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Napoleon and the Queen of Prussia

Library of Alexandria
FERDINAND VON SCHILL. Profound silence reigned in the valleys and gorges of Jena and Auerstadt. The battles were over. The victorious French had marched to Jena to repose for a few days, while the defeated Prussians had fled to Weimar, or were wandering across the fields and in the mountains, anxiously seeking for inaccessible places where they might conceal their presence from the pursuing enemy. A panic had seized the whole army. All presence of mind and sense of honor seemed to be lost. Every one thought only of saving his life, and of escaping from the conquering arms of the invincible French. Here and there, it is true, officers succeeded by supplications and remonstrances in stopping the fugitives, and in forming them into small detachments, with which the commanders attempted to join the defeated and retreating main force. But where was this main army? Whither had the Prince of Hohenlohe directed his vanquished troops? Neither the officers nor the soldiers knew. They marched along the high-roads, not knowing whither to direct their steps. But as soon as their restless eyes seemed to discern French soldiers at a distance, the Prussians took to their heels, throwing their muskets away to relieve their flight, and surrendering at discretion when there was no prospect of escape. In one instance a troop of one hundred Prussians surrendered to four French dragoons, who conducted their prisoners to headquarters; and once a large detachment hailed in a loud voice a few mounted grenadiers, who intended perhaps to escape from their superior force, and gave the latter to understand, by signals and laying down their arms, that they only wished to surrender and deliver themselves to the French