Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Statue of Historic Figure: Barclay de Tolly - St. Petersburg, Russia

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly
St. Petersburg, Russia
Topic: Statue of Historic Figure 
GPS: N59° 56.119; E030° 19.453

Quick Description: 

The statue of Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly is on the west side of the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia

Long Description:

Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly was the Russian Field Marshall and Minister of War during Napoleon's invasion in 1812 and during the War of the Sixth Coalition: Russia, Austria and Prussia against the French Empire.

Barclay de Tolly was of Scottish ancestry, was born on December 27, 1761 in present day Lithuania, and raised in present day Estonia. Both countries were, at that time, part of the Russian Empire. He entered the Russian army and distinguished himself in the Russo-Turkish War of 1788 – 1789. He subsequently saw service against the Swedes and the Poles and reached the rank of major General in 1794.

In 1806 he participated in the Battle of Pultusk in Poland against the advancing forces of Napoleon during Napoleon's Wars. The following year he was wounded in the inconclusive Battle of Eylau in East Prussia after which he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general.

Barclay recuperated from his wounds and returned to the army in 1808 to command operations against the Swedes during the Finnish War. His daring march over the frozen Gulf of Bothnia, enabled his army to surprize and defeat the Swedes. As a result he became a Full General, Governor-General of Finland, and Minister of War.

When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, Barclay took command of the 1st Army of the West, the major Russian force opposing Napoleon. It was he who devised the scorched earth strategy of retreating and leaving nothing behind that could be useful to the enemy. Napoleon advanced deeper and deeper into Russia, over extending his supply lines, and was trapped by a severe Russian winter on the outskirts of Moscow. After the French retreated from Russia, Barclay's tactics made him a folk hero.

Barclay went on to take part in the invasion of France in 1814 and commanded the taking of Paris. He was then promoted to the rank of a Field Marshal and in 1815 was given the title of Prince. He retired and died on May 26, 1818.

The stamp was issued by Russia as part of a set of five stamps in 2002 commemorating the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg.

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