Prussia 1786-1815 Braunschweig

Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Braunschweig 1809

A.) The Pre-History of the Rebellion

When Duke Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand of Braunschweig (in English often spelled Brunswick) fell in the BATTLE OF AUERSTAEDT in 1806, he was succeeded by his son FRIEDRICH WILHELM. However, his Duchy was occupied by French troops and soon was integrated into the newly created KINGDOM OF WESTPHALIA.

B.) The Military Course of Events

When Emperor Francis I. in 1809 called upon the Germans to rise against Napoleon, Duke Friedrich Wilhelm, nicknamed "The Black Duke" followed the call. He lead the "Totenkopfhusaren" (scull hussars), a unit he established on April 1st 1809; on June 12th, they marched into the Kingdom of Saxony, where he occupied Leipzig June 22nd, but arriving enemy forces caused him and the Austrian forces to retreat. After Austria was defeated at Wagram and surrendered, the Black Duke refused to do so (July 24th). He marched through Germany to the coast, where he and his force (1600 men) were picked up by British vessels (August 6th).

C.) The Legacy

The Black Duke would continue to fight on the British side in the PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN. In 1813 he was restored to his duchy. He fell in the campaign of 1815, shot dead at QUATRE BRAS. His actions in the war contributed to the fact that the Duchy of Braunschweig was reestablished at the Vienna Congress in 1813/15.

Zeittafel Europaeische Geschichte 1801-1900, from Univ. Erlangen, in May 1809 documents itinerary of Freischar Schill, in German
Totenkopfhusaren, from the
Napoleonic Wargaming Club
Andreas Kopp, The Black Band in 1809 and the Brunswick Troops in the Peninsular War. from Histofig, also from
Itinerary from Zwickau to Elsfleth, from Braunschweiger Feldkorps, in English
Die Braunschweiger bei Quatre Bras und Waterloo, by Andreas Kopp
DOCUMENTS Theodor Fontane : Schill und der Herzog von Braunschweig, from Project Gutenberg, diary-style entries from April 1809 (published in Fuenf Schloesser, 1888/89) also on Duke of Braunschweig
Das Offizierscorps der Schwarzen Schar, 1809 (The Officers' Corps of the Schwarze Schar, 1809), from Institut Deutsche Adelsforschung, in German; has a list of officers

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 19th 2004

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