Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Boguslawski, Karl Anton Andreas von

By: Digby Smith

Boguslawski, Karl Anton Andreas von. (1191). Born on 19 November 1758 in Muschlitz, Kreis Gross-Wartenburg, probably now Gmina Sykow in Poland. His father, Johann Georg, was a landowner in Poland who died on 3 September 1767. The young Boguslawski- and his elder brother, Heinrich Georg, thus went into the military orphanage in Potsdam. Both entered Prussian military service, Karl Anton on 20 March 1772 as a cadet in Berlin. His elder brother died on 1 May 1802 in Goldap as Kpt and Kiech, in the IR von Courbiere Nr 58. On 24 March 1776, Karl Anton was appointed Gfkpl, in the IR von Wunsch Nr 12. He fought in the war of the Bavarian Succession in 1778/9, initially in the clash at Brix, and did very well. On 2 July 1779, he was commissioned as Frch, and on 31 May 1783, was promoted to Sklt. He read much of the successes of light troops in the War of American Independence and became convinced of their value for the war in Europe. On 9 April 1786, he was appointed ADC to General von Wunsch, and on 21 November 1789, made ADC to Prinz von Hohenlohe in Breslau. On 22 December 1790, he was promoted to Kpt. He fought with repeated distinction in the war against France from 1792 – 1795 and was often mentioned in dispatches. He fought at Valmy, the clashes at Hochheim, Bingen, Limbach, Nussweiler, Guntersblum, Kirrweiler, Edenheim and at the capture of Verdun. He also took part in the raid on Bitsch fortress in Lorraine. On 7 January 1793, he was awarded the PLM for his actions at Hochheim. He educated himself in mathematics and geometry and kept a diary during the war against France, describing how the Prussian troops were tactically superior to the French. On Valmy he wrote:`Das Unterlassen des Angriffes wird damit begrundet, dass die feindliche linke Flanke durch Ravins, die Yevre und die Stadt St-Menehoud so gut gesichert war, dass ein Angriff auf dieselbe, wo nicht unmöglich, so doch höchst bedenklich sein müsste` (The abandonment of the attack was justified by the fact that the enemy left flank was so well protected by ravines, the Yevre and the town of St-Menehoud, that any assault on it was extremely hazardous if not impossible). Boguslawski was most depressed about the failure of the Prussian high command in this campaign. During the subsequent retreat he wrote:` Die Armee war am 25.,26. Und 28. Ohne Brot`(On 25th, 26th and 28th the army had no bread). On 5 August 1794, he was promoted to Maj and Kiech, in the Niederschlesische Füsilier Brigade. On 18 February 1800, he was transferred to the Oberschlesische Füsilier Brigade. On 10 June 1800 – he was appointed Chef of FüsBn von Putlitz Nr 22. By 1794 he had become recognized as an authority on the use of light troops and by 1803 his battalion was seen as a model for all fusiliers in the army. On 5 June 1804, he was promoted to Obstlt. In the mobilisation exercises of 1805 he demonstrated his tactics to the Elector of Saxony at a review in Dresden. On 5 June 1806, he was promoted to Obst. He and his troops fought well at Jena but were crushed by superior forces; he was captured and held in France until 1808. On 23 November 1808, he was appointed commandant of Neisse fortress. On 10 May 1809, he was called to join the king`s staff in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) and on 10 January 1810, was appointed a member of the General-Ordenskommission (General Commission on Decorations). On 6 August 1810, he was also appointed director of the Kreigsschule (War School) in Berlin. On 11 April 1812, he was also appointed chairman of the Examinations-Kommission (Examination Commission). Boguslawski has sometimes been portrayed as an opponent of Scharnhorst`s reforms but this is not true; he agreed with them in principle but differed on points of the method and timing of their introduction. On 20 January 1813, he retired with a pension of Thlr 1,000 p.a. but on 5 May of that year, he was reactivated as CO, 4. Kurmärk LWIR; he fought at Hagelsberg, for which he was awarded the Russian Order of Stanislaw II and at Lübnitz (awarded EK II on 24 September 1813). On 4 October 1813, he was promoted to GM, and on 28 November 1813, was appointed GOC of a LW brigade under General von Putlitz. Due to his Polish ancestry, it was thought best that he have as little contact with the Russians as possible in his Prussian uniform. On 8 September 1814, he was appointed director of the Allgemeine Kriegsschule in Berlin. On 13 June 1815, he was appointed temporary commandant of Berlin on a salary of Thlr 2,500 p.a. and on 9 November 1816, was awarded a rise of Thlr 500. He died on 21 September 1817 in Berlin.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: March 2010


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