Nadezhda Durova. Heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812

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Nadezhda Durova. Heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812
Nadezhda Durova. Heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812

It sometimes happens that the real biographies of people surpass the plots of the brightest adventure novels. Sometimes this is the result of unpredictable life collisions that a person gets into against his will, and sometimes he becomes the creator of his own unique destiny, not wanting to move along the once and for all established track. The first female officer of the Russian army, Nadezhda Andreevna Durova, belonged to such people.

Childhood of the future hussar

The future "cavalry girl" was born on September 17, 1783 in Kyiv. A clarification is immediately required here: in her Notes, she indicates the year 1789, but this is not true. The fact is that while serving in the Cossack regiment, Nadezhda deliberately reduced her age by six years in order to impersonate a very young man and thereby explain the lack of facial hair.

Fate would have it that from the first days of her life, Nadezhda Durova found herself in a seething military environment. Her father Andrei Vasilievich was a hussar captain, and the family led a wandering regimental life. Her mother, Nadezhda Ivanovna, was the daughter of a we althy Poltava landowner and, distinguished by her eccentric and unbridled disposition, married against the will of her parents, or,as they said then, "abduction".

Nadezhda Durova

This temper of hers played a very unsightly role in her daughter's life. Dreaming of the birth of a son, the mother hated her newborn girl and one day, when she was barely a year old, irritated by her crying, she threw the child out of the window of a speeding carriage. Nadya was saved by the hussars who followed and noticed a bloodied child in the dust of the road.

Young pupil of dashing warriors

To avoid a repetition of what happened, the father was forced to give his daughter to be raised by an outsider, but an infinitely kind and sympathetic person - hussar Astakhov, with whom Nadia lived until the age of five. Subsequently, in her memoirs, Durova writes that in those years the hussar saddle replaced her cradle, and horses, weapons and brave military music were toys and amusements. These first childhood impressions will play a decisive role in shaping the character of the future cavalry girl.

Return to the father's house

In 1789, Andrei Ivanovich retired and secured a place for himself as a mayor in the city of Sarapul, Vyatka province. The girl again found herself in her family in the care of her mother, who, having taken up her upbringing, tried in vain to instill in her daughter a love for needlework and housekeeping. Nadia was absolutely alien to everything that occupied her peers in those years - the soul of a hussar lived in a little girl. When her daughter grew up, her father gave her a magnificent Cherkasy horse named Alkid, who eventually became her fighting friend and saved her more than once in difficult times.

Forced marriage

Immediatelyupon reaching the age of majority, Nadezhda Durova was married off. It is difficult to say what her parents were more guided by: the desire to arrange the fate of their daughter or the desire to quickly get rid of this “hussar in a skirt”. She went down the aisle with a quiet and unremarkable man - Vasily Stepanovich Chernov, who served as a court assessor in the same city.

A year later, Nadezhda gave birth to a son, but she did not feel any tender feelings for him, as, indeed, for her husband. In dislike for the child, she showed herself to be a complete continuation of her own mother. Of course, this marriage union was doomed from the very beginning, and soon Nadezhda left her husband, leaving him only memories of failed love and a little son.

Nadezhda Andreevna Durova

In the thick of life on a dashing horse

For a short time, Durova returns to her home, but there she meets only the wrath of her mother, outraged by her break with her husband. She becomes unbearably stuffy in this gray and faceless life led by the county townsfolk. But soon fate gives her a gift in the person of a Cossack captain, with whom Nadezhda leaves her hateful house forever. Having changed into a man's suit and cut her hair, she is carried away on her Alkida after her young lover, pretending to be his batman for those around her.

It was during this period that Nadezhda Durova, as mentioned above, deliberately underestimates her age: according to the charter, the Cossacks were required to wear beards, and it was possible to evade this only for a while, referring to their youth. But, in order to avoid exposure, I finally had to leave the captain andlook for places in the cavalry uhlan regiment, where they did not wear beards. There she entered the service under the fictitious name of Alexander Vasilyevich Sokolov, a nobleman and son of a landowner.

The first battles and the George Cross for bravery

It was 1806, and the Russian army took part in the battles with Napoleon, which went down in history as the War of the Fourth Coalition. It was the eve of the coming Patriotic War. Nadezhda Andreevna Durova participated on an equal footing with men in a number of major battles of those times and everywhere she showed exceptional heroism. For rescuing a wounded officer, she was awarded the soldier's St. George's Cross and was soon promoted to non-commissioned officer. Throughout this period, none of the people around even suspected that a young and fragile woman was hiding behind the image of a dashing warrior.

Unexpected exposure

But, as you know, you can't hide the sewing in the bag. The secret kept by Nadezhda Andreevna for so long soon became known to the command. She issued her own letter, written to her father on the eve of one of the battles. Not knowing whether she was destined to stay alive, Nadezhda asked him for forgiveness for all the experiences caused to him and his mother. Before that, Andrei Ivanovich did not know where his daughter was, but now, having accurate information, he turned to the army command with a request to return the fugitive home.

An order immediately followed from the headquarters, and the commander of the regiment where Nadezhda Durova served, urgently sent her to St. Petersburg, depriving her of her weapons and putting reliable guards on her. One can only guess what was the reaction of colleagues who found out whoin fact, it turned out to be their, albeit beardless, but dashing and brave non-commissioned officer …

What rank did Nadezhda Durova reach?

The highest audience with the emperor

Meanwhile, the rumor about an extraordinary warrior reached the Emperor Alexander I, and when Nadezhda Andreevna arrived in the capital, he immediately received her in the palace. Hearing a story about what a young woman had to go through, who participated on an equal footing with men in hostilities, and most importantly, realizing that it was not a love affair that brought her to the army, but a desire to serve the Motherland, the sovereign allowed Nadezhda Andreevna to continue to remain in combat units and personal by order promoted her to the rank of second lieutenant.

Moreover, so that her relatives would not create problems for her in the future, the sovereign sent her to serve in the Mariupol hussar regiment under the assumed name of Alexander Andreevich Alexandrov. Moreover, she was given the right, if necessary, to apply with petitions directly to the highest name. Only the most deserving people enjoyed such a privilege at that time.

Regimental vaudeville

Thus, Nadezhda Durova, a cavalry girl and the first female officer in Russia, ended up among the Mariupol hussars. But soon a story worthy of exquisite vaudeville happened to her. The fact is that the daughter of the regimental commander fell in love with the newly minted second lieutenant. Of course, she had no idea who her adored Alexander Andreevich really was. The father - a military colonel and the noblest person - sincerely approved of the choice of his daughter and wished her happiness with all his heart.young and such a nice officer.

Nadezhda Durova cavalryman - girl

The situation is very piquant. The girl dried up with love and shed tears, and the father was nervous, not understanding why the second lieutenant did not go to ask him for the hand of his daughter. Nadezhda Andreevna had to leave the hussar regiment that had so cordially accepted her and continue serving in the Uhlan squadron - also, of course, under a false name, invented for her personally by the sovereign-emperor.

Beginning of the Patriotic War

In 1809, Durova went to Sarapul, where her father still served as a mayor. She lived in his house for two years and, shortly before the start of the Napoleonic invasion, she again went to serve in the Lithuanian Lancers. A year later, Nadezhda Andreevna commanded a half-squadron. At the head of her desperate lancers, she took part in most of the major battles of the Patriotic War of 1812. She fought near Smolensk and the Kolotsky Monastery, and at Borodino she defended the famous Semyonov flushes - a strategically important system consisting of three defensive structures. Here she happened to fight side by side with Bagration.

Commander-in-Chief's orderly

Soon Durova was wounded and went to her father in Sarapul for treatment. After recovering, she returned to the army again and served as an orderly with Kutuzov, and Mikhail Illarionovich was one of the few who knew who she really was. When the Russian army in 1813 continued hostilities outside of Russia, Nadezhda Andreevna continued to remain in service, and in the battles for the liberation of Germany fromNapoleonic troops distinguished themselves during the siege of the Modlin fortress and the capture of Hamburg.

Order of Nadezhda Durova

Life after retirement

After the victorious end of the war, this amazing woman, having served the Tsar and the Fatherland for several more years, retired with the rank of staff captain. The rank of Nadezhda Durova allowed her to receive a lifelong pension and ensured a completely comfortable existence. She settled in Sarapul with her father, but periodically lived in Yelabuga, where she had her own house. The years spent in the army left their mark on Nadezhda Andreevna, which, probably, explains many of the oddities that were noted by all who were next to her at that time.

From the memoirs of contemporaries it is known that until the end of her life she went in a man's dress and signed all documents exclusively with the name of Alexandrov Alexander Andreevich. From those around her, she demanded that she address herself only in the masculine gender. It seemed that for her personally, the woman she once was died, and only the image she created herself with a fictitious name remained.

Sometimes things went to extremes. For example, when one day her son, Ivan Vasilyevich Chernov (the same one whom she once left when leaving her husband), sent her a letter asking him to bless him for marriage, she, seeing the appeal to her “mother”, burned the letter without even reading it. Only after the son wrote again, addressing her as Alexander Andreyevich, did he finally receive his mother's blessing.

Literary creativity

Coming out onpeace after military labors, Nadezhda Andreevna was engaged in literary activities. In 1836, her memoirs appeared on the pages of Sovremennik, which later served as the basis for the famous Notes, which were published in the same year under the title The Cavalry Girl. A. S. Pushkin, whom Durova met through her brother Vasily, who personally knew the great poet, highly appreciated her writing talent. In the final version, her memoirs saw the light in 1839 and were a resounding success, which prompted the author to continue her work.

descendants of foolish hope

The end of the life of a cavalry girl

But, in spite of everything, in the decline of her days, Durova was very lonely. The creatures closest to her in those years were numerous cats and dogs, which Nadezhda Andreevna picked up wherever she could. She died in 1866 in Yelabuga, having lived to the age of eighty-two. Feeling the approach of death, she did not change her habits and bequeathed to be buried under a male name - the servant of God Alexander. However, the parish priest could not violate the church charter and refused to fulfill this last will. They buried Nadezhda Andreevna in the usual manner, but at the funeral they gave her military honors.

Born in the time of Catherine II, she was a contemporary of the five rulers of the imperial throne of Russia and ended her journey in the reign of Alexander II, having lived to see the abolition of serfdom. So Nadezhda Durova passed away - but not from the people's memory, whose biography covered a whole era of our history.Motherland.

Memory for the ages

Grateful descendants of Nadezhda Durova tried to perpetuate her name. In 1901, by the imperial decree of Nicholas II, a monument was erected on the grave of the famous cavalry girl. In the mourning epitaph, words were carved telling about her military path, about what rank Nadezhda Durova had risen to, and gratitude was expressed to this heroic woman. In 1962, on one of the alleys of the city park, city residents also installed a bust of their famous compatriot.

Monument to Nadezhda Durova

Already in post-Soviet times, in 1993, a monument to Nadezhda Durova was unveiled on Trinity Square in Yelabuga. Its authors were the sculptor F. F. Lyakh and the architect S. L. Buritsky. Russian writers did not stand aside either. In 2013, at the celebrations on the occasion of the 230th anniversary of her birth, poems dedicated to Nadezhda Durova, written by many famous poets of past years and our contemporaries, sounded within the walls of the Yelabuga State Museum-Reserve.

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