1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Blumenthal, Leonhard

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BLUMENTHAL, LEONHARD, Count von (1810-1900), Prussian field marshal, son of Captain Ludwig von Blumenthal (killed in 1813 at the battle of Dennewitz), was born at Schwedt-on-Oder on the 30th of July 1810. Educated at the military schools of Culm and Berlin, he entered the Guards as 2nd lieutenant in 1827. After serving in the Rhine provinces, he joined the topographical division of the general staff in 1846. As lieutenant of the 31st foot he took part in 1848 in the suppression of the Berlin riots, and in 1849 was promoted captain on the general staff. The same year he served on the staff of General von Bonin in the Schleswig-Holstein campaign, and so distinguished himself, particularly at Fredericia, that he was appointed chief of the staff of the Schleswig-Holstein army. In 1850 he was general staff officer of the mobile division under von Tietzen in Hesse-Cassel. He was sent on a mission to England in that year (4th class of Red Eagle), and on several subsequent occasions. Having attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel, he was appointed personal adjutant to Prince Frederick Charles in 1859. In 1860 he became colonel of the 31st, and later of the 71st, regiment. He was chief of the staff of the III. army corps when, on the outbreak of the Danish War of 1864, he was nominated chief of the general staff of the army against Denmark, and displayed so much ability, particularly at Düppel and the passage to Alsen island, that he was promoted major-general and given the order pour le mérite. In the war of 1866 Blumenthal occupied the post of chief of the general staff to the crown prince of Prussia, commanding the 2nd army. It was upon this army that the brunt of the fighting fell, and at Königgrätz it decided the fortunes of the day. Blumenthal's own part in these battles and in the campaign generally was most conspicuous. On the field of Königgrätz the crown prince said to his chief of staff, “I know to whom I owe the conduct of my army,” and Blumenthal soon received promotion to lieutenant-general and the oak-leaf of the order pour le mérite. He was also made a knight of the Hohenzollern Order. From 1866 to 1870 he commanded the 14th division at Düsseldorf. In the Franco-German War of 1870-71 he was chief of staff of the 3rd army under the crown prince. Blumenthal's soldierly qualities and talent were never more conspicuous than in the critical days preceding the battle of Sedan, and his services in the war have been considered as scarcely less valuable and important than those of Moltke himself. In 1871 Blumenthal represented Germany at the British manœuvres at Chobham, and was given the command of the IV. army corps at Magdeburg. In 1873 he became a general of infantry, and ten years later he was made a count. In 1888 he was made a general field marshal, after which he was in command of the 4th and 3rd army inspections. He retired in 1896, and died at Quellendorf near Köthen on the 21st of December 1900.

Blumenthal's diary of 1866 and 1870-1871 has been edited by his son, Count Albrecht von Blumenthal (Tagebuch des G.F.M. von Blumenthal), 1902; an English translation (Journals of Count von Blumenthal) was published in 1903.