1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bülow, Friedrich Wilhelm
BÜLOW, FRIEDRICH WILHELM, Freiherr von, count of Dennewitz (1755–1816), Prussian general, was born on the 16th of February 1755, at Falkenberg in the Altmark; he was the elder brother of the foregoing. He received an excellent education, and entered the Prussian army in 1768, becoming ensign in 1772, and second lieutenant in 1775. 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. He was throughout his life devoted to music, his great musical ability bringing him to the notice of Frederick William II., and about 1790 he was conspicuous in the most fashionable circles of Berlin. He did not, however, neglect his military studies, and in 1792 he was made military instructor to the young prince Louis Ferdinand, becoming at the same time full captain. He took part in the campaigns of 1792–93–94 on the Rhine, and received for signal courage during the siege of Mainz the order pour le mérite and promotion to the rank of major. After this he went to garrison duty at Soldau. In 1802 he married the daughter of Colonel v. Auer, and in the following year he became lieutenant-colonel, remaining at Soldau with his corps. The vagaries and misfortunes of his brother Dietrich affected his happiness as well as his fortune. The loss of two of his children was followed in 1806 by the death of his wife, and a further source of disappointment was the exclusion of his regiment from the field army sent against Napoleon in 1806. The disasters of the campaign aroused his energies. He did excellent service under Lestocq’s command in the latter part of the war, was wounded in action, and finally designated for a brigade command in Blücher’s force. In 1808 he married the sister of his first wife, a girl of eighteen. He was made a major-general in the same year, and henceforward he devoted himself wholly to the regeneration of Prussia. The intensity of his patriotism threw him into conflict even with Blücher and led to his temporary retirement; in 1811, however, he was again employed. In the critical days preceding the War of Liberation he kept his troops in hand without committing himself to any irrevocable step until the decision was made. On the 14th of March 1813 he was made a lieutenant-general. He fought against Oudinot in defence of Berlin (see Napoleonic Campaigns), and in the summer came under the command of Bernadotte, crown prince of Sweden. At the head of an army corps Bülow distinguished himself very greatly in the battle of Gross Beeren, a victory which was attributed almost entirely to his leadership. A little later he won the great victory of Dennewitz, which for the third time checked Napoleon’s advance on Berlin. This inspired the greatest enthusiasm in Prussia, as being won by purely Prussian forces, and rendered Bülow’s popularity almost equal to that of Blücher. Bülow’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 almost uniformly successful campaign he won a signal victory at Hoogstraaten, and in the campaign of 1814 he invaded France from the north-west, joined Blücher, and took part in the brilliant victory of Laon in March. He was now made general of infantry and received the title of Count Bülow von Dennewitz. In the short peace of 1814–1815 he 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 Blücher’s army. He was not present at Ligny, but his corps headed the flank attack upon Napoleon at Waterloo, and bore the heaviest part in the fighting of the Prussian troops. He took part in the invasion of France, but died suddenly on the 25th of February 1816, a month after his return to the Königsberg command.
See General Graf Bülow von Dennewitz, 1813–1814 (Leipzig, 1843); Varnhagen von Ense, Leben des G. Grafen B. von D. (Berlin, 1854).