Research Subjects: Biographies

Russian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars: General of Cavalry George (Egorii) Arsenievich Emmanuel

By Alexander Mikaberidze, FINS

(13 April 1775 - 26 January 1837)

General George (Egorii) Arsenievich Emmanuel

General George Arsenievich Emmanuel

George (Egorii) Arsenievich Emmanuel was born in Serbia, where from early age he participated in actions against the Turks. In 1791 he joined the Austrian service to fight the Porte. At the battle of Landau in 1792, he was seriously wounded receiving a bayonet wound into stomach, a cannonball splinter to right hand. The same year, he was shot with canister in the right leg. For his actions, he was awarded a gold medal with inscription “Der Tapferkeit” and, notwithstanding his humble origins, was accepted in the Hungarian Guard with  rank of second lieutenant in 1794. However, Emmanuel soon resigned because of Austrian reluctance to commit resources to the Serbian cause. He arrived in Moscow in April 1797 and met Emperor Paul I, who liked his Hungarian uniform. The same day, he enlisted in the Life Guard Hussar Regiment with a rank of lieutenant. The next year,  he became staff rotmistr and in 1799, was promoted to rotmistr. Paul I liked him very much and in October 1800 he promoted Emmanuel to colonel. With the accession of Alexander, Emmanuel’s rapid promotion slowed down. In 1802, he was transferred to the Kiev Dragoon regiment and then participated in the 1806-1807 Campaign against Napoleon. At Pultusk, he commanded two squadrons and was seriously wounded, but remained in the ranks.  For his courage, Emmanuel was awarded a gold sword with inscription “For Courage.” After recuperation, he served in General Essen I’s corp. In June 1807, he fought at Gutstadt, where he personally led his squadron in a charge and captured over 100 French. For his actions, he was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir (4th Class). He then distinguished himself at Heilsberg and received the Order of St. Anna (2nd Class). At the battle of Friedland on 14 June 1807, he served with Kiev Dragoons, covered the retreat of the main forces, and destroyed the bridges over the Nieman. On 24 May 1808, he was appointed commander of the Kiev Dragoon Regiment and on 23 December 1808, became chef of the Kurland Dragoon Regiment. Two months later, on 2 February, he became chef of Kiev Dragoon Regiment. During the 1809 Campaign against Austria, his regiment was assigned to the active army, but Emmanuel appealed to Alexander for permission to avoid the service because he had served in Austrian army. His petition was satisfied and he did not participate in the actions. In 1812, Emmanuel served in the 2nd Western Army and fought at Mir on 9 July, for which he received the Order  of  St. Vladimir (3rd Class). He took part in actions at Novoselk and Saltanovka, and battles of Smolensk and Shevardino. He led several charges against the French at Shevardino, but was wounded into chest. For his courage, he received the Order of St. George (4th Class). Emmanuel spent next weeks recuperating and joined the army in late September at Tarutino.  In October he was assigned to the advance guard and fought at Vyazma and several minor actions. For his actions, he was promoted to major general on 7 January 1813. During the campaign in Germany, Emmanuel took part in sieges of Modlin, Glogau and then commanded a detachment around Zwenkau. He was one of the first to cross the Elba River and participated in several minor actions prior to the battle of Bautzen, where he distinguished himself against Macdonald. During the armistice, he was observing the demarcation lines on the Bohemian borders. For his actions before and after Bautzen, he was awarded the Order  of St. Anna (1st Class) and Prussin Order of Red Eagle (2nd Class). As the hostilities resumed, Emmanuel commanded the cavalry of the advance guard of Langeron’s corps. On 19 August he fought the French near Ziben-Eichen on the Bobr River and then had several minor actions until the battle of Katzbach, where, according to the official rosters, he captured 7 guns and 1,131 men. He then engaged the French at Levenberg on 29 August and had minor actions at Stolpen, Rotmeritz, , Bischofewerd, Elster, Duben, Rodefeld, and Badefeld. For his service in these actions, he was awarded the Order of St. George (3rd Class). Emmanuel then took part at the battle of Leipzig on 16-18 October and distinguished himself by capturing 2 generals, including Loriston, 17 officers and 400 soldiers. However, Emmanuel was not awarded for this action because of his bickering with Blucher. He was soon transferred to St. Priest’s Corps and fought at Rheims, where he covered the retreat of the Russian troops.  He took part in the capture of Paris and was promoted to lieutenant general on 8 May 1814. He also received the Prussian Order of Red Eagle (1st Class) and the Swedish Order of Sword (2nd Class). In 1815, Emmanuel was given command of the 4th Dragoon Division and remained at this position for next ten years. In July 1826, he was appointed to command the Russian forces in the Caucasus and succeeded in subjugating the local tribes. For his actions, he received the Order  of Alexander of Neva. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, he defeated and annexed several major regions in the North Caucasus, including Karachaevo, and suppressed pro-Turkish uprising in the Kuban Valley.  For his actions, he was promoted to general of cavalry in June 1828 and two years later was awarded a lifetime pension and estate. Emmanuel retired in 1831 and lived at Elizavetgrad for the next six year. He died there on 26 January 1837.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: May 2003


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