Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Friedrich August Karl, Prinz von

By: Digby Smith

Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Friedrich August Karl, Prinz von (1271)

Major General, Commander, 2nd Brigade, I Corps in 1813.

Born on 30 November 1785 in Hanover to Karl II, Herzog von Mecklenburg-Strelitz and step-brother to Queen Louise of Prussia; died on 21 September 1837 in Berlin. He entered Prussian military service on 1 January 1799 as Stkapt on the army staff; in 1801 he was sent to the War College and on 27 March 1804, he was appointed Stkapt `a la suite', in the 1st Bn Garde (IR Nr 15) with seniority from 1 January 1799.  On 5 October 1805 he was promoted to Maj and – for unknown reasons - awarded the Russian OStG III. In 1806 he fought at Auerstädt and was captured at the capitulation of Prenzlau on 28 October. On 12 November 1808, he was given command of the 1st Bn Garde; on 8 February 1809 he was promoted to Obst Lt. On 20 July 1810, he was awarded the HOSA Ch. On 2 August 1812, he was promoted to Obst and awarded the Russian OStAw. On  28 March 1813, he was appointed to command the 2nd Bde, in von Yorck`s I Corps. When he joined the Corps, von Yorck gave him a chilly reception as he thought that his performance  in the war of 1806 had been mediocre; the prince`s actions in the field however soon dispelled this false impression. He fought at Gross-Görschen (where he won the EK II); Bautzen, Colditz, Haynau (on 26 Jun he was promoted to GM), Goldberg, Graditz, Löwenberg, the Katzbach (where he won the EK I) and Wartenburg (won the PLM with oakleaves). Yorck wrote in his report of this decisive action : `I had tasked Prinz Karl von Mecklenburg with the capture of the village of Bleddin and then to take in rear the enemy`s almost - impregnable position at Wartenburg. The Prinz carried out this operation with the decisiveness and energy of an exceptional officer which, combined with the bravery of our troops, brought us a complete victory.` Prinz Friedrich was badly wounded at Möckern on 16 October, where he had two horses shot from under him. His initial assault was successful but he was then beaten back. His leading battalion, 1.Bn, 1. East Prussian IR Nr 1, had such heavy losses from intense fire from front and flank, that the remnants fell away to the right and joined up with the Avantgarde of I Corps in the fight for Möckern village itself. The battalions behind them however, charged ahead with the bayonet, overthrew the enemy infantry and stormed an artillery battery. New French battalions came up and halted their progress. It was at this point that Prinz Karl came forward, took post at their head and led them forward again. He was awarded the Austrian MTO Ch. On 21 October, he was appointed Chef of IR Nr 1, and on 8 December 1813, he was promoted to GL. In 1814, he was awarded the Hanoverian Guelfen Order and the Hessen-Darmstadt Verdienst - Orden GC. On 20 September 1814, he was appointed GOC of the Garde Brigade. On 6 November 1816, he succeeded to the throne of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and on 2 December 1816, he was appointed GOC of the Garde and Grenadier Corps. In 1817 he became a member of the Prussian Council of State. In 1818, he was awarded the Russian OAN. On 18 June 1825, he was promoted to GoI, and on 29 November 1827, was awarded the HOSA with diamonds. On 9 December 1827, he was appointed President of the Prussian Council of State.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: July 2011


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