Friedrich Wilhelm von Buxhöwden and His Son Peter,
Generals in the Russian Service


(From Sytin’s Voennaya Entsikolpediya, c. 1913)


Buxhöwden, Graf Friedrich Wilhelm von [in Russian—Buksgevden, Theodor Theodorovich], subsequently Graf, general-of-infantry, born 2 September 1750 on the island of Ösel on the government estate Magnusdahl, died 23 August 1811 in the castle of Lohde. In 1764 he entered the Artillery and Engineer Cadet Corps (later the 2nd St.-Petersburg Cadet Corps) and while still a cadet was sent on the Turkish campaign where he was promoted to engineer-ensign in 1770 for bravery demonstrated during operations at Bendery. In the next year, at the storming of Brailov, he had two serious wounds but still succeeded in spiking two enemy guns, for which feat he was awarded the order of St. George 4th class. After being assigned adjutant to General-Feldzeugmeister Prince Orlov in 1772 and then accompanying him on travels in Italy and Germany, Buxhöwden far outdistanced his comrades in service thanks to the patronage of this powerful nobleman. In 1783 he was already a colonel and in 1787 was made an aide-de-camp to the Empress. He commanded the Kexholm Infantry Regiment and in 1789 already held the rank of brigadier when he joined Vice-Admiral Prince Nassau-Zigen’s galley fleet operating against the Swedes. Taking part in the squadron’s many actions, he had the opportunity to further distinguish himself. His part in the battle near Rochensalm was marked by particular courage and military ability when, at the head of a landing force on the island of Kutsal-Mulim, he greatly contributed to the defeat of the Swedish galley fleet, for which he was awarded the order of St. George 3rd class and soon afterwards promoted to major general. In this rank, and keeping his appointment as aide-de-camp, Buxhöwden took part in the land operations of 1790 with distinction. Upon the conclusion of peace with Sweden he was awarded the St. Anne 1st class. Commanding a division in the Polish war of 1793 and 1794, he took part in the storming of Praga, among other actions, and then became the commandant of Warsaw. This campaign gave Buxhöwden a series of further awards: gold saber decorated with diamonds, the order of St. Vladimir 2nd class, the Magnusdahl estate, a medal from the citizens of Warsaw, and many others. Upon the partition of Poland, on 18 December 1795 he was elevated by the King of Prussia to Graf and awarded the orders of the White Eagle and St. Stanislav 1st class. In the castle of Zonnenburg that same year, Buxhöwden was chosen to be a commodore of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, and to accompany this he was given the lifelong possession of the fief of Gorgast. Soon after Emperor Paul I’s ascension to the throne Buxhöwden, by now a lieutenant general, was assigned the position of military governor of St. Petersburg. He received the order of St. Alexander Nevsky and on 5 April 1797 was elevated to Graf in the Russian empire. However, in September of the following year he was released from service and went to Germany. Alexander I recalled him to Russia and in January 1802, in accordance with an election by the St.-Petersburg nobility, he was named chairman of a committee established to reassess city taxes. In the following year Graf Buxhöwden was again taken into military service and, as a general-of-infantry, named inspector of the Livonia (Livland) Inspectorate. With the commencement of military operations against France in 1805, he was sent with a separate corps to Olmütz to join Kutuzov. After this was successfully accomplished he took part in the Battle of Austerlitz. Here Buxhöwden commanded the army’s left flank that after the withdrawal of the center and right was surrounded by the entire French army. Murat’s cavalry charged our infantry’s ranks, but Buxhöwden held firm until he received the order to retreat. He was then able to force his way through the French army and two days later rejoin the main force, whereupon he received the order of St. Vladimir 2nd class from the Emperor. In the 1807 campaign Buxhöwden was one of the corps commanders in Graf Kamenskii’s army; the other corps was commanded by Bennigsen. The latter, upon the departure of the commander-in-chief from the army, did not want to subordinate himself to Buxhöwden, his senior in rank. Bennigsen went so far as to avoid linking up with him and even burned the bridge over the Narew that could have served to communicate between the two corps. After the victory at Pultusk Bennigsen was named commander-in-chief while Buxhöwden was recalled from the army and made military governor of Riga. After the signing of the Tilsit peace treaty, Buxhöwden again received chief command over the army. Along with this he was given the task of bring it up to strength by incorporating men from the militia, which he quickly accomplished and for his excellent service received the order of St. Andrew the First-Called. In the beginning of 1808 Buxhöwden was made commander-in-chief of the army concentrated against Sweden. In spite of the severe winter weather and the relatively small numbers of his forces, the campaign was crowned with brilliant successes. After entering Swedish territory at Aborfors, within a month Buxhöwden was able to seize all of southern and central Finland and the Aland Islands. Sveaborg fell on 3 May, and by December all Finland was cleared of Swedish forces. Graf Buxhöwden was decorated with diamonds to the order of St. Andrew the First-Called and the order of St. George 2nd class, but because of illness turned command of the army over to General Knorring. After shedding the title of commander-in-chief he settled in Estonia (Estland), where he lived out his days as a private citizen.


Sources: Service record in the Main Staff’s General Archive. “Zhurnal Komiteta Ministrov” 1810-1812, Vol. 1, page 470. Istoriya tsarstvovaniya Aleksandra I, by M. Bogdanovich, Vol. 2, pages 168, 184-87. Schilder, Imperator Aleksandr Pervyi. “Medali”…by Yu. B. Iversen, Issue 1, page 71. Dictionaries of Zedler, Starchevskii, Plyushar, Berezin, Andreevskii, Klyushnikov, and Leer.                                    D. S—v.




Buxhöwden, Peter Graf von [in Russian, “Buksgevden, Graf Petr Theodorovich], lieutenant general, senator, born in 1790, died in 1863. After receiving a home education, he entered the Polish army. After attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel [sic], in 1805 he transferred to Russian service and was enrolled in the Taurica Grenadier Regiment as an ensign, assigned as an adjutant to his father, Graf Friedrich Wilhelm von Buxhöwden. In 1806 Buxhöwden transferred to the Life-Guards Preobrazhenskii Regiment, and on 12 March 1808 he was made an aide-de-camp to His Majesty. In 1808 and 1809 he was on campaign against Sweden, and for distinction in battles was awarded the order of St. Vladimir 4th class with ribbon. In 1811 Buxhöwden temporarily left the service. After rejoining at the beginning of the Patriotic War, he was assigned to the Aleksandriya Hussar Regiment, in whose ranks he took part in battles at Kobrin, Pruzhany, and many other places. For the bravery he demonstrated during a night action that seized three enemy standards he was awarded the order of St. George 4th class. For his distinguished service he was transferred to the Life-Guards Hussar Regiment, and in the 1813 campaign Buxhöwden was at the battles of Lutzen and Bautzen, in partisan operations under Levenshtern, and at Buntzlau, Katzbach, and Leipzig. In this last battle he was wounded in the left leg and for his distinguished conduct awarded a gold saber inscribed “For courage.” Soon deteriorating health forced him to again quit the service. In 1816 he retired, remaining so until 1820 when he as assigned to the Yelisavetgrad Hussar Regiment as a lieutenant colonel. In 1824 he was promoted to colonel and transferred back to the Life-Guards Hussar Regiment. In 1828 military operations opened against Turkey. Buxhöwden was attached to the St.-Petersburg Lancer Regiment and went on campaign in the vanguard of the 6th Infantry Corps. At the siege of Silistria he was given command of a separate force with which he was in the advance posts, and on 16 July, during a major sortie by the Turks, he greatly contributed to beating off the enemy. The next year Graf Buxhöwden once again left the service, and with the civil rank of Actual State Councilor he joined the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 1831 he was awarded the order of St. Vladimir 3rd class for his efforts and zeal in taking measures against the spread of cholera in St. Petersburg. From 1833 through 1844 he was the St.-Petersburg nobility’s elected district representative. During that time he was also commission chairman for the 8th census. In 1840 he was re-titled a major general and assigned to the Corps of Gendarmes and made a member of a commission established to investigate the living conditions of workers and craftsmen in St. Petersburg. In August 1842 Buxhöwden was named commander of the 4th Region of the Corps of Gendarmes. In April 1850 he was promoted to lieutenant general and in that same year made a senator in the Ruling Senate’s 2nd Section of the 3rd Department. Graf Buxhöwden’s highest decoration was the order of St. Alexander Nevsky (1861).


Sources: Service record in the Ruling Senate’s St.-Petersburg archive. A. Starchevskii’s Slovar’. General Officers’ Seniority Lists for 1862.          D. S-ev.


Translated by Mark Conrad, 2006.