Karl Philipp von Wrede

Carl, Prince von Wrede

Karl Philipp von Wrede lithograph, 1828
Born (1767-04-29)29 April 1767
Heidelberg, Electorate of Bavaria
Died 12 December 1838(1838-12-12) (aged 71)
Ellingen, Kingdom of Bavaria
Allegiance  Electorate of Bavaria
 Kingdom of Bavaria
Service/branch Bavarian Army
Years of service 1793–1838
Rank Generalfeldmarschall
Commands held 2nd Bavarian Division

Napoleonic Wars

Awards Military Order of Max Joseph
Military William Order
Order of St. George
Order of the Bath

Karl (or Carl) Philipp Josef Wrede, Baron von Wrede, 1st Prince von Wrede (German: [ˈvʀeːdə]; 29 April 1767 – 12 December 1838) was a Bavarian field marshal. He was an ally of Napoleonic France until he negotiated the Treaty of Ried with Austria in 1813. Thereafter Bavaria joined the coalition.

Early life

Von Wrede was born at Heidelberg, the youngest of three children of Ferdinand Josef Wrede (1722 – 1793), created in 1791 1st Baron von Wrede, and wife, married on 21 March 1746, Anna Katharina Jünger (1729 – 1804), by whom he had two more children: Baroness Luise von Wrede (23 September 1748 - 9 February 1794), married to Philipp, Baron von Horn (d. 1834); and Baron Georg von Wrede (8 December 1765 - 3 April 1843), married on 17 January 1808 to Julie Zarka de Lukafalva (1781 - Osen, 1 August 1847), by whom he had issue.[1][2]

Early career

He was educated for the career of a civil official under the Electorate of the Palatinate government, but on the outbreak of the campaign of 1799 he raised a volunteer corps in the Palatinate and was made its colonel. This corps excited the mirth of the well-drilled Austrians with whom it served, but its colonel soon brought it into a good condition, and it distinguished itself during Kray's retreat on Ulm. At the Battle of Hohenlinden Wrede commanded one of the Palatinate infantry brigades with credit, and after the peace of Lunéville he was made lieutenant-general in the Bavarian Army, which was entering upon a period of reforms. Wrede soon made himself very popular, and distinguished himself in opposing the Austrian invasions of 1805.


Karl Philipp von Wrede

In the War of the Fifth Coalition, he led the 2nd Bavarian Division in the VII Corps.[3] He played an important part in the Battle of Abensberg on 20 April 1809. In the morning, he probed Joseph Radetzky's Austrian defense at Siegenburg. Unable to make headway, he marched his division north to Biburg and crossed the Abens River. From Biburg, he moved on Kirchdorf and attacked Frederick Bianchi's reinforced brigade.[4] When the Austrians retreated, Wrede aggressively pursued them to Pfeffenhausen late that evening.[5] He led the advance from Pfeffenhausen and was involved in the Battle of Landshut on 21 April, capturing 11 cannon.[6] On 24 April, his division was defeated at the Battle of Neumarkt-Sankt Veit when Johann von Hiller counterattacked in superior force.[7] After occupying Salzburg on 29 April,[8] Wrede moved southwest against the Tyrolean Rebellion. He pushed back Tyrolean irregulars at Lofer on 11 May and defeated Franz Fenner's mixed regulars and Tyroleans at Waidring the next day.[9] On 13 May, he played a major part in crushing the division of Johann Gabriel Chasteler de Courcelles in the Battle of Wörgl.[10]

After the French defeat at the Battle of Aspern-Essling, Napoleon I of France called Wrede's division to Vienna as a reinforcement.[11] At first, Wrede's division stood in reserve in the Battle of Wagram. In the afternoon of 6 July, the Bavarians were sent into battle in support of Jacques MacDonald's celebrated attack. In a successful charge on the village of Sussenbrunn, Wrede was grazed by a bullet. Fearing the wound was fatal, he told MacDonald, "Tell the Emperor I die for him. I recommend to him my wife and children." Seeing that Wrede's injury was minor, the French general smiled and replied, "I think that you will be able to make this recommendation to him yourself." The embarrassed general got up and continued to lead his troops.[12]

Later career

Field Marshal Carl Philipp Fürst von Wrede, 1815

The Bavarians were for several years the active allies of Napoleon, and Wrede led the Bavarian corps that fought in Russia in 1812. Just before the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, he negotiated the Treaty of Ried between Austria and Bavaria, by which Bavaria switched sides. Wrede then fought with the allies against Napoleon. After Leipzig, he tried to block the French escape at the Battle of Hanau on 30 and 31 October. Wrede positioned his troops poorly and Napoleon smashed one of his wings, inflicting 9,000 casualties. In 1814 he was created prince and field marshal. Wrede represented Bavaria at the Congress of Vienna.

He died in Ellingen. Von Wrede was no doubt the leading Bavarian soldier of his day.


Statue of Wrede at the Field Marshall's Hall in Munich

He married on 18 March 1795 Countess Sofie von Wiser (23 May 1771 - 7 May 1837), by whom he had eight children:


  1. Theroff, Paul. "Princely House of Wrede". www.angelfire.com/realm/gotha/ (Paul Theroff’s Royal Genealogy Site).
    • Moritz, Baron von Wrede (Rzestow, 24 April 1811 - Graz, 18 May 1877), married on 13 June 1839 Natalia Tallián de Vizék (Güns, 1 November 1818 - Pressburg, 13 September 1885), by whom he had:
      • Alfons Julius Anton, Baron von Wrede (Reps, 4 January 1843 - ?), married in Graz on 7 February 1880 Eleonore Filomene Edlauer (Krainburg, 20 February 1852 - ?), by whom he had:
        • Baroness Sidonie Eleonore von Wrede (Pressburg, 7 May 1885 - ?), unmarried and without issue
        • Baroness Eleonore Alice von Wrede (Marburg, 15 May 1886 - ?), unmarried and without issue
    • Baroness Sophie Katharina Josephine von Wrede (23 November 1811 - 16 June 1876), married on 23 February 1830 Hermann Albrecht Heinrich Ernst, Count von Schönburg-Hinterglauchau (7 February 1796 - 14 May 1841), and had female issue
    • Baron Karl Philipp von Wrede (Mülhausen, 15 March 1817 - Vienna, 8 July 1857), married in Gersthof near Vienna on 7 July 1849 Baroness Marie Emmy von Broëta (24 February 1826 - ?), without issue
  2. Bowden & Tarbox, p 61
  3. Arnold Crisis, pp 114-115
  4. Arnold Crisis, p 137
  5. Arnold Crisis, pp 143
  6. Petre, p 219
  7. Petre, p 224
  8. Smith, pp 301-302
  9. Smith, p 303
  10. Epstein, p 146
  11. Arnold Napoleon, pp 163-164


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