Emperor and General
Peter Rumyantsev was born in January 1725, a few weeks before the death of Peter the Great, and was named the mother after the emperor. Apparently, the first twenty and a few days of his life the boy remained without a name. There is even a myth that they managed to call him Alexander in honor of his father, but they quickly renamed him when Peter died.
Check this interesting legend is quite difficult, because the exact place of birth of Peter Rumyantsev is unknown. According to one version, he was born in Moscow, according to another - in Moldova. In any case, the boy was lucky with his parents. The father is a major general, a famous military man and a diplomat, a person close to the emperor, and a hero of the Northern War. True, at court, Alexander Rumyantsev had a rather sinister reputation. At one time, on the orders of Peter, he returned to Russia Tsarevich Alexei and, according to rumors, almost personally sent the disgraced heir to the next world.
Not less rumors and gossip went around the mother of a newborn. Maria Andreevna Rumyantseva was 25 years old, she came from the ancient boyar family of the Matveyevs, and her great-grandfather was the coworker's mate, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. Maria Andreevna was the first beauty of the yard. Such a beauty that Peter himself laid eyes on her. And there was another legend, according to which, the newborn boy was not the son of Alexander Rumyantsev, who spent much more time on the campaigns than at home, but the emperor himself. Like it or not, the baby from the first minutes of his life was provided with a bright future.
Diplomacy and family
For a start, they did the trick with young Peter Alexandrovich, which later became a real noble classic. At the age of nine he was enrolled as a private in the Preobrazhensky regiment. Aby someone in the elite Life Guard, of course, did not enroll, but the focus was in the other. By the time service began, Rumyantsev would already have a rank. However, the father was afraid to send his son to the army and made a lot of effort to ensure that he took on the diplomatic service.
Peter became a diplomat in the incomplete 15 years, and sent him immediately to Berlin. The young man was obviously very happy about this. Arrival at the service, he noted a feast, which almost ended in his arrest. Rumyantsev Jr. generally loved a beautiful life. In Germany, he mostly smoked. Yakshalsya with not the most moral girls, participated in two duels, one of which miraculously did not end with his death, finally, he made card debts. When the rumor reached his father, he became indignant and personally came to Berlin to take the hang-son home. At this diplomatic career Rumyantsev Jr. stopped.
For a very short reign of Anna Leopoldovna, he managed to get the rank of second lieutenant and leave for the army in the field. Looking ahead, I must say that this story did not tame his wild temper. The capture of Helsingfors in the Russian-Swedish war and the signing of peace Rumyantsev noted on a grand scale. In the morning they found him drunk and naked in the house ... but let's not talk about it. The father, who also participated in the war, again took educational measures. He sent his son to the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna with the news that the war with Sweden ended victoriously.
A surprise was waiting for him in Petersburg. First, Elizabeth was so pleased with the news that she made Rumyantsev as a colonel. Great luck: a young man who has not yet turned twenty years old, jumped two steps at once. Secondly, his father was elevated to dignity with the right of inheritance, which made his son also a graph. Thirdly, papa arranged the marriage of his good-for-nothing offspring, of which he, of course, did not inform. Rumyantsev, almost by force, married Princess Ekaterina Golitsyna, a timid, ugly girl, but very anxious.
It turned out that the bride fell in love with the bridegroom instantly, and the one from their very first meeting was with her extremely cold. Three sons were born in marriage, but they saw their father only after the death of the mother. The last meeting between Rumyantsev and his wife occurred in 1762, after which the couple only corresponded. Catherine died in 1779, never over seventeen years without seeing her husband. True, she made attempts at that, but her husband avoided meetings with her in every way. I didn’t allow me to come to his army, didn’t visit him, but somehow I simply did not let her in. Arriving in Moscow, where the family lived, Rumyantsev did not go to her, stopping either at the inns or at her sister's house. Raising children was not interested. Of course, he had more important things to do.
Elizabeth and Peter
Battle of Gross-Egersdorf
Only in 1757, when the famous battle of Gross-Egersdorf happened, spoke about Rumyantsev as a serious commander. It was one of the biggest battles of the Seven Years War, in which Prussia confronted Russian troops. The battle itself is known, first of all, by the strange behavior of Stepan Apraksin, who commanded the Russian army. Field Marshal General was not eager to fight, constantly trying to retreat. He forbade troops to attack and basically did not conduct reconnaissance.
When the battle nevertheless began, Apraksin did not send reinforcements to those sectors of the front that needed this, and he recalled to the rear the units that crowded the Prussians. Rumyantsev commanded a reserve of four infantry regiments. He was twice forbidden to fight. In the end, he got tired of it. Without an order, he threw his reserve into the battle against the Prussians, seeing that they were about to overturn the right flank of the Russian army.
The blow of Rumyantsev changed the course of the battle, which ended in the defeat of Prussia. That's just Apraksin did not develop success and hurried from the battlefield to retreat. Moreover, over the next two weeks he went back a few hundred kilometers, as if the battle was lost, and the army was pursued by the Prussian cavalry.
For all this, the Field Marshal-General had reasons. The Empress Elizabeth was very sick, and the heir to the throne, Pyotr Fedorovich, worshiped the Prussian king Frederick the Great. Apraksin was afraid that a victory over the idol of the future emperor could turn into a disgrace for him. There was, however, another reason, far more banal. The army was supplied so badly that there was a serious risk of starvation. The commander was afraid that if he went to the territory of the enemy he would aggravate the situation. In any case, Gross-Egersdorf ended for him with disgrace. Elizabeth recovered, removed Apraksin from the position of commander and brought her to justice.
But the brave Rumyantsev was promoted to General-in-Chief. However, this order was already signed by Peter III. And before that, Rumyantsev distinguished himself in several battles, devising a fundamentally new tactical device during the campaign. Later, he became the hallmark of Suvorov, and began to call him "column - loose build."
That's just not invented it Suvorov, namely Rumyantsev. Its essence was to divide the infantry into light and linear. The first went into battle in the loose ranks, the second - in a column. On the basis of this idea, Rumyantsev created a new construction in several rows. Ahead - light infantry lay order to minimize damage and destroy the enemy system, behind it - several columns of linear infantry, and between the columns - regimental artillery, behind all this was located the cavalry, which at the right time made a maneuver, entering the enemy in the flank. A fundamentally new construction brought Rumyantsev many more victories, however, in other wars, because in 1762 his brilliant career nearly ended.
Potemkin and Suvorov
Battle of Kagul
Rumyantsev did not find a common language with Ekaterina Alekseevna. They did not agree on the characters even in those times when the future Empress had just arrived in Russia. It seems as Rumyantsev met her, but met somehow wrong. In a word, Sofia Federiki Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbskaya had a tooth on Rumyantsev. This tooth became even longer after the coup, which cost Peter III the crown and life, and Catherine elevated to the throne. Rumyantsev refused to swear allegiance to the new ruler and even dared to call out loud the incident. For this you could please in Siberia, but Catherine suddenly changed her wrath to mercy.
Instead of Siberia, Rumyantsev went to Little Russia as a local governor-general. This was not an honorable reference. Even on the contrary, for every day it became increasingly clear that a new war with the Ottoman Empire was inevitable and that Little Russia would become one of the theaters of military operations. Rumyantsev was supposed to strengthen the defense of the local fortresses.
The war began in 1768. Rumyantsev received an order to command the reserve army, which was supposed to reflect the possible raids of the Crimean Khan, but a month later Catherine changed her mind. The commander went to the military army, whose task was to move along the Black Sea towards Constantinople. And here the military talent of Rumyantsev was fully manifested. The commander showed not only Russia, but the whole of Europe how to win with skill, not number. The first demonstration was the battle of Larga, in which the 40-thousandth army of Rumyantsev converged with the 80-thousandth army of Khan Kaplan Gerey.
By this time, the commander improved his own combat system in the direction of complete universalism. Linear infantry columns, if necessary, instantly switched to loose order, a swift raid of cavalry was used against enemy artillery, and enemy cavalry was greeted by barks of shotguns. In that battle, Rumyantsev lost 29 people killed against several thousand by Gerey.
However, the main battle in the life of Rumyantsev happened a week later, on August 1, 1770, in a new style. In the battle of Kagul, 17,000 soldiers under the command of Rumyantsev utterly defeated the 75,000-strong Khalip Pasha corps. This battle glorified the name of Rumyantsev to the whole of Europe. A few years later, when the field marshal was in Prussia, King Frederick the Great organized a parade in his honor and awarded the commander the Order of the Black Eagle, the country's highest military award. Russian-Turkish war of 1768−1774 in general, became a benefit performance of Rumyantsev. His army reached the Danube and successfully fought with the Ottomans there. By the highest decree Rumyantsev was granted the honorary title of Transdanubia.
The field marshal was at the height of his fame, but his career miraculously approached the final. Rumyantsev did not get along with two Grigorii - Orlov and Potemkin. He did not like the first, but he showed his contempt in every way to the second. In Catherine's favorites, he never went, and the brilliant victories did not change the situation. In addition, after a grand success on the front, the commander returned to the classes in which he had passed his youth. Again he began to allow himself too much. True, now replaced the taverns and cards came food and love for decoration.
Rumyantsev traveled through his numerous estates, engaged in the restoration of the estates and their decoration on the European model. He spent a lot of money on this hobby, cutting back the contents of his three sons, whom he still barely saw.
New war with Turkey, which began in 1787, he met obese, heavy and tired. Rumyantsev could not without help get on the horse. Catherine, seeing him, was disappointed. She appointed Potemkin the commander-in-chief, Rumyantsev was offended and did not join the army. After that, he no longer appeared in the location of military units.
In 1794, Catherine remembered the commander and wished him to engage in the suppression of the uprising of Tadeush Kostyushko in Poland. Rumyantsev was appointed commander and was listed by him until the very end of the war. The field marshal, however, neglected the order and remained on his estate. In fact, the actions of the army were not led by him, but by his first student, Suvorov.
In fact, Rumyantsev dismissed himself. The highest decree was not, he just left the service, devoting the rest of his days to his hobby. He died all alone in the village of Tashan belonging to him. The body of Field Marshal, who almost never left the office in the last month of his life, was discovered only a few days after his death. The unauthorized abandonment of the service was, in fact, a serious offense, but fate spoiled Rumyantsev from the first days of his life until his death. There were always exceptions for him. First, out of sympathy for his deserved father, then - in gratitude for his great victories.