Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Lucadou, Ludwig Moritz von

By: Digby Smith

Lucadou, Ludwig Moritz von (1132)

Born on 23 March 1741 in Geneva; his father, Benoit, was a colonel in Sardinian service. In 1756 Ludwig entered Sardinian military service; in 1760 he transferred to Prussian service as Frch in the Gren Bn von Unruh Nr 2. Lucadou never fully mastered the German language. In the Seven Years` War he fought at Reichenbach and Ratibor, where he was wounded. On 14 November 1761, he was promoted to Sklt; on 1 April 1763, he transferred to IR von Stutterheim Nr 20, where, on 5 March 1767, he was promoted to Prlt. He served in the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778/9 and was very distinguished in the clash at Kloster Posig where he came to the attention of Fredrick the Great. His successor, Friedrich Wilhelm II, also valued his services. On 2 August 1781, he was promoted to Stkpt and on 15 January 1784, to Kpt and Kiech. On 7 June 1791, he was promoted Maj in the IR Prinz von Baden Nr 20. On 4 March 1793, during the war with France, he was ordered to attend upon the king in Frankfurt/Main and on 19 March, he was appointed commandant of Frankfurt with an allowance of Thlr 40 per month, 4 rations of fodder and 2 `Portionen` (rations). On 1 August 1793, he was appointed commandant of Mainz fortress. On 16 January 1794, he assumed the duties of governor of Mainz city as well. On 21 March 1794,  when Prussian troops left Mainz, he reverted to being commandant of Frankfurt.

On 5 February 1795, he was given command of Gren Bn 5/20. On 4 June 1799, he was promoted to Obstlt and on 3 June 1801, to Obst; his health was now poor so the king offered him the post of deputy commandant of Colberg, but Lucadou initially refused as the place was too remote. On 21 March 1803, the king insisted and made him first commandant of Colberg fortress.He conducted the successful defence of Colberg in 1806/7 even though he found little in common with the Pomeranian citizens of the place. His actions have been belittled in the memoirs of Nettlebeck and this version of events was taken up by the playwrite Paul Heyse in his `Kolberg 1807`. General Roth corrected this version of his actions as did Superintendant Mass, both of whom served in the siege with him. Several of the diaries of members of Schill`s corps also exonerate him. On 8 November 1806, the French emissary who demanded that Lucadou capitulate received short shrift. On this day, Major Graf von Götzen arrived in the fortress to assess the situation; he carried secret orders from the king to take over command of the place if he had any doubts as to Lucadou`s reliability. In his subsequent report to the king he wrote:

`Ich halte Mich versichert, dass man in Colberg nicht dem schändlichen Beispiel Stettins und Küstrins folgen wird.` ( I am convinced that Colberg will not follow the shameful examples of Stettin and Küstrin.`). Friedrich Wilhelm III wrote to Lucadou;`Die in Eurem Berichte vom 12. Dieses erhaltene Versicherung, die Feste Kolberg unter keiner Bedingung zu übergeben, sondern bis auf den letzten Mann zu verteidigen, entspricht der Erwartung völlig, die Ich von Eurer Treue und Rechtschaffenheit schon immer gehabt habe. Mit Bestimmtheit rechne Ich ferner darauf und freut es Mich sehr, dass Ihr dabei durch die gute Stimmung der dortigen Bürgerschaft unterstützt werdet, weshalb Ich auch derselben Meine besondere Zufriedenheit zu erkennen gegeben habe. Űbrigens bin Ich mit Eueren Anordnungen, die Ihr Mir in Euerem vorgedachten Berichte gemeldet habt, völlig zufrieden. Gruadenz, 15 November 1806.` (`The assurance, received in your report of the 12th inst. that the fortress of Colberg will, under no circumstances be surrendered, but will be defended to the last man, complies with the expectations, that I have always had, of your loyalty and sense of justice. `I fully expect that these will be maintained, and I am very pleased, that you have by these virtues, motivated the citizenry to support you. `For this, I express my special satisfaction. `I am also completely satisfied with your measures mentioned in the aforesaid report. Graudenz, 15 November 1806.`)

In four months, von Lucadou increased the garrison from 1,500 men to 5,700 and organized the resupply and armament of the place. At Lucadou`s suggestion, the king nominated Stabskapitän von Waldenfels to be deputy commandant and promoted to Kapitän. Lucadou clothed the new recruits in cloth paid for in promissary notes and imported from Danzig. He also demanded six 12-pounder guns and GL von Manstein delivered them. Gneisenau was also impressed with von Lucadou`s work when he took over the fortress on 29 April 1807. It is true however, that his defence was too passive in view of the small French besieging force of 14,000 men, and he can be criticised for abandoning the outposts at Sellnow, Altstadt and the Hohnberg redoubt. It seems that von Lucadou was too old to accept the new concept of aggressive defence, but he did mount some sorties such as those against Wollin between 5 – 10 January 1807. After being replaced as commandant he stayed in Colberg even though he could have left by sea at any time. He retired on full pay on 10 April 1807, and on 9 May 1807 was promoted to GM. On 30 January 1808, hus pension was set at Thlr 1,000 p.a. Initially only half could be paid. Von Lucadou died on 21 June 1812 in Köslin, Pomerania.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2011

 

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