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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Richelieu had an ambassador at Heilbronn


[Sidenote:

1632. THE BATTLE OF LUeTZEN.]

At this juncture Pappenheim, who had been summoned from Halle the day before, arrived on the field. His first impetuous charge drove the Swedes back, but he also fell, mortally wounded, his cavalry began to waver, and the lost ground was regained. Night put an end to the conflict, and before morning Wallenstein retreated to Leipzig, leaving all his artillery and colors on the field. The body of Gustavus Adolphus was found after a long search, buried under a heap of dead, stripped, mutilated by the hoofs of horses, and barely recognizable. The loss to the Protestant cause seemed irreparable, but the heroic king, in falling, had so crippled the power of its most dangerous enemy that its remaining adherents had a little breathing-time left them, to arrange for carrying on the struggle.

Wallenstein was so weakened that he did not even remain in Saxony, but retired to Bohemia, where he vented his rage on his own soldiers. The Protestant princes felt themselves powerless without the aid of Sweden, and when the Chancellor of the kingdom, Oxenstierna, decided to carry on the war, they could not do otherwise than accept him as the head of the Protestant Union, in the place of Gustavus Adolphus. A meeting was held at Heilbronn, in the spring of 1633, at which the Suabian, Franconian and Rhenish princes formally joined the new league. Duke Bernard and the Swedish Marshal Horn were appointed

commanders of the army. Electoral Saxony and Brandenburg, as before, hesitated and half drew back, but they finally consented to favor the movement without joining it, and each accepted 100,000 thalers a year from France, to pay them for the trouble. Richelieu had an ambassador at Heilbronn, who promised large subsidies to the Protestant side: it was in the interest of France to break the power of the Hapsburgs, and there was also a chance, in the struggle, of gaining another slice of German territory.

[Sidenote: 1633.]

Hostilities were renewed, and for a considerable time the Protestant armies were successful everywhere. William of Hesse and Duke George of Brunswick defeated the Imperialists and held Westphalia; Duke Bernard took Bamberg and moved against Bavaria; Saxony and Silesia were delivered from the enemy, and Marshal Horn took possession of Alsatia. Duke Bernard and Horn were only prevented from overrunning all Bavaria by a mutiny which broke out in their armies, and deprived them of several weeks of valuable time.

While these movements were going on, Wallenstein remained idle at Prague, in spite of the repeated and pressing entreaties of the Emperor that he would take the field. He seems to have considered his personal power secured, and was only in doubt as to the next step which he should take in his ambitious career. Finally, in May, he marched into Silesia, easily out-generaled Arnheim, who commanded the Protestant armies, but declined to follow up his advantage, and concluded an armistice. Secret negotiations then began between Wallenstein, Arnheim and the French ambassador: the project was that Wallenstein should come over to the Protestant side, in return for the crown of Bohemia. Louis XIII. of France promised his aid, but Chancellor Oxenstierna, distrusting Wallenstein, refused to be a party to the plan. There is no positive evidence, indeed, that Wallenstein consented: it rather seems that he was only courting offers from the Protestant side, in order to have a choice of advantages, but without binding himself in any way.


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