Research Subjects: Biographies

Foot Artillery Officers of the Netherlands Serving from 1813 to 1815: Riesz, Carel Jan

By Geert van Uythoven

Riesz, Carel Jan

Riesz was born in ‘s Hertogenbosch (present day Netherlands) on 28 October 1791. On 1 September 1806, he started his military career as an éleve on the artillerie and genieschool. After the Dutch Kingdom had become part of the French Empire, on 31 October 1810 he was appointed 2nd lieutenant in the French army. He was promoted first lieutenant on 21 September 1811, captain on 21 April 1813. He was pensioned out of the army because of sustained wounds on 18 September of that year, and subsequently enlisted in the Netherlands army.

Riesz received command of company no.3 of the 5th (East Indian) Line artillery battalion. To add more artillery to the Netherlands Mobile Army for the Waterloo, the company made mobile a foot artillery battery and was attached to the Indian Brigade. This battery was armed with six short 6-pdr bronze cannon, and two 24-pdr (iron) bronze howitzers. Departing for its destination on 9 April 1815 with a strength of 6 officers and 80 others, and 168 horse of the train with train soldiers, it arrived in Genappe on 20 April. The battery was assigned to the Netherlands Indian Brigade (Anthing), The Indian Brigade saw no action during the battles of Quatre-Bras and Waterloo, being part of Prince Fredericks troops at Halle. However, during the advance on Paris the battery took part in the capture of the fortress-city Le Quesnoy, bombarding the place from 26 until 29 June. After that, it took part in the capture of Valenciennes (20 July). On 10 July King William of Orange informed Wellington that he would like to sent the Indian Brigade to their original destination, the East and West Indies. This was laid down in a Royal Decree of 9 August 1815. As a result, Wellington fixed their departure date as 16 August. Arriving in the Netherlands while having left behind their guns and all material with the artillery park, the Colonial Brigade including battery ‘Riesz’ was taken out of the mobile army on 6 September. During October or November of that same year, the battery left its destination the Dutch East Indies..

On 10 July 1815 King William of Orange informed Wellington that he would like to sent the Indian Brigade to its original destination, the East and West Indies. This was laid down in a Royal Decree of 9 August 1815. As a result, Wellington fixed the departure date as 16 August. Arriving in the Netherlands the Colonial Brigade, including battery ‘Riesz’ was taken out of the Netherlands Mobile Army officially on 6 September. During October or November of that same year, Captain Riesz and his foot artillery company left for their destination in the East Indies. Riesz distinguished himself in battle several times. On 20 June 1819 he became a 4th Class Knight in the Militaire WIllemsorde, for the 1st expedition to Palembang (Dutch East-Indies). He became 3rd Class Knight MWO on 8 December 1820 and finally Commander MWO KB on 18 January 1852, for “his behaviour during the 2nd expedition against Palembang in 1821, especially the capture of the fortified Gombora Island”. After having been promoted several times as well, on 29 July 1831 he finally was promoted major-general of the artillery. He was pensioned out of the army in 1839, and died in Frankfurt-am-Main on 22 June 1856.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: December 2013

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