Wichard Joachim Heinrich von Möllendorf

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Wichard Joachim Heinrich von Möllendorf.

Wichard Joachim Heinrich von Möllendorf (7 January 1724 – 28 January 1816) was a Generalfeldmarschall of the Kingdom of Prussia.

Life and career[edit]

Möllendorf was born in Lindenberg (Prignitz), now a part of Wittenberge, in the Margraviate of Brandenburg. He began his career as a page of King Frederick the Great in 1740. The outbreak of the Silesian Wars gave him his first opportunity of seeing active service, and the end of the second war saw him a captain, promoted for bravery at Soor (1746).

In the Seven Years' War, his brilliant conduct at the churchyard of Leuthen and at Hochkirch won him promotion to major. In 1760 his exertions retrieved the almost lost battle of Torgau, and the last success of the great King Frederick was won by the brigades of Prince Wied and Möllendorf (now major-general) at the Burkersdorf heights. Möllendorf was captured by the Austrians, but released in 1761, and was made general a year after. He received an Order of Merit for his exertions.

Seventeen years later, as lieutenant-general, he won at Brix one of the few successes of the War of the Bavarian Succession (or Potato War). In the years of peace Möllendorf occupied considerable posts, being made governor of Berlin in 1783. Promoted to general of infantry in 1787, and general field marshal in 1793, that year he commanded the troops which put into effect the second partition of Poland. He commanded the Prussian army on the Rhine in 1794.

In the disastrous Battle of Jena-Auerstedt (1806) Möllendorf played a considerable part, though he did not actually command a corps. He was present with King Frederick William III at Auerstedt. He was wounded, and fell into the hands of the French, in the debacle which followed. After releasing him, Napoleon awarded him the cross of the Legion of Honor.

He passed the remainder of his life in retirement. He died in 1816 in Potsdam.