Suvorov

Dear Jack,

Here are some notes relating to Suvorov.

In 1787 Suvorov took part in the siege of Ochakov and, in 1788 won two great victories over the Turks at Fokshani, and the great Turkish fort on the Rimnik river. For the latter victory, in which an Austrian corps under Prince Joslas of Saxe-Coburg participated, Catherine II made him a Count with the name Rimniksky, in addition to his own name, and the Emperor Joseph II created him a Count of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Taking of Ismail I think his most daring exploit was the taking of Ismail, on December of 1790, which was commanded by a very strongly fortified and defended Turkish fort on the Danube in Bessarabia, where the Russians were greatly outnumbered and in which campaign Brigadier Platoff (of the Cossacks) distinguished himself, as he also did later in the war of 1812. It was a most sanguine fight and undoubtedly a major move in removing the Ottoman Empire from Europe. For this exploit, Catherine II sent Suvorov a sword worth 60,000 rubles and inscribed, "To the conqueror of the Grand Vizier", and the coveted black and orange sash of the Order of St.George, First Class.

(Note: In 1958 I saw a sword which may have been this very one, or one of equal high quality, attributed as a gift from Catherine II. It was a perfect shamshir with superb blade, fully silver mounted, with faceted diamonds decorating the entire length of the sheath and hilt. It was magnificent! The person who showed it was the late Theodore Dexter, well known curator and author. He was in the process of packing it for shipment to its new owner This shamshir had been on the cover of an arms collector's magazine some time before.)

This gradual ascendancy of the Russians over the Turks caused the British to start worrying about the Russian influence being extended in the Black Sea and, especially, the Mediterranean and the Dardanelles - which eventually led to the Crimean War some 50 years later.

Incidentally, Suvorov and Potemkin (a favorite of Catherine II) shared a mutual enmity.

Among Suvorov's many Decorations were the Orders of:

  • Vladimir 1st Class (for the Kuban).
  • St. John of Jerusalem
  • Knights of Malta
  • Maria Theresa
  • St. Maurice and and St. Lazar
  • Alexander Nevsky
  • St. George 1st Class
  • St. Anna

In 1799 Suvorov was called to get the French Revolutionary Army out of Italy. After 3 brilliant campaigns he drove out the French (putting the then French Gov't into dire straits) and was made Prince of Italy for these exploits. Only one contingent of the French, under Massena, which had defeated at Zurich a portion of Suvorov's forces under Korsakoff, now remained in the Alps and around Genoa. Suvorov's unsuccessful campaign against these involved the crossing of the Alps, which was a disaster, and caused him to return to Russia in disgrace. Tsar Paul would not even give him an audience.

He died on 18 May 1800, a few days after his return to St. Petersburg, and was buried at the Blagovestchensky Chapel at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Huge grieving crowds were everywhere. In the cortege, behind his coffin, Suvorov's Orders were carried on velvet cushions in a seemingly endless stream. According to his instructions, his bronze grave marker reads "Here lies Suvorov". The only person of note who attended the funeral was Lord Whitworth, the English ambassador. Tsar Paul was elsewhere.

Dragomiroff, who taught later at the war college, predicated his teachings on the way Suvorov had conducted his campaigns.

Regards,

George

Ed. Note: See comparison of portraits.


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