Lion of the Russian Army: Life and Military Career of Prince General Peter Bagration


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Lion of the Russian Army: Life and Military Career of <a href="/his-highness-prince-faisal-bin-abdullah-bin-mohammad-alsaud-sp.html">Prince General Peter Bagration</a>

Florida State University Libraries

Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations 

 The Graduate School

2003


"The Lion of the Russian Army": Life and

Military Career of General Prince Peter

Bagration 1765-1812

Alexander Mikaberidze

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FSU Digital Library

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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY 

 

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 

 

 

 

 

“THE LION OF THE RUSSIAN ARMY”: 

 

LIFE AND MILITARY CAREER OF GENERAL PRINCE PETER BAGRATION 

 

1765-1812 

 

 



By 

 

ALEXANDER MIKABERIDZE 

 

 

 

 

 

A Dissertation submitted to the  

Department of History 

 in partial fulfillment of the 

 requirements for the degree of  

Doctor of Philosophy 

 

 

 

Degree Awarded: 

Fall Semester 2003 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2003 

Alexander Mikaberidze 

All Rights Reserved 

 


 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

The members of the Committee approve the dissertation of Alexander Mikaberidze 



defended on 27 October 2003. 

 

 



      ___________________________ 

      Donald 

D. 

Horward 


Professor Directing Dissertation 

 

____________________________ 



Patrick O’Sullivan 

Outside Committee Member 

 

_____________________________ 



Peter Garretson 

Committee Member 

 

______________________________ 



Jonathan Grant 

Committee Member 

 

______________________________ 



Michael Creswell 

Committee Member 

 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



 

 

 



The Office of Graduate Studies has verified and approved the above named committee 

members 


 

 

ii



 

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

 

This dissertation bears tangible evidence that dreams sometimes come true. To 



study Napoleon and his epoch was my aspiration from the early childhood. Born in 

Kazakhstan and brought up in the Republic of Georgia amid the destruction and disorder 

of civil war, I could not hope to achieve my dream. Nevertheless, here I am, studying the 

Napoleonic period and completing my research. Moreover, the Lord has been so 

benevolent to me that while studying I met the lady of my dreams, my precious Anna.  

Many individuals have assisted me. I owe my deepest debt of gratitude to my 

major professor Dr. Donald D. Horward.  He is the main reason that you are reading 

these words. It was Dr. Horward who noticed and invited a young student from far away 

Georgia. He encouraged me to undertake this research, write papers, attend conferences 

and his frequent calls of personal and professional encouragement have made all the 

difference in the world. Dr. Horward has been an active partner in all of my activities, 

spending tremendous amount of time on proofreading and critiquing countless pages of 

drafts and giving me ideas on new directions and approaches. If one day I will become a 

scholar of any merit, much of the credit goes to him. But he is more than my major 

professor. During my stay in Tallahassee, I always felt his constant warmth and care, and 

in many ways I consider him my second father. Never in my life have I met a person of 

his merits and character. 

I would like to thank Mr. Ben Weider, President of the International Napoleonic 

Society, for the financial support he rendered through the Napoleonic Studies Fellowship. 

His generous support of the Institute made it possible for many students, including me, to 

travel and study the Napoleonic era.  

I met David Markham by chance over the Internet some seven years ago and he 

played a decisive role in my life. It is largely due to his support and assistance that I met 

so many people throughout the world. He invited me to the International Napoleonic 

Congress in Israel in 1999, where I heard about the Institute on Napoleon and the French 

 

iii



Revolution for the first time. A year later, he assisted me in organizing next International 

Napoleonic Congress in Georgia. David helped me to gain experience, contacts, and 

credibility that have served me so well. I will forever be grateful for his trust and 

encouragement. 

I am indebted to my history professors at Tbilisi State University – Merab 

Vachnadze, Merab Kalandadze and Avtandil Menteshashvili; Professor Gogi Demetradze 

read my original paper on Bagration and his comments were greatly appreciated.  I was 

fortunate to work with wonderful people at Florida State University - Professors Jim 

Jones, Jonathan Grant, Michael Creswell, Patrick O’Sullivan and Peter Garretson 

inspired my interest of history in their respective fields and assisted me in and outside of 

the classroom. Special thanks go to the staff of the Special Collections and Documents 

Department of the Strozier Library, Dr. Lucia Patrick, Deborah Rouse, Patricia Brinkely, 

Erika Davis, have been courteous and helpful. The Interlibrary Loan Section of the 

Strozier Library proved crucial in locating and obtaining materials and its work has been 

both truly remarkable and indispensable. Without their quick and effective help, this 

study would have continued for years.  

I express most sincere appreciation to my new American friends, who became 

part of my family: to Kenneth and Marie-Eve Johnson, whose company I will always 

miss; to Jack and Ruth Sigler, whose warmth and kindness I will always carry in my 

heart; to Karen Greene and her mother, Fayes, who introduced me the Southern 

hospitality; to Capt. Rick Black, Capt. Josh Moon, Capt. Jason Musteen, Matt 

DelaMatter, Mary Cooney, Kevin McCranie, Jolynda Chenichek and Bob Hall, who 

shared their vast knowledge of the Napoleonic era and encouraged me throughout my 

research. I am grateful to Dr. Kyle Eidhal for generously sharing his French archival 

materials with me. Thanks also go to my friend and scholar Lesley Skipper, who cheered 

me from a far and helped with interesting materials on the topic. I was thrilled to contact 

Professor Herwig Reidlinger of Hollabrunn, who provided me with the images of modern 

Schongrabern and Hollabrunn, and local historian Leonid Plotkin of Moghilev, who 

helped me understand details of the battle at Saltanovka. 

I am thankful of my Russian friends, particularly of Alexander Zhmodikov and 

Boris Megorsky, who assisted me in acquiring materials and other primary sources from 

 

iv



the Russian archives. Robert Goetz was one of the first to read parts of this manuscript 

and his comments were greatly appreciated. I benefited from the contacts with scholars 

and enthusiasts at the Discussion Forum of the Napoleon Series (

series.org>). To name a few - Robert Burnham, George Nafziger, Digby Smith, Robert 

Mosher, Robert Ouvrard, Tom Holmberg, Tony Broughton, Kevin Kiley, Steven Smith

Howie Muir and others have often helped me on numerous details of the Napoleonic 

campaigns. I am especially grateful of my Georgian friends, Shalva Lazariashvili, Paata 

Buchukuri, George Zabakhidze and Dimitri Khocholava, who motivated my interest in 

the Age of Napoleon and assisted me in establishing the Napoleonic Society of Georgia. 

They all supported and cheered me despite distance or time.  

Finally, I would like to thank my family whose blessings and support have kept 

me moving forward against all hardships and adversity. Without you nothing would have 

been accomplished. At last but not least, I am indebted to my dear Anna for her constant 

encouragement, ceaseless aid and support in all my undertakings. To you, I dedicate this 

work. 

Any errors or omissions are my fault alone.  If this research has merit, however, 



those named above must share in the praise. 

 

v



 

 

 



 

 

To  

Anna 

 

vi



 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

 

List of Figures.…………………………………………………………………………. ix 

 

List of Maps ……………………………………………………………………………. x 

 

FOREWORD ………………………………………………………………………… xiii 

 

ABSTRACT..…………………………………………………………………………... xv 

 

CHAPTER I  



CHILDHOOD AND EARLY CAREER, 1765-1798 ....................................................1 

 

CHAPTER II 

ITALY, MARCH-JUNE 1799.......................................................................................15 

 

CHAPTER III  

AGAINST MACDONALD:  

BATTLES ON THE TIDONE AND THE TREBBIA................................................63 

 

CHAPTER IV  

AGAINST JOUBERT: BATTLE OF NOVI, 15 AUGUST 1799 ..............................98 

 

CHAPTER V  

RUSSIAN EAGLES OVER THE ALPS: SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1799 ..........131 

 

CHAPTER VI  

LIFE IN ST. PETERSBURG AND PRIVATE AFFAIRS, 1800-1812....................181 

 

CHAPTER VII  

“FIVE AGAINST THIRTY”  

THE PRELIMINARIES TO AUSTERLITZ AND  

BATTLE OF SCHONGRABERN, 1805....................................................................202 

 

CHAPTER VIII 

 THE SUN OF AUSTERLITZ, 2 DECEMBER 1805...............................................253 

 

CHAPTER IX  

IN THE BLIZZARDS OF POLAND, JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1807 ...................304 

 

CHAPTER X  

BATTLES OF HEILSBERG AND FRIEDLAND, 5-14 JUNE 1807 ......................366 

 

 

vii



CHAPTER XI  

ACROSS THE GULF OF BOTHNIA: WAR IN FINLAND, 1808-1809 ...............431 

 

CHAPTER XII  

CAMPAIGN IN THE DANUBE VALLEY:  

MILITARY OPERATIONS IN JULY-OCTOBER 1809 ........................................482 

 

CHAPTER XIII  

CONCLUSION OF BAGRATION’S CAMPAIGN  

IN THE DANUBE VALLEY ......................................................................................518 

 

CHAPTER XIV  

CAMPAIGN IN THE DANUBE VALLEY:  

SERBIAN POLITICS AND ADMINISTRATION  

OF THE PRINCIPALITIES.......................................................................................562 

 

CHAPTER XV   

DEFENDING THE WESTERN FRONTIERS, 1811-1812......................................599 

 

CHAPTER XVI  

THE RETREAT AND FIRST SUCCESSES.............................................................643 

 

CHAPTER XVII  

FEINT OR FIGHT AT THE DNIEPER:  

BATTLE OF MOGHILEV (SALTANOVKA) .........................................................695 

 

CHAPTER XVIII  

CONFLICT IN THE RUSSIAN ARMY:  

BAGRATION AGAINST BARCLAY DE TOLLY ................................................ 721 

 

CHAPTER XIX  



AT THE BASTIONS OF SMOLENSK, 15-17 AUGUST 1812 ...............................744 

 

CHAPTER XX  

THE BATTLE OF BORODINO, 7 SEPTEMBER 1812 .........................................791 

 

CONCLUSION  

THE GOD OF THE ARMY - BAGRATION’S LEGACY ..................................... 832 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................................................................... 841 

 

ANNEX ........................................................................................................................ 879 

 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ....................................................................................  883 

 

 

 



viii

 

 

 



 

LIST OF FIGURES 

 

 



 

 

Figure 1 Prince Peter Bagration in 1812.........................................................................xxi 



Figure 2 Grave of Prince Ivane Bagration in Moscow ....................................................

14

 



Figure 3 Bagration as the advance guard commander in 1799........................................62 

Figure 4 Prince Prince Bagration in 1799......................................................................179 

Figure 5 Bagration in 1800 ............................................................................................185 

Figure 6 “Pink Pavilion” – Bagration’s mansion at Pavlovsk .......................................192 

Figure 7 Bagration’s family ...........................................................................................194 

Figure 8 Bagration as Advance Guard Commander in 1805.........................................303 

Figure 9 Monument to Prince Bagration at Eylau .........................................................365 

Figure 10 Bagration’s Comrades in Arms .....................................................................598 

Figure 11 Bagration’s Headquarters in 1812.................................................................642 

Figure 12 Prince Peter Bagration in 1812......................................................................694 

Figure 13 Chapel on the Battlefield at Saltanovka. .......................................................720 

Figure 14 Generals in Conflict: Bagration and Barclay de Tolly  .................................729 

Figure 15 Bagration’s Comrades in Arms. ....................................................................743 

Figure 16 Wounded Bagration at the Fleches................................................................823 

Figure 17 “Wounded Bagration,” Sketch by I.M. Geren...............................................823 

Figure 18 Prince Bagration’s grave on the Borodino Battlefield ..................................831

 

Figure 19 Monument to Peter Bagration in Tbilisi, Georgia.........................................834 



Figure 20 Monument to Peter Bagration in Moscow, Russia .......................................840 

 

 



 

 

 



  

 

 



ix

 

 

 

 

 

LIST OF MAPS 

 

 



 

1.  Allied Movement from Mincio to the Adda, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps .......... 26 

2.  Actions at Lecco, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps .................................................... 31 

3.  Actions at Vaprio and Cassano, 27 April 1799 from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps ...... 36 

4.  Allied Advance to Turin, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps ........................................ 55 

5.  Macdonald’s March from Rome, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps ............................ 69 

6.  Campaign on the Tidone and Trebbia Rivers, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps .. 72, 94 

7.  First Day of Trebbia, 18 June 1799, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps ................. 74, 78 

8.  Second Day of Trebbia, 19 June 1799, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps................... 85 

9.  Siege of Serravalle, based on 19

th

 century map in Miliutin, Campaign of 1799 ...................... 110 



10.  Joubert’s Offensive, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps .............................................. 114 

11.  Massing of Forces at Novi, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps ................................... 116 

12.  Battle at Novi, 15 August 1799, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps.................... 119, 126 

13.  Suvorov’s Assault on the St. Gothard, rom Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps ................... 138 

14.  From the St. Gothard to Amsteg, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps .................. 144, 149 

15.  Passage of the Chinzig, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps......................................... 155 

16.  Movements in the Alps: From Amsteg to Panixer, 

      from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps................................................................................ 157 

17.  Actions at Netstal, Nafels and Glarus, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps .................. 161 

18.  Bagration’s Fighting Retreat from Glarusfrom Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps ........... 169 

19.  Passage of the Panixer Pass, 6-8 October 1799from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps ... 173 

20.  Suvorov’s Route Through Switzerland, from Duffy, Russian Eagles over the Alps................ 175 

21.  Ulm Campaign, 25 September 1805, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ......................... 213 

22.  Ulm Campaign, 6 October 1805, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ............................... 216 

23.  Pursuit to Vienna, 26 October – 15 November 1805,  

       from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars .................................................................................... 224 

24.  Movements to Schongrabern (Hollabrun), 

             based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Campaign of 1805.......................................................... 236 

25.  Combat at Hollabrunn and Schongrabern, from Chrisawn, Emperor’s Friend........................ 246 

26.  Austerlitz Campaign, November 1805, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars...................... 255 

27.  Allied Advance from Olmutz to Austerlitz,  

             from Matèriax pour server à l’histoire de la Bataille d’Austerlitz........................................... 258 

28.  Battle of Austerlitz, 2 December 1805, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars...... 266, 273, 290 

29.  Napoleon’s and Allied Plans, from Duffy, Austerlitz. .............................................................. 274 

 

x



30.  Combat on the Northern Flank, from Duffy, Austerlitz............................................................ 282 

31.  Allied Retreat from Austerlitz  

             from Matèriax pour server à l’histoire de la Bataille d’Austerlitz........................................... 293 

32.  Eylau Campaign, December 1806, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars............................. 307 

33.  Eylau Campaign, January 1807, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars................................. 309 

34.  Region Between Deutsch Eylau, Heilsberg and Preussisch Eylau, 

             based on Lettow-Vorbeck, Der krieg von 1806 und 1807................................................ 318, 331 

35.  Positions on 2 February 1807, from Lettow-Vorbeck, Der krieg von 1806 und 1807 ............. 319 

36.  Positions on 4 February 1807, from Lettow-Vorbeck, Der krieg von 1806 und 1807 ............. 327 

37.  Rear Guard Action at Eylau, 7 February 1807, based on Rostunov, Bagration....................... 337 

38.  Battle of Eylau, 8 February 1807, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars .............. 344, 350, 356 

39.  Friedland Campaign, 15 March-5 June 1807, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ............ 367 

40.  Friedland Campaign, 6-9 June 1807, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ......................... 370 

41.  Detailed Map of Guttstadt Region, based on Lettow-Vorbeck......................................... 378, 395 

42.  Rear Guard Actions Between Guttstadt and Deppen, based on Rostunov, Bagration ..... 382, 388 

43.  Battle of Heilsberg, 10 June 1807, from Lettow-Vorbeck, Der krieg von 1806 und 1807 ...... 398 

44.  Friedland Campaign, 10-13 June 1807, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ..................... 404 

45.  Battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ..... 409, 417, 420, 422 

46.  Friedland Campaign, 14-19 June 1807, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ..................... 426 

47.  Military Operations in Finland, 1808, based on Zakharov, Russo-Swedish War ............. 437, 446 

48.  Opening Moves, 18-22 February 1807, from Björlin, Finska Kriget 1808 och 1809 .............. 441 

49.  Area Between Helsinge and Himoinen, from Björlin, Finska Kriget 1808 och 1809.............. 457 

50.  Aland Islands, from Bomansson, Skildring Af Folkrörelsen På Åland, 1808 .......................... 466 

51.  Military Operations in Spring 1809, based on Zakharov, Russo-Swedish War........................ 474 

52.  Danubian Principalities in 1809-1810 ...................................................... 484, 493, 515, 523, 576 

53.  Battle of Rassevat, 16 September 1809, 

             based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Russo-Turkish War......................................................... 504 

54.  Siege of Silistra and Battle of Tataritsa, 

      based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Russo-Turkish War................................................................ 533 

55.  Serbia and Wallachia in 1809-1810, 

             based on Mikhailovsky’Danilevsky, Russo-Turkish War......................................................... 564 

56.  Russian Campaign, 23 June 1812, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ..................... 610, 617 

57.  Russian Deployment in May-June 1812,  

       based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Campaign of 1812................................................................ 628 

58.  Russian Deployment on 23 June 1812,  

       based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Campaign of 1812................................................................ 633 

59.  Retreat to Slonim, based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Campaign of 1812.................... 649, 652 

60.  Bagration’s Operations in Byelorussia and Ukraine, based on Rostunov, Bagration ...... 660, 714 

61.  Retreat to Slutsk, based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Campaign of 1812 ............................. 664 

62.  Battle of Mir, 9 July 1812, based on Rostunov, Bagration ...................................................... 674 

63.  Battle of Mir, 10 July 1812, based on Rostunov, Bagration .................................................... 678 

 

xi



64.  Retreat to Bobruisk, based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Campaign of 1812................. 682, 688 

65.  Battle of Romanovo, 15 July 1812, based on Rostunov, Bagration......................................... 690 

66.  Retreat to Moghilev, based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Campaign of 1812........................ 696 

67.  Moghilev and its vicinity, based on Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Campaign of 1812................ 703 

68.  Battle of Saltanovka, 23 July 1812, based on Rostunov, Bagration......................................... 706 

69.  Operations at Smolensk, 8-20 August 1812,  

      based on Vorontsov, Patriotic War of 1812 in Smolensk Gubernya................................. 750, 759 

70.  Battle of Smolensk, 17 August 1812, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars................. 754, 769 

71.  Battles of  Smolensk and Valutino, 19 August 1812,  

      from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ..................................................................................... 774 

72.  Russian Campaign, 24 August 1812, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars ......................... 797 

73.  Battle of Borodino, 7 September 1812, from Elting, Atlas of Napoleonic Wars...... 807, 812, 818 




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