Note: Pavel Pushin served in the Life Guard Semeyonovskii
Regiment throughout the Napoleonic wars. This edition is based on
the 1987 edition prepared by the University of Leningrad.
our departure from St. Petersburg, Colonel [Karl Antonovich]
Kriedener commanded the Life Guard Semeyonovskii Regiment. Colonel [Fedor
Nikolayevich] Posnikov commanded the 1st Battalion while
Baron [Maxim Ivanovich] de-Damas (future Minister of Foreign Affairs
of France during the reign of Louis XVIII)
was a commander of the 2nd Battalion. Colonel [Alexander
Alexandrovich] Pisarev led the 3rd Battalion.
I served in the 3rd Battalion, I think it will be useful
to list company commanders of this battalion: Captain [Sergei
Alexandrovich] Kostomarov commanded the 3rd Grenadier
Company; Captain [Gavrila Semenovich] Okunev – 7th
Company; Captain [Christophor Alexandrovich] Brinken – 8th
Company; Captain [Paul] Pushin – 9th Company.
 March. Saturday
had left St. Petersburg. I was the commander of the 9th
Company which included 165 privates and 16 non-commissioned
officers. Our company included the following officers: me,
[Alexander] Chicherin, two Princes Trubetskoy (Sergey and Alexander)
- Sergey was eventually exiled to Siberia for events of 14 December
while Chicherin was [seriously] wounded at Kulm [on 30 August 1813]
and died several days later in Prague. In addition, two sub-ensigns
were assigned to us: [Alexander Zakharovich] Zotov and Prince
Dadiani. As soon as we reached Pulkovo, I found there my sisters
with Mme B. and spent this last evening amidst my precious and dear
 March. Sunday
woke us up very early in the morning. I bid farewell to my family
and, greatly saddened by our separation, I began this march in low
spirits. Strong wind was blowing. Our regimental headquarters
stopped at Gatchina and my company marched another 10 versts before halting at the village of Chernitsa.
 March. Monday
departing from Chernitsa, I realized that I left my wallet there
and, as soon as we halted at community of Rozhdestvenno, I sent [my
people] to find it while I continued to work on correspondence with
my relatives. My servant [denshik]
returned towards evening and to my great pleasure he brought all my
 March. Tuesday
I mailed my letters today
 March. Wednesday
was very cold today. We departed at 8:00 a.m. and halted at
Sorochkino. My main desire was to write my diary and letters home,
but it was impossible to do this here since officers from the two
other companies were billeted with us. We played cards and I won.
 March. Thursday
regimental headquarters moved to Dolgovka, while my company advanced
further ahead and stopped for the night some three versts from the
main road at the village Bolotye; officers of my company, as well
those from another company, were billeted at the lodging house next
to the road. The mistress of the houses wept incessantly, although
everyone behaved very well towards her.
 March. Friday.
6:00 a.m. I, accompanied with a non-commissioned officer, went to
see my company. This short walk was very unpleasant. It was cold
morning and strong wind was blowing. Snow completely covered the
road and we had fallen through snow on several occasion. After
finally joining my soldiers, I marched with them to catch up with
the regiment, which was gathering on the main road on which we
marched to Luga; we arrived there in the afternoon. I suffered
frostbite on my right ear. The regimental headquarters stopped at
Luga. I also rested my company and used that time to run to the
post, where, to my great joy, I found letters from home. After a
bivouac, I marched with my company for about 10 versts beyond Luga
and stopped for the night at Rakovichi. It was a very tiring march.
 March. Saturday
I personally went to Luga to receive my [special] pay, which the
Emperor had granted to us.
 March. Sunday
regimental headquarters moved to Gorodetz, and my company stopped at
Yubra. As a duty officer, I remained at Gorodetz since I had to
report [to my superiors] and reached Yubra and joined my company
only in the evening
 March. Monday
are in Zapolye. The peasant, in whose house we stopped, was a 130
years old man.
 March. Tuesday
are in Veleni, to the right of the main road. Heavy snowfall
complicated our advance.
March [1 April]. Wednesday
The house, where we were billeted, had a stove without a chimney so
the smoke almost suffocated us. The owner of our house was an old
man of some 135 years of age and he remembered Peter the Great and
told us about his younger brother, who was 100 years old and who, he
said, was still young.
21 March [2 April]. Thursday
are in Opoki, about two versts from Borovichi, where our regimental
headquarters is located. In the morning I reproached Chicherin for
his discourteous attitude but later I was reprimanded myself by
Colonel Kriedener, our regimental commander, who, as he passed our
company, found, as usual, some things to criticize.
March [3 April]. Friday
are in the town of Porkhov. Our brigade general Baron [Gregory
Vladimirovich] Rosen passed us today and ordered us to rest troops
tomorrow, although the rest was scheduled for the day after
tomorrow. We certainly welcomed this order since it was incomparably
more pleasant for us to stay in a town than in a village. For me
personally, this rest was also important since I was concerned about
my letters since Mme. B. informed me that her husband learned that
she accompanied me to Pulkovo.
23 March [4 April]. Saturday
24 March [5 April]. Sunday
are at Kuznetsovo, while the regimental headquarters is at
Golodushki. The land between Porkhovo and Kuznetsova is quite
picturesque but a strong wind and bad weather made this march very
25 March [6 April]. Monday
Lipovik, not far from the regimental headquarters which is at
Sorokino. [Sub Lieutenant Nikolai] Kashkarev
caught up with us today and delivered several letters from Mme B.
and several trinkets which she sent for me. Her letters touched me
very much as she reproached me for not receiving any letters for
over a month, which saddened me as well.
26 March [7 April]. Tuesday
Stega. As soon as we arrived here, I rented a peasant carriage to
travel to the regimental headquarters at Ashevo. Being a duty
officer for the regiment, I delivered my report to the regimental
commander and took advantage of this opportunity to ask him for a
furlough of several days to visit my estate which not far from our
deployment. The colonel promised to satisfy my request.
27 March [8 April]. Wednesday
my estate in Zhadritsy.
The regiment was supposed to gather at Sisino and, since the road
from Stega was passing through the village of Ashevo, I asked
Chicherin to remind Adjutant [Nikolai] Sipyagin to ask the colonel
to approve my furlough. Everything was quickly resolved and Sipyagin
gave me my furlough permit for five days. I immediately transferred
the command of the company to Chicherin, rented a carriage and an
hour later I was already in Novorzhev. I found here [Sub Lieutenant
Fedor] Panyutin (who later distinguished himself during the
who was sent to gather bread for the regiment. We had a simple meal
and talked for a long time about [Mikhail] Sprenasky and Mikhail
Magnitsky, who were accused of treason.
this meeting, I traveled to Zhadritsy, which was some 15 versts away
from Novorzhev, amd found my uncle [Mikhail Pushin] already asleep.
My uncle was an eccentric man. He was very glad to see me since his
only solace was the society of a local priest [Ioan Fedoseev], whom
he immediately called. The awkwardly arranged room, eccentric
appearance of my uncle and the sycophancy of the priest, who tried
to grab and kiss my hand – all of this stunned me at first. As I
recovered, I went to the church to pay my respects to my father’s
I decided to stay in a small room with a fascinating view through
its large Venetian window in a small house that my sister designed
28 March [9 April]. Thursday
woke up with a severe headache and suffered from a gas-poisoning.
The Likhachevs – our neighbors and friends – invited me to visit
them so I traveled with my uncle to them. Because of my uncle’s
mediocre costume, I hoped we would not meet anyone but I was
disappointed to find M. Murmotsev, a first-rate dandy, at the
Likhachev’s estate. My godparents, despite all of this, welcomed
me with open hands. I met them for the first time since my
childhood. They were very pleasant people and we stayed with them
until 4:00 p.m., before returning to Zhadritsy.
29 March [10 April]. Friday
neighbor, Neelov, visited me and together we attended a mass.
30 March [11 April]. Saturday
received the sacraments and immediately left the Zhadritsy estate to
return to my company, which, marching to Grishino, was supposed to
pass one of my estates. I met Chicherin and treated my soldiers to
vodka. I spent the evening talking to my uncle about Speransky and
31 March [12 April]. Sunday
mass – they are my uncle’s true passion. The decree on the
recruitment levy reached our village.
I was saddened by the thoughts about the dangers facing our dear
 April. Monday
my uncle’s superstition that it was a bad omen to start a trip on
Monday, I attended the church with him, listened to a farewell mass,
bid goodbye to my uncle and departed the village of Garkushino to
visit the Likhachevs. [As I departed], the horses almost smashed me,
which only further convinced my uncle that Monday was indeed a grave
day. He bitterly cried as he bid farewell to me. Around 7:00 p.m. I
finally reached Likhachevs, who welcomed my arrival and laid me into
a feather bed [pukhovaya postel] in which I almost completely
drowned; despite my protests that I was not accustomed to sleeping
in such a soft bed, I had no choice but to do as I was told and, as
a result, I slept very poorly that night.
 April. Tuesday
woke up at 3:00 a.m. and, supplied with a vast number of provisions,
reached the village of Bolgotovo by 6:00 a.m. Having changed my
horses, I proceeded to the village of Opochka. Strong wind and snow
on the road greatly delayed me. I found my regiment on a bivouac at
Opochka, where it was awaiting the arrival of the Emperor
[Alexander]. Here I received letters from which I learned that my
letters had been delivered to their addressees in St. Petersburg. A
large crowd of recruits stood in the street in front of my window.
They sang joyous songs, while nearby their mothers and wives
 April. Wednesday
the village of Ryupigo. A day full of predicaments. The march was
unbearably difficult because of constant anticipation that the
Emperor would reach us at any moment, but in the end we had only
seen his coach while the Emperor himself is expected tomorrow. One
NCO from my company had lost his bayonet, while one soldier from the
company train [rotnii oboz] stayed behind at Opochka, and was found
only some time later. [Lieutenant Gavrila Gavrilovich] Bibkov, this
repulsive man, joined us so our peaceful existence comes to an end.
Chicherin entertained himself by tormenting Bibikov, but I was fed
with all of this.
 April. Thursday
Sebezh. We are in Byelorussian lands since yesterday. We slept late
[today]. The regimental commander [Kriedener] noticed that our
company wagon [rotnii furgon] passed too late and a soldier that
accompanied it was not dressed as required; the Emperor was expected
any moment now and he considered such disorder unpardonable
so I was placed under arrest and released only after the
regiment reached its bivouac. I was at least comported by the
letters I received that day. M-me B. informed that she recovered
from her illness and went out into the city. My cousin Nikolai [Pushin]
also wrote me a few more details about her.
 April. Friday
at Sebezh. Colonel Posnikov and other officers expressed their
sympathy regarding my misadventure yesterday, which was very
touching. Bibikov, despite all the abuse he was put through, spoke
more than anyone else and was distraught that Colonel Kriedener
treated me so severely.
 April. Saturday
Trushuli, about 2 versts from the regimental headquarters that is
set up at the village of Lyakhovo. Spring is already in the air, but
a heavy rain soaked us during the entire march. The territory we
passed is truly amazing and if I were not soaked to the bone, I
would have certainly observed it with much pleasure. We bivouacked
in an open field, which is not very pleasant during a heavy rain. At
Trushuli, I was given a ghastly room, full of various insects and
without flooring, but I still could not enjoy it since I was a duty
officer for the regiment and, without any available carriage, I had
to travel on horse with a report to Lyakhovo. My meeting with the
regimental commander proved to be cold, it seemed he sought to avoid
explaining [his actions] and I tried to free myself from him as soon
as I could. I informed Colonel Posnikov, our battalion commander,
that I take off responsibility for the precision of the movement of
the company train with other regimental trains; Colonel Kriedener
canceled his earlier order and announced that he was not insisting
on having all 12 wagons moving together, and instead was allowing
company commanders to act on their own discretion when deciding the
time of dispatch for each of their company wagons. Therefore, my
arrest had produced some positive results since it affected the
order beneficially for all my friends, and I was fully satisfied
 April. Sunday
the village of Kashirino. The lands we passed are frightfully
deprived. The road is full of the poor and blind. The local
landowners are to be blamed for this misery but I wonder who is
responsible for such high number of the blind. The rentiers [arendator],
desiring to gain as much profit as possible, burden the peasants
with such heavy corvee that the latter had no time left to work for
themselves. I was told this by a peasant belonding to a certain
Shadulskii, who loaned his peasants to a Russian merchant. The
populace living in this region is also prone for indolence. Today,
Prince Dadiani, who is constantly grumbling, moaning and complaining
about the hardships of the campaign, suddenly gathered courage and
decided to jump across a stream, but miscalculated and instead of
landing on the opposite bank, he found himself up to his neck in the
water. I left an NCO to help him, but, to complete the prince’s
misery, the regimental commander passed by and, upon seeing the
laughable figure of Prince Dadiani, he got furious and punished
Prince Dadiani by ordering him to serve as a private for the rest of
 April. Monday
the village of Shavelki. The regimental headquarters at Rositsy. The
area is indeed wonderful. Passing through Rositsy,
stopped for a few minutes to warm myself and saw my company
pass by me, with none of platoons [vzvod] falling behind each
other.Chicherin took advantage of my absence and ordered a rest. I
was displeased with Chicherin acting without my knowledge,
immediately ordered the company to continue marching, and then
reprimanded Chicherin, who, in turn, responded with impudence and
told me that he refuses to share quarters with my anymore. I eagerly
agreed with him and told him that he would now be quartered with
Bibikov, whom he could not bear. The very idea of putting them
together appealed to me and, although our conversation soon became
friendly, I made a firm decision to remove Chicherin from our
quarters. He began to tease Bibikov and, as a joke, he told him that
although they would share quarters, they would need to eat
 April. Tuesday
order to halt at Shavelky disappointed us since we had poor quarters
there. This was caused by the leading column that got hold up at
Druya and could not cross the Dvina River due to the floating ice.
 April. Wednesday
the village of Druya. The march was quite pleasant, and weather was
wonderful. Until now, the weather was quite bad which only
complicated the marching; we still could not get accustomed to such
changing weather. Our battalion had difficulties in crossing the
Dvina because the ice began to float again. I had a minor argument
with Sipyagin, with whom I shared a breakfast during the crossing.
We received the order to set up quarters and to not march to Vilna.
Druya itself is located in a beautiful area.
 April. Thursday
at Druya. A torrential rain kept pouring and the resulting mud
prevented us from getting out for the entire day. A Jew named Movsha
carried out all our instructions, received three rubles and left
quite satisfied and happy.
 April. Friday
the village of Salki. Prior to our departure from Druya, our
regimental commander gathered us on the bank of the Dvina to meet
the Emperor, who, according to him, was expected any minute. The
heavy rain had no mercy on us and, to complete our misery, a
feld-jager delivered the news that his Majesty, whom we were
awaiting for so long, had not yet left the Tsarskoye Selo.
So we returned to our quarters without any results to show except
for getting soaked to our bones so that we did not break this habit.
[Later that day] an alarm call was not heard in my company, which
was located at the end of the village, and I was unpleasantly
surprised upon being told that the entire regiment was assembled for
an hour and was delayed by my company alone. We rushed at once but
Colonel Kriedener, naturally, did not miss this opportunity to
reprimand me. The regimental headquarters moved to the village of
Ikazni, while my company, upon approaching this village, turned left
and occupied nine nearby settlements; I stopped at Salki, and my
host was a small rentier by the name of Salmanovich, an 80-year old
man, with two daughters, one of whom is not so bad looking.
 April. Saturday
spent the night with us but this morning he was assigned to new
quarters in another village, so he moved there.
 April. Sunday
captains (company commanders) were ordered to arrive to the regiment
commander at Ikazn’ at 10:00 a.m. I was among those who arrived.
We were ordered to gather most detailed information on the amount of
supplies that can be obtained in the villages occupied by our
troops. The reports were supposed to specify precisely how much
grain, forage and cattle, belonging either to peasant communities or
to landowners, was available. The poles were quite bewildered by
this order. I was very disappointed to cause so much problems to the
poor Salmanovich, who had very few belongings and he proved to be a
very good man.
 April. Monday
Emperor had traveled through Druya three days ago. Bibikov arrived
this evening and, as an ill-omened bird, he brought the news that
officers were prohibited from using carriages anymore.
 April. Tuesday
of our officers, [Nikolai Nikolayevich] Khrushev arrived tonight. He
traveled for provisions to Druya and took a NCO from my company as
 April. Wednesday
received an order to obtain from my host a declaration (notice)
listing his entire property. The declaration form was sent from the
regiment. This news anguished the entire Salmanovich family. Bibikov
was right and we were allowed to keep only transport horses, not
even the riding horses. I
did not dare to leave my village. Meantime, orders were rapidly
changing one after another. I ordered Zotov to deliver my letter to
the post office in Druya. He traveled with A. Trubetskoy and his
brother Sergei also departed, leaving me alone; to be precise,
almost alone since Prince Dadiani also stayed at home. He is a
simpleton [prostofilya] who either sleeps or sits mum.
Tonight he suddenly jumped up after being frightened my a small dog,
who had unnoticeably crawled under his bed, and began shouting at
full strength, swearing that he felt as the devil himself strolled
April [1 May] Friday
morning all company quartermaster were ordered to arrive to Ikazn’.
We were guessing reasons for the entire day before learning from an
order, which was received in the evening, that three companies,
including mine, had to change their quarters in the morning. This
removed us further from Druya, which was not particularly pleasing
for me since I began to court one of Salmanovich’s daughters; they
were indeed very good people.
April [2 May]. Saturday
Ukla, at a local estate. This was the first march that I made on
foot. We arrived at Ukla around noon. Local rentier is a certain
Rodzevich. It seems that he is richer than our Salmanovich, but,
despite his courteousness, we still noticed certain hostility which
the Poles often demonstrate towards the Russians. This was enough
for us to regret leaving our old quarters. [At Ukla] we found the
Izmailovtsy [troops from the Life Guad izmailovskii Regiment] who
had previously occupied our new quarters, so we had to share
quarters awaiting their departure. These minor troubles were
eclipsed by the joy brought to me by the letters of M-me B. that I
received here. She has not written to me in a long time.
April [3 May]. Sunday
is Easter. On such days the Poles only eat. Table is constantly set
but the locals sit around on usual time only to eat some soup. I
traveled to Colonel Pisarev, who was entertaining a female society.
We learned that the day after tomorrow we are departing for
Komai, a village located near Sventsyan, close to Vilna.
April [4 May]. Monday
again traveled to Colonel Pisarev. They arranged dances tonight.
23 April [5 May]. Tuesday
At Oksyutovichi. The regimental
headquarters is at Zamoshye. Despite the permission for captains to
ride their horses, I decided not to use this right and marched on
foot the entire march of 24 versts. After reaching Zamoshye, we
turned right. Bidding farewell to Rodzevich was not as touching as
with Salmanovich. The residents of Oksyutovichi are all Russians.
Editor: Ange Hyacinthe Maxence, baron de Damas (1785-1862) was
born into a French noble family, which fled the turmoil of the
Revolution in the 1790s. He later enlisted in the Russian army,
served in the Life Guard Semeyonovskii Regiment and later
commanded the Astrakhanskii Grendier Regiment in 1812-1814,
reaching the rank of major general. After the end of the
Napoleonic Wars, he returned to France, where he served as the
Minister of War in 1823-1824 and the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Editor: Pushin refers to the Decembrist Uprising of 1825. Sergey
Trubetskoy (1790-1860) was one of the leaders of the Northern
Society and was court-martialed and sentences to 20 years of
labor in Siberia.
Editor: Pushin refers to a special payment, in the amount of one
third of annual salary, issues to the troops of the Life Guard
Semeyonovskii Regiments in order to facilitate their campaign
Editor: After the Napoleonic Wars ended, Kashkarev eventually
commanded the 1st Grenadier Company and became known
for starting the Life Guard Semeyonovskii Regiment’s famed
uprising in 1820, for which he was court-martialed, deprived of
his awards and demoted to rank-and-file.
Editor: The Pushin family estate of Zhadritsy was located about
25 versts away from Mikhailovskoye in the Novorzhervskii uezd
(district) of the Pskov gubernia (province). The
famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin was exiled to
Mikhailovskoye in the 1820s and Pushin established good
relations with him.
Editor: Pushin added this note years later and it refers to the
Russian invasion of Hungary in 1849, when Emperor Nicholas I
dispatched his troops to assist the Austrians in suppressing the
Editor: Mikhail Speransky was Emperor Alexander’s close
advisor, who proposed a series of liberal reforms to modernize
empire but faced increasing opposition and was disgraced and
exiled in mid March 1812. Sparensky’s dismissal effectively
meant the end of liberal changes in Russia. Mikhail Magnitsky,
Speransky’s supporter, was also exiled, but later emerged as
one of the leading reactionaries
Editor: Pushin’s father, Sergey Pushin, died in 1811.
Editor: Pushin refers to Emperor Alexander’s manifesto of 23
March 1812 that required recruitment of 2 men per every 500
Editor: In 1812, Nikolai Nikolayevich Pushin served as an ensign
in the Life Guard Litovskii [Lithuanian] Regiment. After the
Napoleonic Wars, he became a member in secret societies and
became close to the future Decembrists, including A. Pestel. In
1822, he publicly confronted Grand Duke Constantine for abusive
treatment of officers of the Life Guard Litovskii Regiment, for
which he was court martialed and sentenced to death, which was
later commuted to reduction in ranks and loss of nobility and
all awards. Despite such harsh punishment, Pushin stoically
endured his hardships as a private in the regiment, refusing
offers from his former comrades to continue living in officer
quarters. In late 1823, he was restored in the rank of 1823, and
after five years of exemplary service, he was promoted to a
colonel. By 1834, his past misdeed was forgotten and he was
appointed to lead the Noble Regiment, promoted to a major
general in 1836 and to lieutenant general in 1847.
Editor: Alexander departed from St. Petersburg on 21 April and
reached Vilna on 26 April.