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Boris Letstsano - The Forgotten hero of Lyman

It was a brilliant time, the end of XVIII century, somewhere between the Danube and the Bug. What kind of people - Potemkin, Suvorov, Nassau-Siegen, de Ribas, John Paul Jones! What events - Kinburn, Ochakov Fidonisi, Focsani, Rymnik! What are the consequences - Odessa belle!

But we forgot some of the main characters! And in vain! Because Ovidiopol-Adzhider fortress – is a real "miracle of the XVIII century". To build a castle - to lay the first foundations, pour shafts, build barracks and other "officialdom" to fill the fortress troops and guns - all this is incredibly difficult. And it can all go down the drain if you do not do the main thing: determine the proper place of construction of the fortress.

In the spring of 1792 Dnestr estuary logged heretofore unseen guests 30 dubel-boats with soldiers of Vitebsk Infantry Regiment under the command of the brigadier Boris Borisovich Letstsano, "Italian native Russian nobility", as noted in its forms. By the time the military career of Boris Borisovichwas not going so well. He was already 52 years old, 35 years of "pulling the strap," and according to the order - so-so, "foreman".

Of course, no longer a colonel, but still far from general. But was brave and received awards for taking part in hostilities. And the regiment he was excellent. Vitebsk Infantry Regiment (created by Peter I) under the command of Letstsano took Ismail and desperately Hacked with the Turks at Machin. And then, without Letstsano, the regiment continued involvement in military operations with the Europeans in Italy and the Mediterranean islands.

But it will be later. Then, in 1792, soldiers of Vitebsk regiment had to  explore, and how they say now, had to make a "sweep of area" of unfriendly Turks and Tatars. But the commander was given the much more difficult task - to find a place to build a fortress. Because it was already clear: without the construction of the defensive system on the new frontiers of the Empire, the newly acquired land could not be deterred..

Everyone coped with their task. In any case, the information about the resistance, exerted by Vitebtsan`s, did not survive. About how Boris coped, we can judge even now. A place that Letstsano selected provided opportunity to conduct a minimum of three-tiered artillery fire against attack from the south, of the Akerman shore of the estuary. Subject to overwhelming superiority of the Russian artillery’s compared with the Turkish, the attack became doomed. Duly noted…

And I would like to say: "The award found it`s hero", shortly after the career of Letstsano has jerked upwards. Three years later, he was major-general, in another five years - he became the General of Infantry (on the modern analogue - General of the Army). Not the worst and not the most thievish governor in the history of the Irkutsk region: he even tried to grow grain in Kamchatka.

But, in fact, Letstsano was just demanded by the new emperor Paul, who did not like the generals of his mother Catherine. Paul was nearing the "underrated" by the past kingship people. The last award of Boris Borisovich, says all about the Emperor`s attention. He received kavalerstvenny Cross of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. This order was "outside the system" the Russian military orders, but it meant the most important thing in life of careerists of the time, "Emperor's favor".

That`s why it was very much appreciated at the time of Paul I. Alexander Suvorov was more than skeptical about this award. But Catherine. During her son's reign, field marshal always wore the cross with pride and vanity, although rarely wore   awards in everyday life. But, nevertheless, count Evraf Komorowski, describing Suvorov stay in Vienna in front of the Italian campaign, noted that the Field Marshal had only the "Maltese Cross of the great bailiff on the neck, on a wide black ribbon».

Фамильный герб Бориса Леццано
With the death of Emperor Paul ended the career of Boris Borisovich Letstsano. He was fired and the last quarter of a century of his life he spent in his estate "Vatagin" that near Novgorod. Lived as a mason…

Has he remembered about Ovidiopol? Hardly. Because castle during its "combat duty" did not fire a single shot at the enemy. But isn`t this  an indication of the high efficiency of the fortress: the enemies just do not go there!

 Andrey Ganzha


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