BLUCHER, bInK'er, GEIIHARD LEBERECHT YON, Prince of Wahlstadt (1742-1819). A Prussian field-marshal. lie was born at Rostock, in Meck lenburg-Schwerin, December 16, 1742. At the beginning of the Seven Years' War lie joined a regiment of Swedish hussars, and in his first action was taken prisoner by the Prussian hus sars, whose colonel persuaded him to enter the Prussian service and gave him a lieutenancy. Another lieutenant having been promoted over Bliieher's head, the latter immediately wrote to Frederick the Great as follows: "Von Jfigersfeld, who has no merit except that of being the son of the Margrave of Schwedt, has been put over my head. I beg to request my discharge." Bliicher was put under arrest and after repeated applica tions for discharge, he received from Frederick the curt intimation: "Captain Bliieher is at liberty to go to the devil!" Bliicher betook himself to his estate at Gross-P,addow, in Pomerania, and devoted himself to farming, but soon tired of bucolic life, and in 1787 rejoined the army. He fought as colonel of hussars against the French on the Rhine, evincing great ability as a leader of cavalry. in the campaign of 1806 he took part as lieutenant-general in the battle of Anerstadt. Bliieher, with the greater part of the cavalry, cov ered the retreat of the Prince von Tiohenlohe through Pomerania. He was accused of not giv ing the Prince due support, and thus causing the capitulation at Prenzlau. Blucher marched into the territory of the free town of Lfibeck, and hastily fortified the city; but the French took it by storm, and he was forced to surrender on the plain of Ratkow, near Liibeck. whither he had escaped with a few troops. A fortnight later he was exchanged for the French General Victor, and immediately on his arrival in Kiinigsberg was sent at the head of a corps to assist in the de fense of Stralsund. After the Peace of Tilsit lie \ MS employed in the War Department in Kiinigsberg and Berlin, and subsequently be came commandant of Pomerania. At a later period he was placed on the retired list, together with several other men of note, at the instance, it was said, of Napoleon. lie was one of the few to combat the general belief in the invincibility of Napoleon, which had grown into a sort of fatal ism in high places. In eommon with Stein and Ilardenberg, he labored to remove all weak and unpatriotic Counselors from about the King. When all the leaders of the army lost courage, his constancy revived confidence amid Made him the centre of all hope for the future. When his countrymen at last rose against the French in 1813, Witcher was appointed to the 'chief com mand of the Prussians, reinforced by General Russian corps. At the ha ttles of Ltitson, Bautzen, and Ilaynan, he displayed heroic courage. At the Katzbach lie defeated Marshal Macdonald and cleared Silesia of the enemy. In vain did Napoleon himself attempt to stop the "old captain of hussars," as lie called him, in his victorious career. In the battle of Leipzig he won
a great advantage over Marshal Marmont, at M3ekern, October 16, 1813, and on the sante day pressed on to the suburbs of the city. On the 18th, in conjunction with the Crown Prince of Sweden, lie had a large share in the defeat of the French, and on the 19th his troops were the first to enter Leipzig. Opposing the policy of Austria. Bliieher insisted that the taking of Paris was the end to he sought. On the first day of January, 1514, he crossed the Rhine, gar risoned Nancy on the 17th of the same month, and after winning the battle of La Rothiere, pressed forward toward Paris. But his scat tered corps were routed by Napoleon, and he fought his way back to Chalons with great loss. On March 9, however, lie defeated Napoleon at Laon: and at the end of the month, after being joined by Schwarzenberg and his corps, lie again advanced toward Paris. The day of Mont martre crowned the brilliant deeds of this cam paign, and on March 31 the Allies entered the French capital. Bliicher himself, who was suf fering from a malady of the eyes, abstained from entering the city on that day. Frederick William III. created him Prince of Wahlstadt, in remem brance of the victory at the Natzbach. and gave him an estate in Silesia. In England. whither lie followed the allied sovereigns, he was received with an enthusiasm never before excited by a German. The University of Oxford conferred on him the degree of doctor of laws. After Na poleon's return from Elba, in 1815, Blucher once more assumed the general command, and prompt ly led an army into the Netherlands. On June 16, 1815, he lost the battle of Ligny, and nar rowly escaped being killed by his horse falling on him. The victory of the Allies in the battle of Waterloo was decided by Bliieher's timely appear ance on the field. lie 'micro] his Prussians to pursue the flying enemy, which they (lid the whole night. Declining the offered truce, Bliicher marched against Paris, and on the second tak ing of that city manifested a strong desire to retaliate on Paris the spoliation that other capitals had suffered at the hands of the French but lie was held in check by the Duke of Wel lington. in order to reward Bliieher's services to Prussia and the common cause, Frederick William III. created the Order of the Iron Cross, the badge of which consisted of an iron cross surrounded by golden rays. On August 26, 1819, a colossal bronze statue was erected in his honor in his native town. Ithieher died September 12, 1819, after a short illness, at his estate of Erieblowitz, in Silesia. Consult: Sehe•r, Wiichcr, seine Zeit ',tad scin Leben (Leipzig, 1887) ; Varnhagen von Ense, "Fiirst Bliicher von Wahl stadt," Vol. 11I. of the Biogruphische Beni: male (Leipzig. 1872) ; von Colomb, Blucher in Briefen teas den Feldzitgcn, 181345 (Stuttgart, 1S76).