About Friedrich Wilhelm Furst von Hohenlohe-Kirchberg, 1770
Friedrich William, Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Kirchberg was born in Kirchberg[disambiguation needed ], Hohenlohe, (now part of Baden-Württemberg, Germany) on 2 December 1732. He was a member of an old comital and, subsequently, princely (Fürstlich) family of Hohenlohe, with extensive properties on the plateau south of the Main river, between the Imperial City of Schwäbisch Hall and the old Franconian city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
He served a distinguished career in Austrian military in the Seven Years War, the War of Bavarian Succession, and the French Revolutionary Wars. An experienced, if old-fashioned, general, he was chosen to mentor the young Archduke Charles, who was assigned to his staff during the 1792 campaign in France. From 1780 until his death, he was the Colonel-Proprietor of the 17th Infantry Regiment.
Hohenlohe-Kirchberg began his military career in 1756, when he joined the Habsburg regiment, the 29th Infantry Regiment Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel as a young man. He served as a captain of grenadiers in the Seven Years War. He was twice wounded, first at the famous Battle of Leuthen, and later at the Battle of Landshut, during the storming of Prussian redoubts. In 1758, he was promoted to major, in 1761, to lieutenant colonel, and in 1764, to colonel.
He served under Gideon von Laudon in the short War of the Bavarian Succession, also called the Potato War for its lack of battles but its intense raiding of the enemy's food supplies. After this conflict, which took place in Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic), he was promoted to Lieutenant Field Marshal (Feldmarschal-Leutnant) and served in the Austro-Turkish War, again under the command of von Laudon. He orchestrated the Austrian victory over the Turks at Persenji. After the Walachia campaign, he received the Commander's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa and was appointed as Colonel-Proprietor (Inhaber) of the 17th Infantry Regiment, a position he held until his death in 1796. On 15 October 1789, he was promoted again, to general of infantry, or Feldzeugmeister, and appointed as Commanding General in Transylvania, in the so-called Siebenbürgen.
French Revolutionary Wars
Main article: Flanders Campaign
In 1792, he was initially placed in command of the 50,000 Austrian forces in the Upper Rhine Valley. In August, his forces crossed the Rhine by Mannheim, and participated in the bombardment of Thionville, on the Moselle, in early September. Although the invading forces of the allies readily captured Longwy on 23 August and slowly marched on to Verdun, which was even less defensible than Longwy. The Duke of Brunswick now began his march on Paris and approached the defiles of the Argonne. In combination with the Army of Condé and Hessian troops, a portion of his force, 15,000, covered the left (southern) flank of the Prussian advance on Valmy.
As a seasoned and experienced officer, he had been chosen as a mentor for the young Archduke Charles, and the archduke was assigned to his force; they were not at Valmy, but could hear the cannonade. The Duke of Brunswick's force was to engage the northern flank of the French army, called the Army of the Sedan, while Hohenlohe-Kirchberg's force engaged the southern flank (Army of the Metz).
In December of 1792, Hohenlohe-Kirchberg's forces defended Trier from the Army of the Moselle so well that its commander, General of Division Pierre de Ruel, marquis de Beurnonville, was removed from his command by his superiors in Paris. On 31 December, Hohenlohe-Kirchberg was awarded the Grand Cross of Military Order of Maria Theresa for his success at Trier.
In May 1793, his forces played a decisive role in the victory at the Battle of Famars. He was appointed as General Quarter Master and Chief of Staff to the Coalition's main army in Flanders, succeeding General Karl Mack. As part of the Belgian Corps under Field Marshal Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld he played a decisive role in the action at Avesnes-le-Sec and later at the Battle of Fleurus (1794). Subsequently, Hohenlohe-Kirchberg commanded a corps on the upper Rhine and was responsible for the recapture of Speyer from the French on 17 September 1794. This was his final military action; he retired from service in early 1795 because of his failing health and died in 1796.
Born in the family county of Hohenlohe, Friedrich Wilhelm (William) was the first son of Karl August, Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Kirchberg and his second wife, Susanne Margarete Louisa, Gräfin von Auersperg. Eight other children followed until her death 12 September 1748. His father remarried (21 January 1749) and had four more children. In 1770, Friedrich Wilhelm married the divorced Frederike, Countess of Reuss zu Greiz (Greiz 9 July 1750 – Prague 14 June 1816; they had no children. He died in Prague, Bohemia, 10 August 1796.