1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schwerin, Kurt Christoph, Count von

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SCHWERIN, KURT CHRISTOPH, Count von (1684-1757), Prussian general field marshal, was born at Lowitz in Pomerania, and at an early age entered the Dutch army, with which he served at the Schellenberg and at Blenheim. In 1707 he became a lieutenant-colonel in the army of the duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and was present at Ramillies and Malplaquet, and with the Swedish commander Stenbock at Gadebusch. In 1713 he was with Charles XII. of Sweden in his captivity at Bender, and in 1718 was made major-general. In 1719 he opposed the Hanoverian army which invaded Mecklenburg (in the course of which he fought a brilliant action at Walsmühlen on the 6th of March 1719), and in the following year entered the service of the king of Prussia. At irst he was employed in diplomatic missions, but in January 1722/3 he received the command of an infantry regiment. In 1730, as a major-general, he was a member of the court martial which tried the crown prince of Prussia (afterwards Frederick the Great) for desertion, and in 1733, at the head of a Prussian army, conducted with great skill the delicate and difficult task of settling the Mecklenburg question. In the following year he became lieutenant-general and in 1739 general of infantry. During the life-time of King Frederick William, Schwerin was also employed in much administrative work. Frederick the Great, on his accession, promoted Schwerin to the rank of general held marshal and made him a count. At the battle of Mollwitz (April 10th, 1741) he justified his sovereign's choice by his brilliant leading, which, when the king had disappeared from the field, converted a doubtful battle into a victory which decided for the time being the fate of Silesia. After the conclusion of the war he was governor of the important fortresses of Brieg and Neisse. In the Second Silesian War (1744-1745) Schwerin commanded the army which, marching from Glatz, met the king's army under the walls of Prague, and in the siege and capture of that place he played a distinguished part (September 10th, 1644). Some time afterwards, the king being compelled to retreat from Bohemia, Schwerin again distinguished himself, but, resenting a real or fancied slight, retired to his estate, to which, and its inhabitants, he devoted his energies during the years of peace. He reappeared on the field at the outbreak of the Seven Years' War (1756), and during the first campaign conducted the war on the Silesian side of Bohemia; and in 1757, following the same route as in 1744, again joined Frederick at Prague. On the 6th of May followed the battle of Prague. Leading on a regiment of the left wing to the attack with its colour in his hand, the old field marshal was shot dead. Frederick erected a statue on the Wilhelmsplatz to his foremost soldier, and a monument on the field of Prague commemorates the place where he fell. Since 1889 the 14th (3rd Pomeranians) Infantry of the German army has borne his name.

See Varnha en von Ense, Biographische Denkmale, vol. vi. (3rd ed., Leipzig, 1873§ , and Leben Schwerin.: (Berlin, 1841); Wollner, Ein Christ und ein field. oder Nachrichten von Schwerin (Frankfurt a. O., 1758); Pauli, Lebcn Grosser fielden, i. (Halle, 1759); Gollrnert, Gesch. des Geschlechts van Schwerin (Berlin, 1878); Schwebel, Die Herren und Grafen von Schwerin (Berlin, 1885).