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Levin August, Count von Bennigsen

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Title: Levin August, Count von Bennigsen  
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Subject: Battle of Eylau, Battle of Leipzig, Battle of Tarutino, Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen, Battle of Friedland
Collection: 1745 Births, 1826 Deaths, Counts of Germany, Governors-General of Lithuania, Grand Croix of the Légion D'Honneur, Imperial Russian Army Generals, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword, People from Braunschweig, People from the Duchy of Brunswick, People from the Electorate of Hanover, Recipients of the Order of St. Andrew, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the First Degree, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the Second Degree, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the Third Degree, Russian Commanders of the Napoleonic Wars, Russian People of the Kościuszko Uprising
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Levin August, Count von Bennigsen

Levin August Bennigsen
Portrait by Military Gallery
Native name (Russian: Лео́нтий Лео́нтьевич Бе́ннигсен
Born (1745-02-10)10 February 1745
Braunschweig
Died 3 December 1826(1826-12-03)
Banteln
Battles/wars Siege of Ochakov (1788);
Battle of Eylau;
Battle of Friedland;
Battle of Borodino;<
Battle of Tarutino;
Battle of Bautzen;
Battle of Lützen (1813);
Battle of Leipzig;
Siege of Hamburg
Awards Order of St. Andrew

Levin August Gottlieb Theophil (Russian: Лео́нтий Лео́нтьевич Бе́ннигсен, Leontiy Leontyevich Bennigsen), Count Bennigsen (10 February 1745 in Braunschweig – 3 December 1826 in Banteln) was a German general in the service of the Russian Empire.

He was born into a Minsk guberniya and promoted to Major General for his accomplishments in the former campaign.

In 1798 he was fired from military service by the Tsar Paul I allegedly because of his connections with Platon Zubov. It is known that he took an active part in the planning phase of the conspiracy to assassinate Paul I, but his role in the actual killing remains a matter of conjecture. Tsar Alexander I made him governor-general of Lithuania in 1801, and in 1802 a general of cavalry.

In 1806 he was in command of one of the Russian armies operating against Order of St. Andrew - the highest order in the Russian empire. Here he could claim to have inflicted the first reverse suffered by Napoleon, but six months later Bennigsen met with the crushing defeat of Friedland (14 June 1807) the direct consequence of which was the treaty of Tilsit.

Bennigsen was heavily criticised for the battle of Friedland and for the decline of discipline in the army and now retired for some years, but in the campaign of 1812 he reappeared in the army in various responsible positions. He was present at Borodino, and defeated Murat in the engagement of Tarutino where he himself was wounded in the leg, but on account of a quarrel with Marshal Kutusov, the Russian commander-in-chief, he was compelled to retire from active military employment.

After the death of Kutusov he was recalled and placed at the head of an army. Bennigsen participated in the battles of Bautzen and Lützen, leading one of the columns that made the decisive attack on the last day of the battle of Leipzig (16–19 October 1813). On the same evening he was made a count by the emperor Alexander I, and he afterwards commanded the forces which operated against Marshal Davout in North Germany, most notably in the year-long Siege of Hamburg (1813–14). After the peace treaty of Fontainebleau he was awarded the St. George order of the First Degree - the highest Russian military order - for his actions in the Napoleonic wars in general.

After the general peace he held a command from 1815 to 1818, when he retired from active service and settled on his Hanoverian estate of Banteln near Hildesheim. By the end of his life he completely lost his sight. He died, aged 81. His son, Alexander Levin, Count von Bennigsen (1809-1893) was a distinguished Hanoverian statesman.

References

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External links

  • Bennigsen vs Napoleon at Heilsberg 1807: one of the bloodiest battles of the Napoleonic Wars


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