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Birthday anniversary of Alexei Ermolov, Russian General of Artillery, a member of the Russian Imperial State Council

4 June 1772

May 24 (4 June), 1772 in Moscow, in an old noble family, was born Aleksei Petrovich Ermolov, Russian military and statesman, General of Artillery, veteran of war with France of 1805-1807, Patriotic war of 1812, Chief of Georgia during the Caucasian war (1817-1864), a member of the State Council of the Russian Empire.

From his youth Ermolov was recorded in the service in the Life Guards Preobrazhensky regiment. He received his education at the Noble Boarding School under the Moscow University. As a captain, Ermolov had been in the service of procurator-general of the Governing Senate A. N. Samoilov, and then was transferred to artillery. In 1794, being an artillery officer in the army of Count Alexander V. Suvorov, he fought against the rebels in Poland and for his bravery was awarded by the commander himself the Order of St. George 4th class. Two years later, Ermolov participated in the Persian campaign taken by the Army Major General Vladimir A. Zubov, and for valor during the assault of Derbent was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir Equal to the Apostles 4th class and the rank of lieutenant colonel.

In 1798, for participation in the political circle of officers “Volnodumtsy” ("Freethinkers") Ermolov was imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress, and then exiled by Emperor Paul I in Kostroma. By the decree of the new Tsar Alexander I “On forgiving people" the officer Ermolov was pardoned. On his return from exile, he was given command of an artillery and cavalry company in Vilna. In 1805, with the beginning of Russian-Austrian-French War, the Ermolov’s company was included into the Army of General of Infantry M. I. Kutuzov and deserved appreciation for its actions in the campaign. For the courage in the Battle of Austerlitz (1805) Alexei Petrovitch was promoted to colonel. In the Russian-Prussian-French war (1806-1807), he proved himself brave artillery commander, distinguished himself in battles of Golymin, Morungen, Preussisch Eylau, Gutshtadt, Heilsberg, Friedland. For his exploits Ermolov was awarded three medals and a gold sword.

In 1809 Ermolov was promoted to Major-General and appointed inspector of cavalry and artillery companies, and then he became commander of the detachment of reserve troops in the south-western borders of the Russian Empire. In 1811 he was transferred to St. Petersburg as a commander of the Guards Artillery Brigade.

At the beginning of the 1812 war Ermolov was appointed Chief of Staff of the 1st Western Army led by Mikhail B. Barclay de Tolly. As the Chief of Staff, Ermolov had great popularity among the officers, became one of the leaders of the "Russian party" that opposed the dominance of "Germans" in the higher military echelons and tactics of retreat to inland pursued by Barclay de Tolly. He was the organizer of the defense of Smolensk, and then successfully led troops in battle at Lubin, and was soon promoted to lieutenant general.

In the Battle of Borodino Ermolov was serving the commander in chief Kutuzov. In the midst of the battle the commander in chief sent him to the left flank, to the 2nd army, whose commander P. I. Bagration was badly wounded. Ermolov, having managed to overcome the commotion of the troops, organized a counter-attack against the French troops who had occupied a central battery of General N. N. Rajewski. He fought off the battery and led its defense, until he was wounded with buckshot. For the Battle of Borodino, Ermolov was awarded the Order of St. Anna, 1st class.

When the Russian troops left Moscow, Ermolov, as Acting Chief of Joint Staff of the 1st and 2nd Armies, played a prominent role in the battle of Maloyaroslavets, where he gave orders on behalf of the commander in chief. Having advanced the corps of General D. S. Dokhturov to the Kaluga road, he blocked the path of Napoleon's army and fought all day until the main forces arrived. French Emperor's troops were forced to retreat along the ravaged Smolensk road. After the expulsion of Napoleon's army from Russia, Ermolov led the artillery of the allied armies, and from April 1813 commanded various formations. In 1813-1814 he skillfully acted in the battle of Bautzen, Kulm, and for the capture of Paris was awarded the Order of St. George 2nd class. On his return to Russia, General Ermolov was recommended for the post of Minister of War, but the Emperor chose to appoint him commander of Georgia and commander of a detached Georgian (Caucasian) Corps. Ermolov, who soon after that went to Tehran as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to clarify the boundaries’ issue, for his successful negotiations with the Persians in 1818 was promoted to General of Infantry.

For 11 years, Ermolov ruled the Caucasus. During the outbreak of the Caucasian War, General held a series of military operations in Chechnya, Dagestan, and in the Kuban region; built such fortresses as Formidable, Sudden, Loud; pacified the disturbance in Imeretia, Guria and Mingrelia; annexed Abkhazia, Karabakh and Shirvan Khanate to Russia. He encouraged the development of trade and industry, improved the Georgian Military Highway. During his rule were set up medical institutions based on mineral waters, was founded Pyatigorsk, and turned the fortress Kislaya to the city of Kislovodsk. Ruler of the Caucasus also engaged to army service talented and educated people and patronized the Decembrists exiled to the Caucasus.

The growing popularity among the troops of "the proconsul of Caucasus" caused anxiety on the part of the Russian government circles. In the midst of the Russian-Persian War, 1826-27 Ermolov was removed from command and replaced in 1827 by General of Infantry I. F. Paskevich. Soon Ermolov submitted for resignation, which was granted in March 1827.

From 1831 to 1839 Ermolov was a member of the State Council, but evaded atteding the meetings. General occasionally went to inspect the troops and attend military parades. In 1837 Ermolov was awarded the rank of General of Artillery. During the Crimean War (1853-56), he was elected chief of the militia in seven provinces, but for the 76-year-old general, this post was just an honor.

Aleksei Petrovich Ermolov died 11 (23) April 1861 in Moscow and according to his will was buried in Orel near his father in the church of Holy Trinity Cemetery. A. P. Ermolov left memoirs detailing the events of wars in which he had participated.

Lit.: Алексей Петрович Ермолов // Военная галерея Зимнего дворца. Л., 1981; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://www.orel-trinity.ru/node/22; Алексей Петрович Ермолов, 1777-1861: Биографический очерк. СПб., 1912; Бейтуганов С. Н. Кабарда и Ермолов: Очерки истории. Нальчик, 1993; Блиоев М. М., Дегоев В. В. Кавказская война: 1817-1864. М., 1994; Власов В. А. Его слава принадлежит России: А. П. Ермолов: страницы жизни. Орёл, 2008; Гордин А. Я. Кавказские письма А. П. Ермолова М. С. Воронцову. СПб., 2011; Гордин А. Я., Лисицына Г. Г. Генерал А. П. Ермолов и российско-кавказские отношения в XIX – начале XX века. СПб., 2009; Ермолов А. С. Библиографический указатель сочинений, журнальных статей и заметок об А. П. Ермолове: С приложением перечня его портретов: К 50-летию со дня его кончины. СПб., 1911; Ермолов А. С. Алексей Петрович Ермолов: 1777-1861: Биографический очерк. СПб., 1912; Ермолов А. С. А. П. Ермолов в Персии. СПб., 1909; Желиховская В. П. Ермолов на Кавказе. СПб., 1899; Записки Алексея Петровича Ермолова: Ч. 1. 1801-1812: с приложениями. М., 1865; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: ссылка; То же. Ч. 2. 1816-1827: с приложениями. М., 1868; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: ссылка; Записки А. П. Ермолова, 1798-1826. М., 1991; Лесин В. И. Генерал Ермолов. М., 2010; Накропин В. В. Генерал А. П. Ермолов в войнах против наполеоновской Франции: 1805-1815 гг.: дис. ... к. и. н. Ярославль, 2003; Погодин М. П. Алексей Петрович Ермолов. Материалы для его биографии. М., 1864; Ратч В. Ф. Сведения об Алексее Петровиче Ермолове. СПб., 1861; Садов Ю. В. Военная и государственная деятельность генерала А. П. Ермолова: дис. ... к. и. н. СПб., 2006; Уманец Ф. М. Проконсул Кавказа. СПб., 1912; Утверждение русского владычества на Кавказе. К столетию присоединения Грузии к России. 1801-1901. Т. 3. Ч. 1: Время А. П. Ермолова. 1816-1826 гг. Тифлис, 1904; Цылов Н. И. Эпизоды из боевой жизни Алексея Петровича Ермолова на Кавказе в 1818, 1819 и 1820 годах. СПб., 1878.

From the Presidential library materials:

Архив князя Воронцова / Под ред. П. И. Бартенева. Кн. 36: Бумаги фельдмаршала князя Михаила Семёновича Воронцова: письма князя Цицианова, переписка с Д. В. Арсеньевым и С. Н. Мариным, письма А. П. Ермолова и бумаги разного содержания. М., 1890;

Записки Алексея Петровича Ермолова о войне 1812 года = Memoires du general Yermolow sur la campagne de 1812 / Авт. предисл. кн. П. Долгоруков. Londres; Bruhelles, 1863;

Потто В. А. Взятие Мехтулы: Дагестанский поход Ермолова в 1818 г. СПб., 1899;

Потто В. А. Ермолов на Кавказе: постройка крепости Грозной. СПб., 1899.