09 April 2003, 16:58
Vorontsov, Mikhail Semenovich
Russian military commander and statesman. Vicegerent of the Caucasus (since 1844). Grand Duke (since 1852).
Born May 19 (30), 1782. Son of a famous statesman and diplomat Earl Semen Romanovich Vorontsov. Spent his childhood and adolescence in England where his father was Russia's Ambassador. Upon return to Russia in 1801, entered the Guard service as an ancient. Two years later, in 1803, M.S. Vorontsov was transferred to the Caucasus at his own request and joined Prince Tsitsianov's army to fight highlanders. Soon was distinguished at the attack on Gyandji (1804) carrying P.S. Kotlyarevsky (later a famous hero of the Russo-Persian War 1804-1813) out of the battle. As a member of the general Gulyakov's detachment, Mikhail Vorontsov took part in the battles at the Alazani River; during the battle in the Zakatalsky Gorge, he hardly survived after falling from a mountain steep during Lezgins' attack. Participated in operations in Imeretia and Erivani Khanate against the Persians; at Tsitsianov's merit list, was awarded fourth-degree order of St. George (orden Sv. Georgiya 4-oy stepeni). In late 1804, participated in a military march on the Georgian Military Road; in early 1805, took part in raids in Ossetia mountains.
In September 1805, upon the start of Russo-Austro-French war, M.S. Vorontsov as a brigade major was dispatched to Pomerania with lieutenant general Earl Tolstoy's descent troops and took part in fortress Hameln siege. During the Russo-Prusso-French war of 1806-1807, Vorontsov took part in a battle of Pultusky, was promoted to colonel, and appointed a commander of the First battalion of Leib-Guard Preobrazhensky Regiment, with which he participated in gory battles of Gutstadt, Heilsberg, and Friedland.
In 1809, Mikhail Vorontsov being a commander of Narva Infantry Regiment was sent to the war with Turkey. Acting within N. Kamensky's Moldavian Army, was distinguished at the assault of Bazardjik fortress and promoted to major general at the age of 28. Later participated in attack on Shumla, battles of Vatin and Sistovo; was awarded third-degree order of St. Vladimir (orden Sv. Vladimira 3-ey stepeni).
In the fall of 1810, heading a special detachment, general Vorontsov fought in the Balkans, seized the cities of Plevna, Lovcha, and Selvi, where he destroyed Turkish fortifications. During the campaign of 1811 headed by M.I. Kutuzov, was distinguished at the battled of Ruschuk and was bestowed a gold dress sword with diamonds. Later fought on the right bank of the Danube, impeding the Turks from assisting the Grand Vizier's army blockaded by Kutuzov on the left bank. Awarded second-degree order of St. Vladimir and third-degree order of St. George.
During the Patriotic War of 1812, M.S. Vorontsov was initially with Prince P.I. Bagration's army and participated in the battle of Smolensk. During the Borodino Battle, Vorontsov defended the fortifications at Semenovskaya village and was wounded thus forced to leave the troops. Going to his estate for treatment, he invited about 50 wounded officers and over 300 wounded privates there who all received thorough care. Upon recuperation, M.S. Vorontsov went back to combat and was appointed a commander of a joint grenadier division of P. Chichagov's Third army. In early 1813, he was distinguished in the battles of Bromberg and Rogasen, occupied Poznan. Was promoted to lieutenant general, operated in Magdeburg area and the Elba region. After Russia and its allies restarted the campaign against Napoleon, Vorontsov with his division was within different armies of the Allies. Participated in Leipzig's "Battle of Nations" (October 1813). In 1814, demonstrated courage at the battle of Craone where he kept blocking the attacks of an exceeding rival force under Napoleon's personal command for a day and only retreated after a direct order to do so. Was awarded the second-degree order of St. George for this battle.
In 1815-1818, Earl M.S. Vorontsov commanded the occupational troops in France. Was awarded the first-degree order of St. Vladimir. Upon return to his homeland, commanded the Third Infantry Army, and in 1823 was appointed a governor general of Novorossiya (New Russia ?lands north of the Black Sea) and Bessarabia. M.S. Vorontsov contributed greatly to the economic development of these areas, especially Odessa and the Crimea, as well as organizing navigation in the Black Sea. In 1825, Vorontsov was promoted to infantry general. In 1828, during the Russo-Turkish war, Vorontsov substituted wounded A. Menshikov for the position of the siege corps commander at Varna and occupied it shortly; was awarded a gold dress sword endorsed "For conquering Varna." In 1829, ensured trouble-free procurement for Russian troops operating in Transcaucasia against Turkey. In 1834, was awarded the order of St. Andrey Pervoznanny for continuous civil and military merits; in 1836, was appointed colonel-in-chief of the Narva Infantry Regiment which he used to command.
In 1844, M.S. Vorontsov became commander-in-chief of the Russian troops in the Caucasus and the Vicegerent of the Caucasus. In May 1845, started the famous Dargo expedition, which was finalized after a challenging march two months later with capturing the Dargo settlement - Shamil's headquarters. For this expedition, Vorontsov was given a title of Prince and appointed the chief of Kura Jaeger Regiment. Afterwards, Vorontsov restrained from lengthy military expeditions and acted in the manner of A. Ermolov: methodically combining civil and economic modernization of the area with individual military operations under his aides' guidance ? generals Andronnikov, Bebutov, Baryatinsky, and Baklanov. On the whole, Vorontsov was inclined to see the Caucasus fused with the rest of the Empire. In 1847, Vorontsov personally commanded the troops operating in Dagestan, conducted the assault of Gergebil and capture of Salta. In 1853, Vorontsov was given a title of Grand Duke. In 1853, due to the nearing of the Crimean War, Vorontsov's attention was drawn to strengthening the border with Turkey and protection of the Black Sea shoreline. Soon after that, due to elderly age and declining health, M.S. Vorontsov resigned and left the Caucasus.
In 1856, on the day of Emperor Alexander the Second coronation, Vorontsov was promoted to field marshal general. Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov died on November 6 (18), 1856, in Odessa, ibidem buried.