Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este
Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este (25 April 1781 – 5 November 1850) was the third son of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and of his wife Princess Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este, last member and heiress of the House of Este. For much of the Napoleonic Wars he was in command of the Austrian army.
Ferdinand was born at Milan. He attended the military academy in Wiener Neustadt before embarking on a military career. In 1805 in the war of the Third Coalition against France, Ferdinand was commander-in-chief of the Austrian forces with General Karl Freiherr Mack von Leiberich as his quartermaster general. In October his army was surrounded at Ulm. General Mack surrendered, but Ferdinand managed to escape with 2000 cavalry to Bohemia. There he took command of the Austrian troops and raised the local militia. With a total of 9,000 men he set out for Iglau to distract attention from the Coalition's movements. He succeeded in holding the Bavarian division of Prince Karl Philipp von Wrede in Iglau thereby and preventing it from joining the Battle of Austerlitz.
In 1809 in the war of the Fifth Coalition against France, Ferdinand commanded an Austrian army of 36,000 men. In April he invaded the Duchy of Warsaw hoping to encourage a local uprising against Napoleon (see Polish–Austrian War). But the Poles rallied to Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski. Ferdinand was defeated at the Battle of Raszyn, but managed to occupy Warsaw. In June, however, Ferdinand was compelled to withdraw from Warsaw, and to give up Kraków and Galicia as well.
In 1815 in the war of the Seventh Coalition against France, Ferdinand commanded two divisions of the Austrian Reserve. The following year he was appointed military commander in Hungary.
Honours and awards
- Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
- Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of St. Stephen of Hungary
- Knight of the Military Order of Maria Theresa
- Supreme Knight of the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (Italy)
- Knight of the Order of Saint Hubert (Bavaria)
- Knight of the Order of St. Andrew (Russia)
- Knight of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky (Russia)
- Knight of the Order of St. Anna, Class I (Russia)
- Knight of the Order of the White Eagle
- Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle
- Knight of the Order of the Red Eagle
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Ferdinand and of Merit
- Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order