From the very beginning of the birth of their statehood, the United States has friendly relations with Russia. So, in the war for independence from England, at least 6 Russians fought on the US side, among them the most famous merchant, military sailor, and later American diplomat in Russia Fedor Karzhavin, who became American major Viktor Rosenthal and slave Vasily Baranshchikov.
Russian propaganda does not stop for a moment in anti-American hysteria, and does not even suspect how absurd its position looks. The United States and Russia have always had friendly relations, and the 95% of this friendship came from the American side. Only in one twentieth century, the United States saved Russia three times: first from the monstrous famine in the Volga region (the ARA organization supplied not only bread to the starving, but also medicines, and also organized infrastructure in the village), then - by building industrial power in the first and second five-year plans; at last - by lend-lease in the Second World War. America could save our country for the fourth time — apparently, definitively, by introducing it into a common European home, but immediately after the end of the Great Patriotic War Stalin refused to adopt the Marshall Plan.
This friendship was in fact one-sided, but sometimes Russia also condescended to US aid. For example, US citizens took part in the birth of US independence in 1775-1783. Many immigrants from Europe then assisted the young state with their military experience. The names of the Frenchman Marquis Lafayette, the Polish generals K. Paustovsky and T. Kostyuszko, the German von Steiben - the closest associates of Washington, who held command posts in his army, are well known. But the names of the Russian heroes of that war are still almost unknown to the Americans, let alone the Russians.
In the book of American historian Victor Porfirevich Petrov, "Russians in stories America ”, published in Washington in 1988 year (Petrov is a descendant of white immigrants), this gap is filled.
“In the subsequent years of armed struggle (after the declaration of independence from England — BT), the revolutionary army of Washington was more than once on the verge of defeat. Many immigrants from Europe then assisted the young state with their military experience. There were Russian volunteers in the Washington Army, but very little information about them. Finding out their names and how many they were now difficult. The late American historian A.F. was engaged in painstaking searches for the names of Russian volunteers. Dolgopolov. In an article published in Native Dali, published in Los Angeles, he lists six Russian subjects who took part in the war. The author writes: “The article is the first of this kind, perhaps the beginning of a more serious and detailed work” on this topic. The list of A.F. Dolgopolov, of course, is far from complete. These are 6 famous Russian people:
1.Winter (Victor) von Rosenthal (1753 – 1829), an Estonian nobleman.
2. Rubenai, baltiets, officer of the Russian army.
3. F.V.Karzhavin (1745 – 1812), merchant, writer.
4. Korzukhin - traveler.
5.Karl Kist, apothecary from St. Petersburg.
6.Bobukh Zakhar Ivanovich from Revel. He served in the German regiment.
Of these people, the brightest person was, of course, Fedor Vasilievich Karzhavin.
He belonged to a rich Petersburg merchant family and received a brilliant European education at that time, he knew French perfectly. Perhaps the French influence on the formation of his personality can be explained by his further adventures in America and on the islands of the Caribbean.
First of all, we find him in Paris at the beginning of 1770, where (in 1774) he marries the maiden S. Rambour. In marriage, however, he did not find happiness: as he later wrote in his autobiography, his wife turned out to be “rather capricious.”
After parting with his wife, Karzhavin went to 1776, to look for happiness overseas - to the island of Martinique. So began the adventures and adventures of Karzhavin in the New World, which continued for 12 years, until 1788. He visited the United States several times - from May 1777 to 25 in January 1780, i.e. in the midst of war.
Due to the fact that France clearly sympathized with the rebel colonists in America, the French colony of Martinique became a very important base for supplying the rebels. Karzhavin, being a man with a commercial vein, decided to profit on these supplies. He himself wrote about his decision to go to America: “... wanting to double my capital, due to the critical circumstances of the Novoaglitsky trade, I entered into a partnership with one Creole (Mr. Lassere), who sent a large ship to America, put his sum into it and he himself went to 13 on the number of April 1777 of the year on that ship. ”
Father Karzhavin wrote that on board the ship was a normal cargo: wine, molasses, salt ... and did not mention anything about military equipment for the rebels. However, in the same report, he noted that the ship was not exactly a “merchant”, he was well armed, and the shipowners themselves appointed him to be a “military man”. This message from Karzhavina confirms the Virginia Gazette: on May 16 of the year 1777, a ship from Martinique loaded with gunpowder arrived at the Virginia coast, weaponssalt
This first venture of Karzhavin was very dangerous. On the way, he had to take part in a naval battle between the English marque and the Philadelphia semi-merchant semi-caper. In the mist, Karzhavin’s ship managed to slip away from the British and safely reach the shores of Virginia.
22 of the month, from 1777-th to 1779 year, Karlavin spent in America, engaged in trade in various cities and making connections with major political figures of the latter-day republic. In the 1779 year, when Karzhavin lived in the house of Captain Laporte in Williamsberg (Virginia), he took an active part in the formation of a French military unit from the islanders in Martinique and San Domingo.
Despite the first success, the trading activity of Karzhavin was unsuccessful due to the effective blockade of the American coast by English privateers. In 1779, Karzhavin outfitted the ship, loaded it with “rich cargo” and set off on his way back to Martinique. As soon as the ship departed from the shores of Virginia, it was captured by the English marque. All the money invested by Karzhavin in the enterprise was lost.
Apparently, the loss of capital led to the fact that Karzhavin had to do in America, which he would have to, in particular, be a pharmacist. In one of the letters he wrote: "I lost three years, two ships and everything that I had in New England, more than 20 times during this time I risked my life." And with bitterness he added: "... remember that you are nothing more than an unhappy pharmacist, and give your medicine for the brave people who will avenge your enemies, the English, for your ruin."
One of the little-known pages of Karzhavin’s biography is the plan for sending it to the United States Congress with a special diplomatic mission to St. Petersburg.
It is known that Karzhavin was friendly with K. Bellini, a professor at the College of William and Mary, a close friend of Thomas Jefferson. Therefore, it is quite possible that Bellini, in conversation with Jefferson, proposed Karjavin's candidacy for this mission. Information on this subject is very scarce. Karzhavin himself wrote about this project to parents in Russia 1 September 1785: “Years ago 6 or 7 will be like I lived on the cost of the Virginia government of 6 months in Williamsberg with the intention of being sent to the Russian empress from the American Congress, with a public character while they sent Dr. Franklin to the king by the French plenipotentiary minister. But the circumstances of the military, some twists and turns in American affairs, remembering that I was in your disgrace and fear of Russian Minister Panin, if I, a Russian man, were sent to my empress in a public rank from a foreign crown and protech, caused me to prefer to return to Martinique on the French Fandant 74 gun ship. ”
The return to Martinique was not without incident: at the entrance to the harbor, the French ship had to fight its way through the line of English ships. Karzhavin writes: “... he boarded the ship commanded by the Marquis de Vodriol, on January 25, 1780 in Lesser York and 20 days later arrived in Martinique, having suffered a whole Anglican firing upon entering the harbor fleet».
With the end of the war in America, Karzhavin again returned to the United States and, as before, settled in Virginia. At first he lived in Smithfield, later settled in "the capital of Virginia, the city of Williamsberg." In his own words, “finally, when you made your way to Virginia, you did a doctorate there, merchant class, and was a translator of the Anglo-American language at the office of the French Consulate.”
Such famous persons as the future President of the United States, D. Madison, and one of the most enlightened Americans of the time, a professor at the College of William and Mary, D. Wise, were among Karvazhin’s virgin acquaintances.
Another Russian, Vetter (Victor) von Rosenthal in 1775, at the age of 22 years, left Russia for America to join the ranks of the revolutionary army. His military career was a success: he received the rank of major and became an adjutant of J. Jackson and even met J. Washington. Von Rosenthal was awarded the Order of Cincinnati. After the end of the war, he returned to Russia, where he died in the 1829 year.
We will note another Russian who passed through incredible trials in the same years and came to America not by his will and not through his own fault. This is a Nizhny Novgorod tradesman, a merchant of the 2 Guild, Vasily Baranshchikov, who by the will of fate was the victim of Danish slave owners who kidnapped him in Copenhagen in the year 1780 and sent him in chains to America. Baranshchikov was first a soldier of the Danish colonial troops, then a slave on the Spanish plantations of Puerto Rico. Tall, stately, he liked the general, the wife of the governor of Puerto Rico. She bought him from the plantation and made her a serf, kitchen guy.
In the end, he wants freedom (runs to the USA and fights there for a while - BT), gets a Spanish passport and, having entered the sailor for the Genoese brigantine, goes to Europe, closer to home. Near Algeria, 1, January 1784, the brigantine is attacked by Algerian pirates, and Basil becomes a slave in the city of Haifa, on the Palestinian coast, without any hope of liberation.
After a while he unexpectedly manages to escape on a Greek ship. The barashchiki commutes on this ship to Venice, where he seeks to obtain a Venetian passport. From Venice, he is trying to get to Russia via Istanbul, but he is stuck in the capital of the Ottoman Empire. For safety, while still considering ways to return to Russia, Baranshchikov, at the insistence of Greek friends, accepts Islam, the name Selim and becomes the Janissary of the Sultan's palace guard.
29 June 1785, he deserted, reached the Danube with danger to life, struggled to cross a wide river, guarded by Turkish guards, and a few days later he was on the bank of the Dniester. Again, with the help of kind people, this time Moldovans, he crossed the Dniester in the town of Soroka and ended up in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Several months passed before he finally managed to cross the Russian-Polish border near Kiev and return home after a forced seven-year absence.
Vasily Baranshchikov was a literate person and described his adventures, calling the book “The Unfortunate Adventures of Vasily Baranshchikov, a tradesman of Nizhny Novgorod, in three parts of the world: in America, Asia and Europe from 1780 to 1787 years”. It was published in 1787 year - in the year Baranshchikov returned and turned out to be very popular.
Such are the exploits and adventures of Russians in America during the War of Independence of the United States. The list is certainly not complete, and, probably, further historical research will reveal a number of still unknown names of Russians who lived in America in those years. ”
But, of course, in modern Russia, no one is interested in finding Russian heroes who have left their mark on American soil.