Johann Dietrich von Hülsen

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Johann Dietrich von Hülsen (born June 1, 1693 in Babziens , † May 29, 1767 in Berlin ) was a Prussian lieutenant general of the infantry . After a lifelong career as an officer in various infantry regiments, he gained special respect for Frederick II as a general in the Seven Years' War, and was honored by the latter with his appointment as governor of Berlin . During the war he became canon of Minden and was awarded the Order of the Black Eagle .


Von Hülsen was born as the son of Johann Friedrich von Hülsen and Rosine Freiin von Königsegg and grew up in the rural area of Rastenburg . At seventeen he joined the Prussian Infantry Regiment No. 2 under the command of Otto Magnus von Dönhoff , became an ensign on June 8, 1715 and took part in the Pomeranian campaign that same year . From 1721 the regiment was stationed between Insterburg and Rastenburg. Of sleeves was 1,722 on August 1, second lieutenant , on July 13th, 1728 First Lieutenant .

In the War of the Polish Succession , the regiment, which was now under the command of Erhard Ernst von Roeder , moved via Magdeburg to Prince Eugene of Savoy in Heidelberg . After the winter camp in the Münsterland , the campaign was continued without result in 1735 and finally the regiment began the march back. In Halberstadt , von Hülsen was promoted to staff captain on the occasion of a troop display in front of Friedrich Wilhelm I and - back in East Prussia - on April 6, 1738, captain with his own company.

In autumn 1739 von Hülsen married Sophie Elisabeth von Kunheim, widowed von Schliewitz. The marriage remained childless.

In July of the following year he was transferred as a major to the newly established 36th Infantry Regiment under Gustav Bogislaus von Münchow, in which he remained for sixteen years. In March 1741 it was used as an occupation force in Silesia during the First Silesian War , and later under Leopold I von Anhalt-Dessau during the siege of Cosel . After the war it was stationed in Brandenburg, where von Hülsen became a lieutenant colonel on July 11, 1743 . In the course of the Second Silesian War , the regiment took part in numerous battles and on September 5, 1745 captured the occupied Cosel back, whereupon von Hülsen was appointed Colonel on November 9.

In the following years of peace, von Hülsen distinguished himself above all as a good instructor, became major general on September 8, 1754 and was awarded the order Pour le Mérite . After the death of his predecessor, Asmus Ehrenreich von Bredow , he was appointed chief of the 21st Infantry Regiment on February 25, 1756 , which was stationed in Halberstadt and Quedlinburg . He also received an annual pension of 500 thalers.

Honor plaque for von Hülsen on the obelisk in Rheinsberg

As a military leader he did not excel until he was over sixty in the Seven Years' War and was able to achieve the reputation of one of the most capable generals. In the battle of Lobositz his regiment suffered heavy losses, but von Hülsen was praised by Friedrich II "for his bravery". In the Battle of Kolin , von Hülsen commanded the reserve, while his regiment fought under Joachim Christian von Tresckow . With this and other support he succeeded in the late afternoon in taking a decisive hill and defending it into the night. In his writings on the history of war, Frederick II expressly praised his zeal in this battle. After his promotion to lieutenant general on March 6, 1758, von Hülsen was sent to Saxony, where he held out against the Austrian army at Maxen and Freiberg . He suffered bloody casualties in the Battle of Kay and was wounded in the Battle of Kunersdorf . At the Battle of Maxen , he did not arrive in time to provide support to Friedrich August von Finck .

On August 20, 1760, in the battle near Oschatz with 12,000 men , he was able to assert himself against an enemy superior force, whereupon the king gave him 1,500 talers and wrote: "I congratulate you most graciously [...] Meanwhile, to all staff and superiors. Officers of your subordinate corps [...] My most gracious compliment. "

When Austrians and Russians tried to take Berlin in the same year, he moved to Beelitz and was initially able to repel the cavalry of Russian General Gottlob Heinrich von Tottleben at Hallesches Tor , but ultimately was unable to prevent the Russian occupation of Berlin . Soon afterwards it went back to Saxony, where von Hülsen commanded large parts of the infantry on November 3, 1760 in the battle of Torgau . After three unsuccessful and costly attacks, he led a fourth against the order of the king, which was successful thanks to the support of a hussar attack under Hans Joachim von Zieten and decided the battle for the Prussian side. According to an anecdote, the general was no longer good on foot, and since his horses had been shot, he allowed himself to be pushed on a cannon within range of the battle. After the battle, von Hülsen fought back the enemy troops as far as Franconia .

In the following year 1761 he was entrusted with the defense of occupied Saxony under Prince Heinrich of Prussia and was appointed Commander-in-Chief on April 21, when the Prince was withdrawn to Silesia. At this point the memory of the elderly general was apparently already waning, as the king put a major general at his side. In the Battle of Freiberg on October 29, 1762, he could not take part as planned, because his replacement was not on time, but he advanced to Pretzschendorf after the battle .

After the war he was honored by Friedrich II. With the post of governor of Berlin on August 23, 1763, and in 1766 he was entrusted with a judicial investigation against the Finance Councilor Ursinus. In October he fell ill and finally died on May 29, 1767 in Berlin. He was buried in the garrison church on June 1st . Prince Heinrich dedicated a plaque to him on his Rheinsberg obelisk .


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kurd von Schöning : The Seven Years' War. Volume 2, Berlin 1851, pp. 390 and 396
  2. Inscription on Prince Heinrich's hero monument in Rheinsberg , quoted in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, see literature
  3. ^ Kurd von Schöning : The Seven Years' War. Volume 3, Berlin 1852, p. 35 , cited in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, see literature