Colonel Dwizok was increasingly exasperated with his treatment by the French. His troops had been split up and now his battalion that was part of the rearguard had just been deserted by the French Chasseurs in order to check on some disturbance further forward in the column.
Earlier, Ilse and Friedrich waited till the militia further ahead made plenty of noise as if attacking the column in strength. They then saw the French rearguard cavalry ride past at speed to investigate. As soon as they had passed by Ilse stood and waved to the foresters who cut several large trees to completely block the road.
As they rounded a bend in the road the Poles were met by a blast of musketry from all sides. Spotting enemy cavalry further ahead Colonel Dwizok and his officers rallied their men. Although they returned fire they were gradually forced back up a side valley.
Realising that they had little time available and that while the Poles maintained a resolute frontage there seemed little chance that they could be overwhelmed in time. Friedrich shouted to Ilse, “Give me something white I’m going to try something” He wondered if he could persuade the Poles to surrender before the rest of the French arrived. To his surprise Ilse pulled up her skirt and ripped off a large portion of her petticoat.. Grabbing it and placing it on the end of his sabre he rode forward shouting to the Militia to cease fire.
As he rode forward a Pole took aim, but an officer stepped forward and pushed the musket away.
“What do you want? My men will never surrender to their oppressors”
“Piotr, is that really you?”
“Yes. Aahh! Friedrich, what is a Saxon doing here?”
“I could ask the same, but I’m fighting for the liberty of these people”
“It’s unfortunate, my men are all Poles conscripted into the Prussian Army, but have deserted along with me to fight with the French to restore Polish freedom”
“I might be able to help, I’m sure I can arrange for you and your men to travel back through Saxon territory to what is left of Poland since the last partition.”
“As you are a related to my King and an old friend I accept your offer”
Turning to his men he shouted in Polish “We are going home, ground your weapons”