Mikhail Kamensky served as a volunteer in the French army in 1758-1759. He then took part in the Seven Years' War. In 1783, Kamensky was appointed Governor General of Ryazan and Tambov guberniyas. During the war with Turkey, in 1788, he defeated the Turks at the Moldavian settlement of Gangur. When prince Potemkin fell ill and entrusted his command of the army to Mikhail Kakhovsky, Kamensky refused to subordinate himself, referring to his seniority. For this, he was discharged from military service.
In 1797, Emperor Paul I granted Kamensky the title of count and made him retire. In 1806, Kamensky was appointed commander-in-chief of the Russian army in Prussia, which had been fighting the French armies of Napoleon. After six days of being in command, on the eve of the battle of Pułtusk, he transferred the command to Feodor Buxhoeveden under pretence of illness and left for his estate near Oryol.
Kamensky was notorious for his maltreatment of his serfs, and he was killed by one of them in 1809. His death occasioned a sentimental poem by Vasily Zhukovsky. He was the father of Generals Sergei Kamensky and Nikolai Kamensky. The British actress Dame Helen Mirren is his great-great-great-great-granddaughter. Another well-known descendant was historian A. A. Zimin.
- This article includes content derived from the Russian Biographical Dictionary, 1896–1918.