postpone the attack to the night of September 10 to 11 to allow him enough time to prepare it adequately.
  • Prussians
    • Frederick arrived at Großdobritz one march from Dresden.
    • Zieten who had followed his advance, protecting his right flank made a junction with Frederick's force.
    • Margrave Karl also arrived with the Prussian Army of Silesia. He had pushed Loudon's Corps back to the heights of Radeberg behind the Röder.

On September 10,

  • Austrians
    • Everything was ready for the Austro-Imperial combined attack on Prince Heinrich's positions when Daun was informed that Frederick was back from Brandenburg with his army.
  • Prussians
    • Puttkamer with Puttkamer Hussars and 3 Freikorps bns reconnoitred Loudon's position at Radeberg.

On September 11

  • Prussians
    • The entire Prussian army was assembled at the camp of Reichenberg.
    • Frederick went to Dresden to discuss with Prince Heinrich whose army was still encamped at Gamig.
    • The 10 cuirassier sqns previously sent by Prince Heinrich to reinforce Dohna's Corps in Brandenburg arrived at Gamig.
    • Frederick decided to manoeuvre against Daun's right flank and to threaten his magazines at Zittau. To execute his plan, Frederick first had to dislodge Loudon from his positions at Radeberg. He charged Retzow of this mission and gave him 14 bns, 3 Freikorps bns and 25 sqns.
  • Austrians
    • Daun resolved to maintain his position at Stolpen to interdict Silesia to the Prussian army and thus hoping to help Harsch enterprises in these quarters. Daun's camp at Stolpen was a very strong position with his front and right flank protected by the steep-sided Wesnitz and his left flank covered by the Fort of Stolpen and a steep-sided stream. All roads leading to Stolpen passed by deep defiles. Loudon was at Radeberg, Durlach at Löbau and light troops linked Daun's position to Zweibrücken's Army through a bridge thrown across the Elbe near Pirna.

Frederick slowly advances towards Zittau

Detail of a map illustrating movements of the Austrians and Prussians in Saxony and Silesia from September 12 to mid October 1758
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen by the German Grosser Generalstab, Vol. 3
Courtesy: Tony Flores

During the night of September 12 to 13, Retzow's detachment remained in arms near Langebrück.

On September 13

  • Prussians
    • Frederick's army quitted Reichenberg in two columns and encamped in four lines at Schönfeld. The infantry formed the two first lines and the cavalry the two last ones. Two bridges were thrown across the Elbe at Pillnitz to establish a line of communication with Prince Heinrich. These bridges were guarded by the VI. Standing Grenadier Battalion. In the morning, Retzow reconnoitred the Austrian positions.
    • The Prussians attacked the outpost of Weissenhirsch and drove out a detachment of the Warasdiner-Sankt Georger Grenzer.
  • Austrians
    • Daun had already given orders to Loudon and Durlach to move closer to his main army. Loudon had moved to Arnsdorf and Durlach to Putzkau to cover Daun's right flank. He also moved the Austrian carabiniers and grenadiers closer to Lohmen and his Reserve near Stürza. He also placed 5 hussar regiments under Esterhazy on the heights of Dure-Rohrsdorf (unidentified location) to cover his left flank and the communications with Zweibrücken's Army. General Vela was positioned at Bautzen from where he pushed patrols on Kamenz and Elstra. The Austrian bridge at Pirna was transferred to Oberrathen.

On September 14

  • Prussians
    • Retzow encamped at Radeberg where he was reinforced by 10 sqns.
  • Austrians
    • Loudon at Arnsdorf was still blocking the road to Bautzen.

On September 15, Retzow moved closer to the Austrian positions. An engagement took place against a party of Warasdiner-Sankt Georger Grenzer at Arnsdorf not far from Stolpen.

On September 16, Frederick prepared everything for a general attack on Loudon's position. Loudon, who had been reinforced by 5 regiments, decided to retire on the left wing of the army, losing 369 grenzers taken prisoners during his manoeuvre. Retzow, who had been reinforced by 7 bns and 5 sqns, was now at the head of 23 bns and 40 sqns. He encamped at Arnsdorf. Frederick was then informed of the latest developments in Pomerania and sent 8 bns to reinforce the Prussian force operating on this theatre of operation. Realising that Daun was not willing to accept an open battle, Frederick barracked his infantry while his cavalry built stables from branches and scrubs.

On September 17, Hadik marched from Berggießhübel to Glashütte. The Corps de Reserve of Maquire replaced his corps at Berggießhübel.

On September 21, Cotvos’ detachment rejoined Dombasle’s Corps after raiding the County of Hohenstein.

On September 25, Loudon was posted near Bishofswerda while Durlach's Corps was moved to Wilthen to guard the road to Löbau.

On September 26, Frederick encamped at Rammenau near Bishofswerda.

On September 27, Frederick reconnoitred Loudon's camp and gave order to attack it the following day.

On September 28

  • Prussians
    • Frederick sent Retzow forward with 14 bns and 30 sqns towards Bautzen.
  • Austrians
    • Loudon expecting an attack retired at 4:00 a.m.. The Prussian army occupied Bishofswerda and advanced its left on the heights of Goldbach and its centre in front of Rammenau.
    • The Austrian Corps of Durlach moved from Wilthen to Löbau

On September 29, Retzow arrived at Bautzen. However, Frederick could not follow him with the main army for lack of supplies. He thus lost the occasion of cutting Daun from his magazines at Zittau.

By the end of September, it seems that all cuirassier and dragoon rgts of the Austrian field army had been re-established at 5 field sqns and 1 elite (carabinier or horse grenadier) coy).

On October 1

  • Prussians
    • The Austrian Corps of General Vela marched from Weissenberg to Hochkirch. Seeing this, Retzow immediately marched to Weissenberg and encamped there with 6 bns and 15 sqns while the rest of his corps encamped at Bautzen under the command of the Prince of Württemberg.
  • Austrians
    • Daun recalled 5 bns and the Portugal Cuirassiers which had previously been detached to Zweibrücken's Army.

On October 4, Daun held a council of war where Zweibrücken attended. It was decided to leave Stolpen and to occupy a new camp at Löbau.

On October 5

  • Austrians
    • Daun detached the Duke of Ursel with the second line of the left wing to occupy the heights of Tautewalde on the road to Wilthen. The rest of the Austrian Army quitted Stolpen in the afternoon and encamped at Krusta (unidentified location). The Duke of Aremberg led the rearguard consisting of Loudon's Corps, the Reserve, the second line of grenadiers and carabiniers and the hussar regiments under Esterhazy.
  • Prussians
    • When Frederick learned that Daun was retiring, he gave orders to pursue the rearguard. However, the Prussians were repulsed with a loss of 400 men.

During the night of October 6 to 7, the Austrian Corps of Vela (Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer (1,812 men) and an unidentified hussar unit (437 men)) occupied the Stromberg, a very high hill dominating the neighbourhood. Retzow had neglected to occupy this height with appropriate forces, posting only some cavalry which retired at night.

Battle of Hochkirch

On October 7

  • Austrians
    • Daun’s Army counted 16 cavalry rgts which could field 80 sqns. Their elite coys were with the Grenadier Corps. The Austrian Army marched to Kittlitz just north of Löbau. It encamped there with its right behind the Stromberg and its left behind the wooded heights of Hochkirch. The carabiniers and grenadiers camped out to the left. Loudon, who covered the march left the Lammerberg, posted his corps between Kleinpostwitz and Schirgiswalde to observe the movements of the Prussian Army.
    • The Austrian Corps of Durlach crossed the river at Löbau and took position at Rosenhain.
  • Prussians
    • Frederick marched to Bautzen with the main Prussian army and the Prince of Württemberg quitted this town to make a junction with Retzow at Weissenberg. Field-Marshal Keith staid behind with 7 bns and 15 sqns to wait for Bülow. who escorted the bread convoy and the chest. Frederick then waited for a second large provision-convoy from Dresden.

On October 8, Bülow joined Keith with supplies. Keith immediately departed to bring these supplies to the army while Bülow waited for a convoy of flour which arrived very late in the evening.

On October 10

  • Prussians
    • Bülow marched with all the train to Bautzen where the bakery was immediately set up.
    • Frederick marched with the main army in 4 columns towards Hochkirch. As the Prussian army was arriving at Hochkirch the fog lifted and Frederick could see the Austrian army drawn in battle order in front of its camp at Kittlitz. Despite the proximity of the Austrian Army, Frederick decided to encamp at Hochkirch for the night. Frederick knew that his position was quite bad but, since the Austrians had never attacked him since the beginning of the war, he decided to wait for the arrival of supplies before moving to another location. Marwitz objected in pitching camp in such position but was put under arrest and another adjutant did it.
    • A Prussian force under Retzow tried to seize the Stromberg only to find it already occupied by the Austrians. Retzow considering the position impregnable retreated without fighting and Frederick had him arrested under the charge of cowardice.

On October 13

  • Prussians
    • Frederick sent Lattorf escorted by 4 bns and 100 hussars to Bautzen with all wagons. Lattorf was supposed to come back from Bautzen by Purschwitz and Weissenberg.
    • Kannacher was sent to Dresden with 3 bns and 200 hussars to bring back flour. Once he would get these supplies, Frederick planned to cross the Löbau during the night at Gröditz, pushing back the Austrian Corps of Durlach and to encamp at Schöps on the Austrian right flank. To reconnoitre the area, Frederick went personally to Weissenberg escorted by Forcade Infantry. He then decided to make this manoeuvre during the night of October 14 to 15.
  • Austrians
    • Daun planted a new battery in front of his centre. Then at nightfall, the entire Austrian Army started advancing in several columns towards Frederick's position.

On the night of October 13 to 14, the Battle of Hochkirch began with a night attack. The Austrians almost succeeded in surrounding the Prussian army but Frederick managed to extricate his army from this trap and retired to Purschwitz and Kleinbautzen on one of the branches of the Spree. The Prussians finally encamped at Doberschütz.

The morning after the Battle of Hochkirch - Source: Carl Röchling, 1895

On October 14

  • Prussians
    • Frederick immediately gave orders to Prince Heinrich to sent him from his camp of Gamig a reinforcement of 6,000 men consisting of 8 bns, 5 hussar sqns, 12 x 12-pdrs and a large quantity of ammunition.
  • Austrians
    • Daun, who had retired into his entrenched camp at Kittlitz, sent messengers to General Harsh in Silesia, urging him to speed up the siege of Neisse (present-day Nysa). He then celebrated his victory without doing any attempt to impede the movements of the defeated Prussian army.
  • Austro-Imperials
    • Zweibrücken's Austro-Imperial Army finally left its camp at Pirna and moved to Berggießhübel while Maquire's Corps de Réserve went to Lauenstein. Zweibrücken had left his right wing and the Grenadier Corps (now under FZM Landgrave of Fürstenberg) in his camp at Pirna.

On October 16, the Austrian Grenadier Corps went from Pirna to Berggießhübel.

On October 17

  • Austrians
    • Daun departed from his camp at Kittlitz and moved closer to Frederick's positions. He deployed his right wing on the heights of Belgern covered by the Löbau River and some ponds. All Austrian grenadier companies along with the carabiniers were posted on this plateau. Daun's lines extended on the heights behind the villages of Kumschütz and Baschütz up to the defile of Jenkwitz. Daun then took disposition to reinforce his new camp with defensive works.
    • Loudon's Corps took position on the heights of Weissitz (unidentified location) in front of the Austrian left wing.
    • Most of Durlach's Corps made a junction with the Austrian main army while the rest took position on the Schaafberg under the command of Vela to cover the right flank and the road to Görlitz.

On October 18, while Daun was remaining idle in his new camp entrenching his position, Prince Heinrich left his camp behind the Müglitz with 6,000 men (8 bns and 5 hussar sqns) and a considerable train, leaving the rest of his army under the command of Lieutenant-General Itzenplitz, and marched to Bautzen to effect a junction with Frederick's Army.

By October 20, the Austrian artillery of the field army consisted of 2,190 artillerymen, 653 fusiliers and 2,177 infantry henchmen for a total of 5,020 men (excluding Serbelloni’s Corps).

Now that the Russians and Swedes were slowly retiring towards their winter-quarters in Pomerania and Poland, Frederick resolved to recall most of Wedell's and Dohna's Corps from Pomerania and Brandenburg to reinforce Saxony. His plan was now to go to the rescue of the besieged Fortress of Neisse in Silesia, hoping that Prince Heinrich, reinforced by Wedell and Dohna, could hold Dresden for 3 to 4 weeks.

Frederick marches to Silesia

On October 22

  • Prussians
    • In the evening, a convoy transporting the sick and wounded of the Prussian army (about 3,000 men) left Bautzen escorted by Bülow Fusiliers and 5 sqns. It marched towards Dresden by a large sweeping movement by Kamenz, Königsbrück and Radeberg. However, when he arrived at Kamenz, Bülow was informed that the Austrian General Nauendorf had taken position at Königsbrück with 4 infantry regiments. Bülow then received new orders from Frederick, instructing him to march from Kamenz through Hoyerswerda to Glogau (present-day Głogów) in Silesia.
  • Austrians
    • Maquire marched from Lauenstein and effected a junction with the main army at Berggießhübel. FML Nikolaus Count Esterházy then assumed command of the Corps de Réserve.

On October 23 at 10:00 p.m., General Bornstedt with 4 bns and 5 hussar sqns left Frederick's camp with the supply and ammunition train. The convoy advanced along the Spree River up to Commerau where it crossed on the right bank.

On October 24

  • Prussians
    • At 6:00 p.m., a Prussian Corps of 6 bns and 5 hussar sqns marched with the baggage by Salaa and Leichnam (unidentified location) to Neudorf where it crossed the Spree. He then waited for the main army.
    • At 10:00 p.m., the Prussian infantry occupying the advanced posts retired on the main army in total silence, leaving only cavalry in these posts. About the same time, the vanguard consisting of Werner Hussars, Frei-Infanterie de Salenmon (1 bn) and the 8 bns brought by Prince Heinrich, marched on Drehsa (does not correspond to the general direction of the movement, more probably Brösa), crossed the Spree at Geisslitz, turned right and advanced through Weigersdorf, Gross Radisch and Diehsa up to the camp at Ullersdorf. The first column, consisting of infantry followed the same road. The second column, consisting of cavalry, crossed the Spree at Neudorf followed by Braun's convoy. It advanced through Dauban, Leipgen and Kollm to the camp at Ullersdorf.
    • The same evening, Bornstedt departed from Commerau with the supply train and marched by Lieske, Tauer, Förstgen, Sproitz to Jänkendorf. Prince Heinrich led the rearguard composed of 11 bns and 20 sqns. As soon as the Prussian Army had left the camp, he occupied the Spitzbergen heights until daybreak.
    • Frederick encamped with his right at Diehsa, his left at Baarsdorf and his headquarters at Ullersdorf.
  • Austrians
    • Chased from the road to Görlitz, the Austrian Corps of Vela retired on the Austrian main army.
    • When Daun was informed that Frederick's entire army had taken possession of the road to Görlitz behind his own lines, the heads of the Prussian columns had already reached Gross Radisch. The only immediate measure taken by Daun was to send Caramelli to pursue the Prussian rearguard.

On October 25

  • Prussians
    • At noon, Bornstedt arrived at Jänkendorf (about 0,5 km from Ullersdorf) with the supply train and formed a wagenburg.
  • Austrians
    • The Austrians occupied Bautzen where they captured Prince Moritz and General Geist who had been left behind because of their severe wounds.
    • In the afternoon, Daun sent ahead Lacy with the grenadiers, Arenberg with the Reserve and Esterhazy with 2 regiments of hussars to Reichenbach, 12 km west of Görlitz to observe Frederick's Army. When they saw Frederick's camp at Ullersdorf, they realised that he would be at Görlitz before them unless they marched during the following night. They then decided to occupy the Lanskrone heights which was done by 7:00 p.m..

By October 26, Daun’s Army counted 22 cavalry rgts which could field 110 sqns. Their elite coys were with the Grenadier Corps.

On October 26 at 2:00 a.m., Frederick marched from Ullersdorf with the vanguard reinforced by all dragoon and hussar units of the army. To hide his march, he took a small road passing by Ober Rengersdorf. from where he reached the plain in front of Görlitz. The Prussian Main Army followed at 3:00 a.m., the first column taking the same road, the second column marching alongside by Nieder Rengensdorf, the third column (consisting of Bornstedt with the supply train), reinforced by Freikorps and foot jägers, marched towards Görlitz by Särichen, Grosskrauscha and Ludwigsdorf. Frederick was at Ebersbach with his vanguard when it made contact with elements of Austrian light cavalry. Frederick instructed Werner Hussars and Puttkamer Hussars to occupy the heights facing the Landskrone to hide the arrival of the Prussian dragoons and cuirassiers. When the Prussian dragoons were formed behind their hussars, the latter attacked Paul Anton Esterházy Hussars and threw them back on their carabiniers. The Austrian carabiniers immediately counter-charged the Prussian hussars and pushed them back. At the same time, Czettritz Dragoons along with 3 sqns of Normann Dragoons fell on the Austrian carabiniers, the Prussian hussars then rallied, charged and broke the Austrian carabiniers. During their retreat, the Austrians lost a great number of horse grenadiers killed while 418 along with 8 officers were taken prisoners. After this action, Austrian grenzer troops hastily evacuated Görlitz. Frederick first considered attacking the Austrians on the Landskrone but this position was too strong. He then encamped in the plain with his right at Ebersbach and his left at Görlitz. The headquarters at Görlitz were guarded by 17 bns. The villages of Ebersbach and Girbigsdorf were both occupied by 10 bns. However, the Austrian grenzer troops remained master of the lower part of the village of Girbigsdorf. Several bridges were thrown over the Neisse River and Frei-Infanterie le Noble and Frei-Infanterie du Verger crossed the river. The same day, Daun finally decided to quit his camp near Belgern and to advance towards Görlitz. Daun encamped with his right on the Burgsberg near Jauernick-Buschbach, his centre on the Landskrone and his left at Markersdorf. Loudon's Corps formed the rearguard.

On October 27, Loudon encamped on the heights of Königshain on the Prussian right flank. Meanwhile, Daun had formed the plan to make himself master of the three cities of Dresden, Leipzig and Torgau. Accordingly, he sent General Tillier to discuss with Zweibrücken how to combine their operations against Dresden.

On October 28, Daun sent Wied with a strong reinforcement of 9 bns, 10 grenadier coys and 4 cavalry rgts to General Harsch, hoping that he would be able to capture Neisse before Frederick's arrival. Daun also detached Vela to occupy the mountains of Schönberg (unidentified location) while Loudon was preparing to vigorously pursue the Prussian rearguard in Silesia. Daun himself was waiting for Frederick to quit Saxony before attempting a raid on Dresden. Esterházy's Corps was sent to the camp at Pirna. The same day, Wedell quitted Suckow in Pomerania with a Prussian force and marched towards Berlin.

On October 29 in the afternoon, the Prussian army being now resupplied, Bornstedt marched towards Gruna (present-day Gronów) with the supply train. The same day, Braun crossed the pontoons bridge at Görlitz and marched to Leopoldshain (present-day Łagów) with the artillery train and baggage escorted by 4 bns.

During the night of October 29 to 30, the Prussian vanguard crossed the Neisse. At midnight, the battalions cantoned in the surrounding villages joined the main army which also crossed the Neisse. At daybreak, Frederick's entire army was on the eastern bank of the Neisse, abandoning momentarily Saxony to its fate with the goal of relieving the Prussian force besieged at Neisse and to stop the Austrian invasion of Silesia. After Frederick's departure for Silesia, Major-general Finck assumed command in Saxony.

On October 31, Wedell arrived at Berlin where he waited for Dohna's Corps.

By the end of October, Daun’s main army together with Harsch’s Corps and Serbelloni’s Corps counted 60 infantry rgts who could field 114 bns and 116 grenadier coys. Together with the Reserve Corps, Loudon’s Corps and Serbelloni’s Corps, it counted 22, 461 cavalrymen (at full strength, these units should have counted 35,062 men)

Daun blockades Dresden

Dohna made a junction with Wedell's Corps at Berlin and they both took the road towards Torgau in Saxony with 23 bns and 32 sqns. Only 8 bns under Manteuffel were left in North Germany.

On November 3, Daun threw a bridge over the Neisse River to give the impression that he planned to pursue the Prussian Army in Silesia. Meanwhile, Zweibrücken, who was charged to drive back Itzenplitz from Maxen to Dresden, marched from Berggießhübel to Lauenstein with the Austro-Imperial Army.

On November 4 in the morning, Daun took the road to Bautzen instead of entering into Silesia. However, he sent General O'Kelly at Lauban in Silesia to support Loudon if necessary. The same day, Zweibrücken marched to Hermsdorf. Now, only Roth Brigade guarded the boat-bridge at Pirna.

On November 5, the Prussian Corps under the command of Finck abandoned its camp at Gamig and retired behind the vale of Plauen to avoid behind attacked on both fronts. The new Prussian position had its right towards Zolmen (unidentified location) and its left at Postewitz (unidentified location).

On November 6, Daun left Dittersbach and crossed the Elbe at Pirna.

On November 7, Daun encamped at Lockwitz about 10 km to the south-east of Dresden. Meanwhile, Zweibrücken's Army took position at Freiberg about 50 km to the south-west of the Saxon capital. A few days later, Zweibrücken detached Hadik towards Torgau to capture the city which was defended by only 2 bns.

During the night of November 7 to 8, Finck held a council of war where it was decided to march towards Meißen at daybreak before being totally surrounded. Two officers were sent to Schmettau commanding at Dresden to inform him of these dispositions and to ask him to hold until the arrival of Wedell's and Dohna's reinforcements. Daun was soon informed of the intentions of the Prussians. Indeed, this was exactly what Finck was hoping for. He did not intend to leave for Meißen but instead to delay Daun's operations.

On November 8 at daybreak, Finck went to Dresden to discuss his plan with Schmettau. Meanwhile, he had given orders to bake foods, to throw a bridge over the Elbe downstream of Dresden and to prepare three roads leading to this bridge.

On November 9 at 6:00 a.m., the baggage and the artillery train marched under an escort consisting of 30 men from each battalion. At 2:00 p.m., Finck was informed that Daun's Army was on the move. Finck's Corps was placed under arms and the detachments at Wilsdruff and Kesselsdorf recalled. The whole corps then marched by the left. The first column consisting of infantry marched by Altfranken, crossed the bridge, entered into Dresden by the Wilsdruff Gate, went through the city and encamped in front of the new town. The second column, consisting of Grabow Fusiliers and all the cavalry, marched by the Freiberg Road, crossed the boat-bridge, went through the city and encamped between the “Black Gate” and the “White Gate”. The train had marched in front of the second column. To cover the march of his corps, Finck had taken position at Plauen with 6 bns acting as a rearguard. Colonel Mayr who had occupied the park was attacked and fought till the evening when he retired to the suburbs of Dresden.

On November 10 at 3:00 a.m., Schmettau was informed that Daun was planting his batteries in the suburbs. Schmettau, who had previously taken dispositions for this, set fire to the suburbs; 280 houses were burned. Daun rather than besieging the town then resolved to blockade it. He sent O'Donell to Gersdorf on the other side of the Elbe to observe the Prussians. The same day, Wedell arrived at Herzberg about 23 km north-east of Torgau. There, he was informed by Major Lossow that Hadik was marching on Torgau with an Austrian force of 10,000 men. Indeed, Hadik was at Grimma awaiting the arrival of some heavy cannon and howitzers.

On November 11, Hadik marched to Eulenburg on the Mulde.

On November 12, Hadik completed his march and arrived in the neighbourhood of Torgau. The same day, Zweibrücken's Austro-Imperial Army marched towards Leipzig which was already blockaded by parts of Kleefeld's and Lichtenstein's detachments.

On November 13, Hadik moved closer to Torgau. Colonel Grolmann, the Prussian commander of the place, made a sortie. Hadik believing that Wedell had already reached Torgau suspended his attack and retired to Eulenburg. This allowed enough time to Wedell to throw 5 sqns into Torgau, soon followed by the rest of his corps. Meanwhile, Kleefeld was marching from Borna Liebschützberg to reinforce Hadik before Torgau.

On November 14, Dohna's Corps arrived at Torgau.

Frederick comes back from Silesia

On November 15, all Prussian forces, having crossed the Elbe under the guns of Torgau, attacked the bridge at Eulenburg. Lieutenant-general Prince of Stolberg seconded by Major-general Baron von Nagel at the head of the regiment Gyulay and of the troops of Cologne, put up a strong resistance. This regiment repulsed three Prussian attacks. However, the Prussian mounted troops managed to cross the river and deployed to attack Hadik's positions. The latter decided to retire to Grimma. Before leaving, he set fire to the bridge. At Grimma, Hadik was reinforced by 10 squadrons of the Splényi Hussars and Szechényi Hussars under the command of Reid and Luzinsky. Hadik, who had lost 250 men in the action at Eulenburg, called Kleefeld and Lichtenstein to join his own force. Meanwhile, Dohna encamped near Eulenburg. The same day, the Austro-Imperial Army marched to Colditz where Zweibrücken was informed of Hadik's defeat. He decided to retire on Chemnitz and to take his winter-quarters. Meanwhile, Frederick, who was on his way back from Silesia, had already reached Lauban. Loudon then retired to Zittau in Saxony.

On November 16, Daun lifted the blockade of Dresden and retired to Pirna.

On November 17, Frederick crossed the Löbau at Weissenberg and learned that Daun had abandoned the blockade of Dresden. Frederick then took with him the 8 bns that he had taken from the Prussian Army of Saxony after his defeat at Hochkirch along with 20 sqns and marched to Dresden with Prince Heinrich. The rest of Frederick's Army returned to Silesia under the command of Margrave Karl.

On November 20, Finck's Corps lifted camp and took cantonments in the region.

On November 21, Frederick was informed that Daun had razed the Fortress of Sonnenstein and retired to Bohemia.

Frederick then gave orders to clear Saxony of any remaining enemy troops. He detached Wildersheim to Pirna with 2 bns and 5 sqns, and Hülsen to Freiberg with 5 bns and 5 sqns. Meanwhile, the Prussian cavalry quitted Dresden to take its winter-quarters in the cities of Leipzig and Halle. Itzenplitz and Knobloch marched into the Voigtland with 13 bns and took their quarters at Zwickau and Gera. Wedell quitted Eulenburg to reinforce the Prussian Corps operating in Voigtland. The rest of the Prussian infantry took its winter-quarters in and around the towns of Meissen and Dresden. Dohna also left Eulenburg, advanced through Leipzig and returned to Pomerania with 21 bns and 35 sqns to repulse the Swedes.

On December 10, Frederick personally departed from Dresden to return to Silesia.

Daun took his winter-quarters in Bohemia in and around the towns of Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice) and Bunzlau (present-day Stará Boleslav). His headquarters were at Prague. The Reichsarmee spent the winter in Franconia.

References

This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763
    • Vol. 6 Leuthen, Berlin, 1904, pp. 89-91
    • Vol. 7 Olmütz und Crefeld, Berlin, 1909, pp. 35-39, 53, 187-206, Anhang 6, 7, 8
  • Jomini, Henri, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 2ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 86-90, 171-176, 178-241, 247-256
  • Carlyle T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 18
  • Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 324-324
  • Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 446-450

Other sources

Cogswell, Neil: First Battle of Torgau, November 13, 1758, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. IX No. 2

Wengen, F. v.: Geschichte des k. k. österreichischen 13. Dragoner-Regimentes Prinz Eugen von Savoyen, Brandeis, 1879

Zweibrücken: Journal of the Imperial Army of Execution under the Orders of His Most Serene Highness the Prince von Pfalz Zweybrucken

Acknowledgements

Alessandro Colaiacomo for the description of the manoeuvres during the month preceding the battle of Hochkirch