|Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen|
|Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen|
|Born||31 January 1746|
|Died||15 February 1818 (aged 72)|
Slawentzitz, Upper Silesia
Biography[edit | edit source]
Frederick Louis was the eldest son of Prince John Frederick of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen (German language: Johann Friedrich; died 1796). He began his military career as a boy, serving against the Prussians in the last years of the Seven Years' War. Entering the Prussian army after the peace, he was, as a result of his princely rank, at once made a major; and in 1775 he was elevated to lieutenant-colonel. In 1778 Frederick Louis took part in the War of the Bavarian Succession and at about the same time was made a colonel. Shortly before the death of King Frederick the Great, he was promoted to the rank of major general and appointed Chief of a Regiment. For some years the prince did garrison duty at Breslau, until in 1791 he was made governor of Berlin. In 1794 he commanded a corps in the Prussian army on the Rhine and distinguished himself greatly in many engagements, particularly in the Battle of Kaiserslautern on 20 September.
Frederick Louis was at this time the most popular soldier in the Prussian army. Blücher wrote of him that he was a leader of whom the Prussian army might well be proud. He succeeded his father in the principality, and acquired additional lands by his marriage with a daughter of Count von Hoym. In 1806 Frederick Louis, now a general of infantry, was appointed to command the left wing of the Prussian forces opposing Napoleon, having under him Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia; but, feeling that his career had been that of a prince and not that of a professional soldier, he allowed his quartermaster-general, the incompetent Oberst (Colonel) Christian Karl August Ludwig von Massenbach to influence him unduly. Disputes soon broke out between Hohenlohe and the commander-in-chief the Duke of Brunswick, the armies marched hither and thither without effective results, and finally Frederick Louis's army was almost destroyed by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena on 14 October 1806.
The prince displayed his usual personal bravery in the battle, and managed to rally a portion of his corps near Erfurt, whence he retreated into Prussia. But the pursuers followed him up closely and Marshal Joachim Murat intercepted his corps at Prenzlau. On the morning of 28 October, a fortnight after Jena and three weeks after the beginning of hostilities, Hohenlohe refused two French demands that he surrender. However, the initial fighting went against the Prussians in the Battle of Prenzlau. Massenbach, who had gone to negotiate with the French, suddenly turned up with the news that the French completely surrounded them, which was untrue. Influenced by his chief of staff and assured by Murat "on his honour" that 100,000 French had encircled his forces, Hohenlohe capitulated with 10,000 men (in fact, Murat had no more than 12,000 near Prenzlau, including only 3,000 infantry).
Frederick Louis's former popularity and influence in the army had now the worst possible effect, for the commandants of garrisons everywhere lost heart and followed his example. The capitulation of Pasewalk occurred on 29 October, the capitulation of Stettin on the night of 29–30 October, and Küstrin surrendered on 1 November. Before the month of November was over, the Siege of Magdeburg ended in a capitulation. West of the Elbe River, the Sieges of Hameln, Nienburg, and Plassenburg also ended badly for Prussia.
After two years spent as a prisoner-of-war in France, Frederick Louis retired to his estates, living in self-imposed obscurity until his death. He had, in August 1806, just before the outbreak of the War of the Fourth Coalition, resigned the principality to his eldest son, not being willing to become a mediatized ruler under Württemberg suzerainty.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Regarding personal names: Fürst is a title, translated as Prince not a first or middle name. The feminine form is Fürstin.
- Phillips & Atkinson 1911, p. 572.
References[edit | edit source]
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Phillips; Atkinson, Charles Francis (1911) "Hohenlohe" in Chisholm, Hugh Encyclopædia Britannica 13 (11th ed.) Cambridge University Press pp. 572–575
[edit | edit source]
- Richard von Meerheimb (1880), "Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, Friedrich Ludwig Fürst von", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 12, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 685–686
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