Napoleon Series Archive 2015

Re: La campagne d'Allemagne: Début septembre, les

I have some questions about a detail of the battle of Dennewitz.

In Quistorp's account of the battle, he describes the charge of the 2nd Squadron, Brandenburg Dragoons, commanded by Rittmeister Ludwig von Blumenthal (1774-1813) (I'm descended from his elder brother Werner, Lt. Colonel in von Auer's Dragoons; Ludwig von Blumenthal's son Leonhardt, who was barely three at the time, went on to become the Crown Prince's Chief of Staff in 1866 and 1870, directed the Siege of Paris, was made a count and a field-marshal).

He quotes an eyewitness, Lt. von Sobbe. He says that after the Prussians took the Denkmalsberg, the Brandenburg Dragoons rode up the hill until they could see the enemy. A regiment of French cuirassiers was on its way to attack the Prussian infantry, but the Brandenburg Dragoons' Colonel, von Lottum, let it pass, and instead advanced on the French infantry. As the regiment adavnced down the hill, they were fired on from the right by sharpshooters ("Tirailleurs"). Ludwig von Blumenthal ordered his squadron to wheel to the right to clear them. Beyond them was a square with its back to a "solitary barn". At 150 paces the gallop was sounded. A cloud of dust enveloped them so that no-one could see if he was still next to his neighbour. At 30 paces the French fired a volley which sent men and horses tumbling over each other. The French broke out of the square in order to take prisoners, so that the dragoons found themselves facing bayonet thrusts before they had properly reached their objective. When the dust cleared, the first thing von Sobbe saw was Ludwig von Blumenthal with Dragoon Schimmelfennick on the front of his saddle. Lt. von Sobbe rallied some of the men, and Lt. von Trotha rallied others.

According to the regimental history (von Probst), the sharpshooters were cleared and the square broken, but murderous fire from another square on the right decimated the squadron and forced it to retire.

Lt. von Sobbe survived to tell the tale, but von Trotha was killed and Ludwig von Blumenthal mortally wounded, it seems from this account, saving the life of Dragoon Schimmelfennick, who also survived the battle. One is tempted to think it may have been him who took his commander back to the rear. Ludwig von Blumenthal was taken back to Berlin but died in Potsdam a week later.

My questions are:

- Can anyone identify the "solitary barn" in front of which the French square was formed? Is it still standing?
- Can anyone identify which French regiment formed the square?
- What about the other square, which the regimental history mentions but, strangely, not the eyewitness Lt. von Sobbe?

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La campagne d'Allemagne: Début septembre, les opér
Battle of Dennewitz
Re: La campagne d'Allemagne: Début septembre, les