Maximilian, Count von Merveldt
Maximilian Friedrich, Count von Merveldt
|Born||29 June 1764|
|Died||5 July 1815 51) (aged|
London, United Kingdom
|Years of service||1782–1814|
|Rank||General of Cavalry|
|Battles/wars|| Austro-Turkish War (1787–1791) |
French Revolutionary Wars
|Awards||Knight's Cross, Military Order of Maria Theresa |
Order of Leopold
|Other work||Novice, Teutonic Order, 1790–1808.|
Ambassador, Second Congress of Rastatt
Ambassador, St. Petersburg
Envoy Extraordinaire, Court of St. James's
Maximilian, Count von Merveldt (29 June 1764 – 5 July 1815), among the most famous of an illustrious old Westphalian family, entered Habsburg military service, rose to the rank of General of Cavalry, served as Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor's ambassador to Russia, and became special envoy extraordinaire to the Court of St. James's (Great Britain). He fought with distinction in the wars between the Habsburg and the Ottoman empires, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars.
Francis II was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire after the decisive defeat at the hands of the First French Empire led by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1804, he had founded the Austrian Empire and became Francis I, the first Emperor of Austria, ruling from 1804 to 1835, so later he was named the first Doppelkaiser in history. For the two years between 1804 and 1806, Francis used the title and style by the Grace of God elected Roman Emperor, ever Augustus, hereditary Emperor of Austria and he was called the Emperor of both the Holy Roman Empire and Austria. He was also Apostolic King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia as Francis I. He also served as the first president of the German Confederation following its establishment in 1815.
Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is, by a considerable margin, the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.
Maximilian entered the military as a young man, and acquired his first combat experiences the Habsburg wars with the Ottoman Empire. Following his experience in the Balkans, he retreated to the cloister at Bonn, where he spent a year as a novice in the Teutonic Order. At the outbreak of war between the Habsburg Monarchy and France in 1792, he returned to military service, and proved an intrepid and enterprising cavalry field officer. His role in the Habsburg victory at Neerwinden in 1793 earned him the honor of conveying the news to the Emperor in Vienna.
The Battle of Neerwinden saw a Republican French army led by Charles François Dumouriez attack a Coalition army commanded by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. The Coalition army of the Habsburg Monarchy together with a small contingent of allied Dutch Republic troops repulsed all French assaults after bitter fighting and Dumouriez conceded defeat, withdrawing from the field. The French position in the Austrian Netherlands swiftly collapsed, ending the threat to the Dutch Republic and allowing Austria to regain control of her lost province. The War of the First Coalition engagement was fought at Neerwinden, located 57 kilometres (35 mi) east of Brussels in present-day Belgium.
In the War of the Second Coalition, Maximilian served in Swabia and northern Italy and Switzerland. In subsequent wars between France and the Habsburg Monarchy, his role on the battlefield often meant the difference between defeat and victory. He was wounded and captured at the Battle of Leipzig and, as a condition of release, he agreed not to bear arms against France again. He was subsequently appointed as an envoy to Britain, where he died in 1815.
The War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) was the second war on revolutionary France by the European monarchies, led by Britain, Austria and Russia, and including the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, various German monarchies and Sweden. Their goal was to contain the expansion of the French Republic and to restore the monarchy in France. They failed to overthrow the revolutionary regime and French territorial gains since 1793 were confirmed. In the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801, France held all of its previous gains and obtained new lands in Tuscany, Italy, while Austria was granted Venetia and the Dalmatian coast. Britain and France signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, bringing an interval of peace in Europe that lasted for 14 months. By May 1803 Britain and France were again at war and in 1805 Britain assembled the Third Coalition to resume the war against France.
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany. The name is ultimately derived from the medieval Duchy of Swabia, one of the German stem duchies, representing the territory of Alemannia, whose inhabitants interchangeably were called Alemanni or Suebi.
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813, at Leipzig, Saxony. The coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sweden, led by Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, decisively defeated the French army of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops, as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine. The battle was the culmination of the German campaign of 1813 and involved 600,000 soldiers, 2,200 artillery pieces, the expenditure of 200,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and 127,000 casualties, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.
Maximilian was born on 29 June 1764 in the ecclesiastical territory of Münster, in Westphalia. His was an old Westphalian family, raised to comital status in 1726. He joined the military service in 1782, in a dragoon regiment, and was promoted to lieutenant and first lieutenant by 1787. In the wars between Austria and the Ottoman Empire, (1787–1791), he was a Rittmeister , or captain of cavalry and wing adjutant to Field Marshal Franz Moritz, Count von Lacy. In 1790, Merveldt commanded the Volunteers Grün-Loudon and later that year, after his promotion to major, he served on the staff of Field Marshal Ernst Gideon, Baron von Laudon in Moravia.
Westphalia is a region in northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of 20,208 km2 (7,802 sq mi) and 7.9 million inhabitants.
A lieutenant is the junior most commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police, and other organizations of many nations.
First lieutenant is a commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces and, in some forces, an appointment.
Following the defeat of the insurrection in the Austrian Netherlands, he received permission from Field Marshal Laudon, shortly before the latter's death, to take a one year novitiate in the Teutonic Order, at Bonn where he remained until April 1792. March 1793), during which his battalions repulsed a strong French column. For his role at the head of his battalions of grenadiers, which his commander considered greater than duty required, in this victory, Merveldt received the honor of carrying the message to the Emperor Francis in Vienna. There, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa on 7 July 1794. Subsequently, he was appointed as an attaché to the staff of Frederick, Duke of York.The outbreak of the War of the First Coalition against France required his military talents and Mervelt rejoined the Habsburg army at as adjutant to Josias, Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. He led two infantry battalions in the Habsburg victory at Neerwinden (18
The Austrian Netherlands was the larger part of the Southern Netherlands between 1714 and 1797. The period began with the Austrian acquisition of the former Spanish Netherlands under the Treaty of Rastatt in 1714 and lasted until Revolutionary France annexed the territory during the aftermath of the Battle of Sprimont in 1794 and the Peace of Basel in 1795. Austria, however, did not relinquish its claim over the province until 1797 in the Treaty of Campo Formio.
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, commonly the Teutonic Order, is a Catholic religious order founded as a military order c. 1192 in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem.
The Federal City of Bonn is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with a population of over 300,000. About 24 km (15 mi) south-southeast of Cologne, Bonn is in the southernmost part of the Rhine-Ruhr region, Germany's largest metropolitan area, with over 11 million inhabitants. It is famously known as the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven in 1770. Beethoven spent his childhood and teenage years in Bonn.
In the 1794 campaign, Merveldt fought at the Battle of Famars and again at the Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies, 15 kilometres (9 mi) south of Landrecies on 22 April, during which he commanded the right wing. After the Battle of Tournai (22 May 1794), he was promoted on the field to Oberst (colonel). His failing health prevented him from continued field service and he took sick leave until early 1796. In 1796 he transferred to the 18th Chevau-légers Regiment Karaczay and fought at the Battle of Kircheib, in the Westerwald, where, despite the French superiority of numbers, the Habsburgs eked out a victory. At Kircheib, with two squadrons of Chevaux-legers, Merveldt saved the Austrian artillery from French capture, thus contributing to the Hahsburg victory. The Tagebericht (daily dispatch) of the Army of the Rhine referred to his keen sense of duty, and his ability to seize the moment, which, in this case, proved a vital element in the extraordinary success of the small Habsburg force against the considerably larger French one. Afterward he was promoted to major general. He was assigned as proprietor of the First Lancer's Regiment, and given command of a cavalry brigade in Franz von Werneck's Reserve of the Army of the Lower Rhine.
The Battle of Famars was fought on 23 May 1793 during the Flanders Campaign of the War of the First Coalition. An Allied Austrian, Hanoverian, and British army under Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld defeated the French Army of the North led by François Joseph Drouot de Lamarche. The action occurred near the village of Famars in northern France, five km south of Valenciennes.
In the Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies, fought on 24 April 1794, a small Anglo-Austrian cavalry force routed a vastly more numerous French division during the Flanders Campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars. Villers-en-Cauchies is 15 km south of Valenciennes.
Landrecies is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.
Merveldt was known to his contemporaries for his strength of will, presence of mind, and his self-control. Those same qualities made him attractive to his military superiors as part of the negotiation party in the cease-fire preliminaries at Leoben in 1797. He opposed Napoleon's desire to move a general peace congress closer to Vienna, and later was a co-signator of the Peace of Campo Formio on 17 November 1797. He brought the document to Rastatt, where the Rastatt Peace Congress convened. He stayed in Rastatt in the capacity of ambassador.
At the outbreak of the War of the Second Coalition in March 1799, and the dissolution of Congress on 7 April 1799, Merveldt returned to his regiment, which by this time had crossed the Lech and Iller rivers, and was advancing into Swabia. During the campaigns of 1800, he commanded the left wing by Eckartsweiler at the Battle of Alt-Breisach on 25 April, and on 10 May conducted a rear-guard action to protect the Imperial army's withdrawal. He remained with his brigade on the right bank of the Danube, where he directed a series of bold actions against the French, and then along the Iller and Lech rivers, he organized a series of well-timed thrusts designed to keep the French from pushing the retreating army. After the battle at Offenburg, he was promoted to lieutenant field marshal on 4 September 1800. At the Habsburg defeat in the Battle of Hohenlinden on 3 December, Merveldt commanded a division in the left wing. He signed the 24-hour cease-fire at Kremsmünster with Jean Victor Moreau on 22 December. During the cease-fire, he retreated to Pressburg.
In 1805 he was in Berlin when the hostilities between France and Austria resumed, and he returned to the Danube valley, where he fought a series of rearguard actions. November. His exhausted troops were routed by General of Brigade Etienne Heudelet de Bierre's advanced guard of Davout's III Corps; half, about 2,000, were taken prisoner, and they lost four colors and 16 guns.He avoided being caught in the capitulation of Ulm and fell back toward Mikhail Kutuzov's Russian army. With 6,000 soldiers in six line and ten Grenz infantry battalions plus 14 squadrons of cavalry, Merveldt made for Styria, hoping to join the army of Archduke Charles. Napoleon detached Louis Davout's III Corps in pursuit. Slowed by heavy snow in the mountains, his "poorly-handled corps" was overtaken by the French at Gross-Ramig, also called Mariazell, in the Austrian Steiermark, on 8
After the War of the Third Coalition, he acted as ambassador to St. Petersburg for over two years, with the assignment of improving military relations between the armies of the respective countries.He attempted to do this, including trying an offer to mediate between Britain and France, and was appointed Privy Councilor. During this time, he married Maria Theresia Gräfin von Dietrichstein.
In 1808 he was given command of a cavalry division in Lemberg.In early 1809, Merveldt became a prominent member of the group pushing for war against France, together with such notables as Archduke Ferdinand, Archduke John, Empress Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este, and Count Heinrich von Bellegarde. In the 1809 campaign, Merveldt's force was stationed in the Bukowina and part of Galicia, and from 1809 to mid-1813, he spent three years in Moravia.
On 22 July 1813 he was appointed governor of the fortress of Theresienstadt and shortly after that Commanding General in Moravia and Silesia. He then became commander of II Corps; the First Division held the village of Nollendorf, in the French defeat at the Battle of Kulm (now Chlumec) on 29–30 August 1813.
On 16 October, during the Battle of Leipzig, Merveldt's forces were arrayed on the right flank of the French center, commanded by Napoleon. On his own right stood Wittgenstein's Corps, and beyond that, Johann von Klenau's. His troops were interspersed among several wooded sections and surrounding several small villages: Dölitz, Mark-Kleeburg and Gautsch. Opposite him were the forces of Józef Antoni Poniatowski and Pierre Augereau. He rode out to view the battlefield and to direct the disposition of his force. Near Dölitz, which lay close to the French line, he wandered into a troop of Hungarians, or so he thought, but they were actually a mixed group of Saxons and Poles, whom he mistook for Hungarians, and was captured. Most of the action, on the first day, occurred to the north, where Blücher's Prussians repelled Michel Ney's cavalry, but when Napoleon heard that Ney and Marmont had been forced back, he sought a cease-fire from the Allied monarchs. He called for Merveldt, and, after a meeting, Merveldt carried Napoleon's proposal to the allied monarchs, which they refused.
As a condition of his release at Leipzig, he agreed not to participate in combat against France. Subsequent to his release, Merveldt was appointed commanding general of Moravia, and lived in Brno, where he received in January 1814 the instructions to proceed to London as an envoy extraordinaire to the Court of St. James's, replacing Baron Wessembourg. He arrived in London in early March, and met the Prince Regent at Carlton House on 7 March 1814, where he ceremoniously presented his ambassadorial credentials. He was well-received in Britain, and became a notable personage, invited to many social events; he told good stories about the wars and the various people he had encountered, which made him popular in social circles. His comings and goings were widely reported in the society columns: For example, on 4 July 1814, he attended a lecture by the Abbé Secard, and was listed among the distinguished persons present. When he died in 1815, the British government proposed to bury him at Westminster Abbey. However, his widow took into account his last wishes and had the remains sent to Germany. He was buried in the crypt of the Michaelis chappel in Lembeck Castle where his grave still exists.
In 1903, in the Lößnig neighborhood of the city of Leipzig a square and a street were named after Maximilian von Merveldt, in honor of his contribution to the Battle of Leipzig. In 1950, the communist authorities of East Germany renamed Merveldt square to Rembrandt square and Merveldt street to Rembrand street.
Johann Philipp Carl Joseph, Graf von Stadion-Warthausen. Born in Mainz, he was a statesman, foreign minister, and diplomat who served the Habsburg empire during the Napoleonic Wars. He was also founder of Austria's central bank Oesterreichische Nationalbank. Johann Philip was Count of Stadion-Warthausen 1787–1806.
Count Heinrich von Bellegarde, Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia, of a noble Savoyard family, was born in Saxony, joined the Saxon army and later entered Habsburg military service, where he became a general officer during in the Habsburg border wars, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He became a Generalfeldmarschall and statesman.
Dagobert Sigismund, Count von Wurmser was an Austrian field marshal during the French Revolutionary Wars. Although he fought in the Seven Years' War, the War of the Bavarian Succession, and mounted several successful campaigns in the Rhineland in the initial years of the French Revolutionary Wars, he is probably most remembered for his unsuccessful operations against Napoleon Bonaparte during the 1796 campaign in Italy.
The Battle of Würzburg was fought on 3 September 1796 between an army of the Habsburg Monarchy led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and an army of the First French Republic led by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan. The French attacked the archduke's forces, but they were resisted until the arrival of reinforcements decided the engagement in favor of the Austrians. The French retreated west toward the Rhine River. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Würzburg is 95 kilometres (59 mi) southeast of Frankfurt.
Johann Mészáros von Szoboszló joined the Habsburg army in 1756 and fought the Prussians, Ottoman Turks, and French during a long military career. During the French Revolutionary Wars, he fought in several campaigns. He commanded a division in the 1796-1797 Italian campaign against the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian Uhlan regiment from 1792 to 1797 and a Hussar regiment from 1797 to 1801.
Johann von Klenau, also called Johann Josef Cajetan von Klenau und Janowitz, was a field marshal in the Habsburg army. Klenau, the son of a Bohemian noble, joined the Habsburg military as a teenager and fought in the War of Bavarian Succession against Prussia, Austria's wars with the Ottoman Empire, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars, in which he commanded a corps in several important battles.
Baron Franjo Jelačić Bužimski was a Croatian nobleman, a member of the House of Jelačić. He began his service in the Habsburg army as a Grenz infantry officer and fought against the Ottoman Turks. During the French Revolutionary Wars he received promotion to the rank of general officer and won an outstanding victory at Feldkirch. His later career proved that his martial abilities were limited. He twice led independent division-sized forces in the Napoleonic Wars, with unhappy results. He was Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian infantry regiment from 1802 until his death.
Friedrich William, Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Kirchberg was born in Kirchberg, Hohenlohe, on 2 December 1732. He was a member of an old comital and, subsequently, princely (Fürstlich) family of Hohenlohe, with extensive properties on the plateau south of the Main river, between the Imperial City of Schwäbisch Hall and the old Franconian city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
On 25 March 1799, French and Habsburg armies fought for control of the geographically strategic Hegau in present-day Baden-Württemberg. The battle has been called by various names: First Battle of Stockach, the Battle by Stockach, and, in French chronicles, the Battle of Liptingen.
Friedrich Joseph of Nauendorf, a general in Habsburg service during the French Revolutionary Wars, was noted for his intrepid and daring cavalry raids. Like most Austrian officers of the French Revolutionary Wars, he joined the military as a young man, and served in the War of Bavarian Succession. In the war's opening action, he successfully repelled a Prussian border raid, which earned him the admiration of the Empress Maria Theresa's son, Joseph. His continued success in the Habsburg border wars with the Ottoman Empire added to his reputation as a commander.
Johann Heinrich von Schmitt was an officer in the Army of the Holy Roman Empire. He was arguably one of the most successful chiefs of staff; he rose to the rank of Feldmarshalleutnant during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
Johann Sigismund Graf von Riesch joined the army of Habsburg Austria as a cavalry officer and, during his career, fought against the Kingdom of Prussia, Ottoman Turkey, Revolutionary France, and Napoleon's French Empire. He became a general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars and held important commands during the War of the Second Coalition. He displayed a talent for leading cavalry formations, but proved less capable when given corps-sized commands. During the 1805 Ulm Campaign in the Napoleonic Wars, the French badly defeated his corps and forced it to surrender soon afterward. From 1806 to his death in 1821, he was the Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian cavalry regiment.
Count Ignác Gyulay de Marosnémeti et Nádaska, Ignácz Gyulay, Ignaz Gyulai, or Ignjat Đulaj was a Hungarian military officer, joined the army of Habsburg Monarchy, fought against Ottoman Turkey, and became a general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars. From 1806 he held the title of Ban of Croatia. In the struggle against the First French Empire during Napoleonic Wars, he commanded army corps. At the time of his death, he presided over the Hofkriegsrat, the Austrian Council of War.
Friedrich Karl Wilhelm, Fürst (prince) zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen was a general in the military service of the House of Habsburg during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was born in Ingelfingen, in southwest Germany, on 16 February 1752.
Johann Gabriel Josef Albert, Marquess of Chasteler and Courcelles was a Walloon, born near Mons, Belgium. He entered the military service of Habsburg Austria at an early age and trained as an engineer at the Ingenieurakademie in Vienna. Serving as Chief of Staff to Spleny in the Turkish War from 1788, he won the Ritterkreuz of the Order of Maria Theresa for outstanding bravery at the Battle of Focsani in action against the Ottoman Turks.
Andreas Graf O'Reilly von Ballinlough was an Irish-Austrian soldier and military commander of Irish origin. His military service extended through the Seven Years' War, War of the Bavarian Succession, Austro-Turkish War, French Revolutionary Wars, and Napoleonic Wars. He retired from the army in 1810 and died at age 89.
Franz Freiherr von Werneck, born 13 October 1748 – died 17 January 1806, enlisted in the army of Habsburg Austria and fought in the Austro-Turkish War, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. He enjoyed a distinguished career until 1797, when he lost a battle and was dismissed as punishment. He was only reinstated in 1805. In that year he surrendered his command and was later brought up on charges. He died while awaiting a court-martial.
Karl Freiherr von Vincent, born 11 August 1757 – died 7 October 1834, fought in the army of Habsburg Austria during the French Revolutionary Wars. He first served as a staff officer then later as a combat commander. During the Napoleonic Wars, he was given important commands in two campaigns. He was Proprietor (Inhaber) of a famous light cavalry regiment from 1806 until his death.
Peter, Freiherr von Vécsey or Peter Vécsey de Hernádvécse et Hajnácskeő was an Imperial Austrian military commander of Hungarian descent who took part in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. As a Freiherr (Baron), he was a member of the Austrian landless nobility. He make his mark while leading cavalry units and advanced in rank to become a general officer in 1808. He led an independent brigade during part of the 1809 campaign, and was mortally wounded while leading his troops in battle.
The Battle of Limonest saw 53,000 Austrian and Hessian troops led by Prince Frederick of Hessen-Homburg attack 23,000 French troops under Marshal Pierre Augereau. After some stiff fighting, the Allies forced the outnumbered French defenders to withdraw from a line of hills north of Lyon in this War of the Sixth Coalition action. Lyon, in 1814 the second largest city in France, was abandoned to the Allies as a direct result of the defeat.