Braunschweig-Bevern, August Wilhelm, Duke of

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Personalities >> Braunschweig-Bevern, August Wilhelm, Duke of

August Wilhelm Duke of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern (aka Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern)

Lieutenant-General (1750-59) and General der Infanterie (1759-81)

born October 10, 1715 in Braunschweig (Brunswick)

died August 2, 1781 in Stettin (Prussia)


Portrait of Augustus William, Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern (1715–1781) by Philipp Andreas Kilian - Source: Wikimedia Commons

August Wilhelm was the son of the Duke Ernst Ferdinand of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern.

Between 1725 and 1730, his father erected the Pavillon de chasse of Walkenried for him.

On June 24, 1731, August Wilhelm entered into the Prussian service as captain in Kalckstein Infantry.

In 1734, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), August Wilhelm took part in the campaign on the Rhine, serving as major under his brother. On May 5, 1735 August Wilhelm was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.

On July 30, 1740, August Wilhelm was promoted to colonel.

At the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), on April 10, 1741, August Wilhelm fought in the Battle of Mollwitz where he was wounded. On June 8 of the same year, he became Chef of his own fusilier regiment (IR 41). Then in October he received a higher ranking musketeer regiment (IR 7) who then became known as Braunschweig-Bevern Infantry.

In 1742, August Wilhelm took part in the sieges of Brieg and Neisse. On May 12, he was promoted to major-general.

On May 12, 1745, August Wilhelm was promoted to major-general. On June 4, he fought in the Battle of Hohenfriedberg where he led a brigade.

In 1746, August Wilhelm succeeded his father as Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern. The same year, on March 13, he was appointed commander of Stettin. In July 1747, he became governor of this city.

After the war, on May 17, 1750, the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern was promoted to lieutenant-general and became a Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, in August 1756, when Frederick II proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern led the left column (17 bns, 50 sqns) which assembled at Cöpenick, Müllrose and Bunzlau. This column advanced to Lübben, then through Lusatia. The commander of the Castle of Senftenberg signed a pact of neutrality (September 1) and the Prussian column continued its march by Elsterheide, Hoyerswerda, Bautzen and Stolpen to Hohenstein (Sept. 8) then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. On September 10, Bevern's Corps encamped on the heights of Doberzeit. By September 22, Bevern's Corps had passed the Elbe and encamped at Zehista. On September 23, it marched towards the Bohemian border where it was incorporated into Keith's Army of Observation. On October 1, the duke took part in the Battle of Lobositz where he led a brigade of the first line of the left wing who finally stormed the Lobosch Hill after repeated attempts. On October 2, Frederick detached Bevern with a strong party southward, out of Lobositz, to lay hold of Tschischkowitz (present-day Čížkovice) on the road towards Budin.

In the night of March 9 to 10, 1757, the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern at the head of 14,000 men and 24 guns made a demonstration against Austrian positions at Friedland (present-day Frýdlant v Čechách), Grottau (present-day Hrádek nad Nisou) and Krumbach (unidentified location) on the Bohemian border. In the Spring, the Duke took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On April 20, he led the column (8,000 foot and 5,000 horse) who left the area of Zittau in Lusatia, entered into Bohemia at Gränstein (unidentified location) and took the route of Reichenberg. At daybreak on April 21, Bevern marched in two columns by Haberdorf (present-day Ovesná) towards the Austrian Corps under the command of Count Königsegg who had managed to concentrate 16,000 men near Reichenberg. The Combat of Reichenberg ensued. Königsegg was defeated and retreated to Liebenau (present-day Hodkovice nad Mohelkou), 32 km farther south. The Duke then advanced by Zaskal and Turnau (present-day Turnov) where on April 24, his column made a junction with Schwerin's column. Together, they captured the Austrian magazine at Jungbunzlau and the duke's column crossed the Elbe at Melnick (present-day Melnik). On May 6, it made its junction with Frederick's army. The same day during the Battle of Prague, the Duke led a brigade deployed in the first line of the centre. On May 17, the Duke with 20,000 men, was detached to observe Daun’s movements and cover the Siege of Prague. By the end of May, Daun had assembled an army much large than the corps under the command of the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern who was forced to retire. On June 13, Frederick set forth in all speed with 12,000 men to reinforce the Duke. Frederick joined him that same night at Kaurzim (present-day Kouřim). On June 18, at the Battle of Kolin, the Duke led the right wing infantry. After this defeat, the Prussian Army retired towards Saxony. By the end of July, the Duke's corps was posted at Bautzen. On August 25, when Frederick left this theatre of operation, the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern was appointed commander-in-chief in these quarters. On September 7, an isolated corps of his army was defeated in the Combat of Moys and the Duke soon abandoned his positions and marched towards Silesia, closely followed by the Austrians. After a series of brilliant manoeuvres, the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern finally managed to reach Breslau where he entrenched his army. On November 22, the Austrian army attacked his entrenchments and won the Battle of Breslau after a whole day of heavy fighting. The Duke was forced to abandon Breslau to its fate and he retreated under the cover of night, leaving General Lestwitz with only 8 battalions to defend the city. On November 24 at daybreak, while visiting the advanced posts of his army, he was captured by a party of Grenzer light troops.

In May 1758, when the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern was freed, he was sent to Stettin to act as governor of the city and charged with the defence of Pomerania against the Swedes and Russians.

On February 28, 1759, the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern was promoted to General der Infanterie.

In 1762, the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern negotiated a ceasefire with the Russians in Stargard. He then joined Frederick's field army and, on August 16, took part in the Battle of Reichenbach against the Austrians.

The Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern died on August 2, 1781 as Governor of Stettin.


This article borrows most of its texts for the period before 1756 from the following Wikipedia articles

and from:

  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 2 Prag, Berlin, 1901, Anhang 1

The section on Bevern's career between 1756 and 1758 is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.