previous next

Later from Europe.

The Schleswig Holstein War.

From our Northern files of the 20th, we have some fuller particulars of the commencement of hostilities between the Austrians and Prussians on the one side, and the Danes on the other. On the 31st of January, Field Marshal Wrangel, the commander of the Austria-Prussian forces summoned Gen. de Meza, the Danish Commander-in-Chief, to evacuate Schleswig, the territory in dispute. The reply of de Meza was, that he had orders to defend Schleswig.

On the 1st of February the Germans crossed the Elder, when Marshal Wrangel issued a proclamation assuring the people of Schleswig that the allied forces had come to protect their rights, and that the civil commissioners of Austria and Prussia would assume the administration of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. In conclusion the proclamation advised the inhabitants to abstain from any party agitation, which would not be suffered by the Commander-in-Chief, in the interest of the Schleswigers themselves.

On the 2d of February, actual hostilities commenced, of which we have the following details:

Prussian Headq'rs, Feb. 3, 1864.
Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia employed seventy-four guns in the attack upon Missunde yesterday. His Royal Highness was convinced that the Danes would offer serious resistance to the Austrian and Prussian advance.

There were one hundred killed and wounded in yesterday's engagement. The troops behaved with great valor. The vanguard of the Eleventh infantry brigade were under fire. Missunde in flames.

Rendsburg, Feb. 3, 1864.
The Danish prisoners taken in the attack upon Missunde were brought in here to-day.

A heavy cannonade from their forts against the storming parties of German infantry ensued. The loss of the latter is estimated at one hundred men, among whom are several superior officers.

The Danes continue the cannonade to-day. The Prussians have brought heavy artillery to the front Boats are ready for the transport of troops over the Schley.

The Danish bulwark of Schleswig Holstein.

From the above it will be seen that the German army has attacked Missunde and other places embraced in the line of the great Danish defence of the Dannewerk. We publish the following description of this immense line of fortifications:

The Dannewerk is the great Danish bulwark of the Duchy of Schleswig. It is of very ancient origin. It is situated at the extreme southern part of the Duchy of Schleswig, and is now an enormous earthwork that stretches almost across the entire country. The length of the peninsula of Schleswig-Holstein to the end of Jutland is said to be near three hundred miles; so that it extends almost as far as the base line of England from the North Foreland to Land's End. The breadth of the peninsula, however, is but one-third of its length, and the Dannewerk is a fortification that reaches very nearly across the land from the German Ocean to the Battle.

This "border wall" is said to have been erected in the ninth century, and, according to the accounts given of it in "Olat Trygbeson's Saga," it was built of wood, stone, and earth. In the year 937 the wall, we are told, was strengthened by Queen Thyra, whom the people, in their thankfulness for the national defence, christened Danabod, which, literally translated, means the pride of the Danes; and, as a proof of the extreme antiquity of the structure, there has been seen at Flensburg a splendid collection of flint arrow heads and axes collected from the barrows or earth mounds in the immediate neighborhood. There were spear points wrought out of splinters of flint no thicker than paper knives, and worked sharper than the best steel. Here, too, were shown the knuckle bone like stones which had been used to separate the fine layers of alliceous earth from the solid mass, and which were found embedded in these same barrows with the very flint chip beside them that the people, thousands of years before, had broken from the integral block.

Here, moreover, were the slabs of stone that the old Celts had used to grind their spear heads on to the sharpest possible points, grooved with the toils of the workmen, and seeming as if they were destined to tell the present age how this wonderfully fine workmanship of the hardest possible material was executed. Indeed, in this collection of works long precedent to history, were arrow heads made out of flint hardly thicker than mother of pearl, and wrought as sharp as a needle.

The fortress consists at the present day (without going into all the niceties of historical detail) of three enormous earthworks stretching across the entire breadth of the land. They are so arranged as to form the neck, or tunnel, with a long outwork to protect the narrow channel through which the troops are ultimately intended to be driven.--Towards the Baltic, or East Sea, there runs the "Oster-Wolden," (or east rampart.) This lies towards the "Eckenforde," and is sometimes called the "Camel-Dannewerk." It is about two English miles long, the earthworks being from four to five feet high and sixteen yards broad, and beset with a ditch, the depth of which varies from six feet to ten feet.

Beyond this is the great bay formed by the river Schley, which is so wide that no troops could possibly attempt to pass it. Stretching immediately in front of this is the "Kurgraben, " which is upwards of a mile in length, beginning at the end of the Selker Luke; it is from ten feet to twelve feet broad, and from four feet to six feet high. Behind this lies the great "Dannewerk" itself, which consists of an earthwork not less than fourteen miles long. In some parts it is from thirty feet to thirty-six feet high, and the ramparts are from sixteen feet to twenty feet broad. The whole of these earthworks are immediately in connection from one side of the peninsula to the other, with the river Schley on the eastern side, and with the river Treene, which falls into the Northern Ocean; so that the Danish forces have it within their power to flood not less than sixty-four square miles of land in front of the great bulwark of Schleswig at a moment's notice.

"But," say the Saxon soldiers to the writer, "what are the uses of the sluice gates in this time of frost?" Talking with Danish engineers, they say they had flooded the country with the thinnest pellicle of ice, and let the water out immediately afterwards, so that any troops attempting to cross the country would be mowed down by the artillery like corn. Indeed, there is not the least doubt that forty thousand men could hold the Dannewerk against one hundred thousand opposing troops, and it would require as strong an army as united Germany could possibly muster to wrest Schleswig from Denmark.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Denmark (Denmark) (6)
Preussen (2)
North Sea (1)
Dead Sea (1)
Austria (Austria) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Schleswig Holstein (3)
Wrangel (2)
De Meza (2)
Land (1)
Frederick Charles (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 3rd, 1864 AD (2)
937 AD (1)
February, 2 AD (1)
January, 2 AD (1)
January 31st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: