On the 18th of September, when the rejoicing Austrians at K?niggr?tz were firing salutes, drinking wine, and feasting in honor of the election of the grand-duke to the imperial dignity, Frederick, availing himself of the carousal in the camp of his foes, crossed the Elbe with his whole army, a few miles above K?niggr?tz, and commenced his retreat to Silesia. His path led through a wild, sparsely inhabited country, of precipitous rocks, hills, mountain torrents, and quagmires. One vast forest spread along the banks of the Elbe, covering with its gloom an extent of sixty square miles. A few miserable hamlets were scattered over this desolate region. The poor inhabitants lived mainly upon the rye which they raised and the swine which ranged the forest.