Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Zieten, Christian Johann Friedrich Otto von

Zieten, Christian Johann Friedrich Otto von (1118)

Born on 14 September 1747 in Gartz, about 30 km south of Szczecin; his father, Balthasar Joachim, was a major in the DragR Bayreuth Nr 5. On 15 January 1762, he entered Prussian military service as Junker in his father`s regiment. On 18 January 1763, he was promoted to Frch, and on 4 April 1765, was commissioned as Sklt. On 10 April 1778, he was appointed ADC to Gen von Bülow. In the War of the Bavarian Succession (1778/9) he fought in the clashes at Jägerndorf (north of Olomouc) and at Ratibor, east of Jägerndorf, on the upper River Oder. On 10 June 1779, he returned to his regiment, and on 3 June 1782, was promoted to Prlt. On 20 October 1788, he was promoted to Stkpt, and on 6 July 1790, was promoted to Maj. On 30 May 1792, he was appointed ChEs. From 1792 – 1795 he fought in the war against France at Valmy, Hochheim, Kreuznach, Weissenburg; at the battle of Kaiserslautern- for which he received the PLM-and the sieges of Verdun and Landau. On 8 July 1798, he was promoted Obstlt, and on 20 May 1800, to Obst. On 11 May 1803, he was given command of the 2.Bn of his regiment. On 25 August 1806, he was appointed to command DragR Königin Nr 5. In the war of 1806/7 he fought at Auerstädt, Zehdenick (where he was wounded), Heilsberg (wounded again) and Wuhsen on the Passarge River. After he was wounded at Zehdenick, Lt von Zitzewitz of his regiment found him on the field and offered him a drink from his flask. Zieten – a teetotaler – asked him: `Freundschen, wozu willst du mich verführen, in meinem ganzen Leben habe ich keinen Schnaps getrunken und soll es nun kurz vor meinem Ende noch tun?` (Little friend, why are you tempting me? I have never drunk Schnaps in my life and I should do it just before the end of my life?).  Zitzewitz answered: `Das ist kein Schnaps Herr Oberst, das ist Rum.`(That isn`t Schnaps Colonel, it`s rum) Whereupon von Zieten said: `So, na dann gib mal her.` (So? Then let me have it). On 30 January 1807, he was appointed Chef of the two newly-formed dragoon brigades, and on 20 March 1807, was appointed Chef of Drag R von Auer Nr 6. He also fought aat Heilsberg on 10 June 1807, and on 19 June, he was promoted to GM. On 8 November 1807, he was appointed Chef of the Ostpr-Kür-R and on 5 May 1808, was awarded the Russian OStA for his actions at Heilsberg. On 25 November 1808, he was given command of the Ostpr Cav Bde. On 18 January 1811, he was awarded the RAO III. On 18 Mar 1811, he was appointed commandant of Königsberg fortress and Chef of the Ostpr Cav R . On 26 November 1811, he was appointed governor of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), and on 24 March 1812, was promoted GL. In June 1812 the French Gen Hogedorp took over as commandant of Königsberg at Napoleon`s insistance. On 15 January 1816, he was awarded the RAO I. On 12 February 1817, he retired with a pension of Thlr 2,000 p.a. He died on 12 September 1817 in Gross-Spiegelberg, Kreis Prenzlau. Von Zieten had been one of the best cavalry commanders in the Prussian army both in peace and war.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: September 2012


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