Having absorbed for well over an hour the punishment meted out by the Electoral forces, seeing the last vestiges of 1st Brigade flung back with the rest, observing their Horse barely holding their own against the Electoral Cuirassiers, it seemed to the rebel staff and civilian observers surrounding Marshal Noailles that the end must come soon. Surely the Rebel army must be on the brink of dissolution. Surely, thought they, this must be the end of the 'Republicke of Godde' upon this earth.
A few such gentry were seen to edge their way to the rear, to take cob, cart or carriage, and hie themselves off to Zerbst. One such notable, a certain Reverend Warisburg (of whom more anon) noted for the most virulent imprecations against Bishop ter Plonck in recent times, and muttering about 'continuing God's work', was among the first to go,
|The last throw of the rebel horse.|
Yet the Marshal himself showed no such apprehension. He knew as well as did the enemy commander across the river, that Altmark-Uberheim had shots its bolt. Its flank guard vanished, Winterfeldt Regiment could barely hold its ground against the rebels to its front. What could it do about the battalions approaching its right flank? Ninth Battalion was pushing resolutely forward through a telling flanking gunfire in its eagerness to bring their muskets in range.
|Last throw of rebel horse.|
On the south flank, with the last battalion of 1st Brigade fleeing in rout alongside the defeated hussars, General Trumpeter, commanding the horse, threw in his rallied heavy squadrons of heavy horse in one last throw. Whilst the 2nd Squadrons of both regiments flung themselves once more upon the Electoral squadrons on the hill, the 1st Squadrons at once charged the advancing fusiliers. Victorous from the infantry fight, Diericke Fusiliers were still blinded by smoke. Their musketry proved woefully insufficient to stop the rebel horse, who were swiftly among them with pistol and sword.
|Half-blinded by the smoke, Diericke Fusiliers' musketry|
has too little effect to stop the rebel horse.
Bayonet and musket butt proved deadly enough in defence, and the horsemen of 1st Cavalry were soon for the second time that day seen in headlong retreat. Yet the Rebel cavalry had done its work. At last the Fusiliers were forced to give way. Showing a bold front, withal, they fell back as far as the river bank. There would no further advance from them this day.
The desperation of the rebels in the hill-top cavalry fight must have lent strength to their sword arms. Although 2nd Cavalry lost heavily, they inflicted worse upon their opponents. The fresh Hussar Squadron was as surprised by the vigour of the enemy cavalry charge. Both Electoral squadrons fell back. Having lost 60 troopers themselves (3 figures) the Rebels had killed or wounded well over a hundred (6 figures in fact). The hill, fought over for well over an hour, was theirs at last.
|The Rebels Cavalry victorious at last!|
Covered by the last reserve squadron of the Black Hussars, the Electoral cavalry fell back, and began to recross the river. So abruptly had the seemingly irresistible Electoral forward sweep become a retrograde move across the whole front, like the surge and ebb of a wave upon the shore. The uncomprehending civilian observers felt the sudden flood of relief, but had no explanation for what they had seen. A miracle; it must have been a miracle. God's Hand had been revealed, with blessings upon the Rebel cause.
|The Electoral Army falls back: still under command|
and control (no routers here), but their attack has
failed for good.
For their part, too, the Winterfeldt Infantry began to fall back in the face of superior numbers, and the advent of the enemy 9th Battalion upon their flank. The retreat becoming general, it was fortunate that the rebels were in no condition to pursue. Exhausted as were the Electoral soldiers, the rebels at hand were just as tired. The defeated Electoral army made off unmolested across the river to the east bank. With rebels across the river in strength to the north, it behoved Plodt to abandon Zaltpig, and retreat down the road towards Seehausen.
Jubilation in Zerbst at the Rebel victory expressed itself in cannon salutes, fireworks, street demonstrations and, surprisingly - perhaps disquietingly for the discerning - the opening of certain grain storehouses about the town. The task was still to do of course. The Electoral Corps had not been completely knocked out of the reckoning, and the victory just gained had been a very costly one - some 900 killed and wounded. Marshal Noailles doubted that the enemy casualties much exceeded 700, and of those some 180 prisoners of war were under guard.
There was still the Imperialists to face. If their commander, young Archduke Piccolo, was as yet something of an unknown quantity, there was one redoubtable general there whose capacity for hard fighting one could never disregard: Baron von Glockenspiel.
The Ulrichstein Campaign continues with an interlude and political debate in Zerbst. Reverend Warisburg announces his programme...