Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly

Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly

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Prince
Knyaz
Kniaz, knyaz or knez is a Slavic title found in most Slavic languages, denoting a royal nobility rank. It is usually translated into English as either Prince or less commonly as Duke....

 Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly ( – ; In Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: Mikhail Bogdanovich Barklay-de-Tolli Cyrillic
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

: Михаи́л Богда́нович Баркла́й-де-То́лли), was a Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

n Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 and Minister of War during Napoleon's invasion in 1812 and War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

.

Early life


Barclay de Tolly, a member of the Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 Clan Barclay
Clan Barclay
-Origins of the clan:Since the eighteenth century, Barclay historians, noted for their low level in medieval scholarship, have assumed the Scottish family Barclay is a branch of one of the Anglo-Norman Berkeley family of Berkeley in Gloucestershire...

, was born in Pamūšis, Courland and Semigallia
Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
The Duchy of Courland and Semigallia is the name of a duchy in the Baltic region that existed from 1562 to 1569 as a vassal state of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and from 1569...

 (in present-day Pakruojis region, Šiauliai County
Šiauliai County
Šiauliai County is one of ten counties in Lithuania. It is in the north of the country, and its capital is Šiauliai...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

) and raised in Jõgeveste, Livonia, Russian Empire (currently in Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

). The commonly accepted birth date of 27 December 1761 is the actual day of his baptism in the Lutheran church of the town Žeimelis
Žeimelis
Žeimelis is a town in northern Lithuania, 40 km to the north from Pakruojis, near the border with Latvia. It is a centre of an elderate. A school first mentioned in 1596 . Field Marshal Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly was baptized in the Lutheran church on December 27, 1761. High school was...

. He was a German-speaking descendant of a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 family which had settled in Livonia in the 17th century. His grandfather served as the mayor of Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

, his father Bogdan Barclay de Tolly was admitted into the ranks of Russian nobility
Russian nobility
The Russian nobility arose in the 14th century and essentially governed Russia until the October Revolution of 1917.The Russian word for nobility, Dvoryanstvo , derives from the Russian word dvor , meaning the Court of a prince or duke and later, of the tsar. A nobleman is called dvoryanin...

, and the future Field Marshal entered the Imperial Russian Army
Imperial Russian Army
The Imperial Russian Army was the land armed force of the Russian Empire, active from around 1721 to the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the early 1850s, the Russian army consisted of around 938,731 regular soldiers and 245,850 irregulars . Until the time of military reform of Dmitry Milyutin in...

 at an early age.

De Tolly was a member of the Akademie gemeinnütziger Wissenschaften.

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
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, distinguishing himself in the taking of Ochakov and Akkerman. In 1790 he operated against the Swedes
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and, four years later, he fought against the Poles
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. He was a lieutenant colonel by 1794 after serving as Aide-de-camp
Aide-de-camp
An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant, secretary, or adjutant to a person of high rank, usually a senior military officer or a head of state...

 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.

In the war of 1806 against Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, Barclay took a distinguished part in the Battle of Pultusk
Battle of Pultusk
The Battle of Pułtusk took place on 26 December 1806 during the War of the Fourth Coalition near Pułtusk, Poland. Approximately 35,000 Russian soldiers with 128 guns under General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen resisted the attacks of 25,000 First French Empire soldiers under Marshal Jean...

 (December 1806) and was wounded at the Battle of Eylau
Battle of Eylau
The Battle of Eylau or Battle of Preussisch-Eylau, 7 and 8 February 1807, was a bloody and inconclusive battle between Napoléon's Grande Armée and a Russian Empire army under Levin August, Count von Bennigsen near the town of Preußisch Eylau in East Prussia. Late in the battle, the Russians...

 (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
Finnish War
The Finnish War was fought between Sweden and the Russian Empire from February 1808 to September 1809. As a result of the war, the eastern third of Sweden was established as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire...

. In 1809 he won a European reputation by a rapid and daring march over the frozen Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Bothnia
The Gulf of Bothnia is the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It is situated between Finland's west coast and Sweden's east coast. In the south of the gulf lie the Åland Islands, between the Sea of Åland and the Archipelago Sea.-Name:...

, which allowed him to surprise the enemy and seize Umeå
Umeå
- Transport :The road infrastructure in Umeå is well-developed, with two European highways passing through the city. About 4 km from the city centre is the Umeå City Airport...

 in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. For this exploit, immortalized by the Russian poet Baratynsky
Evgeny Baratynsky
Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky was lauded by Alexander Pushkin as the finest Russian elegiac poet. After a long period when his reputation was on the wane, Baratynsky was rediscovered by Anna Akhmatova and Joseph Brodsky as a supreme poet of thought.- Life :Of noble ancestry, Baratynsky was...

, he was made Full General and Governor-General of Finland
Governor-General of Finland
Governor-General of Finland ; was the military commander and the highest administrator of Finland sporadically under Swedish rule in the 17th and 18th centuries and continuously in the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland between 1808 and 1917.-Swedish rule:...

. A year later, he became Minister of War, retaining the post until 1813.

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 proposed the now famous scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 strategy of drawing the enemy deep into one's own territory and retreated to the village of Tsaryovo-Zaimishche
Tsaryovo-Zaimishche
Tsaryovo-Zaymishche is a village in Vyazemsky District of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, situated on the old road from Smolensk to Moscow, west of Vyazma....

 between Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and Smolensk
Smolensk
Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...

.

Nevertheless, the Russians keenly opposed the appointment of a foreigner as commander-in-chief. His rivals spread rumors of him 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
Battle of Smolensk (1812)
The Battle of Smolensk, the first major battle of the French invasion of Russia took place on August 16–18, 1812, between 175,000 men of the Grande Armée under Napoleon Bonaparte and 130,000 Russians under Barclay de Tolly, though only about 50,000 and 60,000 respectively were actually engaged...

 (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. Against his better judgment he appointed Kutuzov
Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov
Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov was a Field Marshal of the Russian Empire. He served as one of the finest military officers and diplomats of Russia under the reign of three Romanov Tsars: Catherine II, Paul I and Alexander I...

, who had suffered a defeat at Napoleon's hands at 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
Battle of Borodino
The Battle of Borodino , fought on September 7, 1812, was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia and all Napoleonic Wars, involving more than 250,000 troops and resulting in at least 70,000 casualties...

 (7 September 1812) with great valor and presence of mind and during the celebrated council at Fili
Fili (Moscow)
Fili is a former suburban village, now a neighborhood in the western section of Moscow, Russia, notable for the events of September 1812, following the Battle of Borodino. The village was located between the Moskva River and Poklonnaya Hill, near the present-day Fili station of Moscow Metro and...

 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 campaign in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. After Kutuzov's death, he once again became commander-in-chief of the Russian forces at the Battle of Bautzen
Battle of Bautzen
In the Battle of Bautzen a combined Russian/Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon, but escaped destruction, some sources claim, because Michel Ney failed to block their retreat...

 (21 May 1813), and in this capacity he served at Dresden
Battle of Dresden
The Battle of Dresden was fought on 26–27 August 1813 around Dresden, Germany, resulting in a French victory under Napoleon I against forces of the Sixth Coalition of Austrians, Russians and Prussians under Field Marshal Schwartzenberg. However, Napoleon's victory was not as complete as it could...

 (26 – 27 August 1813), Kulm
Battle of Kulm
The Battle of Kulm was a battle near the town Kulm and the village Přestanov in northern Bohemia. It was fought on 29–30 August 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition...

 (29 – 30 August 1813) and Leipzig
Battle of Leipzig
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations, on 16–19 October 1813, was fought by the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden against the French army of Napoleon. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine...

 (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
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

.

Barclay took part in the invasion of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1814 and commanded the taking of Paris
Battle of Paris (1814)
The Battle of Paris was fought during the Napoleonic Wars in 1814. The French defeat led directly to the abdication of Napoleon I.-Background:...

, receiving the baton
Baton (symbol)
The ceremonial baton is a short, thick stick, carried by select high-ranking military officers as a uniform article. The baton is distinguished from the swagger stick in being thicker and less functional . Unlike a staff of office, a baton is not rested on the ground...

 of a Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 in reward. In 1815 he again served as commander-in-chief of the Russian army which after the Hundred Days
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

 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
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

: Tepelshof) (nowadays Southern Estonia). Barclay de Tolly died at Insterburg (Chernyakhovsk)
Chernyakhovsk
Chernyakhovsk is a town and the administrative center of Chernyakhovsky District of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Instruch and the Angrapa Rivers, forming the Pregolya...

, East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.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
Vasily Demut-Malinovsky
Vasily Ivanovich Demuth-Malinovsky was a Russian sculptor whose works represent the quintessence of the Empire style....

 in 1832 in Jõgeveste (in Helme, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

).
A grand statue of him was erected in front of the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg on behest of Emperor Nicholas I
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...

. There are also a modern statue in Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

, a full size bronze mounted statue by Vladimir Surovtsev in Chernyakhovsk
Chernyakhovsk
Chernyakhovsk is a town and the administrative center of Chernyakhovsky District of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Instruch and the Angrapa Rivers, forming the Pregolya...

, a bust monument in Tartu
Tartu
Tartu is the second largest city of Estonia. In contrast to Estonia's political and financial capital Tallinn, Tartu is often considered the intellectual and cultural hub, especially since it is home to Estonia's oldest and most renowned university. Situated 186 km southeast of Tallinn, the...

, and the so-called "Barclay's leaning house" in Tartu (which was acquired by his widow after his death).

After extinction of the Barclay de Tolly princely line with his son Magnus on 29 October 1871 (17 October, Old Style), Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 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)

Commemoratives


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

External links



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