Students and academics flocked to join this unit of volunteers founded in February 1813 as Königlich Preußisches Freikorps von Lützow (Royal Prussian Free Corps of Lützow), which was mostly composed of craftsmen and laborers.
Inspired with the Romantic nationalism of the times and irresistibly attracted towards a body consisting of volunteers drawn from all social classes, many of them made a vow to neither cut their hair nor their beards until they had liberated Europe. In their distinctive black uniforms, members of the Lützow Free Corps were remarkable for superior activity, energy, and enterprise.
When the summons “To my People” called the German youth to war, Froebel had already entered his thirty first year, but this did not prevent his being one of the first to take up arms. It was in the Lützow Free Corps that Friedrich Froebel formed life long friendships with Wilhelm Middendorf and Heinrich Langethal. Sitting around camp fires they shared their vision for building a better world, where everyone lived together in peace and harmony.
After the Peace of Paris, the young friends parted. They vowed eternal fidelity, and each solemnly promised to obey the other’s summons, should it ever come. As soon as Froebel took off the dark uniform of the black Jagers he received a position as curator of the museum of mineralogy in the Berlin University, which he filled so admirably that the position of Professor of Mineralogy was offered to him from Sweden. But he declined, for another vocation summoned him which duty and inclination forbade him to refuse. His three nephews were in need of an instructor, after their father died in 1813, during the typhus epidemic after the Battle of Leipzig. There was great joy in the village of Griesheim, when Middendorf saw here the realization of the ideal which Froebel’s kindling words had impressed upon his soul beside many a watch fire.
Theodor Körner wrote songs and poems to celebrate and encourage his fellows, often accompanying himself on the guitar. Many of these poems were later published by his father in the collection Leyer und Schwerdt (modern Leier und Schwert, “Lyre and Sword”) (Berlin, 1814).
On August 26 an engagement took place at the forest of Rosenow near Gadebusch, in which Körner fell. Theodor Körner died at the age of twenty-one, and was buried under an oak in the village of Wöbbelin, about a mile from Ludwigslust.