Kutuzov, Mikhail Ilarionovich
, 1745-1813, Russian field marshal. He fought against the Polish Confederation of Bar (see Bar, Confederation of
) and served in the Russo-Turkish Wars
of 1768-74 and 1787-92, in which he lost an eye. He took part (1805) in the battle of Austerlitz, which was fought against his advice. In 1811-12 he again took command against the Ottomans and defeated them in a brilliant campaign that brought Bessarabia to Russia. In Aug., 1812, Kutuzov replaced Barclay de Tolly
as commander in chief against the invading armies of Napoleon I
. Kutuzov was expected to engage the French in battle and to abandon his predecessor's delaying tactics. The battle of Borodino
was the result; after that butchery, Kutuzov resumed Barclay's wise policy of retreat, which eventually led to Napoleon's ruin. He pursued Napoleon relentlessly after the retreat of the Grande Armée
from Moscow (1812-13). He was created prince of Smolensk for a victory there late in 1812.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright © 2004.
Licensed from Columbia University Press