Research Subjects: Biographies

Foot Artillery Officers of the Netherlands Serving from 1813 to 1815: Bo(ode), David Esais

By Geert van Uythoven

David Bo(o)de

Bode was born in Cleve (present day Germany) on 2 February 1772. On 1 November 1793 he entered Dutch service as a sous-lieutenant in the artillery company of Captain Sloet. In 1794 he was promoted 2nd lieutenant. After the French had occupied the Dutch Republic, on 27 July 1795 he entered Batavian service, as a 1st lieutenant in the 3rd company of the 1st Artillery battalion. On 8 July 1799 he was promoted 2nd captain, and in this rank he entered the horse artillery on 7 March 1800, assigned to Horse artillery company no.1 commanded by Captain Hendrik Frederik Cordes. With this company he took part in the 1800 - 1801 campaign at the Main, taking part in the fighting at Aschaffenburg, Burg-Eberach (3 December), Forchheim, and Neunkirchen (21 December). On 19 August 1802, Bode became a 1st captain, receiving command of the Horse artillery company no.1 in the Batavian army instead of Captain Cordes. The company was in garrison in The Hague. In August 1805 it was embarked at Den Helder for the invasion of Britain, but soon disembarked again to leave for Germany to take part in the 1805 campaign. Leaving Utrecht on 12 September, the company took part in the surrounding of Mack’s Austrian army at Ulm, participating in the bombardment of the city on 16 October after which Mack surrendered. Returning to Holland after the campaign, the company arrived in its assigned garrison in The Hague again on 6 April 1806. He was appointed an ADC to King Louis Bonaparte on 12 July 1806, a position which brought him quick promotion. Although still officially commander of his company until 11 September 1806, on the 17th of that same month he was promoted lieutenant-colonel and appointed commander of the Korps Rijdende Artillerie (‘horse artillery corps’) of the Kingdom of Holland. This appointment did not last long, because on 8 August 1807 he became commander of the Foot artillery regiment (Regiment Artillerie te Voet), promoted to colonel of the artillery and engineers on 4 December 1807. He was present during the 1806 campaign in Germany. He received the knights cross of the Ordre Royale de Mérite on 7 january 1807. In 1808 he commanded the Dutch artillery of the occupation army in Germany. Took part in the campaign in Northern Germany 1809 against Von Schill, commanding the Dutch artillery. On 31 May Stralsund, the fortress-city in which Von Schill had sought refuge, was attacked by Dutch troops and a Danish auxiliary corps. Led by Bode who distinguished himself on this day, the horse artillery fought a two hour long duel with the 24-pdrs on the city walls, covering the assault on the city. He received the commanders cross of the Danish Order of Dannebrog for Stralsund. After the British landings in Zeeland (Walcheren), on 5 September 1809 Bode received command of the artillery of Marshal Jean Baptiste Dumonceau’s corps.

He held his command of the foot artillery regiment until 18 august 1810, on which date the Kingdom of Holland became part of the French Empire. Bode entered French service, and in 1811 he joined the 9me Régiment d’artillerie à pied. He participated in the 1812 campaign in Russia, where he was taken prisoner. In 1814 he joined the Netherlands army. On 26 June, receiving the rank of colonel, Bode was appointed Director of the 4th Artillery Direction, formed by the southern parts of the northern Netherlands which had been ceded to France in 1795, including the fortress-cities Maastricht, Venlo, and Grave. In this position he put a lot of efforts in making mobile the necessary artillery batteries, making great use of his experience in command positions with the horse artillery as well as the foot artillery, even outside his own Direction. His efforts did not stay unnoticed, and on 21 April 1815 Bode was promoted major-general. He became a knight 3rd class of the Militaire Willemsorde ('Military Order of William') on 12 May 1823. On 15 June 1826, Bode was promoted lieutenant-general of the artillery, and on the 19th of that same month he was pensioned out of the army. He died in Breda in 1842.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: November 2013

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