Otto Freiherr von Scholley

Otto Karl Lehmann was born on the 8th of September 1823 (other sources gave 1822) in Kassel the capital of the German electorate of Hessen-Kassel. When his mother Gertrude, born Falkenstein, the divorced wife of a Prussian Leutnant named Lehmann,  Gräfin von Schaumburg (since 1831)  and Fürstin von Hanau (since 1833) married the Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm I. von Hessen, her two sons from her first marriage - Otto Karl (1823-1907) and Eduard Julius (1827-1896) Lehmann - where raised into the Hessian nobility by transferring the name and the coat-of-arms from the old and noble but extinct Hessian family "von Scholley" to the brothers and their descendants by decree of the 30th of October 1837. On the 11th of January 1846 both brothers were raised to the level of Freiherr while their other half-brothers and half-sisters from the morganatic marriage of their mother with the Hessian Kurfürst used the titles of Princes and Princesses von Hanau. Otto started his military career by successfully graduating from the cadet school at Kassel and entered the Hessian Army as a Portepee-Fähnrich on the 8th of May 1840. On the 1st of July 1840 he was promoted to Lieutenant followed by his promotion to Oberlieutnant five years later. Meanwhile the Hessian Kurfürst had many problems, internal political pressure grew and this was exacerbated by his morganatic liaison and from abroad by the Prussian desire to occupy his country. It was therefore prudent to calm the situation down. This was the reason why the family left Hessen, the mother remained occasionally at the private estates of the Kurfürst in Bohemia near Prague, her son Eduard entered Prussian military service which he finally left as a Rittmeister when the Prussians  did indeed occupied Hessen and Otto entered Austrian military service with the hussar regiment "Czar Nicolaus I." number 9 on the 12th of February 1846. A few months before, on the 5th of November 1845, he married Hedwig Freiin von Münchhausen (1822-1889) at Prague. They had two children a son, Alexander (1847-1901) who became an Austrian Oberst of the artillery, and a daughter, Gertrude born 1849 who married in 1870 Moritz Freiherr von Brunicki in Vienna.

When the national mutiny of 1848 broke out, his regiment, the 9th hussars which was a Hungarian regiment decided for the opposing camp and almost to a man joined the new Hungarian National Army. Only Oberlieutnant Otto Freiherr von Scholley and a few others remained true to their oath of loyalty and fled from the regiment. During the following campaigns of 1848/49 Freiherr von Scholley was engaged as an orderly officer to Feldmarschall-Leutnant Graf Wrbna, later with Feldzeugmeister Baron Welden and finally as an aide-de-camp to Feldzeugmeister Baron Haynau. FZM Baron Haynau rewarded his services as his aide-de-camp with accelerated promotion to Rittmeister 2nd class by special order Nr.355 at his headquarter in Kecskemet on the 27th of July 1849. For his excellent conduct on all occasions and battles he also received the commendations from the Kaiser on the 16th of May 1848 and for a second time on the 18th of October 1849 - this allowed him to wear the newly introduced military merit cross including the 1860 created war decoration. He also received foreign decorations : his former regimental proprietor, Czar Nicolas I, honored his loyalty by awarding him the knight's cross of the Order of Vladimir with swords and his stepfather awarded him the knight's cross of the Hessian Order of Wilhelm. When the 9th hussars was newly formed as hussar regiment "Franz Fürst Liechtenstein" number 9  in November 1849 Otto Freiherr von Scholley took over command of a squadron with additional promotion to Rittmeister 1st class.

In 1857 a vacancy arose for a Major in the regiment of his stepfather and so Otto Freiherr von Scholley was transferred to the hussar regiment "Kurfürst von Hessen-Kassel" number 8 on promotion to Major on the 23rd of June 1857. When the 1859 the war against France in Italy started it soon became obvious that the 8th hussars would  not part in that war. Many of the young and ambitious officers volunteered for other units in order to prove themselves under fire and therefore probably leaving the regiment permanently. Of course Otto Freiherr von Scholley also wanted to do the same but his stepfather asked him not to leave the regiment and to put his own ambitions behind the continued well-being of his father's regiment. As an obedient son he remained with the regiment and was "consoled" by the award of the commander's cross 2nd class of the Hessian Order of Wilhelm on the 18th of September 1860. On the 17th of February 1863 he was promoted to Oberstleutnant followed by his transfer to Ulan regiment "Erzherzog Max" number 8 on the 13th of August of the same year. Soon Erzherzog Max became Emperor Maximilian of Mexico and decorated the commanding officers of his regiment with his new orders, while the regimental commander received the commander's cross with breast star his deputy commander, Oberstleutnant Otto Freiherr von Scholley, was honored with the commander's cross of the Order of our beloved Madonna of Guadalupe on the 12th of May 1864. Some minor illness and several problems inside the family compelled him to request a years leave of absence on health grounds on the 4th of April 1866 but immediately thereafter the problems between Austria and Prussia came to a head and he realized that he would again miss the chance of distinguishing himself under fire. Otto Freiherr von Scholley immediately volunteered his services, returned to duty and was transferred to Ulan regiment number 4 on the 17th of May 1866 taking over the command of this regiment with additional promotion to Oberst on the 25th of June 1866 while the former regimental commander Johann Freiherr von Appel took over command of a brigade.  Ulan regiment number 4 was engaged in the Northern theatre of war with 5 squadrons (number 2 - 6) in the brigade of Generalmajor Schindlöcker of the 1st Reserve-Cavallerie-Division Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prinz Holstein. With his regiment he served gallantly during the encounters of Wysokow on the 27th of June and near Skalitz on the 28th of June and also during the battle of Königgrätz on the 3rd of July 1866. The total losses during the whole campaign were 6 officers (one of them dead), 196 men and 280 horses - of which 5 officers (wounded), 184 men and 262 horses occurred during the few hours of the battle of Königgrätz! For his dashing conduct during the whole campaign Oberst Freiherr von Scholley was honored with the commendation of the Kaiser on the 3rd of October 1866.

After the war Otto Freiherr von Scholley remained commander of the 4th Ulan regiment and succeeded in having one of his stepbrothers, Philipp Prinz zu Hanau, posted into this unit later appointing him the orderly officer of that regiment. On the 5th of January 1868 he was honored with the commander's cross 1st class of the Hessian Order of Wilhelm. At the end of October 1871 he took over command of the cavalry brigade at Debrecen followed by his promotion to Generalmajor on the 25th of April 1873. In November 1874 he was appointed commander of the cavalry brigade at Prague. On the 21st of September 1877 he retired at his own request with the additional honorary promotion to Feldmarschall-Leutnant (mit Titel und Charakter). Otto Freiherr von Scholley retired to his family estates at Prague where he died on the 8th of March 1907.

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