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Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly

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Collection: 1761 Births, 1818 Deaths, Baltic-German People, Cavalry Commanders, Field Marshals of Russia, French Invasion of Russia, Governors of Grand Duchy of Finland, Grand Croix of the Légion D'Honneur, Grand Crosses of the Military Order of St. Henry, Grand Crosses of the Order of Saint Louis, Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Knights Commander of the Military Order of Maria Theresa, Knights Grand Cross of the Military William Order, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword, Members of the State Council of the Russian Empire, People from Pakruojis District Municipality, People from the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, Recipients of the Gold Sword for Bravery, Recipients of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, Recipients of the Order of St. Andrew, Recipients of the Order of St. Anna, 1St Class, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the First Degree, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the Fourth Degree, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the Second Degree, Recipients of the Order of St. George of the Third Degree, Recipients of the Order of St. Vladimir, 1St Class, Recipients of the Order of the Black Eagle, Recipients of the Order of the Red Eagle, Russian Commanders of the Napoleonic Wars, Russian Military Personnel of the Finnish War, Russian Nobility, Russian People of Scottish Descent, Russian People of the Kościuszko Uprising, Russian People of the Napoleonic Wars
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Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly

Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly
Portrait of Barclay de Tolly from the George Dawe
Born (1761-12-27)December 27, 1761
Pamūšis, Courland and Semigallia
Died May 26, 1818(1818-05-26) (aged 56)
Insterburg (Chernyakhovsk), Prussia
Buried at Jõgeveste, Estonia
Allegiance  Russian Empire
Service/branch Imperial Russian Army
Rank Field Marshal
Minister of War

Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly[nb 1] (27 December [O.S. 16 December] 1761 – 26 May [O.S. 14 May] 1818) was a Russian Field Marshal and Minister of War during Napoleon's invasion in 1812 and War of the Sixth Coalition.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Service history 2
  • Napoleon's invasion 3
  • Foreign campaigns 4
  • Awards and decorations 5
  • Commemoratives 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Barclay de Tolly, a member of the Scottish Clan Barclay with roots in Towie (Towy or Tolly, Scottish Gaelic: Tollaigh) in Aberdeenshire,[1] was born in Pamūšis,[2][3] Courland and Semigallia (in present-day Pakruojis District Municipality, Šiauliai County, Lithuania) and raised in Jõgeveste, Livonia, Russian Empire (now part of Estonia). The commonly accepted birth date of 27 December 1761 is actually the day of his baptism in the Lutheran church of the town Žeimelis.[4] He was a German-speaking descendant of a Scottish family which had settled in Livonia in the 17th century. His grandfather served as the mayor of Riga, his father Bogdan Barclay de Tolly was admitted into the ranks of Russian nobility, and the future field marshal entered the Imperial Russian Army at an early age.

De Tolly was a member of the Akademie gemeinnütziger Wissenschaften zu Erfurt.

Service history

Young Barclay was enlisted in the Pskov Carabineer Regiment on 13 May 1767, and achieved the rank of a cornet by May 1778. In 1788–1789, Barclay served against the Turks, under the command of Victor Amadeus of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym. During this campaign, he distinguished himself in the taking of Ochakov and Akkerman. In 1790 he operated against the Swedes and, four years later, he fought against the Poles. He was a lieutenant colonel by 1794 after serving as aide-de-camp to various senior officers in several campaigns. In that year he was appointed commander of the Estland Jaeger Corps, and three years later commander of the 4th Jaeger Regiment, becoming its chief in 1799, soon after being promoted to general major for his service in the Polish Campaign of 1794.[5]

Coat of arms of princes Barclay de Tolly

In the war of 1806 against Napoleon, Barclay took a distinguished part in the Battle of Pultusk (December 1806) and was wounded at the Battle of Eylau (7 February 1807), where his conduct won him promotion to the rank of lieutenant general.

After a period of convalescence, Barclay returned to the army and in 1808 commanded operations against the Swedes during the Finnish War. In 1809 he won a European reputation by a rapid and daring march over the frozen Gulf of Bothnia, which allowed him to surprise the enemy and seize Umeå in Sweden. For this exploit, immortalized by the Russian poet Baratynsky, he was made full general and Governor-General of Finland. A year later, he became Minister of War, retaining the post until 1813.

Statue of Barclay de Tolly in front of the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg, by Boris Orlovsky

Napoleon's invasion

During Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, Barclay assumed the supreme command of the 1st Army of the West, the largest of the Russian armies facing Napoleon. He used the scorched earth strategy of drawing the enemy deep into one's own territory and retreated to the village of Tsaryovo-Zaimishche between Moscow and Smolensk, although some consider the strategy merely an confluence of diverse circumstances and not attributable to the will of one man.[6]

Nevertheless, the Russians keenly opposed the appointment of a foreigner as commander-in-chief. His rivals spread rumors of his being Napoleon's agent, and the populace condemned him as a coward. Barclay was forced by his subordinates and the Tsar to engage Napoleon at Smolensk (17–18 August 1812). Napoleon forced Barclay to retreat when he threatened Barclay's only escape route. After losing the Holy City of Smolensk, the outcry of officers and civilians grew to a point where the Tsar could no longer ignore it. He appointed Kutuzov, previously a general at the battle of Austerlitz, as the over-all commander of the Russian forces. Barclay remained General of the 1st Army of the West.

Barclay commanded the right flank at the Battle of Borodino (7 September 1812) with great valor and presence of mind and during the celebrated council at Fili advised Kutuzov to surrender unfortified Moscow to the enemy. His illness made itself known at that time and he was forced to leave the army soon afterwards.

After Napoleon was driven from Russia, the eventual success of Barclay's tactics made him a romantic hero, misunderstood by his contemporaries and rejected by the court. His popularity soared, and his honour was restored by the tsar.

Foreign campaigns

Barclay was re-employed in the field and took part in the German Campaign of 1813 and the French Campaign of 1814, which ended the War of the Sixth Coalition (1812–1814). After Kutuzov's death, he once again became commander-in-chief of the Russian forces at the Battle of Bautzen (21 May 1813), and in this capacity he served at Dresden (26–27 August 1813), Kulm (29–30 August 1813) and Leipzig (16–19 October 1813). In the latter battle he commanded a central part of the Allied forces so effectively that the tsar bestowed upon him the title of count.

Barclay de Tolly Mausoleum in Jõgeveste, southern Estonia

Barclay took part in the invasion of France in 1814 and commanded the taking of Paris, receiving the baton of a Field Marshal in reward. In 1815 he again served as commander-in-chief of the Russian army which after the Hundred Days occupied France, and was created prince at the close of the war.

As his health grew worse, he left the military and settled down in his Jõgeveste manor (German exonym: Beckhof, Polish: Tepelshof) (nowadays Southern Estonia).[7] Barclay de Tolly died at Insterburg (Chernyakhovsk), East Prussia, on 26 May 1818 (14 May, Old Style) on his way from his Livonian manor to Germany, where he wanted to renew his health. His and his wife Helene Auguste Eleonore von Smitten's remains were embalmed and put into the mausoleum built to a design by Apollon Shchedrin and Vasily Demut-Malinovsky in 1832 in Jõgeveste (in Helme, Estonia).

Bust of Barclay de Tolly in Tartu, Estonia.

A grand statue of him was erected in front of the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg on behest of Emperor Nicholas I. There are also a modern statue in Riga, a full size bronze mounted statue by Vladimir Surovtsev in Chernyakhovsk, a bust monument in Tartu, and the so-called "Barclay's leaning house" in Tartu (which was acquired by his widow after his death).

After the extinction of the Barclay de Tolly princely line with his son Magnus on 29 October 1871 (17 October, Old Style), Alexander II allowed the field marshal's sister's grandson through female lineage, Alexander von Weymarn, to assume the title of Prince Barclay de Tolly-Weymarn on 12 June 1872 (31 May, Old Style)[8]

Awards and decorations

  • Order of St. Andrew (7 September 1813)
  • Order of St. George - Barclay de Tolly was the second of four full Knights of St. George in the history of the Order. This includes his contemporary, Kutuzov;
    • 1st class (19 August 1813, № 11) - "For the defeat of the French at the Battle of Kulm 18 August 1813";
    • 2nd class bol.kr. (21 October 1812, № 44) - "For his part in the Battle of Borodino on 26 August 1812";
    • 3rd class (8 January 1807, № 139) - "In the great reward of bravery and courage, rendered in the battle against the French troops on December 14th at Pultusk, where he commanded the vanguard ahead pravago flank, with a special skill and prudence kept the enemy at all times of battle and overturned Nadezhda";
    • 4th class (16 September 1794, № 547) - "For outstanding courage, rendered against the Polish insurgents in the capture of fortifications and by the mountains. Villeneuve";
  • Gold Sword for Bravery with diamonds and laurels with the inscription" for 20 January 1814" (1814);
  • Order of St. Vladimir, 1st class (15 September 1811), 2nd class (7 March 1807), 4th class (12 July 1788);
  • Order of St. Alexander Nevsky (9 September 1809); diamonds added (9 May 1813);
  • Order of St. Anna, 1st class (7 March 1807);
  • Golden Cross for taking Ochakov (7 December 1788);
  • Cross "For the victory of Eylau" (1807);
  • Order of the Red Eagle (Prussia, 1807);
  • Order of the Black Eagle (Prussia, 1813);
  • Commander of the Military Order of Maria Theresa (Austria, 1813);
  • Order of the Sword, 1st class (Sweden, 1814);
  • Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, (France, 1815);
  • Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, (UK, 1815);
  • Sword with diamonds (UK, 1816);
  • Military William Order, 1st class (Netherlands, 1815);
  • Military Order of St. Henry, 1st class (Saxony, 1815);
  • Order of Saint Louis, 1st class (France, 1816).

Commemoratives

Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly. Russia postage stamp, 2011

The Nesvizhskiy 4th Grenadier regiment (the General-Field Marshal Prince Barklay-de-Tolli, Mikhail Bogdanovich's) was named for the Prince in 1880s.

He was also the namesake of a short-lived Russian fortress in the Hawaiian Islands.

Notes

  1. ^ In Russian: Mikhail Bogdanovich Barklay-de-Tolli Cyrillic: Михаи́л Богда́нович Баркла́й-де-То́лли
  1. ^ His ancestor emigrated from Towy (Tolly) in Aberdeenshire ca 1688. "CHAPTER IX. SCOTTISH FAMILIES SETTLED IN RUSSIA. THE COURT PHYSICIANS. ROGERSON. OTHER SCOTS - SIR James WYLIE, COUNT BARCLAY DE TOLLY, LERMONTOFF. CONCLUSION.". Scottish Influences in Russian History. p. 6. Retrieved 2015-08-26. The story of the family is this. They came to Russia during the times of the Revolution of 1688, from Towy (Tolly) in Aberdeenshire. 
  2. ^ (Russian)Biography on the official website of the Russian Ministry of Defense
  3. ^ (Lithuanian)Famous Russian officer is from Lithuania
  4. ^ (Lithuanian)The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania
  5. ^ p. 25, Mikaberidze, The Russian officer Corps
  6. ^ http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2600/2600-h/2600-h.htm#link2HCH0230
  7. ^ De Tolly Hotel page
  8. ^ http://personen.digitale-sammlungen.de/baltlex/Blatt_bsb00000345,00442.html http://personen.digitale-sammlungen.de/baltlex/Blatt_bsb00000345,00424.html

References

  •  

Further reading

  • Helme, Rein (2006). Kindralfeldmarssal Barclay de Tolly (in Estonian). Tallinn: Eesti Entsüklopeediakirjastus.  
  • Josselson, Michael; Josselson, Diana (1980). The Commander: A Life of Barclay de Tolly. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  
  • Mikaberidze, Alexander (2005). The Russian Officer Corps in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1792–1815. New York: Savas Beatie.  
  • Barclay de Tolly, Michael Andreas (1912). Image of hostilities in 1812 (in Russian). Saint Petersburg: Soykin.  At Runivers.ru

External links

  • Barclay de Tolly
  • Genealogisches Handbuch der Oeselschen Ritterschaft, de Tolly family tree in the Oesel Noble Corporation (German)
  • Pictures of the de Tolly statue in Riga at sites-of-memory.de
Political offices
Preceded by
Georg Magnus Sprengtporten
Governor-General of Finland
1809–1810
Succeeded by
Fabian Steinheil
Government offices
Preceded by
Aleksey Arakcheyev
Minister of Land Forces of Russia
1810–1812
Succeeded by
Aleksey Gorchakov
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