Drašković von Trakošćan, Josip Kazimír Count

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Drašković von Trakošćan, Josip Kazimír Count

Austrian General Feldwachtmeister (1753-58), Feldmarshall Lieutenant (1758-63), Feldzeugmeister (1763-65), Commander Cross of the Maria Theresien Order

born March 4, 1714, Castle of Trakošćan, Croatia, Habsburg Domain

died November 9, 1765, Klenovnik, Croatia, Habsburg Domain


Portrait of Josip Kazimír Count Drašković von Trakošćan - Copyright MILAK Wiener Neustadt

Josip was born on March 4, 1714 at the familial Castle of Trakošćan in Croatia. His parents were Ivan V Antun, Banus of Croatia, and Maria Katharina, born Countess Brandis.

In 1734, at the age of 20, Josip joined an unidentified unit of the K. K. Army (Austrian Army).

At the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession, on October 30 1741, a letter patent authorised Colonel Ignáz Count Forgách to raise a Hungarian infantry regiment (Forgách Infantry). The lieutenant-colonel of the regiment was Nikolaus Medyánszky formerly from Vettes Infantry, and its Obristwachtmeister (major) Josip Count Drašković who was also appointed commander of the third battalion. Recruitment proceeded very fast and Forgách Infantry was the first of the Hungarian regiments established in 1741 who could be reviewed. In December, Forgách received the order to send a battalion to Moravia. Meanwhile, Drašković's third battalion was sent to Pressburg (present-day Bratislava) to complete its armament. However, weapons arrived from Vienna only after 4 weeks. This battalion was then instructed to join the garrison of Brünn (present-day Brno).

In March 1742, General Andrássy reviewed the entire regiment. Drašković's third battalion took part in the defence of Brünn, the commander of the place was General Seherr von Thoss. On March 14, during a sortie, Beleznay Hussars engaged a large Prussian unit. Drašković with 180 men of his battalion came to the rescue of the hussars, the Prussians were defeated and General Truchssess captured. By May, the first and second battalions of Forgách Infantry were attached to the corps of Count Khevenhüller in Bavaria while the third battalion arrived in Vienna where it assumed garrison duty till 1744. Major Drašković repeatedly asked the Hofkriegsrat (War Council) to be sent to the front.

In July 1743, Drašković was finally authorised to join the field battalions of his regiment. Captain Szülay replaced him as commander of the third battalion which was sent to Olmütz (present-day Olomouc). In October, Forgách Infantry distinguished itself at the siege of Ingolstadt in Bavaria before taking its winter-quarters in Breisgau.

In the campaign of 1744, Drašković served once more with Forgách Infantry which was attached to the division of Field-Marshal Bärenklau, operating on the Rhine. On July 1, when the Imperials passed the Rhine, Forgách Infantry was at the head of the vanguard. The regiment took part in several engagements during this campaign. After the entry of the Prussian Army in Bohemia, Prince Charles de Lorraine redirected his army towards Southern Bohemia. During the march, Forgách Infantry was attached to the corps commanded by FML Daun. On August 23, the regiment took part in an encounter between Daun's Corps and a French force under Coigny and Noailles. Major Drašković distinguished himself in this combat and received an honourable mention in the order of the day. The regiment was then assigned to the garrison of Ingolstadt and Drašković was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.

At the beginning of 1745, Drašković served under Field-Marshal Fürst Esterházy, charged to raise additional Hungarian troops (the so-called “Insurrection Troops”). By mid-May, Drašković commanded the garrison of Lichtenau (present-day Lichnov) in Eastern Moravia. This garrison consisted of 800 militiamen. The Prussians, who occupied the nearby town of Jägerndorf (present-day Krnov), wanted to punch a hole in the Imperial lines to make a junction with their main army. Drašković was charged to follow the retreating Prussians and to harass them. On May 22 at 3:00 a.m., the Prussians (13 bns and 15 sqns for a total of 6,000 men) started their retreat from Jägerndorf. Austrian troops under FML Kheul waited for the Prussians near Mockern (present-day Mokre near Glubczyce. Soon, 12 heavy guns opened against the Prussian column. The Prussians were forced to abandon 300 provision wagons but managed to breakthrough. Esterházy's new Hungarian troops did not take part in the engagement. As the Prussians reached the town of Mockern, they were attacked by 4 regular infantry battalions supported by Esterházy's Insurrection Troops. The Prussians directed their entire cavalry against the 4 regular battalions who, with the Insurrection Troops not intervening, were forced to retire. The Sachsen-Gotha Dragoons, soon supported by the Kálnoky Hussars and Festetić Hussars, launched a counter-attack and managed to drive back the Prussian cavalry. On May 23 at 3:00, the Prussians, led by Margrave zu Brandenburg and closely followed by Kálnoky Hussars and Drašković's militia, finally reached Neustadt (present-day Prudnik). Fürst Esterházy had not dared to pursue the Prussians with his Insurrection Troopsand remained in his initial positions. Only Drašković with his militia moved to Leobschütz (present-day Glubczyce). On May 25, the Prussians abandoned Neustadt and made a junction with their main army near Frankenstein (present-day Zabkovice Slaskie). Austrian troops planned to winter in Bohemia. However, after the conclusion of peace with Prussia on December 25, most of the regiments, including Forgách Infantry, were sent to Italy under FZM M. U. Browne.

The same year (1745), Drašković married Baroness Susana Malatinsky de Felsö et Alsómalatin (1716-1786). This marriage with a lady of lesser nobility probably influenced his relatively slow progress in his military career.

On June 16 1746, Forgách Infantry took part in the Battle of Piacenza against the Franco-Sardinian Army. It was later present at the capture of Genoa.

From November 1746 to February 1747, Forgách Infantry took part in the campaign in Provence. Later on, it was attached to Nádasdy's Light Corps and fought in the combat of Campo Freddo which was defended by Genoese troops. After some initial success, Nádasdy was finally forced to retire. During this campaign, Drašković commanded a detachment of 700 foot from various regiments, a battalion of Warasdiner Grenzer and 2 companies of grenadiers. On February 17, with this detachment, he covered Nádasdy's retreat.

Since August 1747, the charge of commander was vacant in Joseph Esterházy Infantry. In January 1748, Drašković was appointed commander of this regiment at the express request of Field-Marshal Browne. At the same time, Drašković was promoted to colonel. Lieutenant-Colonel Vécsey, who expected to become colonel of this regiment, left and handed out his resignation (he later changed his mind and this unsavoury affair lasted several months).

After the signature of a peace agreement, Joseph Esterházy Infantry assumed garrison duty from December 1749. The staff and 11 companies were posted at Olmütz (present-day Olomouc), 3 companies at Ungarisch Gradisch (present-day Uherské Hradiště) and the rest of the regiment at Prerau (present-day Přerov). Draskovic went to his estates in Croatia.

In December 1750, Draskovic was instructed to join the staff of General Styrum at Buda where he was charged to recruit the Hungarian National Militia. The same month, he ceded his post as commander of Joseph Esterházy Infantry to Colonel Count Kálnoky.

On May 8 1753, Drašković was promoted to General-Feldwachtmeister (GFWM).

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, in September 1756, Drašković assumed command of a brigade at the camp of Budín. This brigade consisted of 2 battalions of the Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1, 1 battalion of Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer and 1 battalion of Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer, a total of 3,916 men. On October 1, in the Battle of Lobositz, his Grenzer battalions defended the slopes of the Lobosch for several hours against a much superior Prussian force. In this battle, the then unknown Ernst Gideon Loudon fought under Drašković.

On May 6 1757, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, Drašković took part in the Battle of Prague where he commanded 4 Grenzer battalions (1 bn of Warasdiner, 1 bn of Likaner and 2 bns of Karlstädter1). Field-Marshal Browne posted only 2 bns of Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer and 2 bns of Warasdiner Grenzer to occupy the Heights of Hloubětín. That was a rather exposed position without any contact with the left wing of the Austrian army. Soon, 3 Prussian grenadier bns and 2 fusilier bns under General Mannstein were hurled against this position. The Grenzer, who did not get enough time to entrench themselves properly, gave way under the heavy fire of these Prussian units and retired to the Zizkaberg where they established themselves. After the defeat, most of Drašković's forces took refuge in Prague. When, after their defeat in the Battle of Kolin, the Prussians retired from Bohemia, they were followed by the light troops of GdC Nádasdy to whom Drašković's units were attached. In July, Drašković was charged to attack the Prussians occupying the Castle of Schreckenstein near Aussig (present-day Střekov near Ústí nad Labem). Accordingly, on July 27, 500 Banal-Grenzer and 200 hussars stormed the castle, taking the commander, 7 officers and 260 men prisoners. Soon afterwards, on September 7, Drašković at the head of the Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1 (circa 4,000 men) took part in the Combat of Moys (present-day suburb of Zgorzelec) under the command of GdC Nádasdy. There they attacked an isolated Prussian force (10,000 men) under General Hans Karl von Winterfeldt, one of the few genuine friends of Frederick II, who was killed during the combat.

On February 10 1758, Drašković was promoted to Feldmarshall Lieutenant (FML) for his demonstrated bravery and tactical skills. He then took command of the 1st Infantry Brigade (2,800 men) in the Fortress of Olmütz (present-day Olomouc). This brigade consisted of:

During the Siege of Olmütz by the Prussians from May 4 and July 2 1758, Drašković led several sorties of the garrison. In the night of June 12 to 13, he obtained his greatest success when, at the head of 550 volunteers2 and 100 workers, he attacked the Prussian trenches in 3 column, managing to nail 18 guns and mortars, and to destroy a great number of fascines and part of the trenches. After the relief of Olmütz, Drašković was charged to report the victory to Maria Theresa in Vienna. On December 4, he was part of the third promotion to receive the Knight Cross of the Maria-Theresia-Orden.

For the campaign of 1760, because of his former successes, FML Drašković was placed at the head of his own corps for |operations in Silesia. This corps counted approximately 8,000 men (12 bns, 6 sqns and 300 Deutsche Reiter3.

Even though some old books mention that Drašković took part in the Battle of Landeshut with his corps on June 23 1760, it is very unlikely since this corps does not appear in the Ordre de bataille personally written by Loudon.

In July 1760, when the Prussians laid siege to Dresden, the Austrian Main Army under FML Daun marched to relieve it. Meanwhile, FZM Laudon (who now ranked higher than Drašković) was charged to take the Fortress of Glatz (present-day Kłodzko). The siege corps, placed under the command of FML Drašković. The siege works were placed under the responsibility of FZM Ferdinand Amadeus Count Harsch. This led to frictions between and Drašković . Glatz had two fortresses, a garrison of 2,500 men and a total of 200 pieces mounted on the walls. The commander of the “Old Fortress” was Colonel d´O while the “New Fortress” was under the command of Colonel Quadt. On the night of July 20, even though his heavy siege guns were not yet arrived from Olmütz, Drašković opened the first parallel. On July 23, when FZM Harsch arrived with Colonel of Artillery A. Alfson, Drašković had to cede command of the siege to Harsch and to give him his own quarters. On July 25, Loudon arrived and took overall command of the operations. On July 26, Loudon visited the siege works and then gave orders to storm the fortresses. After only four hours of weak defence, the Prussian generals surrendered both fortresses (Colonel d´O was later court-martialed and sentenced to death). Drašković described the storming of Glatz in his reports to his superiors (cited in W. Janko's book “Laudon´s Leben”, Vienna 1869, p. 178ff).

In 1761, Drašković once more commanded his own corps (including Erzherzog Ferdinand Infantry, Los Rios Infantry, Königsegg Infantry, Leopold Pálffy Infantry, Baden-Durlach Infantry and Angern Infantry). This corps operated in Upper Silesia and Northern Moravia, a region that he knew quite well because of his participation to the campaign of 1745. Once more, his main opponent was General of Cavalry von Zieten. Their operations revolved around Jägerndorf who changed hands several times.

At the end of June 1762, as the Prussian Army concentrated in preparation for the siege to the Fortress of Schweidnitz (present-day Swiednica), Drašković was taken prisoner in an unfortunate engagement near Heidersdorf (present-day Lagiewniki/PL)

In 1763, after the signature of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, Drašković was released from captivity. On February 28, he was promoted to Feldzeugmeister (FZM) and named Governor-General of Siebenbürgen (present-day Transylvania).

Drašković died on November 9 1765 in his estates of Klenovnik in Croatia.

Posthumously, Drašković received on November 11 1765 the Commander Cross of the Maria-Theresia-Orden. Even though he sought to obtain it, Drašković never received the title of “Banus of Croatia” that his father carried. Instead Maria Theresa honoured Count Franz Nádasdy with this function on October 31 1756.

From his marriage with Baroness Susana Malatinsky de Felsö et Alsómalatin, in 1745, he had several children: Ivan VIII (János in 1746), Franz Philipp (in 1750), Joseph (in 1757) , Julijana (in 1785) and Barbara. Furthermore, they lost two daughters during their childhood.

In the 1750s, Ivan VIII (János Alois) served as captain in Forgách Infantry who was commanded by his father till 1747. From 1756 to 1762, he served in Botta Infantry before returning to Forgách Infantry as major.

Since 1691, the estates of Brezovica in Croatia, along with its castle, belonged to the Drašković family. Josip Drašković had the appartments of the castle decorated with wonderful frescoes depicting scenes of his military career: the Siege of Olmütz, the Combat of Moys and others. The castle remained the property of the family till 1807. Unfortunately, it is nowadays in a very bad condition.

The other castle of the family at Trakošćan has recently been a Croatian National Culture Estate. A room of this castle contains paintings of soldiers of Joseph Esterházy Infantry which was under the command of Drašković between 1747 and 1750. In another apartment there are several portraits of officers of his regiment.


  1. in his book Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze, Vaníček mentions 2 bns and 1 grenadier coy of Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer, 2 bns of Warasdiner Grenzer, 1 bn of Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer and 1 grenadier coy of Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer, for a total of 5,240 men
  2. these volunteers came from Kaiser Infantry, Kheul Infantry, Marschall Infantry, Preysach Infantry; along with 100 Bavarian foot and 100 Warasdiner Grenzer. The columns were led by Colonel G. Formentini and Major Heinrich Voith von Salzburg (commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade in the fortress)
  3. Ordre de bataille, PICT0072, Archiv G. Laudon, Museum Nový Jičín/CZ


Wurzbach, C. v.: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Österreich, Vol. III, Vienna 1863, p. 379

Bartsch, J. August: Olmütz im Jahre 1758 und seine frühere Kriegsgeschichte, Olmütz, 1858

Neuwirth, J.: Geschichte des kaiserl. – königl. 18. Linien-Infanterieregiments Großfürst Constantin, Vienna 1859, pp. 193-

Erzherzog Johann: Geschichte des K. K. Linien-Infanterie-Regiments Erzherzog Wilhelm No. 12, Vienna 1877

Finke, E.: Geschichte des k.u.k. ungarischen Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 37 Erzherzog Joseph, sv. I. Vienna 1896

Seeliger, E.: Geschichte des k. u. k. Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 32 Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia, Budapest 1900

Bertling, M.: Die Kroaten und Panduren in der Mitte des XVIII. Jahrhunderts und ihre Verwendung in den Friderizianischen Kriegen, Dissertation March 12 1912, Berlin

Janko, W. Edler v.: Laudons Leben, Vienna, 1869

N.N.: Hans Karl von Winterfeldt und der Tag von Moys, Görlitz 1857

Doleczek, A.: Geschichte der österreichischen Artillerie, pp. 496..., Vienna 1887

Criste, Oscar: Österreichischer Erbfolgekrieg 1740-1748, Vol. VII, Vienna 1903

Vaníček, F.: Spezialgeschichte der Militärgrenze, Vol. II, Vienna 1875

Brnardić, Vladimir: Hrvatski vitezovi Reda Marije Terezije (IV) – Josip Kazimir Drašković (1716.-1765.)

Internet: http://brezovickopolje.blogspot.cz/2010/05/akademski-slikar-ivan-obsieger-freske.html Internet: http://www.hrvatski-vojnik.hr/hrvatski-vojnik/1652007/feljton.asp

Portrait: Collection of MILAK, Wiener Neustadt


Harald Skala for the initial version of this article