Suworrow

, or, as pronounced, Suvoroff, Rim­Nikski (Count Alexander), an eminent Russian general, of an ancient Swedish family, was born in 1730, or as some think in 1732, and was originally intended for the profession of the law. His inclinations, however, leading him to the army, he entered as a private in 1742, and in 1754 had attained the rank of lieutenant. He made his first campaign in the seven years war against the Prussians in 175.9, and entered upon actual service under prince Wolgon>ki. He marched against the Prussians with the rank of first major and was at the battle of Kimnersdorf, | and at the taking of Berlin. He this campaign signalized himself by many acts of valour, until the year 1762, when a truce was made between Prussia and Russia, which was followed by a peace. Although he was attached to the infantry service, count Romanzow presented him at the general promotion as colonel of cavalry; from his superior knowledge in that department of the army; but there were certain obstacles which caused that line of promotion to be abandoned. Soon after, the count Panin, who commanded in Pomerania, sent him to Petersburgh with an account of the return oi the troops. On this occasion he gave him a special letter of recommendation to the empress, who presented him a colonel’s commission, written with her own hand.

In August 1762 he was appointed colonel of the regiment of infantry of Astracan, which was in garrison at Petersburgh; and when the ceremonial of her coronation called the empress to Moscow, she ordered him to remain at Petersburgh, where she charged him with the execution of some very important commissions. After her return, his regiment was sent to distant service, and was replaced by the infantry of Susdal, consisting of more than a thousand men, of which he received the command in 1763. In autumn of the following year he went into garrison at Ladoga. In 1768 he was advanced to the rank of brigadier; and as the war was just commenced against the confederates of Poland, he was ordered to repair with all speed to the frontiers of that kingdom in the course of November, and in the most unfavourable season of the year. During the winter he was continually engaged in improving his regiment in their manoeuvres, and habituating them to every action that would be required, and every circumstance that might happen in a state of actual service. In the following summer of 1769 these troops were stationed on the frontiers of Poland, from whence they were sent to Warsaw, a march of eighty German miles, which he completed in twelve days. He overcame Kotelpowski, near Warsaw, and defeated and dispersed the troops commanded by the two Pulavvskis. He afterwards took up his quarters at Lublin; and the Russian army in Poland requiring the establishment of four major-generals, he was advanced to that rank on the 1st of January, 1770.

In the middle of the summer, when colonel Moschinski had gained a reinforcement, our general gained a second | victory over him; and in the autumn of the same year he attempted an operation on the Vistula, but from the rapidity of the current he missed the pontoon in leaping from the bank, and falling into the river, was in great danger of being drowned. After many fruitless attempts to save him, a grenadier at length seized a lock of his hair, and drew him to the bank; but in getting out of the water he struck his breast against a pontoon, which caused a violent contusion, that threatened his life, and from which he did not recover for several months. Towards the end of the year the empress sent him the order of St. Anne.

We shall not detail all the various exploits of the general; it will be sufficient to take notice of the principal of them. He afterwards fought and beat the army of the confederates under Pulawski and Nowisi, and the empress conferred on him the order of St. George of the third class, as a testimony of the satisfaction she had received from his services. A second confederation being formed in Lithuania, the general again defeated the army under Oginski; and this victory was considered so important that the empress sent him, as conqueror of the grand marshal, the order of Alexander. This victory was obtained on the 11th of September, 1771.

The confederates soon after surprized Cracow, which obliged Suworrow to hasten and blockade the place. After some time it capitulated. On this occasion he shewed his magnanimity to Mods. Choisi, one of the French officers, to whom he said, on being offered his sword, “I cannot receive the sword of a gallant man in the service of a king, who is the ally of my own sovereign.” Tranquillity was soon after restored to Poland, where Suworrow served during four years without interruption. Independent of the numerous inferior actions and multiplied skirmishes, in which his courage was always displayed, and his military capacity never failed to appear; he was covered with glory by the victory of Stalowiz and the capture of Cracow: which gave the promise of that brilliant career that he afterwards run.

In September 1772 he was attached to the corps of general Klmpt, ordered to Finland by the way of Petersburg, uhere he arrived in the winter. In Feb. 1773, he was employed in inspecting the frontiers of Finland, where he heard every complaint, and made e\rry necessary communication to redress them. Towards the spring the congress | of the Turks at Soczan separated; the truce was at an end, and it appeared as if war would be rekindled. Our general now received orders to join the army in Moldavia, where he served under field marshal Romanzow. The years 1773 and 1774 included the first Turkish war. In May 1773 he arrived at Jassy, and received a command. He then passed the Danube, and defeated the Turks atTurtukey. On this victory he dispatched an account to marshal Romanzow, in the following terms:

" Honour and glory to God! Glory to you Romanzow!

We are in possession of Turtukey, and I am in it.

Suworrow.

As a recompence for this victory the empress transmitted to him the cross of the order of St. George. During the remainder of the war, which was of short continuance, Suvvorrow was constantly engaged and constantly successful and after the peace was ordered to Moscow, to assist in appeasing the troubles occasioned hy the famous rebel Pugatcheff, whom he took prisoner. For several years after this Suworrow was employed in the Crimea, on the Cuban, and against the Nogay Tartars, in a kind of service which, however important to the empress, furnished no opportunities for that wonderful display of promptitude and resource which had characterised his more active campaigns.

In the end of the year 1786, Suworrow was promoted to the rank of general- in-chief; and at the breaking out of the war with the Turks in 1787, he shewed how well he was entitled to that rank, by his masterly defence of Kinburn; a place of no strength, but of great importance, as it is situated at the month of the Dneiper, opposite to Oczakow. At the siege of Oczakow he commanded the left wing of the army under prince Potemkin, and was dangerously wounded. In 1789, he was appointed to the command of the army which was to co-operate with the prince of Saxe Cobourgin Walachia, and on the 22d of September, gained, in conjunction with that prince, the memorable victory of Rymnik, over the Turks, one of the greatest that has ever been achieved. According to the least exaggerated accounts, the Turkish army amounted to 90,000 or 100,000 men, while that of the allies did not exceed 25,000. The carnage was dreadful, no quarter having been given to the Turks, and on this account the Russian general has been charged with savage barbarity. It is said, however, that | the commanders of the allied army, aware of the immense superiority of their enemies, had resolved, before the engagement, not to encumber themselves with prisoners, whom they could not secure without more than hazarding the fate of the day. The taking of Bender and Belgrade were the immediate consequences of the victory of Rymnik, for his share in which Suworrow was created a count of the Roman empire by the emperor Joseph, and by his own sovereign, a count of the empire of Russia with the title of Rymnikski, and the order of St. Andrew of the first class.

His next memorable exploit was the taking of Ismailow in 1790, which he accomplished after a most furious assault in about eleven hours. In this dreadful space of time, the Ottomans lost 33,000 men killed or dangerously wounded: 10,000 who were taken prisoners: besides 6000 women and children, and 2000 Christians of Moldavia, who fell in the general massacre. The plunder was immense; but Suworrow, who was inaccessible to any views of private interest, did not appropriate to himself a single article, not so much as a horse, of which about 10,000, many extremely beautiful, were found in the place. Having, according to his custom, rendered solemn thanks to God for his victory, he wrote to prince Potemkin the following Spartan letter “The Russian colours wave on the ramparts of Ismailow.

Peace being concluded with the Turks in December 1791, no political events occurred from that period to call forth the military talents of Suworrow till 1794, when he was sent to disarm the Poles in Red Russia, as a step towards the partition of Poland then concerted between the empress, the emperor, and the king f of Prussia. He afterwards stormed and took Praja, with immense slaughter, and Warsaw having consequently capitulated, the kingdom of Poland was overturned. Suworrow’s character has suffered by the conduct of the taking of Praja as well as that of Ismailow; but it is not our purpose to enter into a discussion on the subject, still less on the policy of the partition of Poland. Suworrow never appears to have entered into the niceties of political deliberation. He was a mere soldier who obeyed the commands of his superiors, and we have every reason to think, tempered them with as much lenity as the difficult circumstances in which he was frequently placed, would admit. For his services in Poland, the empress advanced him to the rank of field-marshalgeneral, loaded him with jewels, and presented him with | an estate of 7000 peasants, in the district of Kubin, which had been the scene of his first battle in the course of this campaign.

From the subjugation of Poland we hear little more of Suworrow, until he entered upon his career in Italy, when the emperor Paul, who had succeeded his mother on the throne of Russia, joined in the confederacy against France in 1799. He assumed the command of the combined army of Russians and Austrians, and such was his success that the French lost, one after another, all the principal towns in the north of Italy, and were defeated in the bloody battle of Novi. After that action, Suworrow crossed the Alps, and marched into Swisserland, driving the French from mount St. Gothard. But here his gallant career was interrupted by the defeat of another division of the Russians, who were attacked by the French general Massena near Zurich, and obliged to cross the Rhine into Germany. This disaster, with the failure of the expected aid from the Austrians, obliged Suworrow, who was opposed by Moreau, to commence a fighting retreat towards the lake of Constance; and after prodigious exertions of valour, he arrived there with a much diminished army, and effected a junction with the remainder of the troops that had been defeated by Massena, He was now recalled home, and under the pressure of fatigue, vexation, and fever, reached Petersburgh, where he soon fell into a childish state, and died May 18, 1300. His capricious master is said to have displayed his resentment by refusing the usual military honours to his remains, and even deprived his son of his rank of major-general. The present emperor Alexander, however, repaired this injustice to the memory of an officer so brave and faithful, by erecting his statue in the imperial gardens. Another account says that Paul, although he endeavoured to disgrace Suworrow at the end of his life, ordered him a magnificent funeral.

In his person Suworrow was tall, considerably exceeding six feet, and full chested. His countenance was stern; but among his friends his manners were pleasant, and his dispositions were kind. His temper was naturally violent; but that violence he constantly laboured to moderate, though he was never ahle completely to extinguish it. According to Mr. Anthing, an effervescent spirit of impatience predominated in his character; and it perhaps never happened (says that author) that the execution of his orders equalled | the rapidity of his wishes. Though he disliked all public entertainments, yet when circumstances led him to an)- of them, he appeared to partake, and endeavoured to promote, the general pleasure. Sometimes he condescended even to dance and play at cards, though very rarely, and merely that he might not interrupt the etiquette of public manners, to which, when not in the field, he was very attentive. In the field he may be said to have spent the whole of his life from the period at which he first joined the army in the seven year*' war: for during the time he was not engaged in actual warfare, and that time, taken altogether, did not exceed twelve years, he was always placed at the head of armies stationed on the frontier of some enemy’s country. He was therefore a mere warrior, and as such had no fixed habitation. With respect to his table and lodging, he contented himself with whatever he found, requiring nothing but what absolute necessity demands, and what might be transported with ease from one place to another. His couch consisted of a heap of fresh hay sufficiently elevated, and scattered into considerable breadth, with a white sheet spread over it, a cushion for his pillow, and a cloak for his coverlid. For the last twenty years of his life, he never made use of a looking-glass, or incumbered his person with either watch or money.

He was sincerely attached to the religion of his country, and a strict observer of its rites, which he equally strictly enjoined on all under his command. His biographer assures us that from his earliest years he was enamoured of the sciences, and improved himself in them; but as the military science was the sole object of his regard, those authors of every nation who investigate, illustrate, or improve it, engrossed his literary leisure. Hence Cornelius Nepos was with him a favourite classic; and he read, with great avidity and attention, the histories of Montecuculi and Turenne. Caesar, however, and Charles XII. wore the heroes whom he most admired, and whose activity and courage became the favourite objects of his imitation. The love of his country, and the ambition to contend in arms for its glory, were the predominant passions of his active life; and to them he sacrificed every inferior sentiment, am) consecrated all the powers of his body and mind. 1

1

History of his Campaigns by Anthing.—Encycl. Britan.