Some Turchin info
- I am presently reading a Christmas present, and in the course of
making some notes thought I'd post them to you if you don't mind.
John Basil Turchin and the Fight to Free the Slaves, Steven
Chicoine, Praeger Publishers: Westport CT & London, 2003.
1. Turchin's father was high ranking Russian officer in what was
called the Don Cossack Regiment. The son followed in his steps by
going to military academy after a rigorous academic education. His
was a five year Artillery curriculum with concentrations in math,
engineering and military tactics (artillery, infantry and cavalry)
graduating in 1841. He was commissioned and assigned to a mounted
artillery unit at age 19. In 1844 he was transferred to the Imperial
Guard(Later, in the AOC, he was known as "the mad Cossack".)
2. In 1854 then-secretary of war Jefferson Davis sent a US Captain
to observe the intense fighting of the Crimean War. That Captain was
George McClellan. He and the later-anglicized John Turchin made a
friendship, and the impressions left on him about America were
3. Turchin was recognized for distinguished service in the Crimean
war. In 1856 he found reason to go to Europe, an excuse to head for
America with his bride, Nadine. He essentially barely looked back
due to the freedom and Democracy he sought.
4. For a time the Turchins both studied in Philadelphia. John
published two technical papers, one on topographical mapping and
coastal charting. Nadine studied medicine, something that served her
well in the company of John during the war.
5. By 1858 they joined his friend George McClellan (now chief
engineer for the railroad), meeting other future Generals Banks and
Burnside as they worked for the Illinois railroad out of Chicago.
Debating military tactics among them was a regular practice when
they were together.
6. Due to Turchin's strong political bent, he became an active
republican right away, probably knowing Lincoln personally. He is
known to have drawn a very influential anti-Douglas, pro-Lincoln
cartoon that stayed popular for many years.
7. The 19th Illinois elected the Russian Turchin upon the
recommendation of McClellan. The loser, a regular Army Captain named
Grant, who they "didn't know from a side of shoe leather".
More installments to come, ... as interested.