Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Neumann, David von

By: Digby Smith

Neumann, David von (1127)  

Born on 29 August 1734 in Königsberg; his father, David, was a merchant. On 7 May 1753 he graduated from Königsberg university and, four years later, entered the Prussian army at the start of the Seven Years` War, fighting at the battle of Freiberg and the clash on the Mulde River. On 1 December 1760, he was appointed Sklt in the 2. Kroatenbataillon von Kleist, a Freikorps with a light infantry role. On 4 March 1763, he  transferred to the IR von Lestwitz. In June and July 1764 he was sent to survey the area around Glatz in Silesia and in August and September he surveyed the areas around the fortresses of Schweidnitz and Jauernick. His survey work went on until 1769. In the War of the Bavarian Succession (1778/9) he was ADC to his regimental chef and fought at Zuckmantel. On 9 June 1779, he was ennobled, and on 9 September 1781, was promoted to Stkpt in the IR Alt-Rothkirchen Nr 32. On 9 December 1792, he was promoted to Maj. In the war against France (1792 – 1795) he served at the battle of Kaiserslautern, the blockade of Landau and the clashes of Hochheim, Saarbrücken (where he was wounded) and Bouvines. On 27 March 1793, he was appointed GQM (chief of staff) in von Knobelsdorff`s staff. On 3 August 1793, he was awarded the PLM for his actions in the clash at Saingain. On 21 January 1794, he was seconded to the headquarters of the Electoral troops of Trier at Koblenz to advise on the organization of the tiny army and to prepare the defence of Koblenz against the French. He then did the same for the Electorate of Köln. On 12 September 1797, he was appointed to command IR von Courbiere Nr 58, and on 26 May 1801, he was promoted to Obstlt. On 11 September 1802, due to his failing health, the king made him commandant of Cosel fortress with salary of Thlr 1,200 and allowances of Thlr 500. On 24 August 1804, he was promoted to Obst. He conducted the defence of Cosel from its investment by General Deroy and 5,000 Bavarian troops on 23 January 1807 until his death on 16 April; he had been promoted GM on 11 April. The bombardment began on 4 February, but von Neumann held firm despite the efforts of many of the inhabitants to convince him to surrender. He was buried in a bastion of the fort On 31 March 1807 his son managed to slip through enemy lines to take a report on the state of the defence to the king in Königsberg. After von Neumann`s death , Obst von Puttkammer took over command and held the fort until 2 July 1807 when the Bavarians lifted the siege.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: July 2011


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