Ferdinand Ferdinandovich Wintzingerode
( 1770 - 1818 )
General of Cavalry
Wintzingerode (Ferdinand von Wintzingerode) was born in Saxonia and began his military service in the army of Hessen.
In 1790 he passed to the Austrian army and participated in the military actions in the Netherlands.
He came to the Russian army in 1797 and got the rank of major of the Ordensky Cuirassier regiment. A year after he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and transferred to the Life-Guard Izmailovsky regiment.
Wintzingerode took part in the Italian campaign of Alexander Suvorov and was an Aide-de-Camp of Great Prince Constantine Pavlovich.
In 1802 Wintzingerode got the rank of major-general and became a general-aide-de-camp of Emperor Alexander I.
He participated also in the Russian-Austrian-French war of 1805 and was sent by Kutuzov to the French army for parley about a truce to give the Russian army time to retreat to the North.
In 1809 Wintzingerode returned to the Austrian army and in the battle of Aspern he was wounded in the leg by case-shot. After this battle Wintzingerode was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-field-marshal of the Austrian army.
When Napoleon's army invaded Russia Wintzingerode came back to the Russian military service. By special order of General Barclay de Tolly he formed a mobile detachment and was sent to cover the St.Petersburg highway. He could quickly force out the French troops from Velizh and Usviat and began to hamper the French collecting provisions by swift cavalry raids.
In other words it was the first Russian partisan detachment formed by the order of Barclay de Tolly and Wintzingerode was its commander. It is much written about Denis Davidov and his partisan detachment. Of course, Denis Davidov has his own great merits, however Wintzingerode's detachment was the first in real.
For this successful actions Wintzingerode was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general.
After the Great Army entered Moscow the detachment of Wintzingerode went to the Tver road and began partisan actions to the North from Moscow. When Wintzingerode got to know Napoleon left Moscow and ordered Marshal Mortier to blow up the Kremlin, on October,10 he went to Moscow accompanied by his Aide-de-Camp Rotmistr (captain of cavalry) Naryshkin and a cossack with a white flag to try to persuade Mortier not to carry out this order. But on the French outposts Wintzingerode was arrested and taken to Napoleon. Napoleon said Wintzingerode was born in a state belonging to the Rhine Confederation and ordered to hang him as a traitor. But a short time after he changed his mind and ordered to send the general with his aide-de-camp to France under escort.
But on the way to France both prisoners were liberated by the detachment of Colonel Chernishev.
During the French army retreat from Russia Wintzingerode was ordered to pursue French troops in the Dukedom of Warsaw. On February,1,1813 near the town of Kalish General Wintzingerode defeated the remains of the Saxon Corps of General Renier and captured many prisoners. For this victory he was decorated with the Order of St.George of the 2nd Class.
Also Wintzingerode participated in the battles of Lutzen and Leipzig and fought in Holland.
In 1813 Wintzingerode got the rank on general of cavalry.
In 1818 he went to Bavaria to meet his relatives but there he fell ill and died.