Ernst von Prittwitz und Gaffron

Austro-Prussian WarFranco-Prussian War

Ernst Karl Ferdinand von Prittwitz und Gaffron (20 January 1833 – 24 February 1904) was a Royal Prussian Lieutenant General and Knight of Justice of the Order of Saint John.

Von Prittwitz was born in Posen, Prussia (modern Poznan, Poland), he originated from the old noble house of von Prittwitz and was the son of Prussian General of the Infantry and Director of Fortifications Moritz Karl Ernst von Prittwitz and of Domicilie von Colbe.

On 26 November 1885 he married Franziska Freiin von Turckheim zu Altdorf (b. 14 June 1855 in Karlsruhe; d. 8 May 1936 ibidem), daughter of Grand Ducal Badenese Chamberlain, envoy and land owner Hans Freiherr von Turckheim zu Altdorf, Lord of Altdorf and Orschweier (Lahr District, Baden), and of Fanny Freiin von Hardenberg (House of Ober-Wiederstedt).

Von Prittwitz was a Knight of Justice in the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg). He died in Karlsruhe.

In 1851 von Prittwitz joined the Guard Artillery in Berlin, became Second Lieutenant in 1853 and First Lieutenant in 1861. In the Second Schleswig War against Denmark he was assigned to General Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Chief of Staff of the Prussian Army. Here he participated in Wyk auf Fohr in the capture of Otto Christian Hammer and on 29 June 1864 took part in the crossing of the sound to the isle of Als.

Promoted to Captain with 32 years of age in 1865, he commanded a battery of Guard Artillery at Berlin since 1867.

At the onset of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 he was commander of a mounted Guard battery and as such participated in the campaign in Bohemia. This battery was assigned to the newly formed Hanoverian Field Artillery Regiment No. 10. Prittwitz was thus deployed to Hanover in autumn 1866 but only after three quarters of a year he returned to Berlin.

After the war Prittwitz undertook a number of journeys abroad, including England, France, Spain and Italy, and in 1869 he went to Romania as counselor of Prince Frederick III of Hohenzollern with whom he travelled a part of the Orient.

In the Franco-Prussian War Prittwitz took part in the battles of Gravelotte, Sedan —here he was wounded by a grenade— and in the conquest of Montmedy. His battery was the first to reach the hill of St. Privat near Gravelotte and fiercely fought the French, which not only caused designated emperor Wilhem I, but also Napoleon III to congratulate.

He was promoted to Major in 1872, became Colonel in 1883 and was made commanding officer of the 7th field artillery brigade in 1886. A Major General since 1888, Prittwitz retired in 1890.

Prittwitz was made an honorary citizen of Wyk auf Fohr.