Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Thümen, Heinrich Ludwig August von

Thümen, Heinrich Ludwig August von (1212)

Born on 30 December 1757 in Stücken, Mecklenburg into a very old military family which originated in Mark Brandenburg. He had three brothers in the army; Alexander Friedrich Joachim (born on 13 April 1766, died in Wiesbaden as Sklt, IR Nr 49 on 8 February 1794 of wounds received in a clash at Kostheim durring the siege of Mainz), Hans Gustav Friedrich (born on 7 February 1768, died on 16 June 1815 at Ligny as a colonel commanding the Reserve Cavalry, II Corps) and Alexander Karl (born on 13 August 1776, resigned from IR von Grawert Nr 47 in 1803 due to ill health and joined the customs service). His father, Christian Joachim Heinrich, was Herr auf Stücken. On 24 June 1769, Heinrich entered Prussian military service as Gfkpl, in the IR Prinz von Preussen Nr 18. On 6 September 1774, he was promoted Pfrch, and on 6 September 1775, was promoted to Frch. He served in the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778/9, in the clashes at Trautenau, Schnellenwalde and Neustadt. At Schnellenwalde, with 60 men, he held off 1,000 of the enemy, caused them heavy casualties and then withdrew without loss to his own tiny command. On 5 August 1781, he was commissioned as Sklt, and on 20 May 1787, was promoted to Stkpt in the Füs Bn von Dessaunieres Nr 11 in the 1. East Prussian Füs Bde. On 12 July 1789, he was promoted Kpt and Kiech; in 1794, he served in the war in Poland. On 5 February 1795, he was promoted to Maj and transferred to Füs Bn von Rembow Nr 6. On 17 June 1795, he was transferred to IR Holstein-Beck Nr 11, and on 26 September 1798, was appointed Chef of Füs Bn von Eichler Nr 11 in the East Prussian Füs Bde. He did a lot to improve the education of his men and their children. On 15 June 1802, he was presented with the PLM in Memel (now the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania). On 17 January 1805, he was appointed commander of IR Graf von Kunheim Nr 1, and on 20 June 1805, was promoted to Obstlt. In the war of 1806/7 he fought in the clash at Lübeck on 6 November. On 3 September 1808, he was appointed brigadier of all unemployed officers in Berlin. He did not enjoy this post and requested a field command; instead of this, on 17 April 1809, he was appointed commandant of Spandau fortress with a salary of Thlr 2,500 p.a. and four forage rations. On 20 May 1809, he was promoted to Obst. On 25 July 1811, he received instructions to speed up work on the fortifications, but a few days later this was countermanded and he discharged the Krümper that he had just called up. Just after this, a French contingent was added to his own Prussian garrison and Marshal Augereau demanded that von Thümen be removed from command. This did not happen at once. On 22 December 1812, he was appointed to command the Reserve Battalions being raised on the Vistula, and by 20 January 1813 seven battalions were ready for field service and he led them to join General von Bülow in Neustettin 9now Szczecinek, between Szczecin and Gdansk, Poland). On 14 March 1813, he was promoted to GM; he fought at the siege and captitulation of Spandau fortress (held by the French General Bruny), which surrenderd on 26 April. Von Thümen`s force was only two-thirds the strength of the garrison. He then fought in the clashes at Kalau and Luckau (awarded the EK II). During the armistice in 1813, von Thümen`s brigade withdrew north from Saxony  to Potsdam; on 10 August his brigade was tasked with guarding the crossings on the Nuthe and Notte rivers from Zossen to Trebbin, south of Berlin. After the end of the armistice he fought at the battles of Gross-Beeren, where he stormed the windmill to the west of the village, then at Dennewitz, where he won the EK I for coming to the hard-pressed von Tauentzien`s aid and securing the victory. He was very distinguished at the storm of Arnhem and at Utrecht. He fought at La Fere and was again distinguished on both days of the Prussian victory in the battle of Laon (9 / 10 March). In action von Thümen was always calm, cold-blooded and a perfect example to his officers and men. He won the Russian OStA I and the Swedish OS II; on 21 October 1813, he was awarded oakleaves to his PLM. On 21 February 1814 he was promoted to GL, and on 14 May 1815, was posted to the new provinces in the old Grand Duchy of Warsaw (now called the Grand Duchy of Posen)  as the first GOC there. On 2 October 1815, he was awarded the RAO III, and on 18 January 1817, was awarded the RAO II with oakleaves. On 6 June 1818, he was awarded the RAO I with oakleaves, and on 24 June 1819, he celebrated 50 years of service. He retired on 26 January 1820, with a pension of Thlr 3,000 p.a. He died on 5 March 1826 in the castle at Kaputh an der Havel, southwest of Berlin.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2012


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