Prussian General-Major Heinrich Simon Eduard von Valentini

Heinrich Simon Eduard von Valenti was born on October 4, 1818 at Eulenberg bei Neu-Stettin.  On August 18, 1836 he was commissioned as a Seconde-Lieutenant in the 14th Infantry Regiment.

 

Image 1-A painting of von Valentini as a Cadet circa 1836.  Image from author’s archive.

 

Image 1

Image 2-An early painting of von Valenti wearing a 14th Infantry Regiment uniform.  Image from author’s archive.

 

On July 18, 1851 he was promoted to Premier-Lieutenant, on February 5, 1855 he was promoted to Hauptmann, on July 1, 1860 he was promoted to Major, and on June 18, 1865 he was promoted to Oberst-Lieutenant.  During the 1866 War against Austria he commanded Fusilier Battalion of the 71st Regiment which was part of the Advanced Guard in the 8th Division of Infantry under Lieutenant-General von Horn.  He fought in several battles during the 1866 war against Austria and was wounded at Königgrätz.  At the Battle of Königgrätz the 71st Regiment of Infantry suffered the following losses: 1 Officer killed, 83 enlisted-men killed, 8 Officers wounded, 195 enlisted-men wounded, 13 enlisted-men missing, and the loss of 1 horse.  Von Valentini was awarded the Prussian Red Eagle Order 4th Class with Swords for his actions during the 1866 War.  On October 30, 1866 he was promoted to Oberst and was given command of the 3. Hannoverschen Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 79.  Von Valentini served as the commander of this regiment until June 2, 1871.1

During the 1870/71 was against France, the 79th Infantry Regiment commanded by Oberst von Valentini, was part of the 39th Infantry Brigade, 20th Infantry Division, Xth Army Corps (commanded by General of Infantry von Voigts-Rhetz), 2nd Army (commanded by General of Cavalry Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia).

During the 1870/71 war against France von Valentini fought at Villonville-Mars La Tour, Gravelotte-St. Privat, Metz, Noisseville, Maxe, Malroy, Maizières (November 24, 1870), Beaune La Rolande, Maizières (November 30, 1870), Vendome, Montoire, Chartre, Chahaignes, and le Mans.  On August 18, 1871 von Valentini was promoted to General-Major.  During the 1870/71 War the Xth Army Corps suffered the following losses: 110 Officers killed, 2,128 enlisted-men killed, 416 horses killed, 234 Officers wounded, 4,704 enlisted-men wounded, 307 horses wounded, 1 Staff Surgeon wounded, 5 Assistant Surgeons wounded, 1 Chaplain wounded, 15 Officers missing, 1,035 enlisted-men missing, 62 horses missing, and 4 Assistant Surgeons missing.  For his actions during the 1870/71 War, von Valentini was awarded the Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class, the Prussian Iron Cross 1st Class, and the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg Military Merit Cross 2nd Class.

 

Image 2

Image 3-von Valentini’s surviving awards.  Image from author’s archive.

 

In the image above, the obverse of von Valentini’s 1870 Iron Cross 1st Class, and of his Iron Cross 2nd Class can be seen.  Below these awards is a pin-backed miniature clasp for civilian wear featuring a Prussian Service Award for Officers (25 Year Service Cross), an 1870 Iron Cross, and a Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg Military Merit Cross 2nd Class.

 

Image 3

Image 4-Obverse of von Valentini’s 1870 Iron Cross 1st Class.  Image from author’s archive.

 

 

Image 4

Image 5-Reverse of von Valentini’s 1870 Iron Cross 1st Class.  Image from author’s archive.

 

 

Image 5

Image 6-Reverse of von Valentini’s 1870 Iron Cross 1st Class showing the maker’s mark and silver content mark.  Image from author’s archive.

 

With only 1,903 awards, the Prussian 1870 Iron Cross 1st Class was rather scarcely-awarded and therefore prestigious.  This example which belonged to von Valentini was one type of standard award-piece made by “I. WAGNER & S.” (House Jeweler Johann Wagner und Sohn of Berlin).  The marking “14 LÖTE” indicates that the frame and backing plate of the piece were made from 14/16 silver or 875/1000 silver.2

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Image 7-Page summarizing the career of von Valentini.  Image from author’s archive.

 

 

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Image 8-Detail of photo of von Valentini.  Image from author’s archive.

 

In the above photo von Valentini can be seen wearing his large medal bar.  In the first position is his Prussian 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class, followed by the Prussian Red Eagle Order 3rd Class with Bow and Swords- on-the-Ring (difficult to see), the Prussian Red Eagle Order 4th Class with Swords, the Prussian Service Award for Officers (25 Year Service Cross), the German Empire 1870/71 Campaign Medal, the Prussian Königgrätz Cross, the Prussian Hohenzollern Commemorative Medal (1848/49), and the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg Military Merit Cross 2nd Class.  He is also wearing his Prussian 1870 Iron Cross 1st Class below his large medal bar.

 

Image 11

Image 9-Listing of the details of von Valentini’s military career.  Image from author’s archive.

 

On March 15, 1874 von Valentini was pensioned and was awarded the Prussian Red Eagle Order 2nd Class with Oak Leaves and Swords-on-the-Ring.  The document above states that he was awarded the “Roter Adler Orden 2. Kl. mit der Schleife und Schw. am Ringe” (Red Eagle Order 2nd Class with the Bow and Swords-on-the-Ring), however, this notation is believed to be in error.  In the later photo below, von Valentini can be seen wearing his Red Eagle Order 2nd Class with Oak Leaves and with Swords-on-the-Ring.  It is interesting to note that in this photograph, the Red Eagle Order 3rd Class with Bow and Swords-on-the-Ring has been removed from the large medal bar.  Von Valentini did not have the group of awards re-mounted, but left a gap where the award was removed.  The Red Eagle Order 3rd Class with Bow and Swords-on-the-Ring had to be returned to the Prussian Order’s Chancellery upon the award of the Red Eagle Order 2nd Class with Oak Leaves and Swords-on-the-Ring per statute.  This thus explains the “missing” award in this later photo.

 

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Image 10-A photo of von Valentini after the award of his Red Eagle 2nd Class with Oak Leaves and Swords-on-the-Ring, and a photo of his wife.  Image from the author’s archive.

 

 

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Image 11-Photo of von Valentini in his later years.  Image from author’s archive.

 

 

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Image 12-Contemporary photo of the grave of von Valentini.  Image from author’s archive.

 

On December 9, 1890, retired General-Major Eduard von Valentini died thus ending the long and eventful life of this brave Prussian Officer.   Upon his death, his Orders were probably returned to the Prussian Order’s Chancellery per statute, which could explain why they are not now with his other awards.  After his death, his family had the option of purchasing and retaining his Orders, but this was an expensive option, and therefore many families did not do so.

 

Thank you for your interest regarding this article.  I wish to thank Andreas Schulze-Ising of Pittsburgh, PA, USA, for his assistance in the preparation of this article (especially his patience in explaining the rather intricate regulations concerning the Prussian Red Eagle Order so that it all made sense to me).   Comments are welcome.

– Lorin

 

Literature:

Clarke, Captain F. C. H. The Franco-German War, 1870-1871 (First Part, First Volume). Her Majesty’s Stationary Office. (1873-1884).

Clarke, Major F. C. H. The Franco-German War, 1870-1871 (Second Part, Third Volume). Her Majesty’s Stationary Office. (1873-1884).

Hessenthal, Waldemar Hesse Edlen von und Schreiber, Georg. Die tragbaren Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Reiches. Verlag Uniformen-Markt Otto Dietrich. Berlin, 1940.

Heyden, Hermann von. Ehren-Zeichen (Kriegs-Denkzeichen, Verdienst- und Dienstalters-Zeichen) der erloschenen und blühen- den Staaten Deutschlands und Österreich-Ungarns. Kommissions-Verlag von Brückner & Renner, Herzogl. Hofbuchhandlung. Meiningen, 1897.

Hozier, Captain Henry M. and Wright, Colonel von. The Campaign of 1866 in Germany.  Her Majesty’s Stationary Office. 1872.

 

Annotations:

  1. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanterie-Regiment_%E2%80%9Evon_Voigts-Rhetz%E2%80%9C_(3._Hannoversches)_Nr._79
  2. http://www.925-1000.com/Fgerman_marks_b1884.html

 

 

1 Comment
  1. Hello Everyone:

    I have been able to locate a painting of von Valentini as a Cadet circa 1836. I have added an image of that painting to the article.

    Thank you,

    Lorin

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