Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Valentini, Georg Wilhelm

Valentini, Georg Wilhelm (12680)

Born on 21 August 1775 in Mittenwalde near Prenzlau in northern Prussia; his father, Georg Heinrich was Oberst and commandant of the Invalidenhaus in Berlin. The family originated in Hessen-Kassel and the Westerwald and had been in Prussian service since the 1750s. On 15 August 1787, he entered Prussian military service as a cadet in Berlin, and on 31 July 1791, was promoted Junker in the Feldjäger-Corps zu Pferde; (mounted rifles). On 22 May 1792, he was commissioned as Sklt. He fought in the war against France in 1793/4 at the blockade of Landau, between Mannheim and Strassburg on the upper Rhine (where he was wounded in the left arm on 22 Dec 1793) and in the clash at Weissenburg where he was wounded again. After the end of the war in 1795 he wrote `Vom kleinen Kriege` (On Little Wars), a paper on the use of light troops, which was so highly regarded that it was reprinted four times. This was the first of many of his publications. On 9 April 1803, he was promoted to Prlt, and on 20 March 1804, was appointed Adj 1st Class and supernumary QMLt on the newly-organized general staff with a salary of Thlr 800 p.a. On 2 May 1805, he was promoted Stkpt and QMLt. In the war of 1806/7 he was sent by Fürst von Hohenlohe to assist Prinz Louis Ferdinand with his command of the Prussian Avantgarde at Saalfeld and was with the prince when he was killed there on 10 October. He then fought at Jena, four days later and accompanied Blücher`s corps to their capitulation of Ratkau after the storming of Lübeck, but managed to escape capture there. He then made his way to Königsberg (East Prussia) via Copenhagen and Helsingör. On 23 August 1807, he was promoted Maj, and on 4 July 1808, was sent on extendeded leave. On 26 December 1808, he was recalled to duty and attached to the staff of Obst Graf von Götzen, working on the reconstruction of the Prussian army. On 17 February 1809, he was transferred to assist General von Grawert. On 13 June 1809, he resigned to take Austrian service and was appointed ADC to the Prince of Orange; fought with distinction in the battles of Aspern, Wagram and Znaim in that year. After the war he wrote `Versuch einer Geschichte des Feldzugs von 1809.` (An Attempted History of the Campaign of 1809). On 25 January 1810, he transferred into Russian service and saw action against the Turks. On the field of the battle of Battin on 7 September 1810, he met Prinz Eugen von Württemberg and they became friends. After this campaign he wrote his next book. In 1811 he became a lieutenant-colonel in the Russian army, but, on 14 February 1812, he returned to Prussian service as the youngest Obstlt on the general staff with a salary of Thlr 1,900 p.a. and five forage rations. He was also permitted to wear the Russian OV IV. On 15 June 1812, he was appointed ADC to the Prince of Orange again for two months. On 20 January 1813, he was sent to Breslau to instruct the Prussian crown prince in the arts of war. On 10 March 1813, he was appointed QM on the staff of von Yorck`s I Corps. In 1813 he fought at Gross-Görschen (where he won the EK II), Bautzen (awarded the Russian OStA II), the Katzbach (won the  EK I and OV III) and Leipzig. On 3 July 1813, he was promoted to Obst, and on 14 August 1813, was appointed chief of staff in von Bülow`s III Corps. On 8 December 1813, he was awarded the PLM with oakleaves. On 22 December 1813, he was transferred to be chief of staff in the Herzog von Coburg`s corps at the Duke`s request, but on 27 December 1813, he became chief of staff of von Yorck`s I Corps. In 1814 he was wounded in the arm in the clash at Mery and on 30 May 1814 he was promoted GM. On 5 October 1814, he was appointed chief of staff to von Bülow`s III Corps, and on 23 March 1815, transferred to become chief of staff to the IV Corps. He fought at Waterloo and was awarded the RAO III. On 3 October 1815, he was appointed commandant of Glogau (now Glogow) fortress in Silesia, and on 27 October, he received a gift of Thlr 2,000 from the king. After 1815 he wrote more books including `Die Lehre vom Kriege`(The Lessons of War), which became a recognised military classic of the 1820s.

He married on 25 March 1816 and on 10 December of that year received permission to wear the Russian OStG III. On 15 Dec 1821, he was also permitted to wear the Commander`s Cross, of the Netherlands Wilhelm`s-Orden. On 18 January 1823, he was awarded the RAO II with oakleaves. He was promoted to GM on 30 March 1823, and on 9 August 18 25, he was awarded the Dienstkreuz. On 5 October 1828, he was appointed Insp Gen, Militärische-Unterrichts- und Bildungswesen (Military Training and Education System). On 1 December 1828, he was appointed to be a member of the Kommission zur Prüfung militärwissenschaftlicher-und technischer Gegenstände (Commission for the Testing of Military Scientific and Technical Matters). On 24 January 1830, he was awarded the Star to his RAO II, and on 18 January 1833, he was awarded the RAO I with oakleaves. He died on 6 August 1834 in Berlin.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: September 2012

 

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