October 9 in Russian history


Russian corps, led by general Zahar Grigoryevich Chernyshov and general Gottlob Curt Heinrich Graf von Tottleben, take hold of Berlin during the Seven Years' War.

The Seven Years' War was sometimes called the really first world war. It started in 1756 when Great Britain proclaimed the war on France, due to frequent conflicts between British and French settlers in North America. The chain of diplomatic relations brought to life two opposing groups of countries: Britain, Prussia, Portugal and Hannover opposed Austria, France, Russia, Spain, Saxony and Sweden. Russia entered the war in 1757. On October 3 (September 22 Old Style) the detachment of general Tottleben attacked Berlin, but were repelled. They were joined by the corps of Chernyshov, general Pyotr Panin and the Austrian troops of Franz Moritz Graf von Lacy. The Berlin garrison surrendered. By the way, Prussian prince of Wurtemberg preferred to report of the capitulation to ethnic German Tottleben, not to his commander Chernyshov. Chernyshov entered Berlin, took a good supplies of weapons, including artillery, and ammo, and demanded the city to pay 50,000 talers as a contribution. The property of the Berlin citizens, however, was not confiscated and the city was not plundered.

The triumph was not long. Frederick of Prussia gathered his army and marched towards Berlin. Chernyshov ordered to explode fortifications and warehouses and left. A month later, on November 3, Frederick won the last large battle of the Seven Years' War — the battle of Torgau. It seemed that the victory will not bring him any luck, since he lost about 40% of his army in this battle. He even had to explore the possibility of a truce. And then, the unexpected happens. The empress Elizabeth, who once said that she would continue the war even if she had to sell half of her dresses, died on January 5, 1762. Her heir, Peter III (Carl Peter Ulrich, as he was named at birth), was a fan of Prussia and of Frederick in particular. Of course, he had to save his beloved Frederick. Russia returned everything she had gained during the war, including the Eastern Prussia, and the corps of general Chernyshov was sent to Prussia to assist Frederick against the Austrians.

Probably, the only thing Russia had gained was the title of the Prussian colonel, granted to Peter III by Frederick. They say that Peter III was more proud of this title than of the crown of the Russian empire.

In July 1762, Peter III was dethroned and killed. He was succeeded by the empress Catherine II the Great. General Chernyshov was ordered to disengage from the Prussians, but he suppressed the order at the request of Frederick and took part in the battle of Burkersdorf. Nevertheless, he was not punished. Seven years later he became a field marshal. Later he was the governor of Belorussia and Moscow guberniya.

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