Research Subjects: Biographies

Foot Artillery Officers of the Netherlands Serving from 1813 to 1815: Winssinger, Leopold

By Geert van Uythoven

Winssinger was born in Ghislain (near Mons, present day Belgium) on 6 April 1795. On 18 June 1812 he became a cadet on a French military school. On 19 February 1813 he became a corporal, promoted sergeant on 2 March 1813. One day later he was promoted 2nd lieutenant, joining the 2nd Regiment of the Corps Imperiale d’Artillerie de la Marine. He was promoted to first lieutenant on 12 August 1813, and finally discharged from French service on 6 May 1814. He joined the ‘southern’ army on 22 October 1814, as a 1st lieutenant. Being assigned to Captain Emmanuel-Joseph Stevenart’s company of the 4th Artillery line battalion, which made mobile a 6-pdr artillery battery. Being assigned to De Perponcher’s 2de Nederlandsche Divisie, this battery was present at Quatre-Bras on 16 June. The 4th section of two cannon, commanded by Lieutenant Winssinger, was deployed more to the west, just south of Bois de Bossu and behind Grand Pierrepont, to reinforce the right wing of the Brigade Saxen-Weimar. This section was covered by two companies of the 1st bat/2nd Regiment Nassau in skirmish order. No further details about the exploits of this section during the battle are available, beside that it retreated when the French attacked the Bois de Bossu on this side. In any case, it did not suffer casualties. The remainder of the battery was heavily engaged and suffer serious casualties, including its commander Stevenart. During the battle of Waterloo, despite all the guns had been retrieved but because of the heavy losses sustained in personnel and material, only the section of Lieutenant Winssinger was able to take part. It was reinforced by a howitzer of the Horse artillery battery ‘Bijleveld’, serving a total of three guns. This battery was positioned on a height just north of Papelotte, supporting the 2nd Brigade (Prince Karel Bernhard, Duke of Saxen-Weimar) of the 2de Nederlandsche Divisie (Hendrik George de Perponcher-Sedlnitzky) holding the far left flank of the Anglo-Allied army. No further details are available for this day. The battery ‘Stevenart’ had lost, except of its killed commander, so many men, horses, and material, that it was not able to take the field anymore except for the section of Lieutenant Winssinger. His section was the only artillery accompanying the 2nd Division during the initial days of its advance into France. On 30 June Winssinger’s section was absorbed into the Foot artillery company ‘Steenberghe’. Winssinger was appointed a knight 4th class of the Militaire Willemsorde (‘Military order of William’).

Placed on the Napoleon Series: December 2013

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