Duke Charles of Mecklenburg

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Duke Charles of Mecklenburg
Karl zu Mecklenburg.jpg
Born(1785-11-30)30 November 1785
Died 21 September 1837(1837-09-21) (aged 51)
Allegiance Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Kingdom of Prussia
Service/branch Prussian Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Battles/wars Napoleonic Wars
Awards Order of the Black Eagle
Iron Cross (1st class)
Other work President of the Prussian State Council

Duke Charles of Mecklenburg (German : Herzog Carl zu Mecklenburg) (30 November 1785 – 21 September 1837) was a member of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and a Prussian soldier who served in the Napoleonic Wars. From 1827 until his death he was President of the Prussian State Council.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).


Early life and entry into the army

Duke Charles Frederick Augustus of Mecklenburg was born in Hanover where his father Duke Charles of Mecklenburg was the governor. His mother was Princess Charlotte of Hesse-Darmstadt, his fathers second wife who died shortly after his birth on 12 December. [1] On 2 June 1794 his father succeeded Adolf Friedrich IV as the reigning Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Hanover Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Hanover or Hannover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city of Germany, as well as the third-largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, and Bremen.

Charles II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Charles II was ruler of the state of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from 1794 until his death. Originally ruling as duke, he was raised to the rank of grand duke in 1815. Prior to succeeding to the throne he served as Governor of Hanover from 1776 to 1786.

Princess Charlotte of Hesse-Darmstadt German noble

Charlotte Wilhelmine Christiane Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt, was by marriage Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Duke Charles entered into the Prussian service at a young age. By the age of 19 he held a commission as a Captain and by 1806 he had been promoted to the rank Major. He fought for his brother in law King Frederick William III of Prussia during the War of the Fourth Coalition accompanying the king in his flight following the Prussian defeat in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. For his services in the Saale campaign Duke Charles was awarded the Order of the Black Eagle. [2]

Major is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world.

Frederick William III of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic Wars and the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege. Following Napoleon's defeat he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna, which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe. He was determined to unify the Protestant churches, to homogenize their liturgy, their organization and even their architecture. The long-term goal was to have fully centralized royal control of all the Protestant churches in the Prussian Union of Churches.

War of the Fourth Coalition part of the Napoleonic Wars

The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain. Several members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony.


A statue of Duke Charles in Neustrelitz Neustrelitz-karl1.jpg
A statue of Duke Charles in Neustrelitz

By 1813 he had been promoted to the rank Major General and was in command of brigade attached to the force of General Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg. Duke Charles led his brigade at the Battle of Katzbach. During this campaign while commanding a small column he managed to hold off an attack by French forces who had superior numbers for a whole day before being ordered to withdraw during the night. Shortly after this engagement Duke Charles was instructed by Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher to keep open the communication with the forces of Louis Alexandre Andrault de Langeron and Fabian Gottlieb von Osten-Sacken. Shortly after setting out with his brigade he was attacked by three French columns. Although vastly outnumbered he managed to hold his ground until he seized an opportunity and placing himself at the head of one of his battalions he managed to drive the French back. For this achievement he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. [2]

Brigade Military formation size designation, typically of 3-6 battalions

A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of three to six battalions plus supporting elements. It is roughly equivalent to an enlarged or reinforced regiment. Two or more brigades may constitute a division.

Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg Prussian Field Marshal

Johann David Ludwig Graf Yorck von Wartenburg was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall instrumental in the switching of the Kingdom of Prussia from a French alliance to a Russian alliance during the War of the Sixth Coalition. Ludwig van Beethoven's "Yorckscher Marsch" is named in his honor.

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher Prussian field marshal

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt, Graf (count), later elevated to Fürst von Wahlstatt, was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall. He earned his greatest recognition after leading his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The next action he saw was when the Prussian army crossed the Elbe at Wartenburg on 13 October. Given orders to outflank the right wing of the French, Duke Charles took his brigade across the Elbe and attacked the village of Bleddin and succeeded in driving the French out, taking nine of their cannons and a number of prisoners. On 16 October he fought with distinction at the Battle of Möckern. Leading his brigade in a bayonet charge against the French batteries and columns he succeeded in forcing the section of the line they attacked back but at the cost of his whole brigade almost being taken out with Duke Charles and the other officers all being wounded in the charge. [2]

Elbe major river in Central Europe

The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia, then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km (68 mi) northwest of Hamburg. Its total length is 1,094 kilometres (680 mi).

Wartenburg (Kemberg) Stadtteil of Kemberg in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Wartenburg is a village and a former municipality in Wittenberg district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 January 2010, it is part of the town Kemberg.

Later that year Duke Charles was appointed to command the 1st of the Line the oldest regiment of foot in the service. [2]

Later years

In 1815 Duke Charles was appointed a Lieutenant General and Commandant of the Royal Guards and Grenadiers. He was later appointed President of the Prussian State Council in 1827. [2] [3]

Duke Charles never married and died in Berlin at the age of 51. [1]

Titles and styles


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  1. 1 2 Huberty, Michel; Alain Giraud; F. et B. Magdelaine. L'Allemagne Dynastique, Tome VI : Bade-Mecklembourg. pp. 211, 218. ISBN   978-2-901138-06-8.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 The United Service Magazine. H. Colburn. 1837. pp. 529, 530.
  3. Laven, David; Riall, Lucy (2000). Napoleon's Legacy. Berg Publishers. p. 207. ISBN   1-85973-249-6.