Jan Henryk Dąbrowski


Jan Henryk Dąbrowski

Jan Henryk Dąbrowski (b. August 2, 1755, in Pierzchowice, Poland – d. June 6, 1818, in Winnogóra, Congress Poland, Russian Empire) was a Polish general and national hero.

Biography

Dąbrowski was brought up in Saxony, and served for some years in the Saxon army. In 1791 the Polish Four-Year Sejm recalled all Poles serving abroad to the Polish army and Dąbrowski returned to Poland. As a cavalryman educated in a Dresden military school he was asked to reform the Polish cavalry. Under Poniatowski, he took part in the campaign of 1792 against the Russians. He was in Poland in 1794 when the Kościuszko Insurrection erupted. He took an active part in the uprising, defending Warsaw and leading an army corps in support of a rising in Greater Poland. His courage was commended by Tadeusz Kościuszko himself, the Supreme Commander of the National Armed Forces, who promoted him to the rank of general. Not only Kościuszko appreciated him; after the collapse of the uprising, he was offered commissions in the Russian and Prussian armies, but chose to fight for Poland.

Dąbrowski is remembered in the history of Poland as the organiser of Polish Legions in Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. He began his work in 1796, when he was summoned to Paris by Napoleon Bonaparte, and was authorised by the Cisalpine Republic to create Polish legions, which would be part of the army of the newly created Republic of Lombardy. This was a year after the 3rd Partition of Poland between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Poland disappeared from the map of Europe, but Polish military formations gave the country a chance to re-enter international affairs with support of France in the Polish independence efforts. Thus, the creation of a Polish army in Italy, at a time when the Italians refused to fight under the French banner, was beneficial to both the French and the Poles.

The legions were to consist of Polish exiles. Dabrowski managed to preserve the traditional Polish uniforms, national insignia and the Polish officer corps. The only concessions he made with regard to the uniforms were the epaulettes, which bore the colours of Lombardy, and French tri-coloured bows. Dąbrowski's Manifesto addressed to Poles, and published in Italian, French and German periodicals, elicited a great response from the Polish émigré community. Soon Milan, the capital of Lombardy, began to fill up with scores of volunteers in spite of the penalties enforced by the partitioning powers. The volunteers included patriotic émigrés as well as Polish prisoners released from the Austrian army. Within a short time, the Polish general gathered seven thousand potential troops, whom he turned into a disciplined army.

Dąbrowski's Polish soldiers fought at Napoleon's side from May 1797 until the beginning of 1803. As a commander of his legion he played an important part in the war in Italy, entered Rome in May 1798, and distinguished himself greatly at the Battle of Trebia (June 19, 1799) as well as other battles and combats of 1799–1801. However, the legions were never able to reach Poland and did not liberate the country, as Dąbrowski had dreamed. Napoleon did, however, notice the growing dissatisfaction of his brave soldiers and their commanders. They were particularly disappointed by a peace treaty between France and Russia signed in Lunéville, which dashed Polish hopes of Bonaparte freeing Poland. Instead, fearing rebellion, he decided to disperse the Legions. This meant the collapse of the Polish formation. A particularly harmful move was the decision to send six thousand men to Haiti in 1803 to crush a local rebellion. Only three hundred legionnaires returned.

After the Legions were disbanded and the Treaty of Amiens was passed, Dąbrowski became a division general in the service of the Italian republic. He was summoned again by Napoleon in 1806 to create a Polish formation, which Napoleon wanted to use to recapture Greater Poland from Prussia. Polish volunteers again turned up, albeit with much less enthusiasm. Though he distinguished himself at Gdańsk and at Frydląd, even Dąbrowski himself became disillusioned when he was prevented from fighting against the partitioning powers in the remaining Polish territories. In 1807 the Duchy of Warsaw was established in the recaptured territories, essentially as a satellite of Bonaparte's France. Disappointed with the Corsican, Dąbrowski settled near Poznań, where he had received an estate. Soon, however he set out to fight Austria under the command of Prince Józef Poniatowski in 1808. After the Battle of Raszyn, the Polish army entered Galicia and on 15 July captured Kraków. In June 1812 Dąbrowski commanded a Polish division in the Grande Armée, joining Napoleon on his Moscow expedition. However, by October the Franco-Russian war was over and the French forces, decimated by a severe winter, had to retreat. Their defeat was completed by a battle lost during the crossing of the River Berezina, in which Dąbrowski was wounded.

He fought under Marshal Auguste Marmont at the Battle of Leipzig (1813), but in the following year returned to Poland, unable to continue the fight any further. He was one of the generals entrusted by the tsar with the reorganization of the Polish army, and was named in 1815 general of cavalry and senator palatine of the new Congress Kingdom, and awarded the Order of the White Eagle. He retired in the following year to his estates in Winnogóra near Poznań, where he died in 1818. He wrote several military historical works in Polish.

Polish national anthem

During the formation of the Polish Legions, the present Polish national anthem was created. The "Anthem of the Polish Legions in Italy", written to the tune of a mazurka between 15 and 21 July 1797, was very popular with the legionnaires. It was penned by Józef Wybicki, a close friend of Dąbrowski. Beginning with the words, "Poland has not yet perished...", it was meant to counteract the rumours spread by the Prussians that in 1794, after the defeat at Maciejowice, Tadeusz Kościuszko was to have shouted, "Finis Poloniae!" ("This is the end of Poland").

See also

* Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, the Polish national anthem
* Greater Poland Uprising 1794 - to help the Kościuszko Uprising
* Greater Poland Uprising 1806 - to help Napoleon I to liberate Poland and create the Duchy of Warsaw

References

*
* [http://web2.airmail.net/napoleon/polish_army.html Polish Army of the Napoleonic Wars]


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  • Jan Henryk Dabrowski — Jan Henryk General Dąbrowski Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, auch Johann Heinrich Dombrowski, (* 29. August 1755 in Pierzchowice, nahe Krakau; † 6. Juni 1818 in Winnogóra bei Wronki, Großpolen) war ein polnischer General. Er wird als polnischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jan Henryk Dąbrowski — General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, auch Johann Heinrich Dombrowski, (* 29. August 1755 in Pierzchowice, nahe Krakau; † 6. Juni 1818 in Winnogóra bei Wronki, Großpolen) war ein polnischer General. Er wird als polnisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Jan Henryk Dąbrowski — Jean Henri Dombrowski Jean Henri Dombrowski Surnom Dombrowski Naissance 29 août 1755 Pierzchowice Décès …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jan Hendrik Dąbrowski — Jan Henryk General Dąbrowski Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, auch Johann Heinrich Dombrowski, (* 29. August 1755 in Pierzchowice, nahe Krakau; † 6. Juni 1818 in Winnogóra bei Wronki, Großpolen) war ein polnischer General. Er wird als polnischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jan Hendryk Dabrowski — Jan Henryk General Dąbrowski Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, auch Johann Heinrich Dombrowski, (* 29. August 1755 in Pierzchowice, nahe Krakau; † 6. Juni 1818 in Winnogóra bei Wronki, Großpolen) war ein polnischer General. Er wird als polnischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jan Hendryk Dąbrowski — Jan Henryk General Dąbrowski Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, auch Johann Heinrich Dombrowski, (* 29. August 1755 in Pierzchowice, nahe Krakau; † 6. Juni 1818 in Winnogóra bei Wronki, Großpolen) war ein polnischer General. Er wird als polnischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dabrowski, Jan Henryk — Dombrowski, Jan Henryk …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Dąbrowski, Jan Henryk — ▪ Polish general Dąbrowski also spelled  Dombrowski   born Aug. 2 or 29, 1755, Pierzchowice, near Kraków, Pol. died June 6, 1818, Winnogóra  general, regarded as a Polish national hero for his part in Tadeusz Kościuszko s rebellion against Russia …   Universalium

  • Dombrowski, Jan Henryk — Dabrowski, Jan Henryk …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione


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