Philip Osipovich Paulucci

Filippo Paulucci delle Roncole

Born 11 September 1779
Died 25 January 1849
Nice (aged 69)
Allegiance Kingdom of Sardinia Kingdom of Sardinia (1785-93),
Habsburg Monarchy Austria (1800),
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) Kingdom of Italy (1806),
 Russian Empire (1807–29),
Kingdom of Sardinia Kingdom of Sardinia (1829–49)
Rank Kingdom of Sardinia Full General
Russian Empire Adjutant General
Battles/wars War of the Alps (1792-1796)
Russo-Turkish War (1806-1812)
Finnish War, (1808-1809)
Patriotic War of 1812

Filippo Paulucci delle Roncole, also known as Philip Osipovich Paulucci (Russian: Филипп Осипович Паулуччи; Modena, 11 September 1779 – Nice, 25 January 1849) was an Italian marquis[1] and army officer, later a general the services of the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Russian Empire.


First years

His father's family, that had held the feudal titles of Vignola, Cividale and Roncole since 1768,[2] moved from Perugia to Modena in 1753, and his mother, Claudia Scutellari, was the daughter of one of Parma noble families, with blood ties with the Spanish court.[3] Filippo was the fifth of the eight sons of the couple, and after the death of his father Giuseppe, in 1785, was admitted beyond the pages of the King of Sardinia, a position that granted him access to the military career.[4] In 1792 the Kingdom entered the war against France, and in 1794 Paulucci, just appointed Sublieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Gards, was sent to the frontline. Captured in action on the 27 April, he was freed after a prisoner exchange the next 7 May. He went on fighting the Frenchmen, until he was taken prisoner in Mondovì, when the city surrendered to the French army, but subsequently freed after only six days following the Armistice of Cherasco.[5] After the occupation of the Turin Citadel he was convicted for challenging to a duel a French officer to defend the honour of the Piedmont. On the 19 November 1796, he was then promoted Captain and removed by the king, who awarded him the Knight's Cross of the Order of Sts. Maurice and Lazarus.[6]

In 1797 he was listed among the staff officers and aide-de-camp of the Cisalpine Army, probably as aid-de-camp of general Giuseppe Lahoz Ortiz.[7] In 1799, in Mantua he passed in the Austrian service,[8] taking on garrison duties in Passau until, in 1803, the city was given to the Kingdom of Bavaria. In 1804, in Wien, he married Wilhelmina Franziska von Koskull, daughter of a noble Curlandian family,[9] and, the following year, took no part in the war against Napoleon.

The service in the Russian Empire

He moved to the Russian service with the rank of colonel. On 7 May 1809 he was awarded the 4th class of the Order of St George "as a reward for prudent orders given whilst in the Finnish army, which helped defeat the enemy". He took part in the war against the Turks in 1810 and was appointed quartermaster of the Caucasian Army in 1811, then governor of Georgia, where he simultaneously had to wage war against the Turks (from Kars), against the Persians (Karabakh) and insurgents – Paulucci honourably withstood this difficult situation and on 25 April 1812 was awarded the Order of St George 3rd class "as a reward for feats of courage and bravery in the Caucasus against the Persians". However, soon afterwards the preparations for war with Napoleon got underway and Paulucci was summoned to Saint Petersburg to be appointed Army Chief of Staff.[10] However, after a few days, probably due to the opposition of Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly, he received the post as governor general of Governorate of Livonia. In 1829 he left the Russian army and went to Italy, where he took command of the army of Piedmont.

The service in the Kingdom of Sardinia

Back in Italy, he was called in Piedmont by king Carlo Felice. When, after the constitutional revolution in 1821, the Austrian Empire has made political manouvres to exclude Carlo Alberto from the succession line, in hope to substitute him with Francesco IV d'Asburgo-Este, Paulucci encountered, during one of his Italian licence periods, Carlo Felice in Turin, and his later efforts at the Russian court were essential to stopping the Austrian ambitions at the Verona's congress.[11]

After the coup d'etat that, in France, brought Louis Philippe d’Orléans to power, Carlo Felice was eager to reinforce his army, and eventually called on Paulucci, giving him, on the 28 June 1830, the ranks of full general and Inspector general of Infantry and Cavalry.[12] The following month, he was then put at the head of the Sardinian Army, with full authority, except for the Carabinieri and four generals with greater seniority.[13] He was all but welcomed by the army and the officers, namely being "sevère [...] jusq'à la rudesse" (rigid to the bone).[14]

Paulucci reorganised the Kingdom's infantry, increasing the number of the troops, modifying the brigade system and facing both enthusiastic approval and bitter critic, especially from the heir to the throne, Prince Carlo Alberto.[15] Carlo Felice died in march 1831, and Paulucci was eventually discharged of all his positions. The new king, to days later, suppressed the rank of full general in the Sardinian Army.[16]

The name of Paulucci came back to the attention of the public in March 1848, along with that of General Latour, for the command of the Sardinian Army on the field, those being the only two generals of the entire force that had led troops in battle before. Both his age and bad health induced him to make a public refusal of the position, still never offered to him officially.[17]

Filippo Paulucci delle Roncole died in Nice the 25 January 1849, and was later buried in Mirandola, near Modena, in the church of Saints James and Philip.

Awards and decorations


  1. Virgilio Ilari, Maurizio Lo Re, Tatiana Polo & Piero Crociani, Маркиз Паулуччи, Filippo Paulucci delle Roncole (1799-1849), Italian Military History Society (SISM), Rome, 2013, ISBN 978-88-908510-2-5
  2. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg. 19-20
  3. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg 20
  4. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg 21
  5. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg 22
  6. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg 23
  7. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg 25 & ss.
  8. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg 27
  9. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg 29
  10. Levinson-Lessing, Ed. ed.; Krol, А.Е.; Semenov, K.M., The State Hermitage Museum. Western European paintings. Catalog, 2nd ed., revised and enlarged. L.: Art, 1981. – Т. 2. – T. 2. – С. 254, cat. № 7839. – 360 pp.
  11. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pag 236
  12. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pag 246
  13. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pag 249
  14. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pag 250
  15. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pag 251-253
  16. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pag 256
  17. Ilari et al., Filippo Paulucci... pg 288


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