1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg – Frederick comes to the rescue
The advance of the Russian army from Poland into Brandenburg, the counter-manoeuvre of Dohna’s Army and the siege of Cüstrin are described in our article 1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg – Arrival of the Russians.
Frederick comes to the rescue
On August 21
- With the approach of Frederick’s Army, Fermor attached much importance to Schwedt where he thought that Dohna or Frederick would try to cross the river there. Furthermore, Fermor feared that the garrison of Stettin (present-day Szczecin) could also advance on Schwedt. He wondered if he should not march to Schwedt with his army.
- Fermor received a report from Cossack parties reconnoitring on the west bank of the Oder, stating that several Prussian detachments were on the move downstream and that a Prussian camp had been discovered opposite Alt-Schaumburg (present-day Szumiłowo). This report only comforted Fermor in his opinion that Schwedt was seriously threatened.
- The heavy train arrived from Landsberg (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski) at the Russian camp near Cüstrin (present-day Kostrzyn nad Odrą). Supply columns also arrived from Posen (present-day Poznań) and Marienwerder (present-day Kwidzyn). Furthermore, transports were collected in the vicinity of Cüstrin. The besieging army was now sufficiently provided with food for a while.
- Rumyantsev advanced only to Bahn (present-day Banie). He attached less importance than Fermor to an eventual crossing at Schwedt. Instead, he feared that the Prussian garrison of Stettin could seize the large Russian magazines at Stargard and Soldin (present-day Mysliborz), and preferred to keep his division in the area of Pyritz (present-day Pyrzyce) and to send some reinforcements to the garrison of Schwedt.
- Early in the morning, leaving his corps behind at Frankfurt for a rest day, Frederick visited General Dohna at his camp at Gorgast, just outside Cüstrin. Dohna had been keeping a watch on the Russians, although unable to interfere with their proceedings. The king had a profound contempt for the Russians, in spite of the warning of Keith, who had served with them, that they were far better soldiers than they appeared to be; and he anticipated a very easy victory over them.
- Frederick reconnoitred along the Oder and was soon convinced that an attempt to cross the river at Cüstrin would fail. He rather decided to cross at Alt-Güstebiese (present-day Gozdowice) while making demonstrations near Cüstrin to mislead the Russians. He sent Lieutenant-General von Kanitz to Wriezen with 4 bns (Prinz Moritz Infantry, Dohna Infantry) and the pontoons to retrieve the bridging material assembled there and to transport it to Alt-Güstebiese.
- Lieutenant-General Schorlemmer made a halt in the area of Eberswalde.
- In the evening, Dohna sent Frei-Infanterie von Hordt to Wriezen to oppose any Russian light troops in the area. Colonel Count Hordt left only 200 men near Kienitz and Neuendorf, and sent a detachment to Freienwalde and the Finow Canal to retrieve vehicles received from Berlin and to bring them to Zellin (present-day Czelin).
- In the evening, Frederick’s Corps set off from Frankfurt.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Dohna’s Prussian Army on August 22, 1758.|
On Tuesday, August 22
- After much delays, Resanov’s detachment finally set off from Marienwerder and marched towards Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg).
- Rumyantsev received Fermor’s renewed orders to advance towards Schwedt.
- Asked for his opinion, the Austrian military representative Baron St. André estimated that it was pointless to continue the ineffective bombardment against the strong walls of the Fortress of Cüstrin which only caused useless losses. He considered unnecessary to keep the Russian army immobile in front of Cüstrin while Rumyantsev’s and Browne’s corps were too far away. For these reasons, he suggested that all forces, to the exception of some troops left behind to secure communication, should march to Schwedt to effect a junction with the Swedish army and to meet the Prussians on the western bank of the Oder.
- At 5:00 a.m., Frederick's own corps joined forces with Dohna's at Manschnow. His cavalry encamped while his infantry took up quarters in the surrounding villages.
- Prince Moritz arrived with his corps which had left Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Gora) in Silesia on August 11 and marched by Liegnitz (present-day Legnica), Crossen (present-day Krosno Odrzańskie) and Ziebingen (present-day Cybinka).
- The Prussian Army at the camp of Gorgast now counted 37,000 men. Frederick had no doubt that he would be able to beat the Russian army positioned around Cüstrin.
- Early in the morning, Frederick sent Manteuffel with the vanguard closer to the Oder in front of Schaumburg. Manteuffel’s artillery opened a lively fire against the redoubt near Alt-Schaumburg, the village of Alt-Schaumburg, the bridge and the island to induce the Russians to believe that his attempt to cross the Oder would take place in this area. Frederick then reconnoitred the Russian positions from the banks of the Oder.
- Schorlemmer’s detachment rejoined the main Prussian army. Major-General von Platen was immediately sent towards Kienitz with 5 sqns of Schorlemmer Dragoons to support Frei-Infanterie von Hordt against a swarm of Cossacks who had crossed the Oder near Zellin. However, when he arrived at Kienitz, the Cossacks had already retired.
- At 7:00 p.m., Frederick assembled his lieutenant-generals in his headquarters at Gorgast to instruct them of his dispositions for the march towards Güstebiese and for the passage of the Oder.
- In the evening, Kanitz set off from Wriezen with 65 barges and all pontoons and marched to Alt-Güstebiese.
- At 10:00 p.m., Frederick set his army on the move along the Oder, leaving only Wied Fusiliers behind to reinforce the garrison of Cüstrin. Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel led the 8 bns of the vanguard which were accompanied by all hussars. The vanguard advanced by Friedrichsaue and Ortwig to Alt-Güstebiese. It was followed by the right column consisting of the infantry of the first line and probably by the heavy artillery; and, some distance to the left, by the left column, consisting of the infantry of the second line.
During the night of August 22 to 23
- Around 3:00 a.m., the Prussian cuirassiers and dragoons broke camp and marched from Manschnow towards the designated crossing place. On their way, they joined Platen’s detachment coming from Kienitz.
- Fermor broke his bridge near Alt-Schaumburg and put the pontoons in security. He also sent Colonel Chomutov with 500 Cossacks to reconnoitre the Oder downstream from Cüstrin.
On August 23
- At daybreak, Frederick’s Army was near Güstebiese where Kanitz joined it with the bridging equipment and the pontoons. No Russian troops could be seen in the village or on the heights behind it.
- Around 7:00 a.m., both Prussian columns reached the banks of the Oder opposite Alt-Güstebiese.
- Colonel Count Hordt posted at Wriezen had received orders from Frederick to march towards Güstebiese. Hordt immediately sent counter-orders to the guide leading the bridging equipment recently received from Berlin to turn back and recalled all detachments, leaving only 400 men in Wriezen to cover the newly established field hospital and magazine. He then rapidly marched towards Alt-Güstebiese with the rest of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt.
- At 8:15 a.m., the construction of the bridge began and lasted three hours. Meanwhile, with barges, boats and vessels contributed by countrymen, part of the infantry of the vanguard along with Zieten Hussars passed the Oder and took position on a height on the opposite bank.
- As soon as the bridge was completed, Frederick crossed first with Grenadier Battalion 1/23 Wedell and deployed them on the heights. Then came a squadron of Zieten Hussars.
- At noon, the main army began to cross the river with Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars in the van, followed by the infantry, the train of artillery, the cuirassiers and dragoons. Meanwhile a second bridge was being erected. The Prussian Army completed the crossing of the Oder and resumed its march.
- In the evening, the Prussian army encamped with its right wing at Zellin and its left wing at Klossow (present-day Klosow). In this position, the Prussians were between the Russian main army and Rumyantsev’s Division.
- Prussian hussars brought in a dozen or two of Cossacks and Frederick had his first sight of Russian soldiery, by no means a favourable one.
- All baggage was left on the left bank of the Oder and Frei-Infanterie von Hordt was assigned to the guard of the bridge.
- Colonel Chomutov informed Fermor that the inhabitants had reported the preparation for the construction of a bridge near Alt-Güstebiese. Fermor ordered Chomutov to march to Alt-Güstebiese and to hinder the construction of that bridge; but his messenger could not go through the patrols of Prussian hussars. When he saw that the situation was serious, Fermor sent a courier to Rumyantsev, to inform him of the latest events, to recommend him the utmost caution, and to order him to be ready for any contingency.
- When Fermor learned that Frederick had crossed the Oder and cut his line of communication with Rumyantsev's cavalry corps (12,000 men) camped downstream at Schwedt; he gave order to General Browne, who was just arriving from Landsberg with the Observation Corps to hasten and to make a junction with his own corps. Fermor also detached hussars to reconnoitre the Prussian positions. Fermor followed the advice of St. André and Prince Karl and decided to retreat to better positions at Gross-Cammin (present-day Kamień Wielki). with unhindered communication with Landsberg. He also made the necessary arrangements to raise the siege of Cüstrin and to put his army in readiness. In the meantime, the courier dispatched to Rumyantsev had returned, unable to get through the swarming Prussian hussars.
- Fermor wrote to Daun to inform him that he would advanced on Schwedt with his army, leaving a corps of light troops to blockade Cüstrin. Then, as soon as the Austrian army would get close to the Oder, he would effect a junction with Daun by the right bank of the Oder and Crossen or by the left bank from Schwedt.
- in the afternoon, Fermor’s Army received a reinforcement of 3 rgts of Don Cossacks (a total of 1,500 men) which were part of Yefremov’s Cossack Corps arriving from Russia. The rest of the corps gradually arrived during the next days.
- Rumyantsev set off from Bahn and advanced to Hohen-Kränig (present-day Krajnik Górny) where he encamped, leaving only small forces to protect Stargard and Soldin.
Battle of Zorndorf
On August 24
- Before dawn, Fermor changed his mind because he believed that Frederick would rather advance by Clewitz (present-day Chlewice) and Neumühl (present-day Namyślin) on Zorndorf (present-day Sarbinowo), or would cross the Mietzel (present-day Myśla River) at Darrmietzel (present-day Dargomyśl) or Neudamm (present-day Dębno). He finally decided to take positions between Quartschen (present-day Chwarszczany), Zicher (present-day Cychry) and Zorndorf.
- Before daybreak, Fermor then lifted the Siege of Cüstrin, the entire Russian train, including light baggage set off towards Tamsel (present-day Dąbroszyn), escorted by 5,000 men with 300 hussars and Cossacks and a few artillery pieces; to form a “Wagenburg” on the height north-east of Klein-Cammin (present-day Kamien Maly) to protect the baggage.
- At daybreak, the Observation Corps set off from Vietz (present-day Witnica) to effect a junction with the main army.
- After the departure of the train, the main army broke camp and marched westwards in the direction of Zorndorf, with its left flank covered by hussars and all Cossacks.
- Around 9:00 a.m., the main army encamped in two lines on the ridge between the so-called Galgen-Grund and Zabern-Grund, facing west between Quartschen and Zorndorf with it right covered by the Mietzel River and its left anchored on the woods of Drewitz (present-day Drzewice).
- At 2:00 p.m., Browne made a junction with Fermor's Army and deployed the Observation Corps, which had marched by Wilkersdorf (present-day Krześniczka), en potence in two lines on the right wing of the main army, , facing the Mietzel and extending its left wing up to the Galgen-Grund. His corps consisted of 1 grenadier "legion", 4 infantry "legions", 8 infantry regiments, 3 pulks of Cossacks, 5 sqns of hussars, 9 sqns of horse grenadiers and 6 sqns of cuirassiers.
- Light troops secured the camp of the Russian army. Between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., these light troops skirmished with Prussian hussars north of Zicher and near Darrmietzel.
- Fermor recalled light baggage and the necessary provisions from the “Wagenburg” at Klein-Cammin to the army. Troops set up tents and each man received provisions for ten days.
- Fermor expected the Prussian attack in the area of Kutzdorf (present-day Gudzisz) but when he realised that Frederick's Army was deployed beyond its right flank, he redeployed his own army while Browne's Corps moved closer to Wilkersdorf.
- In the evening, Colonel Chomutov informed Rumyantsev that the Prussian army had crossed the Oder near Alt-Güstebiese. Frederick had cut the line of communication between Rumyantsev’s Corps and Fermor’s Army. Rumyantsev called a council of war where it was decided to halt and wait because there might be Prussian detachments nearby, sent from Stettin. No attempt was done to rejoin Fermor’s Army for the expected battle.
- The Conference sent orders to Admiral Michovkov to sail to the vicinity of Colberg on the coasts of Eastern Pomerania with his squadron and to act according to Fermor’s instructions. However, these orders were not executed.
- Frederick’s Army rested during the morning.
- At 1:00 p.m. the vanguard started its march.
- Around 2:00 p.m., after resting his army for half a day, Frederick marched in two columns southwards. The first column advanced along the Furstenfeld Woods while the second marched by the paper-mill of Neudamm covered by the Mietzel.
- The Prussian hussars drove the Russian light cavalry beyond Darrmietzel.
- Around 7:00 p.m., Frederick’s Army encamped facing south between Darrmietzel and the paper-mill of Neudamm. The bridge over the Mietzel near the paper-mill of Neudamm was neither occupied nor destroyed by the Russians. Seizing the opportunity, Frederick sent the entire vanguard, all hussars, two dragoon rgts and a few heavy pieces to the south bank of the Mietzel to establish a bridgehead in the forest. Through this forest, across the marshy lowlands, part of a Russian camp was visible as well as some cavalry. Frederick established his headquarters in the paper-mill of Neudamm. A second bridge was erected alongside the already existing one. Grenadier Battalion 1/23 Wedell along with Forcade Infantry occupied Darrmietzel.
During the night, Fermor reorganised his positions once more, moving his best regiments from his first line to his second, since it was this line which was now facing the Prussians. He disposed his army in a large square on the Heights of Quartschen. The cavalry and the baggage were placed inside this hollow square. Only Cossacks were left outside the square.
On August 25
- At 3:30 a.m., the Prussian Army started its march. The infantry crossed the Mietzel on the mill bridge and the cavalry on the bridge of Kerstenbrügge (present-day Mostno). Baggage and pack horses were escorted to Neudamm. After the crossing of the river, the Prussian Army broke the bridges and resumed its advance in 3 columns: the infantry formed the first and second lines and the cavalry the third. It marched towards Batzlow (present-day Bogusław) and turned right as it debouched from the woods. The bloody Battle of Zorndorf was ferociously contested between both armies and ended in a stalemate: the Prussian Army occupied the battlefield but the Russian Army was encamped nearby.
- Rumyantsev detached Brigadier Berg at the head of 14 sqns, 200 Cossacks and a few pieces to destroy the Prussian bridges at Alt-Güstebiese. Around 6:00 p.m., Berg engaged Frei-Infanterie von Hordt which was able to hold its positions until darkness. Colonel Hordt, realising that the Russians were numerically superior, thought that, without reinforcements, he would not be able to hold his positions.
- Resanov’s detachment reached Langenau near Danzig (present-day Gdansk), on its way to Colberg. In the following days it resumed its march by Oliva (present-day Oliwa), Schmechau (present-day Wejherowo) and Lanz (present-day Łęczyce) towards Lauenburg (present-day Lębork), avoiding Danzig. But it was already too late to take advantage of the situation.
On the night of August 25 to 26
- Colonel Hordt broke the bridges on the Oder at Alt-Güstebiese.
- Fermor wrote to Dohna to propose a truce for three days to bury the dead and take care of the wounded. Frederick instructed Dohna to answer that he was master of the battlefield and that he could care for the wounded and dead of both armies.
- Informed of the battle of Zorndorf, Rumyantsev retired, after setting fire to the bridge near Schwedt. He also recalled Berg’s Brigade.
On August 26
- At daybreak, Frederick reconnoitred the Russian positions, escorted by his cavalry. He suddenly came under the fire of the Russian artillery. He soon realised that the terrain favoured the Russians and abandoned his design for an attack.
- Frederick deployed his army (including the rallied bns of Manteuffel’s and Kanitz’s corps) on the heights between Quartschen and the Hapfuhl. Everything then came to a standstill until 11:00 a.m.
- The cavalry of the left wing tried to move closer to the Russian positions but was contained by the Russian artillery.
- In the afternoon, Frederick ordered the baggage, then at Neudamm, to join the army. Around 3:00 p.m., the Prussian baggage arrived with some ammunition. However, the Prussians still lacked ammunition and the cavalry was too exhausted to launch another attack.
- In the evening, the Prussians pitched tents on the battle field behind their positions. The Prussian cavalry of the left wing moved behind its infantry between the Langen-Grund and Zicher, leaving only two rgts on the left wing.
- Frederick ordered Colonel von Hordt, who covered the bridges at Alt-Güstebiese with Frei-Infanterie von Hordt, to break these bridges (in fact Hordt had already broken them the previous night) and to establish new ones near Kienitz, planning to use them to bring additional ammunition to supply his army. Meanwhile, the commandant of Cüstrin was instructed to bring all ammunition available in the fortress to the eastern suburb.
- A Prussian detachment sent from Gartz re-occupied Schwedt and Major von Kleist advanced on Stargard at the head of II./Rautter Infantry and 80 Land hussars.
- Major-General von Below with the Landbataillon I Heiderstädt, the Freibataillon du Verger and a small detachment of Zieten Hussars were in Frankfurt an der Oder to protect the Prussian magazines, the heavy baggage and the field bakery.
- At daybreak, the Russians reorganised their lines with their right towards Zorndorf and their left behind the small Valley of Quartschen. The cavalry of the left wing advanced in the direction of Quartschen in an attempt to recover what was left of the light baggage. The Russian cavalry drove back the Ruesch Hussars, who were covering the Prussian right wing, the latter took refuge with their infantry whose fire repulsed the Russians.
- The Russian artillery opened fire on the Prussian troops and soon the Prussian artillery replied. The long cannonade proved to be quite ineffective.
- Around 11:00 a.m., the Russians retired closer to the woods.
- Late in the evening, the three last Cossack rgts of Yefremov’s Corps, coming from Russia, arrived at the “Wagenburg” near Klein-Cammin and started to harass the Prussian positions.
- The Ryazanskiy Horse Grenadiers evacuated Stargard.
- Rumyantsev’s Division reached Bahn where Berg’s Brigade rejoined it in the evening.
- The Austrian light troops, who had reached the region of Frankfurt an der Oder, took the direction of Fürstenwalde.
The Russians now had a free line of communication with their “Wagenburg”. Furthermore, as the Prussians received new ammunition, the situation of Fermor’s Army became more serious. Fermor had not other choice than to march to Klein-Cammin.
During the very dark night of August 26 to 27, under heavy rain
- Around midnight, Fermor’s artillery opened on the Prussian camp to create a diversion. The Prussians took their arms and their artillery replied. During this artillery duel, Fermor formed a square with his infantry with a vanguard and a rearguard.
- At 2:00 a.m., Cossacks attacked the Prussian advanced posts to screen the movement of the main army.
- Around 2:30 a.m., Fermor marched in the direction of the Wagenburg at Klein-Cammin. The light baggage, on the far right, tried to reach the road leading from Tamsel to Klein-Cammin. For most of the march, the artillery had to be pulled by soldiers (more than 850 artillery horses had been lost during the battle), moving along the farthest side of the Russian square. The wounded were transported aboard wagons or carried with girths by the Cossacks. The mass of the light cavalry covered the flank on the side of the Prussians.
On August 27
- At daybreak, the Prussians could see the Russians to the south of Wilkersdorf advancing towards the “Wagenburg” at Klein-Cammin. They were out of reach of the Prussian infantry but were still within range of the cavalry. Frederick ordered his cavalry to pursue them and the rest of his army to march and to support the cavalry. The Prussian cavalry tried to catch up with the retreating Russians but was harassed by the Cossacks and stopped by the fire of the artillery of the Russian rearguard established on the heights to the south-east of Wilkersdorf.
- At 9:00 a.m., the Russian army reached the heights between Gross-Cammin and Klein-Cammin and encamped in a square formation well protected by the surrounding terrain. The west side of the square extended from Klein-Cammin to Gross-Cammin; the north side, from Gross-Cammin to the depression between this village and the Blumberg (present-day Mościce). The east side was covered by difficult terrain. The cavalry took position on and along the slopes of the Warthe (present-day Warta). The Russians immediately started to entrench their camp and to establish batteries in small redoubts.
- In the morning, Yefremov reinforced Fermor’s Army with some 1,400 Cossacks. Throughout the day, additional detachments of hussars and Cossacks gradually left the “Wagenburg” to harass the Prussian left wing.
- The light troops of Brigadier Stojanov and General Yefremov secured the new Russian positions and occupied Gross-Cammin.
- Fermor sent orders to Rumyantsev to retire to Landsberg.
- Fermor sent orders to Resanov to rejoin the main army with his 3 rgts, unless he had already captured Kolberg. Resanov was to march by Bütow (present-day Bytów) and Driesen (present-day Drezdenko) to Klein-Cammin. However, Resanov was still at Oliva in the region of Danzig and he would finally receive Fermor’s orders when he would reach Stolp (present-day Słupsk).
- Rumyantsev’s Division reached Damnitz (present-day Dębica). Rumyantsev was convinced that Fermor would retire northeastwards to Soldin and he wanted to protect the magazines in Stargard from any enterprises from the Prussian garrison of Stettin.
- The Russians would remain unmolested at Klein-Cammin for four days.
- Frederick realised that an attack on the Russian camp would prove to be very costly. Accordingly, his army encamped to the west of the Spring-Grund with its right extending to the Warthebruch. Frederick’s headquarters were established at Tamsel to the west of the Wagenburg.
- Frederick also sent a vanguard (7 bns, 10 dragoon sqns, Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars) under Prince Moritz to take position on the heights east of the Herren-Grund. Moritz quickly established light entrenchments on these heights and threw hussars into Wilkersdorf.
- Frederick instructed Hordt to establish the new bridges near Schaumburg instead of Kienitz.
- Major-General von Bredow was sent with 2 cuirassier rgts towards Batzlow to clear up the battlefield and to drive out the marauding Cossacks. They were covered by 4 bns under Major-General Gablenz who had been sent to Neudamm to protect the village, which was full of wounded and prisoners, against the Russian light cavalry of Fermor.
- Frederick sent the rest of the Zieten Hussars to reinforce Below’s detachment in Frankfurt an der Oder.
- Towards evening, Wied Fusiliers, who had been left behind in Cüstrin, escorted a supply of bread and ammunition to the Prussian army. Meanwhile, Zieten Hussars were detached to Lower Lusatia to prevent the incursions of Austrian light troops under Loudon.
- Frederick was then informed that Daun had reached Görlitz with the main Austrian army on August 20 and that Loudon had, on August 25, reached Guben and Peitz in Lower Lusatia with a strong corps of light troops.
On August 28
- Hordt re-established the Prussian bridges at Schaumburg.
- Frederick detached Prince Franz von Braunschweig with 6 bns (Kurssell Fusiliers, Wied Fusiliers, Freiregiment Hordt) to protect Berlin. This detachment marched by Cüstrin and Müllrose to Beeskow where the Freibataillon du Verger and 100 Zieten Hussars, coming from Frankfurt, would join it.
- The main Prussian army remained mostly inactive.
- The main Russian army remained mostly inactive. Fermor was very busy reorganising his army. He wrote to Chancellor Vorontsov mentioning that he had only 20,000 men (in fact 25,000 men) fit for service after the terrible Battle of Zorndorf and ammunition were lacking, especially for his artillery. In the army, many blamed him for the defeat. Fermor estimated that he could not remain in his fortified camp near Klein-Cammin much longer because his starving horses and his army would then be unable to march. Fermor considered that he should retire to Landsberg, because he could not move away from the Warthe, the only navigable river in the Russian area of operation, if he wanted to get his army properly supplied. He also estimated that he could not remain at Landsberg very long because the surrounding land had already been devastated by his light troops and deserted by its inhabitants.
- Fermor reiterated his orders to Rumyantsev to retire to Landsberg.
- Rumyantsev received Fermor’s initial orders while he was advancing on Stargard.
On August 29
- Frederick was poorly informed of the situation of the Russian army because the reconnaissances conducted by the his cavalry were severely impaired by the Cossacks. At any rate, he expected the imminent junction of Rumyantsev’s Division with Fermor’s Army and that Fermor, emboldened by these reinforcements could consider a new advance against the Prussians.
- Fermor sent instructions to Rumyantsev to redirect his march towards Klein-Cammin to effect a junction with his army.
- Rumyantsev, obeying to Fermor’s initial orders marched towards Landsberg, reaching Berlinchen (present-day Barlinek).
The same day, the Prussians and the Russians both celebrated victory…
On August 30
- Frederick sent 8 bns to reinforce his vanguard in case of a Russian attack.
- Frederick was informed that the Russians had assembled a convoy with provisions for four weeks near Landsberg. He detached 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion Lossow, Bülow Fusiliers) with 6 howitzers and 100 hussars under Adjutant-Captain von Wendessen to march through the forest to the north-east of Blumberg to attack and burn this convoy.
- Fermor expected a new Prussian attack.
On August 31
- Wendessen’s enterprise failed because of his slow and over-cautious approach and because he was unwilling to attack when he got near Landsberg and saw that strong Russian detachments were posted in and around the town.
- Rumors spread that Rumyantsev had actually effected a junction with Fermor's Army, and that an attack by the Russians was imminent. In the afternoon, when Frederick observed major movements in the Russian camp, he ordered his army to join the vanguard.
- In the morning, Fermor sent his baggage towards Landsberg.
- The Russian army should set off for Landsberg the next day, but when Fermor saw that the Prussians were joining their vanguard and extending their positions up to Wilkersdorf, he ordered to prepare for departure during the evening. His army marched in a single column by Blumberg through the forest in the direction of Tornow (present-day Tarnówek).
In the night of August 31 to September 1, Rumyantsev’s Division reached Marwitz (present-day Marwice).
At the end of August, Frederick still had no clear view of the movements of the Austrian armies. Nevertheless, he realised that the situation of Prince Heinrich in Saxony would soon become untenable with his small army (less than 20,000 men) to face some 80,000 Austrians. Prince Heinrich not only had to oppose the Reichsarmee but also Daun, who was advancing from Görlitz in the direction of the Elbe. Frederick wanted to come to the assistance of his brother but with the Russian army still at Klein-Cammin, he did not dare to leave Dohna to face Fermor alone. He intended to leave for Saxony as soon as Fermor would retire towards Landsberg. He hoped that supply problems would prevent the Russians from undertaking any new offensive.
On September 1
- In the morning, the Prussians finally realised that the Russians had retreated. Frederick gave orders to his army to follow but Demiku’s rearguard deployed between Blumberg and Mossin (present-day Mosina) in a very broken country and his artillery opened on the advancing Prussian hussars. Prince Moritz arrived with the infantry of the Prussian vanguard and his artillery answered to Demiku’s. The Russian rearguard then resumed its retreat and the Prussians capture a large number of sick, some straggling baggage wagons and 3 artillery pieces.
- The Prussian main body halted south of Blumberg and encamped while the vanguard took position to the east of the town. In front of the Prussian positions, Grenadier Battalion Kleist, Grenadier Battalion Kremzow and the hussars secured the road leading to Demiku’s positions through ponds and marshes. The cuirassier rgts had been left behind at the camp of Tamsel.
- At daybreak, Fermor’s Army reached Tornow. Fermor then waited for the arrival of his rearguard which had been left behind at Klein-Cammin under Demiku. As soon as Demiku reached Tornow, Fermor resumed his march, arriving at Landsberg in the evening.
The other phases of the campaign are described in the following articles:
- The Russians move to Eastern Pomerania (September 2 to December, 1758) describing the march of the Russians from Brandenburg to Eastern Pomerania, the siege of Colberg and the retreat of the Russian army to East Prussia.
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. 7 Olmütz und Crefeld, Berlin, 1909, p. 199
- Vol. 8 Zorndorf und Hochkirch, Berlin, 1910, pp. 31-54, 64-104, 157, 161-183, 195-240
- Tielke, J. G.: An Account of some of the most Remarkable Events of the War between the Prussians, Austrians and Russians from 1756 to 1763, Vol. 2, Walter, London, 1788, pp. 87-260
- Jomini, Henri: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 2ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 140-167, 232, 252-253, 262-264
- 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. 317-318
Duffy, Christopher: various articles on the Russian army, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 2
Alessandro Colaiacomo for the excerpts of his article on the battle of Zorndorf describing the various manoeuvres which took place between the arrival of Frederick and the battle