Even after Lothair the Saxon, a line of ~ sovereigns rigidly confining themselves to their own character kingdom might have mastered the many influences of which were making for disunion.
He mastered them thoroughly, gained a minute acquaintance with every detail of the soldier's life, learned the precise amount of food required for every mouth, the exact weight that could be carried, the distances that could be traversed without exhaustion, the whole body of conditions in short which govern the military activity of man and beast.
To assist this operation the reserve would move at first to Fleurus to reinforce Grouchy, should he need assistance in driving back Blucher's troops; but, once in possession of Sombreffe, the emperor would swing the reserve westwards and join Ney, who, it was supposed, would have in the meantime mastered Quatre Bras.
The mere fact of the effort being made would have given the battle of Gravelotte the moral effect of a victory, and the reaction in the German ranks from the feeling of over-confidence, which had mastered them after the early successes of Spicheren and Woerth, must have had most far-reaching consequences.
Books and documents were read aloud to him, while notes were made by him with eyes shut, and were afterwards deciphered and read aloud to him till he had mastered them.