The end of the Rumyantsev war with Turkey and the last years of the life of the famous field marshal
A. Fedorov. “Portrait of Field Marshal P. A. Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky”
В previous article talked about the beginning of the Russian-Turkish War of 1768–1774, which is sometimes called the Rumyantsev War. The article ended with a story about the high-profile victories that were won by the Russian army in 1770 - at Larga and Kagul, the capture of the Bendery fortress, the burning of the Ottoman fleet in Chesme Bay. Today we will continue this story.
The following year, 1771, the main blow was to be delivered by the Second Russian Army.
The fact is that after the Turks retreated beyond the Danube, they could no longer provide serious military assistance to the Crimean Khanate. On the other hand, the nomads of the Budjak and Yedisan hordes fell away from Turkey. General Vasily Dolgorukov was appointed to command these troops;
V. M. Dolgorukov-Krymsky in the portrait of A. Roslin
Rumyantsev was tasked with holding back the Turks on the Danube. To guard the mouth of this river, he then formed the Danube military flotilla.
In June 1771, Dolgorukov's troops (about 35 thousand people) successfully attacked Perekop, which was defended by the 57 thousand-strong army of Selim-Girey. The Russians occupied Kafa and Gözlev, after which already in 1772 the Crimean Khanate declared independence from Turkey and came under Russian protectorate. Leaving garrisons in several fortresses, Dolgorukov withdrew the army from the peninsula.
Rumyantsev was besieging the fortress of Silistria, but did not dare to storm and withdrew his troops beyond the Danube. But the Olitsa division from Rumyantsev’s army captured the Zhurzhu fortress in February 1771: Turkish losses amounted to 8 thousand people, the Russians lost about a thousand. 82 artillery pieces became trophies.
However, the new vizier of the Ottoman Empire, Musin-Oglu, did not lose hope of victory. He was involved in the formation of a new army, the number of which eventually reached 160 thousand people. French officers actively participated in the preparation and reorganization of regular Turkish units.
Beginning in May 1771, the Turks tried several times to cross the Danube. And twice - in June and October, the battles with them were very fierce. And in August, in the area of the Zhurzha fortress, the detachment of General Essen was defeated, the losses amounted to 2 thousand people. But in the end, the Turks were still able to be driven out from the left bank of this river.
In October of the same year, a daring raid was carried out by General Weisman's 4-strong corps, which captured the Ottoman fortresses of Tulcea, Isacca, Babadag and Machin. Having met him, Musin-Oglu, having 25 thousand people at his disposal, did not dare to engage in battle and retreated to Bazardzhik.
1772 – 1773 Feet
In 1772, an anti-Turkish uprising began in Egypt, which, coupled with earlier defeats from the Russians, forced the Ottomans to negotiate peace, which were held at the Focsani and Bucharest congresses. There were no hostilities on land, but the squadron of Captain 1st Rank Mikhail Konyaev won a naval battle in the Gulf of Patras on October 26–29 (November 6–9).
In fact, this respite was used by the Turks to prepare a new army and make up for losses. France again provided active assistance to them.
In 1773, hostilities resumed. This time, the main role was again assigned to Rumyantsev’s army, whose strength by that time had been increased to 50 thousand people. From Poland, where the troops of the Bar Confederation were defeated, Suvorov arrived in Rumyantsev’s army, and was assigned to the corps of General I.P. Saltykov. A month later, in May 1773, having been sent on a reconnaissance raid, he arbitrarily attacked the Turtukai fortress on the right bank of the Danube and captured it, but was wounded in the leg.
According to legend, they were going to put him before a military court for arbitrariness, but Catherine II allegedly wrote on the report: “The winners are not judged.” However, the version that this matter did not reach Catherine, and Suvorov received a reprimand, is considered more reliable. The second time Suvorov took Turtukai at the end of June of the same year. Then Suvorov defeated the Turks at Girsov.
And General Weisman, already familiar to us (who was then called the “Russian Achilles”), defeated the Turks in June in a tough battle at Kaynarji, where his 5-strong detachment was opposed by 20 Ottomans, but died in this battle. Alexander Suvorov wrote about this:
Otto Ivanovich Weissmann von Weissenstein in a portrait by an unknown artist
In the same year, on May 23 (June 3), the Russian fleet (a detachment of the Azov flotilla) won its first victory in the Black Sea near Balaklava. The Russian ships were commanded by Captain 2nd Rank Jan Kinsbergen. After 6 days, the squadron of Captain 1st Rank Yakov Sukhotin at the Sudzhuk-Kale fortress (near Novorossiysk) sank 6 Turkish ships. And Kinsbergen’s squadron prevented the Turkish landing in Crimea. On September 29, Beirut was captured by the Russian fleet.
And Pyotr Rumyantsev was able to choose the time that year to write “Rules for the formation of troops to attack the enemy.”
The last year of the war has arrived. Suvorov, who received the rank of Lieutenant General, together with Mikhail Kamensky on June 10 (21) in the battle of Kozludzha defeated the army of seraskir Abdul-Rezak.
The Battle of Kozludzhi in an engraving from 1800
A. V. Suvorov in a portrait by T. Shevchenko
Count M. F. Kamensky in a portrait of an unknown artist in the A. V. Suvorov Memorial Museum. It was he who became the prototype of the old Prince Bolkonsky in Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace”. The father of Nikolai Kamensky, whom his contemporaries considered Suvorov’s best and favorite student, and who, after the capture of the “Devil’s Bridge,” called him “Devil’s General.” In 1806, Derzhavin called Mikhail Kamensky “Catherine’s Last Sword”
Rumyantsev's troops crossed the Danube and moved to Shumla and Rushchuk. The Turkish army was cut off from Adrinaple. The demoralized Turks signed the Kuchuk-Kainardzhi Peace Treaty with Russia on July 10 (July 21). They were forced to recognize the independence of the Crimean Khanate, the annexation of Greater and Lesser Kabarda, Azov, Kerch, Yenikale and Kinburn with the adjacent steppe between the Dnieper and the Bug to Russia.
Russia received the right to create the Black Sea Navy, Russian merchant ships could freely sail through Turkish waters, and pilgrims could visit Jerusalem. In addition, the Christians of the Balkans, as well as Georgia and Mingrelia, who supported Russia, received amnesty and freedom of religion; the Ottomans undertook not to demand tribute from the Georgian lands by boys and girls. An indemnity of 4,5 million rubles was imposed on Turkey.
Ratification document for the Kyuchuk-Kainardzhi Peace Treaty with the signature of Catherine II
Field Marshal Rumyantsev received an honorary prefix to his surname - Zadunaisky.
And in November of the same 1775, Alexei Orlov began his famous “hunt” for “Princess Tarakanova”, who back in September offered Catherine II two options for action. First:
And the second:
Catherine II ordered the second option:
Already on February 25, 1775, the impostor was captured on the ship “Holy Great Martyr Isidore”.
Central Naval Museum of St. Petersburg. Model of the 74-gun ship "Holy Martyr Isidore"
On May 11, 1775, a ship with a captive arrived in Kronstadt, on May 26 she ended up in the western (Alekseevsky) ravelin of the Peter and Paul Fortress, on December 4 this mysterious woman died without revealing her true name.
G. Serdyukov. Portrait of an unknown woman. The owner of this painting, P. F. Simson, claimed that it depicts “Princess Tarakanova”
In 1776, Rumyantsev accompanied Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich on his trip to Europe. The field marshal received special attention at the court of Frederick the Great. The Prussian king arranged maneuvers at which episodes of the Battle of Cahul were played out, and awarded Rumyantsev the Order of the Black Eagle.
In 1777, Rumyantsev wrote another military-theoretical work - “Thought... about the state of armies, about the organization of troops, about their maintenance.”
New war with Turkey
The next, sixth, war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire began in September 1787, and Rumyantsev was appointed commander of the Ukrainian army, finding himself subordinate to Potemkin, who was placed at the head of the main one, the Yekaterinoslav army. Meanwhile, Rumyantsev always treated Potemkin with poorly concealed contempt and openly called him an ignoramus. As you understand, the all-powerful favorite of Catherine II also treated him without the slightest sympathy.
Potemkin, as president of the Military Collegium, defined Rumyantsev’s tasks as follows:
In addition, Rumyantsev was instructed to provide assistance to the Austrians, who were supposed to occupy Khotyn. The captured Turks, by the way, then said:
By that time, Rumyantsev had become very fat; he not only could no longer ride a horse, but also had difficulty getting into a carriage. Referring to the small number of his troops, the aging field marshal did not act too decisively, and Catherine II responded to his complaints that “he never had any more; at the Battle of Cahul there were 15 thousand.”
Finally, the Empress ordered the unification of both armies, placing them under the command of Potemkin. The time has come for new heroes, who became Suvorov and Ushakov in that war.
And Rumyantsev moved to his estate Tashan, which is now located in the Kyiv region.
The last years of the life of Pyotr Rumyantsev
The last time the field marshal was remembered was in 1794, when another anti-Russian uprising began in Poland. On March 12 (Julian calendar), Polish Brigadier General A. Madalinsky in the city of Soldau captured the warehouses and treasury of the Prussian army, after which he captured Krakow without a fight.
Here Kosciuszko was proclaimed “dictator of the Republic”, he announced the “Act of Insurrection” and received the title of generalissimo. Soon the size of his army reached 70 thousand people. On March 24 (April 4 according to the Gregorian calendar), Kosciuszko’s army at the village of Raclawice near Krakow defeated the Russian corps led by Major Generals Denisov and Tormasov.
This victory, very insignificant in strategic terms, provoked an uprising in Warsaw. It began on Maundy Thursday of Easter week April 6 (17), 1794, these bloody events became part of history called "Warsaw Matins".
It is estimated that in the very first day 2 Russian soldiers and officers were killed, 265 were wounded. For example, the 122rd battalion of the Kyiv Grenadier Regiment was destroyed almost in its entirety. 3 officers and 161 soldiers who found themselves unarmed were captured in churches; many of the soldiers were later killed - already in prisons.
Having learned from Nikolai Zubov, who arrived from Warsaw, about the massacre of unarmed Russian soldiers, Catherine II, according to eyewitnesses, fell into a state of hysterics - she screamed out loud and banged her fists on the table. She instructed Field Marshal P. A. Rumyantsev to avenge the treacherous murder of Russian soldiers and officers.
However, he was no longer physically able to lead the troops, and he sent General-Chief A.V. Suvorov, who was then in Ochakov, to restore order in Poland. Suvorov, having only 25 thousand soldiers at his disposal, arrived at Warsaw on October 22 (November 3), on October 24 Prague (Warsaw Suburb) was taken, on October 25 the Polish capital capitulated, on November 10 Suvorov notified Prince Repnin:
It was after this campaign that Suvorov received the rank of field marshal; Catherine II wrote to him that he
Suvorov was “gifted away” by the throne of the Polish kings, which, according to legend, Catherine turned into a toilet seat. And some claimed that this empress died on it. Even Pushkin wrote:
The Prussian King Frederick William II awarded Suvorov the Orders of the Black and Red Eagle, and the Austrian Emperor Francis II sent his portrait, decorated with diamonds.
This Polish uprising can easily claim to be the stupidest in world history. After all, Catherine II, who placed her former lover Stanislav August Poniatowski on the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, unlike Prussia and Austria, wanted to preserve its independence. Now, on October 24, 1795, representatives of Austria, Prussia and Russia announced the liquidation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and even the prohibition of the use of the very concept of “Polish kingdom”.
What about Rumyantsev?
Formally, he remained in the civil service; there was no decree on his resignation. But the field marshal himself abandoned all his affairs, closing himself off from the world in the estate of the village of Tashan. He did not even communicate with his sons, who received a very modest allowance from their fabulously rich father.
Of all the rooms of the huge and richly furnished palace, only two were used in recent years, in which there were simple oak tables and chairs. In the last period of his life, he did not leave his office for a month; the servants were afraid to disturb the field marshal, and therefore his corpse was discovered by them a few days after his death.
71-year-old Pyotr Rumyantsev died on December 8 (19), 1796, having outlived Catherine II by a month.
Paul I called him the “Russian Turenne” and ordered the courtiers to observe mourning for three days. In 1798, the emperor allocated funds (82 rubles) for the construction of the Rumyantsev Obelisk, which can currently be seen on the square of the same name in St. Petersburg.
The field marshal was buried in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the tombstone was made by I. Martos, the epitaph read: “Listen, Ross! Before you is the coffin of Transdanubia!”
The Assumption Cathedral of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra was badly damaged in 1941; all that remained of the tombstone monument of Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky was a portrait relief of white marble:
And in 1943, the operation to liberate Kharkov and Belgorod was named after Rumyantsev.
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