Prussia’s Generalfeldmarschall Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz (1796-1877) began his military career in 1813, during the Napoleonic Wars. He was wounded during the war and received the 1813 Iron Cross 2nd Class. After fighting in 1848’s First and Second Schleswig Wars, he achieved the rank of Generalmajor in 1854. Subsequently, he fought in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War and then the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War. During the latter war, as a Generaloberst, he commanded the I. Armee, one of three Prussian Armies in the field. He retired in April 1871, then was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall. The letter was handwritten in 1876 at Gorlitz, the year before he died. It measures 6 ½” x 8.” It is attached to another piece of paper that serves as a matte. It is interesting to note that Füsilier-Regiment von Steinmetz (Westpreußisches) Nr 37 was named in his honor. It is a fine, complete letter from one of Germany’s most important Franco-Prussian War military commanders.
Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz (27 December 1796 – 2 August 1877) was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall. He was born at Eisenach and joined the army of Prussia during the War of Liberation. Over the Seven Weeks’ War he led the V Corps against Austria and became known as the Lion of Nachod for his victories as the Battles of Nachod, Skalitz, and Schweinschädel. Steinmetz commanded one of three armies assembled on the Rhine for the Franco-Prussian War, during which he quarreled with Prince Friedrich Karl. After the war he retired.