Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Wolzogen, Justus Philipp Adolf Wilhelm Ludwig Freiherr von

Wolzogen, Justus Philipp Adolf Wilhelm Ludwig Freiherr von (1281)

Born on 4 February 1773 in Meiningen, Thuringia; his father, Ernst Ludwig, was a Geheime-Legationsrat (Secret Legation Adviser) to the court of  Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The Wozogen family came from the Tyrol into Fraconia, Austria and Silesia. In 1794, Justus met von Schiller and the two became firm friends. In 1796 von Wolzogen was publishing scientific papers; in 1798 he met Goethe, Weiland, Herder and Knebel – all authors. He was a keen student of current military developments and of history. On 1 April 1792, he entered Württemberg military service in the Garde zu Fuss (Foot Guards); on 21 January 1794, he was transferred to IR von Hügel as Lt. On 31 October 1794, he transferred to Prussian service as Pfrch in the IR Fürst Hohenlohe Nr 32, and on 6 October 1797, he was promoted to Frch. On 12 December 1797, he was commissioned as Sklt. In 1799 von Wolzogen presented a paper to king Friedrich Wilhelm III on the use of light troops (`Der Dienst der Schützen.` `Duties of Skirmishers`), and, in 1800, `Zwei Einfälle in das Südliche Frankreiche als Vorbereitung zu den Studien des wiedereröffneten Feldzugs in Italien (Two Invasions in Southern France as a Preparation to the Study of the Re-opened Campaign in Italy)`, which was published in Breslau. In 1802, he left Prussian service on his appointment as instructor in military matters to Prinz Eugen von Württemberg in Erlangen and Stuttgart. On 1 August of this year he had also joined the Militärische-Gesellschaft (Military Society) in Berlin and became close to von Scharnhorst. On 7 June 1805, he applied to re-enter Prussian service, but was rejected; he returned to the service of Württemberg as Kpt, Kammerherr (chamberlain) and ADC to Prinz Eugen. On 6 October 1805, he was promoted to Maj, and served in the war against Austria. On 9 October 1806, he was promoted to Obstlt and appointed commander of the  Württemberg Garde zu Fuss. In 1806 von Wolzogen was sent by king Friedrich of Württemberg with a letter to Napoleon in his headquarters in Mainz to negotiate the marriage of Princess Katharina von Württemberg to Jerome Bonaparte, later to be king of Westphalia. Von Wolzogen left interesting accounts of his conversations with Napoleon. When he left after the meeting, Duroc gave him a box studded with diamonds and bearing `N`on the lid. On 14 May 1807, he left the service of Württemberg, and on 19 September 1807, entered Russian service together with Prinz Eugen as Maj in the general staff. As happened with many other foreigners in Russian service he had a hard time of it. He was supported by the Czar and by von Pfühl but many jealous Russians intrigued against him. On 2 February 1810, he was appointed ADC to Czar Alexander I. In this year von Wolzogen published his `Napoleon und die Art, gegen ihn Krieg zu Führen`(Napoleon and the Manner of Making War Against Him). In this work he proposed that Napoleon could not be defeated by an assault but that he should be lured forward in strategic terms; his flanks subjected to pin-prick attacks; his lines of communication cut and the noose gradually tightened around him. This paper was applauded by von Pfühl, and by Barclay de Tolly but many Russian generals were horrified by it. On 2 February 1811, he was promoted to Obstlt; in this year, von Wolzogen published in Tübingen his work ` Versuch, junge Offiziere zum Studium der Kriegsgeschichte aufzumuntern.` (An Attempt to Encourage Young Officers to Study Military History). Early in this same year, he and Prinz Eugen toured western Russia seeking out defensive positions in view of the worsening climate between Russia and France. At the beginning of 1812 von Wolzogen joined Barclay de Tolly`s staff. On 14 June 1812, he was promoted to Obst and awarded the Russian OStA Ch. He fought in the war of 1812 against France at Smolensk and Borodino and in the 1813 campaign was a member of Csar Alexander`s staff. He served with distinction at Gross-Görschen, Bautzen, Dresden, Kulm and Leipzig. On 18 Oct 1813 he was promoted GM on the field of Leipzig, where, according to von Wolzogen, he had detected the great fault in Schwarzenberg`s dispositions on 16 October, brought them to the Czar`s notice and caused the disaster to be averted. (this is a reference to Schwarzenberg`s original intention to split allied forces either side of the River Pleisse DGS). On 18 November 1813, he was awarded the Prussian PLM. In 1814 he was chief of staff of the III German Federal Corps in the Netherlands. On 24 April 1814, he was awarded the Swedish OS. On 24 May 1814, he transferred into Prussian service as GM. On 15 June 1815, he was granted two months leave, and on 11 November 1815, he was appointed military tutor to princes Wilhelm and Friedrich von Preussen. On 12 January 1816, he was permitted to wear the Saxon Order of the Falcon. On 26 December 1817, he was appointed permanent Prussian representative at the Militärkommission der deutschen Bundesversammlung (Military Commission to the German Federal Assembly). On 16 January 1819, he was awarded the RAO III, and on 6 February 1819, was permitted to accept the gift of a snuff box from Kaiser Franz I of Austria. On 3 April 1820, he was promoted to GL, and on 18 January 1824, was awarded the RAO II with oakleaves. On 18 December 1824, he was permitted to wear the Austrian Order of Leopold. On 27 September 1825, he was awarded the Dienstkreuz. On 24 January 1830, he was awarded the Star to his RAO II. On 18 January 1833, he was awarded the RAO I with oakleaves. He retired on 12 March 1836 as GdI; he died on 4 June 1845 in Halle an der Saale in Saxony.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: November 2012

 

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