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Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen : biography

5 September 1771 - 30 April 1847

Archduke Charles of Austria, Duke of Teschen (Karl Ludwig Johann Josef Lorenz of Austria; 5 September 1771 – 30 April 1847) was an Austrian field-marshal, the third son of emperor Leopold II and his wife Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain. He was also the younger brother of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. Despite being epileptic, Charles achieved respect both as a commander and as a reformer of the Austrian army. He was considered one of Napoleon's most formidable opponents.Eugene Tarle, Napoleon.

He began his career fighting the revolutionary armies of France. Early in the wars of the First Coalition, he saw victory at Neerwinden in 1793, before tasting defeat at Wattignies 1793 and Fleurus 1794. In 1796, as chief of all Austrian forces on the Rhine, Charles out-generaled Jean-Baptiste Jourdan at Amberg and Würzburg, and forced Jean Victor Marie Moreau to withdraw across the Rhine, and followed these victories with others at Zürich, Ostrach, Stockach, and Messkirch in 1799. He reformed Austria's armies to adopt the nation at arms principle; in 1809, he went into the War of the Fifth Coalition with confidence and inflicted Napoleon's first major setback at Aspern-Essling, before suffering a defeat at the bloody Battle of Wagram. Following Wagram, Charles saw no more significant action in the Napoleonic Wars.

As a military strategist, historians compare him to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, conservative, cautious, and competent. Charles was a study in contrasts. As a practitioner, he was flawless in executing complex and risky maneuvers of troops in the heat of battle, achieving brilliant victories in the face of almost certain defeat. Yet, as a theoretician, his devotion to ground and caution led his contemporary, Carl von Clausewitz, to criticize his rigidity and adherence to geographic strategy. Regardless, he remains among Austria's pantheon of heroes of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

Issue

Name Birth Death Notes
Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria 31 July 1816 8 August 1867 Married Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, had issue.
Archduke Albert, Duke of Teschen 3 August 1817 2 February 1895 Married Princess Hildegard of Bavaria, had issue.
Archduke Karl Ferdinand 29 July 1818 20 November 1874 Married Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria, had issue.
Archduke Frederick Ferdinand 14 May 1821 5 October 1847 Died unmarried.
Archduke Rudolph of Austria 25 September 1822 11 October 1822 Died in childhood.
Archduchess Maria Karoline of Austria 10 September 1825 17 July 1915 Married her first cousin Archduke Rainer of Austria, third son of Archduke Rainer of Austria and Princess Elisabeth of Savoy-Carignano.
Archduke Wilhelm of Austria 21 April 1827 29 July 1894 Died unmarried.

Later life

Archduke Charles with family.

When Austria joined the ranks of the allies during the War of the Sixth Coalition, Charles was not given a command and the post of commander-in-chief of the allied Grand Army of Bohemia went to the Prince of Schwarzenberg. Charles spent the rest of his life in retirement, except for a short time in 1815 when he was military governor of the Fortress Mainz. In 1822 he succeeded to the duchy of Saxe-Teschen.

On 15 September/17 September 1815 in Weilburg, Charles married Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg (1797–1829). She was a daughter of Frederick William of Nassau-Weilburg (1768–1816) and his wife Burgravine Louise Isabelle of Kirchberg.

Frederick William was the eldest surviving son of Karl Christian of Nassau-Weilburg and Princess Wilhelmine Carolina of Orange-Nassau.

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