Gorgey, Or Gorgei Arthur, a Hungarian general, born in the county of Zips, Feb. 5, 1818. He entered the military school at Tuln, and subsequently the royal Hungarian noble life guards at Vienna, and was appointed lieutenant in the regiment of Palatine hussars. He soon left the army to devote himself to chemical studies at Prague. He spent the spring of 1848 without any participation in the early events of the Hungarian revolution; but when the insurrections of the non-Magyar tribes in the south of Hungary had compelled the Hungarian ministry to declare the country in danger, he offered his services to the national government. In August he received the command of the national guard of the circle W. of the Theiss, and was sent to the island of Csepel, formed by the Danube, to defend that line against the Croats of Pan Jellachich. The ban having been defeated at Pakozd, and having fled toward Vienna, Gorgey operated with Perezel against the Croatian corps, which finally surrendered at Ozora (Oct. 7). Kossuth then sent him as colonel to the army of the upper Danube, which was about to cross the frontier for the deliverance of Vienna; and after the defeat at Schwechat, near Vienna (Oct. 30), he made him general-in-chief of the whole army which was charged with defending the frontier.
Gor-gey's force was unfit to maintain a long line of defence against the superior and victorious army of Windischgratz, and on the approach of that general he abandoned the frontier and retreated toward Buda, which was also abandoned to the enemy early in 1849. Gorgey then crossed the Danube at Pesth, and marched toward the Waag. German in all except name and descent, he had no sympathy with Kossuth and the other revolutionary leaders, and on reaching Waitzen issued a manifesto in the form of a "declaration of the royal Hungarian corps darmee of the upper Danube," which was directed quite as much against the republican tendencies of Kossuth and his associates as it was against the unconstitutional reign of Francis Joseph, who had just been declared emperor. This manifesto, which was followed by acts of insubordination on his part, caused Gorgey to he suspected of treacherous designs. He was, however, protected by the various perplexities of the government, and the sympathies of his army. Put his situation was not less critical than that of the government. His army, consisting of about 15,000 men, was soon hemmed in, in the midst of winter, among the mountain towns of the mining district. The offensive march westward was given up, and a retreat toward the upper Theiss commenced.
After the defeat of Guyon at Windschacht (Jan. 21), and of Gorgey at Hodrics (Jan. 22), all the three divisions of the army were on the brink of destruction, and all escaped as by a miracle, effecting their junction at Neusohl. Separating again, they marched toward the northernmost Hungarian region of the Carpathians, and entered Zips, Gorgey's native county, at the beginning of February. Having here been surprised at Iglo on the night between Feb. 2 and 3, and suffered some inconsiderable loss, Guyon soon after (Feb. 5) saved the army by his victory on Mount Branyiszko over a division of Schlick's corps, which opened a junction with the Hungarian corps under Klapka on the upper Theiss. Gorgey, who had neglected communication with the government at Debreczin, and disbelieved the non-official reports of the successful operations of Klapka, too late concerted with the latter a common plan of attack, and thus missed the opportunity of crushing Schlick's corps at Kaschau. Arrived in that town, Gorgey received an order placing him, like Perezel and Klapka, under the Polish general Dembinski, as commander-in-chief of the united Hungarian main army. Gorgey immediately began intrigues against the foreign generalissimo, which much deranged the offensive plans of the latter.
Dembinski doubted the fidelity of Gorgey; the latter had no confidence in the ability of his superior. The unfavorable issue of the two days' battle of Kapolna (Feb. 26, 27) was ascribed by the one to unskilful dispositions, by the other to treacherous slowness in execution. The chief officers of the army, mostly partisans of Gorgey, openly declared their want of confidence in Dembinski; the government was forced to yield, and after a few weeks of interregnum Gorgey was appointed general-in-chief of the united main army, which was again to take the offensive against Windischgratz. Crossing the upper Theiss, he began his march on the line of operation chosen by Dembinski, but with greater success. The whole camgaign was an uninterrupted series of victories, which destroyed the finest imperial troops in Hungary, freed Pesth, and rescued the fortress of Comorn. The road to Vienna was open, but Buda had still to be conquered. Gorgey undertook the latter task, hut when he had executed it (May 21) the Russian armies were already approaching the frontiers of Hungary, and the opportunity of striking a decisive blow at Austria in its capital was lost. Kossuth now conferred upon Gorgey the title of lieutenant field marshal, which he refused to accept.
He set himself in opposition to Kossuth's republican plans; and having strengthened his personal position by assuming also the duties of minister of Avar, and by the removal from his army of some of* the most independent and ablest of his generals, he recommenced the offensive against the Aus-trians simultaneously with the invasion of the Russians. Political rather than strategical reasons led him to choose the left hank of the Danube as a basis of operations, and he changed his plan only after a series of bloody and fruitless struggles on the Waag and Danube (June 16, 20, 21). On the right bank of the latter river his army was forced to give up Raab (June 28), and he was obliged to retreat into the fortified camp at Comorn, where he gained more glory than success in the great battle of Szony (July 2), in which lie was wounded. At this juncture, when Russians and Austrians were advancing from every quarter, a concentration of the main armies on the Theiss was resolved upon at Pesth; Meszaros received the nominal, and Dembinski the virtual command in chief; the capital was again evacuated, and Gorgey was finally compelled to sacrifice his plans.
Leaving a part of his army under Klapka at Comorn, he retreated toward Waitzen, where he fought (July 15) against the Russian main army under Paskevitch; but being unable to break through it, he took his direction toward the upper Theiss, and defeated the Russians on the Sajo (July 25) and on the Hernad (July 28). The division of Nagy-Sandor was soon after surprised and defeated at Debreczin (Aug. 2); and when Gorgey finally reached Arad, the last appointed place of concentration, as well as the last seat of the Hungarian government, his army alone was still able to fight, all the others which had been ordered there having been defeated and dispersed; Bern had lost Transylvania. But to resist with success the overwhelming forces of Paskevitch and Haynau was now impossible. Having summoned Kossuth to resign, and been himself invested (Aug. 11) with supreme civil and military powers, Gorgey informed the Russian general Rudiger of his intention to surrender his army, relying for the fate of his men on the magnanimity of the czar. The surrender took place at Vila-gos, Aug. 18, 1849, when 20,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry laid down their arms.
The generals and soldiers were then delivered by the Russians to the Austrians, the former to be executed at Arad (Oct. 0), the latter to serve a new term in their army. Gorgey was spared at the intercession of the czar, and carried as captive to Klagenfurth, where he resumed his chemical studies, and wrote Mein Leben und Wirken in Ungarn in den Jahren 1848 tmd 1849 (Leipsic, 1852; English translation, "My Life and Acts in Hungary," London, 1852). On the restoration of the Hungarian constitution in 1867, he returned to his country, and in 1869 published anonymously Magyarorszag 1849-ben 1866 utan ("Hungary in 1849 and after 1800 "), a review of the situation from a politico-strategical point of view.