Ocskay von Ocska, Joseph

b. 1740, Ocska

d. 8 December 1805, Dubova (in Banat)

"Freiherr, General-Major, and Knight of the Order of Maria Theresa. Born on the family estate of Ocska in Hungary ... Ocskay received his military training in the Wiener-Neustadt Academy, and at 18 years of age became an ensign in IR no. 2. He fought in the Seven Years War, where he particularly distinguished himself at Hochkirch, in several defeats, and at the nine-week siege of the fortress of Schweidnitz. Later he served in the War of the Bavarian Succession. During the former, he was made a lieutenant, in the latter a captain. In 1782 he was promoted to major, and before the beginning of the Turkish war, to lieutenant-colonel. In this he distinguished himself on several occasions. Firstly in an attack ordered by Feldmarschall-Lieutenant De Vins on the entrenched camp at Dubiza. Further, at Novi [Sad?], where he had the task of covering the fortress, and defended a flèche and two redoubts on Mount Messinovacz with three battalions. On 27 September 1788, Chyhaja Pasha carried out a fierce attack on the flèche with a corps of 6,000 men. Thrown back three times, he always renewed his attacks, and Ocskay and his battalions held on for four hours against the considerably superior enemy forces, who finally found themselves forced to give up any further attacks. At the storming of Novi, which had been ordered for 3 October, Ocskay led the left column against the water-bastion. At the head of the storming party, he climbed the bastion first, set up a cannon after the emplacement for it had been readied, and kept up such a heavy fire with it, that the enemy had to give up every attempt to seize the captured position. For this feat of arms, Ocskay was promoted to colonel, and moreover, in the 19th promotion (of 21 December 1789) was decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Order of Maria Theresa. In 1790, he took part in the siege of Semlin [Zemun] and Belgrade. In 1793, he served with his regiment in the Rhine army. At the storming of the Lines of Lauterburg, on 26 October of that year, then at the capture of Wanzenau, he led the Leib battalion in person, with victorious results, in consequence of which, he was appointed General-Major. In the campaign of 1797, he served with his brigade in the Army of Italy, but incurred the displeasure of the Imperial commander by his premature evacuation of the position of Tarvisio, and was immediately retired. He died in retirement at the age of 65 years. In 1790, Ocskay was raised to a hereditary barony, in accordance with the statutes of the Order of Maria Theresa. His son Franz distinguished himself as a natural scientist." Wurzbach, C., von. Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, 1856-91, vol 20, p. 476-7.

See also Coiffier de Verseux, H. L., baron. Dictionnaire biographique et historique des hommes marquans de la fin du dix-huitième siècle. London, 1800, vol 3, p. 117 (where the name is spelt Oczkai).

The name is spelt "Ocskay" in Kempeln, B. Magyar Nemes Családok. Buda, 1911-32.

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