Why the general Osterman - Tolstoy was considered in the Russian army fearless?
B 1770 in rather poor family retired the general - the lieutenant Ivan Tolstoy was born the son named in honor of Macedon by Alexander. The name was prophetical. In 14 years it began service the ensign in Labe - guards of the Preobrazhensky Regiment. Except the family of great antiquity going from Ryurik dynasty and house education the father could give nothing to it at the introduction in independent life. The lack of means and impossibility to enter into secular society where most of colleagues rotated, weighs the young officer, and he looks for a case to cause a stir in the battlefield.
Such opportunity was presented in 1787 when war with Turkey began. In Grigory Potemkin`s army he was at war in Moldova and Bessarabia, participated in capture of Bender and Kiliya, battle at Machin, two storms of Izmail. In character of the officer there are lines which subsequently Alexey Yermolov will unite one capacious word - fearlessness.
Tolstoy returned to St. Petersburg in 1792 the lieutenant. He was graciously accepted by Catherine II and awarded by the Order of Saint George 4 class. But could not lead a life of the Guards officer from - for lack of means. It was necessary to leave guard and to go in the province to order an egersky battalion.
Tolstoy already got used to slow provincial life when in 1796 his childless relatives of the column I. And. and F. A. Ostermana elected him the successor and the successor of a surname. The army officer became the count, the owner of an enormous fortune and extensive land grounds. Promptly also military career develops, it becomes the general - the major, the chief of the Shlisselburgsky mushketersky regiment. The military service from a source of a subsistence turns for Osterman - Tolstoy (it began to carry such surname) into a possibility of performance of a debt to the Fatherland. Passed Suvorov fighting school, it trains subordinates in the spirit of “ To win against Sciences “ what at Paul I could not remain unnoticed, and the count is dismissed from army.
In 1801 Alexander I returned the disgraced general to a system. In 1805 Russia entered the period of wars with France, and Osterman - Tolstoy crossed the weapon to Napoleon`s marshals. In December, 1806, ordering a rear guard, it at Charnovo with five-thousandth group became on the way of the case of the marshal Davout which Napoleon, seeing small number of Russians, already congratulated on a victory. But the marshal had not to celebrate a victory. Within ten hours French unsuccessfully attacked the Russian positions. At the critical moments of fight the general headed counterattacks and bayonets rejected the opponent. Only at night it departed to the main forces. In several days, in battle at Pultusk, ordering the left wing of the Russian troops, Osterman - Tolstoy not only stopped approach of the case of Lannes who broke through the front of the main forces but also took the offensive. And again it was ahead of the attacking columns.
Together with fighting progress the military authority grew; about Osterman - Tolstoy there was an opinion, as about the general for whom there are no impracticable tasks. Valor of the count was appreciated, he became the general - the lieutenant, was awarded by the Order of Saint George 3 class.
War ended with signing of the Tilsit world which the count openly opposed, declaring that new war with Napoleon is inevitable and it is necessary to prepare for it. Its position was so consecutive that the French envoy Kolenkur in reports called the column “ head of military opposition “. In 1809 Osterman - Tolstoy was forced to retire.
In April, 1812, having a presentiment of war approach, it left to the western border. In one of the first fights with French in the ranks of the Russian soldiers there was a general with the Order of Saint George on a neck which, according to the commander of the case Wittgenstein, “ took part in this case as the volunteer “. The message about the disgraced general who in the ranks of soldiers is at war with French quickly extended on army. The public opinion was on the party of the count, and it appointed the commander 4 - m the case.
The general sharply endured retreat, connecting it with domination of foreigners in the management of the Russian army. Over all country the words which are angrily told them to the chief of a staff 1 - y armies to the marquis Pauluchchi dispersed: “ For you Russia - a uniform, you will put on it and will remove. And for me it is my skin “.
Near Vitebsk he followed with the case ways of French, covering retreat 1 - y armies. Having considerable overweight in forces, the marshal Myurat over and over again sent a cavalry to attacks, but Russians stood unshakably. The infantry division which approached to the aid of French was rejected by bayonets and a case-shot.
In the Borodino battle the general once again confirmed reputation of fearless. At the critical moment of fight for Kurgannuyu height he was transferred to the aid of Rajevski. Inspired by an example of the commander which drove regiments in bayonets, the case Osterman - Tolstoy beat off all attacks and, thinned almost half, on a step did not move from the taken positions.
During prosecution of the receding French its case caused a stir at storm of Vyazma. Then followed in parallel French, without allowing them to curtail from old Smolenskaya Road. In heavy three-day fighting under Red Osterman - Tolstoy was wounded, but did not leave a battlefield. And only after exile of the enemy from the Russian land, the columns “ afforded “ to go to be treated. But long could not be far from army, and on May 8, 1813 appeared near Bautsen at the intense moment of battle. Having stopped the receding grenadierial regiment, led it in counterattack. From fight of the general took out fainted from a heavy wound in a shoulder.
In August it returned to a system again and caused a stir in battle which became the culmination of his military career. Under Kulm, rescuing the receding allied army, he with 19 - thousand group followed ways 40 - the thousand case of Vandamme. French, knowing about the significant superiority, persistently attacked, but could not even press Russians. In the middle of battle when the count led troops in counterattack, to it a kernel shattered the left hand. Soldiers brought the banner fought off French in tent where doctors took away to the general the shattered hand. Having seen it, Osterman - Tolstoy whispered: “ At least, I will die unbeaten “. But the iron will helped it to return to a system again.
Despite consequences of a severe wound, till December, 1825 Osterman - Tolstoy continued service, but the new emperor Nicholas I needed obedient martinets, but not independent generals with rich fighting experience, and the count was dismissed.
In 1830 Osterman - Tolstoy forever left Russia. He lived big life and died in 1857 in Geneva. Despite official disgrace, in the Russian army always remembered and honored the fearless general who appreciated freedom of the Fatherland above own life.