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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

As he passed on through Weimar to Naumburg


Having

thus become absolute master of his movements, Wallenstein offered a high rate of payment and boundless chances of plunder to all who might enlist under him, and in two or three months stood at the head of an army of 40,000 men, many of whom were demoralized Protestants. He took possession of Prague, which John George vacated at his approach, and then waited quietly until Maximilian should be forced by necessity to give him also the command of the Bavarian forces. This soon came to pass, and then Wallenstein, with 60,000 men, marched against Gustavus Adolphus, who fell back upon Nuremberg, which he surrounded with a fortified camp. Instead of attacking him, Wallenstein took possession of the height of Zirndorf, in the neighborhood of the city, and strongly intrenched himself. Here the two commanders lay for nine weeks, watching each other, until Gustavus, whose force amounted to about 35,000, grew impatient of the delay, and troubled for the want of supplies.

[Sidenote: 1632.]

He attacked Wallenstein's camp, but was repulsed with a loss of 2,000 men; then, after waiting two weeks longer, he marched out of Nuremberg, with the intention of invading Bavaria. Maximilian followed him with the Bavarian troops, and Wallenstein, whose army had been greatly diminished by disease and desertion, moved into Franconia. Then, wheeling suddenly, he crossed the Thuringian Mountains into Saxony, burning and pillaging as he went,

took Leipzig, and threatened Dresden. John George, who was utterly unprepared for such a movement, again called upon Gustavus for help, and the latter, leaving Bavaria, hastened to Saxony by forced marches. On the 27th of October he reached Erfurt, where he took leave of his wife, with a presentiment that he should never see her again.

As he passed on through Weimar to Naumburg, the country-people flocked to see him, falling on their knees, kissing his garments, and expressing such other signs of faith and veneration, that he exclaimed: "I pray that the wrath of the Almighty may not be visited upon me, on account of this idolatry towards a weak and sinful mortal!" Wallenstein's force being considerably larger than his own, he halted in Naumburg, to await the former's movements. As the season was so far advanced, Wallenstein finally decided to send Pappenheim with 10,000 men into Westphalia, and then go into winter-quarters. As soon as Gustavus heard of Pappenheim's departure he marched to the attack, and the battle began on the morning of November 6th, 1632, at Luetzen, between Naumburg and Leipzig.

On both sides the troops had been arranged with great military skill. Wallenstein had 25,000 men and Gustavus 20,000. The latter made a stirring address to his Swedes, and then the whole army united in singing Luther's grand hymn: "Our Lord He is a Tower of Strength." For several hours the battle raged furiously, without any marked advantage on either side; then the Swedes broke Wallenstein's left wing and captured the artillery. The Imperialists rallied and retook it, throwing the Swedes into some confusion. Gustavus rode forward to rally them and was carried by his horse among the enemy. A shot, fired at close quarters, shattered his left arm, but he refused to leave the field, and shortly afterwards a second shot struck him from his horse. The sight of the steed, covered with blood and wildly galloping to and fro, told the Swedes what had happened; but, instead of being disheartened, they fought more furiously than before, under the command of Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar.


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