Prince Eugene of Savoy

Nation: Austria

Military Leader

Birth Date: October 18, 1663
Austria Prince Eugene of Savoy Military Leader Cover
I. Early Life
II. Military Career
III. Death and Legacy
[Video] The Noble Knight
I. Early Life
Eugene, Francis of Savoy, called Prince Eugene, was one of the most famous generals of his time, and the grandson of Charles-Emanuel Duke of Savoy, and son of the Count of Soissons by Olympia Mancini, niece to Cardinal Mazarin. He was born at Paris in 1663, and being destined to the church, was known in his youth by the name of the Abbe de Carignan. His mother, a woman of intrigue, was suspected of being involved in some poisonings which were then the subject of judicial enquiry, and decided to retire to Brussels. Deprived of her support, young Eugene was refused, first an abbacy, and then a regiment, which he solicited at the French court. He then went as a volunteer to serve in Germany against the Turks. Louvois sent an order of recall to him and the other French volunteers, upon pain, in case of disobedience, of being perpetually exiled. Eugene alone ventured to disobey, and said "I will return one day in spite of Louvois."

Aikin, J., & Enfield, W. (1818). Eugene, Francis of Savoy. In General biography: Or, Lives, critical and historical, of the most eminent persons of all ages, countries, conditions, and professions, arranged according to alphabetical order (Vol. 3, p. 636). London: Printed for G. Smeeton.
Back To Top


II. Military Career
Eugene so much distinguished himself in his first campaign, that the emperor gave him a regiment of dragoons. After the Siege of Vienna was raised, he served in Hungary under the command of the Duke of Lorrain and the Elector of Bavaria. In 1691, he was sent with a body of troops into Piedmont, where he relieved Coni besieged by the French, and took Carmagnole. Still augmenting his reputation by new services, he was appointed, in 1697, to the command of the imperial army. In the month of September of that year, he entirely defeated the Turks at the Battle of Zenta, where the grand-vizier and more than twenty thousand men were left upon the field, and the grand-seignor was obliged to make a precipitate retreat with the broken relics of his army. Eugene had hazarded this engagement contrary to the express orders of the imperial court, but he so well justified his conduct, that Leopold gave him a written authority to act thenceforth according to his own judgment.

Eugene was then sent to the Spanish Succession War, in 1701, to command in Italy against Catinat, He forced the French post at Carpi, and obliged Catinat to retreat beyond the Oglio. Villeroi, who came from court to supersede that general, attacked Eugene in his entrenchments at Chiari, but was repulsed with considerable loss. In the ensuing winter, Eugene obtaining admission into Cremona by stratagem, took Vilkroi prisoner, but an accident prevented him from keeping possession of the town. He was opposed the next year by Vendome, with whom he fought the indecisive Battle of Luzzara.

On returning to Vienna, the Emperor made Eugene the President of the Council of War, and entrusted the military chest to his disposal, but that chest was often poorly furnished, and the delays and chicanes with which he had to contend at court, gave him no less trouble than the most vigorous opposition in the field. He was, however, strictly united with the other great general of the allied army, the Duke of Marlborough, and by their talents and concert, they obtained a decisive superiority over the French in Germany. Eugene commanded the imperial part of the army at the famous Battle of Hochstet or Blenheim, fought in 1704, and had a glorious share in the success.

In 1705, Eugene underwent a repulse in Italy from Vendome, at the bloody action of Cassano, but whatever reputation he might have lost in that campaign, he fully regained in the next, when, by a most extraordinary march across Lombardy in the face of a French army, he penetrated to Turin. While closely besieged, he attacked the French in their entrenchments, and obtained a complete victory, which secured the Duke of Savoy, and restored all the Milanese to the Emperor. In 1707, he made good his promise of one day reentering France without permission, by joining the Duke of Savoy in an invasion of Provenee and Dauphine. Toulon was besieged, but without success, and finally the invaders were obliged to quit the country after having done no more than insult the pride of Lewis, and desolate a barren district.

Eugene, in 1708, resumed the command of the imperialists in Flanders, and partook with Marlborough of the victory at Oudenard, and the capture of Lisle. In the next year, he commanded the center at the bloody Battle of Malplaquer. During the heat of the action, he received a considerable wound, but he refused to retire from the field, in order to have it dressed. He said, "Of what use will that be, if we are to die here? If we are to survive, it will be time enough in the evening to be dressed."

He continued for some ensuing campaigns to act in Flanders, and when the change of polities in the English court prepared a peace and the downfall of Marlborough, he went to London for the purpose of supporting the war party. He was received with much applause and admiration by the public, but was unable to change the resolutions of the cabinet, and he returned to finish the war alone. He took Qiiesnoi, but upon the whole he was fully matched by Villars, who took his magazines at Marchiennes, and disconcerted the whole plan of the campaign. After making all possible exertions to support the arms of the Emperor, who obstinately continued the war after the desertion of his allies, the prince commenced a negotiation with Villars, which produced the Peace of Rastadt in 1714.

The repose of Eugene was short. The hostilities committed by the Turks on the frontiers of the empire called him forth to command a powerful army assembled by the Emperor Charles VI. With this he passed the Danube, and gave a defeat to the grand-vizier at Peterwaradin in 1716. The next year, he undertook the Siege of Belgrade, when the Turks came with a vast army to its relief, and invested him in his camp. He suffered them to approach near, and then, suddenly quitting his lines, fell upon them with such vigor and effect, that he killed twenty thousand men, and possessed himself of their cannon and all their camp equipment. This victory was followed by the immediate surrender of Belgrade, and the advantageous Peace of Passarowitz in 1718 was the consequence of his brilliant success.

After this period he retired to Vienna, covered with glory, and loaded with recompences of every kind, worthy of one who was justly considered as the savior of the empire, and the greatest benefactor to the house of Austria. He employed his fortune in cultivating the fine arts and patronizing letters, and displayed no less magnanimity in peace than he had done heroism in war. The war of 1733, in consequence of the disputed election to the Polish crown, called him again into the field, but he was no longer the man he had been. Phiiipsburg was taken by the French before his eyes, and although he obtained some credit in covering Mentz and Friburg, he did not choose to hazard a battle.

Aikin, J., & Enfield, W. (1818). Eugene, Francis of Savoy. In General biography: Or, Lives, critical and historical, of the most eminent persons of all ages, countries, conditions, and professions, arranged according to alphabetical order (Vol. 3, pp. 636-637). London: Printed for G. Smeeton.
Back To Top


III. Death and Legacy
He died at Vienna in 1736, aged seventy-three. Prince Eugene was cold and reserved in his manner, and remarkably serious in his aspect. He was, however, capable of friendship, faithful to his promises, free from pride and generous. He obtained the affection and confidence of the officers and soldiers who served under him, who regarded him as their father and protector. In his military character, he was active, enterprising, full of resources, and though he sometimes committed faults, he redeemed them by new successes. He is said not to have been very delicate in the means he employed, and to have been too much addicted to strategies which war itself can scarcely justify. He treated the French officers, his prisoners, with less politeness than Marlborough did, and was somewhat too fond of triumphing over the neglect with which he had been treated by the French court in his youth. If it is true that he always carried Kempis's Imitation of Christ with him in his campaigns, it may suggest his doctrinal belief in Christianity, though it cannot be supposed that he made it the manual of his practice.

Aikin, J., & Enfield, W. (1818). Eugene, Francis of Savoy. In General biography: Or, Lives, critical and historical, of the most eminent persons of all ages, countries, conditions, and professions, arranged according to alphabetical order (Vol. 3, p. 637). London: Printed for G. Smeeton.
Back To Top


[Video] The Noble Knight
Back To Top

Back to Austria Entries
Europe
Asia
Africa
Americas
Europe | Asia | Africa | Americas | Middle East
Contact Us | Credits | Home
© 2019 Yomigaeru Kingdom, LLC
910