Pyotr Bagration

Pyotr Bagration
Prince Pyotr Bagration
Prince Bagration in military uniform
Spouse Catherine Skavronskaya
Full name
Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration
Dynasty Bagrationi
Father Prince Ivan Alexandrovich Bagration
Born 1765
Kizlyar, Russia
Died 24 September [O.S. 12 September] 1812)
Simi, Russia
Occupation General
Religion Georgian Orthodox Church

Prince Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration (Georgian: პეტრე ბაგრატიონი P'et're Bagrat'ioni, Russian: Пётр Ива́нович Багратио́н; 1765 – 24 September [O.S. 12 September] 1812) was a general of the Russian army. He was a descendant of the Georgian royal family of the Bagrations.



Bagration was born in 1765 to a Georgian prince of the Bagratid dynasty, Colonel Prince Ivan Alexandrovich Bagration (18 November 1730 – 9 October 1795), who was the eldest son of Alexander. His brother Roman (Revaz) Bagrationi (1778–1834) was also a general of the Russian army.[1]

Bagration entered the Russian army as a sergeant in the Kavsansk Rifles, Astrakhan Infantry Regiment in 1782, beginning a thirty year career in the Russian Army, and served for some years in the Russian-Circassian War. He participated in the Siege of Ochakov (1788). In 1792 he was commissioned as a Captain and transferred to the Kiev Cavalry Regiment that year as a second Major, transferring as a full first Major to the Sofiiskii Carabineers on 15 May 1794. He served in the military campaign to suppress the Polish Kościuszko Uprising of 1794.

He received successive promotions to Lieutenant-Colonel (26 October 1794), to Colonel (1798) and to Major-General (1799).[1] His merits were recognized by Suvorov, whom he accompanied in the Italian and Swiss campaign of 1799, winning particular distinction by the capture of the town of Brescia.[2] From 1798 to 1799, he commanded the 6th Chasseurs.

He commanded the Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard from 1801–1802, serving as GOC Jager Brigade (1802–05) and as the commander of the advance guard at Austerlitz in 1805.[1]

In the wars of 1805 Bagration's achievements appeared even more brilliant. With a small rearguard he successfully resisted the repeated attacks of forces five times his own numbers at the Battle of Hollabrunn (1805), and though half his men fell, the retreat of the main army under Kutuzov was thereby secured. At Austerlitz (2 December 1805) Bagration fought against the left wing of the French army commanded by Murat and Lannes. He was promoted to Lieutenant-General in 1805, and fought bravely and obstinately at the battles of Eylau (7 February 1807), Heilsberg (11 June 1807) and Friedland (14 June 1807).

As a hero of the Napoleonic Wars he returned to St. Petersburg, to become the lover of Catherine, the sister of the tsar, Alexander I. A marriage was out of the question. He then married another Catherine, a relative of Prince Potemkin. She, however, soon left her husband for an interesting life as a salon hostess in Vienna (and sometime mistress of Metternich).[2]

During the Finnish Campaign of 1808, by a daring march across the frozen Gulf of Finland, Bagration captured the Åland Islands, and in 1809 he led the Russian army against the Turks at the battles of Rassowa and Tataritza. In 1809 he was promoted to full General of Infantry.[2]

In 1812, Bagration commanded the 2nd army of the West, and a few days before Napoleon's invasion on 24 June he suggested to Alexander I a pre-emptive strike into the Duchy of Warsaw. Though defeated at Mogilev (23 July 1812), Bagration led his forces to join the 1st army at Smolensk under Barclay de Tolly, to whom he ceded overall command of both armies on 2 August. Bagration led the left wing at the Battle of Borodino (7 September 1812), where he constructed a number of flèches- due to a shortage of engineer officers though, these were poorly designed. During the battle he received a mortal wound and later died on 24 September, in the village of Simi, which belonged to his aunt.[2]

It is said that, while wounded, Bagration kept giving orders to the troops without knowing that the Russian army was abandoning Moscow. When he finally heard the truth, Bagration was so shocked that he rapidly stood up, totally forgetting about his grave wound. Such an act was too much for his severely wounded body and it quickly cost Bagration his life.[3]


On 15 October 1800, Bagration was granted the hereditary title of a Prince of the Russian Empire (Kniaz Bagration) by the Emperor Paul I. He was also appointed as a Knight of the Orders of St Andrew (1810), of St. Alexander Nevsky (1807), of the St Vladimir, 1st class (1809), of the St Anna, 1st class (1800), the St George 2nd class (1805) and as a Commander of Justice of the Order of St John of Malta (1800). He was further honoured with a gold sword of honour for bravery (1808).[1] Bagration's foreign awards also included the Prussian Orders of the Red Eagle (1807) and the Black Eagle (1807), the Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa, 2nd class (1799) and the Sardinian Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, 1st Class (1799).

Tsar Nicholas I had a monument erected in his honour on the battlefield of Borodino. The general's remains were transferred to the place where he had fallen and remain there to this day. The grave was blown up during World War II (reputedly, the local museum authorities only were able to save shreds of bone and cloth from the grave) but has since then been restored.

Joseph Stalin chose Bagration as the name of the Soviet offensive launched on 22 June 1944 that defeated the German Army Group Centre and drove the forces of Nazi Germany out of what is now Belarus. After the war, the Soviet Union annexed northern East Prussia, and the until-then German town of Preußisch Eylau —the scene of the 1807 battle—was renamed Bagrationovsk in his memory. In Moscow, the Bagration Bridge, which commemorates the 850th year of the city is named in his honour.


The name Bagration is not pronounced /bəˈɡreɪʃən/ (Bag-Ration) as many people think when reading War and Peace for the first time. English-speakers used to Italian names often pronounce it /bəˌɡrɑːtsiˈoʊn/ (Bag-rat-sion), but in Russian it is pronounced [bəɡrɐtʲɪˈon] (Bug-rut-ee-ON). The Georgian pronunciation is [bɑɡrɑtʼiɔni] (Bahgraht-EE-onni), with no significant stress.


  1. ^ a b c d kartli5. Retrieved on 2011-10-29.
  2. ^ a b c d Pyotr Bagration – Russiapedia Military Prominent Russians. (1908-10-29). Retrieved on 2011-10-29.
  3. ^ Lê Vinh Quốc (chủ biên), Nguyễn Thị Thư, Lê Phụng Hoàng, Các nhân vật Lịch sử Cận đại, Tập II: Nga. NXB Giáo dục, Tp. Hồ Chí Minh 1997. (Vietnamese)


  • Alexander Mikaberidze, The Lion of the Russian Army: Life and Military Career of Prince General Peter Bagration, 2 volumes, (doct. diss., Florida State University, 2003)
  • General Bagration: Sbornik dokumentov i materialov, pod redaktsiei S.N. Golubova [General Bagration: Compilation of Documents and Materials], (Moscow, 1945)
  • Bagration v Dunaiskikh kniazhestvakh: Sbornik Dokumentov [Bagration in the Danubian Principalities: Compilation of Documents], (Chisineu, 1949)
  • Tsintsadze, Zurab, Bagration Voennaia Deiatelnost General Petra Ivanovicha Bagrationa, 1782–1812, [Military Career of General Peter Ivanovich Bagration, 1782–1812] (Moscow, 1997);
  • V. Gribanov, Bagration v Peterburge [Bagration in St. Petersburg] (Leningrad 1979)
  • I.I. Rostunov. "P.I. Bagration" (a monograph), Moscow, 1947 (in Russian)
  • T. Lomouri. "Petre Bagrationi" (a monograph), Tbilisi, 1946 (in Georgian)
  • N. Nakashidze. "Hero of Borodino", Tbilisi, 1961 (in Georgian)

External links

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