Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée
Report of Prince Hohenlohe to the King of Prussia on the Surrender of His Corps: 29 October 1806
Here is the report that Prince Hohenlohe addressed to the King of Prussia after the capitulation of his corps of the army, and that was intercepted:
For his Majesty the King.
I did not have the happiness to be able cross the Oder with the army that was entrusted to me, and to thus withdraw it from the pursuits of the enemy. Having reached after the most painful march, the surroundings of Boitzenbourg, and finding myself at the time to move this procession on to reach Prentzlow, the same evening I found it already occupied by the enemy. Though we could have managed to occupy it, I did not think in in this case to directly continue my march, my cavalry being without fodder and extremely tired, and the prospect in front of me was to wait a point of the day to an attack whose unhappy conclusion was well to fear. I promptly turned myself consequently in the most likely possible direction, towards the left, and reached in the night the surroundings of Schonemarck. I had, as of two o’clock in the morning, ordered that strong patrols were to thorough scout ahead of the enemy: these patrols returned without to have met them. To avoid falling into a cul-de-sac, I still sent a patrol up to Prentzlow. It returned with an account that no enemy had shown in the surroundings, and that in Prentzlow, they had not seen their patrols. I then started to approach this city, where I hoped to find bread and fodder; all around me required some, the distress had reached its limits. Hardly I had reached the heights of Prentzlow, than the enemy appeared on my right side; they came at once to arms: The superiority of the enemy and his artillery forced me with a retirement by Prentzlow; the hope of finding for ourselves the bread and fodder thus had been completely disappointed by the arrival of the enemy. Enemy bodies showed up then on my right side. The French, quite outnumbering me in artillery and cavalry, prepared themselves to renew the attack on my center; several battalions were without cartridges; a whole light artillery battery was lost; and according to the report of colonel Hozen, not remained any more within the majority in the other pieces but five rounds.
I was still seven miles from Stettin, and even any appearance of help based on this march had disappeared. Cut was hope of help remaining at Liches with the corps of the General Blücher, without cavalry to fight, since the dejection of the men and the tiredness of the horses had removed any confidence in him; without ammunition and especially without food, finally, persuaded that I would be sacrificing the life of this handle of men without any utility for the service of Y. M., I subjected myself to my sad destiny, and I capitulated to the enemy. I am capable to justify my control during all the course of this countryside to the eyes of my contemporaries and posterity, with those of Y. M., and in front of my own glances, which I then to turn with calm and serenity on myself.
I think of being able to prove that I was the unhappy victim of the non-execution of my original plans. Misfortune alone reaches me, and not shame. The superiority of the enemy cavalry had already mainly destroyed the detachment of the General Schimmelpenning, and however the possibility of my retirement rested only on the existence of this body, which was to burn all the bridges on the Rhinau, Havel and the channel of Finavv.
I led an army that, lacking bread, ammunition, fodder, was to await a difficult passage, in a circle throughout the whole extent of which the enemy was moving. The impossibility of this execution was due neither to my zeal, neither with my goodwill, neither with the thing in itself, nor with the insufficiency of my provisions. One must feel sorry for the extent of my misfortune, and one could not condemn me. I reserve myself to present myself at the feet of your Majesty a report detailing on all the events that overpowered me since the 14.
Prentzlow, October 29, 1806.
Signed, F. L. Prince HOHENLOHE.
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