Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Schmidt, Johann Otto Heinrich von

Schmidt, Johann Otto Heinrich von (1223)

Born on 18 November 1758 in Bublitz, Pomerania; his father was Johann Gottlieb. 23 May 1772 – entered Prussian military service in the 1st Field Artillery Regiment, probably as a Gfrkpl. He served in the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778/9. On 29 March 1782, he was commissioned as Sklt. During 1791, and up to 6 February 1792,  he was attached to the Turkish army for training purposes. He performed excellently and was ennobled, awarded the PLM and a gift of Thlr 1,000. He then served in the war against France from 1792 – 1795; fought at the sieges of Longwy, Verdun, Mainz and Landau, at Valmy and the battle of Kaiserslautern. On 6 October 1797, he was promoted to Prlt, and on 22 October 1799, to Stkpt and commander of a company in the 9. Bn of the field artillery. On 11 September 1806, he was promoted to Kpt and Kiech of a horse artillery company. On 6 May 1809, he was appointed Assessor (assistant judge?) in the 3. Division of the Allgemeine-Kriegsdepartement. On17 May 1809, he was promoted to Maj, and on 22 November 1810, appointed Artillerie-Offizier vom Platz (commander of the artillery) in Graudenz fortress. On 10 March 1812, he was appointed commander of the artillery in the corps mobilised for the campaign in Russia. He fought at Eckau (19 July and 27 September) and the Aa River (aka Mesoten, 29 September). On 4 September 1812, he was permitted to wear the knight`s cross of the French LdH. On 27 February 1813, he was appointed to command the artillery brigade in von Yorck`s I Corps. On 26 March 1813, he was awarded the RAO III for his service in Russia, and on 13 June 1813, was promoted to Obstlt. In 1813 he fought in the battles of the Katzbach (awarded the EK II), Wartenburg,  Leipzig (where he won the EK I) and the clashes at Löwenberg and Freyberg an der Unstrut. During the battle of the Katzbach, he wrote in his subsequent report: ` Der unaufhörliche Regen hatte allen Patronentaschen durchweicht und die darin befindliche Munition gänzlich verdorben. Die Regimenter bestürmten mich mit der Förderung, ihnen diese Munition zu ersetzen, und bei der Berechnung  fand sich, dass alle meine Kolonnen nicht hinreichend waren, auch nur diese durch Nässe verdorbene Munition zur Hälfte zu ersetzen. Hätten die Eriegnissen jener Tage, in welchen das Korps sich nur noch teilweise im Verfolgen schlug, neue bedeutende Gefechte oder gar eine Schlacht herbei geführt, so wäre die schlesische Armee wahrscheinlich aus Mangel an Munition sehr unglücklich gewesen.`  (`The constant rain had saturated all our cartridge pouches and completely spoiled the ammunition inside them. `The regiments bombarded me with demands to replace this ammunition, and, when I calculated the requirement, I found that the entire contents of my train would not be adequate for the job. `If the events of these days, in  which the corps was only partially engaged in the pursuit, had involved new combats, or even a battle, the Army of Silesia would probably have been very unlucky, due to shortage of ammunition`.)

On 8 December 1813 he was promoted Obst. In 1814 he fought in the battles of Laon and Paris (awarded the Russian OStA II), the siege of Saarlouis and the clash at Chalons. On 19 March 1814, he was appointed director of the 3. Division of the Allgemeine-Kriegsdepartement, and on 31 May of that year, he was awarded oakleaves to his PLM. On 31 May 1815, he was promoted to GM, and on 2 October of that year, was awarded the RAO II with oakleaves. 18 January 1819, he received a gift of Thlr 300 from the king; on 3 April 1820, he was appointed Inspector General of the 1st Artillery Inspectorate (Garde and the 2. and 3. Artillerie-Brigaden). On 28 June 1820, he was appointed president of the Prüfungs-Kommission für Artillerie Premierleutnante (Examination Commission for Premier Lieutenants of the Artillery). On 23 May 1822, he was awarded the RAO I on the occasion of his 50th year of service. On 25 March 1824, he retired as GL with a pension of Thlr 2,000 p.a. He died in Berlin on 5 February 1841.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: March 2012

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