By V. I. Kushnikov

(From Istoricheskii Vestnik, T. 17, 1884. IDC microfilm copy held by Harvard University. Translated by Mark Conrad, 1998.)


Prince Petr Ivanovich Bagration came from Georgia to St. Petersburg in 1782. At that time he was 18 years old. He stayed at the house of Princess Anna Aleksandrovna Golitsyn, who was born a Georgian princess and who had summoned him from Georgia to be enrolled into service. The next day, while lunching with Prince Potemkin at his dacha on the Peterhof road some 8 miles from the capital (this dacha later belonged to Aleksandr L’vovich Naryshkin), Princess Golitsyn asked Potemkin to take young Bagration under his patronage. Potemkin immediately sent a messenger for him. The poor youth who had just arrived from a distant region did not yet have suitable clothing and did not know how he was going to appear before Potemkin. Karelin, Princess Golitsyn’s head of the household staff, rescued him from a difficult situation by giving him his own suit, and Bagration galloped off with the messenger to the dacha. Of middling height, pale, and thin, Bagration in the ill-fitting coat of a steward modestly but not timidly stood before the "great prince of Taurida" in the midst of glittering society. Potemkin threw his eagle eye on the unknown youth and sounded him out in conversation. Satisfied with Bagration’s answers, he congratulated him with an appointment as an ensign and ordered that he be sent to the army.

Over a quarter of a century went by. It was the year 1811. Bagration, already a leader of armies, knight of the order of St. Andrew, famed as the hero of the Russian people, was spending the summer with the same Princess A. A. Golitsyn among friends and relatives in the village of Simy, in the Yur’ev District of Vladimir Province, resting on his laurels and preparing for new deeds. Once after dinner, Bagration looked long and steadily at the old steward serving behind the table. It was Karelin. Without saying a word, Bagration stood up, went directly to the old man, threw himself around his neck, and exclaimed, "Do you remember, good Karelin, how thirty years ago I appeared in front of Prince Potemkin in your coat? Without you, perhaps, I would not be what you see me as now. Thank you, a thousand times – thank you!"

Soon after this, in September, 1811, a courier brought the order to Simy for Prince Bagration to take command of the Second Western Army. Bagration said goodbye to his hosts in Simy, promising to return the next year to rest if circumstances would only permit. In actuality, in exactly a year he returned to Simy… to rest eternally.

End of translation.