Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: L`Estocq, Anton Wilhelm von

By: Digby Smith

L`Estocq, Anton Wilhelm von (52/972)

Born on 16 August 1738 in Celle, north of Hanover; his father was Ludwig August, a retired captain in Hanoverian service whose last post had been CO of the Garrison IR von Reck Nr 8. L`Estocq came from an old French family from Picardy and Champagne. After the passing of the Edict of Nantes they emigrated to England, Scotland and then Hanover. His mother died shortly after his birth and his father was mortally wounded at the battle of Habelschwert (14 February 1745, in the second Silesian war); L`Estocq was now an orphan. He was raised by an uncle who was in Prussian service as a member of the Kriegsrat (War Council) and Kanzler (Chancellor) of the Akademie of Königsberg. When the Russians occupied the city at the start of the Seven Years War, the Russian General Fermor, a relative of L`Estocq`s, tried to induce him to join the Russian army but L`Estocq fled and volunteered for the Prussian Gens d`Armes at the end of 1757.

He then transferred to the HusR von Zieten Nr 2 where he became General von Zieten`s ADC and learned the art of war. He served in the Seven Years War at the battles of Zorndorf, Kunersdorf, Liegnitz and Torgau, the clash at Langensalza and the siege of Olmütz. In 1758, he was promoted to NCO in the HusR von Zieten Nr 2 and on 20 December 1758, tp Kornett. On 23 December 1760, he was promoted to Sklt. On 26 March 1761, L`Estocq was awarded the PLM for his action at Langensalza on 15 February 1761, in the Seven Years` War. On 6 May 1768, he was promoted to Prlt; on 24 February 1771 to Strtmstr. He fought in the war with Austria in 1778 – 1779 and on 23 September 1780, was promoted to Rtmstr and Esch. On 2 May 1783, he was promoted to Maj and on 26 September 1790, to Obstlt. On 29 July 1792, he received a gift of 100 Friedrichsdor from the king. On 14 January 1793, he was promoted to Obst and appointed to command the 2nd Bn Hus R von Eben Nr 2. L`Estocq fought in the war against France in 1793 – 1794, at the battle of Kaiserslautern, the clashes of Morsbrunn and Trippstadt and the defence of Kirchheim-Bolanden.

On 14 May 1796 the king made him Chef of the HusR von Czettritz Nr 1, but as this regiment was in Silesia and L`Estocq was in Westfalia, he did not actually assume this post. At the same time, he was appointed Amtsmann (steward) of Preussisch-Holland estate in Brandenburg. On 5 June 1798, he was promoted to GM and on 6 June 1802 he took possession of the bishopric of Paderborn for Prussia.

On 30 April 1803, he was transferred to Neu-Ostpreussen and appointed Chef of HusR Nr 9 (the Towarczys) and IG of the Regiment Towarczys and the Bataillon Towarczys (HusR Nr 12). Following the death of General von Günther he also became GOC of all troops in Neu-Ostpreussen (part of the old Kingdom of Poland). On 20 May 1806, he was promoted GL with  commission dated 27 May 1805.

On Friedrich Wilhelm III`s orders, he placed himself and all his troops under the Russian General Bennigsen`s command, late in 1806. Prussian General von Plötz (GOC of Warsaw garrison) was placed under L`Estocq`s command even though he was the senior officer. On 14 January 1807 Scharnhorst was attached to L`Estocq`s staff, but relations between them were already bad. L`Estocq was very distinguished in the battle of Preussisch-Eylau and was rewarded with the OStG III.

In the last weeks of the war. L`Estocq was utterly exhausted (he was almost 70 years old) and was not in proper command of his corps.

 On 17 May 1807, he was awarded the HOSA Ch. On 26 July 1807, the Towarczys were retitled `Ulanen` (lancers). On 1 August 1807 - appointed Domprobst (Provost of the cathedral) in Brandenburg. On 8 November 1807, he was appointed Chef of UlanenR Nr 1 and on 20 November 1807, he was appointed to be a member of the Immediatkommission zur Untersuchung der Kapitulationen und sonstigen Ereignissen des Letzten Krieges. On 12 November 1808, he was appointed governor of Berlin. On 19 December 1808, he was appointed Chef of both Ulanen Regimentss. On 11 December 1809, L`Estocq was  dismissed from the army, at Napoleon`s insistence, due to Schill`s raid through north Germany. In June 1810, he was reinstated as Chef, UlanenR Nr 1. He retired on 24 March 1812, as GdK. On 5 March 1813, he was appointed governor of all territory between the Oder and the Elbe. On 18 July 1814 he was appointed governor of Breslau (now Wroclaw, Silesia, Poland). In 1814 he was presented the EK on a white ribbon. He retired on 13 August 1814 and died on 5 January 1815 in Berlin.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2011


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