Here is the hastily sketched map that the commander of a French Hussar patrol took back to the high command...
All week labourers and engineers had been busying themselves on the outskirts of the town of Neerfuncken and the neighbouring village of Drau, renovating redoubts, erecting emplacements, and creating chevaux de fris. All manner of spare barrels, carts, tree trunks and other paraphernalia had been commandeered to bolster the defences.
And yet, there was a feeling of genuine optimism that the Franco-Astrovian incursion into sovereign Pils-Holstein territory would be turned back by deft diplomacy long before cannons came into range, and certainly before shots would be fired.
The cheery manner in which defence works were being constructed was therefore not altogether unsurprising, even though a fair degree of soldierly grumbling could be detected, intertwined with the gallows humour of men preparing for action.
News of the Prussian arrival meant that Pils-Holstein forces could concentrate their efforts on preparing Neerfuncken, while their allies would occupy Drau and make camp in the fields between the two.
Below: Prussian camp.
The age-old bottleneck between the rolling farmlands of Lower Holstein to the south and the northern heartland of the landgraviate had seen action in the past and was traditionally where Pils-Holstein kings down the centuries had set their main blocking force against French invasion.
The willowing wheatfields were golden, ripe for harvest, and locals had been busying themselves in preparation for work before the peace of this rural idyll had been disturbed by marching feet.
The unseasonal heavy summer showers had recently abated, leaving the Funckenbeck - a small brook that cut through the otherwise unremarkable landscape - swollen. Although only a narrow watercourse, it was a valuable natural barrier and could be relied upon to provide a significant obstacle to an invading force, particularly if the Neerfuncken-Drau line was well prepared.
South of Neerfuncken, a farmstead run by Mme Lillian Kraufurt, assisted by her niece, Morgana Feiling (newly returned from Boston), sat beside two bridges. To the north of Drau, Wim de Muller's mill turned effortlessly in the breeze.
All was quiet... for now.