According to Wikipedia, after the Battle of Lübeck (1806)

[...] the city became the target of large-scale looting and rampage by the French soldiers. [Marshal] Bernadotte, struggling desperately to prevent his men from sacking, was given six horses from the Council of Lübeck as their appreciation.

Is anyone aware of other examples of rewards given to enemy commanders as a token of gratitude for preventing their own soldiers from looting a town?

  • 3
    There may be difficult to say what is tokens of gratitude and what is essentially blackmail, see for instance danegeld.
    – liftarn
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 7:20
  • It is interesting to compare commanders who actually could stop their troops from looting vs those who couldn't. It doesn't always shake out how you'd expect--e.g., Alaric mostly spared Rome, whilst Charles V's troops utterly despoiled it.
    – C Monsour
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 1:32

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if "rewarding" is the right word, but Dietrich von Choltitz, who was appointed the German military governor of Paris in August 1944, refused Hitler's orders to destroy the city. After he surrendered, he was never formally charged with any crimes and was released in 1947.



An arson rather than a looting example: In June and July of 1864, a Confederate Army (the "Army of the Valley") demanded enormous cash ransoms from several towns in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Hagerstown and Frederick paid up. Chambersburg was unable to raise the required sum and was burned to the ground on the orders of Gens. Jubal Early and John McCausland. See https://www.google.com/amp/www.baltimoresun.com/ph-ce-eagle-archive-0710-20110706-9-story,amp.html and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chambersburg,_Pennsylvania#/search .

The money was supposedly for the Confederate war effort, but it's hard to imagine, knowing Jubal Early's character, if some of it didn't end up in his pockets, just like the reward for the enemy commander being asked about.

After spending some years in self-imposed exile after the war, Early and McCausland were pardoned by Presidents Johnson and Grant, respectively.

Gen. Joseph Johnson refused Gen. Early's orders to similarly burn Hancock and Cumberland to the ground for not paying their ransoms. So even in 1864 some people recognized that you couldn't claim "just following orders" as an excuse for committing a war crime....

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