Hugo von Kirchbach

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Hugo Ewald Graf von Kirchbach
General von Kirchbach.jpg
Born (1809-05-23)23 May 1809
Neumarkt, Silesia
Died 16 October 1887(1887-10-16) (aged 78)
Niesky, Oberlausitz
Allegiance Kingdom of Prussia Prussia
German Empire Imperial Germany
Service/branch Prussian Army
Rank General of the Infantry
Commands held V Corps
Battles/wars Austro-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
Awards Pour le Mérite with Oakleaves
Relations Günther von Kirchbach

Hugo Ewald Graf von Kirchbach (23 May 1809 - 26 October 1887) was a Prussian general who commanded the Prussian V Corps during the Franco-Prussian War.

Born in 1809 at Neumarkt in Silesia, von Kirchbach entered the cadet school in 1824. In 1826 he was named an ensign in the Regiment Fürst Leopold von Anhalt-Dessau. In 1827 he became a sub-lieutenant. From 1831 to 1834 he studied at the Prussian Military Academy, which was a prerequisite to joining the General Staff. In 1838 he joined the Prussian General Staff's topography division. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1840, captain in 1845 and major in 1850. From 1855 to 1858 he was a divisional chief on the General Staff. In 1859 von Kirchbach became commander of the 36th Infantry Regiment. Before being promoted to major general in 1863, von Kirchbach served as the chief of staff of the 3rd Army corps in Berlin.

During the Second Schleswig War von Kirchbach was given command of the 21st Infantry brigade. At the start of the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 von Kirchbach was promoted to lieutenant general and given command of the 1st Infantry division. He distinguished himself in the battle of Nachod, and in engagements at Skalitz and Schweinschädel. For these actions he was awarded the Pour le Mérite. His division was not engaged at Königgrätz

When the Franco-Prussian War erupted in 1870 von Kirchbach was promoted to General der Infanterie and given command of the Prussian V Corps. He played a prominent role in the early battles of the war at Wissembourg and Wörth. At Sedan von Kirchbach and his V Corps were tasked with closing the ring on the northern side around the French Army of Châlons trapped at Sedan. During the siege of Paris, V Corps occupied positions to the southwest of the city. Von Kirchbach was able to repel all French attempts to break through his positions at Mont Valerien. On 18 February 1871 he was given the oak leaves to his Pour le Mérite. In February 1871 V Corps was sent to Orléans and in March to Vesoul.

In 1872 he was given 100.000 thaler and an estate in Niesky. In 1880 von Kirchbach was ennobled as a count. Hugo von Kirchbach died in 1887 in Niesky, Oberlausitz. His son Günther von Kirchbach was a colonel general during the First World War.

References[edit]

  • Howard, Michael, The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France 1870–1871, New York: Routledge, 2001. ISBN 0-415-26671-8.
  • Hansen, Wolfgang: "General der Infanterie Hugo Ewald Graf von Kirchbach" in Deutsches Soldatenjahrbuch 1987, Seite 125 ff. Schild Verlag, München 1987; ISBN 3-88014-087-1.

Notes[edit]

Regarding personal names: Graf was a title, before 1919, but now is regarded as part of the surname. It is translated as Count. Before the August 1919 abolition of nobility as a separate estate, titles preceded the full name when given (Prinz Otto von Bismarck). After 1919, these titles, along with any nobiliary prefix (von, zu, etc.), could be used, but were regarded as part of the surname, and thus came after a first name (Otto Prinz von Bismarck). The feminine form is Gräfin.