Heissler of Heitersheim (Donat John Count)
|Donat John Count Heissler of Heitersheim|
|Died||1 September 1696
Donat John Count Heissler of Heitersheim was an Imperial and Royal Marshal of the Habsburg empire. He was deeply involved in the conflict between the Austrian and Turkish empires. He was born in 1648 and died at Szeged on 1 September 1696.
Donat John Heissler was born in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1648, at the end of the Thirty Years' War. He enlisted in the service of Habsburgs at a very young age, and as a cavalary captain, Heissler obtained the rank of knight on 15 September 1678. His courage and exemplary behaviour led to his promotion to colonel and command over a regiment of dragoons, which is named after him.
He fought bravely in the Battle of Vienna in 1683 and continued to distinguish himself in battle over the following years. In 1684 he defeated rebels commanded by Imre Thököly, followed by a victory over a Turkish regiment at Székesfehérvár. In 1684 he relieved Vác, subjugated Arad and defeated Turkish forces, which were defending Oradea and Gyula.
On 16 September 1685, he was promoted to the rank of general and in his first expedition prevented the conquering of Munkács and Ofen, and defeated the Turks at Szeged. In 1688 he crushes Imre Thökölu at Körös, seizes Požarevac (Passarowitz) and distinguishes himself at Belgrade.
His imperial troops and the supporting transylvanian army were defeated by troops of Imre Thököly at the battle of Zernest in 1690. His ally, count Mihály Teleki was killed in action. Heissler was captured by Thököly, and offered to the Emperor in exchange for countess Ilona Zrínyi, the wife of Imre Thököly, who was being kept in an imperial prison. It took two years to negotiate the exchange. In 1692, the deal was closed: Heissler was released, and the countess joined her husband in Turkey.
On 9 February 1692, immediately after his release, he was promoted to the rank of General of the Cavalry and proved that his courage hadn't been affected by his imprisonment by seizing the town of Oradea on 5 June. From 1694 until 1695 he took command of the main Hungarian forces on an interim basis. On 12 May 1696, he obtained the supreme rank of Marshal.
He was elevated to the rank of Count, a title he keeps until his death on 1 September 1696 from the consequences of a wound he received 5 days prior in the Battle of Ulaş, near Timișoara. The "Register of Generals of the Imperial and Royal Army died on the Field of Honor" lists him as "Donat John Count Heissler of Heitersheim, Marhsal Imperial and Royal".
A lover of castles
Heissler of Heitersheim acquired the castle of Uherčice and added to its embellishment. His modifications gave a more baroque aspect to the castle, thanks to the involvement of the architect Francesco Martinelli. Under the aegis of the Count, Baldassarre Fontana created the very beautiful decoration in stucco in the chapel and several rooms.
He also acquired the Piesling castle at the same time.
The count had two sons and a daughter with Barbara Maria Countess Heissler of Heitersheim:
- François Joseph Count Heissler of Heitersheim who acquires Qualkowitz in 1702 which he resells in 1718. He also sells the Píesling property to Count Anton von Hartig.
- Bernard of Heissler, second son of the count, led the Regiment founded by Donat John in 1705.
- Maria Theresia Countess Heissler of Heitersheim (†14 August 1759), married 30 May 1709, Maximilian Joseph Count Mittrovsky of Mitrowitz.
- A granddaughter married in 1741 Charles-Gabriel Baron of Canon and of the Holy Roman Empire, called Marquess of Ville, Lord of Brick in Silesia, Chamberlain of his Imperial and Royal Majesty, general Major commanding Debretchin
- Wilhelm Edler von Janko (1880), "Heißler von Heitersheim, Donat Johann, Graf", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German) 11, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 671–672
- Mährischer Adel, S. 44
- François-Alexandre Aubert de La Chesnaye Des Bois: Dictionnaire généalogique, héraldique, chronologique et historique, S. 383 (französisch)