1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Browne, Maximilian Ulysses

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BROWNE, MAXIMILIAN ULYSSES, COUNT VON, BARON DE CAMUS AND MOUNTANY (1705-1757), Austrian field marshal, was born at Basel on the 23rd of October 1705. His father (Ulysses Freiherr v. Browne, d. 1731) was an Irish exile of 1690, who entered the imperial service and in 1716 was made a count of the Empire (Reichsgraf) by the emperor Charles VI. His uncle Georg, Reichsgraf von Browne (1698-1792), was a distinguished soldier, who rose to the rank of field marshal in the Russian army, and was made Reichsgraf by the emperor Joseph II. in 1779. The powerful influence which he commanded, through his father and his wife (née Countess Marie Philippine v. Martinitz), advanced the young officer through the subordinate grades so rapidly that at the age of twenty-nine he was colonel of an infantry regiment. But he justified his early promotion in the field, and in the Italian campaign of 1734 he greatly distinguished himself. In the Tirolese fighting of 1735, and in the unfortunate Turkish war, he won further distinction as a general officer. He was a lieutenant field marshal in command of the Silesian garrisons when in 1740 Frederick II. and the Prussian army overran the province. His careful employment of such resources as he possessed materially hindered the king in his conquest and gave time for Austria to collect a field army (see AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION, WAR OF THE). He was present at Mollwitz, where he received a severe wound. His vehement opposition to all half-hearted measures brought him frequently into conflict with his superiors, but contributed materially to the unusual energy displayed by the Austrian armies in 1742 and 1743. In the following campaigns Browne exhibited the same qualities of generalship and the same impatience of control. In 1745 he served under Count Traun, and was promoted to the rank of Feldzeugmeister. In 1746 he was present in the Italian campaign and the battles of Piacenza and Rottofredo. Browne himself with the advanced guard forced his way across the Apennines and entered Genoa. He was thereafter placed in command of the army intended for the invasion of France, and early in 1747 of all the imperial forces in Italy. At the end of the war Browne was engaged in the negotiations which led to the convention of Nice (January 21st, 1749). He became commander-in-chief in Bohemia in 1751, and field marshal two years later. He was still in Bohemia when the Seven Years' War opened with Frederick's invasion of Saxony (1756). Browne's army, advancing to the relief of Pirna (see SEVEN YEARS' WAR), was met, and, after a hard struggle, defeated by the king at Lobositz, but he drew off in excellent order, and soon made another attempt with a picked force to reach Pirna, by wild mountain tracks. The field marshal never spared himself, bivouacking in the snow with his men, and Carlyle records that private soldiers made rough shelters over him as he slept. He actually reached the Elbe at Schandau, but as the Saxons were unable to break out Browne retired, having succeeded, however, in delaying the development of Frederick's operations for a whole campaign. In the campaign of 1757 he voluntarily served under Prince Charles of Lorraine (q.v.) who was made commander-in-chief, and on the 6th of May in that year, while leading a bayonet charge at the battle of Prague, Browne, like Schwerin on the same day, met his death. He was carried mortally wounded into Prague, and there died on the 26th of June, his last days embittered by the knowledge that he was unjustly held responsible for the failure of the campaign. His name has been borne, since 1888, by the 36th Austrian infantry.

See[edit]

  • Zuverlässige Lebensbeschreibung U.M. Reichsgrafen, v. B. K.-K. Gen.-Feldmarschall (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1757).
  • Baron O'Cahill, Gesch. der grossten Herrfuhrer (Rastadt, 1785, v. ii. pp. 264-316).