Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Corbin-Wierbitzky, Heinrich Friedrich Ernst von

By: Digby Smith

Corbin-Wierbitzky, Heinrich Friedrich Ernst von

Born on 1 February 1758 in Gehlweiden, Kreis Goldap (now in Poland, just south of the Russian enclave of Kalilingrad); his father, Johann Friedrich, was a retired captain who had served in the IR von Münchow Nr 36 and was Herr auf Gehlweiden. In 1771, Heinrich entered Prussian military service as Gfkpl, in the DragR Graf Finkenstein Nr 10; on 1 January 1774 he was commissioned as Frch and on 26 September 1776, promoted to Sklt. He served in the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778/9 and fought in the clash at Jägerndorf.

On 13 April 1785 he was promoted to Prlt; on 6 June 1790 to Stkpt. On 21 April 1794 he was promoted to Maj, in the DragR von Frankenberg Nr 10. In 1794/5 he fought in the war in Poland at Warsaw, Wanikowo Powonsk and Magnuszewo. On 3 September 1794 he was awarded the PLM for his actions in the clash at Warsaw. His report on the action read:` Bei Warschau, wo ich ein apartes Detachement von der Armee mit russischen Kosacken vermischt führte und damit die linke Flanke deckte, gelang es mir, durch ein schnelles und entschlossenes Unternehmen, dem Regiment von Bonin , wo schon der Obrist und Kommandeur von Treuenfels blessiert und gefangen war , noch zur rechten Zeit zu helfen und es so von der überlegenen Masse feindlicher Kavallerie loszumachen. Allein, nachdem ich selbst von der Armee durch fortwährende Gefechte abgeschnitten und bei so vielfaeltiger Űberlegenheit mich ausser Stand befand, mir durchzuhauen, so entschloss ich mich , auf die feindlichen Kavallerieposten bei dem Dorfe Wawrikow loszugehen , warf diese, indem mir der Feind von hinten erst verfolgte nachdem er aber aus seinen eigenen Batterien  so viel Kartaetschenfeuer erhielt, zurück blieb, und so drängte ich mir, nachdem ich mir die Barriereöeffnete, in die feindlichen Verschänzungen, wo ich alles niederhieb und zerstreute. Der Verlust von meinem Kommando war nicht unbedeutend, und der Űberrest beinahe alle verwundet.`

(At Warsaw, where I commanded an independent detachment of the arm, including Russian Cossacks, covering the left flank, I was able to come to the aid of the Regiment von Bonin, whose Obrist and commander, von Treuenfels was already wounded and captured, just at the right moment to free it from a superior mass of enemy cavalry. Unfortunately, I became cut off from the army in a series of combats and decided to attack the enemy cavalry outpost in the village of Wawrikow. I overthrew them, in that, as they chased after us, they received a discharge of canister from their own battery and veered away. I charged the barrier, opened it, entered the hostile earthworks and cut down or scattered all that I found. The losses of my detachment were not inconsiderable and almost all the survivors are wounded.`)

 General von Günther, who had witnessed the scene, confirmed that von Corbin-Wierbitzky`s command charged through the Polish infantry lines three times. He apparently did not come into action against France in the war of 1793-5. On 31 December 1803 he was appointed commander of DragR von Manstein Nr 10. On 20 May 1804 he was promoted to Obstlt and on 20 May 1806 to Obst. In the war of 1806/7 he fought at Preussisch-Eylau and Friedland and was then placed on the inactive list on half pay. On 1 December 1813 he retired on a pension of Thlr 900 p.a. He died on 17 April 1823 in Gehlweiden.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2010

 

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