Chichagov, Pavel

Chichagov, Pavel Vasil’evich


Born June 27 (July 8), 1767, in St. Petersburg; died Aug. 20 (Sept. 1), 1849, in Paris. Russian military figure; admiral (1807). Son of V. Ia. Chichagov.

Chichagov joined the navy in 1782 and served as his father’s adjutant; he commanded a ship of the line in the Russo-Swedish War of 1788–90. He studied in England in 1791 and 1792 and retired in 1797.

In 1799, Chichagov commanded a landing expedition to Holland. He joined Alexander I’s retinue in 1801 and became a deputy minister of the navy in 1802. He served as minister of the navy from December 1802 to 1809 (although he officially held the post until 1811) and introduced a series of measures to improve the fleet. From 1805 to 1809 and again from 1811 to 1834 he was a member of the State Council. In April 1812, Chichagov was named commander in chief of the Army of the Danube, chief of the Black Sea Fleet, and governor general of Moldavia and Walachia.

During the Patriotic War of 1812, the Army of the Danube and the Third Army were united in September 1812 under the general command of Chichagov, who was ordered to attack the rear of Napoleon’s forces. According to the plan put forward by M. I. Kutuzov, Chichagov’s army, together with a corps under P. Kh. Vitgenshtein, was to cut off Napoleon’s escape routes to the west across the Berezina River. However, because of a lack of cooperation on the part of several groups of forces and mistakes by Chichagov and Vitgenshtein, the plan was not carried out. Russian public opinion laid the entire blame for the failure on Chichagov. In late 1812 and early 1813, Chichagov, commanding the Third Army, directed the pursuit of the enemy. In February 1813 he was forced to retire. Insulted at being suspected of treason, Chichagov emigrated in 1814 to live in Italy and France. His memoirs were published in the historical journals Russkii arkhiv (Russian Archive; 1869–70) and Russkaia starina (Russian Antiquity; 1883,1886–88, vols. 38,50–52, 55, 58–60).


Arkhiv admírala P. V. Chichagova, fasc. 1. St. Petersburg, 1885.