Alexander Mikhailovich Rimsky-Korsakov (Russian: Александр Михайлович Римский-Корсаков) (August 24, 1753 – May 25, 1840) was a Russian General remembered as an unlucky assistant to Alexander Suvorov during his Swiss expedition of 1799–1800.
Korsakov entered military service as a cadet in the Preobrazhinski Guard Regiment, and was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Tchernigov Musketeer Regt at age 25. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War in 1788 and 1789, and in the Russo-Swedish War. He subsequently became a major-general of the Semenovsky regiment of the Leib Guard, assigned to accompany the Count of Artois to England. From there he went to Flanders as Russian observer to the army commanded by Prince Josias of Coburg. His account of the Battle of Fleurus (1794) to the Tsarina won him favour, on returning to St. Petersburg, he was dispatched to serve under Count Valerian Zubov in an ill-fated expedition against Persia, which Emperor Paul I recalled in 1799 in order to deal with the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1797 Korsakov was elevated to Inspector General of Infantry, and the following year General Lieutenant.
1799 Campaign in Switzerland
In 1798 Paul I gave Korsakov command of an expeditionary force of 30,000 men sent to Germany to join Austria in the fight against the French Republic. At the beginning of 1799 the force was diverted to drive the French out of Switzerland. Leaving Russia in May, Korsakov reached Stockach in 90 days. With 29,463 men his command then marched to Zürich to join up with the 25,000-man Corps of Austrian general Friedrich von Hotze. It was expected that Alexander Suvorov's army would join them from Italy after marching through the Alps, but terrain and enemy action held up Suvorov's advance. In the meantime Korsakov waited around Zurich in a relaxed state of over-confidence. Taking full advantage of this, the French under André Masséna attacked on September 25, 1799 in the Second Battle of Zürich, winning a signal victory and forcing Korsakov to withdraw rapidly to Schaffhausen, despite almost no pursuit by the French and orders to hold his ground from Suvorov. Korsakov then took position on the east of the Rhine in the Dorflingen Camp between Schaffhausen & Constance, remaining there untroubled while Masséna was left free to deal with Suvorov. His left under Condé was driven from Constance 7 October, on the same day he advanced from Büsingen against Schlatt, but was eventually driven back by Masséna, abandoning all hold on the left bank of the Rhine. He joined with Suvorov’s survivors at Lindau 18 October and was shortly after relieved of command. Soon after he was dismissed as Colonel-in-Chief of the Rostov Musketeer Regt and disgraced. The combined army turned towards Bohemia, from which Paul I recalled it to Russia for the winter.
With the accession of Emperor Alexander I in 1801, Korsakov was re-appointed as a GvC cavalry general. He was Governor of Lithuania from 1806 to 1809, based at Vilna, and again from April–June 1812. On the approach of the French he was ordered to withdraw by Barclay de Tolly on 28 June, but returned to serve for a third term as Governor-General of Lithuania from 8 December 1812 until 1830. During this time he ordered the reconstruction of the Tuskulėnai Manor in Vilnius, where he lived. Recalled to St. Petersberg after the Polish insurrection of 1830-31, Korsakov was made member of the State Council of Imperial Russia. He died in 1840.
- Furse, George Armand Marengo and Hohenlinden (2 vols 1903, facsimile edition Worley 1993 p.80)
- Mikaberidze, Alexander. 2005. The Russian Officer Corps in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1792-1815 New York.