Mathias Rukavina von Boynograd

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Mathias Rukavina von Boynograd
Matija Rukavina (1737-1817).jpg
Matija Rukavina Bojnogradski (Croatian)
Born 1737 (1737)
Trnovac, Croatia (near Gospić)
Died 3 May 1817 (1817-05-04) (aged 78)
Vienna, Austria
Allegiance Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Austria
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1755-1804
Rank Feldmarschall-Leutnant
Awards Military Order of Maria Theresa, Knight (1796)

Mathias Rukavina von Boynograd (Croatian: Matija Rukavina Bojnogradski), also Mathias Rukawina, Mathias Ruccavina, Mate Rukavina,[1] (1737 - 3 May 1817) was a Croatian general in the Habsburg Monarchy imperial army service. He joined the army in 1755 and fought against the Kingdom of Prussia, Ottoman Turkey, and the First French Republic. For most of his career he served with the light infantry from the military border with Turkey. He earned the rank of general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars. During the 1796 Italian campaign, he commanded a brigade in several battles against the French army led by Napoleon Bonaparte. He was Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian infantry regiment for a short time.

Early career[edit]

Born in Trnovac, Croatia (near Gospić in Lika region), in 1737, Rukavina was the son of Oberleutnant Josef (Croatian: Josip) Rukavina and Susanna von Startschewitsch (Starčević).[2] He enlisted in a Hungarian regiment and fought with distinction during the Seven Years' War. Afterward, he served with the Grenz infantry (also known as Croats) and won promotion to major in 1778. He attained the social title of Ritter in 1779. During the Austro-Turkish War (1787-1791) he was wounded twice.[3] He earned the rank of Oberst in 1789. He married Elisabeth Lotters on 10 April 1792.[4]

Italian campaign[edit]

Rukavina transferred to Italy in 1794 as commander of two Carlstädter Grenz battalions. His promotion to General-Major occurred on 1 May 1795, while he was serving in northwest Italy. He was wounded in action in June. At the Battle of Loano on 23 November, he heroically defended one of the redoubts, but was eventually forced to retreat. The spring of 1796 found him in command of a brigade in the division of Eugène-Guillaume Argenteau.[5] On the night of 10–11 April he marched two and a half battalions from Dego to join other Austrian units near Montenotte Superiore. Historian Boycott-Brown writes:

It was also Rukavina who engaged the enemy first, and it seems to have been entirely in character for him to do so. Mathias Rukavina was one of those fighting generals from the Borders who seem to have been happiest leading from the front.[6]

That day Rukavina was shot in the shoulder while leading his troops in an attack on a French redoubt atop Monte Negino (also Monte Legino). Though the assault failed, he urged Argenteau to persist, but his superior declined. The next day, Bonaparte concentrated superior forces and badly defeated Argenteau in the Battle of Montenotte. Rukavina remained in command at Dego until 13 April, but because of his injury, he missed the rest of the Montenotte Campaign.[7]

Rukavina led a brigade in Michelangelo Colli's division at the Battle of Borghetto on 30 May but was not in action. After the Austrian defeat, his troops joined the garrison of Mantua[8] During the Siege of Mantua, he fell under the overall command of Josef Canto d'Irles and defended the Migliaretto entrenchments with one battalion of Carlstädter Grenzers, one battalion of the 2nd Garrison Infantry Regiment (IR), and three battalions of the Terzi IR # 16.[9] Rukavina actively participated in siege operations and his Aide-de-camp was killed in a sortie on 16 July.[10] When the French temporarily lifted the siege on 1 August before the Battle of Castiglione, D'Irles sent Rukavina to deliver a message to Dagobert von Wurmser, the army commander.[11] This spared him from serving through the remainder of the siege from August to February 1797.

Later career[edit]

Rukavina received the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa on 10 August 1796. He was appointed to the noble title of Freiherr on 16 October 1797. From 1797 to 1803, he commanded the military district of Dalmatia, being elevated to the rank of Feldmarschal-Leutnant in 1801. In 1803, he briefly became Proprietor (Inhaber) of Rukavina Infantry Regiment # 52. But he stepped down in 1804 when he retired from the army, becoming second proprietor of the regiment. He died in Penzing, Austria on 3 May 1817.[12]

See also[edit]


Printed materials[edit]

  • Boycott-Brown, Martin. The Road to Rivoli. London: Cassell & Co., 2001. ISBN 0-304-35305-1
  • Fiebeger, G. J. (1911). The Campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte of 1796–1797. West Point, New York: US Military Academy Printing Office. 
  • Pöttickh von Pettenegg, Gaston (ed.). Jahrbuch der K. K. Heraldischen Gesellschaft "Adler". Wien: Druck von Carl Gerold's Sohn, 1902.

External References[edit]


  1. ^ Ivan Pederin (2007). "Janko Drašković". Kolo (in Croatian) (Matica hrvatska) (3). ISSN 1331-0992. 
  2. ^ Pettenegg, p 56
  3. ^ Boycott-Brown, p 202
  4. ^ Pettenegg, p 56
  5. ^ Fiebeger, p 8
  6. ^ Boycott-Brown, p 202
  7. ^ Boycott-Brown, p 213, 245
  8. ^ Boycott-Brown, p 351
  9. ^ Boycott-Brown, p 365
  10. ^ Boycott-Brown, p 374
  11. ^ Boycott-Brown, p 391
  12. ^ Smith-Kudrna, Rukavina
Military offices
Preceded by
Archduke Anton Victor of Austria
Proprietor (Inhaber) of Infantry Regiment # 52
Succeeded by
Archduke Franz Karl of Austria