He was born in Berlin. He entered an infantry regiment at the age of thirteen years, was commissioned as an ensign in 1795, a second lieutenant in 1797, a first lieutenant in 1804, and a staff-captain in 1805. As a subaltern, he had become one of Scharnhorst's intimates, and he was distinguished for his energetic and fearless character before the War of 1806. He served from Jena to the Peace of Tilsit as a staff officer, and won the rank of major for distinguished service in action. After the downfall of Prussia and the subsequent peace, he was one of the most active as Scharnhorst's assistants in the work of reorganization (1809). He joined the Tugendbund and endeavoured to take part in Schill's abortive expedition, after which he entered the Austrian service as a major on the general staff.
Thereafter he journeyed to Cadiz to assist the Spanish against Napoleon, and he led a corps of volunteers in the defence of that port against Marshal Victor in 1810. He was present at the Battle of Albuera, at Saguntum, and at Valencia, and became a prisoner of war at Valencia. Soon, however, he escaped to Switzerland, and in 1813, he returned to Prussia as a major on the general staff. He served successively under Colonel von Dolffs and General von Kleist as commissioner at the headquarters of the Russian general Barclay de Tolly.
He took part with Kleist in the victory of Kulm and recovered from a severe wound received at that action in time to be present at the Battle of Leipzig. He played a conspicuous part in the campaign of 1814 in France after which he was made a major general. In this rank be was appointed quartermaster-general to Field Marshal Prince Blücher and after his chief and Gneisenau, Grolman had the greatest share in directing the Prussian operations of 1815.
In the decision, on 18 June 1815, to press forward to Wellington's assistance, Grolman actively concurred, and as the troops approached the battlefield, he is said to have overcome the momentary hesitation of the commander-in-chief and the chief of staff; himself giving the order to advance.
After the Peace of 1815, Grolman occupied important positions in the Ministry of War and the General Staff of the new Prussian Army, being dedicated to reforming the latter. His last public services were rendered in Poland as commander-in-chief, and practically as civil administrator of Grand Duchy of Posen, where he did much to promote the extension of German influence. He was promoted general of infantry in 1837 and died on 1 June 1843 at Posen. His two sons became generals in the Prussian army and the Prussian 18th Infantry Regiment bore his name.
General von Grolman supervised and provided much of the material for von Damitz's Geschichte des Feldzugs 1815 (Berlin, 1837-1838), and Geschichte des Feldzugs 1814 in Frankreich (Berlin, 1842-1843).
He was the brother of Wilhelm Heinrich von Grolman.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911) "Grolmann, Karl Wilhelm Georg von" Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.) Cambridge University Press This work in turn cites:
- Von Conrady, Leben und Wirken des Generals Karl von Grolman (Berlin, 1894-1896)
- "Grolman, Karl Wilhelm Georg von". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
August von Gneisenau
|Chief of the Prussian General Staff
Johann Rühle von Lilienstern
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