Karl Sigismond Friedrick Wilhelm Leutrum

Karlhaunsen "Baron Litron"

27 june 1692 - 16 may 1755

       Born in Karlhaunsen, Baden, the 27 of June 1692, Karl Sigismond was the son of the second marriage of the Baron Friedrick Sigismond, and he had spent the first years of his life inside the family's castle of Karlhausen, in Baden, built by his grandfather in 1650. He arrived in Piedmont at the age of 14 years old, together with his half-brother Karl Magnus, attached to the escort of the Prinz Eugen. Leutrum decided in that occasion to enter in the Sabaudian army. Promoted captain of infantry, he was trained by captain Johann Hernst Wahren. In 1725 he became lieutenant-colonel of the Regiment Rehbinder, in 1732 he was its new colonel, fighting with his units during the War of Polish Succession, especially during the siege of Gera Pizzighettone in winter 1733. At the end of 1735 he was promoted brigadier general.

       The War of Austrian Succession began with Leutrum marching to the low padanian plain. His Regiment Rehebinder was one of the Piedmontese units ready for the action in that sector of the front. With the 1st battalion he moved from the camp of Parma to fights in the battle of Camposanto (8 February 1743). During the second phase of this fight, three Spanish infantry brigades (Guardie, Irlanda, Flandres) smashed the first line of the right wing of the Austro Piedmontese army. From the second line Generals D'Apremont and Leutrum led counter charge with three battalions, Savoye, Piemont and Rehbinder. The right wing of the Spanish line was broken and compelled to withdraw. During this action Spanish Rgt. Guadalaxara is cut off from its army and compelled to surrend. Leutrum was badly wounded, but he was comforted by his new rank of Major General. Before the end of the year Leutrum reached Turin, and then the Orbassano and the camp of San Colombano in Susa Valley, while his Regiment fought in Varaita Valley. In the spring 1744 Leutrum arrived at the entrenched camp of the Villefranche Harbour. The 20 April he faced, under Comm. Cinzano command, the French-Spanish offensive. With the grenadiers of the Regiment Bourgsdorff (the previous Rehebinder) he was able to recapture the lost redoubts at Mont Gros and Collet de Villefranche with an envelope movement in co-ordination with grenadiers of Regiments Saluce, Tarentaise and Guibert. After the surrender of the Place, he went to the Harbour of Oneglia. Then he came back in Piedmont. The "key" of south Piedmont, the city-fortress of Cuneo, was under the danger of an immediate siege by the composite French-Spanish army under Prince de Conty. Charles Emmanuel III changed immediately the governor of the place. The old Ottavio Pallio Comte de Rinco was changed with Baron Leutrum.

An officer of the garrison wrote about him:
Baron Leutrum reached Cuneo in the night between the 18 and the 19 august with the first battalion of Regiment Kalbermatten and some little pieces of artillery. Everybody knew him for his merits, prudence, ability, resoluteness and of the military virtues. So it is not the case for me to speak any more about him, since I should say anything well knew to everybody.

De la Fléchère      

The new governor prepared the city to the siege in such way; first of all raising the morale of the garrison (8 battered battalions, about 3244 men). 3 free companies were raised, together with 11 of citizen militia. The houses of Cuneo became all little quarters, all the incendiary material transferred in safety, the street were unpaved, a lot of water and food supplies introduced in the city. It had a total storage supplies for more than five months of siege. More important Leutrum ordered to built three new redoubts on the glacis at about 300 meters from the covered way. He wanted to defend the glacis as long as possible. He had at his order two able officers, the officer of the engineers Bernardino Pinto Comte di Barri and the lieutenant of the miners Bussolino. The trench was opened by the Allies the 12 September; when the siege was over, the 22 October, the three detached redoubts were still in Piedmontese hands.

So the siege of Coni finished, during that Baron Leutrum, thank to his sense and ability, and his tireless care, won the honour and the respect of the garrison and of the citizen. The troops sustained with fervour and courage and complied in everything the dispositions and the orders of the their Governor. The citizen made all things you can hope in such occasion, since they worked in every moment to the safety and resistance of the Place.

in Mémoires du siège de Coni      

In may 1745 Leutrum was ranked Lieutenant General, just in time to face the new great French-Spanish offensive under Marshall Maillebois. The Baron gained, the 26 august, near the Fortress of Ceva one of the few Piedmontese victories in that campaign. Again, the 28 October, while the Sabaudian armies was retreating beaten on Turin, the Citadel of Alessandria under block, Asti, between them, occupied. Leutrum, with a small force, stopped a French offensive, led by Mirepoix, against Ceva. In winter 1745-1746 the strategic minds of the sabaudian kingdom, minister Bogino and the chef of the ingegneurs Ignazio Bertola, planned a counter offensive. The executer had to be Baron Leutrum. He assembled his forces near the Place of Trino. Then he spent the winter to clear the way from Turin to the occuped city of Asti. He reconquered Costigliole (29 november 1745). Since the end of 1744, for the first time a piedmontese force had taken in a military action a considerable number of prisoners. In february 1746 was the time for surrender for the castle of Balangero and Castagnole Lanze.

Then the main offensive against Asti was launched, in the mid of a storm. For the first time Leutrum had at his order a great army, about 30.000 men, 31 infantry battalions and six cavalry regiment, The beginnig of the assault to east was not the best the sabaudian wished, and the artillery siege park had many problems:

During the night march from San Damiano to Asti the artillery crews informed leutrum that, since the bad season, it wasn't possible to ford the Borbore stream with the artillery. Leutrum simply said "I want them to ford". After many attempts, all frustated, the crews spoke again to the general. He again told to his men "I want them to ford". That night all the cannons had forded the stream.

Biagio Gho      

       The piemontese general cleared the way; the 7 march 1746 Asti was reconquered after two day of artillery bombardement. The french garrison (9 battalions, about 5000 men), 27 flags and 8 cannons were captured. The 10 march the Citadel of Alessandria was made free from the block. Just in time since an heavy snowfall collapsed the piedmontese logistics. Leutrum, now General of infantry, could move only in april, when the 17 april he siegedd the city of Valenza on the river Po. In a sea of mud, the cit was taken the 4 may 1746. The Piedmontese landscape was completely free from enemy forces only the 27 novembre 1746, with the surrender of Tortona

Then we find Leutrum during the french-spanish offensive of 1747. On the ligurian theatre Leutrum, with a very small force was able to defend the line Saorgio-Oneglia-Savona until the arrive of the austrian army from Genoa, to face the enemy advance with over than 50 battalions.

At the end of the War of Austrian Succession he went to Cuneo to rule the city as governor. A Regiment of German Infantry, Burgsdorf, became Regiment Leutrum. Protestant, he didn't want to become catholic. He refused also the collar of the Ordine della Santissima Annunziata, the greater honour of the Kingdom of Sardinia (and, late, of the Kingdom of Italy).

He died the 16 may 1755 in Cuneo, since dropsy. So, after his death, he was buried at Torre Pellice, in the Waldesian Valleys. His coffin was transferred from Cuneo to Torre Pellice in the heart of the Alps by the soldier of his Regiment Leutrum. Beloved by the citizens of Cuneo, the piemontese people in general and, first of all, by his soldiers people, a song about Leutrum and his "great refusal" to become catholic, was soon composed.

He was probably the best field commanding officier of the sabaudian army in XVIII century.

1692 Born, 27 jun

1706 Captain of infantry

1725 Lieutenant Colonel

1732 Colonel

1735 Brigadier General

1744 Governor of Cuneo, august

1745 Lieutenat General, may

1746 General of infantry, february

1755 Died, 16 may

Jean Cerino Badone