It was on the night of the 25th of November, cold and dreary, that General Einsiedel commenced his retreat from Prague. He pushed his wagon trains out before him, and followed with his horse and foot. The Austrians were on the alert. Their light horsemen came clattering into the city ere the rear-guard had left. The Catholic populace of the city, being in sympathy with the Austrians, immediately joined the Pandours in a fierce attack upon the Prussians. The retreating columns were torn by a terrific fire from the windows of the houses, from bridges, from boats, from every point whence a bullet could reach them. But the well-drilled Prussians met the shock with the stern composure of machines, leaving their path strewn with the dying and the dead.

370 And now the Prussians from the centre press the foe with new vigor. Leopold, at the head of his victorious division, charged the allied troops in flank, pouring in upon them his resistless horsemen. Whole regiments were made prisoners. Ere nightfall of the short December day, the whole allied army, broken and disordered, was on the retreat back to Dresden. The night alone protected them from utter ruin. They had lost six thousand prisoners, and three thousand in killed and wounded.92 While these scenes of war and intrigue were transpiring, no one knowing what alarming developments any day might present, Vienna was thrown into a state of terror in apprehension of the immediate approach of a French army to open upon it all the horrors of a bombardment. The citizens were called out en masse to work upon the fortifications. The court fled to Presburg, in Hungary. The national archives were hurried off to Gr?tz. The royal family was dispersed. There were but six thousand troops in the city. General Neipperg, with nearly the whole Austrian army, was a hundred and fifty miles distant to the north, on the banks of the Neisse. The queen, on the 10th of September, assembled at Presburg the Hungarian Parliament, consisting almost exclusively of chivalric nobles renowned in war. The queen appeared before them with her husband, the Grand-duke Francis, by her side, and with a nurse attending, holding her infant son and heir. Addressing them in Latin, in a brief, pathetic speech, she said:


And all that I have been relating to you is due to the king alone, who not only gave the orders, but himself saw that they were faithfully obeyed. He both conceived the designs and executed them. He spared neither care, nor trouble, nor vast treasures, nor promises, nor recompenses, in order to assure the existence and the comfort of half a million of rational beings, who owe to him alone their happiness. There is something in my mind so heroic in the generous and laborious manner in which the king has devoted himself to the restoring to this deserted country its population, fertility, and happiness, that I think you will see his conduct in the same light as I do when you are made acquainted with the circumstances.