Friday, November 2, 2012

Prince Felix du Salm-Salm

From the Mad Monarchist:
It would be hard to imagine many other soldiers in the service of the Mexican Emperor having a more colorful career that Prince Felix zu Salm-Salm. Throughout his career he was to fight for the King of Prussia, the Emperor of Austria, the President of the United States and the Emperor of Mexico. He was born Felix Constantin Alexander Johann Nepomuk Prinz zu Salm-Salm at Schloss Anholt in Westphalia on December 25, 1828; the youngest son of Prince Florentin zu Salm-Salm. His first military service commenced on April 2, 1846 when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Prussian cavalry, first with a Guards Kurassier regiment and then with the 11th Hussar regiment. He saw action for the first time during the Prussian-Danish War at the battle of Aarhuus on May 18, 1849. Although only an ordinance officer, Prince Felix took a handful of hussars and attacked a powerful troop of Danish dragoons on his own authority. This wild act of bravado left him wounded, a prisoner of the Danes and on the bad side of his superiors.

In 1854 Prince Felix left the Prussian army for the Austrian Imperial Army and fought in the Franco-Austrian War in 1859 in Italy. Afterwards, he made the mistake of running up huge gambling debts, a fault which the conservative Emperor Francis Joseph found particularly aggravating and he was dismissed from the army for conduct unbecoming an officer. While his father dealt with his debts Prince Felix decided to see what opportunities lay open in the New World and he sailed to the United States, arriving just in time for the outbreak of the Civil War. During the course of the war Prince Felix was to gain two very valuable things; a better reputation and a devoted wife. He met the German General Louis Blenker who gave him the rank of colonel and made him his chief of staff. He also fell in love with a beautiful and spirited redhead named Agnes LeClerq, the daughter of a Canadian colonel. The two married in secret on August 30, 1862 because her Puritan family did not approve of a Catholic wedding, but the new Princess Agnes was totally devoted to her husband and hated being apart from him. (Read entire post.)

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