Alexey Greig was born in Kronstadt in the family of a military sailor on September 6, 1775. His father, Samuel Karlovich, was a Scot from the MacGregor clan. In 1750, he joined the English fleet as a volunteer and sailed on various vessels for thirteen years. He has seen many countries, took part in a huge number of naval battles, however, despite his impeccable track record, he only rose to the first officer rank. Seeing the futility of a future career, Samuel Greig went to seek happiness in a foreign land. At the same time, the young empress Catherine II was engaged in the reform of Russian fleet. One of the innovations was the invitation to serve in the fleet of experienced sailors from abroad. The twenty-eight-year-old Greig took advantage of this offer. In June 1764, he received the rank of captain of the first rank, and, as time has shown, the Russian fleet did not regret it. Samuel Karlovich turned out to be an energetic and efficient sailor, he developed a new set of rules for sailing weapons of domestic ships, took an active part in the illustrious Archipelago expedition and in delivering “Princess Tarakanova” to the Northern capital. By the time his first son, Alexei, was born, Samuel Greig was already working as the chief commander of the port of Kronstadt, and was also designing new ships of the Russian fleet.
Even before the birth of a child, there was an order from the empress to produce her son Greig as a midshipman, and her daughter as a maid of honor. Also, Catherine II, together with Count Orlov, became the godparents of the child. This royal favor, by the way, played a negative role in Alexey Samuilovich's career, serving his enemies as a reason for explaining all the successes of a truly talented person.
Alexey spent his childhood in the family circle, gradually joining the sea craft due to the great influence of his father. In the 1785 year, when the boy was ten years old, home education was over, and he was sent to internship in England. For three years, Alex sailed on the ships of the British fleet, learning from the best English sailors of the wisdom of the profession. At the end of the internship, he returned to Russia, was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to Mstislav, who sailed around the Gulf of Finland.
At this time, war broke out with Sweden. Samuel Greig stood at the head of the Baltic Fleet, he was entrusted with the defense of Petersburg and Kronstadt. 6 July near the island of Gogland, he attacked the Swedish fleet. It was a fierce battle. Unable to withstand the fierce fire of the Russians, the Swedes retreated to Sveaborg, and Samuel Greig followed them. This naval victory was of great importance - the plan to seize Petersburg was thwarted, and Denmark also rose to fight with Sweden. Admiral was granted the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, but he refused to accept it before the final defeat of the Swedes. Unfortunately, Samuel Karlovich did not live to see the decisive defeat of the enemy. During the blockade of Sveaborg, he came down with a “gall fever”, and on October 15, 1788, died at the zenith of glory aboard his flagship Rostislav.
After the death of Admiral, the Empress took all his family under the protection of. Already at the end of the year, Alexey Samuilovich was promoted to captain-lieutenant, and his younger brothers, Samuel and Karl, were the midshipman. At the beginning of autumn, 1789 Alexey and Karl Greigi were sent to England for further maritime practice. In the period from 1789 to 1791, they made a number of voyages to India and China on ships of the East India Company. During their travels, they happened to take part in battles with Dutch and French ships. At 1791, Alexey returned to Russia, but a year later he was again sent to England. During the third trip abroad, he served as a volunteer on British warships sailing in the Mediterranean.
In the 1798, the twenty-three-year-old captain of the second rank, Aleksei Greig, took command of his first ship, the 66-gun Retvizan, captured from the Swedes in the 1790 year by Chichagov's squadron. As part of the squadron Makarova Alexey Samuilovich sailed off the English coast, cruising with allies in the German Sea, receiving commendable reviews from Admiral Nelson. And on January 1, Greig's 1799 fired into captains of the first rank. Justifying his confidence, Alexey took part in the landing and the capture of the Dutch fortress Gelder, next to which the Dutch fleet was also captured. Witnesses noted his personal courage, manifested in the seizure of the ship "Washington".
In 1802, Alexander I, who took the throne, appointed the young Greig to be a member of the formed committee to correct the fleet. At that time he was twenty-seven, and he was the only captain of the first rank among the six admirals who had founded the Committee. The degree of confidence in the knowledge and talents of Greig can be judged by the fact that the venerable sailors were on the committee - Vorontsov, Mordvinov, Makarov, Fadezin, Kartsev, Balle and Chichagov. A year later, Alexey Samuilovich became the captain-commander, having received the right to command detachments of ships.
The beginning of the new century was marked by the advancement of Napoleon in Europe. Russia was at war with France. In 1804, Greig, commanding a group of four ships, conducted reconnaissance and patrol service in the islands of the Ionian Republic, which were under Russian protectorate. In the same year, together with the British ships, he landed amphibious troops in Naples, but under the onslaught of overwhelming forces, the French were forced to withdraw it. At 1805, Alexey Samuilovich entered under the command of Dmitry Senyavin, a disciple and associate of the legendary Ushakov.
After Turkey declared war on Russia in 1806, Senyavin with the fleet went to Constantinople, ordering Greig to seize the island of Tenedos, a large Turkish stronghold at the entrance to the Dardanelles. The young sailor personally led the first assault column to storm the island, taking him to 8 March 1807. The fleet base, so necessary for the blockade of the Dardanelles, was organized on Tenedos. 10 May Turkish ships came out of the strait to lift the blockade. Alexey Samuilovich on his "Retvisan" took an active part in the Battle of Dardanelles as the second flagship. After a hot battle, the Turks' ships retreated under the cover of coastal batteries. The next day, Greig with a group of ships was sent to attack the enemy fleet, which entered the strait. During the battle, he managed to drive stranded a group of enemy ships, where they got stuck. Then Greig landed troops on the island of Lemnos, which was soon successfully captured. On June 19, the enemy again organized the operation to return Tenedos. A new battle took place on the sea near Mount Athos. Three ships commanded by Greig attacked and captured the admiral ship of the Turkish squadron, three more ships were thrown ashore and were burnt by crews.
After the conclusion of the Peace of Tilsit with Napoleon, the fighting in the Mediterranean ceased, and in 1808, Senyavin took the fleet to Lisbon. For military successes, Alexey Samuilovich, now a rear admiral, was awarded the Order of St. Anne of the first degree, after which he was summoned to St. Petersburg. A new war was brewing - now with the former ally of England. All the British, who carried the service on the Russian ships, under the contract had no right to fight against their homeland and were sent inland. This fate was not avoided by Greig, who remained a British citizen by birth. In the biography of Greig it is written: “I retired to Moscow and, without taking part in anything, I lived until the 1812 of the year”. Being actually in the capital for four years, the sailor had an excellent opportunity to deepen and expand his knowledge of various arts and sciences of interest to him. It is known that he carefully studied shipbuilding, physics, astronomy, mathematics, literature, hydrography and medicine.
With the start of the 1812 war, Alexey Samuilovich was sent to the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet commander and the Moldavian army, Admiral Chichagov. Here he received a diplomatic mission to visit Odessa, Constantinople, Malta and Sicily in order to attract the southern nations to the battle with Napoleon. In 1813, Greig returned to St. Petersburg and led the command of a rowing and sailing flotilla during the siege of the city of Danzig. There he personally drove the sailors more than once to assault enemy batteries, and gained fame as a valiant warrior. After mastering Danzig Alexei Samuilovich, he was granted the title of Vice-Admiral and the Order of St. Vladimir of the second degree. Shortly thereafter, realizing that it was impossible to have two fathers, Greig accepted Russian citizenship.
2 March 1816 was appointed vice-admiral to the post of chief commander of the Black Sea Fleet and ports, and at the same time military governor of Sevastopol and Nikolayev. The state of the Russian fleet during this period of time is very figuratively written in the works of naval historians:
“The representatives of the fleet were not honored, their exploits were not appreciated, but each bast was put on a line ... At a time when the thunder of victories was accompanied by Russian troops from Moscow to Paris itself, the naval service stopped using honor, the fleet stopped floating, ships were rotting in the harbors, and coastal life dominated ... ”.
We can say that with the arrival of Alexei Greig, the Russian fleet on the Black Sea experienced a rebirth. In the new position, the sailor spent almost eighteen years, living mainly in Nikolaev, where the entire Black Sea Fleet was located. From the first days he focused on the modernization of ships, as well as the technology of their construction. The future admiral attached great importance to the construction of small transport and combat sailing ships — lugers, boats, tenders, schooners, brigs used for the carriage of goods, reconnaissance, cruising operations and serving as a base for the practical education of young officers. Under Greig, they began to build special pilot boats for the hydrographic service, gunboats with three guns, and Ioli — small ships in the Danube Flotilla. However, Alexey Samuilovich focused his main attention on creating the main strike force of the fleet - battleships and frigates. The new ships were built according to drawings, developed either by Greig himself, or according to English samples. They had good stability, which was perfectly combined with powerful artillery, allowing it to be used in strong winds. A sailor did not design an "eye out", but always on a scientific basis. Aleksey Samuilovich developed a “parabolic method”, offering a mathematical description of the underwater part of the hulls of various types of ships, and a method for determining the center of gravity of ships on the basis of inclining necessary for solving problems of stability. Also widely spread were his methods for calculating the heel of ships in combat conditions with a strong wind at the moment when the guns of one side were firing at the enemy. From 1817, tests based on this methodology were carried out in Russia for each built battleship and frigate.
The masterpiece of shipbuilding skill of Alexey Samuilovich is considered to be the three-compartment Warsaw 120 gun ship, the first vessel of a similar rank on the Black Sea. According to contemporaries, Greig put all his scientific knowledge and experience into the ship, the ship was distinguished by its excellent seaworthiness, exceptional hull proportionality, powerful artillery armament and beautiful appearance. Unfortunately, "Warsaw" was launched after the admiral left for Nikolaev. Replacing him as chief commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Lazarev, after thorough testing, gave the ship the following rating: “This ship is the most convenient in terms of its internal position and is the best in the Russian fleet .... He listens to the helm in all respects excellently and looks like a royal ship - they have never been issued in the Baltic, and in England too. ”
In the course of the numerous improvements introduced by Greig in the shipbuilding technique, the durability of ships has increased significantly. The average service life of the Black Sea ships increased from 10 years to 14, and with major repairs (timbrevokoy) to 17 years. In 1818, Alexey Samuilovich issued a decree on the replacement of sand-stone ballast with cast-iron. As a result, the stability increased, which made it possible to increase the caliber of artillery and change the 24-pound guns on the main gun deck to the 36-pound ones. And the increase in the height of the cannon ports from the water level that he attempted made the Russian fleet combat-ready on the move and in a strong wind, and not only when anchored or in a weak wind, as it was before. In addition, for the first time, signal lights, negotiation pipes, desalination plants, day and night telegraphs were used on the Black Sea Fleet ships.
The admiral has developed a set of rules for the preservation of ships in peacetime. According to them, feed and nasal implements were removed to reduce the risk of vessel fractures, new fire safety rules were established, and lightning rods were introduced. Greig personally supervised the safety of the ships in the port of Nikolaev, canceled the logging, which had many harmful consequences, and applied for the construction of dry docks for the repair of ships. He even invented and introduced a system of uniform placement of ships that had embarked in the port water area in order to evenly warm them up and to avoid drying out of the spars and hulls. Under Greig, commissions were first set up to monitor the quality of shipbuilding, as well as supervising incoming wood. Understanding the importance of accurate time, Aleksey Samuilovich established a special service, firing a gun at noon, giving a signal by which all admiralty, city, church and private clocks were tuned. He also initiated the creation of a steam-digging machine, which will be used later to deepen the channel of the Ingul River. This in turn reduced the cost and simplified the wiring of newly built ships to the port of Sevastopol.
Under the leadership of the admiral in 1827, new, longer guns were developed for ships above 100-gun rank, allowing them to fire without the danger of a fire from the fire of shots. Soon after the casting of the first 24- and 26-pounders, it was decided in all the fleets to "produce long guns according to the Black Sea drawings, as the best." Alexey Samuilovich showed considerable interest in chemistry. He belongs to the invention in 1821, the new charge for the branded (incendiary projectiles), which burned longer and set fire to the enemy ships better.
As one of the associates of Greig correctly noted, “for the accomplishment of large and small matters, besides the mind, funds were also required, and there was a lack of them”. Numerous archival materials preserve evidence of the admiral’s unbelievable perseverance, with whom he had to fight for the introduction of even the most indisputable usefulness of the proposals. Mostly in the way of the sailor, the petty limitations and conservatism of the officials in charge of the economics of shipbuilding arose. Aleksey Samuilovich had to find all sorts of ways to save money. He had to reorganize the economic part of the fleet, strengthen control over economic affairs, establish strict accountability for all financial transactions, and personally recheck contracts with contractors and recover all overpayments from them. Archival documents confirm that Greig watched all the costs of shipbuilding, on many papers there are his own hand checks. In 1828, the admiral issued an order establishing a single design displacement of the ship - "front weight". Prior to this, “frontline tons” or “cargo tons” were taken, which caused confusion in determining the cost and opened the way to abuses in payment. In addition, Greig introduced new rules for working with contractors, in particular, contracts began to be concluded after comparing offers received in sealed envelopes.
With the arrival of Greig, the Black Sea Fleet began to study. At the initiative of the admiral in Nikolaev, the Navigation School was expanded and an Artillery School was created, and in 1824, a library for officers was opened in Sevastopol, helping sailors while away the time during the autumn-winter periods.
Alexey Samuilovich forbade the use of corporal punishment in schools, according to contemporaries: “Greig often visited maritime institutions, attended the examinations of navigators and midshipmen, personally experienced those who entered the lieutenants in practical knowledge.” Following the example of Kruzenshtern in St. Petersburg, Alexey Samuilovich organized in Nikolaev additional courses for fleet officers — a kind of naval academy, which taught courses in physics, ship architecture, mechanics, hydrostatics, pneumatics and hydrodynamics. The most capable officers went abroad to further enhance education. One case is interesting - having learned that a certain naval junker shows exceptional abilities in drawing, the admiral himself, by the way, is a good draftsman who “punched” him a place in the Academy of Arts, sending the junker there as a fleet retiree. It is also worth noting that Greig introduced the definition of the deviation of magnetic compasses, and to study the effects of terrestrial magnetism on the arrow of the ship's compass, he organized a special physics room in which naval officers could experiment.
The admiral annually went to practical sailing, conducted artillery and sailing exercises. Regular communications were established between the port cities of the northwestern coast (Kherson, Odessa, Sevastopol, Nikolaev) and the coast of the Caucasus, where the fleet's ships supported the ground forces in the fight against the rebel highlanders. Sailors who later became famous in the Russian-Turkish and Crimean wars left the Greig Marine School. In addition, they brought up a whole galaxy of talented shipbuilders. He showed admiral and care for the sailors. He managed to get permission to connect married sailors with families, food and sailor uniform was improved, the most cruel corporal punishment was forbidden.
Greig since childhood was fond of astronomy. This passion was explained not so much by the professional interest of the seaman as by the innate inquisitiveness and the burden of exact sciences. In his youth during watches and in his spare time, he often observed the luminaries and determined their positions, as evidenced by the remaining numerous drafts with calculations. Soon after Greig moved to Nikolaev, he set up a small "home" observatory in his mansion. To this end, an astronomical dome was placed in the central part of the main commander's house. The Aleksei Samulovich Observatory was equipped with an excellent set of seaman’s personal tools, which he presented to the fleet upon leaving the city. And in the spring of 1820, Alexey Samuilovich, in a letter to the minister of the sea, raised the question of the need to build in Nikolaev a special Marine Astronomical Observatory. Permission from Alexander I came in the same year, and soon its construction began on the Spassky Kurgan. On the recommendation of Struve, Greig invited his talented pupil Carl Knorre, who had the most extensive knowledge of mathematics, physics and astronomy, to take the place of a “sea astronomer”. By the way, Karl Khristoforovich worked in this position until the end of his life - almost fifty years. Knorre himself wrote: “Fortunately, the device of the observatory was entrusted to a person who made all efforts to build a building that fully complied with the current state of science and given the limited funds provided to it.” The Nikolaev Observatory opened in 1827 year and was the largest observatory in Russia at that time. Naval astronomy was learned at this place by naval officers and cadets, seamen-hydrographs gathered to compile nautical charts and to survey the shores of the Black Sea, and ship instruments were checked. The future admiral himself repeatedly took part in the scientific work of the institution, conducted observations with Knorre and Karl Dahl - the brother of the outstanding Russian linguist. For a number of scientific and organizational works in the field of astronomy, Greig in 1822 was selected as an honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.
Alexey Samuilovich showed great concern for the development of the city of Nikolaev. When it was built, the first marina, the market, the mall, the male and female schools, the poorhouse, the hospital opened, "free" pharmacies and a huge bazaar at the end of Sobornaya Street were founded. A stone wall was built on the isthmus between Ingul and the Bug Bay, protecting residents from wild animals, infectious diseases and robbers. Thanks to the activities of the admiral, a start was made to illuminate the city, as well as to green the streets. Greig's work on the development of agriculture and gardens in the vicinity of Nikolayev was very important, given the semi-desert urban outskirts and the sultry climate. In the constructed greenhouse, Aleksey Samuilovich himself conducted experiments on plant acclimatization. If successful, seedlings landed in designated areas. It is known that Alexey Samuilovich applied to the emperor for permission to build the Spassky gravity water pipeline - a grand engineering structure that supplied spring water to the streets of the city.
After ten years of successful leadership of Alexei Samuilovich, the Black Sea Fleet once again turned into a powerful military organization. During the period from 1816 to 1828, the 145 ships of various sizes and purposes were built, in addition, 16 ships were purchased and 9 was being completed. Foreseeing the inevitability of a military conflict with Turkey, Greig forced the creation of new ships and hastily prepared the existing ships for combat. The war broke out in 1828. A new strategic task was assigned to the Black Sea Fleet - interaction and support of land units during the movement of Russian troops through the lands of the Small Balkans to Constantinople, destruction and seizure of coastal fortresses, holding the flank of the advancing armies and defeating the Turkish fleet, eager to break into the Black Sea. In this war, all the great combat experience accumulated by Alexey Samuilovich in previous years was best manifested. Companion of Admiral Senyavin and heir to the tactical actions of the outstanding Admiral Ushakov, he successfully completed the tasks assigned to the fleet, managing to ensure the closest strategic interaction between the fleet and the army. In the 1828 year, he led the siege of the fortress of Anapa and in a short time occupied it, despite the threefold advantage of the besieged. After that, he immediately went to Varna with the fleet, which is the key to Constantinople. The garrison of twenty-seven thousand people fought fiercely and stubbornly, but the Russian fleet under the leadership of Greig, together with land forces, took this powerful fortress after a short siege. This was followed by Ahiollo, Messemvria, Inada, San Stefano, Midia, Sizopol, Burgas and the blockade of the Bosphorus. The war, which ended victoriously in 1929, brought the liberation of Greece and a number of Danube states from the Turkish yoke, and also gave hope for the liberation of the Bulgarians. Alexey Samuilovich’s reward for taking seaside strongholds was the admiral's rank and the Order of St. George the Second-class Victorious.
After the end of hostilities, Greig was appointed chairman of the Committee for the Improvement of Shipbuilding, and was named the Committee of Greig. For almost a year, starting in the summer of 1830, he was in Petersburg. At the 53 meetings, the Committee analyzed more than 350 important issues and suggestions regarding the improvement of the design of domestic ships coming from Russian sailors - Krusenstern, Lazarev, Avinov, Kazarsky and many, many others. Thanks to the support of the Committee, almost all proposals were accepted for use on ships of the Russian fleet.
Beginning with the 1830 year, certain crises have arisen in the life of Greig. The admiral was never the favorite of either Alexander I or Nicholas I - the emperors valued him, but "kept him at a distance." Russian fleet historian Yevgeny Arens writes:
“The service of the venerable admiral in the south in recent years has been greatly overshadowed by the libel and denunciations of clandestine slanderers who have put their own failures or personal displeasure on him. Greig emerged from this mud immaculately clean, which he really was, but his career was already poisoned. ”The life of Alexei Samuilovich was not cloudless either. In Nikolaev the single admiral fell in love with a commoner girl. Her name was Yulia Mikhailovna Stalinskaya, she was the daughter of an innkeeper and Jewish in nationality. First, Yulia Mikhailovna settled in his house on the position of the housekeeper, and then the actual wife - the mistress of an extensive mansion. Greig initially concealed the connection, knowing full well that the chauvinist-minded upper strata of the Russian nobility, exactly like the royal court, would not consent to marrying a woman who was not of “his own circle”, moreover, of such a “low” origin and “petitioner”. However, the rumors about "charming Julia" quickly reached St. Petersburg. The sailor was forced into a civil marriage, but even this caused regular attacks against him and his family members. Greigov had five children - three boys and two girls. After the death of the admiral, his wife devoted her life to charity, as well as to arranging the fates and careers of her children. Officially, Yulia Mikhailovna was recognized by Greig’s wife only in 1873, at the opening of the monument dedicated to the admiral. The grand dukes sent her a congratulatory letter, in which they noted the merits of Yulia as Greig's companions.
In 1833, the admiral was appointed a member of the Council of State. He moved to St. Petersburg and in the following years led active political and social activities. At the request of Academician Vasily Struve, Alexey Samuilovich headed the Committee for Construction of the Main Astronomical Observatory, which was solemnly opened in August 1839 of the year. In addition, Greig took an active part in the work of the Free Economic Society, spoke at meetings of the State Council, headed a number of commissions - laws and legislation, military and moscow affairs, civil affairs, economics, Polish affairs. In his old age in 1843, Alexey Samuilovich, like his father, was awarded the highest distinction of the Russian state - the Order of St. Andrew the First Called. In the last years of his life, Greig lived near Petersburg in his estate near Oranienbaum. According to the testimony of relatives, his favorite activity was reading books from a huge personal library. The admiral passed away on 18 on January 1845 in the seventieth year of his life and was buried in Petersburg at the Smolensk Lutheran cemetery.
Alexey Greig lived a difficult and long life, rich in both successes and disappointments. A Scotsman by birth, he grew up and was formed as a sailor, engineer and scientist in Russia. He said that he considered himself her son and was working in the name of increasing the power of the Russian state. One of the historians of the Russian fleet rightly remarked about him: "... an Englishman, but according to the benefits brought by Russia and the Russian fleet, more Russian than many Russians." Admiral's contemporaries noted Greig's high human virtues - sincerity, honesty, caring attention to everyone who addressed him, friendliness in dealing with everyone. In everyday life, Alexey Samuilovich was a modest and unpretentious person. In his free time, he practiced music and gardening, played four musical instruments and planted exotic plants and flowers in the greenhouse. Respect, which he enjoyed among colleagues and colleagues, reflected in the geographical names, imprinted on the world map. The navigators Bellingshausen and Stanyukovich who served under the command of Greig called out the objects discovered by them - the island of Greig in the Pacific Ocean and the Cape of Greig in the Bering Sea.
According to the materials of the book, Yu.S. Kryuchkov "Alexey Greuig"