Jozef Bem, a Polish general, born at Tar-now, Galicia, in 1795, died at Aleppo, Dec. 10, 1850. At an early age he entered the corps of cadets at Warsaw, and received his military training at the artillery school directed by Gen. Pelletier. On leaving this school he was appointed lieutenant of the horse artillery, served in that capacity under Davoust and Macdon-ald in the campaign of 1812, won the cross of the legion of honor by his cooperation in the defence of Dantzic, and after the surrender of that fortress returned to Poland. As the czar Alexander now affected a great predilection for the Polish nation, and reorganized the Polish army, Bern entered the latter in 1815 as an officer of artillery, but was soon dismissed for fighting a duel with a superior; but he was subsequently appointed military teacher at the artillery school of Warsaw and promoted to the rank of captain. He now introduced the use of the Congreve rocket into the Polish army, recording the experiments made in a volume originally published in French. He was insubordinate, and from 1820 to 1825 was several times arraigned before courts martial, punished with imprisonment, and at last sent to Kock under strict police surveillance.
He did not obtain his discharge from the Polish army until the death of Alexander and the Petersburg insurrection made Constantine lose sight of him. Leaving Russian Poland, he now retired to Lemberg, where he became an overseer in a large distillery, and wrote a book on steam applied to the distillation of alcohol. When the Warsaw insurrection of 1830 broke out he joined it, after a few months was made a major of artillery, and in June, 1831, took part in the battle of Ostrolenka, where he was noticed for the skill and perseverance with which he fought against the vastly superior Russian batteries. When the Polish army had been finally repulsed in its attacks against the Russians who had passed the Narew, he covered the retreat by a bold advance. He was now created colonel, soon after general, and called to the command-in-chief of the Polish artillery. After the fall of Warsaw, in the defence of which he took part, he crossed the Prussian frontier with the rest of the army, but urged the men not to lay down their arms before the Prussians, and thus provoked a bloody collision, called at that time the battle of Fischau. He then abandoned the army and organized in Germany committees for the support of Polish emigrants, after which he went to Paris. Travels through Portugal, Spain, Holland, Belgium, and France absorbed his time during the period from 1834 to 1848. On the first appearance in March, 1848, of revolutionary symptoms in Austrian Poland, he hastened to Lemberg, and thence, on Oct. 14, to Vienna, which had risen in insurrection on the 6th. But he in vain exerted all his energy in organizing the insurgents.
After a remarkable defence, Oct. 28, 1848, of the great barricade erected in the Jagernzeile, and after the opening of negotiations between the Vienna magistrates and Prince Windischgratz, he disappeared, secretly escaping to Pesth. The revolutionary Hungarian government gave him command of Transylvania. Opening the first campaign toward the end of December, 1848, with a force of about 8,000 ill-organized and badly armed men, he finished it in about three months, having vanquished Puchner with an Austrian army of 20,000, Engelhardt with an auxiliary force of 6,000 Russians, and Urban with his freebooters. But during the next summer the war was renewed by the Russians, and, after desperate fighting on the part of Bern and his army, was terminated disastrously for them by the decisive battles of Schassburg (July 31, 1849) and Temesvar (Aug. 9), which were speedily followed by the surrender of Gorgey. After a vain attempt to make a last stand at Lugos and in Transylvania, he was compelled to take refuge in the Turkish territory.
With the purpose of opening to himself a new field of activity against Russia, Bern embraced the Mussulman faith, and was raised by the sultan to the dignity of a pasha, under the name of Amurath, with a command in the Turkish army; but, on the remonstrances of the European powers, he was relegated to Aleppo. Having there succeeded in repressing some sanguinary excesses committed in November, 1850, on the Christian residents by the Mussulman populace, he died about a month later, of a violent fever, for which he would allow no medical aid. - His publications include Expose general de la methode mnemo-nique polonaise, etc. (Paris and Leipsic, 1839), part of which work served as a basis for the "Polish-American System of Chronology," by Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody (New York, 1852).