Kutuzov, Mikhail Ilarionovich [key], 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, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Russian, Soviet, and CIS History: Biographies