Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Henkel von Donnersmark, Wilhelm Ludwig Viktor, Graf

By: Digby Smith

Henkel von Donnersmark, Wilhelm Ludwig Viktor, Graf (1206)

Born on 30 October 1775 in Potsdam; his father was Viktor Amadeus. On 16 December 1788 he was accepted as an applicant to join the Order of St John. On 17 June 1789 he entered Prussian military service, being commissioned as Frch in DragR von Brause Nr 8. On 21 January 1792 he was promoted to Sklt and on 6 December 1794 he transferred to KürR von der Marwitz Nr 2. On 15 July 1795 he became a knight of the Order of St John. On 17 July 1798 he transferred to the Garde du Corps and subsequently became friendly with the king.

On 1 February 1803 he was promoted to Strtmstr and on 21 August 1806, to Rtmstr. In the war of 1806/7 he fought with distinction at Auerstädt, Gollau and Königsberg.

On 22 May 1807 he was promoted to Maj; he very active in the reorganization of the cavalry and submitted several papers on this topic and on the reduction of the army`s baggage train to the king. Henkel von Donnersmark  also drafted the revised cavalry drill regulations. On 5 February 1810 he was appointed ADC to the king with a salary of Thlr 1,900 and five forage rations. In this year, he and GFM Graf von Kalckreuth went to Paris to convey the king`s congratulations to Napoleon on the occasion of his marriage to Marie-Louise. On 20 June 1811 he was granted five months leave to take the waters at Teplitz for his health. Late in 1812 he was sent to visit General von Yorck in Russia on a secret mission and he brought back the first news of the Convention of Tauroggen which Yorck had agreed with the Russians on 30 December. On 10 March 1813 he was appointed commander of the cavalry brigade in  I Corps. Four days later he was promoted to Obstlt. On 17 July 1813 he was promoted to Obst. He fought at Gross-Görschen, Bautzen (EK II), the Katzbach (EK I), Hirschberg, Löwenberg, Leipzig, Freyberg an der Unstrut and Eisenach. In 1814 he was in action at Simmern, Trier, Vitry, La Chausee, Laon, Chalons, Montmirail, Chateau Thierry, Sezanne, Claye, Avenses, Guise and Paris. On 30 May 1814 he was promoted to GM; gave up the post of ADC the next day. On 31 March 1815 he was appointed GOC, 4. Bde, I Corps. In 1815 he fought at Ligny, for which he received the RAO III on 2 October 1815 and on 27 October he received a gift of Thlr 2,000. On 27 Mar 1817 he received the Russian OStA I, on 3 September 1817 he was awarded the RAO II with oakleaves. On 27 May 1819 he was appointed temporary commandant of Torgau fortress; this was confirmed on 27 July 1820, when he was also made GOC, 6. Division. He retired on 27 September 1821 as GL with a pension of Thlr 1,200 p.a. On 22 July 1847 he was awarded the star to his RAO II. He died on 24 July 1849.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: December 2010


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