Lieutenant von Zendabrau had set out again just before first light to position themselves ready to attack the French when the time was right. In addition to his now depleted Freihussaren he had a detachment of Freishutze and the wagon with the mortar. They had left all but the bare essentials behind so that they could double up the Freishutze if necessary.
Arriving near Beckdorf, after evading a couple of French patrols, Otto identified a suitable position where they had a clear view of the road and where there was an unobstructed escape route. The morning passed slowly with large numbers of French passing along the road unaware of their presence. He passed some of the time talking to Alte Fritz the bombardier and debating how many shots he would discharge before they needed to withdraw.
Suddenly Max from the Aufklarungskorps pulled up (everyone seemed to be on first name terms now) and informed him that the rearguard had been sighted and to strike when ready.
Otto observed the column of French infantry and ordered the Freishutze into position on the wood edge. Once he could see they were ready and his hussars were all mounted he nodded to Fritz. A shell flew into the air descending close to the centre of the last battalion. It caused consternation but little other damage.
The French battalion 3/56ieme DB de Ligne rapidly deployed into line and their speed meant that the next round caused less casualties than if they had remained in column. Major Cornbineau ordered an immediate advance into the woods where the mortar was firing. Meanwhile, Colonel Jolais slightly further on, sent messengers in both directions calling for assistance as the insurgents were attacking again.