Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Anhalt-Köthen-Pless, Friedrich Ferdinand, Herzog von

By: Digby Smith

Anhalt-Köthen-Pless, Friedrich Ferdinand, Herzog von. (1106). Born on the 25 June 1769 in Pless, near the River Iller in southwestern Germany. His father was Friedrich Erdmann, Fürst von Anhalt-Köthen-Pless. Commissioned into Prussian military service in September 1786 as a supernumary Sklt, in the Garde zu Fuss Nr 15. On 19 March 1788, he was promoted to Stkpt, in the IR von Kalckstein Nr 28. On 29 May 1792, he was promoted Kapt and Kiech, in the Füs-Bn von Forcade Nr 10. In 179?, he was promoted to Maj. Fought in the war with France 1793– 1795 in the clashes of Hochheim (where he was wounded and very distinguished). On 6 January 1793, he was awarded the PLM. Also fought at Limbach, Tann, Steinberg, Husenberg, Türkheim, Obernheim, Neustadt and Kirrweiler. He was also at the siege of Verdun and was shot through the hip and very badly wounded at Lautern. He was hospitalised in Frankfurt from 17 July – 15 September 1794. On 6 March 1795, he was appointed Chef of Füs Bn von Martini Nr 10.

On 12 September 1797, he was appointed Brigadier of the Ober-Schlesische Füs-Bde, and on 12 December 1797, he acceded to the throne of the principality of Anhalt-Pless. On 7 July 1798 he was awarded the RAO Ch. On 17 May 1800, he was promoted to Obstlt. On 8 May 1802, he was transferred at his own request to become Kdr, 2.Bn, HusR von Schimmelpfennig Nr 6. A most unusual career change from the infantry to the cavalry.

On 21 August 1802, the king sent him to the Troppau area to attend the mustering of the Austrian HusR Fürst von Liechtenstein by Archduke Charles and to take a cure at Teplitz and Warmbrunn. On 26 May 1803, he was promoted to Obst.

On 13 April 1805, he took six months leave to travel the Ukraine. On 20 October 1805, he was appointed commander of HusR von Schimmelpfennig Nr 6. In December 1805, the old wound in his foot opened up again when he was in Bucharest. In the 1806 campaign he fought at Jena and Sömmerda in command of his regiment. At Zehdenick on 26 October he broke through the enemy (Gen Lasalle`s light cavalry brigade) crossed the River Oder and gathered up stragglers from various cavalry regiments, so that in November he could join the king with over 3,000 men. He organized a corps to try to relieve the besieged fortress of Breslau but the garrison did not support his attack and he was driven off and had to withdraw south via Schweidnitz to Neisse.

On 21 November 1806, he was promoted to GM and appointed Governor General of Silesia and the Graftschaft Glatz. 25 January 1807, he was appointed Chef of HusR Nr 6. On 13 March 1807, he joined King Friedrich Wilhelm III in Memel (now Klaipeda in Lithuania), but on 16 October 1808, he resigned his commissionand went to Vienna with the aim of entering Austrian service, but this came to nothing.

He returned to attend to the affairs of his principality. In February 1813 he raised and equipped a squadron of cavaly and presented it to the king of Prussia, asking for a field command but this was refused due to his poor health. Instead, he was appointed GOC of the Silesian Landsturm. On 30 March 1818, he was awarded the HOSA Ch. 30 March 1818, he was appointed Chef of the 1. (Oppeln) LWR. On 16 December 1818, he acceded to the title of Herzog zu Anhalt-Köthen; on 23 March 1819, he was awarded the EK II. On 22 May 1830, he was awarded the Order of the Golden Fleece Ch. He died on 23 August 1830 in Köthen.  


Placed on the Napoleon Series: March 2010


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