Michail Semenovich Vorontsov
( 1782 - 1856 )

Prince, Field-Marshal

Michail Semenovich Vorontsov spent his childhood and youth in London and got there the excellent education. His father was a Russian diplomat. But from the early years Michail Vorontsov wanted to be a brave officer as his father was in his young years.

As many boys of Russian noble and gentry families Michail Vorontsov was enlisted to the army (to the the Life-Guard Preobrazhensky regiment) when he was a baby, and in the age of 4 he was promoted to the rank of praporschik (warrant officer).

He begain his active military service in 1803, he went to the Caucasus as a volunteer and distinguished on January,3,1804 in the assault of the Gianga fortress, when he carried out from the battlefield his wounded comrade. In the same year he participated in the battles with Persians in the Erevan Khandom. Prince Tsitsianov commanded the Russian troops in the Caucasus and Vorontsov was attached to him.

In 1805 Vorotsov had the rank of major-brigadier and was sent to the Swedish Pomerania with the troops of Lieutenant-General Tolstoy and participated in the blockade of the fortress of Hammeln.

In the campaign of 1806-1807 Vorontsov took part in the battle of Pultusk, and in the Friedland battle he commanded a battalion of the Life-Guard Preobrazhensky regiment.

In the next Russian-Turkish war he commanded the Narvsky Infantry regiment. In 1810 he took part in the storm of Bazargick and the battle of Shumla. With a special detachment he was sent to the Balkans and occupied Plevna and Lovcha.
In 1811 he distinguished in the battles at Ruschuk, Calafat and Vindin.

In the beginning of the war of 1812 Vorotsov commanded the Composite Grenadier Division in the 2nd army of General Bagration.
Vorontsov took part in the Borodino battle, he fought on the Shevardino redoubt and defended the "Semenovskie Fleshi" ( the ground fortifications in the shape of arrows near the Semenovskaya village). He was one of the first Russian generals wounded in this battle.
After wounding he was cured in Moscow, when the Russian army was leaving Moscow and he got to know that many carriages were prepared for carrying out his property he ordered to throw out everything and on those carriages he took 50 wounded generals and officers and more than 300 wounded soldiers to his estate there they were treated very carefully.
After he had recovered he at once came back to the army. He was sent to the army of Admiral Chichagov and commanded a special mobile detachment.

Vorontsov took very active part in the campaign of 1813-1814 in Europe. He distinguished in the battles of Leipzig and Craonne (1814). For this last battle we was decorated with his highest miliraty award - the Order of St.George of 2nd class.
Then he participated in the capture of Paris, and after it during three years (1815-1818) Vorontsov commanded the Russian occupation corps in France.

After coming back to Russia Vorontsov commanded an infantry corps. In 1823 he was appointed the General-Governor of Novorossia (Kuban) and the Plenipotentiary of the Emperor in Bessarabia (Moldavia).
With the name of Vorontsov such Russian successes in the Southern lands are connected: the quick development of the Russian sea-port of Odessa, flourishing of wine-making in the Crimea, building a highway along the Black Sea coast and the beginning of steam-navigation on the Black Sea.

In the rank of General of Infantry Vorontsov took part in the Russian-Turkish war of 1828-1829 and captured the big Turkish fortress of Varna.

In 1844 - 1854 Vorontsov was the Vicegerent of the Emperor in the Caucasus and the Commander-in-Chief of all Russian military forces in the Caucasus. He fough against Chechen clans the leader of that was Imam Shamil. In 1845 he personally commanded the troops and captured the aul (village) of Dargo, the residence of Shamil. For this battle he was given the title of Prince.

Fighting in the Caucasus (picture by Lermontov)

And again Vorontsov had to fight against Turks in the Crimean war of 1853-1856, and the old general gained victories again.
But he was old and his health was very weak, at last he got the dismissal. And a short time after new Emperor Alexander II promoted Prince Vorontsov to the rank of General-Field-Marshal.
But the same year the old general passed away.

Historical Russian Translations