NORTH OF SPAWNHEIM, Aug. 16--Oberst von Dornfeld's aides de camp, riding beside him in the middle of the infantry column double-timing along the Höhenstraße, marked with nervous high spirits the passage of the miles over the Hochwald into Waldreck. Von Dornfeld himself shared to some extent the exhiliration of his staff, alternately whistling the theme of the overture to Antigono or humming tunelessly as their horses marked time in the pauses in reports and dictation to his staff. By 8:30 a.m., the staff party reached the crest of the Hochwald, permitting a panoramic view of the Rohrbach valley, still clad in the morning mists, stretching out beneath them.
Maj. Rutger Freiherr von Fischbach had separated his Leib-Kürassiere squadrons into their constituent Zügen to serve as scouting parties, along with Corp. Becker's patrol from the von Schirnhausen Dragoner, three Zügen riding a league or so ahead under von Fischbach's personal command, two to the forward flanks of the column, two to the rear, and one Zug remaining with von Dornfeld as a bodyguard and dispatch riders.
Von Fischbach's Kürassiere had reported no contact with Waldrecker forces all morning, and now, with Niedersohren and the Kirchschloßweg lying just beyond the shallow Rohrbach traced by the treeline in the valley below, von Dornfeld ordered the infantry column to halt to await von Fischbach's reconaissance report upon reaching the outskirts of the village. It had been expected that the Waldrecker supply convoy would itself have already departed Niedersohren, continuing on its way toward Kirchschloß, but until the Waldrecker hussars and dragoons were accounted for, von Dornfeld knew better than to march his column blindly down into the misty valley below. Another half hour should burn off the remaining mist and give plenty of time to organise his column for the swift occupation of Niedersohren.
But where were the Waldrecker horse?