Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Götzen, Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von

By: Digby Smith

Götzen, Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von (1172)

Born on 20 January 1767 in Potsdam, he bore the same names as his father. His family had migrated from Franconia to Silesia. His father was Flügel-Adjutant and ADC to Frederick the Great for a long while and to the young Friedrich Wilhelm II. Graf von Götzen grew up together with with the future King Friedrich Wilhelm III and they became friends. On 30 October 1781, young Götzen was accepted as a candidate for the Order of St John; in 1782 he entered Prussian military service, being commissioned as Estandartenjunker, Kürassier-Regiment Nr 11 (Leib-Karabiniers).On  4 November 1786 he was promoted to Kornett and on 29 May  1790 to Lt. On 11 Sep 1790 he was invested as a knight of the order of St John. From 1791-2 he was appointed Adjutant of his regiment. On 17 April 1792 he transferred to HusBn von Frankenberg Nr 11. During the siege of Mainz, King Friedrich Wilhelm II had von Götzen join his suite to learn the arts of war.  On 3 May 1794 he was ennobled as a Graf. On 23 May 1794 he was promoted to Prlt and on 27 April 1795  to Strtmstr. During 1798 he suffered severe bowel problems and handed in his resignation but the king refused to accept it.  On 2 March 1799 he was promoted to Rtmstr and QMLt on the army staff with a salary of Thlr 1,200p.a. On 9 July 1799 he was appointed Commissar to liaise on the passage of Russian troops through Prussia and down to the upper Rhine, for the campaign in Italy and Switzerland. On 3 January 1801 he was promoted to Maj. In 1802 he attended a review of Saxon troops in Dresden. On 12 December 1803 he was appointed QM and on 1 May 1804 he was appointed Flügel-Adjutant to the king with a salary of Thlr 1,600 p.a. In the war of 1806/7 he took part in the defence of Silesia and on 7 November 1806 was sent by the king to report on the conduct of the defence of Colberg under Oberst von Lucadou. He fought in the clashes of Wartha, Rothwoltersdorf, Schöbe, Glatz, Peterwitz and Canth. On 15 May 1807 he was promoted to Obstlt. He worked hard in Silesia gathering up stragglers and new recruits and organising their clothing, food, armaments, accomodation and training, requisitioning rifles, buying cavalry remounts and raising a battery of artillery. He was also active in repairing existing fortifications and building new works. When his units were ready for action he led them in raids on enemy lines. After the fall of Breslau on 6 Jan 1807, the king wrote to him urging him to spare no efforts to hold the remaining Silesian fortresses. All this work wrecked his health and as soon as the war was over, he went on long sick leave. On 16 December 1807 he was appointed a member of the Military Reorganization Committee at Scharnhorst`s instigation in place of Oberst von Borstell. His health caused him to take sick leave again in autumn 1808 . On 23 July 1808 he was promoted to Obst and on 21 November 1808 to Brigadier, commanding the Oberschlesische Cavalry Brigade with a salary of Thlr 2,600 p.a. and six rations of fodder for his horses. In 1809 he secretly helped the dispossessed  Duke of Brunswick to set up his corps. By the summer of that year, his health was again so bad that he tendered his resignation; again the king refused to accept it. On 12 December 1809 he was appointed Chef of the 2. Silesian HusR and sent on sick leave with retention of all pay and allowances. On 4 September 1810 he was awarded the RAO III; on 12 August 1812 he was promoted to GM. In 1813 he was appointed Military Governor of Silesia; his health was again so bad that he was bed-ridden for much of the time, but he rose to the task of raising reserve battalions in the province. On 21 August 1813 he was awarded the RAO II and on 30 May 1814 the EK II on a white ribbon. He retired on 25 June 1816 as GL with a pension of Thlr 1,200 p.a. He died on 29 Feb 1820 in Kudowa , Silesia.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: November 2010

 

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