"My DEAR JORDAN,---We are going to fight to-morrow. Thou knowest the chances of war; the life of Kings not more regarded than that of private people. I know not what will happen to me.
"If my destiny is finished, remember a friend, who loves thee always tenderly: if Heaven prolong my days, I will write to thee after to-morrow, and thou wilt hear of our victory. Adieu, dear friend; I shall love thee till death.
The King, we incidentally discover somewhere, "had no sleep that night;" none, "nor the next night either,"--such a crisis coming, still not come.
"To-morrow," Sunday, did not prove the Day of Fight, after all. Being a day of wild drifting snow, so that you could not see twenty paces, there was nothing for it but to sit quiet. The King makes all his dispositions; sketches out punctually, to the last item, where each is to station himself, how the Army is to advance in Four Columns, ready for Neipperg wherever he may be,--towards Ohlau at any rate, whither it is not doubted Neipperg is bent. These snowy six-and-thirty hours at Pogarell were probably, since the Custrin time, the most anxious of Friedrich's life.
Neipperg, for his part, struggles forward a few miles, this Sunday, April 9th; the Prussians rest under shelter in the wild weather. Neipperg's head-quarters, this night, are a small Village or Hamlet, called Mollwitz: there and in the adjacent Hamlets, chiefly in Laugwitz and Gruningen, his Army lodges itself:--he is now fairly got between us and Ohlau,--if, in the blowing drift, we knew it, or he knew it. But, in this confusion of the elements, neither party knows of the other: Neipperg has appointed that to-morrow, Monday, l0th, shall be a rest-day:--appointment which could by no means be kept, as it turned out!
Friedrich had despatched messengers to Ohlau, that the force there should join him; messengers are all captured. The like message had already gone to Brieg, some days before, and the Blockading Body, a good few thousand strong, quitted Brieg, as we saw, and effected their junction with him. All day, this Sunday, 9th, it still snows and blows; you cannot see a yard before you. No hope now of Holstein-Beck. Not the least news from any quarter; Ohlau uncertain, too likely the wrong way: What is to be done? We are cut off from our Magazines, have only provision for one other day. "Had this weather lasted," says an Austrian reporter of these things, "his Majesty would have passed his time very ill." [
Of the Battle of Mollwitz, as indeed of all Friedrich's Battles, there are ample accounts new and old, of perfect authenticity and scientific exactitude; so that in regard to military points the due clearness is, on study, completely attainable. But as to personal or human details, we are driven back upon a miscellany of sources; most of which, indeed all of which except Nicolai, when he sparingly gives us anything, are of questionable nature; and, without intending to be dishonest, do run out into the mythical, and require to be used with caution. The latest and notablest of these, in regard to Mollwitz, is the pamphlet of a Dr. Fuchs; from which, in spite of its amazing quality, we expect to glean a serviceable item here and there. [
"This 'Centenary-Celebration Pamphlet' (Celebration itself, so obtuse was the Country, did not take effect) was by a zealous, noisy but not wise, old Medical Gentleman of these parts, called Dr. Fuchs (FOX); who had set his heart on raising, by subscription, a proper National Monument on the Field of Mollwitz, and so closing his old career. Subscriptions did not take, in that April, 1841, nor in the following months or twelve-months: the zealous Doctor, therefore, indignantly drew his own purse; got a big Obelisk of Granite hewn ready, with suitable Inscription on it; carted his big Obelisk from the quarries of Strehlen; assembled the Country round it, on Mollwitz Field; and passionately discoursed and pleaded, That at least the Country should bring block-and-tackle, with proper framework, and set up this Obelisk on the pedestal he had there built for it. The Country listened cheerfully (for the old Doctor was a popular man, clever though flighty); but the Country was again obtuse in the way of active furtherance, and would not even bring block-and-tackle. The old Doctor had to answer, 'Well, then!' and go on his way on more serious errands. The cattle have much undermined, and rubbed down, his poor Pedestal, which is of rubble-work; his Obelisk still lies mournfully horizontal, uninjured;--and really ought to be set up, by some parish-rate, or effort of the community otherwise." [Tourist's Note (Brieg, 1858).]