Tol, Karl

Tol’, Karl Fedorovich


Born Apr. 8 (19), 1777, in Keskver, in what is now Haapsalu Raion, Estonian SSR; died Apr. 23 (May 5), 1842, in St. Petersburg. Russian infantry general (1826); count (1829).

Tol’ was a descendant of an old, noble family that moved from Holland to Estonia in the 15th century. A graduate of the Army Cadet School, he joined the army in 1796. Tol’ served in the Swiss campaign of 1799 and in the wars against France (1805) and Turkey (1806–09). In 1810 he became a quartermaster in the imperial retinue.

In April 1812, Tol’ proposed a plan for defensive military actions against Napoleon, including provisions for combining the First and Second armies. During the Patriotic War of 1812, he became quartermaster general of the First Army (early July) and played a prominent role in the Russian successes at Smolensk and Borodino. In September 1812, as quartermaster general of the combined armies, Tol’ implemented the strategic plans of General M. I. Kutuzov and took direct command of the armies. He became quartermaster general of the Main Headquarters under Alexander I in December 1812 and participated in the foreign campaigns of the Russian Army in 1813 and 1814.

Tol’ became quartermaster general of the Main Headquarters of His Imperial Highness in December 1815, and in 1823 he became chief of staff of the First Army. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29 and at the time of the suppression of the Polish Uprising of 1830–31, he served as chief of staff of the army field forces. Tol’ became a member of the Council of State in 1830 and chief administrator of roads, waterways, and public buildings in 1833.

Over the years from 1856 to 1858, the German historian T. von Bernhardi published a four-volume work that purported to be the memoirs of Tol’ but which actually presented the historian’s own highly distorted account of the Patriotic War of 1812.


General-kvartirmeister K. F. Tol’ v Otechestvennuiu voinu. [St. Petersburg, 1912.]