Article Russian partisans in 1812. "Flying detachments" of regular troops we began a story about partisan detachments operating in the rear of Napoleon's Great Army in 1812. We talked about Ferdinand Wintsingorod, Alexander Seslavin and Alexander Figner.
Now we will continue this story, and the heroes of our article will be other partisan commanders of that great year - I. Dorokhov, D. Davydov, V. Dibich.
Veteran of the Suvorov Wars
I. S. Dorokhov, portrait by D. Dow
Ivan Semenovich Dorokhov began to fight back in 1787. He served at Suvorov's headquarters and distinguished himself in battles with the Turks at Fokshany and Machin. During the Polish uprising of 1794, Dorokhov ended up in Warsaw (you can read about the massacre of Russians that took place in this city then in the article The Warsaw Matins of 1794). On that terrible day, April 17, Maundy Thursday of Easter week, Dorokhov led a company of soldiers. Within 36 hours, they fought off the superior forces of the rebels and managed to escape from the city. Then Dorokhov took part in the storming of the Warsaw suburb of Prague, which was led by Suvorov, who came to this city (see article The Prague Massacre of 1794).
In 1797, Dorokhov was appointed commander of the Life Guards Hussar Regiment, with which he took part in the campaign of 1806–1807. By the beginning of the Patriotic War of 1812, he was acting as the commander of the cavalry brigade of the First Russian Army and had already been awarded the Orders of St. George 4th and 3rd degrees, St. Vladimir 3rd degree, Red Eagle 1st degree. Cut off from the main troops of Barclay de Tolly, he was able to break through to the army of Bagration, in which his brigade fought at Smolensk. In the Battle of Borodino, he commanded four cavalry regiments that took part in the famous counterattack on the Bagration flushes. For his skillful actions in this battle he was promoted to lieutenant general.
In September 1812, he headed a large "flying detachment", consisting of a dragoon, hussar, three Cossack regiments and half a company of horse artillery. In one week, from September 7 to September 14, he managed to defeat 4 cavalry regiments, several infantry units, blow up an artillery depot and capture 48 officers and up to 1500 soldiers. And on September 27, his detachment captured Vereya: the French lost more than 300 people killed against 7 killed and 20 wounded by the Russians. 15 officers and 377 soldiers were taken prisoner.
Monument to I.S.Dorokhov in Verey
Later, Alexander I ordered to reward Dorokhov with a gold sword, decorated with diamonds, with the inscription: "For the release of Vereya." He never had time to get this sword. After his death in April 1815, at the request of the widow, instead of her, the family was given a sum of money equal to its value (3800 rubles).
It should be said that on October 11 Vereya was again occupied by Napoleon's troops retreating from Moscow. But to keep the city, to which the entire Napoleonic army was marching, as you understand, there was no way.
Dorokhov was the first to discover the movement of the French from Moscow. But I did not understand that the entire Great Army was on the march. Alexander Seslavin guessed about this and was able to determine the direction of its movement. Joining up with Dokhturov's corps, Dorokhov took part in the battle at Maloyaroslavets, in which he was wounded in the leg. The wound was so severe that Dorokhov never returned to duty. On April 25, 1815, he died in Tula and, according to his will, was buried in the Nativity Cathedral of Vereya.
Tomb of General I. S. Dorokhov
Hussar and poet
Much better known as a partisan commander Denis Davydov, a cousin of the famous Alexei Petrovich Ermolov. And his other cousin was the Decembrist V.L.Davydov, who was sentenced to 25 years of hard labor.
It is Denis Davydov who is considered the prototype of V. Denisov (the commander of N. Rostov in L. Tolstoy's novel "War and Peace"). From 1806 to 1831, Denis Davydov participated in 8 campaigns, but always emphasized that he was born exclusively for 1812. At the beginning of World War II, he had the rank of lieutenant colonel and was the commander of the 1st battalion of the Akhtyrsky hussar regiment.
The name of Denis Davydov is surrounded by many legends, some of which were invented by him. One of these legends says that once the estate of the Davydovs was visited by Suvorov, under whose command the elder Davydov served in the rank of brigadier. Seeing his children, the commander allegedly said that Denis would become a military man:
"I will not die yet, but he will win three victories."
And his younger brother Evdokim Suvorov allegedly predicted the career of a civilian official. But Evdokim Davydov Alexander Vasilyevich did not obey and made a good officer career, retiring with the rank of major general.
E. V. Davydov
As a lieutenant of the cavalry regiment, in the battle of Austerlitz, he received seven wounds: five saber, bayonet and bullet wounds. All European newspapers wrote about Evdokim's conversation with Napoleon in the hospital. The dialogue was as follows:
- “Combien de blessures, monsieur?
- Sept, Sire.
- Autant de marques d'honneur. "
(- “How many wounds, monsieur?
“Seven, your majesty.
- The same number of badges of honor ").
- Sept, Sire.
- Autant de marques d'honneur. "
(- “How many wounds, monsieur?
“Seven, your majesty.
- The same number of badges of honor ").
Another legend connects the sudden madness of the aged Field Marshal M.F.Kamensky, appointed commander of the Russian army in 1806, with the nighttime appearance of Denis Davydov. The drunken hussar officer urgently wanted military exploits, and he demanded from the field marshal to send him into battle.
Finally, the joke with the nose of Peter Bagration is known, which young Denis ridiculed in one of his poems, not yet knowing that he was destined to become the adjutant of this general. Bagration has not forgotten the epigrams. And in 1806, when he met, he said:
"Here is the one who made fun of my nose."
Davydov laughed it off, saying that he wrote this unfortunate poem out of envy - they say, he himself has a very small nose and is almost invisible.
Finally, the Davydov family owned the village of Borodino, in which one of the main battles of the Russian stories... But our hero did not take part in it - unlike his brother Evdokim, who was then wounded and received the Order of St. Anna, 2nd degree. Denis, on the other hand, immediately after the end of the battle for the Shevardinsky redoubt, at the head of the "flying detachment" consisting of 50 hussars of the Akhtyrka regiment and 80 Don Cossacks, separated from the army. The order on the formation of this "party" was one of the last, signed by Peter Bagration.
In 1812, the flying squads fought in different ways. Ivan Dorokhov and Alexander Seslavin, as a rule, entered open battle with enemy units. Alexander Figner either set up ambushes, in which detachments of local peasants often took part, or made dashing and always unexpected raids on the enemy camp.
Denis Davydov preferred secret raids in the rear, trying to disrupt communications and attack small groups of lagging enemy soldiers. In open battle with the enemy, he usually entered into an alliance with other partisans. An example is the famous battle at Lyakhov, in which the "parties" of Seslavin, Figner, Davydov and the Cossacks of the Orlov-Denisov raid detachment acted simultaneously. This operation was described in the previous article. The commanders of other "flying detachments" later asserted that Davydov did not like to take risks and only attacked a weaker enemy. He himself, in part, agreed with this, giving the following description of his exploits:
“Whole crowds of Frenchmen at one appearance of our small detachments on the high road hurriedly threw weapon».
And here is a description of the meeting of Davydov's detachment near Krasnoye with the old guard of Napoleon, which he did not even try to attack:
“Finally, the Old Guard approached, in the midst of which was Napoleon himself ... The enemy, seeing our noisy crowds, took the trigger and proudly continued on his way, without adding a single step ... I will never forget the free tread and formidable posture of all kinds death of the threatened soldiers ... Guards with Napoleon passed in the middle of the crowd of our Cossacks, like a stop-and-go ship between fishing boats. "
On December 9, 1812, Davydov's detachment occupied Grodno, on December 24, it merged with Dokhturov's corps. Following the campaign of 1812, he received two orders - St. Vladimir 3rd degree and St. George 4th degree.
During the Foreign campaign of the Russian army, Denis Davydov became the hero of a major scandal when, with three Cossack regiments, he cunningly forced the five-thousandth French garrison to leave Dresden. But, according to the agreement he concluded then, the French were able to safely leave this city. Meanwhile, the command was strictly forbidden to enter into negotiations with the commandant of the doomed Dresden and, moreover, to conclude agreements that would allow him to withdraw his troops from the city. Already known to us from a previous article, Ferdinand Vintsingerode removed Davydov from command and sent him to headquarters to await trial.
However, Alexander I repeated the aphorism of his grandmother Catherine II, slightly altering it:
"Be that as it may, but the winner is not judged."
For some time, Davydov remained with the army without a post, then was appointed commander of the Akhtyr hussar regiment, with which he took part in the "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig.
Later he distinguished himself in the battles of Brienne and La Rotiere (here 5 horses were killed under him). In 1815, Denis Davydov again became famous throughout the army, ordering to confiscate brown cloth from the warehouses of the local Capuchin nunnery before the show in Arras: a new uniform was quickly sewn from it to replace the completely worn out old one. As a result, his regiment stood out favorably from all the others. Alexander I, who learned about this, ordered the hussars of the Akhtyrka regiment to wear uniforms of this particular color.
Immediately upon returning to his homeland, Davydov begins to write "Diary of Partisan Actions in 1812". Then he became a member of the literary society "Arzamas" (receiving the nickname "Armenian" there). In 1820 he retired. But he returned to the army in 1826-1827 (military operations in the Caucasus). And in 1831 (he participated in the suppression of another Polish uprising). He died after suffering a stroke in April 1839.
As you can see, the real exploits of Denis Davydov in no way surpass the achievements of Seslavin, Figner and Dorokhov. Which, of course, does not detract from his merits. Just remembering about Davydov, one should not forget about other heroes of the partisan war of 1812.
Russian partisan from Prussia
Lieutenant Colonel V.I.Dibich 1st (Prussian by nationality, brother of the future Field Marshal Ivan Dibich) also fought in the Smolensk region and in Belarus. In August 1812 he was
"Detached from the corps of Count Wittgenstein, where he was the commander in the front posts, to the Minister of War Barclay de Tolly in the position of a partisan."
(Peter Khristianovich Wittgenstein, commander of the First Infantry Corps, covering the St. Petersburg direction).
Initially, his squadron included a squadron of the Orenburg Dragoon regiment under the command of Major Dollerovsky (50 people), Cossacks and Tatars (140), who were joined by 210 Russian soldiers who had escaped from captivity (9 non-commissioned officers, 3 musicians and 198 privates). Then he,
"Compelled by the duty of a partisan, he created a volunteer corps under his command in the Dorogobuzh area in August from the captured prisoners."
Thus, in his flying detachment were about two hundred deserters of Napoleon's Great Army - mostly Germans:
“I was appointed the chief of the partisans and made up a volunteer corps of foreigners in order to hold back this between Duhovschina and Vyazma to prevent the enemy from cutting off the communication line between Moscow and Polotsk and thus save the provisions between our Big Army and the count's corps from his attack. Wittgenstein "
- Diebitsch wrote later.
In the end, formed
"A team of over 700 well-armed and well-equipped people."
Neighboring landowners accused Diebitsch of exaggerated requirements for food and ammunition, and his subordinates (especially foreigners) of robbery and looting. Diebitsch, in turn, reproached the Dorogobuzh nobles for collaborating with the French and "leaving food and things for the loot of the enemy." And even in the transition to the service of the enemy and espionage.
As a result, Diebitsch was nevertheless recalled and removed from command of his detachment.
It is difficult to say whether Diebitsch's "party" was really distinguished by particularly violent manners, or whether it was the greed of the nobles who did not want to share their goods not only with the French invaders, but also with the Russian liberators. It should nevertheless be said that other commanders of partisan detachments did not have such acute conflicts with representatives of the local nobility, although their subordinates in their raids were supplied with everything they needed "independently", that is, at the expense of the population. It was probably the same in the quarrelsome and quarrelsome nature of Diebitsch.
The notorious Thaddeus Bulgarin recalled him:
“He was sometimes harmed by an extraordinary irascibility and some kind of inner flame that prompted him to continuous activity. During the last Turkish war (1828–1829), the Russians jokingly nicknamed him Samovar Pasha, precisely because of this eternal boil. This nickname, not in the least offensive, vividly depicts his character. "
In addition to the detachments listed in this and the previous articles, at that time other "parties" were active in the rear of the Napoleonic army.
Among them are the detachments of Colonel N. D. Kudashev (Kutuzov's son-in-law), Major V. A. Prendel, Colonel I. M. Vadbolsky (subordinate to Dorokhov), Lieutenant M. A. Fonvizin (future general, Decembrist, sentenced to 26 years in hard labor) ), Colonel S.G. Volkonsky (also the future Decembrist) and some others.
N. D. Kudashev, portrait by D. Dow
V. Prendel, portrait by Adolf Senff
I. M. Vadbolsky, portrait by D. Dow
M.A.Fonvizin, portrait by an unknown artist
M.G. Volkonsky, portrait by D. Dow
In 1813, large "parties" went abroad, headed by Benckendorff, Levenshtern, Vorontsov, Chernyshev and some other commanders who successfully operated in the rear of Napoleon's troops.
But, as they say, one cannot grasp the immensity, especially in short and small articles.