Military Review

M.Yu. Lermontov - in a red shirt on a white horse ...

Some time ago at TOPWAR there was a discussion regarding our great poet M. Yu. Lermontov ... And she was concerned not so much poetic deeds, but this is understandable, taking into account the interests of the audience, but purely military. That is - what he represented as an officer, how, in fact, he fought, what he received or what awards he presented. And the topic is very interesting because it allows you to evaluate not only the poet himself, but also many people associated with him in the service. What images arise in the head when pronouncing this great name? Well, let's get acquainted with this side of his life. And we will begin by presenting this wonderful poet, the author of “The Hero of Our Time”, following Pushkin’s “Onegin’s” types of his era, the creator of the romantic images of “The Demon” and “Mtsyri”, against the backdrop of the majestic Caucasus Mountains in a flowing burka with mountain dagger on the belt and in the Circassian hat riding on a snow-white horse ...

M.Yu. Lermontov - in a red shirt on a white horse ...

Portrait of M. Yu. Lermontov, dressed in the mentik of the cornet of the Life Guards of the Hussar Regiment. Artist P.E. Zabolotsky. 1837 year.

As for the comrades, they knew Lermontov as a desperately brave officer. And fate pushed him with the Caucasus twice. For the first time in 1837, when he was sent into exile for his poem “The Death of a Poet”, because he allowed himself to too clearly identify those responsible for the death of Pushkin. But he stayed there for long. Soon, by the highest decree, he was transferred from the Caucasus to the Life Guards Grodno Hussars, which was quartered in the Nizhny Novgorod province. And then the grandmother asked for him, and ... the poet was able to return to Tsarskoye Selo! The duel with Baron de Barant was the cause of his second exile. In the court decision on his case, it was said: “to keep in the guardhouse for three months, then deprive officials and nobility and banish them to the Caucasus”. Nikolai mitigated the punishment: send the same rank in the Tengin infantry regiment. Immediately.

Portrait of M. Yu. Lermontov in the coat of the Tenginsky infantry regiment. Watercolor brush artist K.A. Gorbunova. 1841 year.

And April 13 MS Lermontov left the capital. I must say that in Soviet times, all this was interpreted unequivocally: the progressive poet fell victim to royal tyranny. But was this true, if you look closely, and were there any cases similar to Lermontov? It turns out there were! So, the young prince Golitsyn, being at a feast and having drunk considerably, in the twilight of the dressing room had the imprudence to wear not his uniform, which had not silver sewing, but gold, and in addition with an order cross, which he himself did not have. In this form, he went along the Nevsky Prospect, met the regiment of the chief of the Grand Duke, and ... he noticed everything at once, ordered him to be arrested immediately, put in Petropavlovka and tried! “Yes, how dare you make a comedy from the honor of a military, a uniform without the right to take a cross to wear, not appropriated to you ?!” the judges asked him, and the prince answered: “He was drunk!” The sentence was similar to the punishment of Lermontov - sent to the Caucasus . So it turns out that the king was not so cruel and did, if we compare these two faults.

"Highlander" - sculpture by EA Lancere.

Once in Stavropol, the poet got into the detachment of General Galafeyev - on the left flank of the Terek Line, in Chechnya. Initially, Lermontov served as adjutant to the general. At the same time, he showed courage, behaved coolly, was executive and knew how to instantly assess the situation and make the right decision - all these qualities of the lieutenant Galafeev noted, and here he later wrote about him: “This officer, in spite of any dangers, performed the assigned with him an errand with excellent courage and composure, and with the first ranks of the bravest soldiers broke into the enemy’s debris. "

"Linear Cossack with a Cossack" - sculpture by E.A. Lancere.

Shortly after arriving in the Caucasus, Lermontov participates in his first battle on the Valerik stream. The battle did not seem terrible to the poet, he was ready at any moment to rush to the attack and do his duty. But in this slaughter, he saw senselessness:

And there in the distance the ridge of unregulated
But forever proud and calm,
Mountains stretched and Kazbek
Glittered head pointed.
And with sadness and secret heart, I thought: a pathetic man.
What does he want ... the sky is clear
Under the sky is a lot of space for everyone
But incessantly and in vain
One he is hostile - why?

Lermontov later wrote about this battle: “We have 30 officers departed to the 300 privates, and their 600 bodies remained in place - it seems good! “Imagine that in the ravine, where it was fun, an hour after the work it smelled of blood.” Today we would not call the “200th” fun “cargo” from 600. But ... let's make a discount on time. Time it was ... so!

General K. Mamantsev, a participant in this battle, recalled how Lermontov, riding a white horse, rushed forward, disappeared behind the rubble, so they even thought that he was killed. But from the enemy's bullets his fate kept!

A house in Pyatigorsk, where M.Yu. lived for the last two months. Lermontov.

However, the memories of friends and eyewitnesses are far from always reliable historical source - they are very subjective. It is much more interesting to read, say, the conduit lists of regiments of the Russian army that their commanders wrote personally. There subjectivity is much less, because they really could have asked for distortion! And now, for example, as M.Yu. Lermontov was certified during his officer service in the hussar regiment. In service, he is “zealous,” the abilities of the mind are “good,” in morality he is “good,” and in the household he is also “good.” Similarly, he was certified in the Nizhny Novgorod Dragoon and Tenginsky Infantry, but the abilities of the mind were recognized as "perfectly good." And this information was secret and went "up", so there were no special posts to do here. You could run into a check.

Marching folding bed of the poet and the table at which he wrote.

Interestingly, other officers were evaluated very harshly. For example, the lieutenant Count Alopeus was certified as follows: in morality - "inconstant", but Lieutenant Lilye was decent in morality, but wasted on the farm!

Decisiveness, courage, courage and fortitude of Lermontov were also noted in the conduit notes and ... they made him the commander of the cavalry volunteer detachment (Cossack hundred), which was also called the flying detachment. “I inherited from Dorokhov, who was wounded, a selective team of hunters consisting of one hundred Cossacks, a different rabble, volunteers, Tatars and others, it is something like a partisan detachment,” the poet wrote, “if I happen to act successfully with him, then maybe something will give.

Then it became obvious that in the conditions of the partisan war, the mountaineers have a clear advantage over the regular army. Then volunteer detachments appeared in the Caucasus (as they said, “hunters”), who took upon themselves reconnaissance and, often, sabotage and punitive functions. The command of such a “detachment of daredevils” that went through many battles and looked at war and robbery as a means of enrichment, and in October 1840, the great Russian poet took. Beginners went through something like a dedication. He wanted to do something like an exam: the applicant was given some difficult task and he did it. Then, as a reward for this, he was shaved his head, ordered to wear a beard, dressed in a Circassian costume, and as weapons were given a double barrel with a bayonet. At the same time, they were not interested in either the nationality or the religion of the “hunter”: in the detachment of Lermontov, besides the Cossacks and Russian volunteers, there were many highlanders. According to eyewitnesses, Lermontov gathered a real gang of "dirty thugs." Not recognizing firearms, they flew into enemy auls, fought a very real guerrilla war and were called by a big name - “Lermontovsky detachment”.

People at all times loved beautiful things and comfort. Pay attention to the candlestick with a mirror-reflector and the ability to adjust the position of the candle.

To his new centurion, his associates initially reacted with suspicion and even with a share of neglect. But the first impression quickly changed. It turned out that the lieutenant had those fighting qualities that were highly valued by the Cossacks. Mikhail Yuryevich was a great rider, a well-aimed shooter, and he mastered cold arms. And did not distinguish himself among other fighters. "He sleeps on the ground, eats with a gang from a common cauldron .... Before attacking, takes off his frock coat, rushes ahead of the lava on a white horse in a red Cossack shirt ..."

His superiors also favored him, and that was why! In the battles, because everything is in sight! "It was impossible to make the choice more successfully: everywhere the lieutenant Lermontov, everywhere the first was subjected to shots of predators and in all matters he committed self-sacrifice and stewardship, above all praise." Since the end of September, Lermontov has taken part in another expedition to Chechnya. October 4, in view of the burning village of Shali, Shamil himself tried to raise the Chechens to the counterattack, but, having fallen under the aimed fire of Russian artillery, "was showered with earth from the shot and immediately retracted back with its murids." In that battle, by the way, he distinguished himself, commanding the Cossacks, the captain Martynov — the future murderer of Lermontov. “Always the first on a horse and the last on vacation,” wrote Colonel Prince V.S. about the poet. Golitsin, one of the commanders of the Caucasian line.

All the above confirms the words of K. Mamatsev: “I remember Lermontov well and, as now, I see him in front of me, sometimes in a red Canaus shirt, then in an officer's coat without an epaulette, with a collar thrown back and a Circassian cap thrown over his shoulder, paint it on portraits. He was of medium height, with a dark or tan face and big brown eyes. It was difficult to comprehend his nature. In the circle of his comrades, the Guards officers who participated in the expedition with him, he was always cheerful, liked to wit, but his acuteness often turned into petty and evil sarcasms and did not deliver much pleasure to those to whom they were directed ...

And this is the interior of the disgraced poet's room in the same house under a reed roof!

He was desperately brave, he surprised even the old Caucasian dzhigits with his boldness, but this was not his vocation, and he wore a military uniform only because then all the youth of the best surnames served in the guard. Even in this campaign, he never obeyed any regime, and his team, like a wandering comet, wandered everywhere, appearing where it pleases. But in battle, she was looking for the most dangerous places ... "

Flint Caucasian rifle in the house of Lermontov.

Tula flint pistol.

Yeah, you can and should say that Lermontov knew the war firsthand. In Valerik, he appeals to all of us, to his contemporaries, to the future generation:

But I'm afraid to bore you,
In the fun of the world you are funny
Anxiety wild wars;
Your mind you are not used to torment
Heavy thought about the end;
On your young face
Traces of care and sadness
Not find and you are hardly
Near ever seen
How to die. God give you
And do not see: other alarms.

Soon, Mikhail Yuryevich was the first with his fighters to get through the Shali forest, "drawing all the efforts of predators onto himself", and then, several days later, when he was passing through the Goytin forest, the poet with his people managed to track down the enemy, and did not let him go further. October 30 Lermontov also showed himself selflessly, he cut off the enemy’s path from the forest and then destroyed a significant part of his squad.

Of course, all these actions on the article could not remain unmarked, that is, it was presented to the awards.

For example, in September, a petition was sent to St. Petersburg to award all those who distinguished themselves in the battle of Valerik. And among them was M.Yu. Lermontov. In the petition for his award, it was noted that “this officer, in spite of any dangers, carried out the assignment entrusted to him with excellent courage and composure, and with the first ranks of the soldiers broke into the enemy’s rubble. Requested order of sv. Vladimir 4 degree with a bow ".

Somewhat later, for a campaign to Malaya Chechnya, Lermontov again presented the award to the commander of the Separate Caucasian Corps. In addition to these awards, Lermontov could have received a golden saber with the inscription: "For courage", similar to the order of St. George 4 degree. He was also introduced to the Order of St. Stanislav 3 degree ...

However, the king refused all these awards ... And he ordered at the same time "to be sure to be present in the front, not to dare, under any pretext, to move away from the front service with his regiment." Well, that was Tsar Nicholas I. He believed that discipline in the army should stand in the first place, and if an officer is given a cross, then he should be worn on his uniform, and not on a red silk shirt.

Although it can be firmly said that Lermontov, even if he was bypassed with awards, was lucky both in service and in friendship. So, the poet had a chance to meet Yermolov. And it happened quite by accident - his former adjutant passed a letter to him through Lieutenant Lermontov. And the brief meeting of the disgraced general with the disgraced poet was quite enough for Alexei Petrovich in the summer of 1841, when he received the news of Lermontov’s death, said: “You can be allowed to kill any other person, be he nobleman or noble: there will be many of these tomorrow you will wait soon! ”

Well, just a few days before the fateful July 15, the duel and his death, the poet wrote, “I go out alone on the road ...”
Peace and quiet, but:
Why is it so painful and so difficult?
Waiting for what? Do you regret anything?
I don’t expect anything from life ...
And I'm not sorry for the past at all.

Charming, poetic lines that convey his feelings very well. However, the thought of death in verse just flashed, as is the case with everyone. To say that Lermontov had a premonition of her? Who knows ... But, even if so, he could not imagine from whose hand he would die. A duel with Martynov happened on July 15 on Tuesday 1841 near Pyatigorsk, at the very foot of Mashuk mountain. Mikhail Yuryevich was killed through a bullet in the chest.

This is how the obelisk looks today at the foot of Mount Mashuk on the site of the duel M. Yu. Lermontov.

Interestingly, some of those officers with whom he was friends, served and fought together, were able to reach the highest ranks and get general shoulder straps. But Lermontov went into eternity, and as a military man remained in it only a lieutenant of the Tengin infantry regiment ...
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  1. Korsar4
    Korsar4 April 15 2016 06: 47
    Good article. Thank you, Vyacheslav. About Prince Golitsyn, the story is wonderful. Everyone has their own life. And Nicholas I. And Lermontov. Everything in our history is intertwined.
  2. crasever
    crasever April 15 2016 07: 18
    Without exaggeration, Lermontov is the most famous Russian commando!
    1. Basil50
      Basil50 April 15 2016 11: 18
      D DAVYDOV was the one who today is called * Special Forces *, so he wrote the justification for * guerrilla * actions.
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. xtur
      xtur April 15 2016 23: 55
      the theme of Nicholas I's hatred of Lermontov was not disclosed, although for this it was only necessary to re-read the aforementioned poem "Death of a Poet" There we are talking about a conflict between nobles and boyars, and the Lermontov family, like the Pushkin family, was an ancient boyar family.

      They were all pushed away by the nobles - and it was them who accused Lermontov of hating and killing Pushkin. And the nobles were only tools in the social policy of the Romanovs. That is why Nicholas I openly hated Lermontov, although he loved and respected Pushkin, and personally protected him.
  3. parusnik
    parusnik April 15 2016 07: 31
    Thank you, a wonderful article .. in the photo .. Caslin casting or am I mistaken?
    1. kalibr
      April 15 2016 07: 34
      No, this is not "casli" (there is cast iron), but bronze from the Lanceray workshop. But they are similar and the parts repeated his work!
  4. ovod84
    ovod84 April 15 2016 07: 34
    His works, especially my beloved Mtsyri and Borodino, prove that he was a great poet and a desperate warrior.
  5. Uncle Murzik
    Uncle Murzik April 15 2016 07: 42
    The poet died - slave of honor -
    Pal, slandered by rumor,
    With lead in the chest and a thirst for vengeance,
    Bowing with a proud head! .. devoted to Pushkin! But more suitable for the author
  6. Nicola Bari
    Nicola Bari April 15 2016 08: 08
    Thanks to the author.

    He was an amazing person, it’s a pity that he didn’t die in a fair fight, it always surprised me.
    1. Leto
      Leto April 15 2016 08: 51
      Quote: Nicola Bari
      it’s a pity that he didn’t die in a fair fight, it always surprised me.

      And what is dishonest in a duel? On the contrary, all in the same conditions that are controlled by the seconds, all honestly.
      1. kalibr
        April 15 2016 08: 56
        Lermontov shot first and shot in the air. A decent person would answer the same ...
        1. bober1982
          bober1982 April 15 2016 09: 27
          Nobody knows the true conditions and circumstances of the duel, and no longer knows, only versions, speculations.
  7. wandlitz
    wandlitz April 15 2016 09: 11
    An excellent article, with love for the warrior poet, almost like that of Irakli Luarsabovich Andronikashvili.
  8. X Y Z
    X Y Z April 15 2016 10: 03
    ... but his wit often turned into petty and evil sarcasm and did not bring much pleasure to those to whom they were directed ...

    Yes, the character of the poet was not the most humble and flexible. He could hook someone, make fun of, offend. This is not even hidden by guides in Tarkhany. But all of the above does not prevent him from being an outstanding Russian poet and officer. It's not for us to judge him.
    1. Verdun
      Verdun April 15 2016 10: 40
      Quote: XYZ
      Yes, the character of the poet was not the most humble and flexible. Could hook someone, make fun, offend

      You should never mix human qualities and talent acquired by the will of fate. Authors of beautiful works by no means always turn out to be ideals of nobility and morality.
      1. Turkir
        Turkir April 16 2016 18: 15
        Authors of beautiful works by no means always turn out to be ideals of nobility and morality.

        For example?
        1. bober1982
          bober1982 April 16 2016 20: 10
          Nekrasov, Turgenev, A. Tolstoy, Block, Gaidar, sleep
          the juice is large, you can continue to infinity.
          1. Turkir
            Turkir April 17 2016 02: 40
            Is Turgenev guilty of something? It is very interesting to know your opinion.
            Dear bober1982.
            Do you think that this ideal (nobility and morality) exists in real life?
            Where did you see him?
            And what requirements, by your standards, should a writer meet? And who exactly, this unfortunate writer, will measure the "standards" of his nobility and morality? Could it be an official or even a jury?
            This is a very strange approach to writers. I personally am not interested in knowing: Jules Verne had mistresses, let alone know how many there were. And someone probably thinks that you already have a list.
            But what does this have to do with literature, with art? I think no.
            Following your theory: the best writers should be monks.
            I have a different approach: a beetroot, will never write anything interesting, it has nothing to share with the reader. He does not know life in its complex manifestations. They are always primitive and therefore interesting only to readers of the same level.
  9. engineer
    engineer April 15 2016 10: 05
    According to the dueling rules, the shooter first could not defiantly shoot into the air. This is tantamount to refusing a duel with all the consequences .. although no one bothers to specifically miss. In general, this duel is a dark matter. Even the reason is not clear.
    1. Turkir
      Turkir April 17 2016 02: 09
      "According to the dueling rules, the first shooter could not defiantly shoot into the air." -
      where did you get this information?
      Every day brings me amazing news ..
  10. Victor N
    Victor N April 15 2016 10: 10
    Only a real officer can fight as an ordinary soldier.
  11. a housewife
    a housewife April 15 2016 11: 26
    Rulers are right when dueling is forbidden! Is there little risk for the military on the battlefield? Especially when a duel is a bit of fun. God gives life; one must risk it with meaning, and not play! Sorry for Pushkin and Lermontov. And how many more talents died that we don’t know about ...
  12. Izotovp
    Izotovp April 15 2016 15: 30
    The circumstances of the death of Pushkin are still ambiguous and not everything is made public. And in Lermontov’s life I recommend Bushkov’s book. Very well written.
    1. moskowit
      moskowit April 15 2016 19: 35
      Please provide accurate details about the book. If you read a book on e-mail resources, kindly give an address. Thank!
      1. moskowit
        moskowit April 15 2016 20: 49
        Thanks. I withdraw my request. In response, I suggest reading Andronnikov's research. And from fiction the book by Sizova "From Flame and Light"
        1. kalibr
          April 16 2016 07: 41
          Yes, Andronnikov's research is a classic! Do you remember his films based on them? "The Riddle of the NFI" and others - I grew up watching these TV shows. Probably after them I wanted to rummage through the archives myself ...
        2. kalibr
          April 16 2016 07: 45
          Strange name: It is necessary "From FLAME and light!" Is Russian a second foreign language? Or is it a phrase from someone great?
    2. Verdun
      Verdun April 15 2016 19: 43
      If you are talking about that Bushkov, who is a science fiction writer, then, with all due respect, his "historical research" also refers mostly to the field of science fiction.
      1. moskowit
        moskowit April 15 2016 20: 44
        You're right. I got acquainted with the bibliography of the proposed author. 184 artworks. Began to publish in 1977. This means, according to a rough estimate, the intensity of creativity is 4,5 works per year. Tolstoy L.N. and others, with envy, apparently "turned over". But Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Bunin, Lermontov, Pushkin and many other great authors of Russian Literature will always be read, and, unfortunately, the next generation will not know the present ones. True, if you do not forget how to read at all ...
        1. kalibr
          April 16 2016 07: 43
          Yeah ... what I’m writing fast for, but even that ... I can’t! Talent? Yes, probably, but you need to rest too!
  13. moskowit
    moskowit April 15 2016 19: 32
    Great is Mikhail Yurievich, like a Poet! Great and like a Warrior!
  14. sergo42
    sergo42 April 16 2016 22: 04
    Of course, it’s a pity the talent of the poet and warrior, but Martynov he really was sick of.
  15. Mikhail Matyugin
    Mikhail Matyugin April 18 2016 13: 13
    Quote: xtur
    That is why Nicholas I openly hated Lermontov, although he loved and respected Pushkin, and personally protected him.
    In general, we just have to admit that Lermontov was a classic political opposition, for which he paid with exile. Everything is extremely simple.

    Quote: moskowit
    Great is Mikhail Yurievich, like a Poet! Great and like a Warrior!
    As a poet, yes. But how is a warrior?!? It is doubtful. It seems to me that just one of many. In the Caucasus, many much more famous warriors served. But such a level of POETS was not among them.
  16. samosad
    samosad 6 February 2021 17: 20
    The article says that after writing The death of the poet, in exile, Lermontov allegedly "repented" before the authorities, for which he was pardoned. If this is true, how did the "liberal get-together" of St. Petersburg take it? Here it was possible to pay with honor ... It is somehow not clear ...
    As a poet and warrior, Lermontov can and should be respected. But his character apparently left much to be desired. Well, in principle, an everyday situation - a person cannot be ideal. And if the reason for the duel is his habit of hurting people, then he is to blame, Martynov has nothing to blame.
    As for his political views ... I don’t understand why they are "singing odes" to him in this regard, and at the same time they are making up the current liberal scum? Their only difference is that those "liberals", in comparison with the modern ones, were much more educated and knew what they were talking about. I repeat, I am only talking about Lermontov the politician.