Short Biography of Baron Rodrig Grigor'evich Bistrom
From Russkii Biograficheskii Slovar' (c. 1910):
BISTROM, Baron, Rodrig Grigor'evich, general-adjutant, general-of-infantery, member of the Military Council, born 10 October, 1810, died 21 December, 1886. From the nobility of Courland Province, Bistrom entered service in 1827 as a non-commissioned officer in the Life-Guards Semenovskii Regiment, where, after finishing the course in the School for Guards Officer Candidates, he was promoted in 1828 to ensign. The beginning of Baron Bistrom's service was marked by his participation in two campaigns. In the Turkish war, along with his regiment, he was, among other places, at the siege of Varna fortress, and afterwards he went in 1831 to rebellious Poland, where he took part in the fighting at Zholtki village and in the taking of the foreworks of the first line of fortifications and the city wall around Warsaw. For this latter campaign he was awarded the Order of St. Anne 4th Class inscribed "For Courage", as well as His Majesty's personal thanks. Promoted to colonel in 1845, Bistrom in 1851 was promoted to the rank of major general and made commander of the Life-Guards Semenovskii Regiment, with which during the Eastern War he took part in the defense of the Baltic coastline. In 1860 he was named a general-adjutant and, having soon afterward received command of the 2nd Guards Infantry Division, in 1863 he went on military operations with the division to suppress the Polish rebellion. Following this, in October of 1868 he was assigned the post of aide to H.I.H. the Commander-in-Chief of the Guards Troops and the St.-Petersburg Military District, and he remained in this position until he was named a member of the Military Council in 1874. On the day he completed 50 years of service (1878), Bistrom received the Order of St. Vladimir 1st Class. He was a general-of-infantry since 1869.
Notes by M.C.:
The Eastern War was what we know as the Crimean War. The Guards Corps did not go the theater of war, but rather remained in the Baltic Area to guard St. Petersburg from naval assault by the British and French fleets.
"General-adjutant" is not what in western armies we call an "adjutant-general", this latter being an army's chief administrative chief. "General-adjutant" in the Russian army is simply an aide-de-camp to the tsar of general-officer rank. (There were other aides-de-camp who were of less than general-officer rank, called "flugel-adjutants".)
It was standard for nobles to enter the army as NCO's (for a short time before being promoted).
Six other Bistroms who were awarded various classes of the St. George Order:
Karl Ivanovich (-1) (1770-1838).
Fedor Antonovich (Frederic, son of Otto) (1781-30.vi.1820); married Karolina Gotgrdovna fon Baranova (1785-1869) Children: Georg (died in Caucasas, officer); Evgeiia (married General Kozen); Paulina (married General Goodman).
Adam Ivanovich (-2) (1770-1828).
Anton Antonovich (1788-1843?) (colonel 1812). There exists a beautiful miniature portrait, by Eggink done in 1819, as Colonel Guard Artillery. (He was brother of Filip Antonovich.)
Filip Antonovich (lt-col 1812) awarded twice; in 1813, Prussian Pour le Merite.
Aleksandr Ivanovich (sub.-lt. 1813).