Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée
Letter from de Mottzer to the Princess of Sweden on the Military Situation: 19 October 1806
A. H. A. R. Madame the Princess of Sweden, aunt of the king, princess-abbess of Quedlinbourg, by Brunswick, in Stockholm.
In Quedlimbourg, October 19, 1806, at eight o'clock in the morning.
Y. A. R. will have condescended to see, by the letter that my wife had the honor to address to him, until a point of the war that the beginning was disastrous. I could add many features to this sad table; but it is enough to apply the words of François the First, that all is lost without honor, because the troops made well their respect. For what finds of the situation of this place, I will not speak about the mien, it is dreadful; one awaits the French at every moment. Yesterday and in the last night, the rear-guard, commanded by Prince Holenlohe, accompanied by Tauendzien, made to the general quarter of the city: it is portrait of Magdeburg, where the remains of the army gather. Since the departure of the last mail, the panic and fear and the passage of the troops and luggage did not cease to spread alarm. The troops and the luggage all arrived in a stampede; that split the heart. This morning at three o’clock the signal of the departure was given. Apparently on an absolutely false report, because it was known that the French would arrive in three hours of time, and that they had set fire to several villages in Gartz, that the reporter said to have seen burning. In spite of the authenticity that such a report should have, I could not see the least trace of fire on my rising, and each hour no one saw French troops either. However it is certain that they followed the rear-guard close to the fort, because the day before yesterday in the evening General Blücher had an engagement with the French close to Nordhausen, but he was pushed back. Not up until then has the retirement been precipitated and how much the loss luggage must have been considerable! Y. A. royal will condescend to judge that, because neither Prince Hohenlohe, nor my Tauendzien brother-in-law had removed their clothes in eight days nor not changed the shirt that I provided them, because they had lost their luggage.
The Duke of Brunswick was mortally wounded of a blow of grapeshot. He lost the two eyes, and it is believed that he will not survive a long time. He spent the night of the day before yesterday at Ballenstedt, from there he was carried by Neustedt Thale in Blanckenbourg, from where he must have left Brunswick halfway. Great God! If this prince had kept himself to securing the happiness of his subjects! According to what the Prussian officers’ staff said, Field-Marshal Mollendorff and the Prince of Orange must be in Erfurth, preparing to capitulate. It is also said that on the made proposal of an armistice, the Napoleon Emperor would have answered that he would sign the peace in Dresden and Berlin.
Reflexes are all that can make them present themselves, and the consequences are incalculable. For my private self, I feel that I am after the day before to become the most unhappy of the men; but I am thoughtless in this, and hope supports me that Y. A. R. will not give up a faithful servant.
Receive while waiting, Madam, with benevolence, the expression of the very-humble homage’s of my wife, Caroline, and the family of Amstedt. With the remainder, I beg Y. A. R. to gracefully undertake our compliment for his court, the count and the countess of Henboeck and for small Magnus.
I wrote to the French General a letter that Dube will carry to him as soon as one sees the French arriving. I claim his protection for the abbey there in general, and for residence, the fields and the house of Goetze, I ask for a safeguard.
I am, with the deepest respect, Madam, of Your Royal Highness, very-humble, very-obeying and very-faithful servant, DE MOTTZER.
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