On the Prussian side, von Alvensleben's Corps (III.) shortly after daybreak was moving north-westward from the Moselle in two columns, on the right the 5th division, via Gorze and Flavigny on Vionville, on the left the 6th division with corps artillery by Arnaville on Mars-la-Tour, von Alvensleben himself riding a little in advance between the two.
Alvensleben himself, riding on the field track to screen his own weakness by a vigorous attack.
Alvensleben, mistaking the withdrawal of the French for the beginning of a retreat, had meanwhile sent orders to the 6th cavalry division to charge in pursuit towards Rezonville; but before it could reach the field the French relieving troops had forced their way through the stragglers and showed such a bold front to the Prussian horsemen that an attack held no promise of success, more especially since they had lost their intervals in their advance and had no room for a proper deployment.
On their left, however, no fresh troops were as yet available, and on being informed, about 2.30 p.m., that French cavalry seemed to be about to charge the exhausted 6th division, Alvensleben ordered Bredow's cavalry brigade to charge, and if necessary to sacrifice itself, to save the infantry.
Meanwhile, unknown to Alvensleben, a fresh storm was brewing on his left rear.