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Schmidt, Karl Von

SCHMIDT, KARL VON (1817-1875), Prussian cavalry general, was born at Schwedt on the Oder, on the 12th of January 1817, and entered the 4th Ulans as a second lieutenant in 1834. His long regimental service was varied by staff service and instructional work, and in the mobilization of 1859 he had the command of a landwehr cavalry regiment. In 1863 he was made colonel of the 4th Cuirassiers, which he commanded in the, for the cavalry arm, uneventful campaigns of 1864 and 1866. He then commanded a newly raised regiment of Schleswig-Holstein troops, the 16th Hussars, but at the outbreak of the Franco-German War he was still an obscure and perhaps a mistrusted officer, though his grasp of every detail of cavalry work was admitted. But an opportunity for distinction was grasped in the cavalry fighting around Mars-la-Tour (Aug. 16), in which he temporarily led a brigade and was severely wounded. He was soon promoted major-general and succeeded to the temporary command of his division on the disablement of its leader. In this post he did brilliant work in the campaign on the Loire, and even in the winter operations towards Le Mans, and earned a reputation second to none amongst the officers and men of his arm. After the war he took a leading part in the reorganization of the Prussian cavalry, which in ten years raised its efficiency to a point far beyond that of any other cavalry in Europe. In 1875, though his health was failing, he refused to give up the conduct of certain important cavalry manoeuvres with which he had been entrusted. But a few days of heavy work in the field brought on a fatal illness, and he died at Danzig on the zsth of August 1875. In 1889 the 4th Ulans, in which his regimental service was almost entirely spent, were given the name " Von Schmidt."

His drill and manoeuvre instructions were codified and published after his death by his staff officer, Captain von Vollard Bockelberg, who was authorized by Prince Frederick Charles to do so. An English translation, Instructions for Cavalry, has been published by the War Office. Von Schmidt himself wrote a pamphlet, Auch ein Wort uber die Ausbildung der Cavallerie (1862). The original German edition of the Instructions for Cavalry is prefaced by a memoir of Von Schmidt's life and services, written by Major Kaehler.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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