August Wilhelm Anton Gneisenau

Gneisenau, August Wilhelm Anton


Born Oct. 27, 1760, in Schildau (near Torgau); died Aug. 23, 1831, in Poznan. Prussian field marshal (1825); Count von Neithardt (1814). Son of an Austrian officer.

Gneisenau graduated from the University of Erfurt and became an officer in the Austrian army in 1782. From 1782 to 1786 he studied the organization of the American militia in North America; in 1786 he entered the Prussian Army, and in 1807 he successfully defended the fortress of Kolberg from the French. After Prussia’s defeat by Napoleon, Gneisenau and G. J. D. Scharnhorst were members of a commission for the reorganization of the army. In 1809, at the demand of the French, he was retired. He became quartermaster general in 1813 and in May of the same year, chief of staff of General G. Blücher’s Silesian Army. A Prussian Army maneuver designed by Gneisenau facilitated the victory at Waterloo (1815). In 1830 he became commander in chief of the Prussian Army.