Christoph II von Dohna

Christoph II, Burggraf and Count of Dohna-Schlodien
Christoph II is memorialized on the Equestrian Statue of Frederick the Great in Berlin
BornOctober 25, 1702
DiedMay 19, 1762 (aged 59)
Known forGeneral Prussian military in Silesian Wars and Seven Years' War
RelativesChristopher I, Burgrave and Count of Dohna-Schlodien

Christoph II, Burggraf and Count of Dohna-Schlodien (25 October 1702 in Schlodien – 19 May 1762 in Berlin) was a Prussian general. He was the son of Christopher I, Burgrave and Count of Dohna-Schlodien (1665–1733). He served in the armies of Frederick William I of Prussia and his son, Frederick II, in the Silesian and Seven Years' wars. He was particularly successful at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, and instrumental in relieving Siege of Kolberg.


Christoph II descended from an old Prussian family, von Dohna, whose founder was Stanislaus von Dohna (1433–1504); his father, Christoph I. zu Dohna-Schlodien, was Stanislaus's great-grandson. His mother, Frede (Friederike) Marie (1660 –1729, Danzig), was the daughter of his uncle, Christian Albert, Burgrave and Count of Dohna. Christoph II married in Wildenfels on 18 October 1734 to Gräfin Friederike zu Solms-Wildenfels (28 Mai 1714 – 9 April 1755). She was the daughter of Friedrich Christoph zu Solms-Wildenfels (1712–1792).[1][2] In April 1741 and in December 1742, the couple had daughters Sophia Albertine and Albertina Amalia.[3] In 1747, when the couple had a daughter, the Princess Amalia and two younger brothers stood in for the King at the child's baptism.[4]

Christoph II's military career emulated that of other Junker sons. Many of the Junkers owned immense estates, especially in the north-eastern part of Prussia (i.e. the Prussian provinces of Brandenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, East Prussia and Posen). Their younger sons followed careers as soldiers (Fahnenjunker); consequently, the links between the Junker families to the Prussian Army firmly united the Prussian elite with the Prussian state.[5]

Military career


  • Fahnrich: 16 August 1718 (Regiment Nr. 23)
  • Captain: 1720
  • Lt Colonel: 1727
  • Colonel (Regiment Nr. 22): 28 July 1740
  • Proprietor (Regiment Nr. 4): 1745
  • Major General: 1745
  • Lt. General: 25 January 1753

Christoph II entered Prussian military in service during the reign of Frederick William I of Prussia and initially served in Infantry Regiment Nr. 23. On 16 August 1718, he was transferred to Infantry Regiment Nr. 3, where he subsequently received command of his own company in 1723. In 1727, the King promoted him directly to Lieutenant-Colonel.[7]

Frederick William died in May 1740 and his son, Frederick II declined to endorse the Pragmatic Sanction.[8] By the end of 1740, with the death of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, Prussia and Austria were at war over Maria Theresa's succession and inheritance.[9] On 20 June 1745, Dohna was appointed major general by patent effective as of 15 May 1743. He became proprietor of Infantry Regiment Nr. 4 in 1745; this regiment, established in 1672, had been his father's and grandfather's during their military service.[10] He later became the proprietor of Infantry Regiment Nr. 23 until 1748; on 14 July 1748, he became proprietor of Infantry Regiment No. 16, which had been established by his grandfather in 1689,[11] and at which he remained until his death in 1762.[12] On 25 January 1751, Frederick promoted him to lieutenant general.[7]

Dohna distinguished himself in the war against Austria, and subsequently in the first two of Frederick's three Silesian Wars. In 1751, he commanded the advanced guard of Hans von Lehwaldt's Corps against the Russians at the first battle of Groß-Jägersdorf, where he was wounded. Dohna was awarded the Order of the Black Eagle in 1753 and also promoted to lieutenant general in January of that year.[6]

After a brief interval of peace, in April 1758 he received the command of Prussia's troops in the Pomeranian Theater, fighting against the Swedes at Stralsund. Sweden's ally, Russia, sent an army to relieve the blockade, which Dohna held at bay with his small force until the Frederick's arrival with the main army at the Oder; Christoph II subsequently commanded a wing—22,000 strong—of the Prussian force at the first meeting at the Zorndorf, an arguably strategic victory for the Prussians but one at which they suffered high losses.[13] Subsequently, he forced the Russians to lift their siege of the Battle of Kolberg,[14] inflicting 600 casualties on the Russians. After relieving the siege, his wing moved against the Austrians under András Hadik in Saxony. By January 1759, he was back in Pomerania fighting the Swedes, and had taken the towns of Damgarten, Richtenberg, Grimm, Greifswald, Demmin and Anklam for Frederick, pushing the Swedes back to Stralsund and Rügen.[7]

In the years 1758–1759, campaigning in two theaters, Saxony and Upper Pomerania, some 340 kilometres (210 mi) distant from one another, damaged his health. In April 1759, Frederick recalled him to Berlin to recover, writing that Dohna was too sick to continue: "Vous êtes trop malade pour vous charger du commandement. Vous ferez bien de vous faire transporter ou à Berlin ou dans un endroit où vous pourrez remettre votre santé." ("You are too sick to lead your troops; bring yourself to Berlin where you can recover your health.")[7] He was replaced by General Heinrich von Manteuffel.[6] After his recovery, he rejoined the army at Landsberg on the Warthe. On 24 June 1759 he marched with Manteuffel into Poland in their unsuccessful effort to prevent the Russians from advancing into Silesia. On 22 July 1759, he opposed the Russian army at Züllichau, but he again was recalled to Berlin for health reasons before the armies could engage. Carl Heinrich von Wedel, his successor at Züllichau, engaged the Russian army at the Battle of Kay, which the Prussians lost with high casualties.[7]

After his recall, Dohna lived in Berlin until his death on 19 May 1762; his name is engraved on the Frederick II the Great Equestrian Memorial.[7][15]


  1. ^ Toni Scharing (1959), "Christian Albrecht von Dohna" , Neue Deutsche Biographie (in German), 4, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, p. 47
  2. ^ Winkler (1892), "Solms, Friedrich Christoph Graf zu", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 34, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, p. 576
  3. ^ Johann Samuel Heinsius, Genealogisch-historische Nachrichten von den vornehmsten, Berlin, 1746, p. 300,
  4. ^ Johann Samuel Heinsius, Genealogisch-historische (en Fortgesetzte neue geneal. hist. Nachrichten von den allerneuesten Begebenheiten, welche sich an den Europäischen Höfen zutragen. Berlin, 1747, p. 746.
  5. ^ William W. Hagen, Ordinary Prussians – Brandenburg Junkers and Villagers, 1500–1840, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c Eduard Lange, Die soldaten Friedrichs des Grossen, H. Mendelssohn, 1853 Dohna . p. 72–73.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Artikel "Dohna, Christoph II." von Ernst Graf zur Lippe-Weißenfeld in: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, herausgegeben von der Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Band 5 (1877), S. 302–303, Digitale Volltext-Ausgabe in Wikisource, URL: Christoph II (Version vom 7. Dezember 2016, 18:36 Uhr UTC)
  8. ^ Robert B. Asprey Frederick the Great: The Magnificent Enigma. New York: Ticknor & Fields. 1986 ISBN 0-89919-352-8. p. 141
  9. ^ Jay Luvaas, Frederick the Great on the Art of War. New York: Free Press, 1966 ISBN 978-1-11178-540-6, p 3.
  10. ^ Günther Gieraths, Die Kampfhandlungen der brandenburgisch-preussischen Armee, 1626-1800, Walter de Gruyter, 1964 p. 15. ISBN 9783110004557
  11. ^ Gieraths, p. 57 .
  12. ^ Christopher Duffy, The Army of Frederick the Great, New York, Hippocrene Books, 1974 ISBN 0-88254-277-X, p. 239.
  13. ^ A Hook. Zorndorf 1758: Frederick Faces Holy Mother Russia, Osprey Publishing, 2003, p. 83.
  14. ^ Franz A. J. Szabo, The Seven Years War in Europe, 1756–1763, New York, Pearson Education, 2008 ISBN 0-582-29272-7, p. 187
  15. ^ Denkmal König Friedrichs des Grossen: enthüllt am 31. Mai 1851, Verlag der Deckerschen Geheimen Ober-Hofbuchdruckerei, 1851, p. 7.
Military offices
Preceded by
Samuel von Polentz
Proprietor of Infantry Regiment Nr. 4
Succeeded by
Karl Erhard von Kalnein
Preceded by
Wolf Alexander Ernst Chistoph von Blanckensee
Proprietor of Infantry Regiment Nr. 23
Succeeded by
Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix
Preceded by
Adam Christoph von Flanss
Proprietor of Infantry Regiment Nr. 16
Succeeded by
Friedrich Wilhelm von Syburg
Source: Duffy, Christopher (1974). The Army of Frederick the Great . New York, N.Y.: Hippocrene Books. pp. 237 –241. ISBN 0-88254-277-X.

Categories: 1702 births | 1762 deaths | Prussian nobility | Prussian generals | Counts of Germany | 18th-century German people | Prussian military personnel of the Seven Years' War | Lieutenant generals of Prussia

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