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Johann Baron von Hiller (June 10, 1754 – June 5, 1819) was an Austrian general during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He held an important command during the 1809 campaign against France, playing a prominent role at the Battle of Aspern-Esslingmarker.

Early career

Von Hiller, born into a military family, served as a cadet in a Saxon regiment and as a lieutenant in the Wurttemberg Dragoons, then becoming a captain in a border regiment in 1774, a regiment he would eventually command.

Hiller fought in the Prussian theater during the War of the Bavarian Succession (1778-1779). Distinguishing himself in the Austro-Turkish War (1787-1792) for his vigor in defending his sector of Croatia, von Hiller was made Lieutenant Colonel in 1788 and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Maria Theresa. During the siege of Berbir, von Hiller again distinguished himself and was promoted to Oberst or full Colonel. He served as general aide to Feldmarschall Ernst Laudon, then returned to command his border regiment.

French Revolutionary Wars

Promoted General-Major in 1794, von Hiller was assigned to the army in Italy, serving as Quartermaster General to the army in Lombardy. In 1796 von Hiller commanded a brigade in the Army of the Rhine, but ill health compelled him to retire. He returned in 1798, to participate in the campaign against the French in Switzerland. He was wounded in the First Battle of Zürich on June 4, 1799. Promoted Feldmarschal-Leutnant in 1800, he was then posted to the command of the Zagrebmarker (Croatian) military district.

Napoleonic Wars

He commanded the Tyrol district from 1801 to 1805. He retained command of this district, which did not see major action, during the War of the Third Coalition. Following the peace, von Hiller was made commander of Salzburgmarker and Upper Austria.

When war with France broke out in 1809, von Hiller was given command of VI Armee Korps covering the left wing of the main Austrian army. Engaged and defeated on April 21 at the Battle of Landshut, he became separated from the main army. After Archduke Charles's defeat at the Battle of Eckmuhl, von Hiller took overall command of V and VI Armee Korps and retreated in good order toward Linzmarker from April 25 to May 3. On the latter date he fought a savage action with André Masséna's corps at the Battle of Ebersberg. This defeat forced von Hiller to withdraw across the Danube at Mautern.

In the Battle of Aspern-Esslingmarker, von Hiller commanded the extreme right of the Austrian line. His corps fought well during the desperate two days of fighting in the town of Aspern and contributed materially to the Austrian victory. He resigned his command shortly before the Battle of Wagrammarker. In August 1809 Francis II of Austria appointed him Feldzeugmeister.

Following peace with France, von Hiller was made commanding general of Croatiamarker and, in 1811, of Slavonia and Styria. In 1813 he commanded the Italian theater, opposing the army of Eugène de Beauharnais. While von Hiller was not defeated, his cautious operations failed to achieve a decisive victory, and he was recalled.


  • Chandler, David. The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York: Macmillan, 1966.

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