Saxony was in that year attacked by the Prussians, and with so much success that not only was the Saxon army forced to capitulate at Pirna in October, but the elector, who fled to Warsaw, made no attempt to recover Saxony, which remained under the dominion of Frederick.
Corps up the Elbe to Pirna and KOnigstein to cover the fortifications of Dresden itself.
Then hearing that the Austrians had counter-marched and were again moving towards Dresden, he hastened back there, concentrated as many men as could conveniently be handled, and advanced beyond Pirna and KOnigstein to meet him.
At Pirna the Elbe leaves behind it the stress and turmoil of the Saxon Switzerland, rolls through Dresden, with its noble river terraces, and finally, beyond Meissen, enters on its long journey across the North German plain, touching Torgau, Wittenberg, Magdeburg, Wittenberge, Hamburg, Harburg and Altona on the way, and gathering into itself the waters of the Mulde and Saale from the left, and those of the Schwarze Elster, Havel and Elde from the right.
The Elbe is crossed by numerous bridges, as at KOniggratz, Pardubitz, Kolin, Leitmeritz, Tetschen, Schandau, Pirna, Dresden, Meissen, Torgau, Wittenberg, Rosslau, Barby, Magdeburg, Rathenow, Wittenberge, Ddmitz, Lauenburg, and Hamburg and Harburg.
At Pirna (and Lilien stein) in 1756 he caught the entire Saxon army in his fowler's net, after driving back at Lobositz the Austrian forces which were hastening to their asistance; but only nine months later he lost his reputation for " invincibility " by his crushing defeat at Kolin, where the great highway from Vienna to Dresden crosses the Elbe.
When the king took the field again in 1756, Moritz was in command of one of the columns which hemmed in the Saxon army in the lines of Pirna, and he received the surrender of Rutowski's force after the failure of the Austrian attempts at relief.
The following table shows the area and population of the whole kingdom and of each of the five chief governmental districts, or Kreishauptmannschaften, into which it is divided The chief towns are Dresden (pop. 1905, 514,283), Leipzig (502,570), Chemnitz (244,405),(244,405), Plauen (105,182), Zwickau (68,225), Zittau (34, 6 79), Meissen (32,175),(32,175), Freiberg (30,869), Bautzen (29,372), Meerane (24,994), Glauchau (24,556), Reichenbach (24,911),(24,911), Crimmitzschau (23,340), Werdau (19,476), Pirna (19,200).
Above the city, lies the village of Loschwitz, where Schiller, in the summer of 1786, wrote the greater part of his Don Carlos: above it on the fringe of the Dresdner Heide, the climatic health resort Weisser-Hirsch; farther up the river towards Pirna the royal summer palace Pillnitz; to the south the Plauensche Grund, and still farther the Rabenauer Grund.
The centre, aided by the defences of the Dresden suburbs, could hold its own, as the events of the 26th had shown, the left, now under Ney, with whom served Kellermann's cavalry and the Young Guard, was to attack Wittgenstein's Russians on the Pirna road.
Seeing the importance of taking the initiative, and if possible, of securing Saxony, he suddenly, on the 24th of August 1756, crossed the frontier of that country, and shut in the Saxon army between Pirna and Konigstein, ultimately compelling it, after a victory gained over the Austrians at Lobositz, to surrender.
His motives in so doing have been much discussed by the critics; Vandamme's movements, it may be suggested, contributed to the French emperor's plan, which if carried out would open the Pirna road.