Consequence of Zietern’s Disobedience
In the first war of Silesia, King Frederick decided on a crucial alteration of war plans. So he ordered that under pain of death, neither fire nor candle should be burning in the tents after a certain hour. He went round the camp himself, to see that his orders were obeyed. As he passed by Captain Zietern’s camp, he perceived a light. He entered, and found the captain sealing a letter, which he had just written to his wife, whom he tenderly loved. “What are you doing there?” asked the king: “Do you not know the orders?” Zietern threw himself at his feet, and begged for mercy. “Sit down,” said the king, “and add a few words I shall dictate.” The officer obeyed, and the king dictated: “Tomorrow I shall perish on the scaffold.” Zietern wrote it, and he was executed the next day. (The Percy Anecdotes).