1759 - Reich and Austrian invasion of Saxony
The campaign lasted from July to December 1759
- 1 Description
- 1.1 Situation in Saxony at the beginning of 1759
- 1.2 Prussian Preliminary Operations
- 1.3 Austrian Raids in Saxony
- 1.4 Prince Heinrich on the Defensive
- 1.5 Austro-Imperial Invasion of Saxony
- 1.6 Siege of Dresden
- 1.7 Prussians recapture most of Saxony
- 1.8 Combat of Korbitz
- 1.9 Prince Heinrich faces Daun in Saxony
- 1.10 Austrian retreat towards Dresden
- 1.11 Battle of Maxen
- 1.12 Daun reoccupy part of Saxony
- 2 References
Situation in Saxony at the beginning of 1759
At the beginning of January, 4 Austrian infantry rgts (Botta, Harrach, Hildburghausen and Thürheim) and 1 Austrian cavalry rgt (Bretlach Cuirassiers) were sent from Bohemia to Franconia under FML Count d’Arberg to support the Reichsarmee.
On January 11, the contingent of the Circle of the Upper Rhine arrived at Erfurt to reinforce the garrison (1 bn of Kurmainz Infantry and 1 garrison bn of Gaisruck Infantry). Saalfeld was also occupied by a few bns and a number of horse to protect the line of communication between Erfurt and Franconia.
At the end of January, another Austrian corps was sent to support the Reichsarmee in Franconia. This corps consisted of 5 infantry rgts (Jung-Colloredo, Gyulay, Marschall, Salm, Blau-Würzburg), 5 cavalry rgts (Modena Cuirassiers, Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers, Liechtenstein Dragoons, Prinz Savoyen Dragoons, Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Dragoons), 4 hussar rgts (Baranyay, Hadik, Splényi, Szechényi) and approx. 2,000 Grenzer light troops.
An Austrian Corps (9 bns, 39 sqns, 3,154 Grenzers) under the command of Gemmingen was posted at Postelberg (present-day Postoloprty/CZ) on the Eger (Ohře River) on the frontier between Saxony and Bohemia. Meanwhile, General Andreas Hadik was at the head of another Austrian corps of 19,000 men. This corps had joined the Reichsarmee cantoned in Franconia near the Saxon border with another division on the Werra near Hesse. Globally these Austro-Imperial forces amounted to about 45,000 men.
Overall, there were 6,546 Grenzers from Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1, Karlstädter-Lykaner, Karlstädter-Oguliner, Karlstädter-Szluiner, and 1,454 men from the Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars attached to Hadik’s Corps, Gemmingen’s Corps and the detachment posted on the Werra but the detailed assignment of these troops is not known.
Prussian Preliminary Operations
At the beginning of February, , Ferdinand of Brunswick, who feared a junction between the French Army of the Lower Rhine and this Austro-Imperial Army, asked Frederick to launch a diversionary attack in Thuringia to monopolize the attention of the Reichsarmee. Frederick had a meeting with Prince Heinrich where he instructed him to advance against Gotha and Erfurt, to drive the enemy out of these towns and to seize their magazines. Prince Ysenburg was ordered to support this offensive from Hesse. However, Prince Heinrich was reluctant to take the offensive. Nevertheless, Frederick maintained his orders and joint operations with Ferdinand’s Army were planned for February 27 or 28. By that date, Prince Heinrich should have sent a strong corps forward to Naumburg, from there it would take the shortest road to march on Erfurt. Meanwhile, Aschersleben’s detachment (100 men from the Horn Cuirassiers, 100 men from the Leibregiment zu Pferde, 100 men from the Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers, 100 men from Prinz Heinrich Cuirassiers and 30 men from the Szekely Hussars) would advance from the region north of Langensalza by way of Gotha to the vicinity south of Erfurt. During these movements, Prince Ysenburg would advance from the west on Hersfeld and Vacha. Prince Heinrich’s detached corps would then return to its quarters during the first week of March.
On February 16, observing that the Austro-Imperial Army was fortifying Erfurt, Prince Heinrich sent a detachment under General Knobloch against them.
On February 24, a corps of 7 bns (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck, Grenadier Battalion von Schwartz, Bülow Fusiliers, Finck Infantry, Freibataillon Wunsch), 600 horse (330 men from the Horn Cuirassiers and 300 men from the Meinicke Dragoons), 5 hussar sqns (Szekely Hussars) and 8 heavy artillery pieces (4 x 12-pdr guns, 4 x howitzers) belonging to Prince Heinrich’s Army began to assemble in the vicinity of Naumburg. This corps was placed under the command of Major-General von Knobloch.
In support of an Allied Corps under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, Knobloch launched an incursion in Thuringia. These manoeuvres led the Austro-Imperials to entirely abandon Hesse and to retire to Meiningen in the Country of Bamberg. At the end of this expedition, the Prussians returned into their winter-quarters.
On February 28, Prince Heinrich arrived at Naumburg.
On March 13, after his incursion in Thuringia, Knobloch’s Corps arrived at Naumburg from where the troops returned to their winter-quarters. Freibataillon Wunsch and the Szekely Hussars were posted on the Saale and established outposts between Naumburg and Dornburg.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the Prussian army of Prince Heinrich in mid-April.
Detailed OoB of the Austro-Imperial army in mid-April.
In April, Frederick II instructed Prince Heinrich to launch a raid against the Austrian magazines near the Bohemian border. From April 14 to 23, Prince Heinrich conducted a successful incursion into Bohemia, destroying magazines at Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice).
After this successful operation, Frederick decided to send the Prussian Army of Saxony against the Reichsarmee to put it out of action for a certain time so that he could redirect this same Army of Saxony against the Russians. Accordingly, Frederick instructed Prince Heinrich to enter into Franconia.
From April 29 to June 1, Prince Heinrich conducted operations in Franconia against the Reichsarmee.
In May, dissatisfied by the conduct of the Reichsarmee during the Prussian incursion in Franconia, Empress Maria Theresa recalled 2 cavalry rgts (Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers, Prinz Savoyen Dragoons), 2 hussar rgts (Baranyay, Szechényi) and all the 1,500 Grenzer light troops previously sent to its support.
Austrian Raids in Saxony
When Prince Heinrich launched his offensive in Franconia, the Austrian forces stationed in Northwestern Bohemia, taking advantage of the gaping hole created in the Prussian positions, started to advance towards Saxony to threaten the lines of communication of the Prussians. Field-Marshal Count Leopold Daun had sent Vehla towards Berlin and Gemmingen on Chemnitz and Zwickau.
FML von Gemmingen set off from the vicinity of Budin (present-day Budyně nad Ohří/CZ) with his corps and marched upstream along the Eger River (present-day Ohře River) up to Saaz (present-day Žatec/CZ), sending light troops forward to Karlsbad (present-day Karlovy Vary/CZ) and Falkenau (present-day Sokolov/CZ).
On May 10, Major-General von Horn had been left behind at Asch (present-day Aš/CZ) with a small Prussian detachment of 5 bns (II./Puttkamer Infantry, Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers, Freibataillon Monjou) and 6 sqns (Horn Cuirassiers and 130 men from Belling Hussars) to protect the lines of communication of Prince Heinrich.
On May 15, Grenzer light troops (part of Gemmingen’s Corps) under Major-General von Brentano and Lieutenant-Colonel von Palasti crossed the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) and reached the vicinity of Penig and Altenburg in Saxony.
On May 21, Major-General von Horn detached Lieutenant-Colonel von Wolfersdorff from Hof with a small party (I./Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers, half of Freibataillon Monjou and 130 cuirassiers and hussars) to drive back Palasti’s hussar detachment from the area of Greiz, to the northwest of Reichenbach in Voigtland.
Palasti managed to retired to Schneeberg without significant losses. There, he was reinforced by Grenzer light troops belonging to Brentano’s Corps.
On May 23
With his lines of communication threatened, Prince Heinrich was thus forced to retire from Franconia without having fulfilled his objectives to bring the Reichsarmee to battle and to destroy it. Indeed, the Reichsarmee was still a threat for Saxony.
On May 24
- Schenckendorff’s detachment (now including Wolfersdorff's troops) marched to Reichenbach to secure the line of communication between Hof and Zwickau.
- Lieutenant-General Finck arrived at Hof with the convoy of artillery and baggage of Prince Heinrich’s Army. Finck then assumed command of the Prussian forces assembled at Hof.
On May 25
- Schenckendorff’s detachment advanced to Zwickau.
- Finck sent order to Major-General Schenckendorff to attack the Austrians posted at Schneeberg. He also sent him a reinforcement (II./Salmuth Fusiliers under Major von Cordier, the rest of Freibataillon Monjou and 150 men of the Belling Hussars under Major von Gerlach) to assist him in his attack. This detachment would advance by Oelsnitz and Auerbach to attack the rear of the Austrian positions.
Meanwhile, Brentano had taken position behind the Mulde River between Aue and Bockau.
On May 27
- Engagement of Aue
- At 2:00 a.m., Schenckendorff set off from Zwickau, marched along the eastern bank of the Mulde by way of Wildenfels and Hartenstein.
- Schenckendorff surprised Brentano’s outposts on the Heights of Aue, made himself master of these heights and of the village.
- Schenckendorff then immediately attacked the main positions of Brentano’s light troops (Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2, Karlstädter-Szluiner and Warasdiner-Sankt Georger), hoping to drive back the Austrians on the reinforcements sent by Finck from Hof.
- The detachment sent from Hof had been instructed, once it had reached Auerbach, to turn towards Eibenstock, so that it would cut Brentano’s line of retreat towards Bohemia. However, it did not manage to arrive on time.
- After a long struggle, the Austrians were driven back but they managed to retire through the mountains.
- In this action, the Austrians lost 24 men killed, 63 wounded and only 3 taken prisoners; the Prussians lost 3 men killed and 30 wounded.
- Schenckendorff spent the night on the heights near Aue.
On May 28, Schenckendorff’s detachment returned to Zwickau.
On June 1
- Prince Heinrich’s Army recrossed the border of Saxony. During his retreat, he had been closely followed by Austrian light troops belonging to Kleefeld's, Ried's, Vécsey's and Luzinsky's detachments.
- Seeing that the army of Prince Heinrich was back in Saxony, Gemmingen retired to Bohemia with his corps.
Major von Gerlach and Major von Monjou were both court-martialed because of their delay when leading the Prussian detachment sent from Hof to support intercept Brentano’s Corps. They were both dismissed from service.
Prince Heinrich on the Defensive
In Bohemia, along the Saxon border, there was only a weak Austrian corps (5 bns, 20 sqns, 3,000 Grenzer light troops and 500 Grenzhussars) under Gemmingen and Vehla’s light corps (2,600 Grenzer light troops and 900 Grenzhussars) between Zittau and Ostritz.
On June 2, the Reichsarmee quitted its camp at Forchheim.
By June 3, Prince Heinrich's forces had retired to the neighbourhood of Zwickau in southwest Saxony.
On June 4, General Andreas Hadik, leaving 2 hussar regiments with the Reichsarmee, marched with his Austrian corps to make a junction with Daun in Bohemia. After Hadik’s departure, the Reichsarmee still counted 14,000 foot, 2,000 Grenzer light troops and 5,000 horse.
On June 5
- The Reichsarmee encamped at Forchheim with its vanguard at Wüstenstein. The Austrian light troops assigned to this army advanced up to Hof.
- Prince Heinrich, at Frederick’s request detached Hülsen with 10 bns, 22 sqns, 10 heavy artillery pieces to reinforce Dohna’s Army, which was trying to delay the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. After the departure of these troops, Prince Heinrich had only 31 bns and 35 sqns with 57 heavy artillery pieces, for a total of 25,500 men. These forces were deployed as follows:
- near Zwickau, Major-General von Lindstedt with 6 bns and 400 cuirassiers (picked men from Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers, Horn Cuirassiers, Schlabrendorff Cuirassiers and Spaen Cuirassiers which were part of the reinforcements sent to Dohna, under the command of Major von Wulffen)
- near Chemnitz, Prince Heinrich with 18 bns and 20 sqns
- near Dresden, Lieutenant-General von Finck with 7 bns and 10 sqns to observe the Austrian army operating in Lusatia.
On June 7, Major-General Brentano crossed the mountains with a few Grenzer bns and took position near Annaberg to reconnoitre the Prussian positions. His detachment was soon driven back by Major-General Meinicke.
On June 13, the Prince of Zweibrücken, the commander-in-chief of the Reichsarmee]], set off from Forchheim with his army and slowly marched by way of Bamberg and Hofheim towards the forests of Thuringia.
Major-General von Ried was detached with Austrian light troops (1,200 Grenzer light troops and the Szechényi Hussars) in a raid towards Salzungen on the Werrra. From that town, the detachment also launched raids in Hesse.
In mid-June, Prince Heinrich was informed that Hadik’s Austrian corps had been recalled from the Reichsarmee and had marched by way of Eger back towards Bohemia.
On June 15
- Prince Heinrich moved part of his troops closer to Zschopau to secure the Pass of Sebastiansberg (present-day Hora Svatého Šebestiána/CZ).
- Major-General von Lindstedt’s Corps established a new camp near Hartenberg (near present-day Hřebeny/CZ) to better cover the road leading from Karlsbad to Saxony.
On June 19, Prince Heinrich gave orders to Finck to advance from Dresden to Dippoldiswalde to better reconnoitre the Bohemian frontier and to harass Austrian detachments in these quarters. Finck learned that Gemmingen was encamped near Brüx. However, he was unable to get information on Hadik’s whereabouts.
On June 23
- The Reichsarmee occupied a new camp at Hofheim (present-day Hofheim in Unterfranken) on the road from Haßfurt to Königshofen (present-day Bad Königshofen im Grabfeld) on the border between Franconia and Saxony while its light troops took the direction of the Werra towards Meiningen and Salzungen (present-day Bad Salzungen) and other detachments formed a chain of posts from Saalfeld by Schleiz up to Hof.
On June 24, the Prince of Zweibrücken being ill, he went to Mannheim, and FML Count Serbelloni assumed command “ad interim” of the Austro-Imperial army.
At the end of June, when Prince Heinrich was informed that Daun had quitted his camp near Schurz, he immediately realised that the main Austrian army was advancing towards Lusatia. He also thought that Gemmingen’s and Hadik’s corps would join the main army. Accordingly, he made preparations to follow them to Lusatia. He sent reconnaissance parties across the Elbe and towards Neustadtl Schluckenau to the southwest of Zittau on the border between Saxony and Bohemia. He also assembled his whole army near Zschopau with the exception of Finck’s Corps which remained at Plauen.
On July 2, Gemmingen’s Corps crossed the Elbe.
By July 4 the Austro-Imperial army was still encamped at Hofheim.
On July 5, the Austro-Imperial army decamped from Hofheim and reached Römhild where it would remain until July 11.
On July 8, Hadik’s Corps arrived at Aussig (present-day Ústí nad Labem/CZ).
On July 9, Prince Heinrich set off from Zschopau with his army and marched by way of Ober-Schöna to Plauen near Dresden. Frederick had designated Bautzen as a suitable position to oppose the advance of the Austrians into Lusatia.
On July 10, Frederick urged Prince Heinrich to march to Bautzen.
On July 11
- The Austro-Imperial army set off from Römhild in two columns: the weaker one under FZM Baron von Saint-André marched towards Coburg and the main column marched towards Schleusingen.
- As Prince Heinrich approached Dresden, Lieutenant-General von Finck crossed to the right bank of the Elbe with his corps of 7 bns (Finck Infantry, Knobloch Infantry, Hessen-Kassel Fusiliers, II./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch (formerly Monjou)) and 9 sqns (Prinz Heinrich Cuirassiers, 4 sqns of Belling Hussars).
On July 12, Daun, the Austrian commander-in-chief, resolved to merge several Austrian corps operating on the borders of Silesia and Lusatia and to send this new corps towards Brandenburg to make a junction with the Russian army. With this manoeuvre, Daun hoped to draw Prince Heinrich away from Saxony. This project called for a simultaneous advance of the Reichsarmee on Erfurt and Leipzig.
On July 13
- The Prince of Zweibrücken re-assumed command of the main column of the Austro-Imperial army at Schleusingen.
- Prince Heinrich marched towards Dresden in Saxony while Finck marched towards Bischofswerda.
On July 14
- Hadik’s Corps marched from Aussig towards Leitmeritz where it crossed the Elbe. He left 8 bns and 10 sqns, a total of 6,000 men, in Aussig under FML Count Maquire to cover his march.
On July 15
- Ried’s detachment entered in the Prussian County of Hohenstein where it raised contributions.
- Prince Heinrich asked Finck to reconnoitre in the direction of Zittau to discover the whereabouts of Gemmingen’s and Hadik’s Corps.
On July 16
- The Reichsarmee arrived at Ilmenau.
- Gemmingen’s and Hadik’s corps marched towards Bautzen. Some Austrian troops advanced on Crossen, forcing Finck to run after them.
- Prince Heinrich sent Colonel von Kleist with 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion Östenreich, II./Salmuth Fusiliers, Freibataillon Collignon) and 5 sqns (2 sqns of Meinicke Dragoons, 3 sqns of Kleist Hussars) to Stolpen on the right bank of the Elbe.
- Finck received direct orders from Frederick, who thought that Loudon’s Corps was marching towards Sagan, to follow this corps and to try to join the corps of Prince Eugen von Württemberg that Frederick had sent towards Sagan.
On July 17
- Finck's detachment marched from Bischofswerda to the Marienstern Monastery.
- Prince Heinrich decided to reinforce Kleist’s detachment at Stolpen with 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion von Schwartz, Bredow Fusiliers) and 5 sqns (5 sqns of cuirassiers under Major von Wulffen) under Major-General von Knobloch.
On July 18
- The Reichsarmee reached Arnstadt.
- Knobloch's detachment marched to Stolpen.
On July 19, a detachment (800 Grenzer light troops and Baranyay Hussars) of the Austro-Imperial army under Major-General von Kleefeld crossed the Saale River near Iena and Kösen and entered in Saxony by way of Zeitz and Weissenfels.
On the night of July 19 to 20, Prince Heinrich, who had been informed that Hadik had crossed the Elbe and was marching towards Brandenburg, crossed the river with his own army to march in the direction of Kamenz.
On July 21
- The Reichsarmee advanced towards Saxony through Gotha.
- Ried’s detachment launched a raid into Harz up to the gates of Halberstadt. The Prussian militia posted at Halberstadt had time to retire to Magdeburg. Ried raised a contribution of 800,000 Thalers in Halberstadt. Ried later advanced up to Magdeburg and then retired through Querfurt where they raised a contribution of 25,000 Thalers.
- Gemmingen’s Corps arrived at Grosshennersdorf, north of Zittau.
- Even though, Frederick had recalled Prince Eugen, Finck’s Corps was instructed to remain near the Marienstern Monastery.
On July 22
- Hadik’s Corps reached Grosshennersdorf where it joined Gemmingen’s Corps. Hadik was now at the head of 17,300 men (excluding Maquire’s detachment and Vehla’s light corps posted near Zittau).
- Prince Heinrich instructed Finck to retire from Marienstern and to return to Bautzen.
- Prince Heinrich marched to Rothnauslitz with the main body of his army.
- Knobloch’s detachment marched from Stolpen to Bischofswerda.
On July 25
- Prince Heinrich set off from his camps near Bischofswerda and Rothnauslitz with 15 bns (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck, Grenadier Battalion Lubath, Finck Infantry, Hülsen Infantry, Knobloch Infantry, Bredow Fusiliers, Grabow Fusiliers, Wied Fusiliers, I./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch), 19 sqns (Leibregiment zu Pferde, Meinicke Dragoons, 8 sqns of Kleist Hussars, 1 sqn of Frei-Husaren Kleist) and 57 heavy artillery pieces and marched to Königswartha.
- Finck remained in his camp near Bautzen with 12 bns (Grenadier Battalion Östenreich, Grenadier Battalion von Schwartz, Hauss Fusiliers, Bülow Fusiliers, Hessen-Kassel Fusiliers, Zastrow Fusiliers, I./Braun Fusiliers, II./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch) and 17 sqns (Prinz Heinrich Cuirassiers, 5 sqns of converged cuirassiers Wulffen, 5 sqns of Belling Hussars, 2 sqns of Kleist Hussars) to cover the march of Prince Heinrich against any intervention by Hadik’s Corps and prevent any raid on Berlin. Furthermore, II./Braun Fusiliers guarded the bakery at Senftenberg, Freibataillon Collignon covered the line of communication at Kamenz, and II./Salmuth Fusiliers was sent back to Dresden.
On July 26
- Saint-André’s column reached Saalfeld.
- Zweibrücken’s column reached Erfurt.
- Maquire’s Corps marched to Bischofswerda.
- Informed of the Prussian defeat at Paltzig, Prince Heinrich marched to Weisswasser in Upper Lusatia.
On July 27, now that Prince Heinrich had left the Saxon theatre of operation, on his way to reinforce Frederick’s Army in Brandenburg, Finck was forced to retire to Kamenz in front of superior Austrian forces.
On July 30
- Maquire followed Finck’s Corps with his detachment, marching from Hermsdorf to Königswartha.
- Finck’s Corps was posted near Hoyersweda, ready to turn against the flanks and rear of Loudon’s and Hadik’s Corps if ever they advanced against the Mark, or to oppose the Reichsarmee if it made enterprise against the Saxon fortresses or tried to advance on Berlin.
Austro-Imperial Invasion of Saxony
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the Austro-Imperial army in August.|
On July 31, the Reichsarmee finally arrived at Auerstedt.
On August 1
- Zweibrücken’s column arrived at Naumburg/Saale while Saint-André’s column reached Gera. Saxony lay undefended before these forces.
- Kleefeld's hussars, who were posted at Pegau and Weissenfels, raided the vicinity of Leipzig and reconnoitred up to the Mulde River.
- Hussars belonging to Ried’s detachment appeared in front of Halle.
- East of the Elbe, there was only Finck’s Corps operating in Saxony; the fortresses on the Elbe were manned by weak garrisons; only Dresden was in a state to oppose some resistance.
- Finck was informed that advanced elements of the Reichsarmee had occupied Halle and that its main body had already reached the Saale and was advancing on Leipzig.
- Finck’s Corps set off from Hoyerswerda and marched in the direction of Torgau by way of Ortrand and Kröbeln.
In the following days, the Reichsarmee also made itself master of Zeitz and Halle. General Vécsey occupied Halle. Austrian light troops attached to the Reichsarmee moved towards Dresden on both banks of the Elbe.
On August 3
- Kleefeld’s detachment of light troops appeared before Leipzig, and Kleefeld summoned the commander of the place, Major-General von Hauss, to surrender. If Hauss would refuse to surrender, the Prince of Zweibrücken threatened to burn the suburbs and to set the city of Halle on fire.
- Brentano offered Count Schmettau, the Prussian governor of Dresden, the imperial grace and a sum of 118,000 thalers in exchange for the surrender of Dresden. Schmettau indignantly declined the offer.
- The garrison of Leipzig consisted of 4 bns (former Saxon Plotho Fusiliers, I./Salmuth Fusiliers and II./Hoffmann Fusiliers) some convalescents and a detachment of Belling Hussars. The place was insufficiently fortified and, besides battalion guns, only a few guns from the Plessenburg were available.
- Finck’s Corps reached Torgau where Finck received Frederick’s orders to immediately march to make a junction with the main army at Frankfurt (Oder).
On August 4
- Finck’s Corps marched from Torgau to Herzberg.
- With the departure of Finck's Corps, the only remaining Prussian troops in Saxony were the garrison of Dresden and a few detachments in the towns of Leipzig, Wittenberg and Torgau.
On August 5
- The Reichsarmee crossed the Saale on a bridge established near Naumburg, and encamped on the eastern bank of the river.
- The Austrian light troops attached to the Reichsarmee roamed the counties of Hohenstein and Halberstadt in Prussian territories.
- Kleefeld’s light detachment advanced by way of Weissenfels to Lindenau, near Leipzig.
- Hauss asked to capitulate under condition that the garrison of Leipzig would obtain free withdrawal to Wittenberg.
On August 6
- By that date, Maquire’s Corps had advanced up to Hoyerswerda.
- Torgau was defended only by the I./Garrison Regiment III Grolman and a few hundred convalescents and recruits.
- Finck’s Corps marched to Lübben by way of Luckau, on its way to make a junction with Frederick’s Army in Brandenburg. At Lübben, Finck received instructions from Frederick to reinforce the garrison of Torgau with 2 bns. Finck sent back the Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers and 2 sqns of Kleist Hussars towards Torgau. The Prussians had large magazines and a hospital in Torgau.
On August 7
- FML Maquire, who had no enemy in his way since the departure of Finck’s Corps, advanced from Kamenz towards Hoyerswerda to get closer to Hadik’s Corps.
- The vanguard of the Reichsarmee occupied Leipzig. The magazines, which had not been destroyed as well as the guns of the Pleissenburg fell into the hands of the Reichsarmee. Furthermore, 700 prisoners of war and 20 Bohemian and Franconian hostages were freed.
- The Prussian garrison of Leipzig evacuated the place. On their way to Wittenberg, many Prussian soldiers, particularly those of the former Saxon Plotho Fusiliers, deserted. The garrison reached Düben.
- Finck recalled the 2 sqns of Kleist Hussars which he had sent towards Torgau on the previous day.
- Finck’s Corps marched from Lübben. On his way, Finck was informed that Frederick had moved his camp to Wulkow and that a large number of light troops could hinder his advance. Accordingly, he redirected his march to Storkow.
On August 8
- Brentano’s light corps marched from Pirna on the west side of the Elbe to the “Grossen Garten” in the suburbs of Dresden. On the opposite bank of the Elbe, Major-General Vehla, who had been detached by FML Count Maquire to reconnoitre in the direction of Dresden, reached the “Weissen Hirsch,” his light troops skirmished with Prussian outposts near the gates of the city. All road leading to Dresden were now blocked by the detachments of Brentano and Vehla. Nevertheless, the Prince of Zweibrücken asked Daun for more troops. The latter gave orders to Maquire to advance towards the Elbe with 8 bns (Harrach (2 bns), Hildburghausen (2 bns), Salm (2 bns), Thürheim (2 bns)) and 5 sqns (Bretlach Cuirassiers).
- The main body of the Reichsarmee arrived at Leipzig by way of Rippach. It then remained idle there for a long period.
- The Prince of Zweibrücken sent the corps of Stolberg, Kleefeld and Luzinsky (about 17,000 men) against Torgau. Once a detachment of the Reichsarmee under FML von Rosenfeld had occupied Halle, generals Ried and Veczay advanced from Halle with their light troops in the direction of Zörbig and Löbejün; while Kleefeld advanced to Eilenburg and Düben. and General Luzinsky crossed the Mulde River at the head of a detachment of light troops.
- Colonel von Wolfersdorff assumed command of the Fortress of Torgau. He was accompanied by 50 men from Kleist Hussars and Belling Hussars. These hussars were immediately sent to reconnoitre in the direction of Eilenburg and soon spotted Austrian hussars belonging to Kleefeld’s detachment. As instructed by Wolfersdorff, they spread the rumor in all villages that a Prussian force of 20,000 men was approaching.
- Hauss reached Wittenberg with the remnants of the garrison of Leipzig.
- Finck’s Corps marched from Storkow to Falkenhagen.
On August 9
- Effern Infantry (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys) and 2 howitzers reinforced Kleefeld’s Corps before Torgau.
- Maquire received orders to move from Hoyerswerda to Görlitz.
- In Torgau, Wolfersdorff lost no time and used the inhabitants to improve the defensive works of the place. He also sent couriers to Dresden and Wittenberg to ask for support.
- A request from the council and the citizens of Halle arrived in Dresden, urging Schmettau to surrender the place. Schmettau also received a letter from the Prince of Zweibrücken, who threatened to burn the suburbs and to raze Halle and the neighbouring salterns. Schmettau answered that he had orders to defend the place to the last man and to set fire to the suburbs if attacked.
- Finck’s Corps made a junction with Frederick’s main army in Brandenburg.
On August ??, the column of FZM St. André, which had marched from Gera to Borna, made a junction with the main body of the Reichsarmee near Leipzig.
|From this point, the details of Finck’s operations are described in the article dedicated to the Russian campaign in Brandenburg.|
On August 10
- Brentano vainly renewed the offer, which he had made to Count Schmettau on August 3 for the surrender of Dresden.
On August 11
- Luzinsky's detachment reached the Elbe River at Riesa, Strehla and Belgern.
- Siege of Torgau
- Kleefeld’s detachment (Effern Infantry, 2 Grenzer bns and some hussars with 2 howitzers) appeared before Torgau. Kleefeld summoned Wolfersdorff to surrender, threatening to plunder and burn down the towns of Halle, Halberstadt and Quedlinburg if the Prussians opposed any resistance. Wolfersdorff answered that he would defend Torgau to the utmost and burn down the suburbs if the enemy approached. To gain some time, he asked to be authorised to send an officer to Frederick for further instructions, but Kleefeld refused.
- In the afternoon, Grenzer light troops entered into the southeastern suburbs of Torgau. Wolfersdorff sent out 200 men to set these suburbs afire. The town was only defended by a wall and a ditch with some earthworks.
- In the evening of August 11, I./Salmuth Fusiliers and II./Hoffmann Fusiliers, which had formed part of the garrison of Leipzig and were retiring from Wittenberg, arrived at Torgau to reinforce the garrison. The commander of Wittenberg was also sending four 12-pdrs and a supply of ammunition. However, from Dresden, Count Schmettau informed Wolfersdorff that he was unable to help him.
On August 12
- Siege of Torgau
- Early in the morning, Kleefeld launched an assault on the suburb of Torgau with the Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer and the grenadiers of Effern Infantry. They occupied the ruins of the suburbs and, from these positions, opened fire on the Prussians soldiers posted on the walls. Wolfersdorff made a sortie with 400 men from the “Castle Gate” and attacked the two flanks of the Grenzers, driving them out of the suburbs.
- Around noon, Kleefeld tried a second time to take position in the suburbs, without success.
- FML Prince Karl von Stolberg, second to Zweibrücken, arrived before Torgau with 2 infantry rgts (Kreisinfanterieregiment Baden-Baden, Kreisinfanterieregiment Fürstenberg, each of 2 bns and 2 grenadier coys), the 3 sqns of Kurpfalz Cuirassiers, a train of battering guns, and 2 twelve-pdrs.
- A battery was established on the left side of the Elbe dam, downstream of Torgau, to destroy the bridge and thus cut the line of retreat of the garrison. Meanwhile Luzinsky's light troops conducted a diversionary attack.
- Wolfersdorff replied with a lively cannonade directed against this redoubt from the city and from the entrenchments on the right bank of the Elbe. He also sent Major Count von Kirchberg across the Elbe with the II./Hoffmann Fusiliers and 2 guns to fire on the men working at the construction of redoubt. Stolberg’s troops suffered severe losses.
- In the evening, Wolfersdorff vainly sent out 200 men to attack the redoubt. He answered to a new summon, saying that he would defend the place until it was a heap of ruins. Work at the improvement of the defensive works continued.
- Vehla remained at Hoyerswerda with his light troops to reconnoitre in the direction of Torgau and Dresden.
On August 13
- Schmettau began to transfer artillery pieces, pontoons and part of the large provision of flour and grain from the new town of Dresden to the old town.
- Siege of Torgau
- Stolberg’s battery was ready to open against the bridge of the Elbe and the entrenchments on the right bank.
- Early in the morning, Grenzer light troops advanced once more into the suburbs and Wolfersdorff sent 400 men out through the Castle Gate to attack them on both flanks. The Austro-Imperials established some guns on the Ratsweinberg and to the southwest of Torgau and began to bombard the place. The Prussian defenders were running short of ammunition for their guns. Wolfersdorff gave orders to cast cannonballs with lead and tin but the defenders could find enough of these metals.
- General Luzinsky now completed the encirclement of Torgau from the right bank of the Elbe. He then marched to Belgern with his hussars and Grenzer light troops and found boats to cross the Elbe.
- In the evening , the Prince of Stolberg offered Wolfersdorff to capitulate with the honours of war. The latter finally accepted.
On August 14, the garrison of Torgau, now out of ammunition, had to capitulate. It was allowed to withdraw freely with some of its artillery and provisions for three days. It left behind a large magazine, 9 guns and a military chest containing 200,000 Thalers in species. Furthermore, a lieutenant-colonel, 13 officers and 300 men; who were hold prisoners in Torgau; were freed. During the brief siege, the Austro-Imperials had lost 1 lieutenant and 5 men killed, and 1 captain and 41 men wounded; the Prussians had lost 31 men killed and 86 wounded. The road to Berlin was now open.
On August 15, the garrison of Torgau marched out of the city with flying colours and drums beating and crossed the bridge of the Elbe and took the direction of Jessen. The adjutant-general of the Prince of Stolberg then invited the Saxon soldiers, who were part of the Prussian garrison and had been forcibly enrolled in the Prussian Army, to desert and join the Austro-Imperial forces. Entire battalions began to desert. Colonel von Wolfersdorff shot down one of the deserters and urged his officers to do the same, thus putting an end to this wave of desertions.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the independent Austrian corps operating in Saxony in mid-August.|
During these manoeuvres of the Reichsarmee, Daun had sent the Austrian Division of Vehla and Brentano towards Dresden to observe the place and to act jointly with the Reichsarmee. Daun later sent Maquire to reinforce Vehla and Brentano. These reinforcements brought the Austrian force near Dresden at some 15,000 men.
On August 16
- At his headquarters in Leipzig, Prince Friedrich von Zweibrücken was informed of Count Piotr Semionovitch Saltykov’s victory at Kunersdorf against the Prussians. However, instead of rushing across the Elbe, he concentrated his efforts on the siege of fortified places in Saxony.
- Wolfersdorff reached Wittenberg with the garrison of Torgau. In Wittenberg, Wolfersdorff received orders from Frederick instructing him to march towards Berlin, which was probably threatened by Hadik.
On August 17
- The Prince of Stolberg left General von Kleefeld with his detachment near Torgau, and marched back with the rest of his troops to join the main body of the Reichsarmee at Leipzig.
- General Luzinsky advanced to Düben. Soon afterwards, he marched towards Mansfeld by way of Bernburg.
- Kleefeld received order to also take the Fortress of Wittenberg, located on the right bank of the Elbe, and connected to the left bank only by a ferry.
- A party of Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer gave effective support to an Austrian outpost near Dresden.
On August 19
- After hearing a report from his staff officers, Schmettau decided to abandon any plan to defend the new town. All guns who could not be transferred to the old town were nailed. The stock of stores, which could not be transferred to the old town, remained the property of the Saxon estates. The Elbe Bridge was not blown up but a mine was installed to destroy it in case of emergency.
- Schmettau received a letter written by Frederick on August 14, just after his crushing defeat at the Battle of Kunersdorf, in which he informed him that he could not count on any support and instructed him to try to maintain himself in the city but, failing which, to obtain a favourable capitulation allowing the free withdrawal of the garrison, war chest, magazine and hospital and to join his own army near Berlin.
On August 20
- General Kleefeld appeared in front of Wittenberg.
- The Prussian General Horn defended the place with 3 Saxon battalions (among which the I./Garrison Regiment III Grolman) captured at Pirna and the Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers. When summoned, Horn refused to surrender. He had the defensive works repaired and the gates barricaded.
- Frederick detached Major-General von Wunsch from Fürstenwalde with a small force to relieve Saxony.
- Wolfersdorff’s detachment reached Königs-Wusterhausen, only 35 km from Berlin, after marching by way of Treuenbrietzen and Potsdam.
On August 21
- A Prussian detachment under Wunsch (including his own Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch) left Fürstenwalde near Berlin to come to the relief of Dresden.
By August 23, all the Prussian posts in those parts had also fell to the Reichsarmee, not one of them capable of standing a siege of more than a few days. The Reichsarmee had now taken all the northward garrison-towns. It placed garrisons in each of these towns, monopolizing some 11,000 men for general protection of this region.
On August 23
- Maquire’s Corps marched from Rothenburg to join the Reichsarmee on the Elbe for the siege of Dresden.
- Colonel Losy von Losenau, colonel of the Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer occupied the fortress of Wittenberg with Kreisinfanterieregiment Baden-Baden and a few hundred Grenzer light troops and Kleefeld returned to Torgau with the rest of his detachment.
- Wunsch assembled Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch and 50 men of the Kleist Hussars in Königs-Wusterhausen where they were reinforced by the former garrison of Torgau (5 bns under Colonel von Wolfersdorff.
- The garrison of Wittenberg marched out of the fortress with the honours of war and reached Jüterbog. Frederick strongly disapproved of Horn’s conduct and had him arrested and court-martialed in Berlin, where he was sentenced to one year of arrest in a fortress.
On August 24
- The main body of the Reichsarmee finally set off from Leipzig and marched towards Dresden by way Wurzen and Hubertusburg.
- A strong corps under FZM Saint-André was left near Leipzig. Including Rosenfeld’s detachment at Halle and the garrisons of Torgau and Wittenberg, Saint-André was at the head of 18 bns, 12 grenadier coys and 17 sqns for a total of 8,300 foot and 1,300 horse. More precisely:
- Kurmainz (4 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kurtrier (2 bns)
- Palatine II./Garde zu Fuss (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy)
- Württemberg (1 bn, 2 grenadier coys)
- Nassau-Weilburg (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy)
- Hessen-Darmstadt (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy)
- Ernestinisch Sachsen (2 bns)
- Baden-Baden (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Hohenlohe (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Salzburg (2 bns, 1 grenadier coy) in Schmalkalden
- Pfalz Hussars (3 sqns) unidentified unit
- Hohenzollern Cuirassiers (4 sqns)
- Bayreuth Cuirassiers (3 sqns)
- Ansbach Dragoons (3 sqns)
- Württemberg Dragoons and Sachsen-Gotha Dragoons (4 sqns)
- Austrian light troops assigned to the Reichsarmee
- From this force, Ried and Weczay were posted in Alsleben and Bernburg; and Luzinsky in Nordhausen.
- With all these detachments, the Prince of Zweibrücken had now only 7,000 foot and 1,100 horse in 13 bns, 14 grenadier bns and 12 sqns for the siege of Dresden. More precisely:
- Kurköln (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys) probably Kurköln Wildenstein Infantry
- Varell (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Cronegk (2 grenadier coys)
- Fürstenberg (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Baden-Durlach (1 bn, 2 grenadier coys)
- Pfalz-Zweibrücken (2 bns)
- Effern (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kurbayern (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers (6 sqns)
- Prinz Savoyen Dragoons (6 sqns)
Siege of Dresden
On August 25
- Maquire’s Corps arrived at Gönnsdorf, east of “Weissen Hirsch,” near Dresden.
- A large artillery park was being readied in Prague for the siege of Dresden.
- Frederick II despatched a second letter to Schmettau, instructing him this time to hold Dresden at all cost! This last letter did not reach Schmettau in due time...
On August 26
- Siege of Dresden
- Maquire took position in front of the new town (Neustadt), a suburb of Dresden located beyond the river to the north, and attacked it but was repulsed by Schmettau.
- Schmettau’s troops precipitously evacuated the suburb of Neustadt, considering it indefensible with his small garrison of 3,700 men. He then strengthened the riverbank and concentrated the garrison inside the old town on the left bank of the Elbe, where the inhabitants were used to erect entrenchments. They were also instructed to accumulate provisions for six weeks. A curfew was imposed and reunions on the streets were prohibited.
- Vehla with his Grenzers rapidly occupied Neustadt where they managed to seize large quantities of wheat, oat, barley and straw along with 136 iron cannon, 4,000 muskets and 3,000 sabres.
- The Duke of Zweibrücken then sent 4 Grenzer bns (including the Warasdiner-Sankt Georger), a few grenadier companies and the Jazygier-Kumanier Hussars to occupy the suburb.
- Count Schmettau received a new summon from the Prince of Zweibrücken. He once more refused to surrender and vainly asked for the authorisation to send an officer to Frederick to receive instructions.
- Schmettau then decided to set fire to the suburbs, bombarding it with red-hot cannonballs.
- Wunsch’s small corps was joined by 2 grenadier bns, the Plettenberg Dragoons and 2 sqns of Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars as it reached Jüterbog, where it made a junction with the former garrison of Wittenberg. Wunsch was now at the head of 11 bns and 8 sqns:
- Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff (1 bn)
- Grenadier Battalion Willemey (1 bn)
- Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers (2 bns)
- II./Hoffmann Fusiliers (1 bn)
- I./Salmuth Fusiliers (1 bn)
- I./Garrison Regiment III Grolman (1 bn)
- Garrison Regiment IV Jungkenn (2 bns)
- Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch (2 bns)
- Plettenberg Dragoons (5 sqns)
- Ruesch Hussars (1 sqn)
- Malachowski Hussars (1 sqn)
- Kleist Hussars (1 sqn)
- N.B.: Plotho Fusiliers and 30 men of Belling Hussars, who previously belonged to the garrison of Wittenberg, were sent back to Berlin.
- Wunsch’s first objective was the recapture of Wittenberg and Torgau (at that time Dresden was not considered to be seriously threatened by the Reichsarmee).
- Wunsch’s small corps was joined by 2 grenadier bns, the Plettenberg Dragoons and 2 sqns of Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars as it reached Jüterbog, where it made a junction with the former garrison of Wittenberg. Wunsch was now at the head of 11 bns and 8 sqns:
On August 27
- Zweibrücken arrived at Meissen with the main body of the Reichsarmee.
- Wunsch’s Corps marched from Jüterbog towards Wittenberg. Near Zahna, Wunsch’s vanguard attacked an Austro-Imperial outpost and captured 130 men of the Swabian Hohenzollern Cuirassiers and 20 men of Szechényi Hussars. Colonel Losy von Losenau accepted the capitulation offered to him on the condition that the garrison would be allowed free withdrawal.
On August 28,
- The garrison of Wittenberg marched out of the fortress and retired towards Leipzig.
- Wunsch found the magazines of Wittenberg intact. He temporarily left 5 bns (I./Salmuth Fusiliers, II./Hoffmann Fusiliers, I./Garrison Regiment III Grolman and Garrison Regiment IV Jungkenn) there to wait for the arrival of the heavy artillery expected from Magdeburg and Berlin, which he would need in the event of a more stubborn resistance of Torgau.
On August 29
- Siege of Dresden
- The main body of the Reichsarmee arrived at Gorbitz, west of the old town of Dresden. Brentano was encamped near Lockwitz. Two bridges of boat were thrown on the Elbe upstream and downstream from Dresden, near Ubigau and Loschwitz, to establish communication with Maquire’s and Vehla’s troops posted on the right bank of the river.
- On the left bank of the Elbe the old town of Dresden was defended by a wall and a wet ditch fed by the waters of the river. Several gates gave access to the city. The parapets were mostly in ruins. The new town on the right bank of the Elbe was protected by a dry moat and largely unfinished walls. In places, especially in the vicinity of the Elbe, the walling had such large gaps that an entire squadron could easily have ridden through it. The covertway was completely leveled, and most of the moat was filled. Several massive multi-storey buildings of the suburbs stood in the immediate vicinity of the city gates, giving an attacker an overview of the defenders of the wall, making it easier to conceal batteries close to the city and severely impairing the field of fire of the defenders. In the old and new towns, there were defensive outworks in front of the walls.
- Schmettau had the ruined walls partly repaired and the half-filled moat emptied. Upstream and downstream from Dresden, barrier chains were pulled across the Elbe, protected on both banks by entrenchments.
- The garrison of Dresden, numbering some 3,350 men, consisted of 6 bns (I./Hoffmann Fusiliers, II./Salmuth Fusiliers, I./Horn Fusiliers (former Saxon), II./Garrison Regiment III Grolman, III./Garrison Regiment VII Lange, V./Garrison Regiment VII Lange and a detachment of cavalry (from Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers, Meinicke Dragoons, Kleist Hussars and Belling Hussars). There were also 300 convalescents in the city. Most of the infantry consisted of Saxons and Austrian deserters, with the rest being recruits (including several Catholics from Upper Silesia). There were sufficient ammunition for firearms and artillery pieces. However, there was a lack of trained artillery crew and each infantry company had to provide 9 men to man the guns.
- Wunsch marched to Torgau.
On August 30
- Siege of Dresden
- Grenzer light troops took position in the eastern suburbs and approached the bridge over the Weisseritz, Schmettau sent an officer to the Prince of Zweibrücken to require the withdrawal of these troops, threatening to set the suburbs on fire if they did not retire. Zweibrûcken answered that, in such a case, he would put the garrison to the sword, burn Berlin and Halle and devastate the provinces belonging to the King of Prussia.
- At 6:00 p.m., Schmettau gave orders to set fire to the suburbs. Austro-Imperial troops did their best to contain the fire, succeeding to do so in many locations. They then took position in the houses of these suburbs and maintained a steady fire against the defenders.
- When FZM Saint-André was informed of the surrender of Wittenberg, he advanced from Leipzig to Eilenburg, leaving a garrison in Leipzig. He then detached Ried with light troops towards the Elbe.
- The Austro-Imperial garrison of Torgau consisted of Kurtrier Infantry, and a few hundred Grenzer light troops under General von Kleefeld.
- In the morning, Wunsch’s Corps appeared before Torgau, after marching by way of Pretzsch and Dommitzsch. The Austrian Szechényi Hussars debouched from the Forest of Weidenhain in its rear on the road coming from Dũben. However, Wunsch sent his hussars and 3 sqns of the Plettenberg Dragoons against them, they retired into the forest. These Austrian hussars belonged to a light corps under General von Ried, which was posted at Düben.
- Wunsch lost no time and immediately initiated preparations to storm the place, bringing in ladders and making fascines to fill the ditch.
- Ferdinand of Brunswick, who commanded the Allied army in Western Germany, promised Frederick that he would send a small detachment from Mülhausen to assist the Prussians in Saxony. This detachment would pretend to be the vanguard of a 12,000 men strong Allied corps. Frederick approved these measures but considered them insufficient to put pressure on the Austro-Imperial forces operating in Saxony.
In the night of August 30 to 31, Wunsch at the head of II./Freiregiment Wunsch and his jägers launched a surprise attack against the Grenzer light troops occupying the suburbs of Torgau. Kleefeld was so shaken by this attack that he asked to capitulate. The garrison obtained free withdrawal to Leipzig. In this action, Wunsch had lost only 1 officer and 10 men. Wunsch decided to wait for the arrival of his heavy artillery, before marching to the relief of Dresden.
On August 31, the Austrian siege artillery, which had been transported from Prague on the Elbe with ample ammunition, arrived at Loschwitz near Dresden.
On September 1
- Siege of Dresden
- The Austrian siege artillery was unloaded from ships and brought to positions in the new town and in the ravaged suburbs.
- The garrison of Dresden opened a lively fire against the Austrian troops occupying the suburb.
- Gradually, several batteries were established all around the city of Dresden. The Prince of Zweibrücken still hoped to avoid the bombardment of a city belonging to his Saxon allies.
- Count Schmettau initiated new negotiations with the besiegers, mentioning that members of the Saxon Court had taken refuge in the cellars of the castle, in the vain hope to delay the bombardment of the city. However, to avoid to submit the city to an attack and to the ensuing plunder, both parties were willing to negotiate an honorable surrender.
- Schmettau assembled the staff officers of the garrison of Dresden and let them know of Frederick’s letter, which had been written on August 14. He also mentioned that he estimated that the city could hold for no longer than six days. The leading artillery officer, Captain von Winterfeldt seconded Schmettau’s assertion.
- Members of the Saxon court managed to communicate with Maquire, imploring him to continue negotiations.
- Saint-André’s Corps marched to Grimma, where he received new orders from the Prince of Zweibrücken, urging him to march back to Torgau and to recapture the place. He received the Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers as reinforcement for this task.
- Four howitzers and four 6-pdrs, which had been sent from Magdeburg, arrived at Torgau along with the bns that Wunsch had previously left at Wittenberg.
On September 2
- Siege of Dresden
- Maquire offered Schmettau to resume negotiations. They both met on the Elbe Bridge and agreed to a 24 hours long ceasefire. Schmettau made it very clear that he would consent to capitulate only if all his conditions were met (free withdrawal with the war chest). Maquire rejected these conditions.
On September 3
- Siege of Dresden
- Maquire resumed the siege of Dresden.
- Maquire, informed of Wunsch approach, detached Vehla with his 4 Grenzer bns to Reichenberg, and instructed General Brentano to take position on the Elbe to support Vehla.
- In the afternoon, Wunsch left Torgau and marched towards Dresden.
On September 4
- Siege of Dresden
- Maquire interrupted the siege and accepted all of Schmettau’s conditions. The Prince of Zweibrücken, whom Maquire kept informed of the progress of negotiations, urged Maquire to conclude negotiations, because Wunsch was approaching. Furthermore, FM Daun was very eager to see Dresden captured, since all other operations depended on this success.
- At 9:00 p.m., the Prussian governor of Dresden capitulated. The garrison obtained free withdrawal to Magdeburg and could bring along everything that belonged to Prussia. Soon afterwards, an Austrian bn occupied the Elbe Bridge and 1 bn of the Reichsarmee took position at the Pirna Gate. The members of the Saxon court were escorted by Austrian troops from the palace to the new town.
- Hadik’s Corps marched from Lamsfeld by way of Peitz to prevent Frederick from sending a relief force towards Dresden.
- Wunsch’s Corps reached Grossenhain by way of Kossdorf. Wunsch had detached his hussars and the Plettenberg Dragoons forward. These troops surprised the Jazygier-Kumanier Hussars near Grossenhain and took several of them prisoners. Colonel von Wolfersdorff, who accompanied the Prussian cavalry detachment, learned from Elbe boatmen that there were rumours that the governor of Dresden was about to capitulate. At these news, Wunsch set out again from Grossenhain at 10:00 p.m., in a last attempt to relieve Dresden.
Prussians recapture most of Saxony
On September 5
- Siege of Dresden
- Schmettau received a second letter from Frederick, this one had been written on August 25 at Fürstenwalde. Frederick now gave him totally different orders enjoining him to hold Dresden.
- Around 5:00 a.m., near Reichenberg, Wunsch’s Corps engaged the light troops of General Vehla, who had taken position on a neighbouring height under cover of the walls of the Weinberg. Freiregiment Wunsch drove back the Austrian light troops and Wunsch resumed his advance through the forest south of Boxdorf towards Dresden.
- Brentano’s Corps, which had been sent to its support by Maquire, soon joined Vehla's detachment (4 grenzer bns).
- Dresden was roused from its sleep by loud firing and battle, audible from the direction of Grossenhain on the north side of the Elbe. It was Wunsch repelling Brentano's Grenzer Corps from the heights of Boxdorf.
- In the afternoon, the combined forces of Brentano and Vehla made another attempt to stop Wunsch’s Corps near Trachau and the Trachenberg, at the débouché of the woods of Moritzburg. The Austrians were driven back at the point of the bayonet towards the “Weissen Hirsch” by Grenadier Battalion Willemey and Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff. Wunsch’s Corps was now approaching the new town of Dresden, but strangely enough, the guns on the walls of Dresden did not fire a single shot. In this action, the Austrians had lost 511 men (321 of Vehla’s detachment and 190 of Brentano’s).
- During the afternoon, musket-fire could also be heard and from the walls of the old town, one could see Austrian troops retiring towards the new town on the right bank of the Elbe. A Prussian relief corps was approaching.
- Wunsch gave orders to Colonel von Wolfersdorff to advance on the bridge that the Austrians had thrown on the Elbe near Übigau with the Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers and a few heavy guns. Meanwhile, Wunsch planned to destroy the bridge near Loschwitz to cover his flank and rear. He sent summons to Maquire, who occupied the new town, to surrender. Afterwards, he intended to storm the new town and establish communication with the Prussian garrison of the old town. The Austrian outposts in the new town were driven back. As Wolfersdorff approached, the Austrians broke down their bridge near Übigau.
- The attack on the bridges was successful and Wunsch resumed his advance, reaching the Fischhaus where Brentano and Vehla had redeployed their troops. Wunsch attacked them and put them to flight once more.
- Maquire did not answer to Wunsch’s summons before the evening. By that time, Wunsch had learned of the surrender of Dresden. He also received a message from his commandant at Torgau, advising him that Saint-André's 14,000 men strong Austrian Corps (10 bns, 9 grenadier coys, 2,000 Grenzers, 18 sqns, 1 carabinier coy and 60 hussars) was upon him and that he could not hold out very long. Wunsch then took the road again to relieve Torgau.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of Finck’s Prussian Corps on September 6.|
On September 6
- After a slow advance, Saint-André finally arrived before Torgau and summoned Colonel von Grolman to surrender the place.
- According to Daun's order, Hadik marched by Spremberg to Hoyeswerda, intending to make a junction with the Reichsarmee at Dresden.
- Saltykov, commander of the Russian field army, was informed of the capture of Dresden.
- Early in the morning, after resting his troops for a few hours near Grossdobritz, Wunsch reached Grossenhain. In this expedition to relieve Dresden, Wunsch had lost 200 men.
- Ignoring the fate of Dresden, Frederick ordered Lieutenant-General von Finck to prevent the junction of Hadik’s Corps with the Reichsarmee and to join Wunsch at Dresden.
- Finck arrived at Vetschau with the Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers and Horn Cuirassiers to assume command of Rebentisch’s and Schenckendorff’s detachments. Hundt’s and Dingelstedt’s hussar detachments were also subordinated to Finck.
- When Finck was informed that Hadik had decamped from Kahren, he initially thought that Hadik’s Corps had taken the direction of Muskau to make a junction with Daun’s main army.
On September 7
- In the afternoon, after 2 force-marches of 32 km each, Wunsch arrived in front of Torgau with Freiregiment Wunsch, I./Salmuth Fusiliers, II./Hoffmann Fusiliers, 3 sqns of Plettenberg Dragoons and 100 hussars. Meanwhile, Wolfersdorff managed to reach Kossdorf with the rest of Wunsch’s troops, the sick, the artillery and the baggage.
- Wunsch took post in the ruins of the North suburb. Realizing that he had to fight Saint-André, he refreshed his men and requested Wolfersdorff, with the rearguard, to join him at Torgau the following day by 10:00 a.m.
- According to Frederick's orders, Finck’s Corps marched southwards from Vetschau in the direction of Senftenberg. It halted in Ogrosen where Finck was informed of the capitulation of Dresden and of Hadik’s arrival at Hoyerswerda. He transmitted the information to Frederick and asked for new instructions. Frederick immediately answered, expressing his dissatisfaction with Finck’s irresolution. He instructed him to follow Hadik’s Corps whether it was marching to join Daun’s Army or the Reichsarmee. Finck answered that he would advance towards Torgau, recall Wunsch’s small corps and, once his whole force assembled, would launch an attack against Hadik.
On Saturday September 8
- Around 4:00 a.m., Wolfersdorff set off from Kossdorf with the rest of Wunsch’s Corps. He arrived at Torgau at 10:00 a.m. After depositing their knapsacks and leaving all baggage behind on the right bank, the troops immediately went over the bridge and through the fortress and paused for a short rest in the burned down western suburbs, under cover of gardens and standing walls, secured by outposts. Wunsch gave each battalion a barrel of wine.
- At 5:00 a.m., Schmettau's troops left Dresden with drums beating. They filed out across the Elbe Bridge through the Neustadt between a double rank of Austrians. The march was so disposed that, all along, there were one or two companies of Prussian infantry and then in the interval, carriages, guns, cavalry and hussars. Schmettau's own carriage was with the rearguard. Austrians encouraged desertions and about half of the whole garrison seized this opportunity to abandon Prussian service. The remnants of the garrison took the direction of Grossdobritz. The hospital and the bakery were transported downstream on the Elbe. The battalion guns, baggage, provisions and war chest accompanied the garrison. During the siege of Dresden, the Prussian garrison had lost 1 officer and 134 men killed, 109 wounded and 31 taken prisoners but it losses almost five times these numbers to desertion during the march towards Magdeburg. The Austrians freed 796 men (including 22 officers) kept prisoners at Dresden. The pontoons, a large part of the weapons stored in the fortress, ammunition supplies and pieces of equipment as well as important provision magazines of the old town were held back in Dresden, contrary to the articles of capitulation, notwithstanding Schmettau's protests.
- Wunsch was summoned by General Baron Saint-André. Wunsch reacted by an attack, utterly defeating Saint-André in the Combat of Zinna.
- Wunsch, even though he could not save Dresden, had now recaptured the northern regions of Saxony again. Only Leipzig was still in enemy's hand.
- Frederick once more wrote to Finck, urging him to act with vivacity.
- Finck’s Corps marched from Ogrosen to Ruhland, on its way to make a junction with Wunsch’s small corps.
- On Frederick’s insistence, Ferdinand sent some 450 light troops against Naumburg, spreading the rumor that an army of 12,000 men was following them.
On Sunday September 9
- Hadik’s Corps reached the Neustadt of Dresden by way of Königsbrück.
- Finck’s Corps (6,000 men) marched from Ruhland to Grossenhain, which it reached in the evening. There, Finck heard of the capture of Dresden. Nevertheless, he pushed on to join Wunsch at Torgau.
On September 10
- Hadik’s Corps (14,000 men) marched through Dresden and effected a junction with Maquire’s Corps and the Reichsarmee in a new camp near Nöthnitz, behind Plauen. The reinforcement brought up by Hadik consisted of:
- Infantry (19 bns)
- Cavalry (29 sqns)
- The 2 hussar rgts (Splényi Hussars and Hadik Hussars) of Hadik’s Corps had been left on the right bank of the Elbe under FML Count Rudolph Pálffy to observe the movements of Finck’s Corps. They advanced to Grossenhain.
- Hadik’s Corps (14,000 men) marched through Dresden and effected a junction with Maquire’s Corps and the Reichsarmee in a new camp near Nöthnitz, behind Plauen. The reinforcement brought up by Hadik consisted of:
- Frederick advised Finck to march towards Torgau and make a junction with Wunsch’s small corps, and to recall the former garrison of Dresden to his own corps.
- Finck abandoned his design against Dresden and marched from Grossenhain towards Torgau, where he encamped east of the Elbe while Wunsch’s Corps remained on the western bank. The united Prussian corps had a strength of approx. 16,000 men.
On September 12
- Finck and Wunsch marched to Eilenburg and Wunsch continued to Leipzig.
- Frederick, who was displeased with Schmettau’s capitulation, instructed him to march to Wittenberg instead of Magdeburg so that his troops could be used against Dresden. Frederick did not consider himself to be bound by the articles of capitulation since the Austrians had not respected them. Schmettau then had to personally go to Berlin where he would remain in disgrace for the rest of the war, receiving no further command.
On September 13
- Finck detached Wunsch with 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, Grenadier Battalion Willemey, [Dossow Fusiliers|Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers]], Freiregiment Wunsch), 5 sqns (Plettenberg Dragoons) and 300 hussars towards Leipzig, while he marched to Mutzschen with the rest of his corps.
- In the afternoon, the garrison of Leipzig (1 bn of 592 men of Kreisinfanterieregiment Nassau-Weilburg and 429 men of the II./Kreisinfanterieregiment Hohenlohe) under Major-General Count Hohenlohe capitulated without firing a shot. The Prussian took the whole garrison as prisoners of war and captured 10 colours and 4 artillery pieces. Most prisoners entered the Prussian service.
- Tresckow Infantry (1 bn) occupied Leipzig.
- Wunsch’s detachment then rapidly made a junction with the rest of Finck’s Corps, which marched in the direction of Dresden.
- Daun’s main army reached Bautzen.
- Pálffy advanced to Spremberg with his 2 hussar rgts
- General Vehla advanced to Hoyerswerda with his Grenzer light corps (2 sqns of Banalisten Grenz-Hussars, 6 sqns of Slavonisches Grenz-Hussars and 2,004 grenzers belonging to Karlstädter-Oguliner, Karlstädter-Szluiner, Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment and Slavonisch-Brooder).
- Pálffy’s and Vehla’s detachments made a junction at Hoyerswerda.
On September 14
- Finck had little chance to recapture Dresden from the right bank of the Elbe as long as an important Austro-Imperial army was posted near the Old Town. Even if he managed to take the New Town, he would still have the Elbe River in front of him and he had no pontoons to cross it.
- Daun held a meeting with Hadik and the Prince of Zweibrücken at his headquarters in Teichnitz, north of Bautzen. To cover the Reichsarmee from Finck’s enterprises, it was decided to send the light troops of Brentano, Kleefeld and Ried to observe Finck’s movements, while Hadik’s Corps would march to Nossen.
- Saint-André’s Corps, which was in poor condition after its defeat at Zinna, made a junction with the Reichsarmee. Since it had lost most of its tents in that battle, it was mainly assigned as garrison in Dresden.
On September 15
- Finck’s Corps reached Döbeln.
- Hadik’s Corps advanced to Wilsdruff
On September 16
- Hadik’s Corps marched from Wilsdruff towards Nossen.
- Finck’s Corps continued its march eastwards in the direction of Dresden and came to contact with Hadik’s Corps on the Triebisch River near Nossen. After a long cannonade Hadik withdrew to the right bank of the Triebisch. Rain and obscurity prevented Finck from resuming his advance. He rested his troops near Deutschenbora.
On September 17
- Hadik established his camp on the heights near Seeligstadt.
- Finck sojourned at Deutschenbora.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of Zweibrücken’s Army on September 18.|
On September 18
- As soon as Zweibrücken heard of the movements of Finck’s Corps, he threw 16 bns (including Salm Infantry) into Dresden under FML von Kolb and set off from Wilsdruff with the rest of the Austro-Imperial army (20 bns, 22 grenadier coys, 32 sqns, including Maquire’s Corps) to support Hadik and attack the Prussians.
- Finck sojourned one more day at Deutschenbora.
On September 19
- Early in the morning, Finck’s Corps marched in two columns along the west bank of the Triebisch in the direction of Meissen. Wunsch led the vanguard (5 bns, 10 sqns, 500 hussars). The train formed part of the western column, the farthest away from the enemy. On the way, Austrian light troops harassed the Prussian columns, targeting especially the baggage which were part of the left column. The Austrians were kept away form the baggage.
- At Krögis, Finck’s rearguard had to fight off the Grenzer light troops and the hussars who were closely following them. However, the Austrians failed to interrupt Finck’s advance.
- Finck established his camp on the heights to the southwest of Meissen, near the village of Korbitz (near present-day Korbitzer Strasse). He secured his camp with entrenchments on its southwestern and south eastern sides.
- Wunsch’s vanguard consisted of 5 bns (Grenadier Battalion Willemey, Grenadier Battalion Nesse, II./Hoffmann Fusiliers, Freiregiment Wunsch), 10 sqns (Horn Cuirassiers, Jung-Platen Dragoons) and 500 hussars. It occupied the Lerchenberg Heights between the Elbe and the Triebisch, near Lercha and Siebeneichen. As these heights overlooked the main Prussian camp, they were rapidly entrenched.
On September 20
- The Prince of Zweibrücken with a strong escort carefully reconnoitred Finck’s positions. He decided to attack on the following day: the Reichsarmee would attack Wunsch’s post, while Hadik’s Corps would attack the rest of Finck’s Corps, which was posted on the western bank of the river.
- In the afternoon, Hadik’s Corps crossed the Triebisch near Munzig, south of Miltitz, accompanied by most of the Austrian light troops. However, the pouring rain, which had been falling for hours, had made roads almost impracticable for his artillery,
Combat of Korbitz
On September 21
- Early in the morning, the last part of Hadik’s Corps finally reached the vicinity of Miltitz. Hadik immediately informed the Prince of Zweibrücken that his completely soaked troops needed some rest to allow their musket to dry.
- Combat of Korbitz
- At 10:00 a.m., the Reichsarmee attacked Wunsch's positions on the Lerchenberg. Meanwhile, Hadik deployed between Krögis and Stroischen and attacked Finck at noon, cannonading his positions. During the ensuing Combat of Korbitz (aka first Combat of Meissen) near Meissen, the Prussians resisted to several charges of the Austro-Imperial Army and maintained their positions.
On September 22
- Finck remained in his camp near Meissen. He also recalled I./Hoffmann Fusiliers and II./Salmuth Fusiliers, which had been marching towards Wittenberg; and Tresckow Infantry (1 bn) from Leipzig, where it was replaced by Plotho Fusiliers.
- Major von Keller from the Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers assumed command in Leipzig.
- Finck charged Wolfersdorff to re-establish the bridge of Meissen, which had been destroyed by the Prussians in the Autumn of 1757.
- Zweibrücken’s Army retired from Meissen country.
- Hadik retired to his former camp near Seeligstadt.
On September 23, the Reichsarmee returned to its camp at Seeligstadt, about 8.5 km from Wilsdruff, where it made a junction with Hadik’s Corps. They would remain there until September 27, without attempting another attack against Finck, despite their superiority.
On September 24
- Prince Heinrich suddenly appeared in front of Vehla's position at Hoyerswerda, after a march of 50 hours from Lusatia.
On September 25
- Prince Heinrich easily overwhelmed Vehla's Corps (3,000 men), killing 600 and capturing 28 officers and 1,785 men.
Prince Heinrich, Finck and Wunsch were now well positioned in the Meissen-Torgau region.
On September 26
- Finck was informed that Prince Heinrich was marching towards Saxony.
- Beck’s light corps, which had set off from Reichenberg once Prince Heinrich had marched from Görlitz towards the Elbe, reached Gerlachsheim, west of Marklissa in Upper Lusatia.
On September 27
- Prince Heinrich was informed inaccurately that the Reichsarmee along with Hadik's Corps had probably attacked Finck at Korbitz, repulsing him. Prince Heinrich immediately detached General Bülow with 4 bns to reinforce Finck and prepared his corps to march to his relief.
- Hadik’s Corps and the Reichsarmee returned to the vale of Plauen and encamped near Dresden.
On September 28, Prince Heinrich's army marched westwards to Ruhland.
On September 29, Prince Heinrich's Army marched to Elsterwerda where Prince Heinrich was informed of the real outcome of the Combat of Korbitz. The same day, Daun, who had resolved to attack Prince Heinrich, arrived at Dresden and encamped near Kesselsdorf.
On September 30, Daun remained at Kesselsdorf.
Prince Heinrich faces Daun in Saxony
On October 1, Prince Heinrich was informed that Daun had thrown 3 bridges over the Elbe at Dresden. Fearing for Finck's Corps, Prince Heinrich detached General Ozttritz to reinforce it. Ozttritz crossed the Elbe at Torgau with 5 bns and 2 dragoon rgts. The same day, the Austrian corps of Hadik (Warasdiner-Sankt Georger Grenzer and Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 2) and Brentano (1 bn of Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer, 1 bn of Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer, 1 bn of Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1 and 1 bn of Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer) reached Tannenberg.
On October 2 at 6:00 a.m., Daun moved to attack Finck near Meissen but his advanced posts reported that the Prussians had already abandoned their positions during the night. Indeed, by 7:00 a.m., Finck was encamped at Strehla, about 30 km to the northwest of Meissen. The same day, Prince Heinrich's Army encamped in front of Torgau while his vanguard reached Belgern. Prince Heinrich intended to pass the Elbe between Meissen and Strehla and to join Finck. The same day, the Reichsarmee went to a new camp in the Friedrichstadt suburbs of Dresden. Daun asked Zweibrucken to take action against Prince Heinrich.
On October 3, the Austrian Main Army under Daun marched in 7 columns to Lommatzsch while Brentano harrassed Finck's camp at Strehla. The same day, Prince Heinrich passed the Elbe at Torgau and encamped at Belgern.
On October 4, Prince Heinrich arrived at Strehla where he made a junction with Finck's Corps, thus concluding the masterly manoeuvre which conducted his army from Silesia into the heart of Saxony. The reunited Prussian Army counted 53 bns (including 16 grenadier bns) and 103 sqns. Bülow was posted at Eilenburg with his division to maintain communication with Leipzig. The same day, Daun encamped at Heyda, about10 km north of Lommatzsch. His army counted 64 bns (including 10 grenadier bns) and 75 sqns of heavy cavalry not counting hussars, Grenzer light troops, Brentano's and Gemmingen's Corps and the Reichsarmee. Gemmingen (8 bns, 10 sqns) covered the left at Seerhausen and Esterhazy was at Hof with light troops. Hadik's Corps was incorporated into the Austrian Main Army and Hadik took leave. Daun then changed his plan and, instead of attacking Prince Heinrich, he resolved to drive him out of Saxony by successive manoeuvres, the first one being an advance on the Prussian magazine at Torgau.
On October 5, Daun detached Esterhazy at Raitzen.
On October 6, Daun's Main Army marched to Hof, only separated from Prince Heinrich's positions by the stream running from Schönnewitz to Borna.
On October 8, Esterhazy marched to Lampertswalde.
On October 12, Gemmingen's and Brentano's Corps, reinforced by the horse grenadiers under Buccow, marched to Dahlen.
On October 13, Brentano marched to Sörnewitz (now part of Cavertitz) in an attempt to cut Rebentisch's detachment, now at Schildau, from Prince Heinrich's main force.
On October 15, Buccow marched on Schildau, forcing Rebentisch to withdraw to Wildschütz.
During the night of October 15 to 16, Rebentisch quitted Wildschütz to retire to Torgau.
On October 16 in the morning, as soon as he was informed that Rebentisch had been forced to retire on Torgau, Prince Heinrich detached Finck to join him with 4 bns and 5 sqns.
During the night of October 16 to 17, Prince Heinrich quitted Strehla, marched with his army in 3 columns and encamped near Torgau with his right on the heights of Suptitz and his left in the Rathsweinberg. A large pond covered his front line.
On October 17, fearing for Leipzig, Prince Heinrich detached Finck with 14 bns and 25 sqns to Eilenburg. The same day, Daun detached his carabiniers closely followed by the light troops of Esterhazy to occupy Prince Heinrich's former camp at Strehla.
On October 18, Daun's Army encamped at Strehla while the light troops of Kleefeld and Ried moved closer to Torgau, Palffy marched from Bautzen to Grossenhain by Kamenz.
On October 19, Finck reached Groitzsch on the other side of the Mulda. The same day, Daun's Army encamped at Belgern. Prince Heinrich positioned Schenckendorf's Brigade on the Elbe, 2 bns at Werda (present-day Kunzwerda), 2 more on the opposite bank (probably at Pülswerda). Expecting an attack on his position, Prince Heinrich recalled Finck, leaving only 2 bns and 12 sqns at Eilenburg.
On October 20, Zweibrücken marched along the Elbe with 6 bns, 22 grenadier coys., Prinz Savoyen Dragoons, Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld Dragoons and Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers to effect a junction with the light troops of General Kleefeld, Baron Ried and Count Pálffy.
On October 21, Zweibrücken joined Daun at Belgern.
On October 22. Daun marched from Belgern to Schildau in 6 columns while Arenberg's division advanced to Strehla to cut the Prussian line of communication with Eilenburg and Leipzig.
On October 23, the Austrian General Gemmingen marched with 6 bns and 10 sqns to Eilenburg, forcing Gersdorf's Detachment to retire on Leipzig. The same day, Prince Heinrich detached Rebentisch with 2 bns and 5 sqns at Düben (present-day Bad Düben) where he was joined by Gersdorf.
On October 25, in an attempt to cut Prince Heinrich's communication, Zweibrücken marched to Peritz and Glaubitz on the Elbe while Ried marched to Rassdorf and Palffy from Grossenhain to Uebigau. The Austrians threw a bridge over the Elbe at Leutewitz (now a quarter within the district of Cotta in the City of Dresden) to maintain communication between these numerous detachments and Daun's Main Army. Meanwhile, Arenberg advanced to Dommitzsch and Gemmingen to Düben, behind the Prussian positions. Guasco took position at Schildau with 5 bns and 5 sqns to maintain communication between Arenberg and the main army. The same day, the Austrian Corps of Arenberg and the Prussian Corps of Finck came to contact near Dommitzsch.
On October 26 in the morning, Prince Heinrich reconnoitred Arenberg's positions and decided to turn it. Prince Heinrich planned to send Wunsch with 5 bns and 10 sqns along the right bank of the Elbe on Wittenberg. Wunsch would then repass on the left bank and make a junction with Rebentisch at Kemberg. They planned to attack Arenberg's Corps in the rear while Finck would attack it frontally. Meanwhile, Daun had sent O'Donell with 5 bns and 15 sqns to join Guasco and to support Arenberg.
On October 28, fearing for his positions, Zweibrücken crossed to the left bank of the Elbe near Riesa and encamped between Leutewitz and Boritz. The bridge across Elbe was destroyed afterwards. Zweibrücken then returned to Dresden.
On October 29 in the morning, Arenberg quitted his positions to march to Wittenberg. When the Prussians heard of his departure, Finck marched immediately to follow Arenberg's Corps. When Wunsch reached Gemmingen's post at the defile of Merckwitz (unidentified location), Arenberg retired precipitously on Düben through the forest of Torgau, closely followed by Gemmingen. The latter sent Colonel Haller at the head of his vanguard (2,000 men) on the heights of the Sackwitz wood to cover his retreat. Haller's detachment had not yet reached the summit when Jung Platen Dragoons along with Prussian hussars appeared on the crest. The Prussian cavalry immediately charged the Austrian grenadiers and drove them back, capturing Gemmingen along with 1,400 men. Wunsch and Rebentisch then encamped at Meuro. Gemmingen's units involved in this engagement were:
- Botta Infantry (2 bns)
- Marschall Infantry (1 bn)
- Clerici Infantry (1 bn)
- Jung-Colloredo Infantry (2 bns)
- Angern Infantry (1 bn)
- Converged Grenadiers Battalions (3 bns)
- Serbelloni Cuirassiers (5 sqns)
- Jung-Modena Dragoons (5 sqns)
On October 30, Wunsch and Rebentisch made a junction with the Finck's Corps while Arenberg was reinforced at Düben by O'Donell. Both Austrian generals then retired to Eilenburg. Curiously, Daun had sent some 28,000 men in several detachments against the Prussians while he was busy fortifying his own camp.
On October 31, Finck's combined forces encamped at Düben.
Austrian retreat towards Dresden
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed OoB of the Austrian army of Daun at the beginning of November.
Detailed OoB of the Prussian army of Frederick in mid-November.
On November 1, with the Russians in full retreat to Poland, Frederick II detached Hülsen from Silesia to Saxony with 13,000 men (19 bns and 30 sqns).
On November 2, Hülsen was at Muskau (present-day Bad Muskau).
On November 4, hearing of Hülsen's approach, Daun left his camp of Schildau, intending to retreat on Dresden. He reached Naundorf where Arenberg's Corps joined him. Esterhazy's and Brentano's Corps flanked the main body and reconnoitred the way. Meanwhile, Finck's Prussians marched from Düben to Eilenburg.
On November 5, Prince Heinrich's Main Army marched to Belgern in 3 columns. The same day, Daun marched to Lommatzsch in 8 columns.
On November 6, Daun took position at Heynitz. The same day, Prince Heinrich marched from Belgern towards Strehla while Finck marched to Mutzschen with 13 bns and 35 sqns.
On November 8, Prince Heinrich's main army (40 bns, 63 sqns) encamped near Altsattel while 2 bns guarded the bakery and General Aschersleben was detached at Naundorf with 4 bns and 17 sqns, General Wedel at Hirschstein on the Elbe with 7 bns and 10 sqns, General Schenckendorf at Karschitz (unidentified location) with 2 bns and 8 sqns to keep communication with Finck, and General Dierke at Grossenhain with 4 bns and 4 sqns. The same day, Hülsen's Corps made a junction with the army of Prince Heinrich, after crossing the Elbe on a bridge of boats.
On November 9, planning to turn the Austrian left, Prince Heinrich sent Finck to Etzdorf. Brentano, who was covering the Austrian left flank, retired and encamped at Nossen. Daun did not react to the Prussian manoeuvre. Zweibrücken sent all his grenadiers and 4 bns to support his light troops in the area of Grossenhain.
Prince Heinrich then reinforced Finck with 6 bns and 20 sqns. Daun retreated at his slowest step: in many divisions, covering a wide circuit and sticking to all the strong posts, till his own time for quitting them.
On Tuesday November 13, according to Prince Heinrich's orders, Finck advanced on Brentano's positions at Nossen, planning to dislodge him and then to advance southwards on Freiberg and to send parties towards Dippoldiswalde and Dohna. As soon as the Prussian initiated their attack on Brentano, Daun rushed to the spot and ordered part of his left to deploy en potence towards Deutschenbora. Finck then encamped on the heights between Zelle (present-day Altzella Monastery) and Siebenlehn at the extreme left of the Austrian positions, thus cutting their communications with Freiberg. The same day, Frederick II, who had now recovered from his sickness, arrived at the Castle of Hirschstein, some 10 km north of Lommatzsch, with some 20,000 men and made a junction with Prince Heinrich. The united Prussian Army now totalled some 60,000 men.
During the night of November 13 to 14, Daun retired near Wilsdruff in 8 columns and encamped between Sora and Blankenstein. His reserve along with the Austrian carabiniers took position on the heights of Polenz while Aynse occupied Batzdorf on the Elbe in front of Meissen and Bretano went to Herzogswalde.
On November 14 in the morning, when Frederick heard of Daun's retreat, he ordered Wedel to pursue him. Frederick then led 3 grenadier battalions along with Aschersleben's Corps against the positions of General Sincère at Korbitz (now incorporated into Meissen), inflicting him heavy losses during a fierce and obstinate resistance. The Prussian Main Army soon followed, encamping at Krögis while Wedel's Corps reached Korbitz and Schenkendorf's Deutschenbora. Frederick then instructed Finck to march towards Dippodiswalde. The same day, Finck and his corps were near Nossen some 16 km ahead of Krögis and some 32 west from Dresden harassing the Austrian western flank. Frederick then ordered Finck to march at once round that western flank: by Freiberg, Dippoldiswalde, then east to Maxen, to plant himself at Maxen (20 km south of Dresden, among the rocky hills), to cut off the communications of the Austrian Army with Bohemia and to block the Pirna Country for them.
The next morning Thursday November 15, according to Frederick's orders, Finck with 18 battalions got on march. He drove the Reich troops out of Freiberg and reached Dippoldiswalde which was occupied by a division of the Reichsarmee since 2 days. The latter division retired on Possendorf after suffering a few casualties. He made Freiberg his magazine and Dippoldiswalde his halfway house where he left 4 of his battalions.
On Friday November 16, Finck had his vanguard, led by Wunsch, in possession of Maxen and the heights.The same day, the Reichsarmee set off from its camp near Dresden and marched southwards.
On Saturday November 17, Finck himself reached the heights of Maxen with all his troops and equipments and made a junction with Wunsch. Finck had with him some 12,000 men and was occupying a quite difficult hill country. Meanwhile, Lindstedt occupied Dippodiswalde with 4 bns and 6 sqns to protect Finck's communication with Frederick who marched to Limbach. Frederick had also sent a hussar party under Grüne Kleist who, the same day, burnt an important Austrian magazine at Aussig beyond the Erzgebebirge. Daun fell immediately back from Wilsdruff on Dresden and took post in the dell of Plauen, an impassable chasm stretching southward from Dresden in front of the hill country. The Austrian cavalry took position on the level ground between Dresden and Plauen while the infantry occupied the heights from Plauen to Windberg. Sincère's Corps took position on the heights near Hänichen to cover the rear of the Austrian Army and to guard the defiles of Possendorf leading to Dresden. Brentano was sent at Strehlen on the road to Pirna and then at Nickern. Finally, the Reichsarmee marched by Pirna and took position between Cotta and Berggießhübel while its light troops under Ried marched to Glashütte and Liebstadt. Palfy advanced to Zehista with the hussars and Kleefeld to Zaschendorf on the opposite bank of the Elbe with the Grenzer and Hungarian infantry. Daun's post was both safe and comfortable. Reacting to these manoeuvres, Finck sent Wunsch to Dohna.
On Sunday November 18, Frederick encamped at Wilsdruff while his vanguard led by Zieten reached Kesselsdorf. Frederick then instructed Finck to retire Lindstedt's detachment (4 bns) from Dippoldiswalde and to unite it with his corps at Maxen. This was done according to orders, Finck leaving only 3 hussar sqns at Dippoldiswalde. The same day, Daun, urged on by Lacy, decided to prepare an attack on Finck's positions in the hills. He planned a combined operation with Zweibrücken and his Reichsarmee (12,000 horse and foot). The latter would advance against the rear of Finck's positions by Dohna while Brentano would attack them frontally and Daun and Sincère (3,000 light troops) would attack by Dippoldiswalde to cut Finck's retreat. Sincère's Corps (16 bns, 40 sqns) was reinforced with 12 bns and 10 sqns bringing its total force to about 30,000 men. O'Donell assumed command of this corps.
On Monday November 19 at 7:00 a.m., O'Donell's Corps, personally led by Daun, quitted Rippien and marched directly on Dippoldiswalde. The movement was initially hidden by a heavy fog. When the fog lifted, Finck resolved to detach Platen with 5 bns and 5 sqns to occupy Rheinhadrtsgrimma on the heights of Hausdorf. A bread-convoy reached Finck's positions and was able to safely get home, though under annoyances from cannonading in the distance. Finck, from his observation post on a hilltop, saw the vanguard of Daun approaching Dippoldiswalde and cannonading his meal-carts. All that day, Finck did his best to prepare his corps and saw his numerous enemies settle round him. Finck completely ascertained where the enemy's three attacks were to be: from Dippoldiswalde, Tronitz and Dohna. Daun, with his main force of 27,000 men, took camp on the heights of Malter near Dippoldiswalde with his left at Oberhäslich while Zweibrücken sent FML Duke Stolberg with 6 bns and 5 sqns to Burkhardswalde on the eastern side of Maxen. Once his army safely encamped, Daun returned to Dresden for the night to see if Frederick was quiet. Meanwhile, Finck prepared his positions for defence. Wunsch was left on the heights of Ploschwitz with 5 bns and 3 sqns to contain the Reichsarmee. The rest of Finck's Corps deployed in a crescent shaped line around Maxen. Its line extended from Muhlbach to the heights of Wittgensdorf. Lindstedt covered the right with 3 bns on the heights of Schmorsdorf.
Battle of Maxen
On November 20, Frederick sent Hülsen with 9 bns and 20 sqns by the forest of Tharandt to reinforce Finck. But his reaction came too late. In the afternoon, Daun launched the attack on Finck's positions from the south under Lieutenant-general Lacy and from the north under Brentano. During the ensuing Battle of Maxen', Finck's Corps was completely surrounded and forced to surrender with about 13,750 man while the Austrian lost no more than 1,000 men.
Daun reoccupy part of Saxony
On November 21, Hülsen was at Dippoldiswalde with the reinforcements when he heard of Finck's capitulation. He immediately retired to Freiberg while Frederick sent 4 bns to Mohorn to keep communications with Hülsen open.
Daun then cantoned his army near Dresden.
On November 25, the Reichsarmee encamped around Berggießhübel.
Meanwhile, Frederick took position in front of the Austrians. His vanguard (9 bns, 24 sqns) was at Kesselsdorf; his first line (23 bns) between Wilsdruff and Limbach; his second line (8 bns) in the neighbourhood of Blankenstein and Meissen; his third line (28 sqns) near Herzogswalde; his reserve (11 bns, 35 sqns) under Hülsen near Freiberg. Frederick also detached Dierecke with 6 bns and 1,000 horse at Cölln (now a district of Meissen) on the right bank of the Elbe, in front of Meissen to secure the road leading from Torgau to Berlin.
Around end of November, Daun asked to transfer the Saxon cavalry from Silesia to Saxony. One column (Prinz Albrecht Chevauxlegers and the Karabiniergarde) marched from Trautenau by Schlukenau (present day Šluknov/CZ) and Neustadt; the other (Herzog von Kurland Chevauxlegers and Graf Brühl Chevauxlegers) by Reichenberg (present day Liberec/CZ) and Zittau. Graf Rudnicki Uhlanen came from Brünn (present day Brno/CZ) while Schiebel Uhlanen had arrived earlier.
Daun resolved to attacked Dierecke's isolated detachment. To do so, he recalled Beck's Corps (6,086 men, including 2,221 Grenzers from the Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1 under Colonel Zetwitz and Warasdiner-Sankt Georger under Colonel Riese) from Zittau. Furthermore, since Dierecke occupied a very advantageous position on the heights of Zaschendorf and Spaar, Daun reinforced Beck's Corps with Pelegrini's 5 bns and 500 carabiniers.
In the night of December 2 to 3, Beck's Corps set off towards Dierecke's positions.
On December 3, FML Beck appeared in front of Dierecke's positions but did not attack immediately. No reinforcement was possible because Dierecke was on the wrong side of the Elbe. Beck finally attacked Dierecke during the Combat of Meissen which lasted until December 4 when Dierecke was forced to surrender along with 1,500 men. After this new defeat, Frederick asked to Ferdinand of Brunswick, commanding the Allied Army, to send him reinforcements. Beck, informed that a Prussian convoy was heading for Torgau, sent General Nauendorf to Marschwitz at the head of 500 Grenzers and 550 line infantry with 3 cannon to intercept it. The same day, the Reichsarmee set off for Franconia to take its winter-quarters.
On December 4, the Reichsarmee took its winter-quarters. It was accompanied by Kleefeld's Light Corps of Grenzers, Banat militia and Slavonier Grenz-Hussars and by Luzinsky's Corps.
On December 6, Nauendorf's detachment burned 22 vessels laden with grain at Riesa on the Elbe.
On December 12, the Elbe froze. Nauendorf, fearing to be cut from Dresden, retired to Grossenhain.
Daun then came out of the Plauen Chasm with some 72,000 men. Frederick II with his 36,000 men formed into line of battle. Daun retired behind the Plauen Chasm again to protect Dresden from recapture. He carted his provision out of Bohemia. Frederick too, waited under arms for six weeks. The whole campaign finally came to an end.
On December 25, an Allied reinforcement of 15 bns and 19 sqns, led by the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, made a junction with Frederick's Army. The Prussian Main Army then took its winter-quarters, and Frederick went to Freiberg.
The Saxon cavalry spent winter near Stolpen in Saxony.
On December 31, fearing a Prussian attack on Dippoldiswalde, Hadik concentrated his corps.
This article is essentially a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 451-463
- Brabant, Artur: 1759 The Empire at War, Vol. 2, translated, edited & illustrated by Sharman, Lange & Cogswell, plate 122b
- Carlyle T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 19
- Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763
- Vol. 9 Bergen, Berlin, 1911, pp. 40, 54, 103-107, 110, 113, 226-228
- Vol. 10 Kunersdorf, Berlin, 1912, pp. 47-50, 55-68, 196-197, 305-308
- Vol. 11 Minden und Maxen, Berlin, 1912, pp. 62, 92-118, 123-129, 134-134, 140
- Jomini, baron de, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 5, 66-67. 70-71, 76-80, 90-94, 141-148, 156, 164-174, 180-193
- Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885
- Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 458-481
Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009
Wengen, F. von: Geschichte des k. k. österreichischen 13. Dragoner-Regimentes Prinz Eugen von Savoyen, Brandeis 1879
Harald Skala for information on the Saxon cavalry during this period