Alexander Carl Commemorative Medal

Alexander-Carl-Denkmünze, sometimes referred to as Alexander-Karl-Denkmünze and Militair-Denkmünze (Military Commemorative Medal) in period sources, was retrospectively instituted on May 08, 1853 by the Highest Decree of Alexander Carl von Anhalt-Bernburg (02.03.1805-19.08.1863), the last duke of the Duchy of Anhalt-Bernburg who reigned from March 24, 1834 until his death. It was not until two and a half months later, viz. July 25, 1852 that the corresponding Order was issued and gazetted in the Compilation of Laws of the Duchy of Anhalt-Bernburg No.13 (Gesetzsammlung für das Herzogthum Anhalt-Bernburg).

Decoration was awarded to all rank and file, NCOs, officers and military officials who were on active military service between March 01, 1848 and October 01, 1849 for at least fourteen days and remained unshakably loyal to their military oath during the time of the March Revolution. Medal was bestowed on active military personnel (by that time already assigned to the Prussian army according to the Treaty of May 16, 1849) as well as those transferred to the reserve and retired ones, unless deprived of their rights. The Order stipulated that decorations were made on the grounds of “exemplary loyalty to Us (Alexander Carl von Anhalt-Bernburg – Author’s Note), Our Ducal House as well as to interests of our common German Fatherland”. Gendarmes and volunteers of Anhalt-Bernburg who served in the Prussian Army (“Gensd’armen und den Inländern”), who met the criteria stated above, were also decorated with the medal.

Military command of the Herzogliches Füsilier-Bataillon Anhalt-Bernburg was  tasked with compiling two lists: first one containing names of active and retired military personnel eligible for decoration under aforementioned conditions, and second one containing names of those who didn’t qualify for decoration.

Officers’ Court of Honour of the Herzogliches Füsilier-Bataillon Anhalt-Bernburg was charged with dispute resolution, while final decision as well as endorsement of two lists mentioned above were made by the Duke Alexander Carl von Anhalt-Bernburg personally.

Alexander-Carl-Denkmünze together with award document was personally handed to each awardee by the Herzogliches Füsilier-Bataillon Anhalt-Bernburg commander.

Holder of the medal could have been deprived of the decoration for the same reasons that were stipulated in the statute of the Prussian Kriegs-Denkmünze 1813, 1814 and 1815. In that case medal and award document were to be sent to the State Ministry of Anhalt-Bernburg by court decision.

Alexander-Carl-Denkmünze had to be returned to the State Ministry of Anhalt-Bernburg after the demise of its holder, while award certificate was kept by the family of the deceased veteran as a token of remembrance.

Statute of the medal has been slightly changed by the Decree of Alexander Carl von Anhalt-Bernburg dated February 28, 1854 proclaimed by the Official Instruction issued on March 06, 1854 by the State Ministry of Anhalt-Bernburg. Since then, medal of late veteran could have been handed to church of the parish former serviceman belonged to, and had to be kept in a sacristy or other places of the church with indication of the former holder’s name.

Obverse with raised border had escutcheon topped with the ducal crown and superimposed on two crossed swords pointing upwards. Escutcheon bore coat of arms of Anhalt-Bernburg: a crowned bear wearing collar and walking on top of an inclined fortress wall with gates at the bottom. Motto of the House of Ascania, a dynasty of German rulers, “Fear God and Obey His Commandments” (“Fürchte Gott und befolge seine Befehle”), was minted in semi-circle in small Gothic letters at the top of the obverse. Escutcheon was flanked by two crossed semi-circular branches, olive on the left and oak on the right. Maker’s mark, “Manufactured by Gottfried Loos” (“G.Loos D.”, i.e. “Gottfried Loos Direxit”), was minted in capital letters at the bottom of the obverse.

Reverse with raised border was fringed by a wide ring bearing two semi-circular inscriptions: “To His Brave Warriors” (“Seinen braven Kriegern”) – above and “For Unshakable Loyalty” (“Für unerschütterliche Treue”) – below. Both inscriptions were executed in capital letters and separated by two miniature crosses pattées. Central circle inside the ring was divided into three horizontal sections by two wide lines. Upper and lower equal-sized sections bore dates “1848” and “1849” respectively, while wide central one had name of the Duke, “Alexander Carl” in two horizontal lines in capital letters.  

Circular medals measuring 30 mm in diameter and weighing 14,2 g were minted of gilt bronze by the Berlin-based company “L.Ostermann, vormals G.Loos”. Decoration was worn on the left side of the breast suspended from the 26 mm wide white silk moiré ribbon with two wide green edge stripes and a central thin green stripe, white and green being national colours of Anhalt-Bernburg presented on the ducal flag from 1815 until 1863.

Alexander Carl Commemorative Medal 1