Youth of the Great Elector - George Upton

At Wolgast

"Terrible news spread over Germany in November, 1632. Gustavus Adolphus, the hero, but for whom Germany would have been a second Spain, was killed at the battle of Lutzen on the sixth of that month. The battle was won, but he paid for the victory with his life. They found the hero's body after the battle, plundered and trodden under foot, covered with blood and wounds, and lying face downward. It was taken in an ammunition wagon to the village of Menchen. From there it was carried in a simple casket to Weissenfels, where it was embalmed and thence was conveyed in solemn procession through Wittenberg to Wolgast. From there in the Spring of 1633 the Prince and his noble kinsmen accompanied the coffin to the vessel which was to bear it home.

The Prince was the first to meet the royal widow. When she saw him, she wrung her hands, went up to him weeping and embraced him. Gradually she regained composure and began to speak of her husband. "You too, my Frederick," she said, "were included in his plans. You are to be the inheritor of his power and the champion of Protestantism. He has also consigned to you a precious treasure, our little daughter Christine, heiress to the Swedish crown. He has confided her to your love and care. How often, especially since his death, have I thought of what he said at that time! Alas! he had then a presentiment that he would never return! I can never forget his words. 'Do not imagine,' he said to the Diet, 'that I enter upon this war impelled by common ambition. I venture all to release the Church from the domination of the Pope, and because I expect to accomplish it with divine assistance. I have many times fought for the welfare of the kingdom, and God has always saved me from death. But it cannot always be so, and at last I must give up my life. Therefore I commend you all to God, the Almighty, and hope that after this sorrowful life of trouble we may all meet again in the future in heaven.'"

This and much more concerning her husband the Queen related to the Prince. One of the captains who had accompanied her to Wolgast, a German, had been in the battle of Lutzen. The Crown-prince requested his royal aunt to summon the man. "As you wish to learn of the battle from one who participated in it you shall meet the man—but not here, not now."

That evening the Crown-prince's parents arrived, also the Dukes of Mecklenburg, who owed the restoration of their dukedoms to the King. The meeting between the parents and the Prince was a most affectionate one. On the following day the escort for the King's body, which rested in a silver casket, accompanied it on board the ship. Cavalry and artillery bearing standards and banners captured at Lutzen marched in advance. The banners of Sweden were draped. Then came the hearse, drawn by eight horses with black velvet trappings. The Elector George William as the nearest mourner, followed on foot, accompanied by the two Dukes of Mecklenburg. The Crown-prince followed as second mourner, accompanied by the Pomeranian embassy. A long train of mourners succeeded them and closed the procession, all heavily burdened with anxiety as they reflected upon the future. Solemnly it moved to the harbor. The precious remains of the King were placed on board, and amid the booming of cannon the vessel weighed anchor.