Alexander Samoylov was born into the family of senator Nikolay Samoylov. He started his military service in 1760 as a soldier of Leib-Guard Semyonovsky Regiment. Later he was moved to the front-line forces and took part in the Russo-Turkish War, 1768–1774 and, for his part in the taking of Silistra, received the Order of St. George of 4th degree.
The rise to power of his relative, Prince Potemkin, led to a comital title being bestowed upon Samoilov in 1775. After that, he obtained quick promotion: in 1775 he was appointed a member of commission for the trial of Yemelyan Pugachev. Also he was promoted to kamer-yunker (cadet) and became the chairman of the Council, which existed in the reign of Catherine II in 1776–1787. In 1783 he commanded the Crimean Chasseur Corps and was prominent in the campaign that led to the Russian annexation of the Crimean Khanate.
During the Russo-Turkish War, 1787–1792 he fought as General-Poruchik, commanding five infantry regiments, two corps of chasseurs, seven Cossack regiments and forty cannons. In 1788 he distinguished himself in the taking of Ochakov and was awarded the Order of St. George of 2nd degree. In 1789 he took part in the taking of Bendery and Kaushan, serving under his relative, Prince Potemkin. For this campaign he received the Order of Alexander Nevsky. On 12 December 1790, he commanded the left wing of the army of Alexander Suvorov in the storm of Izmail, winning the Order of St. Vladimir of 1st degree.
For his efforts in bringing about the peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire, Catherine II personally decorated him with the Order of St. Andrew. On 17 September 1792, he was appointed General-Prosecutor of the Senate instead of seriously ill Prince Alexander Vyazemsky. Upon his accession to the throne, Emperor Paul I dismissed Samoylov.
1792 – 1796
- This article includes content derived from the Russian Biographical Dictionary, 1896–1918.
- (Russian) Biography at the Official site of the Office of Public Prosecutor