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THE BATTLE OF SADOWA.

''.. The special correspondent of-the "Times" with the Austrian army (the brilliant historian '■•who described so vividly the Crimean struggles, and the marefces of Clyde and Qutrain in India), and the . mnitary-correspondent with the Prussian army, enable us to describe the great ■battle o£ the Brd of July, variously called , the battle of Sadowa, or Koniggra'z, hstving been fought in tlie vicinity of these places,!. - ■ The army which General Benedekhad to defend his position consisted of at least 225,000 men, but/ a large deduction must bo made for the baggage guards, tlie various escorts, the garrison of Joseph-., stadt and Eoniggyatz, the, sick, and those tired by inarching, and the killed, wounded and prisoners in recent actions— so that probably, he had not more than 190,000 or- 195,000 actually in hand. The ground .he had to cover from right to left was 'about 'nine miles in length. On his ex^ trenie left in his first line, near v tlie rear of Nechanitz, and towards the Prague road, he put the Saxons. Then the 10th Army Corps, under Field Marshal Lieu- . tenant Gablenz,. the 3rd Corps d'Armee, under Field Marshal Lieutenant Count Thiiu, the' 4th Army Corps, under Field Marshal Lieutenant Festetics (who was - wounded early in the day),' and the 2nd Army Corps, under Field Marshal Lieu* tenant Archduke - Ernest, were placed from left to right on the slope of the second range or ridge. His second line aud his '..'reserves consisted ot the Sth: Corps d'Armee, under Field Marshal lieutenant tlie Duke Leopold, the Ist Army -Corp.?, under Cavalry General I ■■> Count Clain-Gallas, and tho 6th Army j ' Corps '-under Field Marshal Lieutenant j Itamming, He .had -at his disposal a . grand army of cavalry ;it was composed .of the Ist Light Cavalry Division-, uiider Major General Edelsheim ; ' the 2nd Jjight. Cavalry Division, under Count Taxis 1 the Ist Heavy Cavalry Division under the. Prince of Holstein ; the 2nd fc Heavy Cavalry Division, under General Major Faitsnok ; and" the. 3i>d Heavy Cavalry, Division, under General Major Count Coudenhove. His artillery consisted of about 540 guns. The horse, ' under Feldzeugmeißter Benedek's orders, peemed to the correspondent 'the veryfinest cavalry by many degreesrthat I ever paw, as it certainly -was in point of numbers the largest displayed on one battle-* field in recent days. I cannot think that tflie '.Austrian 'Coinmander-in-Chief had much less than 20,000 sabres .under his command.' The centre:in front of Kium 'and Lipa was strongly held by the 3rd and 4th Corps somewhat thrown back,, with the Ist Corps in reserve, and tho_ t6th Corps" was in reserve qu the right, ' towards,. Smiralitz. The Saxons also held "a considerable portion of their force in ; reserve; in addition to the §th Corps, on the left. r - ■ : , On Monday, tho 2nd of July, Prince Frederick Charles halted with the first army, consisting of 150,000 men, atKom-. jnehitz, and, 'having communicated with - -the Crown Prince, it was arranged to ' fight the Austrians on the following day, ■ The. main body of tlie.army was at Milo=^ - - a village on the road fyom Horzitz ■to Xoriiggratz ; . the ?th division, under - General Fransky, yfas at Cesekwitz on ' the left, and the 4th and sth divisions at the villages at Briatau and Psauch on the right, wliile General Von Bitteifeld, with the Bth and part of the 7th Corps d'Armee, was s,ent to the town of Neubidshaw, on the extreme right, teji miles from Milowitz. • - . The military correspondent with the ' Prussian army says. :— The first shot wa? fired about half-paat 7 'o'clock. The Prussian horse artillery close down tlie river, replied to the Aus--triah guns, but neither side fired heavily, and for half an hour the cannonade coh~ gisted of little inor.-e.tha.n sipgle shots. At a quarter .before § o'clock the King of .Prussia arrived on the field, and very soon ■ after the horse artillery was reinforced by . other field batteries, and the Prussian ■ gunners began firing their shells quickly into the Austrian, position, But as soon as the Prussian fire actively commenced Austrian guns seemed to appear, as if by magi<£ in every point of the position ; from everfroad, from every village, from the orchard of Mqkroyrens, on the Pruspian right, to the orchard of Beiiatek, on • their left j came flashes of fire and wluzzing rifle shells, ' w-hich, bursting with a sharp crack, sent their splinters rattling among the guns, gunners, carriages,- and hors«3,' often killing a man or horse; sometimes dismounting a gun, -but always -ploughing up the earth and scattering the mud in the j -- ■ men's faces. - But the Austrians did not . confine themselves to firing on the artil- ' ■ lery alone, for they threw tlieir shells up the slope opposite to them towards Dub, and one^ shell'came slap into a. squadron of Uhlans, wluchwasclosebeside the King ; burying itself with a ■ heavy thud in the "ground, it blew up columns of mud some twenty feet in the air; and bursting a moment after, reduced- the squadron by . four fiies. As soon as the. canonade in & ' front s became serious, the guns of the 7th • -division' began to bombard the ,village of Benatek oh tae Austrian right. The Austrians returned shot for shot, and neither side either, gained or lost grounds In "he. centre, too, the, battlfe was very even.: the' • Prussians posted - battery ' after "battery

into the action, and kept up a-trercendqus fire ou-tlfo Austrian guns, but these 're---turned it, .and sometimes -wita- interest, ' for the Austrian artillery officers knew > their ground, and every shell. fell true ;' many officers and men fell, and iriauy horse's were killed -or wounded. More Krankeii-tagers were sent down to the . batteries, arid always returned carrying on stretchers ' men whose wounds had -been hastily bound^up .under fire, but who seeined'to-be too much stunned to suffer much from pain. Gradually the Prussian cannonade appeared to get stronger, and the Austrian batteries between Dbhelnitz and.Dohahcha retired higher up the lull, but the Mokrowens still stood fast, and the Prussians had not yet crossed theßistriz ; t>ut many guns., were now turned on Mokrowens, antl at ten o'clock the battery there was also required to" retire a little. ' Wliile this canonade had been going on, some of. the, infantry had been moved down towards the river, where they took shelter from the fire under a- convenient undulation of ground. ' The Bth" division 1 now came down on the left hand side of the causeway, and, uiider coyer of the risiDg in the ground, formed its columns for the attack on the village, of Sadowa ; while the 3rd and 4tli divisions on the right hand side of the road prepared to stopm Dolielnitz and Mokrowens. But a, little before their preparations were-com-plete the village of Benatck, on the Austrians' right, caught fire, and the 7th divi-,. sion made a dash to secure itj"but the Austrians were not driven out by the flames, and. here for the first time in battle was there: hand-to-hand fighting. The 27th Regiment led the attack, and rushed into the orchards of the village ; the burning houses separated' the combatants.*; they poured voHey after volley at each other thrpagh. the flames ;' but tho Prussians found means to get round the burning houses, and, taking the defenders in reverse, forced them to retire, with the loss of many, prisoners. It was ten o'clock when Tr.ncc Frederick Charles §6nt General Stnhnr.pl to order the attack on Sadowa, Dohehutz, and Mokrowens. '.The columns advanced covered by skirmishers, ..and- reached, the river bank without much loss, bnt from there they hail to fight eveiy inch of the way. The Austrian 'infantry held the 'bridges" and villages in force, and fii^d fast upon' them as they approached. The.Prussians could advance but slowly along the narrow ways .and against the defence of the houses, anil" the volleys sweeping through the ranks seemed to tear the soldiers- down. The Prussians fired much more quickly^than their opponents, but they could not see to take their aim ; the houses, trees, and smoke, from the Austrian discharges shrouded the villages. Sheltered by this, tho Austrian /Jagers fired blindly where they could tell by healing that tho attacking columns were, and th.c shots told tremendously on the Prussians in their close formations ; but the latter improved their position, although slowly and by dint of sheer courage and persevcrence, for they lost men at every yard of their advance, and in some places, almost paved the way with wounded. Then, to help the infantry, the Prussian- artillery turned its fire,-reg»r^llesß of .the enemy's batteries,: on the villages, and made tremendous havoc among the houses. Mokrowens and Dohelnitz both caught fire,' amV the shells fell quickly and with fearful effeot among the defenders of the 'flaming hamlets ; the Ausil'ian guns,alsa. played upon ,the attacking^ infantry, but at this time- these were shel-' tered from, their fire by the houses .and trees between.- In and around the villages the -fighting continued. for nearly an hour; then the Austrian infantry, who had been tlierej driven out by a rusk of the Prussians, retired,- but only a little way up the slope into a line with their batteries. The v/ood above Sadowa was strongly held, jinil that between Sadowa and Bauatek, teeming with riflemen,, stood to bar the way of the 7th division, But General Fransky, who commands this division, was not to be easily stopped,. and lie sent his infantry at tlie- wood, and turned his artillery on the Austrian batteries. The 7th division began firing into the trees, but found they could no.t make any impresoion, for the defenders were concealed, and musketry fire- was. useless, agaiust- them. Then Transky let them go, and dashed in with the bayonet. The Auatriaus would .not retire, but waited for the struggle, and in the wood above Benatck. waa fought out one of the fiercest combats which the war has seen, The 27th Prussian Regiment went in ' nearly 3000 strong, with 90 officers, and came on the 'further side with^ only two officers and botweon 300 ami 40i) men standing ; the rest were killed* of wfiimdcd, The other regiments of the division also suffered much, but not in the same proportion ; but the wood was carried. The Austrian line was now driven in on both flanks, but its commander formed a new line of battle a little higher up the hill, 'rou.ud Lipa, still holding the wood which lies above Sadowa. ' Theii the Prussian artillery was sent across the Bistritx, and began to fire upon the new Austrian position. At the sanie-tiihe the pmoke of General Btarr-warth's advance was gradually seen moving towards the Austrian left, for he had at Neehunitz. a village about seven miles lower down the -Bistriz than Sadowa, found a brigade of Saxon troops and some Austrian cavalry, and was driving them towards the position at Lipa, himself following in such a direction that it appeared he 1 would turn the Austrian left flank. _But the ' Austrian commander seemed determined to hold his position, and heavy masses of infantry and cavalry could be 'seen ou the upper side of the slope. The Prussian infantry, which had taken the village of Sadowa and Dohelnitz, was now. sent against the wood, which, abpve these places, runs along the skirt of the Sadowa and Lipa road. ' They advanced against it, but at first did not make much impression, for the Austrians being here again concealed, the fire of^the needlegun did not tell, and a whole battery placed at the far end of the. wood fired through the trees, and told on the Prussian ranks with awful effect. But- the- assailants fought on, at last broke* down the obstacles a.t tlie entrance, and then dashed in. The fighting' continued from tree, and the Austrians made many a rush to recover the lost position of the wood, but in this qlosq fighting their boyish troops went down like nine-pins before the strong men of the Bth division ; but when the defenders v drew back a little, and their artillery played into, the treesj the Prussians suffered severely, and about half-way up the wood the fight became stationary. , At this time the Austrian artillery were making . splendid practice, and about one o'clock the whole battle line of the Prussians could gain no more ground, and was obliged to fight hard- to retain the position it had won. At one time it seemed, as if it would be lost, for guns had been dismounted by the' Austrian fire, and' in>the wooded ground the needle-gun had no fair field, and the infantry, fight was very equal, Then Prince Frederick Charles sent the sth and 6th divisions forward. They laid down their helmets and knapsacks on the ground, and advanced tothe rivery The King was now near to Bistritz, and the troops cheered him loudly as they marched into the battle. They went over tMSadowa bridge, disappeared into the_ wood, and soon "the increased noise of mus-. ketry told they had begun'to fight ; but tho Austrian gunners • sea,% salyo after s,alvo

among them, and they' did not push the.' battle 'forward more than a. few hundred 'yards, for they full-back themselves, and tbey could" in jt reach tho enemy. ' Not only did the fragments of the shells fly about them, scattering death 'and aw ful- gashes . among'" tleh^ranks, but the portions of the trees, torn by the, artillery fire, flew thickly "about— huge ragged splinters, that caused even more" frightful* wounds. Herrwarth, too,"- seemed checked upon the right. The smoke of his musketry and artillery, which had hitherto been pushing forward steadily, .stood still for a time. Fransky's men, cut to pieces, -could not be sent forward,tq attack the Sadowa wood, for they, woiild have exposed themselves to be taken in rear by the, artillery oil! the right of tho. Austrian line formed' in front of Lipa. All the artillery was engaged except eight batteries, and these had to be letaiued in case of a reverse, for at [ one time the firing in the Sadowa wood and . of the Prussian artillery on the slope seemed almost as if drawing back towards Bistritz, ' The first army was certainly checked in its -; advance, it not actually being pushed back. '• •Then the -Prussian commanders began to j lodk anxiously to the left for the coming of the Crown Prince. Some Austrian guns near Lipa were seen to be firing towards, the Prussian left, and it was hoped they might be ' directed against the advanced guard of the ' second army, but at 3 o'clook there were no 1 signs of Prussian columns advancing against ( Lipa. The Generals became manifestly un- '' easy, and they drew tlie infantry out of the ' battle ; cavalry were also formed up, so that ' it would be available either for the pursuit { of the Austrians, or for retarding their ] pursuit, and General Von . Ehetz himself weiit off to. look for the second 1 army. But ( he somi'ieturaed, and brought the intelli- ' gence thiit the Crown Prince was forming his attack upon Lipa; and that the guns on ' the Austrian right had been firing' against ' his troops. Tjlie' Sadowa wood was carried ■ and the battery beyond it was stormed by | the Jagers. At half-past three tho Crown Prince's columns^ were seen moving across the slope "against Lipa/ for his artillery had silenced the Austrian guns, and Herrwarth was again pressing forward against the Aus- . trian left. In a quarter of an hour, the Crown Prince's infantry was engaged at Lipa, and their quick volleys of musketry, rapidly advancing, told that the Austriaus were in full retreat. The. first army pushed - forward at once, the' artillery limbered up and galloped~up the slope, coming into action 0:1 every opportunity to send, its. shells against the retreating battalions ; the infantry, emerging from the woods, "formed and pressed at the' double. Prince Frederick Charles put himself at the head of his regiment, and dashed over the Sadowa bridge and up the road, followed by all his light infantry. On gaining. the top of the Lipa slopes. the retreating battalions of the Austrian's, werj seen running across a hollow in tlie ground which lies between Lipa .and the village of Streselitz. which lies about two miles further south. The Prussian artillery haulted on the- summit of ..the Lipa hill, and fired ' shells rapidly, which burst with terrible precison over the heads of the fugitives, cavalry new forward in pursuit, but the Prince, after leading a short wwar,j r , had- to go to superintend tho general movement, for the Austrian butteries had taken post in the Sh>eselitz . "•ridgo, and were firing, heavily against the pursuing Prussians. . Then the cavalry got out of hand, and. hy small detachments rushed on the Austrian battalions ; but these though retreating fast wore not (routed, and . in many instances beat off tho cavalry, who also suffered much from the Austrian artillery, for the shells burst repeatedly among the squadrons, and killed many men and horse. But the Austrian guns were driven off their ridge by tho-heavier fire of the uiora nume- • roua Prussian batteries, and then the pursuit was renewed , Some of the retreating -Auttrians made for the fortress of .Pcmig^rAtz, other for "Pardubltz, and troops wire se;it in pursuit along both roads. The wounded .who were lying on the ground shrieked with fear wh*n they saw the cavalry galloping down, towards them, but Prince Frederick Charles took care that they should be avoided, and at one 'tiiue checked the pursuit, in order to move Ms squadrons round, and not go through a patch, of standing corn; where several hundred wounded Austrians had taken refuge. These, when they- saw the lancers coming, thought they were going to be massacred, and cried pite.ously, waving " white handkerchiefs as a sign of triico ; but thoy had no cause to fear. Large numbers of prisoners were taken, for the pursuit was continued to the Elbe, and it was not till 9 o'clock that all firing had ceased; but the main body of the army halted about 7. The wounded, lay in immense numbers on the field ; the dead, too, lay thick. ," Every cot-, tage in the neighborhood that has not been burned is full of wounded. Auatrians and Prussuuis lay side by side, but the Krakentrager are still oiit, an:l all will not be collected till late to-morrow (July 4) morning. The battle of Sadowa has been a great victory for the Prussian army ; the troops fought with the most determined courage ; they stood for hours udder a terrible fire-, for there are supposed to have lee;i nearly 1500 • ■guns in action, of which 750 were Prussian. -The, immediate cause of the victory was the Crown Pjince's attack on the Austrian left flank, which .turned the position, but the attack" in front had a great effect on the issue., as, unless it had been steadily maintained, the Austrians .might have repulsed jthe attack in flank. • It is the. opinion of the Prussian generals that the Austriaus retreat was most skilful, and that tlieir artillery >was excellently handled. The number of troops engaged on the Prussian side was about 250,000. The Austrians are supposed to have had almost an equal number,

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Bibliographic details

THE BATTLE OF SADOWA., Grey River Argus, Issue 108, 20 September 1866

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3,185

THE BATTLE OF SADOWA. Grey River Argus, Issue 108, 20 September 1866

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