Husband and Wife American Civil War military team:
John (Ivan Turchaninov) Turchin was the only “Russian” American general officer in the United States Civil War (he was actually Ukrainian). Trained at the Imperial Military School in St. Petersburg, he later became chief of staff among the Russian Guards and fought in the Crimean War and Hungary. He married the daughter of his commanding officer, Nadezhda Lovov, and immigrated to the United States. They changed their names to John and Nadine Turchin.
Turchin had met George McClellan during his service in the Crimean War. In 1861, the former Russian Imperial Army veteran was appointed as a colonel among the ranks of the Union army with the 19th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry of Chicago. They joined the war with the Army of the Ohio under Don Carlo Buell in June 1861.
Contrary to military regulations, Col. Turchin was accompanied by his wife Nadine in the military theater.
“During her husband’s brief illness in 1862, she took his place as regimental commander but likely did not assume full command. Stories of her military savvy and heroism were reported by soldiers from Illinois and in later newspaper articles about her.” – wikipedia
In early 1862, his orders were to hold Nashville. Turchin convinced his commanding officer to head south. About the time of the Battle of Shiloh, they hit Huntsville, Alabama severing the rail communications of the Confederacy from east to west. The victory was short lived. During this time, the regiment under Turchin, was accused of pillaging Athens, Alabama.
In June 1862, he was Courts Marshaled “of conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline.” One of the other charges included the presence of his wife with him in the field. This was the only point he plead guilty to. Col. Turchin was found guilty of all charges, but pardoned by Abraham Lincoln (after his wife interceded with the president). Nadine was designated a nurse, to comply with requirements to continue on with the 19th Illinois in combat operations.
Her personal diary starts in the summer of 1863. The previous diary from of 1862 has never been disclosed. This period is when much of the scandal occurs. Rumors of Turchin’s heavy-handed policies in Middle Tennessee, persist to this day. It was in April of 1862 the Union high-command issued General Order #38. This order authorized suppression of civilian decent with extreme force.
During the assault on Missionary Ridge, General Turchin’s brigade was one of the first to reach the summit. He also fought with distinction in the Atlanta Champaign.
The Turchin Reservation at Missionary Ridge in 3D like imagery: