Adam Albert von Neipperg

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Adam Albert, Count von Neipperg (8 April 1775 – 22 February 1829) was an Austrian general and statesman. He was the son of a diplomat famous for inventing a letter-copying machine, and the grandson of Count Wilhelm Reinhard von Neipperg.

Adam Albert von Neipperg
Neipperg.jpg
Adam Albert, Count von Neipperg
Born 8 April 1775 (1775-04-08)
Vienna, Archduchy of Austria
Died 22 February 1829 (1829-02-23) (aged 53)
Parma, Duchy of Parma
Allegiance Austrian Empire Austrian Empire
Service/branch Cavalry
Years of service Austrian Empire 1791–1829
Rank Austrian Empire Feldmarschall-Leutnant and 2nd Colonel-Proprietor of the 3rd Hussar Regiment
Battles/wars Battle of Jemappes
Battle of Neerwinden
Siege of Valenciennes
Siege of Mainz
Battle of Verderio
Relief of Mantua
Battle of Marengo
Battle of Pozzolo
Battle of Leipzig
Battle of Ronco
Battle of Scapezzano
Battle of Tolentino (support)
Awards

Austrian Empire Tyrolean Silver Medal of Honor (1798)
Austrian Empire Order of Maria Theresa (1801)
France Order of the Légion d'Honneur (1810)
Sweden Order of the Sword (1812)
Russian Empire Order of St. George (1813)
Russian Empire Order of St. Anna (1813)
Kingdom of Sardinia Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus (1814)
Order of St. Ferdinand and of Merit (1815)
Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George (1816)

Austrian Empire Order of Leopold (1825)
Other work Prime Minister and Ehren-Kavalier to Duchess Maria Luigia 1821–1829

Early life[edit]

Adam Neipperg was born in Vienna as a son of Count Leopold von Neipperg and his fourth wife Maria Ludovica Countess Hatzfeld-Wildenburg-Werther. In 1766, the County of Neipperg, centred on Schwaigern, had become an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire, but was mediatised to the Kingdom of Württemberg in 1806.

Neipperg was educated at the Karlsschule military academy in Stuttgart. At the age of sixteen, Neipperg attempted to enlist in the French army at Strasbourg but, in 1791, he joined the ranks of the Austrians. He participated in the Battle of Jemappes, Battle of Neerwinden, and Siege of Valenciennes. On 14 September 1794, at the village of Doel, on returning from one of many missions to deliver secret instructions to forts in the Dutch Republic, he became trapped behind enemy lines and received such serious bayonet wounds that he was left for dead; he lost his right eye in this skirmish. The following day, while burying the dead, the French found him still breathing and hospitalised him. Speaking French rather too well for a common soldier, he was assumed to be a traitor and sentenced to be shot once his health had returned. However, his convalescence was lengthy due to the seriousness of his injuries. By the time he recovered, the command having changed, he became part of a prisoner exchange. In a different account, he lost his eye not to a saber wound sustained in battle, but as a result of his maltreatment while being held prisoner by the French.[1] He was unable to return to active duty for over a year. Neipperg rejoined the Austrian army and took part in the Battle of Mainz in 1795, and led Austrian troops in Italy, culminating at the disastrous Battle of Marengo in 1800 that drove the Austrians out of Italy.

Diplomat and general[edit]

In 1809, after the Austrian campaign, he was appointed ambassador to Sweden and encouraged Bernadotte to enter in the coalition which was formed in 1813. In reward for this service, he was decorated by the Swedish king. Neipperg rejoined the Austrian army and fought at Leipzig where he distinguished himself sufficiently to be appointed as lieutenant field marshal.

In 1814, Klemens von Metternich sent him to negotiate with the King of Naples, Joachim Murat, who signed a secret peace treaty with Austria in order to keep his throne. Metternich's other intrigue was to try to distance Prince Eugene (stepson of Napoleon and son-in-law of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria) from the French. When Napoleon returned from exile, Murat once again allied with his brother-in-law the Emperor, triggering the Neapolitan War.

Neipperg commanded a corps in the Austrian army (called the Army of Naples) under Field Marshal Frederick Bianchi. Murat dispatched General Carrascosa with a division of Neapolitan troops to prevent Neipperg's corps linking up with Bianchi and the Austrian main body. Neipperg defeated Carrascosa at Scapezzano on 1 May 1815. The main Neapolitan force under Murat's command attacked Bianchi's smaller force, which was in a strong defensive position, at Tolentino on 2 May 1815. The attack was renewed on 3 May and the Neapolitan force was gaining an advantage over the Austrians, when Murat received news of Carrascosa's defeat. With the threat of Neipperg's large force approaching his flank, Murat had to order the Neapolitan army to withdraw, turning Tolentino from a potential Napoleonic victory into a defeat.

In 1815, Neipperg participated in the short occupation of France. In July 1815, as the Austrian army crossed the Rhone, he took command of the troops in the French departments of Gard, Ardèche and Hérault. He was under the supervision of Bianchi, commanding the Austrian army in the south of France. He lived in Nîmes and left the city with the rest of the troops on 14 September 1815.

Marriages[edit]

Neipperg family coat of arms

Neipperg married Therese Josephine Walpurgis, Countess Thurn-Valsassina (1778-1815) in 1806 and they had four sons. He was succeeded in the headship of the House of Neipperg by his eldest son Alfred (1807–1865) who married, secondly, Princess Marie Frederike Charlotte (1816-1887), daughter of King William I of Württemberg. Alfred died childless and his brother Erwin Franz (1813–1897) followed him. The male heirs of this senior line of counts still live at Schwaigern in Germany.[2] The present head of the house, Karl-Eugen, Count von Neipperg (born 1951), is the husband of Archduchess Andrea von Habsburg.

In August 1814, he was instructed to escort Napoleon's wife, the Empress Marie-Louise, to Aix-les-Bains to take the waters. However, the true purpose of his mission was to prevent the Empress from joining Napoleon in exile in Elba. Neipperg, who had understood this perfectly, was rumored to have told his mistress in Milan: "Inside of six months I shall be her lover, and soon her husband."[3] The quote is most likely apocryphal, and at any rate, he did not need that long, as Marie-Louise soon fell into his arms and talk of Elba never arose again.[4]

Four months after the death of Napoleon in 1821, he married Marie-Louise in a morganatic marriage. She had become sovereign Duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, styled Maria-Luigia di Parma, in the final act of the Congress of Vienna on 9 June 1815. From this union, four children were born, the first two before the marriage, whilst Maria-Luigia was still legally married to Napoleon:

  • Countess Albertine di Montenuovo (Italian translation of Neipperg) (1817–1867), who married Luigi Sanvitale, Count di Fontanellato;
  • William Albert, Count then 1st Prince von Montenuovo, (1819–1895), who married Countess Juliana Batthyány von Németújvár;
  • Countess Mathilde di Montenuovo, born in 1822, died young.
  • Count Gustavo di Montenuovo, born in 1823, died young.

Neipperg died in Parma on 22 February 1829 of a heart condition. His descendants with the Duchess Maria-Luigia, the Princes von Montenuovo, intermarried with the Austro-Hungarian nobility and served as courtiers and diplomats at the Imperial Hofburg in Vienna, dying out in the male line in 1951.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wurzbach, Constantin (1869), Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, Universitätsbibliothek Graz, Vol. 20, pp. 146-152.
  2. ^ Neipperg family tree online
  3. ^ Geer, Walter (1925), Napoleon and Marie-Louise; the fall of the empire, New York, Brentano's, p.315.
  4. ^ von Wertheimer, Edouard (1902), The Duke of Reichstadt (Napoleon the Second), London, Ballantyne & Co., p.120.

Sources[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Filippo Magawly Cerati
Prime Minister of Duchy of Parma
1821–1829
Succeeded by
Joseph von Werklein