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Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix

Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix

Prussian general
Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Prussian general
Is Military personnel
From Russia
Type Military
Gender male
Birth Berlin
Death 23 March 1765, Berlin
The details

Biography

Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix (* 10 February 1698, Berlin; † 23 March 1765, Berlin) was a Royal Prussian Lieutenant General, the eldest son of another Royal Prussian Lieutenant General, who was an early Huguenot immigrant to Brandenburg-Prussia and a descendent of the noble family of Forcade. He was one of King Frederick the Great's most active and most treasured officers. Twice wounded and left for dead on the battlefield, he covered the name Forcade de Biaix in glory. Together with his wife, he fathered 23 children.
He was Regimentschef of the 23rd Prussian Infantry Regiment, recipient of the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order of merit for heroism, Knight of the Order of Pour le Mérite, Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle, Canon (Domherr) of Havelberg, Castellan (Drost) in Neuenrade in the County of Mark, Lord Seneschal (Amtshauptmann) of Zinna, President of the Ober-Collegium Sanitatis in Berlin and Lieutenant governor of Breslau.
In 1851, his name was immortalized on the north facing commemorative plaque on the Equestrian statue of Frederick the Great in Berlin.
Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix is referred to in some historical sources, as the Marquis de Biaix. As with his father, there is no evidence that he was ever a Marquis. Biaix was not a marquisate, but instead a noble fief (see also Manorialism).

Early life

Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix was the eldest son of Lieutenant General Jean de Forcade de Biaix (1663–1729) and his wife, the Baroness Juliane von Honstedt, daughter of the Major General Baron Quirin von Honstedt, from Württemberg but in the service of Prussia. His baptismal Godfather was none less than Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg and King in Prussia in 1698, who became Frederick I of Prussia the first King of Prussia aka "the Mercenary King" in 1701.

His father was a Huguenot religious exile who was among the earliest arrivals in Brandenburg-Prussia, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by the Edict of Fontainebleau in October 1685. Unlike his father and his eldest brother, choosing to not abjure from his Calvinist beliefs, he left his native Béarn in France for Brandenburg-Prussia, where Frederick I of Prussia, then Elector of Brandenburg, was not only encouraging, but actively facilitating, Huguenot immigration.

Little else is known about his early life.

Military career

The lives and careers of both Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix and his father are intricately linked to the history of the 23rd Prussian Infantry Regiment, founded in 1713 and disbanded in 1806. Forcade spent the majority of his career on the infantry side of this regiment. The regiment also included a company of Grenadiers, the 2nd Grenadier Company. It was garrisoned in Berlin from 1716 until 1806. He later commanded the entire regiment, including the Grenadiers, for 17 years, (14 July 1748 - 23 March 1765). His father commanded the regiment during 13 years (February 1716 - 2 February 1729). During much of its existence, as well as more than 200 years after, it was referred to as Forcade's Regiment. The Regiment is immortalized in the German military marching composition "Das Regiment Forcade" that was in use as late as World War II.

Forcade entered Prussian military service in 1713 during the reign of King Frederick William I of Prussia (1713–40), beginning what would become one of the most notable military careers in the history of the Kingdom of Prussia, spanning some 53 years, and further serving under King Frederick the Great (1740–65).

  • 21 September 1713, appointed as a Fähnrich, an entry-level commissioned officer with the Grenadiers of the Weiße Füsilier-Leibgarde Nr. 1, in the 1st Prussian Infantry Regiment, aka General Field Marshall Count von Wartensleben's Infantry Regiment (in 1788, called von Bornstedt's Regiment).

Great Northern War (1715)

Following Brandenburg-Prussia's declaration of war against Sweden in the summer of 1715, Forcade fought in the Pomeranian Campaigns. He fought at the Siege of Stralsund (15 June 1715 - 23 December 1715), where he was wounded for the first time, the storming of the Peenemuende Lair (21–22 August 1715) and on Rügen Island (16–18 November 1715).

  • 11 January 1716, promoted to Second Lieutenant.
  • Promoted on 26 May 1719 to First Lieutenant.
  • 24 January 1721, made a Captain in his father's Regiment, the 23rd Prussian Infantry Regiment.
  • In 1732, promoted to Major in the same regiment.
  • Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1740.

First Silesian War (1740–42)

He fought near Glogau (29 December 1740 - 2 January 1741), Breslau (29 December 1740 - 2 January 1741), Ottmachau Palace (12 January 1741), Troppau (23 January 1740), Graetz (25 January 1741), the Battle of Mollwitz (10 April 1741), at Neisse (19 October 1741 - 31 October 1741), Laa (12 March 1742), Bruenn (31 March 1742 - 3 April 1742), Austerlitz (10 April 1742) and Wartha (25–26 May 1742).

  • 30 May 1743, promoted to Colonel.
  • In June 1743, he was appointed Amtshauptmann von Zinna (the Official heading the Zinna district government).

Second Silesian War (1744–45)

Forcade and the 23rd Prussian Infantry Regiment fought at Prague (2–18 September 1744), Pless aka Josephstadt (27 November 1744), Patschkau (27 December 1744) the Battle of Hohenfriedberg (4 June 1745), Gross- and Klein Bocken (31 July 1745), around Neustadt in Böhmen (11–12 September 1745), at the Battle of Soor (30 September 1745) and at Trautenbach and Schatzlar (16 October 1745).

The regiment lost its Regimentschef, Major General Wolf Alexander Ernst Christoph von Blanckensee, at the Battle of Soor. Forcade himself, was shot through the calf of his right foot. Badly wounded, he was left for dead on the battlefield. King Frederick the Great attributed the glory of the victory to him for his actions on the battlefield that day, and, on 6 January 1746, awarded him the Kingdom of Prussia's highest order of merit, the Pour le Mérite, as well as a pension of 600 Thaler and the title of Canon (Domherr) of Havelberg.

Another episode in 1746 demonstrates just how much King Frederick the Great treasured Forcade. During a ritual presentation at court at the Berlin Palace, Forcade had to lean on a window because of his wounded right foot. The King personally brought him a chair, graciously saying: "My dear Colonel von Forcade, so brave and worthy a man, as He is, well deserves that even the King himself brings him a chair."

  • In 1747, on occasion of the baptism of his son, Friedrich Heinrich Ferdinand Leopold, His Majesty the King Frederick the Great was the Godfather. As a gift, the King ordered von Forcade to accept the title of Drost zu Neuenrade (the Official responsible for the militarily administrative district of Neuenrade) in the County of Mark with the royal command that it be later transferred to the child.
  • May 1747, promoted to Major General, with rank retroactive to 4 December 1743.
  • Appointed on 14 July 1748 as Regimentschef of his father's old regiment, the 23rd Prussian Infantry Regiment, at the time also referred to as Donha's Regiment, after his predecessor, Count Christoph zu Dohna.

Third Silesian War (1756–63)

Forcade commanded his regiment in early engagements near Pirna (11 September 1756 - 16 October 1756).

  • 10 February 1757, promoted to Lieutenant General.

Forcade and the 23rd Prussian Infantry Regiment were particularly active during the Seven Years' War.

1757

He commanded his regiment, fighting alongside of his men, at

  • the Battle of Reichenberg near Kratzau (21 April 1757); Infantry
  • the Battle of Prague (6 May 1757 - 20 June 1757); Infantry and Grenadiers
  • Aussig (27/29 July 1757); Infantry and Grenadiers
  • Kotta (24 August 1757); Grenadiers
  • Markranstädt (29 October 1757); Infantry and Grenadiers
  • the Battle of Rossbach (5 November 1757); Infantry and Grenadiers
  • the Battle of Leuthen (5 December 1757); Infantry and Grenadiers
  • Klein-Mochbern and Maria-Höfchen, near Breslau (6 December 1757); Grenadiers
  • the Siege of Breslau (7–20 December 1757); Infantry
  • Nikolaivorstadt at Görlitz (12 December 1757); Infantry
  • Landeshut (22 December 1757); Grenadiers

Forcade's infantry lost 600 men during each of the battles at Prague and Leuthen.

  • In December 1757, after commanding the Battle of Leuthen in which distinguished himself beyond description, he was awarded the Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle.

When the King took possession of Leuthen, he personally wrote of von Forcade:

English translation: "My dear Lieutenant General von Forkade. I know that he has endured much at this siege, and it is our fortune because of him, that we were soon able to become masters of the city, because he otherwise, without my being able to help or relieve him, would have had to endure even more. So I thank him for it, and because he endured the most here : so shall he also alone have the honor from it. So, I herewith award him not only the Order of the Black Eagle, but also appointed him as Lieutenant governor of Breslau. I have awarded the vacant {command of} the Bremen Grenadier Company in Golz' Regiment to his eldest son, who is my Adjutant, because he well deserves it".

1758

  • Holitz in Bohemia (11–12 July 1758); Infantry
  • the Battle of Zorndorf (25 August 1758); Infantry and Grenadiers
  • the Battle of Jenkwitz (11 October 1758); Infantry
  • the Battle of Hochkirch (14 October 1758); Infantry and Grenadiers

Forcade was wounded again at the Zorndorf. The Prussians lost 12,800 men, the Russians lost 18,000 men at Zorndorf. Forcade lost 1,600 of his men that day, 800 each from his infantry and Grenadiers, as well as the Grenadier's commanding officer, Major Ernst Sigismund von Wedell.

He again lost 1,600 of his men again at Hochkirch, 800 each from his infantry and Grenadiers, where the Prussians were defeated on the battlefield.

1759

  • the Battle of Friedland in Bohemia (9 September 1759); Infantry

During this successful battle, Forcade's infantry took 700 prisoners and destroyed an important munitions depot.

1760

  • in April 1760, he marched the regiment to Pomerania and forced the Russian General Tottleben to retreat from the province to the Polish border.
  • the Siege of Dresden (13–22 July 1760); Infantry and Grenadiers
  • Adelsdorf (9 August 1760); Grenadier
  • the Battle of Liegnitz (15 August 1760); Infantry and Grenadiers
  • Hochgiersdorf (17 September 1760); Grenadier
  • Schöna (2 November 1760); Grenadier
  • the Battle of Torgau (3 November 1760); Infantry and Grenadiers

At the Battle of Torgau, Forcade lost 15 officers and more than 600 men.

1761

  • Schwadronschef (Rittmeister) of the 2nd Grenadier Company under Prince Augustus Ferdinand of Prussia.
  • an entrenched camp near Bunzelwitz (20 August 1761 - 25 September 1761); Infantry

1762

  • 1762, commanded a special corps under Prince Henry of Prussia in Saxony.
  • the Battle of Grethen (9 March 1762); Grenadiers

Although Forcade's Grenadiers won the Battle of Grethen against 4,000 Austrians, they lost their commanding officer, Major Joachim Friedrich von Rathenow, who died from his wounds a week after the battle.

  • Döbeln (12 May 1762); Grenadiers
  • Marches between Frauenstein and Tharandt Forest: Klingenberg, Beerwalde Mill, Rothenbach Mill, Lehn-Mill (15 May 1762); Grenadiers
  • the Siege of Schweidnitz (4 August 1762 - 10 October 1762); Infantry
  • Brand (15 October 1762); Grenadiers
  • the Battle of Freiberg (29 October 1762)

The Treaty of Hubertusburg

In 1763, following the Treaty of Hubertusburg, he received a gift of 8,000 Thaler from King Frederick the Great.

A cabinet order of the King on 19 May 1763 created a War Tribunal, presided over by Lieutenant General von Forcade, together with Lieutenant Generals von Wedell, von Czetteritz and von Wylich.

Final Years

The proverb "Brave wie Forcade" (Brave like Forcade) became a standard expression of valor in the Prussian Army during the 18th century. "Das Regiment Forcade (hat nie ein Feind besiegt)" (lyrics by Georg von Kries, melody by Hans Hertel, 1906) was long a standard, at times mandatory, composition in the German military song repertoire.

His Legacy

Following Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix's death in 1765, his widow received a handwritten letter, in French, from King Frederick the Great, that reads:

English translation: "I take advantage of the first {free} moment of my convalescence to let you know the part I take in the loss you experienced, and what I want to do to relieve your justifiable pain. I give you a first pension of five hundred crowns for the long and faithful {years of} service that your husband rendered me; a second identical sum, in consideration of your happy fertility; and a third, also of five hundred crowns, to help you raise your children. I can only recommend that you make sure that they follow in the footsteps of their father."

Madame von Forcade undoubtedly highly appreciated this well-deserved gesture. She made sure that their children respected the King's wishes; all five sons were commissioned officers; five of the six daughters married military men, and the sixth joined a religious order.

Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix and his wife are interred together in the Old Garrison Cemetery in Berlin.

A 19th century theatrical play centered around Frederick the Great, affectionately referred to as (Old Fritz), and Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix {citation needed}.

In 1851, General von Forcade was immortalized on the north facing commemorative plaque on the Equestrian statue of Frederick the Great in Berlin.

Family

Coat of Arms

Forcade-Biaix Coat of Arms, Prussian Branch, circa 1820

The family motto of the Prussian branch is "In Virtute Pertinax".

Coat of Arms: An escutcheon with the field divided into four parts. Left half: argent tincture, a gules lion holding a sinople eradicated oak tree between its paws; azure tincture charged with three or mullets; Right half: a gules castle with three towers on an argent tincture; sinople tincture charged with three argent roses below it. A Grafenkrone (Count's coronet) as helmut on top of the escutcheon, crested with a or fleur-de-lis. Two or lions supporting the escutcheon. Motto: "In Virtute Pertinax".

Heraldic Symbolism: The lion symbolizes courage; the eradicated oak tree symbolizes strength and endurance; the towers are symbols of defense and of individual fortitude; the mullets (5-star) symbolizes divine quality bestowed by god; the rose is a symbol of hope and joy; the fleur-de-lis is the floral emblem of France; the coronet is a symbol of victory, sovereignty and empire. A Count's coronet to demonstrate rank and because the family originally served the counts of Foix and Béarn during the English Wars in the Middle Ages.

Parents

Jean de Forcade de Biaix (1663-1729), was a Royal Prussian Lieutenant General. He was the Regimentschef of the 23rd Prussian Infantry Regiment, Commandant of the Royal Residence in Berlin, Gouverneur militaire of Berlin and Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle.

He married the Baroness Juliane von Honstedt, from the noble house of Erdeborn, on 15 April 1697. She was the daughter of Major General Quirin, Erbherr (Allod) von Honstedt (see also Hohnstedt), Herr of Sulzau, Weikenburg and Erdeborn, and his wife Maria Magdalena Streiff von Löwenstein, of Falkenau, Diedenhosten and Bacour.

Marriage

Friedrich Wilhelm Quirin von Forcade de Biaix originally intended to marry a daughter of French Baron François Mathieu Vernezobre de Laurieux (1690–1748). The rich baron and his family had left Paris after the collapse of John Law's Mississippi Company in 1720 and befriended King Frederick William I of Prussia. When the King ordered Vernezobre to marry his daughter to von Forcade de Biaix, who she rejected, the marriage was only averted when Vernezobre agreed to undertake the construction of a prestigious city residence for the King in the Husarenstraße, later renamed Wilhelmstrasse in his honor, after his death in 1740.

He subsequently married in 1727 at the French Cathedral in Berlin with Marie de Montolieu, Baronne de St.-Hippolyte aka Maria von Montaulieu, Freiin von St.-Hippolyte (* 23 August 1709, Berlin; † 15 September 1767, Berlin), daughter of Sardinian and Prussian Major General Louis de Montolieu, Baron de St.-Hippolyte († 1738, Berlin), also a Huguenot exile.

Children

The couple had 23 children together, of which four were stillborn and 11 survived their parents. Among them:

  • Friedrich Wilhelm von Forcade de Biaix (* about 1729; † 3 September 1778, Frankfurt/Oder), the eldest son, Royal Prussian Colonel, Schwadronschef (Rittmeister) of the 2nd Grenadier Company in the 24th Prussian Infantry Regiment, and, after 1 July 1761, acting Regimentschef of the [24th Prussian Infantry Regiment] garrisoned in Frankfurt/Oder, recipient of the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order of merit for heroism, Knight of the Order of Pour le Mérite
  • Louise Susanne von Forcade de Biaix (* about 1734, Berlin) ∞ Karl Bernhard von Prittwitz und Gaffron (* 29 March 1735; † 1786)
  • Elisabeth Henriette Marie von Forcade de Biaix (* 21 December 1735, Berlin; † 24 September 1774, Berlin) ∞ 22 August 1756 with Lieutenant General Philipp Friedrich Lebrecht von Lattorff (1733–1808)
  • Charlotte Sophie Therese Marthe von Forcade de Biaix (* 25 October 1743, Berlin; † 23 March 1799, Steinfurth) ∞ in September 1775 Johann Hugo Wilhelm, Freiherr Löw von und zu Steinfurth (* 25 August 1750; 23 May 1786), Royal Prussian Chamberlain and Knight of the Order of Joseph
  • Georg Friedrich Wilhelm von Forcade de Biaix (* 16 October 1746, Berlin; † 31 August 1811, or 1806, Wohlau, Silesia), the second son, Royal Prussian Major in the 1st Hussar Regiment; married beffore 1793 with Johanna Sophie Lipelius (* 8 June 1755; † 21 August 1804, Winzig, Silesia)
  • Friedrich Heinrich Ferdinand Leopold von Forcade de Biaix (* 19 December 1747, Berlin; † 12 October 1808, Schleibitz Manor, Silesia), the third son, retired Royal Prussian Lieutenant Colonel, participated in the Rhine Campaigns, recipient of the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order of merit for heroism, Knight of the Order of Pour le Mérite (1774), Castellan in Neuenrade in the County of Mark after his father's death; married in 1765 at Ossen Manor to Wilhelmine von Koshembahr und Skorkau from the house of Ossen (3 sons from this marriage)
  • Albertine Wilhelmine von Forcade de Biaix (* about 1748, Berlin; † 12 August 1777, Berlin) ∞ Gotlieb Joachim Hindenberg (1736–1803)

Other Family

  • Bother: Isaac Quirin von Forcade de Biaix (ca. 1702–1775), Royal Prussian Lieutenant Colonel, Hofmarschall with the 18th Prussian Infantry Regiment, recipient of the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order of merit for heroism, Knight of the Order of Pour le Mérite.

Titles and Offices

Historical terms, in particular those related to offices, titles and awards, are often outdated in their usage to the point that modern dictionaries no longer contain them. To understand their meaning in the present day context it is necessary to look into dictionaries from the period. Historical terms in German used in the production of this article, and their English definitions, include:

Regimentschef

The appointment to Regimentschef, a Regimental Commander in the Prussian Army, was usually for life. For this reason, most regiments were known and referred to by the name of their Chef, the commander, for example Forcade's Regiment instead of the 23rd Prussian Infantry Regiment.

Note: In a similar tradition, a Schwadronschef was a Squadron Commander (of horse-mounted troops), usually for life, or until retirement or discharge for disability. The terms Schwadronschef and Rittmeister are synonymous and are often used interchangeably in the 18th century.

Amtmannschaft von Zinna

the Office of Lord Seneschal of Zinna

  • Amtmannschaft (die): synonym with "Drostei"; the Seneschal's Lordship, Dignity, Power or Jurisdiction, the Bailiwick See: Ebers, Johann, The New And Complete Dictionary Of The German And English Languages: composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan / 1: ... Containing the Letters A - G of the German Alphabet explained in English, Leipzig 1796, Page 102 (in German and English)

Amtshauptmann von Zinna

Lord Seneschal of Zinna

  • Amtshauptmann (der): the Lord Seneschal, a Lord High-Constable, an Upper Bailiff. See: Ebers, Johann, The New And Complete Dictionary Of The German And English Languages: composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan / 1: ... Containing the Letters A - G of the German Alphabet explained in English, Leipzig 1796, Page 102 (in German and English)

Domherr von Havelberg

Canon of Havelberg

  • Domherr (der): Latin "Canicius"; a Canon, a Prebendary, a Canonist See: Ebers, Johann, The New And Complete Dictionary Of The German And English Languages: composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan / 1: ... Containing the Letters A - G of the German Alphabet explained in English, Leipzig 1796, Page 602 (in German and English)

Domherstelle zu Havelberg

the Canonship of Havelberg

  • Domherrstelle (die): a Canonship, the Place of a Canon in a Cathedral or Collegiate Church See: Ebers, Johann, The New And Complete Dictionary Of The German And English Languages: composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan / 1: ... Containing the Letters A - G of the German Alphabet explained in English, Leipzig 1796, Page 602 (in German and English)

Drost zu Neuenrade

Castellan of Neuenrade

  • Drost (der): synonym with "Landdrost", "Landshauptmann" and "Landsvogt"; a Lord Seneschal, a Governor of a certain part of a country, an Upper Bailiff, a Castellan See: Ebers, Johann, The New And Complete Dictionary Of The German And English Languages: composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan / 1: ... Containing the Letters A - G of the German Alphabet explained in English, Leipzig 1796, Page 618 (in German and English)

President of the Ober-Collegium Sanitatis

In accordance with the Medical Edict of 12 November 1685 a central national "Collegium Medicum" was created in Berlin to supervise the medical professions. In 1719, the "Collegium Sanitatis" was founded, in large part due to the impact of the Plague of 1709-11. Its mission was paramedical policing, in particular sanitation policing in the community, and disease control. The two were later merged into the "Ober-Collegium Sanitatis".

Literature

  • Ebers, Johann, The New And Complete Dictionary Of The German And English Languages: composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan / 1: ... Containing the Letters A - G of the German Alphabet explained in English, Leipzig 1796 (in German and English)
  • Ebers, Johann, The New And Complete Dictionary Of The German And English Languages: composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan / 2: ... Containing the Letters H - R of the German Alphabet explained in English, Leipzig 1796 (in German and English)
  • Ebers, Johann, The New And Complete Dictionary Of The German And English Languages: composed chiefly after the German Dictionaries of Mr. Adelung and of Mr. Schwan / 3: ... Containing the Letters S - Z of the German Alphabet explained in English, Leipzig 1796 (in German and English)
  • Lehmann, Gustaf: Die Ritter des Ordens pour le mérite. Auf Allerhöchsten Befehl Seiner Majestät des Kaisers und Königs, bearbeitet im Königlichen Kriegsministerium durch Gustav Lehmann, wirklichen geheimen Kriegsrat und vortragenden Rat im Kriegs-Ministerium, Erster Band: 1740-1811, Berlin 1913 (in German)
  • Lehmann, Gustaf: Die Ritter des Ordens pour le mérite. Auf Allerhöchsten Befehl Seiner Majestät des Kaisers und Königs, bearbeitet im Königlichen Kriegsministerium durch Gustav Lehmann, wirklichen geheimen Kriegsrat und vortragenden Rat im Kriegs-Ministerium, Zweiter Band: 1812-1913, Berlin 1913, (in German)

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