"The Liberation of the Netherlands (November - December
Translated By Alexander
Source: RGVIA: f. VUA, d. 3376, part II, ll. 85-114.
My detachment comprised of the following:
|Tula Infantry Regiment
|A battalion of the 2nd Jager Regiment
|| 400 men
|Pavlograd Hussar Regiment
|horse artillery company and five Cossack regiments
I was ordered to march to the Yssel River in the direction of
Deventer. The purpose of this march was to engage troops gathering
in Hilland and defend this part of Germany from an enemy invasion.
I was also given Colonel Naryshkin’s detachment comprising of
three Cossack regiments and Count Chernyshev’s detachment of five
Cossack regiments, temporarily commanded by Colonel Balabin in [Chernyshev’s]
absence. The former detachment was on my right flank and I ordered
it to move to Zwoll; second was on the left and I directed to
Daesbourg. Thus I was reinforced with 8 Cossack regiments. I
advance along the road to Bentheim on 2 November.
I considered my detachment too strong for reconnaissance
operations only. So I decided to invade Holland [tenter un coup
de main]. On my orders, a Dutch colonel in our service departed
for Amsterdam to study sentiments in the city and enter into
communications with other enterprising people. I reported about my
plans to General Bulow, who forwarded them to Munster, and wrote to
General Winzegorode to get his permission as well.
Awaiting response, I moved on to Deventer and, en route, I
attacked enemy several times with my Cossack detachments, who spread
the news of my arrival. I was told that Deventer was defended by a
garrison of 3,000 men, well supplied and reinforced by considerable
artillery. I could take control through a surprise attack only.
I ordered the Bashkir Regiment under Major Prince Gagarin to
cross the Yssel River and feint an attack on the bridge leading to
the fortress, while I would have approached Deventer at night and
tried to seize it. However, this undertaking ended in fiasco, but
our attempt cost us only a few lives since darkness allowed us to
Since I had no means of taking Deventer and my mission was not to
waste my people and time, I left a detachment under Colonel Balabin
to observe the fortress while I advanced to Zwoll.
Zwoll was not prepared for attack: two or three hundreds of
poorly equipped cavalrymen comprised its entire garrison. On my
orders, a few Cossacks from Naryshkin’s detachment appeared at
fortress to entice the defenders, who did venture out but were
routed and, in ensuing disorder, my troops entered Zwoll, capturing
half of the garrison. I quartered my detachment at Zwoll. Control of
this town allowed me to cross the Yssel River and establish direct
communications with Holland.
At Zwoll, I found Dutch General von der Platen. He once lived in
Russia and now happily endorsed my plans. General gave detailed
information on the enemy forces and sentiments of local population.
My envoy soon returned from Amsterdam accompanied by a trustworthy
man from General Kraënhow, provisional governor of the capital, who
promised support of enthusiastic inhabitants and urged me to
accelerate my actions. I informed General Bulow about this and asked
him to advance quickly to Holland. Meanwhile, not to waste time and
to forve the Dutch to openly oppose France, I gave 200 Cossacks to
Major Marklai with orders to advance without a respite to Amsterdam,
avoid any encounters with an enemy and not to be concerned about
lines of communication or retreat.
This courageous and intelligent officer managed to conceal his
movement from enemy, avoiding major roads and entering Amsterdam.
Inspiring by the appearance of Cossacks, the local population
captured the remaining French in the city and raised a banner of
independence. Meanwhile, Colonel Naryshkin departed Zwoll, captured
Hardervyk and marched to Amersfoort. General Stahl with his Cossack
regiment and two hussar squadrons, moved between Deventer and
Zutphen and was ordered to proceed to Amersfoort. Receiving news
from General Kraënhow’s messenger, General Buhlow advanced at
once, capturing Daesbourg and approaching Arnheim.
I anxiously waited response from General Winzegorode regarding my
plans. Yet, I was very saddened by his firm order not to cross the
Yssel River. General considered my detachment too weak to open
military operations in a well-situated countryside with numerous
However, I had already made first step – entire Amsterdam was
in movement, residents begged us to arrive and I was intoxicated
from exhilaration of independent command. So I decided to disobey
orders. That night I gathered my troops and crossed the river.
The enemy was at the fortress of Deventer on the Yssel River;
some 4,000 men were at Arnheim, an advance guard was at Amersfoort
and a corps of 7-8,000 men was at Utrecht.
The fortress of Naarden was well supplied and defended by a
garrison of 2,000 men. Muyden and Halveeg, two fortresses almost at
the gates of Amsterdam, were also in good conditions.
I had no means of attacking them directly since the enemy forces
were much superior and my positions worsened after Major Marklai’s
advance made the enemy double its discretion. I could succeed only
if I misinformed the [French] about the strength of my forces and
prevent them from carrying out their plans. Defiant Amsterdam,
meantime, waited in fear the arrival of the irritated enemy. It was
necessary to provide a prompt support for this center of national
unity and facilitate armed uprising. A Hussar regiment and artillery
under General Zhevakhov were ordered to reinforce General Stahl and
Colonel Naryshkin. They were then instructed to attack an enemy
advance guard at Amersfoort. I left colonel Balabin at Zwoll with
order to continue observing Deventer and assure communications with
me. As for me, I led infantry to Hardevick, where, on my secret
request to General Kraënhow, ships were sent from Amsterdam.
Departing Zwoll on the night of 22 November, I arrived at Hardevick
that same day, covering six miles of the most horrible road.
At the same time, General Buhlow began assaulting Arnheim and
captured this fortress after a fierce fighting; it was one of the
best feats [des beaux faits d’armes] of the war.
Arriving at Harderwick, I received intelligence that the enemy
abandoned a post at Amersfort and that our cavalry pursued the enemy
on the road to Utrecht. On my arrival to the harbor, I did not find
enough ships and had to leave half of my infantry, which I moved to
reinforce General Zhevakhov. That same evening, I boarded ships with
the remaining troops of some 600 men. Sueder See was covered
with ice and an enemy flotilla, attached to Admiral Verhul’s
squadron, patrolled the seashore at Harderwick.
Sailors predicted a difficult journey; we sailed at 11:00 p.m. to
conceal our movement under the cover of night and prayed for leeward
wind. At dawn we saw bell towers of Amsterdalk and entered the
harbor around 8:00 a.m.
I went at once to General Kraënhow, who was shocked after
hearing about the strength of my troops. But since there was no way
back, we drafted a report in which my detachment was described as
6,000 men strong and then wrote an address to local population
calling to arms.
Soon the town was on move, National Guard was ordered to gather
at the Place du Palais and a huge crowd filled all streets, while
all windows were decorated with flags of the House of Oranges; a
fistful of just disembarked Russians were made a guard of honor
deployed under palace balcony.
Provisional government was soon formed and, at 10:00 p.m., the
Act of Restoration of Independence of Holland was read to people.
Air was filled with exultant cries and an artillery salvo spread
this great news to every corner of the country.
Troops paraded in front of me, under jubilant cries of numerous
crowds. Thousands of people of all estates, hastily armed, joined
soldiers and, intoxicated of this jubilation, they marched towards
two fortresses guarding Amsterdam. Garrisons of Mugden and Halweeg,
already intimidated by clamor ion the city, surrendered after seeing
numerous columns marching towards them. 900 men were captured and 26
guns were found in two fortresses.
Nothing could express a jubilation that enthralled residents of
this large and wealthy city. It was indeed an awakening of entire
nation, whose strength and liberty, subdued by oppression and
misfortune, now suddenly regained their powers. New government
hastened to arm residents and establish order in the city. Everyone
wanted to help with defense and public opinion gradually became more
and more decisive and firm. As first hours of this great
movement expired – the city was free from threats from two
surrendered fortresses – small numbers of my detachment could not
be concealed anymore and thoughts of impending future began to take
over the leaders of the uprising; so they approached me with the
following questions: how do you hope to defend our liberty? What are
your military plans? What are intentions of the Allied powers
regarding our political existence? I wrote General Winzegorode
inquiring what should I tell the Dutch. He replied that the
Emperor’s intention were completely unknown to him. Yet, I had to
respond without any vacillation; any awkwardness on my part or a
small indecisiveness would have destroyed the trust of the city and
turned my expedition into a partisan raid without any purpose and
I responded: the sole means of their defense was through my
detachment and I did not conceal its inferiority in numbers. I also
told them about circumstances that caused Buhlow to support this
undertaking as well as about the landing of the English troops that
would arrived in our support as soon as they land on the shore. I
then discussed the Dutch patriotism and the enemy caught in
surprise. [I explained that] my military plans were to risk
everything for their freedom. As for the intentions of the Allied
powers regarding existence of Holland, [I told them] that I had
order to find out wishes of this nation, help to carry them out and
then inform my Emperor. Therefore, I asked them: what else do you
want? They told me: return of Prince of Oranges. Only this House
could guarantee our independence. It was decided to dispatch a
deputy at once to ask the Prince to return and lead his nation. Yet,
a few years before this same people made everything possible to get
rid of the Prince’s family.
The Prince was already aware of events in Amsterdam and waited
for a moment to depart for England.
Thus, while I knew that our armies were idle at Frankfort
negotiating with Napoleon and was unaware of political attitude in
the Cabinets of Ministers or intentions of the Emperor [Alexander],
I was also concerned with a thought of what I have done and promised
[in Holland.] I sent a courier to Frankfort to inform the Emperor
about my entry in Amsterdam and then wrote to General Buhlow asking
to consider me under his command, if he decided to continue
operation [in Holland that] we already began.
My hopes soon turned real. The enemy, learning about my arrival
at Amsterdam, assumed that I had a stronger detachment that it was
in reality. Observing a strong column approaching Utrecht, [the
French] became certain that entire Holland would follow the example
of its capital and began hasty retreat across Leck and Waal,
abandoning positions on both banks of these rivers.
General Prince Zhevakhov remained at Utrecht. Cossacks under
General Stahl pursued the French retreating to Vyck and Vyanen,
while Cossacks under Colonel Naryshkin proceeded to Rotterdam and
prepared to cross the river there.
General Buhlow approached Utrecht where he was to take commanded
of the cantons [cantonnements] and the Dutch volunteers, and
blockaded Naarden and Deventer.
I dispatched Major Marclay with his detachment to Helder to
gather intelligence on movements of enemy admiral Verhul. This
distinguished officer forced the admiral to surrender; the latter,
concerned about his crew of Dutch sailors, abandoned the fortress of
Helder with its ten guns. He also signed capitulation with Major
Marclay, according to which he pledged not to partake in any
hostilities if you was allowed to continue buying supplies [si on
lui permettait seulement de continuer à acheter à terre ses
provisions]. Certainly, it was first time in history that a
Cossack detachment negotiated [capitulation] with an admiral.
Soon, arrival of the Prince of Orange was announced; his family
friends hurried to meet him and Amsterdam prepared to meet its
ruler, chosen by the right of birth and through the will of people.
Entire population of this enormous city came out to meet the
Prince and filled all streets and squares. Russian Guard[ii]
was deployed at the Palace gates, Cossacks preceded the carriage and
I awaited the Prince with all officers and city officials at the
bottom of staircase. While getting out of carriage, the Prince
barely remained on foot because of the surge of people surrounding
him and I rushed forward extending my hand to help him move through
the crowd and enter the Palace. The Prince appeared on the balcony
and the exclamations doubled in voice. He was moved by this scene
but it was obvious that he still could not comprehend the importance
of his new status and fully appreciate the moment.
The Prince was accompanied by the English ambassador Sir
[Richard] Klankarty, who informed me about the plans of his
government regarding Holland; his forthright conversation calmed me
down in respect to my own political enterprises.
In the evening, the Prince, ambassador and me went together in
carriage to the theater. The Prince was meet with loud greetings;
the powerful sentiments of the nation, that retained its sense of
freedom, were evident everywhere The Dutch were unaccustomed to
seeing the Prince as their ruler, but now they gave due respect to
the first citizen of the state; their acclamations were not cries of
subjects [sujets] but rather confirmed their choice of a most
respectable man to rescue the State. This nuance both bewildered
[witnesses] and added grander to the occasion. Meantime, General
Zhevakhov received order to leave his post to the Prussians marching
from Utrecht and move to Rotterdam, where I directed my remaining
infantry. General Stahl moved to Leck and deployed his advance posts
at Bommes and Gorcum.
Planning to join my detachment, I stopped at Lay to take part in
the war council, where Prince of Orange, General Buhlow, English
ambassador and me were present. They did not want to risk anything
and wanted to force fortresses to surrender. On my turn to voice
opinion, I declared that I planned to risk everything, cross the
Waal and try to take advantage of the enemy confusion to occupy a
strong position on the left bank to facilitate our movements and
take military operations from central regions of Holland. The Prince
and ambassador liked this idea a lot; General Buhlow initially
refused to accept it for quite some time, but then promised to cover
my offensive, dispatching several battalions to protect my movement
from the garrison of Gorcum.
I arrived at Rotterdam on 28 November. At the moment when I
desperately needed all my troops, General Winzegorode recalled three
Cossack regiments of Colonel Naryshkin and one of the five regiments
of Colonel Balabin. He knew that I entered Holland against his will
and, although he had to commend my actions because of their success,
he still tried to undercut me as mush as he could [il tâcha de me
contrecarrer autant qu’il le pût]. Now I had to give up almost
half of my cavalry and try other ways to address this problem.
General Stahl received order to cross the Waal and proceed
further without a halt and, avoiding any encounters with the enemy,
to approach Bréda on the Antwerpen road. Meantime, the Dutch
volunteers occupied de Briel and Helvoestluys, a battalion of the 2nd
Jager Regiment seized Dordrecht and Captain Peterson with 100
Cossacks and brave compatriots drove the enemy out of Hoge-Swaluwe.
While awaiting the Prussian detachment I was promised before but
that had not arrived yet, I dispatched a battalion of the Tula
Infantry Regiment with two guns[iii]
to seize a nearby dam that served as a crossing site between Gorcum
and Hartingsweld. That same night I followed these troops with my
remaining forces. I brought a jager battalion from Dordrect and also
took with me Prussian partisan Major [Frederic August Peter von]
Colombe, who commanded 600-men strong infantry and cavalry. This
courageous officer never abandoned us and rendered great services.
The Dutch gunboats [les chaloupes canonières], which the
residents of Rotterdam hastily assembled, now bombarded Gorcum and
approached the fortifications of this fortress. Gorcum was defended
a garrison of some 7-8,000 men.
General Stahl, though a rapid and will conceived march, suddenly
approached Breda. The city residents, encouraged by his arrival,
threatened the French, and General Stahl, being informed about
events in the city, quickly attacked the Antwerpen gates, seized
them and captured some 600 French soldiers.
Breda, one of the most formidable fortresses and key to Holland,
had no means to defend itself: there were no guns on the walls and
the fortifications were in worst condition. Napoleon, dominating
Germany and crossing the Nieman to dictate peace in Moscow, never
bothered to repair fortresses of Brabant.
At dawn, being at a distance of a cannon shot, I began crossing
the river on various sized boats. The river was wide and strong wind
was blowing; it was particularly difficult for us to soothe horses.
Fortunately, [French] garrison did not bother us. Finally, we
gathered on the opposite bank, but still had to cross a location
well defended by the guns of Woreum fortress, located vis-à-vis
Gorcum on the left bank of Waal. The enemy did not even think of
disputing our advance – it was impossible to anticipate such stoke
There was no other road for my large detachment and artillery but
the one to Gartrüdenberg – this was a naturally well protected
place that was covered on this side by the waters of Bies Boosch.
However, I knew that its garrison was small and unprepared for
attack. General Stahl already dispatched Cossacks to reconnoiter
area as well as an officer to demand surrender from the Commandant Général
de Brigade [Jean-Baptiste] Lorçait. At that moment, General Lorçait
returned from inspection and, observing my forces, he signed
surrender of the fortress on condition of free passage for his weak
garrison to France.
I passed through Gartrüdenberg, where the Dutch were now arming
themselves and organizing a new garrison to defend the fortress.
That same day, 1 December, I arrived at Breda.
We marched from Rotterdam without even a one-minute break and
covered eleven miles in 36 hours, crossing three major rivers in
process. I immediately turned to work, trying to repair some of the
damage fortress walls that protected route to transport provisions
and forage. I also thought about procuring gunpowder and artillery
for the troops.
Colonel Chechensky was dispatched with two Cossack Regiment to
subdue a garrison at Willemstadt. Colonel arrived there late that
day. Seeing our troops, the French abandoned town on ships, leaving
behind over 100 guns, 52 fully armed gunboats and numerous other
munitions. Capture of this fortress gave me a possibility to defend
Breda, but of greater importance was the fact that the English
troops could now land here. The English found a favorable and well
defended harbor at Willemstadt.
I deployed a hussar squadron and 100 Cossacks under command of
Major Alferiev as advance posts to cover landing of the English
troops. Alferiev’s detachment remained under command of English
General [Thomas] Graham until he was able to replace them with his
own cavalry. Simultaneously, Major Alferiev was instructed to watch
a garrison at Bergen Opzoom.
General Stahl was ordered to approach Wustwesel and dispatch
detachments towards Antwerpen, where General Carnot recently arrived
to take command of this important fortress. Colonel Chechensky with
the Bug Cossack Regiment was at Turnhout.
A Prussian Major Colombe left his infantry at Breda and, being
reinforced by Captain Peterson with 100 hussars and two Cossack
sotnyas, he was instructed to move outposts towards Maline and
Hearing about captures of Breda, Gartrüdenberg and Willemstadt,
General Buhlow left Utrecht, blockaded the fortress of Gorcum and
marched with his troops to Bommel.
However, the enemy soon recovered from first surprise and
concentrated its forces as detachments gathered from various
directions. Sailors at Antwerpen were given weapons and enlisted in
the army units. General Carnot was very actively involved in
preparations for war. Napoleon’s order instructed him to drive the
Russians across the rivers and recaptured Breda at any cost. I
learned all that I feared from a captured courier from Paris.
The enemy, with some 17-18,000 men and formidable artillery but
inexperienced troops, soon left Antwerpen. They proceeded to
Wustwesel and forced General Stahl to retire. Colonel Chechensky was
ordered to harass the enemy en route, without leaving a road from
Turnhoult to Breda.
General Stahl was instructed to slowly retreat on the same road
that enemy proceed along. To reinforce him, I dispatched two horse
artillery guns and a squadron of hussars; and to ensure that he
would not arrive in confusion to Breda, I deployed a battalion of 2nd
Jager Regiment at a concealed location outside the fortress so that
in case of necessity, [Stahl’s] cavalry would have cover to rally.[iv]
General Stahl’s knowledgeable orders made this precaution
unnecessary; he disputed every step of enemy’s march and entered
Breda in perfect order and without casualties at noon on 7 December.
Since the esplanade around the fortress was not cleared, enemy
tirailleurs took positions in gardens and huts [cabanes] that were
adjacent to glacis. Batteries were deployed at close distance from
fortress and fierce assault began.
Artillery Captain [Ivan Onufrievich] Sukhozanet deployed guns on
the forward fortifications and opened such intensive fire, supported
by our infantry fire, that the enemy called off attack and contented
with artillery bombardment. That same day, I expected with great
hopes the arrival of heavy artillery and ammunitions from
Willemstadt – the only means to successfully defend Breda.
I soon learned that the enemy dispatched a detachment to capture
the Ternheide crossing on the Mark River, where ships [with heavy
artillery and supplies] were supposed to pass. From there, [the
French] could advance directly to Gartrüdenberg that was defended
only by local residents and so could have been easily captured.
By that time, I would have lost my communications and means to
receive reinforcements I awaited so eagerly.
I did earlier leave a post at the Ternheide crossing and Prince
Gagarin had just returned with the Bashkir regiment, a hussar
squadron and two guns from a mission I dispatched him along the
right bank of the Mark River. He attacked without hesitation about
enemy superiority and achieved a complete success: Ternheide was
seized, 200 soldiers captured and the remaining [French] troops owed
their rescue to the darkness and difficult terrain. An hour later
the French would have captured the transport ships.
So, heavy artillery finally arrived and, as a result of efforts
of our artillery officers and the Dutch under Colonel Steinmatz,
guns were installed on the ramparts: some directed platforms, others
helped to place guns in mountings [les autres placaient les piéces
sur les affûts] most of which required serious repairs, and the
rest examined guns, prepared charges and matched balls [reomplissaient
les charges et assortissaient les boulets]. This work was conducted
under enemy fire and we did not have time or means to respond to it.
Our silence made the French general believe that we were about to
surrender and he sent a man to negotiate surrender. However, the
French general soon had to back away since our new artillery of 40
guns opened fire and showed that he had nothing to hope here.
Colonel Chechensky approached Tilborg to harass the enemy and
protect my communications with General Buhlow. Prince Gagarin
remained at Ternheide and maintained contact with Major Alferiev’s
detachment, sending me information on English troops that landed at
In the evening on 8 December, Colonel Colombe and Captain
Peterson returned to Breda. They were at Louvain and Maline, where
they captured 8 guns and liberated 300 English soldiers captured in
This remarkable meeting turned into great event for the army in
1813. The enemy bombarded the town. A few fires resulting from
cannonade frightened residents, but our troops quickly extinguished
them and maintained order and tranquility in town.
In the morning on the 9th, the enemy intensified
bombardment and made another attempt against the Turnhout gates. The
assault continued for long time and ended only when I made a sortie
from the Antwerpen gates. Soldiers of the Dutch battalion, hurriedly
assembled from city youth, attacked with cries of joy. They
demonstrated an admirable gallantry. I assigned hundred best
soldiers from our infantry to support them. The enemy suffered
considerable losses and cannonade was soon suspended. Although it
resumed for some time in the evening, the night was peaceful
The English could not help us: their ships with horses were
delayed by strong winds on the seas. Also, the Bomuel Weart was
covered with ice and impassable, preventing General Buhlow, who
tried to help me, from crossing it with the troops. Still, the
French were concerned about the arrival of the English and Prussians
and had either to hasten capture of Breda or abandon positions and
On 10 December, they occupied all roads, except the one occupied
by Prince Gagarin. Batteries, deployed by advance guard, were
quickly moved towards fortress under cover of night. As a result, we
lost a few people and several houses were destroyed. a bastion,
where I deployed my detachment, was damaged and unsuitable for
fighting; so most guns were removed from it.
Late in the afternoon, the enemy vigorously attacked three city
gates. Prince Zhevakhov defended the Atnwerpen gates and his
dismounted hussars competed with the infantry in gallantry. General
Stahl and the Prussians under Colonel Colome defended the Turnhout
gates. Everyone was animated with remarkable ardor and assurance of
success was visible in all faces. I already hurried with reserves to
the Bois le Duc gates, where, I believed, was the most decisive
action. The terrain was relatively open and, in the evening, I led
three hussar squadrons, a Cossack detachment and four horse
artillery guns on sortie. We engaged the [French], repulsed their
first attack and drove them back for considerable distance.
I halted pursuit concerned that such an easy victory could lead
to ambush. By stoke of luck, Prince Gagarin arrived with his Cossack
detachment at that moment. With loud cries, the Cossacks attacked
the French from the rear. The French thought that I operated in
concert with General Buhlow and this forced them to quickly retreat.
In the evening, I ordered to set up numerous bonfires and deployed
sentries so it seemed that entire corps was deployed in camp there.
Meantime, assaults were repulsed at other places as well and the
enemy suffered considerable casualties. By night, cannonade
All reports from positions described a loud noise coming from the
French camp. It was impossible to observe enemy positions because of
a dense morning fog. By 8:00 a.m., I lowered bridge and moved
forward outposts despite dense mist. They soon informed me that the
besiegers abandoned their positions and retreated from Breda.
This news was even more pleasant considering that our supplies
were dwindling and city residents already suffered from lack of
provisions. General Stahl was ordered to pursue the enemy on the
Antwerp road. He was able to do this until Westwesel, where the
French halted and fortified themselves. Colonel Colombe with a
Cossack detachment marched to Turnhout.
The following day, 12 December – the birthday of His majesty
– we had a Te Dieu service on the ramparts of the fortress. The
Dutch and Prussians, serving with our troops, attended this service
and knelt [to celebrate the day.] I asked the English, [General]
Buhlow and the Dutch to come and replace my troops since I could not
stay with the garrison alone. Furthermore, General Winzegorode wrote
one order after another requesting me to join him. He was proceeding
with his corps towards the Rhine and wanted to me to join him there
to cross the Rhine together. Finally, after numerous troubles, I was
finally replaced by 2 English, 2 Prussian and 2 Dutch battalions. I
sent them to Breda and then marched out myself. To deceive the
enemy, I moved to Tilbourg first and my two Cossack regiments
attacked the enemy there at night.
A day later, I moved to Bommel, where General Buhlow’s troops
were located, and from there to Arnhaim and Emmerich, where I
planned to cross the river, while General Winzegorode approached
Dusseldorff. However, the river current carried ice with such force
that despite all our efforts it was impossible to construct a bridge
there. I wrote about this to the General [Winzegorode]. General
either already considered or pretended to consider [il cruit ou
feignit de croire] me disobeying his orders and sent me order to
transfer command to a more experienced officer. I thought I did not
deserve such humiliation. But such was General Winzegorode’s
revenge for my successful expedition into Holland that was conducted
against his will.
My only consolation was receiving the Order of St. Vladimir of
second class that the Emperor himself sent to me, the Order of the
Red Eagle of first class that the Prussian King awarded me owing to
General Buhlow’s reports and the Order of the Sword of the first
class that the Swedish Crown Prince presented to me. The most
pleasant rewards for me were a saber of the Regent of England [Régent
d’Angleterre], a sword [epée] of the Prince of Orange, King of
Holland, and the trumpets of honor with my name and the date of our
entry in Amsterdam were awarded to the Tula Infantry and 2nd Jager
I departed my brave detachment with tears on my eyes. The
detachment did not cross the Rhine at Emmerich but was directed to Düsseldorf,
where I traveled alone.
detachment was larger than he describes and amounted to over 4,600
men. Below is a more detailed composition of his forces, with their
strength for late November 1813:
Commander – MG Alexander Benckendorff
Infantry Brigade of MG Fedor Knipper – 1555 men
Cavalry (including Cossacks) – MG – George Stahl – 3,064 men
Tula Infantry Regiment (1st and 3rd Battalions) – chef MG
Alexander Patton, commander Col. Turevnikov – 1060 men
2nd Jager Regiment (1st battalion) – chef GM Fedor Knipper,
regimental commander Lt.Col. Gustav Essen, battalion commander
Constantine Schrepenberg – 495 men
Pavlograd Hussar Regiment (8 squadrons) – commander MG
Spiridon Zhevakhov – 967 men
1st Bug Cossack Regiment – Col. Alexander Chechensky – 435
Andreyanov II Don Cossack Regiment – commander unclear –
1st Bashkir Horse Cossack [konno-kazachii] Rregiment –
commander Major Fedor Gagarin – 411 men
1st Horse Artillery Company – commander Captain Ivan
Sukhozant – 10 guns with 200 men
Don Cossack Brigade of Colonel Melnikov V – commander Lt. Col.
Gregory Melnikov IV
Menikov IV Cossack Regiment – 4 sotnyas – 353 men
Melnijkov V Cossack Regiment - 5 sotnyas – 300 men
Benckendorff refers not to the Imperial Guard but rather to his
infantry that now served as “guard of honor”
Regimental history, “Istoria 72-go pekhotnoho Tulskogo polka
1769-1901” (Warsaw, 1901) referred to two companies with two
guns led by Major Belemovsky. The Russians occupied the dam
without a fight and when the French finally appeared, they avoided
attacking the Russians, instead retreating towards Breda.
Regimental history, Istoria 96-go pekhotnogo Omskogo pola (St.
Petersburg, 1902) refers to a rear guard action near Breda
involving the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Jager
Regiment; battalion lost 11 men, including 4 killed.