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The Napoleon Series > Biographies > Biographies

Foot Artillery Officers of the Netherlands Serving from 1813 to 1815: Kaempfer, Nicolaas Lodewijk

By Geert van Uythoven

Kaempfer was born in Nassau Dietz (present day Germany) on 16 April 1773. On 16 September 1790 he joined the Dutch artillery as a cadet. He became a cadet bombardier on 4 April 1792. He was promoted 2nd lieutenant on 22 February 1793. Refusing to transfer to the Batavian army, on 22 December 1799 he joined the Dutch Brigade as a lieutenant. After the disbandment of this brigade, he received a British allowance. In 1814 he enlisted in the Netherlands army.

Kaempfer became a captain in the Netherlands army on 22 January 1814. He received command of the ‘northern’ 3rd company of the 2nd Line artillery battalion. In garrison in Gorinchem, the company ‘Kaempfer’ was ordered to ‘s Hertogenbosch to make mobile a 6-pdr battery. From here, it left on 13 April for Louvain, arriving there on the 17th with a strength of 5 officers and 120 others, the horse teams formed with 186 requisitioned horses. This battery was assigned to the artillery reserve. On 12 June Kaempfer had only half of the necessary horses present: on 12 June 1815 the battery had a strength of 4 officers, 110 others, and 3 horses. The train detachment had a strength of 2 officers, and 74 others, and 115 horses. Useless because of this lack of horses, during the retreat on the 17th, Kaempfer was ordered to retreat to Brussels to the main reserve park. Due to a misunderstanding of orders however he retreated to Louvain (Leuven). Therefore, Kaempfer was not present during the battle of Waterloo on the 18th. When on 30 June the Foot artillery battery ‘Stevenart’ was disbanded, the remaining horses were sent to Kaempher to enable his battery finally to take the field, assigned to the 2nd Division. During the advance on Paris Kaempfer’s battery took part in the siege of Valenciennes (29 June – 20 July), and arrived with the De Perponcher’s 2de Nederlandsche Divisie before Paris on 19 July. After the Waterloo campaign the battery marched back to the Netherlands, being garrisoned in Delft.

In 1830, Kaempfer was with the 3de Bataljon Artillerie Nationale Militie.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: December 2013