On Friday, the 13th of October, the two hostile armies, separated merely by a brook and a ravine, were within half a mile of each other. Daun had manifested great timidity in not venturing from behind his intrenchments to attack the little band of Prussians. Frederick, emboldened by this cowardice on the part of his opponent, made his arrangements to assail the Austrians in a secret attack before the dawn of the morning of Saturday, the 14th. In the mean time, Daun, probably a little ashamed of being held at bay by so small a force, formed his plan to surround and destroy the whole Prussian army. It is generally conceded by military critics that the plan was admirably conceived, and would have been triumphantly executed but for the singular ability displayed by Frederick. The consternation at Berlin, as contradictory reports of victory and defeat reached the city, was indescribable. M. Sulzer, an eye-witness of the scene, writes under date of Berlin, August 13th, 1759:

573 He left a small sum for the support of his amiable, blameless, and neglected queen, saying, She never gave me the least uneasiness during my whole reign, and she merits every attention and respect for her many and unshaken virtues. The next morning, taking with him a small escort, and leaving his army to follow with as much speed as possible, he rode rapidly down the western bank of the Oder to G?rgast, where he had an encampment of about fifteen thousand Prussian troops. At five oclock in the morning of Tuesday the two bands were united. He now had at his command thirty thousand men.456 Cüstrin was on the eastern bank of the Oder, near the confluence of the Warta. A few miles below Cüstrin, at Schaumburg, there were portions of a bridge across the Oder. Here the Russians had erected a redoubt. Frederick ordered a violent attack upon that redoubt. During the night, while the attention of the Russians was occupied by the assault, Frederick marched his army twelve miles farther down the river, and crossed, without any loss, at Güstebiese. His baggage train he left, carefully guarded, on the western bank of the river.

464 His diet was regulated at a sum which made it barely sufficient to prevent actual starvation. His apartment was most miserable, and almost entirely devoid of furniture. He was in great want of linen, and of others of the first necessaries of life. At nine oclock at night his candle was taken from him, while pen, ink, paper, and books were alike denied him.

I have called you together, not to ask your advice, but to inform you that to-morrow I shall attack Marshal Daun. I am aware that he occupies a strong position, but it is one from which he can not escape. If I beat him, all his army must be taken prisoners or drowned in the Elbe. If we are beaten, we must all perish. This war is become tedious. You must all find it so. We will, if we can, finish it to-morrow. General Ziethen, I confide to you the right wing of the army. Your object must be, in marching straight to Torgau, to cut off the retreat of the Austrians when I shall have beaten them, and driven them from the heights of Siptitz. The next day M. Hartoff called at the residence of M. Kannegiesser, and informed him that the ministers, understanding that he designed to ask an audience to-morrow to remind them64 of the answer which he demanded, wished to say that such applications were not customary among sovereign princes; that they dared not treat farther in that affair with him; that, as soon as they received instructions from his Britannic majesty, they would communicate to him the result. The king, in response to the report of Baron Grumkow, which119 was so gratifying to him, sent the same evening the following note to Wilhelmina:

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