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Johann Ulrich von Salis Soglio (1790–1874)

On 22 May 1844 Johann Ulrich von Salis-Soglio, colonel in the Swiss General Staff, was in the Valais, where a faction of the Young Europe association was causing unrest. The Federal Council had appointed him commander of the troops and tasked him with disarming Young Switzerland, which was a revolutionary liberal group modelled on the Young Italy movement founded by Giuseppe Mazzini. In August 1847 Johann Ulrich von Salis-Soglio was released from the service on account of his conservative views. Shortly thereafter, however, he was back in military uniform again, having reluctantly accepted his appointment as supreme commander of the Sonderbund army.

22.05.2019 | Communication Defence

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Johann Ulrich von Salis Soglio was born in Chur on 16 Mar 1790. Already at a young age, this son of the aristocratic Graubünden von Salis family joined the Graubünden militia and was promoted to NCO in the General Staff in 1809, to officer in 1811, and to adjutant in 1813. He also served in foreign armies, first as an officer in the light cavalry of the Bavarian Crown Prince's Regiment, participating in the War of the Sixth Coalition against Napoleon in 1812-1813. From 1815 on, he served as a captain, and after being promoted in 1824, as a major in a Swiss regiment under Dutch command. After this regiment was disbanded in 1829, he joined the Dutch National Army where in 1831 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and later (1834) to colonel at the head of a cuirassier regiment. Five years later, he resigned while holding the rank of a major general.

Having returned to Switzerland in 1840, Johann Ulrich von Salis Soglio became a colonel in the federal staff in 1841, and as such was engaged in the Valais against members of the liberal group Young Switzerland. With civil war between members of the Liberal Party that was in power in Switzerland at the time and members of the Conservative Party increasingly imminent, the Sonderbund appointed Johann Ulrich von Salis Soglio supreme commander of the conservative army on 15 January 1847. As a Protestant, he was reluctant to accepted this position as head of a Catholic army, but did so in October after being stripped of his powers as chief of the general staff at the end of August on account of his involvement with the Sonderbund. The defeat of the Sonderbund troops on 1 December 1847 brought an end to the Sonderbund War, and with it an end to Johann Ulrich von Salis Soglio's military career. Afterwards he lived in Bergamo, South Tyrol and Munich. Although accused of treason he was never tried in court because national reconciliation was given priority. In 1855 he withdrew to Chur, where he died on 27 April 1874 at the age of 84.

 

 

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