In a strange place. Chichagov's failure
Most of his life, Pavel Chichagov argued that he was capable of great things not because of his father, but solely because of his own mind and talent. Starting a career as an adjutant of his father, Chichagov managed to get to the post of Minister of the Russian Empire. But the cross on his career was ordered by a close friend of Pavel Vasilyevich - Emperor Alexander I. He appointed the admiral commander of the Danube army and ordered not to let the French soldiers cross the Berezina. With this task Chichagov failed.
It would seem that Pavel Chichagov was lucky from birth, since he was born in the family of a naval officer and nobleman Vasily Yakovlevich. Father's roots went to the Kostroma province, but he was educated at the Moscow School of Navigation Sciences. And then, on duty, I ended up in St. Petersburg, where Pavel was born in 1767 year. Mother also came from a family of a military engineer who moved to the Russian Empire from Saxony. In general, Pavel Vasilyevich had to move up the career ladder not from the very bottom, he had an influential assistant in the person of his father. And it became for Chichagov a real curse that had haunted him for many years. Numerous ill-wishers questioned any success, because they saw the hand of Vasily Yakovlevich.
Shortly after the birth of Pavel, the Chichagov family moved to Kronstadt, since it was there that they transferred Vasily Yakovlevich. They returned to Petersburg only in 1776 year. And Pavel was immediately identified in one of the best schools of Russia of that time (if not the best) - Petrishule, which was headed by the German theologian and geographer Anton Friedrich Buching.
In an elite institution, where the learning process was almost entirely in foreign languages, Pavel Vasilyevich learned three years. After graduating from Petrishule in 1779, he was immediately enlisted as a sergeant in the military service of the guard. And in 1782, he was promoted to lieutenant army. In the same year, by the way, his father became an admiral.
Young Chichagov dreamed of going to sea. And when he learned that his father had been put in charge of the squadron that was leaving for the Mediterranean, he asked Vasily Yakovlevich to take him with him. For a long time to persuade a relative did not have to. Chichagov Sr. took his son as an adjutant on a hike to the Italian city of Livorno.
Gradually, the career of Pavel Vasilievich began to develop. In 1787, he got on the ship "Ezekil" under the command of Rear Admiral Kozlyaninov. And soon went on a trip to the island of Bornholm, located in the Baltic Sea. A year later, Pavel Vasilievich received the rank of captain of the second rank and the ship "Rostislav". This ship, under the command of Chichagov, made several trips along the Baltic Sea, and also took part in the battle with the Swedes at Åland in 1789 (during the Russian-Swedish war of 1788 - 1790). Led by Russian fleet then there was Chichagov Sr.
The naval battle, teeming with tactical maneuvers, lasted for a long time. Nineteen Russian battleships and seventeen Swedish took part in that battle. Despite the protracted battle, casualties on both sides of the personnel were minimal. For example, on ten ships of Chichagov there was not a single injured sailor. And on the remaining nine, the casualties among the dead and wounded amounted to a little over two hundred people. But the main tragedy was that the commander of the ship "Mstislav" - Gregory Ivanovich Mulovsky was killed. It was he, not Kruzenshtern, who was supposed to commit the first in stories Russian Empire circumnavigation. But fate had its own way. In general, the Battle of Eland, in the opinion of many historians, was the battle of two wary admirals. None of the opponents wanted to risk it for nothing. For example, Vasily Yakovlevich was waiting for reinforcements, so he did not see the point in active hostilities. And despite this, the victory was on the side of Chichagov. The Swedes failed to stop the formation of the Russian fleet and finally surrendered their positions.
Given the nature of the battle of Åland, Pavel Vasilievich couldn’t notice anything then. His “finest hour” came a little later - during the Revel and Vyborg naval battles that occurred in 1790 year. And for successful actions in the battle of Revel, Chichagov Jr. received the Order of Saint George of the fourth degree. For the second battle he was awarded a gold sword with the inscription "For courage." When Empress Catherine II learned about the success of the young commander, she promoted Pavel Vasilyevich up the career ladder to the captain of the first rank.
Over the years of the naval service, Pavel Vasilyevich clearly saw the cons of the Russian fleet. And being a smart and decisive man, he considered it his duty to try to eliminate them. And, thereby, to bring the fleet to a new level. But in order to achieve this goal, he needed, first of all, to fill his own gaps in education. Therefore, Chichagov asked his father to let him go abroad in order to master the numerous ship innovations. But one permission from his father, even if he carried the title of admiral, was not enough. And Chichagov Sr. went to the empress to ask her for the approval of his sons' voyage (on the journey, Paul was to be accompanied by brother Peter) to England. Catherine II reacted favorably to this idea. And soon the Chichagov brothers went to foggy Albion. And the “delegation” was headed by the mathematician Guriev, who had a letter of recommendation for the Russian envoy in London, Count Vorontsov.
Soon the brothers entered the naval school. Here, in addition to marine sciences, they were intensively engaged in the study of English. Then Pavel and Peter decided to see the level of shipmanship in America and even set off, but the ship was forced to turn back due to a malfunction. So this idea Chichagovykh not crowned with success.
In England, the brothers stayed for about a year and then returned to Russia. Pavel Vasilyevich decided to reinforce his knowledge with an additional study of the ship case. But he soon returned to the sea. Pavel Vasilyevich became the commander of the Sophia Magdalen vessel, which was part of Vasily Yakovlevich’s squadron. And as part of the flotilla Chichagova Sr., he took part in a campaign to the shores of Denmark.
In 1794, Pavel Vasilyevich transferred to the squadron of Vice Admiral Khanykov and received the Retvizan ship in command. Soon they departed for England. Here also occurred a landmark meeting, which turned the life of the captain. He met Elizabeth Probi, the daughter of the port director at Chatham. And Chichagov returned home already as an Englishwoman's fiancé.
Difficulties under Paul I
In 1796, two events happened at once in Chichagov’s life. First, he became the foreman of the fleet. Secondly, he had to adapt to the new ruler of a huge country. If Catherine II was loyal to Pavel Vasilyevich and was his supporter, then Emperor Paul I was very wary of him. The main problem was that by that time Chichagov had a large number of enemies, many of whom were close to the new ruler. And, of course, they did not want to miss the opportunity to deal with Pavel Vasilyevich. One did not like his obsession with constant large-scale reforms, others suffered from the straightforwardness and wit of the naval commander, as he always said what he thought. Among the ill-wishers, the future admiral and Minister of Education Alexander Semyonovich Shishkov, Count Grigory Kushelev, who under Pavel I became the actual commander of the entire Russian fleet, as well as the naval commander and statesman Nikolai Semenovich Mordvinov, stood out in particular. They were convinced that Chichagov had built a brilliant career not because of his own talent and intelligence, but because of his father. In general, difficult times came for Chichagov.
The first conflict with the emperor did not take long. In 1797, large fleet maneuvers under the Red Hill took place. Pavel Vasilyevich, being the commander of the Retvizan, showed all his skills and became one of the best. The reaction of the sovereign followed - Chichagov received the Order of St. Anne of the third degree, as well as the rank of colonel. But the joy of Pavel Vasilyevich was premature. The envelope that contained the production order was not addressed to the colonel, but to the lieutenant colonel. Naturally, Pavel Vasilyevich was confused and did not know how to react to such. And then he decided to ask for an explanation to Count Kushelev, asking if he could consider himself a colonel? The reply to the letter came quickly. Grigory Grigorievich was laconic: "Of course not, for you must see that you are marked on the envelope by a lieutenant colonel."
Having received the answer, Pavel Vasilyevich could not hold back emotions. He, as they say, freaked out and resigned. She was accepted and Chichagov was fired “due to his youth” without a pension.
But this unpleasant episode was only the beginning of the difficulties that were destined to fall on the head of the admiral's son. Becoming a "pensioner", Pavel Vasilyevich decided to move to the village. He believed that the improvement of the life of the peasants would be a fully-fledged replacement for the maritime service. But these plans did not come true. Chichagov received a letter from Elizabeth in which she reported on the death of her father. Pavel Vasilyevich decided to immediately go to England to marry a girl. But first he needed permission from the sovereign. The answer of Paul I was: “there are so many girls in Russia that there is no need to go looking for them in England”. And as a “compensation” for the refusal, the sovereign ordered Chichagov to be returned to the fleet and given the title of rear admiral. Curiously, Pavel Vasilyevich was appointed to command a squadron, which was intended to conduct military operations against Holland off the coast of ... England. This is what Count Kushelev caught. Since he had a tremendous influence on Paul I, he did not miss the opportunity to deliver a new crushing blow to the hated Chichagov. Grigory Grigorievich at the reception at the sovereign presented the marriage of Pavel Vasilyevich to Elizabeth Probi as an excuse for the further transition to the English service. Kushelev, knowing the emperor's impressionability, screwed him up so much that Paul I was literally shaking with rage. Having achieved the goal, Grigory Grigorievich retired. And in his place, the unsuspecting Chichagov was summoned. As soon as he crossed the threshold, as he was accused of treason, and then he heard the order for imprisonment in the Peter and Paul Fortress. The best option in that situation was just to remain silent and wait until the emperor cooled and calmed down. But Pavel Vasilievich could not restrain indignation. He tried to prove his loyalty to Russia, pointed to his order of St. George and refused to comply with the arrest. But Paul I did not listen to him. Having finally lost his self-control, he ordered the order to be frustrated from the Chichagov Order. This was a serious insult to a naval officer. In response, Pavel Vasilyevich threw off his uniform. So he was taken to the Peter and Paul Fortress. On the same day, Chichagov was again dismissed from service without a pension. And the military governor of St. Petersburg received an order from the emperor: "The Jacobin rules and the nasty authorities reviews Chichagov sent to you, forced me to order to lock him up at your watch".
What Pavel Vasilyevich survived on that day can only be guessed at. Like that, what would have ended the conflict with the emperor. In this situation, Vasily Yakovlevich, who had already retired for two years by that time, could not help his son in this situation. But, fortunately for Chichagov, he found an ally in the person of St. Petersburg Governor-General Count Peter Alekseevich von der Palen (the very closest one who would soon become one of the leaders of the conspiracy against Paul I). He intervened in the conflict and personally asked the sovereign for Chichagov's forgiveness, because he repented of his deed. The emperor, of course, listened to his entourage and replaced anger with mercy. Soon, Pavel Vasilyevich was released. Moreover, he was again accepted into service (he was appointed commander of the same squadron, heading for the shores of England) and allowed to marry Elizabeth.
From his campaign Chichagov returned to St. Petersburg in 1800 year. And more conflicts between him and Paul I did not occur. It seemed that Pavel Vasilievich managed to overcome all the hardships and troubles, becoming the absolute winner. But the main trouble Chichagova waited for him to come.
Privilege from a friend
In 1801, the government changed again, after the assassination of Paul, Alexander I ascended the throne. Under the new sovereign, Chichagov managed to turn around, because the emperor believed in him and highly appreciated. First, Pavel Vasilyevich was in the retinue of Alexander I. And already in 1802, he joined the fleet education committee, he was also appointed the main reporter for the sovereign about the work done. Soon he was in the office of the navy.
In general, the end of 1802 for Pavel Vasilievich was a good one. In November, he was made vice admiral, and in December he was appointed Minister of the Navy. Of course, so much a sharp career takeoff could not help but affect the number of envious people and enemies. Numerous opponents condemned him for his high rank, position, and love for “all English,” and for the ideas of liberating the peasants, and for the reforms carried out in his department. The fact is that Pavel Vasilievich, having become a minister, launched a stormy activity. Particular efforts were directed at combating corruption and developing the technical component of the fleet. Chichagov designed all his numerous ideas in the form of notes and sent them to the State Council. But, despite the army of enemies, Pavel Vasilyevich stood firmly on his feet, because the emperor was on his side. They even kept constant correspondence in which the minister constantly proposed ideas for fleet modernization. And in 1807, for his hard work, he received the admiral rank.
And if from the outside Chichagov seemed to be a tireless reformer, then in his heart he was very worried because of the constant pressure from the many enemies. And in 1809, Pavel Vasilyevich could not stand it. He took leave and went abroad. Two years later, he apologized for his dismissal from the post of Minister of the Navy. Alexander I granted this petition. And when Chichagov returned to Russia, he was appointed imperial adviser. The duties of Pavel Vasilyevich included the appearance of the sovereign every day at eleven o'clock and the expression of his opinion on account of certain problems.
During World War II, Alexander I was dissatisfied with the actions of Mikhail Kutuzov. And so he wanted to intervene in the course of the fighting. The emperor personally developed a plan of action and ... decided to entrust its implementation to his friend Chichagov, appointing him commander-in-chief of the Danube Army, the Black Sea Fleet and the governor-general of Moldavia and Wallachia. It is difficult to say why Alexander’s choice fell on the former minister. It is also difficult to answer why Pavel Vasilyevich agreed to the royal "gift." He was too smart a man not to understand the whole destructive adventurous nature of the task. Before leaving, Alexander told Chichagov: "I do not give you advice, knowing that you are the worst enemy of arbitrariness."
The appointment of Pavel Vasilyevich to the commander of the Danube army was perceived with surprise. So, for example, Alexander Semenovich Shishkov, General Gustav Armfeld said: "What a strange thought - to entrust the ground army admiral?"
By that time, when Chichagov was in Iasi, he had nothing to do there, since Kutuzov, as they say, had been ahead of the curve. Mikhail Illarionovich managed to make peace with the Ottoman Porte, leaving Pavel Vasilyevich with no, if I may say so, work. This was precisely the plan of Alexander I, who wanted to turn the diplomatic operation with the hands of the former minister.
When Pavel Vasilyevich led the third Western army (the United Observational and Danube armies), he put in charge of one of its seven corps Karl Osipovich Lambert, a man whose opinion Chichagov considered important.
Speaking of Lambert. Karl Osipovich was considered one of the best cavalry commanders of the time. It was he who managed to knock out opponents, first from Nesvizh and then from Novosjorenja, as well as Minsk. At the same time, Karl Osipovich managed to seize food supplies. And then he and his soldiers went to Borisov. And Lambert himself during the attack on the fortifications, led the people in a bayonet attack. During the battle he was wounded. But the brave commander refused to leave the battlefield. He declared to his rangers: “I will stay with you and die here or wait until you take an apartment for me in Borisov”.
The city was soon taken. For this success, Karl Osipovich received the Order of St. Vladimir of the second degree. And inspired by Chichagov wrote to Alexander I: “The resistance was strong, and the battle was brutal and bloody, but you have, Sire, in the brave and skillful Lambert of the general, who knows no obstacles.”
Then Pavel Vasilyevich did not understand the scale of the approaching catastrophe. In fact, precisely when Lambert was injured, Chichagov had already lost the battle with the French.
And when Karl Osipovich was taken away from Borisov, the path lay along the Berezina River. Lambert quickly assessed the situation and suggested that Napoleon and his army would try to cross over to the other side of the Studyanka. This opinion was, of course, reported to Chichagov. But ... Pavel Vasilyevich for unknown reasons did not heed the opinion of an experienced general. Alexander Ivanovich Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky spoke out after Chichagov’s failure: “leaving the army to Count Lambert was one of the main reasons that made it easier for Napoleon to break through the Berezina, because more than all the generals of the Danube army Lambert used Admiral Chichagov’s power of attorney, which, if Count Lambert had not been wounded, probably , I would agree with his opinion to put the army at Studyanka. ”
The events that took place near the Berezina River soon hit Pavel Vasilyevich. Despite his talent as a naval commander, the field commander failed. He even told the chief of staff Sabaneev: "Ivan Vasilyevich, I during the battle do not know how to dispose of the troops, take the command and attack." Sabaneev executed the order of the commander, but he was defeated by the French.
Lydia Ivchenko, who was the author of the biography of Mikhail Kutuzov, wrote, referring to archival materials: “9 November, the vanguard of General Lambert captured Borisov and found Napoleon’s letter to General Bronikovsky in one of the houses, where it was reported that the November NNXX in Borisov would house the main apartment of Velie .
To the astonishment of Lambert, Chichagov, he neglected this information, having located in this city, in the rear of which there was a river, his own main apartment, as well as the treasury, the wagon train and the wounded. The main forces of the Danube army were left to them on the opposite, nearest right bank to the French. This error of Chichagov, which had disastrous consequences, was noted by all the participants in the battle, as well as the arrogant self-confidence of the admiral, who was not able to listen to advice.
But what Kutuzov himself wrote to Alexander I about this: “The avant-garde under the command of Count Palen, being met in 10 versts from Borisov by the whole (...) enemy army, brought it on Boris’s shoulders to Borisov while dined quietly. ” And contemporaries recalled how Mikhail Illarionovich once said: “that Chichagov can be forgiven for the reason that a sailor cannot be able to walk on dry land and that he is not guilty if the Sovereign wanted to subordinate such important actions in the enemy’s rear to a man, although intelligent, but ignorant of the art of war. ”
The military theorist Karl Clausewitz did not disregard the defeat: “Chichagov considered it most likely that Napoleon would take a more southerly direction and, therefore, would try to bypass his right flank, as this would enable him to get closer to Schwarzenberg’s army. Proceeding from this opinion that was firmly entrenched in him and established in him even more because of the erroneous orientation coming from Kutuzov himself, he accepted Viktor’s preparations for the construction of the bridge as a demonstration and believed that Napoleon was already on the way there. ”
Clausewitz also wrote: "Out of fear of Napoleon, he did not dare to hurry with the army to help General Chaplitsa, but remained in Borisov and only sent reinforcements to Chaplitz."
Alexander Fedorovich Lanzheron, the military leader, commented on the failure of Pavel Vasilyevich: “Every minute his head was inventing new projects, and these projects, which were usually absurd and inapplicable, had to be carried out this very minute. He didn’t have a single right idea and excessive pride did not allow him to listen or accept advice. ”
As a result, Chichagov lost everything: all wounded soldiers, the treasury, and the wagon train. And Napoleon managed not only to avoid captivity, but also to cross to the other side of the river.
After the defeat
Overnight, Pavel Vasilievich was persecuted at all levels. He was ridiculed, humiliated, accused of treason, and Ivan Krylov even composed a fable called “Pike and the Cat”.
In early February, Pavel Vasilyevich's 1813 was "removed from command" due to illness. Soon after, he was given indefinite leave from abroad, but with preservation of his content. Chichagov left Russia and never returned to his homeland. He first lived in Italy and then in France.
Once in Paris, he met with the diplomat Peter Ivanovich Poletik. During the conversation, Pavel Vasilyevich repeatedly reproached Russia, speaking of the country with obvious irritation. Pyotr Andreyevich Vyazemsky described this scene in the “Old Notebook”: “Admiral Chichagov, after Berezinsky’s scum, took a dislike to Russia, which, however, is said, he spoke before him down and rather strictly. Pyotr Ivanovich Poletik, meeting him in Paris and listening to his criticism of everything that we are doing, finally told him with his Quaker (and, on occasion, caustic) frankness: “Confess, however, that there is one thing in Russia as good as in other states. " - “What, for example?” Asked Chichagov. “If only the money you receive in the form of a pension from Russia”.
In 1834, Pavel Vasilyevich refused to obey the order of Nicholas I and did not return to Russia. Therefore, soon he was first removed from the State Council, and then dismissed from service. At the same time, all the property of the former minister of state was subjected to sequestration. In response, Chichagov accepted English citizenship. And the last years of his life he spent in Paris with his daughter, Countess Catherine du Bouz. He died in 1849 year. Admiral was buried in the cemetery in So. This is how the former naval minister and talented naval commander became just a "pike" from the fable.
Peter Bartenev wrote about Pavel Vasilyevich: “Chichagov belongs to the sorrowful list of Russian people, who accomplished for the fatherland far less than what they were capable of and what they were called to.”
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