Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Marshals and Generals


Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Bulow, Count von Dennewitz

Born: 16 February 1755 Prussia

Died: 25 February 1816 Prussia

Rank: General

Bulow was born in Falkenberg (Wische) in the Altmark and was the elder brother of two to Freiherr Dietrich von Bulow. He received and excellent education and then entered the Prussian army in 1768, becoming ensign in 1722. Bulow was then made second lieutenant in 1755.
He took part in the Potato War of 1778 and subsequently devoted himself to the study of his profession and of the sciences and arts.
Throughout his life Bulow was devoted to music, his great musical ability bringing him to the notice of King Frederick William II of Prussian he then became well known in fashionable circles of Berlin. During this period he never neglected his military studies, and in 1792 he was made military instructor to the young Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, becoming at the same time full captain.

Bulow took part in the campaigns of 1792-94 on the Rhine, and received for signal courage during the siege of Mainz the order Pour le Merite and promotion to the rank of major. After his promotion, Bulow went to garrison duty at Soldau.
In 1802 he married the daughter of Colonel von Auer, and in the following year he became lieutenant-colonel, remaining at Soldau with his corps.
With the misfortunes of his younger brother Dietrich, Bulow’s fortune and happiness was in turmoil. With the loss of two of his children was then followed by the death of his wife in 1806, and a further source of disappointment was the exclusion of his regiment from the field army sent against Napoleon in the same year.
The disasters of the campaign aroused his energies. He did excellent service under Anton Wilhelm von L’Estocq’s command in the latter part of the war, was wounded in action, and finally designated for a brigade command in Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher’s force.

In 1808 Bulow married the younger sister of his first wife, a girl of eighteen. He was made a major-general in the same year, and he then devoted himself wholly to the regeneration of Prussia. The intensity of his patriotism threw him into conflict even with Blucher and led to his temporary retirement in 1811, however, he was again employed.
In the build up to the War of Liberation, Bulow kept his troops in hand without committing himself to any irrevocable step until the decision was made. On 14 March 1813 he was made lieutenant-general. He fought against Oudinot in defence of Berlin, and in the summer came under the command of Bernadotte, crown prince of Sweden.
At the head of an army corps Bulow distinguished himself greatly in the Battle of Grossbeeren, a victory which was attributed almost entirely to his leadership. Later he won another victory at the Battle of Dennewitz, which for the second time checked Napoleon’s army in their advance to Berlin. This inspired the greatest enthusiasm in Prussia, as being won by mainly Prussian forces, and rendered Bulow’s popularity almost equal to that of Blucher. Bulow’s corps played a conspicuous part in the final overthrow of Napoleon at Leipzig, and he was then entrusted with the task of evicting the French from Holland and Belgium.
In an successful campaign he won a signal victory at Hoogstraten although he was fortunate to be supported, often very significantly, by the British General Thomas Graham, second in command to Wellington.

In the campaign of 1814 he invaded France from the north-west to join Blucher, and took part in the brilliant victory of Laon in March. He was made general of infantry and received the title of Count Bulow von Dennewitz. He also took part in the Allied sovereigns’ visit to England in June 1814.
For a short time, from 1814-1815, there was peace in Europe. Bulow was at Konigsberg as commander-in-chief in Prussia proper. He was soon called to the field again, and in the Waterloo campaign commanded the IV Corps of Blucher’s army.
He was not present at Lingny, but his corps headed the flank attack upon Napoleon Guard at the Battle of Waterloo, and bore the heaviest part in the fighting of the Prussian troops around Plancenoit which he captured. He took part in the invasion of France once again, but died suddenly on 25 February 1816, a month after returning to the Konigsberg command.
The King declared that the generals and officers would observe 3 days of mourning for Bulow. A statue of the victor of Dennewitz was erected in Berlin in 1822.

“Bulow was a stubborn and defiant man with a ferocious temper”.