"Gentlemen, I am pleased you have obeyed my order and hurried here to the Baerschloss." Fredrick William III, ErbHerzog von Harzburg resumed after letting his words sink in, "You know I am not quick to punish those who make a mistake, as long as they are truthful to their superiors. A glaring example of misconduct and disobedience has come to my attention and the situation must be put right at once. The superior who was lied to in this situation is me."
A tense silence filled the courtyard of the Baerschloss, family seat of the von Harzburg's, as each of the assembled looked about. The under-secretaries looked for their Minister for direction.The Ministry of Information took their lead from Minister Gerissenheit and stood quietly awaiting the Herzog's next words. Nervous glancing and talking started among the under-secretaries from State and War. All the assembled could not help but notice the Leib Grenadiers at attention surrounding them.
"The war effort has been hamstringed by the ineptitude of 2 of my Ministers." The assembled watched as the Leib regiment repositioned themselves at a simple nod from the Herzog. At the corner of the courtyard 7 post could be seen, gasp escaped many as the Ministers of War and State were escorted out of a side door followed by 5 under-secretaries.
Oberst von Hubersen of the Leib Grenadiers looked to the Herzog and received a stern nod. The Ministers were escorted one at a time to the post by the Oberst and each were secured to a post. The Oberst then offered each man a blindfold and both refused. Another stern nod from the Herzog and Oberst von Hubersen announced in a strong loud voice, "You have been judged guilty of disobedience to direct orders from the Herzog in a time of war, lying directly to the Herzog causing harm to Harzburg's interest and aiding the enemy. Do you have any statement to make? The Ministers both began professing their innocence and pleading to the Herzog for mercy for past actions.
The Herzog sternly and loudly called out, "Enough of this dribble. You have been found guilty of these egregious charges and there will be no reprieve. Your actions have stalled all operations when we had some advantage in direct opposition to my wishes and direct orders. I am showing you a leniency by not having you hanged where you could slowly strangle as you swing. Oberst von Hubersen, carry out my orders."
Oberst von Hubersen smartly came to attention and saluted the Herzog and upon receiving the Herzog's salute he began, "Firing squad assemble." Twelve Grenadiers marched before the Ministers and were formed into a line by their Sergeant. "Sergeant, load muskets."ordered the Oberst. The Sergeant barked the orders and led the men through the procedure of loading their muskets. With their muskets loaded, the men awaited their next order. "Squad attention!" barked the Oberst, as the men snapped smartly to attention. "Shoulder arms! Cock hammers!" the Oberst turned to the Herzog and received a stern nod. "May God have mercy upon your souls. Aim! Fire!" The Oberst walked over to the two slumped figures and delivered a coup de grâce to each in the head.
He then turned to the squad and ordered them to return to their barracks then he strode over to the Herzog. After the Oberst came smartly to attention the Herzog began to speak, "Take the rest of the party back to their cells till I am ready to decide their fate. You may send all but the first company back to their usual duties. I will require you to stay at my side for the time being, return once the regiment is dispersed." As the Oberst went to carry out his orders, the Herzog began, "I am hereby appointing Heinrich von Kortig, as the new Minister of State and Gerbert von Reinhard, as the new Minister of War. I think that there needs be no doubt about the need not to hide facts from me in the future. Undersecretaries you are dismissed and are to return to your duties. Minister Gerissenheit, join me." The Herzog turned brusquely and headed to his office in the schloss. Minister Gerissenheit followed the Herzog wondering if the fate of the prisoners could be made to work for his Department.