Following the completion of the St. Michel raid, Pragmatic forces resumed a posture of alert defense, while reinforcements were summoned, and drafts of replacements were integrated into the battered regiments, particularly the Wachovians, and the Schoeffen-Buschhagen von Nordhafen and Adelmann regiments. Gathered at the general's table one evening, conversation among the colonels kept returning to the question of integrating the replacements as quickly as possible. Colonel von Nordhafen (on parole and still awaiting formal exchange after his capture during the Northern Alliance counterattack on St. Stephen) observed the similarity of the terrain around Schlegel's gasthaus (in which the dinner was being held) to that of the Battle of the Tollgate some years before, and noted that the arrival of a Wachovian battery to bolster the Wachovian contingent left that contingent very similar in size to the force that he himself had led to victory at the Tollgate. Colonel Grabowski, commander of the Wachovian infantry regiment and senior officer among the Wachovians gathered, suggested that the battle could be used as the basis of a training exercise. A brilliant young staff officer (Captain von Reiswitz) suggested that a team of Adjudicators could permit the exercise to proceed in free play, assessing casualties by use of their military judgment and some element of chance, perhaps the roll of dice.
The Adjudicator Team explains the Exercise to Colonels Grabowski and Adelmann
After dinner was cleared the officers continued to discuss the situation, and agreed that it would be, if nothing else, an interesting experiment. General von Stewart opined that Colonel von Nordhafen would not be violating the terms of his parole to serve as an Adjudicator, but that he (and therefore his regiment) would not take an active role. After a ride over the proposed battlefield, Colonel Adelmann volunteered to re-enact the role of the North Polenberg commander, with two of his own companies, the S-B battery and a squadron of the Prince's dragoon guards, while Colonel Grabowski would command the force re-enacting the Schoeffen-Buschhagen role, with the Wachovian "wilderin" (poacher) light infantry, two companies of Wachovian foot, a squadron of hussars, the "Black Widow" battery, and a company of Wiegenburg infantry. Casualties assessed by the Adjudicators would be marched to the gasthaus, and the bill for their refreshment was to be settled by the losing colonel.
The morning of the exercise arrived, and the weather was fair. The S-B troops drew up in the formation adopted in the actual battle by the North Polenberg forces, and the Wachovians marched to positions representing the original S-B deployment. After a final briefing to the officers involved on the rules of the engagement, a bugle call and a roll of drums signaled the start of the exercise.
On the Wachovian right, the hussars advance rapidly across the field toward the S-B guns, with the Wiegenburgers marching in line behind them. Adelmann cannily ordered his dragoons, deployed on his right, to cross behind his advancing infantry to prepare to cover the guns.
As the cavalry engaged in some spirited fencing under the watchful eye of the Adjudicators, the infantry lines approached to within musket range. After listening to the volleys and tossing a few dice, the Adjudicators ruled that casualties, though light, were due at a ratio of 2:1 in favor of the S-B troops. There was a brief pause in the action while Colonel Grabowski spurred forward to calm the angry captain of the Wachovian company, though having done so he delivered a more measured protest.
Colonel Grabowski protests the first assessment of casualties
Once this was resolved, the cavalry melee on the Wachovian right was ruled a draw.
Colonel Grabowski considered the historical plan of sending the light infantry through the woods on his left to be sound. Unfortunately, they advanced somewhat slowly; perhaps the woods being more tangled than those on the actual field. In any case, accompanied by Lt. Col. Wolf of the King Rupert Jaegers as an Adjudicator (who himself had been present at the battle as a captain), they played no significant part in the exercise. Their captain complained afterward that he had been much distracted by Wolf's incessant rehashing of how much better his men had performed in the actual battle.
Wilderen advance through the woods; column of casualties heads for the Gasthaus
After a spirited exchange of close range fire in the center, the S-B infantry charged the Wachovians. Unfortunately for them, the Adjudicators ruled that the leftmost Wachovian company had time to fire, and when the smoke was permitted to clear to assess the situation, it was determined that the Wachovians would have won the resulting melee.
The cavalry melee cleared to reveal the Wiegenburgers. (Note the artillery officers protesting to the adjudicator to the left of the guns)
While all of this was going on, on the Wachovian left flank the cavalry melee went on for some time, and the Adjudicators finally cleared it just as the Wiegenburgers came within short musket range of the guns. In accordance with the agreed procedures, they ruled that the guns would be unable to fire effectively, and that a charge by the Wiegenburgers would undoubtedly have carried the battery had this been an actual fight. This time it was the turn of the S-B officers on the scene to protest the ruling.
However, General von Stewart, having watched from atop a ruined tower to the left of the S-B position, now remounted his horse and ordered the buglers to sound the call marking the end of the exercise. With his guns "captured", his cavalry still rallying, and over half his infantry assessed as casualties and already drinking at the barrels set up outside the gasthaus, Colonel Adelmann agreed that he would be compelled to withdraw to save the remnants of his force. As the General looked on, approving of his sportsmanship, if not his tactical sense, he rode forward to congratulate Colonel Grabowski on his victory, ruefully considering the cost of beer for a thirsty brigade's worth of soldiers.
Colonel Adelmann congratulates Colonel Grabowski on his victory