1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Manteuffel, Edwin, Freiherr von

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MANTEUFFEL, EDWIN, Freiherr von (1809–1885), Prussian general field marshal, son of the president of the superior court of Magdeburg, was born at Dresden on the 24th of February 1809. He was brought up with his cousin, Otto von Manteuffel (1805–1882), the Prussian statesman, entered the guard cavalry at Berlin in 1827, and became an officer in 1828. After attending the War Academy for two years, and serving successively as aide-de-camp to General von Müffling and to Prince Albert of Prussia, he was promoted captain in 1843 and major in 1848, when he became aide-de-camp to Frederick William IV., whose confidence he had gained during the revolutionary movement in Berlin. Promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1852, and colonel to command the 5th Uhlans in 1853, he was sent on important diplomatic missions to Vienna and St Petersburg. In 1857 he became major-general and chief of the military cabinet. He gave hearty support to the prince regent’s plans for the reorganization of the army. In 1861 he was violently attacked in a pamphlet by Karl Twesten (1820–1870), a Liberal leader, whom he wounded in a duel. He served as lieutenant-general (to which rank he was promoted on the coronation of William I., Oct. 18, 1861) in the Danish war of 1864, and at its conclusion was appointed civil and military governor of Schleswig. In the Austrian War of 1866 he first occupied Holstein and afterwards commanded a division under Vogel von Falkenstein in the Hanoverian campaign, and succeeded him, in July, in command of the Army of the Main (see Seven Weeks’ War). His successful operations ended with the occupation of Würzburg, and he received the order pour le mérite. He was, however, on account of his monarchist political views and almost bigoted Roman Catholicism, regarded by the parliament as a reactionary, and, unlike the other army commanders, he was not granted a money reward for his services. He then went on a diplomatic mission to St Petersburg, where he was persona grata, and succeeded in gaining Russia’s assent to the new position in north Germany. On returning he was gazetted to the colonelcy of the 5th Dragoons. He was appointed to the command of the IX. (Schleswig-Holstein) army corps in 1866. But having formerly exercised both civil and military control in the Elbe duchies he was unwilling to be a purely military commander under one of his late civil subordinates, and retired from the army for a year. In 1868, however, he returned to active service. In the Franco-German War of 1870–71 he commanded the I. corps under Steinmetz, distinguishing himself in the battle of Colombey-Neuilly, and in the repulse of Bazaine at Noisseville (see Franco-German War; and Metz). He succeeded Steinmetz in October in the command of the I. army, won the battle of Amiens against General Farre, and occupied Rouen, but was less fortunate against Faidherbe at Pont Noyelles and Bapaume. In January 1871 he commanded the newly formed Army of the South, which he led, in spite of hard frost, through the Côte d’Or and over the plateau of Langres, cut off Bourbaki’s army of the east (80,000 men), and, after the action of Pontarlier, compelled it to cross the Swiss frontier, where it was disarmed. His immediate reward was the Grand Cross of the order of the Iron Cross, and at the conclusion of peace he received the Black Eagle. When the Southern Army was disbanded Manteuffel commanded first the II. army, and, from June 1871 until 1873, the army of occupation left in France, showing great tact in a difficult position. On leaving France at the close of the occupation, the emperor promoted Manteuffel to the rank of general field marshal and awarded him a large grant in money, and about the same time Alexander II. of Russia gave him the order of St Andrew. After this he was employed on several diplomatic missions, was for a time governor of Berlin, and in 1879, perhaps, as was commonly reported, because he was considered by Bismarck as a formidable rival, he was appointed governor-general of Alsace-Lorraine; and this office he exercised—more in the spirit, some said, of a Prussian than of a German official—until his death at Carlsbad, Bohemia, on the 17th of June 1885.

See lives by v. Collas (Berlin, 1874), and K. H. Keck (Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1890).