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BUXHÖWDEN, Frederick Wilhelm

Military commander

Frederick Wilhelm Count von Buxhöwden was an Estonian German. He was born in Magnusdal on the island Mohn bei Ösel, Estonia, 14 September, 1750, and he died in his chateau, Lohde, in Estonia on 23 August, 1811. He undertook his military training in St Petersburg and became an officer in 1769 during the Turkish war. Becoming general in 1789, he distinguished himself in Finland against Sweden in 1790 and in 1792-94 during the Polish war. In 1795, Catherine the Great appointed him governor of Poland (indeed he married one of her illegitimate daughters). In 1796, Tsar Paul I made him military governor of St Petersburg. He soon however fell into disgrace and lived for a while in Germany until Alexander I recalled him, making him governor general of the East Sea Provinces (Courland, Livonia and Estonia). During the war of 1805 he commanded the 2nd Russian corps which made up the allied left wing at Austerlitz. At the beginning of the Polish campaign, in the autumn of 1806, Buxhöwden was commander of the Russian 2nd Army. He briefly became commander in chief of the Russian armies when Marshal Alexander Kamenskoi suddenly retired, but after the Battle of Pultusk (which Bennigsen, Buxhöwden's arch-rival, claimed as a victory), Alexander appointed Bennigsen over Buxhöwden's head. Buxhöwden left the army on 14 January 1807, thus missing Eylau. He was re-appointed head of the 2nd Army after Eylau, and on the outbreak of war with Sweden in 1808 he found himself going to Finnland were he stayed for ten months. Exhausted by the efforts of the campaign, he retired after the peace and died in his own bed three weeks before his sixty-first birthday. He was made count by both the Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm II (1795), and the Russian Tsar, Paul I (1797).

Source: Meyers Konversationslexikon (online), Band 3, s.v. Buxhöwden 


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