Gneisenau, August Wilhelm Anton, Graf von (1760-1831), an able Prussian general, was born at Schildau, in Saxony. He first took service in the Ansbach army, and went to America during the War of Independence as a mercenary in the British service. In 1786 he had a personal interview with Frederick the Great, who gave him a commission in the Prussian army. He was present at Jena, and distinguished himself as chief of the garrison at the siege of Colberg (April-July, 1807). During the dark days of Prussia he busied himself with schemes for reorganising her army, and in 1809 Napoleon compelled him to resign. While in retirement he continued his plans, and called upon Europe for help. During the War of Liberation he was quartermaster-general to Blticher, and in the Waterloo campaign was his second-in-command.
He was named Field-Marshal in 1825, but his Liberal opinions kept him in the background. He was a great force in his own province of Silesia, where he died of cholera. There are lives of him by Pertz and Delbruck.