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The Napoleon Series > Biographies > Biographies

Russian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars: General Ivan Vasilievich Sabaneev

By Alexander Mikaberidze, FINS


(1772 - 6 September 1829)

General Ivan Vasilievich Sabaneev was born in Jarosvlavl Gubernia and enlisted as a sergeant in the Life Guard Preobrazhensk regiment in 1787. He graduated from the University of Moscow in 1791, was promoted to captain and transferred to the Little Russia Grenadier Regiment. However, he petitioned to be sent to the Moldavian Army and was appointed to command 1st Battalion of the Bug Jager Regiment, where he distinguished himself at Macin in July 1791. He later served in Poland and in the Caucasus. After Emperor Pauls reforms, Sabaneev was appointed to the Hashkins and Gangeblovs 13th Jager Regiment and joined General Rosenbergs Corps in Italy in 1799. He fought at Novi and pursued the French towards Genoa. In August 1799, he distinguished himself at Gavi and during the siege of Tortona and was promoted to major. He took part in the crossing of the Alps and covered the movement of the Russian troops at Altsdorf. On Suvorovs recommendation, Sabaneev was promoted to lieutenant colonel and was awarded the Order of St. Anna (2nd class) with brilliants. He was wounded at the action in the Muotatal Valley and was among the wounded the Russians left to the mercy of the French. Sabeneev remained as a prisoner-of-war in France until 1801, when after the peace treaty he returned to Russia. He joined his regiment (now renamed the 12th Jager Regiment) and took part in 1803 campaign in the Kuban Valley and against the mountaineers. He was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir (4th class) with ribbon. He retired in January 1805 because of ill health, but returned to the army during the Franco-Russian war in 1807. He commanded the 3rd Jager Regiment in the advance guard of General Peter Bagration. He fought at Guttstadt, Heilsberg, and Friedland, where he was wounded in the face. He was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir (3rd class) and a golden sword with inscription For Courage, while his regiment received silver trumpets. Sabaneev then joined the Russian army in Finland and fought under Barclay de Tolly and Count Kamensky II at Joris, Kuopo, and other actions. He was soon wounded and had to leave the army to recuperate. He returned to the regiment in August 1809 and participated in the crossing of the frozen Gulf of Bothnia. He fought at Sevar and Rotan and was awarded the Order of St. George (3rd class) and was promoted to major general at the age of 37. After the war, Sabaneev was appointed to command the 7th Jager Regiment in the Moldavian Army. He fought at Razgrad and was awarded the Order of St. Anna (1st class) and a pension of 1,000 rubles for 12 years. Sabaneev distinguished himself at the battle of Shumla and was awarded another Order of St. Anna (1st class) with brilliants. Kamensky II then left him to command the troops blockading the Grand Vizier Yussuf at Shumla. Sabaneev repulsed several Turkish sorties and was awarded a golden sword with brilliants and inscription For Courage. On 7 September Sabaneev fought at the battle of Batin, where the Russian army crushed the Turks. For this battle, Sabaneev was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir (2nd class). He then fought at Turnovo and was appointed duty officer to Kamensky II. With the arrival of new commander-in-chief, Mikhail Kutuzov, Sabaneev participated in the surrounding and destruction of the Turkish army at Ruse in late 1811. He was appointed as second plenipotentiary to the Bucharest Congress where a peace treaty was negotiated and signed. For this success, he was promoted to lieutenant general. In May 1812, Sabaneev became Chief-of-Staff to the new commander-in-chief of the Moldavian Army, Admiral Paul Chichagov. He also commanded the 5th Reserve Division. In late 1812, when Chichagovs army moved northward to engage the French, Sabaneev urged Chichagov to remain at Borisov and block Napoleons route. He fought at Berezina on 25 - 26 November 1812. In 1813, Sabaneev became Chief-of-Staff to Barclay de Tolly and took part in the siege of Thorn, receiving the Order of Alexander of Neva. He fought at Bautzen, Kulm, and Leipzig, being awarded the Orders of Alexander of Neva and St. Vladimir (1st class). Sabaneev also participated in the 1814 Campaign and fought at Briene and Arcis-sur-Aube, La Fere Champenoise, and at Paris, where Emperor Alexander awarded him with 30,000 rubles. After Napoleons return in 1815, Sabaneev was dispatched with the 27th Infantry Division to France but was soon recalled and appointed to the 8th Corps (that was soon renamed to 6th Corps). He was stationed with his corps at Novorossiya from 1816 to 1823. In 1823, he was promoted to general of infantry and given estates in Bessarabia. In 1824, Sabaneev commanded the 2nd Army. Four years later he had to retire because of ill health (liver problems). He traveled to Carlsbad and died at Dresden on 6 September 1829, while returning to Russia

Placed on the Napoleon Series: September 2002