Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Weger, Johann Philipp Benjamin von

Weger, Johann Philipp Benjamin von (1073)

Born on 3 September 1736 in Bischdorf, Kreis Gross-Wartenberg (now Sycow), northeast of Breslau (now Wroclaw) in Lower Silesia; his father, Johann Jakob, was Herr auf Bischdorf and Bokowine. In 1749 he entered Saxon military service as a volunteer in the Polish HusR, and in 1751, was promoted Junker in the IR von Fleming. On 15 October 1756, he transferred into Prussian service as a musketeer in the IR von Bevern Nr 7. In the Seven  Years` War he fought with distinction in the battles of Kolin, Zorndorf, Kay, Kunersdorf (where he was wounded) and Torgau, where he was captured, the siege of Dresden, the clashes of Strehlen and Wittenberg. On 25 May 1758, he was promoted Frch, and on 22 September 1758, was commissioned as promoted Sklt. On 31 January 1762, he was promoted to Prlt, and on 12 February 1771, was promoted Stkpt. He fought in the war of 1778 - 1779 against Austria, and on 1 March 1779, was promoted Kpt and Kiech. On 15 July 1789, he was promoted to Maj, and on 16 January 1798, was again promoted, to Obstlt. On 14 June 1799, he was promoted Obst, and on 14 October 1800, was given command of the IR von Owstein Nr 7. He was highly educated and did much for the education of the children of his officers and men. On 28 May 1802, he was awarded the PLM at the review in Stargard, southeast of Szczecin, in Pomerania. On 19 March 1805, he was promoted to GM and appointed commander of Fort Preussen in Neisse (now Nysa, Silesia), with a salary of Thlr 1,200 p.a. In his letter of appointment, the king wrote:

`In Hinsicht auf Euer Alter und auf die damit verbundene Abnahme Eurer Kräfte habe Ich beschlossen, Euch einen angemessenen Wirkungskreis anzuweisen. Ich ernenne Euch daher in der Stelle des verstorbenen Oberst von Hanff hiermit zum Commandant des Forts Preussen bei Neisse und habe Euer Gehalt fuer diesen Posten auf 1200 Thaler Jaehrlich erhöht, welcher Ihr vom 1. kommenden Monats ab sowie den Servis und die übrigen Emoluments Eures Vorgängers beziehen werdet. Die Wichtigkeit dieser Festung wird Euch beweisen, welches Vertrauen Ich in Eure Kentnisse, Treue und Rechtschaffenheit setze, und Ich bin im voraus überzeugt, dass Ihr demselben völlig entsprechen werdet.`

(With regard to your age, and the reduction of your strength, which that implies, I have decided to give you appropriate employment. I thus appoint you herewith, to be commandant of Fort Preussen at Neiss, in place of the deceased Oberst von Hanff and have increased your annual salary to 1,200 Thaler, with effect from the 1st of next month and you will draw the same quartering  and other allowances as did your predecessor. The importance of this fortress shows you what faith I have in your knowledge, loyalty and rectitude, and I am already convinced that you will live up to these qualities)

In the war of 1806 - 1807 the 70-year-old defended Neisse for 98 days from 23 February until 16 June 1807 until his supplies ran out. The subsequent court of inquiry report of 8 December 1808 read:

`Die Verteidigung von Neisse zeichnet sich vor den anderen schlesischen Festungen dadurch aus, dass man die Hoffnung nicht sinken liess und dass der Platz, solange die Provisionen reichten, erhalten wurde.` (The defence of Neisse differed from those of the other Silesian fortresses, in that they (the garrison) never gave up hope and held the place as long as their supplies held out)

Von Weger retired on 19 December 1808 with a pension of Thlr 800 p.a. He died on 12 January 1809 in Neisse and was buried on the ramparts of the fort next to the ice cellars . 


Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2012


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