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The Napoleon Series > Biographies > Biographies

Russian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars: General Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov

By Alexander Mikaberidze, FINS

(1782 - 1856)

General Vorontsov

General Mikhail Vorontsov

Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov (1782 1856) was born to a prominent Russian family of princes; the son of Gnral-en-chef Semen Vorontsov, Russian Ambassador to London. He began service in 1786 and rose to sub-lieutenant in 1801. After serving in the Caucasus, he served with General Tolstoys corps in Pomerania in 1805. In 1806-1807, he served in Poland and distinguished himself at Pultusk (promotion to colonel, 22 January 1807) and Friedland. In 1807, Vorontsov took command of the 1st Battalion of the Life Guard Preobrazhensk Regiment. Two years later, he was appointed chef of the Narva Musketeer Regiment in the Army of Moldavia and fought the Turks at Bazardjik (promoted to major general on 26 June 1810), Shumla, Ruse and Viddin. In early 1812, he took command of the 2nd Grenadier Division of the 2nd Western Army. During the 1812 Campaign, Vorontsov participated in Prince Bagrations retreat and fought at Saltanovka, Smolensk and Borodino, where he lost two thirds of his division defending the fleches and took a serious bayonet wound. After recuperating, he took command of the advance guard of the 3rd Western Army and fought at Bromberg, Rogazen and Poznan in early 1813. For his actions, Vorontsov became lieutenant general on 20 February 1813. In late 1813, he served in the Army of the North and participated in the battles at Gross Beeren, Dennewitz, Leipzig and Kassel. In 1814, Vorontsov distinguished himself at Craonne (received the Order of St. George, 2nd class, 7 March 1814), Laon and Paris. After the war, he led the 12th Division in late 1814 and then assumed command of the Russian Occupation Corps in France. He rose to adjutant general on 11 September 1815 and became commander of the 3rd Corps on 2 March 1820. Three years later, he was appointed the Governor General of Novorossiisk and the Viceroy (namestnik) of Bessarabia on 19 May 1823. He participated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 and became the Viceroy and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian troops in the Caucasus in 1845. Over the next ten years, he undertook many administrative and social reforms in the Transcaucasian provinces as well as launched massive offensives against the Chechens led by Imam Shamil. Vorontsov was conferred the title of his highness prince (svetleishii kniaz) on 14 April 1852 and received the rank of general field marshal on 5 September 1856.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: July 2004