General Nikolai Michailovitj Kamenskij (1776-1811)
Nikolai Michailovitj Kamenskij was born in 1776, the son of a famous general, Michail Fedotovitj Kamenskij. Nikolai was as tradition proposed, enrolled at the young age of four, as cornet in the Novotroitskij cuirassier regiment. In 1785, he was made aide to Lieutenant General Gartvig, and later also to his father. Advancing fast, he made the rank of Lietuenant Colonel in 1797 and given his first regimental command as well. In 1799, Kamenskij participated in Suvorov's operations in Switzerland, where the young Kamenskij did well, and he also took part in the 1805 and 1806-07 Russian campaigns against Napoleon. These campaigns were good education for the aspiring officer.
Kamenskij started the campaign in Finland with a lower command in the southern parts of the country. His division was the one to force the fortress of Sveaborg to surrender. But after Rayevskij's defeat at Lappo, Kamenskij was called in to lead the main army. On September 14, 1808, Kamenskij forced the Swedes under Adlercreutz to a decisive battle at Oravais in the western parts of Finland, and he there beat the Swedish army soundly. The offensive then contineud north, as the Swedish retreated and left Finland to the Russian troops.
Upon taking the command of the army, Russian sources state that the only order Kamenskij got from his superiors was: "Be Victorious!". Kamenskij, the youthful and charismatic character he was, showed tremendous talent and innovation during the operations, although he did not care much for supplylines and logistics, thinking that when victory is at hand, such minor things will find natural solutions.
Kamenskij stood with his Russian troops at Umeå in Sweden during the 1809 campaign and he there fought the Swedish at Sävar (August 19). Swedish troops had been landed in his back to try and surround him, but he successfully broke the encirclement by without hesitating, marching straight at them. At Ratan, he was forced to a bloody retreat though, as the Swedish land troops were supported by artillery from the navy.
After the Russo-Swedish war, Kamenskij had other interesting commands as well. In 1810, he succeeded Bagration as the commander of the Army of the Danube and he there fought the Turkish with success. He defeated the enemy in the battle of Batin, and captured the town of Lovcha.
After his successes in the war against the Turks he fell ill and died in 1811.
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