Mikhail Vasil'evich Kakhovskii.



(From Russkii biograficheskii slovar’, c. 1910.)


Kakhovskii (Kokhovskii), Graf Mikhail Vasil’evich. General-of-infantry, from Smolensk provincial nobility, born in 1734, died in 1800. Educated in the Army Nobles’ Cadet Corps [Sukhoputnyi shlyakhetnyi kadetskii korpus], counting his service from 8 May 1752 when he was still a cadet. In 1757 he was graduated as a sublieutenant in the First Regiment of Shuvalov’s Corps of Observation [“Observatsionnyi” korpus]. With the disbandment of this corps he was transferred to the 1st Fusilier Regiment. He took part in the Seven Years’ War beginning in 1758 and was at the battles of Zorndorf, Paltzig, and Kunersdorf. In 1760 he was promoted to lieutenant, and in that same year assigned to the Austrian General Laudon, with whom he was during the blockade of Breslau, the Battle of Liegnitz, and the retreat after that battle. He was then in Graf Chernyshev’s corps at the taking of Berlin. In June of 1761 he was promoted to captain with transfer to the St.-Petersburg Musketeer Regiment. In September of the same year he was named Ober-Quartiermeister of Graf Chernyshev’s corps and then took part, as part of Laudon’s Austrian corps, in the storming and capture of the fortress of Schweidnitz on 1 October. In April of 1762 he was named general-quartermaster-lieutenant [general-kvartermistr-leitenant] in Chernyshev’s corps, but on 21 July of that year he was with the Prussian King Frederick II at the Battle of Burkersdorf.

            In 1764 he was in Prince M. N. Volkonskii’s corps and at his command oversaw the properties of Prince Radzivill which had been taken under Russian control, and he arranged the billeting of troops on these lands. In 1766 he was promoted to brigadier, and in 1768 named quartermaster-general. In this rank and position he took part in the First Turkish War, assigned to the headquarters of Prince Golitsyn’s army. In the 1769 campaign he took part in operations around Khotin. In the 1770 campaign, with the 2nd Army under the command of Graf P. I. Panin, he participated in operations around Bendery until the final capture of this fortress, and in the 1771 campaign, in the same army, he was in Prince Dolgorukov’s operations in the Crimea, including the taking by storm of the Perekop Line on 13-14 June, the capture of Kaffa on 29 June, and the overall occupation of the Crimea.

            Consequent to an order of the Empress dated 8 November 1771, “to protect our border with Polish Lithuania, to repel any disturbances arising from Polish rebels there, and to preserve the existing peace and tranquility in our Polish provinces lying next to the mentioned border,” it was directed that our forces form a sort of cordon (24 infantry companies, 9 dragoon squadrons, 1000 cossacks, 9 light field detachments) along the Western Dvina and Dnieper rivers. Command of the greater part of these troops, deployed from Druya to Loev, was given to Kakhovskii, re-titled major general. By the orders of our envoy in Warsaw, Saldern, and Lieutenant General A. I. Bibikov, he was also enjoined to carry out “actions” [“ekzekutsii”] against the estates of Polish magnates who openly or secretly opposed the views of the Russian government views concerning Poland.

In 1772, even before the conclusion of negotiations with Austria and Prussia, Kakhovskii was already foreseen by the empress as governor of Mogilev Province, which was intended to be formed for half of the acquired lands—the other half was to form Pskov Province and its governor was to be M. N. Krechetnikov. Both of these men were given secret instructions to gather information which would be needed in their new posts. On 28 May 1772 they were both given a special order regarding the administration of the new provinces. The empress enjoined them above all to establish complete security for all inhabitants, put an end to robberies, eliminate all irregularities in administrative decisions along with “vile tortures in the investigation of cases.” The empress prescribed that full religious tolerance be observed, and personal matters be conducted according to existing laws and in the previously accepted language. The governors’ special attention was directed to the forming of a peasant population on former royal lands which would become state domains, as well as on those properties which would be temporarily placed at the disposal of this or that person in accordance with his duties and which would subsequently be returned to the state. It was prescribed that careful watch be kept over monasteries and the clergy, especially the Jesuits, and in general—the country be administered so that the inhabitants would actually see the advantage and benefits of Russian sovereignty in place of the previous Polish rule. Soon the senate received from Kakhovskii and Krechetnikov their comments on the proposed boundaries of their provinces and districts as drawn up in St. Petersburg and agreed to their submitted changes. At the same time the governors set up customs stations along the new border of Russia with Poland and postal systems within their provinces. Kakhovskii paid special attention to ways of communication and postal services. In 1773 he was promoted to lieutenant general In February of 1776 the senate agreed with Kakhovskii’s proposals regarding the organization of trade in grain and spirits with Polish districts and soon set forth Kakhovskii’s undertakings as a model for other governors to safeguard their provinces from bread shortages. From 1779 Kakhovskii occupied a position as member of the Military College [i.e. ministry of war], the president of which was Prince G. A. Potemkin.

            In 1783, commanding a separate corps, Kakhovskii took part in operations in the Crimea, and then in the annexation of the Crimea to Russia. For his excellent discharge of his assigned duties he was promoted to general-in-chief [general-anshef] on 24 November 1784. With the beginning of the Second Turkish War in 1787, he was named commander of the 2nd Division of the Yekaterinoslav Army, assigned to the defense of the Crimea. He successfully carried out this assignment at the same time as administering Taurica Region itself.

            In accordance with Potemkin’s orders, in case of enemy landings he proposed to not defend the coast, but withdraw into the interior of the country (for example, from Theodosia to Karasubazar) and concentrate the entire Crimea Corps, or at least a large part of it, and attack the Turks. A similar plan of action would have been immeasurably better than the plan which we had adopted when the allies landed in the Crimea in 1854.

            In 1791 Kakhovskii took part in operations against the fortress of Anapa, up to and including its capture by storm. On his visits to the Crimea, Potemkin came to know Kakhovskii well, and from this time on he always recommended him to the empress, testifying to his best points. Not long before his death, Potemkin issued a special order summoning Kakhovskii to headquarters “to assume command,” which had as its consequence after the death of the field marshal the famous quarrel between Kahkovskii and his senior in rank, M. Th. Kamenskii, over the position of commander-in-chief. This dispute (see M. Th. Kamenskii’s biography) was decided in favor of Kakhovskii, who took command of the army as well as of the Black-Sea Fleet.

            At this time peace talks were already under way which ended in the conclusion of the Peace of Jassy, so Kakhovskii did not have to conduct military operations. He only had to lead the army out of the Turkish territories that were the theater of war and deploy them in winter quarters in the frontier region. Soon after this, before the beginning of the Second Polish War in 1792, Kakhovskii was given command of the Army of the Ukraine, which was made up of the forces in Moldavia and Bessarabia and designated for operations against the main forces of the Polish army of Prince Joseph Poniatowski in Poland, the Ukraine, and Volhynia.

            The Army of the Ukraine consisted of 54 battalions, 109 squadrons, and 13 cossack regiments, i.e. about 65,000 men, and was divided into the four groups or corps of Lieutenant Generals M. I. Golenishchev-Kutuzov, Dunin, Derfelden, and Levanidov. According to Kakhovskii’s plan the army’s main strength, being the corps of Kutuzov and Dunin, was to invade Poland from the Dniester and operate against the Poles, trying to seize them from their right flank, while Derfelden was to move through Olviopol onto the enemy’s left flank and Levanidov was to operate against his rear.

            By the beginning of the campaign in April, information had been received on the deployment of Polish army units at Tyvrov, Nemirov, Bratslav, and Tulchin. Kakhovskii ordered Derfelden to draw the enemy’s attention toward Olviopol. In May Derfelden crossed the border at that point and skirted around the enemy in the direction of Uman. Dunin and Kutuzov, after crossing the Dniester on 8 May, moved forward by long marches, the first through Tomashpol and Shpikov to Rogozna on the Bug, and the second, with whose column was Kakhovskii himself, through Shargorod and Bratslav to Vinnitsa, opposite the enemy’s extreme right flank. The Poles recognized the danger of their position and they began to retreat very swiftly without offering any serious battle. On 31 May Poniatowski added the columns of Wielhorski, Grochowski, and Kosciuszko to his main forces at Pikov, but the morale of his troops was already falling somewhat.

            At this time Kakhovskii united Kutuzov’s and Dunin’s corps at Litin, dispatched two cossack regiments to Levanidov (at Chudnov) “to secure communications,” and moved with the now united corps against the enemy’s right flank at Khmelnik. Meanwhile Derfelden moved toward Pogrebishche, threatening the Poles’ left flank. By maneuvering in this way, Kakhovskii forced the enemy army to withdraw to Lyubar. The Russians continued their advance, threatening the Poles with outflanking maneuvers. Kutuzov was separated from the main forces and joined with Levanidov, who moved through Chudnov to Miropole to operate against the enemy rear. Meanwhile, Kakhovskii with the remaining forces moved on 1 and 2 June from Khmelnik through Staraya Sinyava and Ostropole with the intent of crossing the Sluch River at this point and attacking the Poles. At the same time, General Markov with 4 battalions and 12 squadrons was ordered “by various maneuvers to show himself opposite their [the enemy’s] camp under Prince Poniatowski, located at Lyubar, so as to cover our march to Ostropole.” Derfelden was halted at Pogrebishche to cover the rear and secure the army’s communications, as well as to support the Targowica Confederation.

            Kakhovskii crossed at Ostropole and on 3 June moved to Vyshnepol with the aim of attacking the Poles at Lyubar, with Levanidov having the task of cutting off their way to Polonnoe. However, Poniatowski detached Kosciuszko to Chartorya to make a demonstration (appearing to threaten Levanidov’s communications), and himself swiftly moved his forces in three columns through Chartorya, Boryshkovichi, and Derevichi to Polonnoe, with the goal of cutting off the Russians there. Levanidov was already preparing to march forth when he learned of Kosciuszko’s movement and gave way to the fear of being attacked from the front by Poniatowski and from the rear by Kosciuszko, and so remained at Miropole. Thanks to this Poniatowski arrived unhindered with part of his army at Polonnoe, but his remaining columns were not able to completely distance themselves from the Russian.

            On 4 June at three o’clock in the morning, Kakhovskii moved his forces in two columns to come around the enemy’s right flank. During the march it became clear that the enemy was strung out down the bank of the Sluch River in the direction of Chartorya, having detached 4000 infantry to cover the march and occupy the crossing on the route to Poniatowski, as well as 10 squadrons to cover Lyubar and stores in the camp there. Subsequently these storage magazines were burned by the enemy himself upon the approach of our light troops. Then Kakhovskii directed both our columns to the villages of Dizhivshchizna and Dinkovtsy, where two bridges were hurriedly built across the Bezdonnaya Krinitsa River, and a weir was repaired. Seeing his right wing being outflanked, the enemy retreated. Our advance troops followed him and the enemy took to flight, losing 227 men. Meanwhile the infantry of his left column, which had been covering the supply train and remainder of the stores, was discovered. Kakhovskii directed Major General Markov against them with the Yekaterinoslav Jäger Corps. The greater part of the supply train was captured and the remainder fled to Wielhorski’s nearby column. It was followed by our cavalry and jägers. At the village of Derevichi (near the village of Boryszkowicy mentioned by Polish sources) there was a clash with Wielhorski’s column. The Poles were pushed towards Derevichi, and when they began to retreat, a bridge over a corduroy road on top of a long dike collapsed under the weight of wagons and guns. The Poles were defeated and lost 981 men, 7 cannons, and large number of other weapons, their mobile stores magazine with grain, and part of their pay chest. Our forces lost only 98 men. The Poles’ losses would have been greater if Levanidov had blocked their way to Polonnoe. The enemy fortified that place (his stores magazines were here) and a nearby position and proposed to halt Kakhovskii here. However, due to the fall in morale among the Polish troops after the battle at Derevichi, the disorder of the retreat, and other circumstances, as well as the decisiveness of Kakhovskii’s advance, Poniatowski rejected the proposal and sent part of his supplies to Zaslavl, burned the rest, and at dawn on 6 June himself moved to that place under the cover of Kosciuszko’s rearguard. He then summoned part of Lubomirski’s force to Zalintsy (Zhilintsy) and himself deployed at Shepetovka.

            On the 6th Kakhovskii occupied Polonnoe. Major General Sheremetov was sent to pursue the enemy, and he overtook them only with difficulty since he was delayed by damaged bridges. Major General Markov’s column was then sent out in order to come around the Poles through Zelenitsy and hit them in the flank. Markov quickly set off at daybreak on 7 June and at 7 o’clock in the morning arrived at Zelenitsy where he was met by 3000 Poles under Zajaczek [Zaionchek] later reinforced by Poniatowski. At 6 o’clock the enemy began to withdraw to Zaslavl. At almost this exact time Kosciuszko approached from the opposite direction, and he in his turn started an indecisive fight with part of Markov’s force. He then drew off into the woods and by using byways joined Poniatowski the next day. In this encounter, called the Battle of Gorodishche in Kakhovskii’s relation (of 29 June), the Poles lost not less than 800 men, not counting wounded, and 2 guns, while the Russians lost 730.

            Meanwhile Poniatowski concentrated 23,000 men at Zaslavl and decided to continue his retreat, by which he hoped to place the pursuing Russian between two fires. To arrange that he moved to Ostrog with 17,000 men and sent Lubomirski with 6000 men to Kunev. Kakhovskii still followed after the Poles and entered Zaslavl on 9 June. Here Poniatowski’s adjutant appeared before him with a proposal for a four-week truce. Kakhovskii answered that “he would continue operations as long as there was in Poland a party, or any band of troops, opposed to the general confederation and the magnanimous intentions of Her Imperial Majesty that coincided with the prevailing wishes of true patriots for the restoration of the freedom and laws to the republic that had been stolen by the illegal constitution of 3 May; and that joining the confederation or laying down arms were the sole means of preventing the destruction of hostile forces and averting the shedding of blood.” Nevertheless, the Poles gained some time through the negotiations so that Kakhovskii marched out of Zaslavl only on 14 June.

            At this point Kakhovskii decided on threatening the Poles’ left flank with the aim of cutting Poniatowski off from the northern districts and, under favorable circumstances, pushing him to the Austrian border and Galicia. Therefore he paid no attention to Lubomirski’s move towards Kunev and marched with his main force to Ostrog, having sent Dunin to Chernyakhov and Levanidov still further to the right to Gushcha with the purpose of crossing the Goryn at these two places and attacking the Polish army in its strong position at Ostrog or enveloping it from the left flank.

            Poniatowski’s troops were deployed on inapproachable bluffs and heights, the dominance of which was increased by marshes and streams. Additionally, half of Ostrog, suitable for defense, was fortified and occupied by artillery and infantry. Battle began with the nearest enemy troops upon Kakhovskii’s arrival with cossacks at 6 o’clock in the evening. These troops were hurrying to withdraw into the small town, but the fighting recommenced until nightfall, without any success for the Poles. Our troops taking part in the formation spent the night in battle formation, while the rest were still on the march as not all had arrived; some 30 versts [20 miles] had to covered through the woods.

            On the morning of 15 June enemy troops were noticed on the heights where they had built four batteries and were now moving next to the Franciscan monastery of Menzirzhichi (on our left flank), surrounded by a wall, and intended to prevent our crossing here. Kakhovskii detached Markov with 2 infantry and 3 cavalry regiments with 10 guns to drive off the enemy and destroy his batteries, but this action by Markov was ordered to be only a demonstration since Dunin and Levanidov were again told to reach their indicated points as soon as possible, hasten a crossing of the Gordyn, and attack the enemy from the flank and rear. Markov’s actions only resulted in the enemy withdrawing to his main camp.

            That night Poniatowski received word that Dunin’s light forces had already crossed the Gordyn at Chernyakhov and that the rest of his troops were making ready to follow him. In light of this, as well as the lack of military supplies, he declined to defend his position at Ostrog any longer and on the morning of the 16th retreated along the road to Dubno. Kakhovskii immediately ordered bridges to be built across the Viliya River, occupied Ostrog, gave his troops a short rest here, and then pursued the enemy the whole night, reaching the village of Urvani. He had also ordered the force which had crossed at Chernyakhov to “follow as quickly as possible” in order to match his movements on the left flank. The Poles were pursued to Varkovichi. Their losses were rather heavy, but our forces lost only 12 men and 9 horses in all.

            In the Polish army there now arose dissatisfaction and discord. Poniatowski and Lubomirski quarreled and not only retreated along different routes as the Russians approached but also, upon continuing the retreat and reaching Vladimir, deployed separately: the former at Vladimir, and the latter 3 miles to the north at the village of Verba.

            Meanwhile the Russians were delayed mainly by the large number of rivers whose bridges had been destroyed. On the 17th Dunin and Levanidov built bridges across the Gordyn. After they crossed this river and continued on to try to catch the Poles at Dubno, Levanidov was sent through Rovno and Kivan to Mikhov, while Dunin went through Varkovichi toward Dubno while maintaining communications with Kakhovskii, who halted at Urvani and rested his troops on the 18th and 19th with the intent that the straggling supply train be brought up. On 20 June Kakhovskii and Dunin approached Dubno where it was decided to attack the enemy on the following day. But on 21 June it was revealed that the enemy “tore down the bridges and retired during the night, leaving in our sight his rearguard of cavalry.” To follow them 2 cossack regiments were sent out and then 2 light-horse regiments. From the 17th through the 21st 60 Poles were taken prisoner, in Dubno a stores magazine was captured which contained “a large quantity of provisions and munitions.” After occupying Dubno, our forces deployed at the villages of Khorpani and Ivani. Kakhovskii gave the troops two days of rest and only on 23 June did he march out of the environs of Dubno with the goal of overtaking the enemy by going through Krasnoe and Lokachi to Vladimir. Levanidov, though, went from Mikhov through Kovel to Lyuboml. From the 23rd through the 25th 115 Poles were taken prisoner. On the 25th a supply train of 40 wagons was captured. Also on the 25th, at Lokachi, information was received that the Poles were encamped on the high ground beyond the Luga River at Vladimir and that they “were in a great fright and hurrying to send their supply trains to cross the Bug at Dubenka.” Kakhovskii gave his men a ten-hour rest and set forth at 11 o’clock at night to have his cavalry arrive at Vladimir at 4 o’clock on the morning of 26 June. On receiving reports of infantry approaching with artillery, he ordered the cossacks to reconnoiter the vicinity of the town. However, the enemy did not wait to be attacked and “fled to the right flank” to a bridge over a marsh on the road to Dubenka, leaving some of their infantry to destroy the bridge and weir on the Luga River. These troops were soon overrun and the needed bridges repaired. Our troops were already preparing to march to Vladimir and deploy for a rest when suddenly Lubomirski’s force appeared opposite our right flank. Lubomirski had not been told by Poniatowski of his withdrawal and so approached within musket shot. After a short fight and losing about 200 men, his supply train and pay chest (about 40,000 roubles) with tents and ammunition, Lubomirski quickly retreated to the Bug. Our troops deployed along both banks of the Luga River.

            Now the Polish forces which had withdrawn across the Bug had to defend the line of this river. In order to carry this out, they dispersed along this whole line as a kind of cordon, but this was pierced in the north by Krechetnikov as well as in the south by Kakhovskii.

            Following Kakhovskii into Vladimir came the leaders of the Targowica Confederation. Subsequently, a confederation was formed here that adhered to the Targowica organization. This delayed Kakhovskii’s movements and gave the Poles the chance to reinforce their defenses. Until 3 July only some small cossack detachments were sent out in front of the army, but on that day Kakhovskii’s leading corps crossed to Ustilug, Tormasov was in Torcha (Turchany), and Levanidov was in Lyuboml. Intelligence was received that Poniatowski was burning bridges and ferries, destroying fords, fortifying his positions, etc., and that he had sent Wielhorski to Opalin and Kosciuszko to Kladnev, while he himself with the main force remained in Dorogusk, supposing that all of Kakhovskii’s forces would come to that place.

            On 5 July our troops approached the Bug. On the 6th the troops continued moving toward the crossing at Kladnev, where Kakhovskii himself went to reconnoiter. The enemy, who had built fortifications on both banks of the river, opened fire, but jägers hurrying up with artillery forced him to stop this. The bridge here had been burned even before Kakhovskii’s arrival, but two ferries on the left bank had been only half burned. Jägers threw themselves into the water to swim across and pull the ferries to the right bank, after which crossings began. The cossacks crossed by swimming. About six squadrons of enemy cavalry were overrun about a half-mile from the crossing. Meanwhile a pontoon bridge was laid down over which the entire leading corps crossed to deploy at Dubenka. At the same time Kakhovskii ordered that the enemy be attacked the next day. With seven or eight thousand men Kosciuszko occupied a strong position whose right flank was covered by the village of Volya near the Austrian border, and its left by the village of Ukhanka on the Bug. This position was further strengthened by batteries , flechets, and trenches. At 5 o’clock on the 7th Kakhovskii set off to reconnoiter this position with Orlov’s light troops and the Yekaterinoslav Jägers. The strength of the enemy position did not worry him at all. He completely relied on the courage of his troops who by that time had concentrated in a sufficiently large number. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Kakhovskii moved his advance forces forward in three columns which were met with fire from the enemy batteries. The commander-in-chief directed Saltykov with 2 battalions of jägers and Orlov with 3 cossack regiments to the left towards Volya in order to expel from the woods light troops located in front of the enemy’s right wing. Two other battalions of jägers with 2 cossack regiments were sent to the right to Ukhanka. Brazhnikov was ordered to establish a battery of 20 guns under the cover of V. Zubov’s grenadiers. Behind him stood Markov with cavalry. Then, when Dunin’s forces came up, 12 of his guns were placed to the right of Brazhnikov’s battery, while Dunin himself with 6 battalions, 24 guns, and 11 squadrons went to the right, opposite the enemy’s left wing.

            Moving forward in this formation, our forces were met with the fire of the enemy’s entire artillery which, however, was too spread out so that the firing from our batteries quickly suppressed it. Taking advantage of this, General Milashevich, commanding the infantry on the left wing, sent 5 companies of grenadiers against the trenches. After the grenadiers made their way through a marsh, they captured three trenches, and at almost the same time the Phanagoria Regiment overcame the Poles’ left wing and occupied all their fortifications at Ukhanka. In this way the foe’s left wing and center were undermined. Kakhovskii then ordered Colonel Palmenbach with the Yelisavetgrad Horse-Jägers to seize the enemy right-wing fortifications that were covering his line of retreat. The horse-jägers took two trenches, but at this point Palmenbach was killed. The occupation itself of the trenches put the attacker’s ranks in some disorder, and they were also struck by fresh Polish cavalry under Welewejski. The troops in the trenches were overthrown, but soon they rallied behind Kharkov Light-Horse squadrons advancing to meet the enemy and again rushed forward. Meanwhile our infantry’s continuing advance captured all the fortifications and even the enemy’s camp. The foe lost over 900 men killed and wounded and 7 guns; our forces lost 500 men and 640 horses. The thick forest behind the Poles’ position made their hurried retreat easier. The pursuit was continued by our side for about a mile and then put to an end by nightfall. The victors encamped for the night at Ukhanka. On that same day Levanidov crossed the Bug at Opalin and Tormasov did the same at Dorogusk. Although the enemy showed strong resistance at both points he was forced to retreat since in view of Kakhovskii’s defeat of Kosciuszko they were in danger of being cut off.

            On 9 July Kakhovskii ordered Levanidov to move (with 20 days of provisions) to Brest-Litovsk “to establish communications” with Krechetnikov’s force. On the 10th Kakhovskii marched forth from Ukhanka and followed Poniatowski’s army retreating through Biskupitse, Lublin, and Kurov to Pulavy, and on the 14th he entered Lublin. Here the Polish commander-in-chief’s adjutant, Chomentowski, presented himself bringing a letter from our envoy Ya. I. Bulgakov with the news that the Polish king had joined the Targowica Confederation, and that Prince Poniatowski had also been sent an order to cease fighting the Russian forces and with this further steps would have to be thought out.

            However, the Poles, supposing that Kakhovskii would cease military operations, wanted to take advantage of that and achieve just a final success over the most forward part of the Russian forces so as inflate this victory into a great victory and crow about the fighting ardor of the troops and their willingness to continue the war. By this means they hoped to create the impression that everything pointed to the hope of great successes just when the king’s order halted the army in the midst of its victories. With this in mind, Poniatowski made an attack on two cossack regiments in front of Kakhovskii’s army at Markushov. However, his calculations were upset by the arrival of reinforcements for the cossacks which the Poles did not know about, and additionally Kakhovskii himself was moving toward Markushov with his main forces. In the fight at Markushov Orlov defeated the Poles who lost about 200 men killed and wounded and 84 taken prisoner. Kakhovskii guessed the Poles’ intentions, and when Poniatowski came to our forward posts and desired to speak with him personally, he sent Valerian Zubov to him with the declaration that since Poniatowski was continuing military operations heedless of the fact that the king had already adhered to the Confederation, he (Kakhovskii) could not enter into talks with him, but rather demanded that Poniatowski either lay down his arms or swear loyalty to the Confederation. But while Zubov was riding toward him, Poniatowski came to our posts by another road and managed to see Kakhovskii. He offered to conclude an truce until he received instructions from the king on what to do with his troops. Kakhovskii repeated to him what he had transmitted through Zubov and added that if the Poles remained so close to the Russian forces as they had up to then, then he would immediately renew military operations.

            Poniatowski asked for one and a half hours to consider, but even before the expiration of this period he returned to Kakhovskii with Kosciuszko and accompanied by over forty officers, and he declared that he had been notified by the king of his joining the confederation, and therefore he requested an end to military actions. Kakhovskii expressed agreement to this, but continued to demand that Poniatowski do everything needed to fully ensure that Russian troops would not be subject to treacherous attacks by the Poles. In addition, on his side he also took the necessary cautious measures. On the 18th he went to Pulavy where he was joined by Kutuzov. From here part of our forces were sent to Warsaw in response to a demand from our envoy. With this part of his army Kakhovskii occupied the Polish capital on 5 August, where he stayed until 13 January 1793, and during which he was also given authority over the corps occupying Lithuania.

            In the 1792 campaign Kakhovskii displayed truly outstanding strategic and tactical ability. His plan of action answered the circumstances, and his execution of this plan was equally noteworthy as it combined necessary caution with sufficient decisiveness. He made excellent use of his troops’ superior tactical and combat training compared to the enemy’s, but along with this he always kept his main forces concentrated when his opponent, on the other hand, often dispersed his troops which in any case were smaller in numbers. Kakhovskii covered 450 to 500 miles in enemy territory from the Dniester River to the Vistula in 72 days, i.e. with an average speed of almost 7 miles a day—no western European military commander at that time would even think of conducting military operations like this.

            Kakhovskii’s (and Krechetnikov’s) victorious campaign resulted in the second partition of Poland, which returned to Russia Podolia, Volhynia, and the part of Belorussia remaining in Polish hands, which is to say a vast territory that significantly dwarfed Russia’s gains in the first and third partitions of Poland.

            For this campaign Kakhovskii was awarded the order of St. Andrew the First-Called. At the end of 1792 he relieved Valerian Zubov of his command as a result of irregularities discovered in his forces, but for doing this he himself was deprived of his command, summoned to investigation, but then made governor-general of Penza and Nizhnii-Novogord provinces. In 1794 he was given command of the forces in the Crimea while retaining the position of governor-general of the afore-mentioned provinces.

            In 1796 Emperor Paul changed his title to general-of-infantry and made him commander of the Taurica Division, and on his coronation day granted him the title of graf and 2000 serfs (in the neighborhood of Poreche). In addition, he was named chef of a musketeer regiment bearing his name. But subsequently a Highest order of 13 February 1800 released Kakhovskii from service “due to advanced years and excessive discharges of lower ranks in the regiments of his inspectorate.” Soon afterwards he died.

            Kakhovskii was not only an excellent general-staff officer, military leader, and administrator, but a good commander-in-chief even though he cannot be included among the especially outstanding commanders. This was a man of action elevated to high position not by chance patronage but by the outstanding ability of the supreme ruler of that time [Catherine the Great] to judge persons by their performance and merit.


Sources: Moscow Section of the General Archive of the Main Staff: personal service record of General-of-Infantry Graf Kakhovskii (from the book of service records, with supplements); Military Academic Archive of the Main Staff, 2nd Section, delo No. 435 (A), year 1772; delo No. 1214 (Kakhovskii’s report for 1792), and others; Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii Nos. 13,808, 13,848, 13,894, 13911, 14,441, 14,495, and others; F. Smitt, Suvorov i padenie Pol’shi; Sbornik Imperatorskago Russkago Istoricheskago Obshchestva, Vol. XIII and LI, and others; Bumagi kn. Potemkina-Tavricheskago, issues I and II; Arkhiv Gosudarstvennago Soveta, Vol. I, Part II, 207; Glinoetskii, Istoriya russkago general’nago shtaba; Maslovskii, Zapiski po istorii voennago iskusstva vo Rossii; Bantysh-Kamenskii, Slovar’, Russkii Arkhiv, Russkaya Starina. Military operational journals. Histories of various Russian army regiments. Khapovitskii, Pamyatnyya zapiski; Petrov, a) Voina Rossii s Turtsiei i pol’skimi konfederatami 1769-1774 gg., b) Vtoraya turetskaya voina v tsarstvovanii Imperatritsy Yekateriny II 1787-1791 gg.; Gorski, Historya piechoty polskiej; ibid., Historya jazdy polskiej; Korrespondencya krajowa Stanislawa Augusta.


P. A. Geisman.