Piccolomini, Ottavio II Enea Giuseppe Fürst

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Ottavio II Enea Giuseppe Fürst Piccolomini d'Aragona, Duke of Amalfi, Reichsfürst von Arragona, Herr von Nachod, Riesenburg, Prochonitz, Sticciano, Borone, Erbprior des Stefansordens zu Pisa

Austrian Feldmarshall Lieutenant (1744-48), Feldzeugmeister (1748-57)

born February 17, 1698, probably at the Castle of Nachod in Bohemia where his parents lived

died January 25, 1757, Camp near Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové), Bohemia


Piccolomini was probably born at the Castle of Nachod in Bohemia where his parents lived. His father was Lorenzo Pieri Piccolomini d'Aragona, Duke of Amalfi, his mother Anna Viktoria Ludmilla Countess Libštejnská zu Kolowrat.

Nothing is known from Piccolomini's childhood and youth.

By 1736, Piccolomini was Imperial chamberlain.

On November 1 1736, Piccolomini joined the Austrian Deutschmeister Infantry regiment as aggregierter lieutenant-colonel. He remained only a few months with this regiment, being transferred to Grünne Infantry on July 28 1737.

With this regiment, Piccolomini took part in the campaign against the Turks in which he was entrusted with the defence of Mehadia. The defenders inflicted heavy losses to the Turks. Nevertheless, on May 27 1738, the Turkish commander granted Piccolomini and his garrison a honourable capitulation. Despite the fact that Piccolomini had surrendered the place only with the consent of his superior, FZM Neipperg, he was court-martialed but acquitted. On December 16 of the same year, Piccolomini was promoted to General-Feldwachtmeister (GFWM).

After the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, Piccolomini was assigned to the staff of Field Marshall Maximilian Ulysses Count von Browne who appointed him commander of the Fortress of Brieg (present-day Brzeg in Poland). On December 30 1740, Piccolomini visited the fortress with Field Marshall Browne and assumed his new function on February 2 1741. In mid February the first patrols of Prussian hussars appeared in front of Brieg. The siege began soon afterwards.

Piccolomini was at the head of some 16 companies and 3 grenadier companies of the regiments Botta and Wallis as well as 300 men belonging to a Freikorps. The garrison and the inhabitants soon fell ill. On April 7, As the Austrian Main Army was getting closer to Brieg, the Prussians slowly retired. Piccolomini seized the occasion to resupply the town.

On April 10, the two armies clashed in the Battle of Mollwitz (present-day Malujovice in Poland) and several wounded were brought to Brieg. Shortly after this battle, the Prussians resumed the siege under the direction of Colonel Walrawe. Due to the very bad weather, siege works progressed very slowly. Piccolomini declined several summons to capitulate. On May 4 1740, since the Prussians had already suffered heavy losses from illness, Frederick II offered a honourable capitulation to the garrison. The next day, Piccolomini and his troops set off from Brieg with military honours and flying colours and marched towards Neisse. According to the terms of capitulation, Austrian officers could not fight against the Prussians for the next two years. Therefore, Piccolomini was sent to the Reich to recruit new troops.

In mid 1741, upon the death of FZM Wachtendonk, Piccolomini became Inhaber (owner) of the then vacant Wachtendonk Infantry. By the end of the year he had joined the army of Field Marshall Traun von Abensperg in Northern Italy with this regiment.

In the campaign of 1742, Piccolomini along with FML Count Ciceri, Schulenburg, Beyersburg and Baron Hávor belonged to the staff of Field Marshall Traun. Along with his Piemontese Allies, Traun fought against the Spaniards led by the Duke of Monteleone. On July 22, the Allies made themselves masters of Mirandola. Then 800 men from Piccolomini Infantry were left behind to garrison Mirandola. The Allied Army then spent winter behind the Panaro River. During the same year, Piccolomini was entrusted with the management of the family estates of Nachod for his mentally retarded brother Johann Wenzel. However his brother died the same year and Piccolomini inherited the estates.

On February 8 1743, Piccolomini distinguished himself at the Battle of Campo Santo.

On January 14 1744, Piccolomini was promoted Feldmarshall Lieutenant (a rank equivalent to lieutenant-general in other armies) for his conduct at Campo Santo the previous year. In July, Field Marshal Traun was replaced by Georg Christian Fürst Lobkowitz as commander-in-chief in Northern Italy. Traun was transferred to the Moravian theatre of operation to assume a similar command. Piccolomini probably left Italy at the same time since we find his name in an order of battle, dated October 1744 as brigadier in the second line under Prince Waldeck. Piccolomini's Brigade consisted of the Hungarian regiments Bethlen Infantry and Haller Infantry. Piccolomini then took part in the campaign in Southern Bohemia where Traun drove the Prussians back to Silesia.

On June 12 1754, Piccolomini was promoted, retroactively to November 28 1748, to the rank of Feldzeugmeister (equivalent to general of infantry in other armies).

In July 1745, as the Allied Army (Austrians, Hanoverians and Netherlanders) concentrated at Gelnhausen in Hessen, FML Piccolomini served in this army under Field Marshall Count Batthyányi. Under his command, he took part in the victorious campaign against the Bavarians.

We lose trace of Prince Piccolomini during peacetime.

On August 4, as war seemed certain, the Austrian Court named Field Marshall Browne commander-in-chief of the Army of Bohemia and FZM Prince Piccolomini commander-in-chief of the Army of Moravia. On September 7, during the Prussian operations in Eastern Bohemia, Piccolomini marched forward towards Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové) to cover Schwerin's Corps, even though his army was not yet fully supplied in artillery pieces, muskets and ammunition. His army gradually concentrated at Königgrätz from September 15 to October 24. Browne severely criticized Piccolomini's choice of Königgrätz as his main camp and his inactivity. Indeed, during Browne's advance and combat against Frederick's Army, Piccolomini remained idle at Königgrätz while Schwerin's column foraged and plundered in Bohemia. On October 26, as Schwerin was retreating towards Silesia, Piccolomini timidly advanced to a new camp near Swiet (present-day Světí). On October 27, he resumed his march and reached Holohlau (present-day Holohlavy). Having received orders not to penetrate into Silesia, Piccolomini the remained at Holohlau.

For the incoming campaign of 1757, Piccolomini served under the command of Serbelloni in Northern Bohemia. However, he died in the camp of Königgrätz on January 25 1757.

Ottavio II Prince Piccolomini was not married and died without descendants. With him disappeared the line of the Pieri family. After his death, Duke Biron of Courland acquired the Náchod Estates.


This article is essentially a translation of an original text written by Harald Skala


Duncker, C. v.: Österreichischer Erbfolge-Krieg 1740 – 1748, vol. II, Vienna 1896

J.F.S. [i.e. Johann Friedrich Seyfarth]: Geschichte des seit 1756 in Deutschland und dessen angränzenden Ländern geführten Krieges…, Frankfurt and Leipzig 1758 ff. Vol. 1 p. 53

Thürheim, A. v.: Gedenkblätter aus der Kriegsgeschichte der K. K. österreichischen Armee, vol. I, Vienna 1880

Thürheim, A. v.: Feldmarschall Otto Ferdinand Graf von Abensperg und Traun, Vienna 1877

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Internet: www.zamek-nachod.cz