According to all the legends that have come down to us, no one from his earliest youth was distinguished by such martial, purely Cossack qualities as Matveyka Platov, a dzhigit and a shark, a fighter, a mischievous character and a bully. In it, everything foreshadowed a remarkable man, as if purposely created for wars and battles, for those high-profile feats that subsequently amazed not only all Russian people, but also the whole of Europe. The future ataman of the Don Cossacks was born in 1753 in the village of Cherkasy (or Starocherkasskaya) in the family of troop commander Ivan Platov. From early childhood, as was customary in Cossack life, he studied the art of equestrian combat and reading and writing. In 13 for years, Matvey Platov entered the Don Military Office as a conscript and for three years proved that the natural mind can replace even the best education. In 1769, the Cornet Platov, who distinguished himself during the capture of the Perekop line and Kinburn, received the rank of captain, and after three years in the 1772, the Cossack regiment received submission. And this is in incomplete 19 years. Nobody will believe in our mercantile age if all this is explained by merits to the Fatherland or unsurpassed personal merits. And truly - great services to the Fatherland will be after. Well, a rapid start, perhaps, can be explained by the natural dashingness and participation of the father, Ivan Fedorovich, in the Peterhof expedition, which raised Catherine II to the throne. This campaign served as a springboard for many famous surnames. For Suvorov, for example ... And then? Well, then only myself.
3 April 1774, the Platov took the fight, which seemed to be impossible to win in principle. On the Kalalakh River, a Cossack detachment around 1000 men surrounded almost 30000 the Devlet-Giray army. The 8 attacks of the Tatar-Turkish army were repulsed by a small garrison of a flimsy wagenburg before reinforcements arrived. The detachment and the wagon train were rescued, and a rather large army of the newly-minted Crimean Khan fled to where. The whole Russian army learned about this feat and the empress herself awarded the young Cossack hero (Platov was barely 23) a special gold medal. In order to fully appreciate the value of the Platov feat, it must be said before what position our Don suburb was then in.
After the brilliant Russian victories in Tavria and on the Danube, the center of military operations shifted to the Kuban. In the spring of 1774, two Crimean Khans, a protege of the Russians and a protege of the Turks, challenged the power over the Crimean Khanate. The protege of the Russians Sahib II Giray, supported by the troops of Prince Dolgorukov, sat in the Crimea, and the protege of the Turks, Devlet IV Giray, landed in Taman with a ten-thousandth army and, referring to the Turkish Sultan's firmman, incited Kuban and Terek peoples to join him to fight the Russians. Chechnya rebelled, Kalmyk Khan changed and left the Volga, opening the way to the Don Circassians. And at this very time, the Pugachev resentment flared up, rearing all of the Volga region and the whole of the Urals. Samozvaneu, the very natural Don Cossack, walked from Kazan down the Volga, was approaching the Don limits. But a truly tasty morsel for Devlet-Giray was the 300,000-strong Nogai horde, who reconciled with the Russians and moved from Bessarabia to the Kuban. Devlet - Girey from Taman actively muddied the water among the pacified legies. It is not known if the Nogais would have gone, rebel their Devlet - Giray, to beat off the paternal throne for the restless Khan. But sixty thousand families (in Nogai Kazan), sixty thousand non-peaceful horsemen at the side of the blood-stained Don Army, who sent all the efficient Cossacks to the regiments on the Danube, in the same Crimea and other cordons - it was dangerous. From the Volga-Donskaya Perevoloki and to the Bashkirs who joined Pugachev, Russia did not have a cover from the possible raid of the Nogai horde. And if they go up the Volga? And if they join Pugachev? In another time, when all the Cossacks were at home, the news of the enemies would have made, perhaps, a very different impression. Then the military authorities, perhaps, would not worry about them, knowing that it was not the first time for the Dontsa to fight on the battlefield with different enemies. But now, when most of the Don regiments were on the march, outside the region, and on the Don there were only old men and young men who had never been in battles, inevitably had to seriously think about the fate of the region.
In the middle of March, Devlet - Girey, with ten thousand of his troops and with fifteen thousand "Asian predators" who joined him, left Taman and moved to the nomadic horde of nomads, taking various breeds along the way. He had Turks, Tatars, Circassians, Donians-Nekrasov, and some "arap". The Nogais, deprived of their leaders, hesitated; only a small part joined the rebellious khan. Not fully trusting the Nogais, the highly experienced Bukhvostov prudently kept the Nogai elder and his families at his camp. It turned out that Devlet - Girey and the detachment of Lieutenant Colonel Bukhvostov, who opposed him, came from the 2 Army to "observe Nogai interests", fought on Nogai territory for influence on these very Nogais. And the Nogais themselves were like spectators in this bloody drama. Devlet - Girey was pushing, he wanted to grab and cut the Nogai top, a true alliance with the Russians (or maybe not cut at all, but agree in an amicable way). The Noghais retreated, as though they hated, but they were afraid of the Russians, who had arranged for them a few years ago at the Danube Theater a noble bloodletting. However, they did not believe the Turks and Krymchaks at all, but did not want to raise weapons against these fellow believers. Naturally, messengers and whole detachments went from the Crimean camp to Nogai and back, persuaded, doubted, promised, deceived. But Bukhvostov, like a guard dog, drove the Crimean "wolves" away from the Nogai "sheep." On the territory of the Edisan Nogai Horde, the one and a half thousand-strong detachment of Bukhvostov defeated the vanguard of the Krymchaks under the authority of the brother of Khan Shabbas - Giray. After that, the Noghis Nogai were "determined" at once and, together with the hussars and Cossacks, pursued and chopped up the broken Krymchaks. Crimean night raid on the Cossack regiment Larionova was also repulsed. But all these clashes, in which "a lot of fun, little sense," soon ended. Devlet - Girey with all his army stepped up close, and Bukhvostov insisted, not relying on the Nogai friendship, for the Horde to move closer to the Russian border, under the cover of Russian border troops. And so that the Horde could be more self-reliant, he sent them a large wagon with provisions. Horde starred. In order to accompany the wagon train and cover the departure of the Nogais, the Cossack regiments of Larionov and Matvey Platov were left on the Kalalah river. This place is located in the north of the modern Stavropol Territory, near the borders of the Rostov region. A little to the west, if we cross the border of the Krasnodar Territory, the Eya, Chelbas, Rassypnaya and Kalalah itself originate on a hill.
Fig. 1 Platov in Russian-Turkish wars
Before the dawn of the third of April, when these regiments stood in the tops of the Kalalah river, intelligence from the front posts made it known that “the forces of the Tatar are collapsing apparently invisible.” No sooner had the Cossacks come to their senses and mount their horses, as the entire horizon was already covered with a black cloud of Tatar cavalry. These were the main forces of Devlet, which then numbered about thirty thousand different Asian horsemen. It seemed that a handful of Cossacks, not exceeding thousands of equestrians in both regiments, would be instantly crushed by a hurricane that had flown over it. Indeed, the first thought that came from the Donts under this impression was to leave the wagon train and leave before it was too late. Even more experienced Larionov, who was ten years older than his companion, was confused, but Platov did not become confused. The happiness of his character consisted in the fact that in critical situations Matvey Platov was cool, active and acted with lightning speed. He thought differently, namely, that their duty is to protect the transport to the last extreme, that it is better to fight back two or three days, to sacrifice part of the detachment, that, finally, it is better for the whole detachment to die with honor, rather than lose the wagon train, the neutrality of the Nogai and perhaps undermine the success of the entire Kuban campaign. "My friends! he exclaimed, turning to the regiment. - You see for yourself what power of Tatars surrounds us! We need to fight with this force - and defeat it or lie down with bones, as our grandfathers did! We will not be Russians, we will not be Donians if we are frightened of the damned Tatar! " Smooth, calm and, as it were, recognizing no danger, his voice sobered the Cossacks, already close to panic. Taking advantage of this minute, Platov ordered them to quickly move the carts so as to block from all sides a small trench erected by the Cossacks during the night. Meanwhile, from his regiment he summoned two agile people on the best horses and ordered them to notify Bukhvostov about everything as soon as possible, who was nearby with all the Nogai nobility. "Remember," Platov told them, "that you may have to break through the enemy. Don will not forget your services, and if you are destined to glorious death, then know that you lay your head in an honest fight for the edge of your fathers, for the Orthodox faith, for your brothers, for mother queen - for everything that is on the land of the holy and precious for the Russian feeling! ”Ecstatic speech inspired the Cossacks. The defense was resolved, and two regiments were under siege. It must be noted that Platov at that time was only twenty-three years old. He was younger than Larionov in years and service, but his energy and moral influence on the Cossacks were so great that the actual command of the detachment itself passed into his hands. It was eight o'clock in the morning, when the enormous power of the Tatars from all sides laid down a Cossack camp, sheltering behind a fragile fence, which no one in our time would dare to call a fortification. The Cossacks saw how the great Khan's banner unfolded and how the crowd, welcoming its appearance with a wild roar, moved to attack. The first attack, however, was repelled - the Cossacks withstood. But the Tatars fled immediately replaced by other, fresh crowds, and the first attack was followed by the second, the second - the third, the fourth, the fifth ... The lateral fronts of the fortification were completely filled up with the bodies of the beaten Tatars, but more and more people were bursting over these corpses and climbing onto the wengenburg ... There was a lack of hands to beat off attackers everywhere. Meanwhile, if the Cossacks didn’t hold head somewhere in one place, the death of all would be inevitable. Platov himself walked around the ranks and exhorted everyone to stand up to the end of Silent Don, for Mother Queen. Seven attacks had already been repulsed, the eighth began, and little by little, even these iron defenders began to creep into the hearts.
“The Cossacks you sent,” he told him, “probably died; we have exhausted all our forces, most of our horses have been slaughtered, and without much help from above we cannot expect salvation ...
- What do you want to say with this? - interrupted him Platov.
“I think,” continued Larionov, “that it is more prudent for us to say some conditions to ourselves than to useless to continue the defense.”
- Not! Never! - exclaimed Platov. - It is better to die than to cover honor and shame
- What are you hoping for? - asked Larionov.
- To God, and I believe that He will not leave us with his help.
Larionov silently shook his hand. At this very time, Platov, intently gazing at the steppe, suddenly joyfully crossed himself. It seemed to him on the very horizon a large gray cloud, which quickly grew, expanded, and suddenly filled up with many points. These points clearly and clearly began to emerge in the transparent blue of the evening air, and the sharp-eyed steppe's eye unmistakably guessed the galloping horsemen.
- Guys! - exclaimed Platov. - Look, isn't it ours who are jumping to the rescue? ..
- Ours! Our! - shouted the Cossacks, and hundreds of hands rose to make the sign of the cross.
Help really was close. One of the Cossacks, sent by Platov, was killed, but the other one reached Bukhvostov and gave him the news, which instantly lifted the whole detachment to its feet. Hussars, Cossacks, Dragoons rushed to saddle their horses. A noisy talk went through the whole bivouac. Some Tatars, having learned about the proximity of Devlet, came to despair and did not want to follow our troops for anything. The notable Nogais, together with Bukhvostov, refused to go, and their leader, Jan Mambet, "looked at the detachment with amazement and pity, the number of sabers no more than 500, which, as he thought, had been killed, had died." There was no time to persuade them. While Bukhvostov with the squadron of the Akhtyr hussars and the light dragoon team were leaving the camp, Colonel Uvarov with his Cossack regiment was already far ahead and first of all arrived in time to help. A minute - and three hundred Cossacks with peaks lowered crashed into the enemy's rear. It was a desperate, insane attack, not justified by anything other than blind and audacious courage, but it was these very qualities of her that had a decisive influence on the fate of the Kalalach battle. Tens of thousands of people, undoubtedly brave ones, suddenly quivered and, mixing up like a timid flock, turned into uncontrollable flight. A panic has begun - that terrible panic that unconsciously covers the masses and subordinates them to the animal instinct of self-salvation alone. Platov planted his Cossacks on the surviving horses and struck out of the "trench." The Cossacks, pursuing the runners, caught up with them directly on the Bukhvostov detachment, which took them with a canister of four guns. It was the only victory that can hardly be found in our military annals. A thousand horsemen drove in front of a twenty-thousandth army, covered in panic! Three times he tried to stop the enemy in order to gather his scattered forces, and three times, shot down by Bukhvostov, again ran into flight. The Nogais, who came to their senses, took a lively part in the pursuit of Devlet - Girey and chopped off all those who managed to overtake. Krymchak and zakubansky rabble pursued to the Kuban. And here Platov distinguished himself. “Platov,” Bukhvostov later informed, “being on fire, turned out to be quite fearless. He managed to encourage his subordinates, who had already come to despair, and in this way kept them in a weak fortification until my arrival. Then, during the persecution, he rushed to the large crowds of the enemy with the greatest danger to life, setting an example to his subordinates, especially in a forest battle near Kuban, where the dismounted Cossacks encouraged by him showed exemplary bravery. " It was the final, after which the entire Tatar gathering scattered in different directions, and it was no longer possible to assemble it. Cossacks got rich booty. At the scene of the battle, they collected and buried over five hundred enemy corpses. At Platov, only eighty-two people were out of action, but up to six hundred horses, so most of his squad remained on foot. “If someone will have to be in the same position,” said our partisan, DV. Davydov - let him remember the feat of the young Platov, and success will crown his weapon. Fortune, who is not always blind, will raise, perhaps, a solid warrior to the same degree of glory, to which she raised the venerable hero Don. " Kalallah battle was won. Don was rescued from the pogrom, and from that time the Cossacks began talking about Platov, as if something wonderful. The authorities paid special attention to him, and the whole army, also the courtyard, and the empress herself recognized his name. But everyone was more fond of his famous Potemkin, who until his death remained his true benefactor and patron. The battle of Kalalah was, one can say, a bright dawn of brilliant glory, which has since become its inseparable companion in the military field. After this battle, the Zubaban predators, desperate to profit on the Don and Nogai camps, left the hapless Khan. However, Devlet - Girey did not lose heart, the unrest in Chechnya and Kabarda carried him under Mozdok, from where, again defeated, he fled to Chegem. A detachment of Bukhvostov on the shoulders of a running adversary reached Kuban, forded her and here he was drawn into battles with Circassians. In early June, Bukhvostov, with hussars and Cossacks Uvarov, Platov, and Danilov, in a fierce battle, again defeated the “huge gathering of Circassians” near the town of Kopyl (now Slavyansk-on-Kubani). At the height of the battle, Bukhvostov and Uvarov broke into the city itself, where thirty-four Turkish cannons captured. For this feat Bukhvostov was awarded the Order of St. George of the third degree. Throughout July and the beginning of August the cononade rattled over the Kuban. Finally it became known that peace was signed in Kuchuk-Kaynardzhi. The Turks were a restless Devlet - the Turks themselves were accused of always pursuing personal goals, wanting to unite all Tatars and become independent from Turkey. Sultan Abdul Hamid ordered to seize Khan and deliver to Constantinople. In the Kuban and Terek became quieter. "Kabarda, the Tatars from the Tatars and Chechnya, not daring to repeat open attacks on the Russians without the support of Turkey, engaged in their own, from the start unsolvable and endless strife ...". A regiment of Matthew Platov from the Kuban was transferred to Russia "to drive the impostor Pugach". And there was another event, important for Don, which also touched our hero.
Platov's later service again and again belonged to the Caucasus. He was still returning here as a regimental commander to the Caucasian line, and then as a tour ataman during the Persian campaign of Count Zubov. But these short trips did not give him the opportunity to do something worthy of his name. In the 1806 year, being already a troop chief, he led his Don regiments to the French for the first time, and from then until the capture of Paris, one could say that he did not take his legs out of the fighting stirrup, having made a number of loud feats. How popular was then the name of Platov in Europe, can be judged by the following facts. In London, in the general meeting of the estates of the city, it was decided, in gratitude to Platov's great feats, to offer him, on behalf of the English people, a precious sword in a golden artistic setting. On the hilt, on one side of the enamel, the united coat of arms of Ireland and Great Britain is depicted, and on the other, a platformed image of Platov’s name, the top of the handle is covered with diamonds, medallions of excellent embossing depict feats and glory of the hero on the sheath, the corresponding inscription on the blade. A large portrait of the chieftain is placed in the royal palace next to the portraits of Blucher and Wellington - these were the images of the three main scourges of the French emperor hated by the English. Under this portrait hangs a picture depicting the famous white horse - the faithful and inseparable companion of the ataman in all battles, written on the orders of the Prince Regent one of the most famous London artists at the time. The horse of this, in full Cossack dress, Platov, touched by the sympathy of the English people, presented as he left London, the Prince Regent, as the representative of a powerful state. Donskoy handsome was taken to the royal stables and ended his life far from his native steppes. Returning to Don as a cavalry general, earl and with the diamond marks of the St. Andrew Order, Platov thought to devote the rest of his days to the internal improvement of the homeland. But death already watched him, and on January 3, the venerable ataman died on his small estate near Taganrog, sixty-seven years old. They say that the legendary hero, broken by a serious illness, said the following words in the last minutes: “Glory! Glory! Where are you? And what do you need me now? "When he died, the envious and careerists, who got used to intrigues in the court and internal Don squabbles, gave an assessment to the ataman Matvey Platov, a tough and unpleasant one. A considerable part of the Don Army scolded him - a vain thief, a drunkard. He made a career on the women ... The first wife is the daughter of Ataman Efremov, the second is the daughter of Ataman Martynov. But the wind of time and history dispelled the garbage from his name. And we like Platov. He is our most glorious Cossack.
Fig. 2 Platov in the era of the Napoleonic Wars
As during life, Platov did not have to linger long in one place, and after his death his ashes were repeatedly disturbed. He was originally buried in Novocherkassk in a family crypt near the Ascension Cathedral. The first reburial was due to the fact that his grave was located on Cathedral Square for more than half a century, which was a huge construction site. From 1806, the Military Cathedral Church began to be erected here. It was built for many years with long breaks, and when it came to completion, the main dome collapsed. It happened in 1846 year, and in 1863g. The same fate befell the second version of the cathedral. After that, it was long decided what to do: whether to finish building the damaged structure or to start all over again on a different project and in another place. It was then that Platov's relatives turned to Alexander II with a request to transfer the ashes of the ataman to the family estate (Maly Mishkin farm). The request was granted, and in 1875, the coffin with the remains of Matvey Ivanovich was placed in a family vault at the Mishkin church. Tombstone monument was also transported there. In 1853, in Novocherkassk, a monument to Platov (by P. K. Klodt, A. Ivanov, N. Tokarev) was erected on public money collected by subscription. In the autumn of 1911, the remains of Platov returned to the Don capital he founded - Novocherkassk. In the tomb of the Voznesensky Cathedral built on the third attempt, the famous Don generals V.V. were reburied at the same time as Platov. Orlov-Denisov, I.E. Yefremov, Ya.P. Cormorants and Archbishop Donskoy and Novocherkassk John. After October 1917, the grave of Platov was desecrated. In 1923, the monument was removed and transferred to the Don Museum, in 1925, a monument to Lenin was erected on the same pedestal. Although Platov's monument was in the museum collection, in 1933, it was melted down into bronze bearings. In 1993, the monument to Lenin was dismantled. In May of the same year, the reburied remains of the remains were restored in the restored tomb of the Ascension Cathedral, and the bronze figure of Platov, recreated by Moscow sculptor A.V. Tarasenko, took its rightful place. As the saying goes: "Everything is back to normal". I want to believe that now forever. The whole figure, cast in bronze, breathes energy and strength. “You are standing in front of this image for a long time and in thought,” says one traveler, “and the events of the glorious 1812 year flash in my head, and Zhukovsky’s stanzas from his Singer in the Camp of Russian Warriors involuntarily resurrect in his memory:
... Knight of the Don,
Russian rati defense,
Where is our vihor ataman?
Fig. 3 Monument to Ataman Platov
Fig. 5 Bust Ataman Platov in Starocherkassk
Potto V.A. - Caucasian War
Venkov A.V. - Ataman troops Don Platov (History of the Cossacks)
Gordeev A.A. - History of the Cossacks