Alexander Ivanovich Kutaisov was one of the youngest Russian generals in 1812.
His father was a Turk captured by Russians in the Russian-Turkish war. Empress Catherine II presented him to her heir Paul (Pavel). When Paul became the Emperor this former captive could make a brilliant career at his court.
Owing to the high position of his father Alexander Kutaisov was enlisted to the Guard as an NCO in the age of 10, and in the age of 22 he was promoted to the rank of major-general.
New Emperor Alexander treated the young general kindly too. Kutaisov showed himself as a brave and talented commander in the campaign of 1806-1807 against France. He distinguished in the battles at Golimin, Eylou and Friedland and became well-known in the Russian army.
After the end of the war Kutaisov decided to continue his education, so in 1810 he took an year furlough and went abroad to study. At first he stayed in Wienna for six months studying the Turkish and Arad languages and then he went to Paris there he studied mathematics, artillery and art of fortification.
Alexander Kutaisov was a handsome young man and had many interests besides military art. So he was a good musician, could draw very good and wrote beautiful verses. He also spoke fluently three European languages and was welcomed in the Russian high society.
In the campaign of 1812 this 28 years old general commanded the artillery of the 1-st Western army of General Barclay de Tolly. He was in the centre of all military actions during the retreat of the Russian army.
In the Borodino battle Kutaisov commanded the whole artillery of the Russian army and rode from one battery to another in the most dangerous places. After getting to know about wounding of General Bagration Kutaisov together with General Ermolov went to the place to find out the situation.
In his "Memories" General Ermolov wrote :
Count Kutaisov that was together with me, rode to the right where he met a part of our infantry and led them to the attack, but then this infantry was thrown back by the French, but Kutaisov was not with them! After some time his horse came back and the blood-stained saddle made us to think the brave general was killed...Next day an infantry officer came to General Ermolov and gave him the sabre and awards of Kutaisov and said he was a witness of his death.
So the life of this young, clever and brave general came abruptly to the end...