Nadezhda Durova

Russian Army officer

Nadezhda Andreyevna Durova (September 17, 1783 – March 21, 1866), also known as Alexander Durov, Alexander Sokolov and Alexander Andreevich Alexandrov, was a woman who became a decorated soldier in the Russian cavalry during the Napoleonic wars. She was the first known female officer in the Russian military. Her memoir is a significant document of its era because few junior officers of the Napoleonic wars published their experiences and The Cavalry Maiden is one of the earliest autobiographies in the Russian language.

Nadezhda Durova in officer's uniform


  • My mother, who disliked me from the bottom of her heart, deliberately did everything, it seemed, that would strengthen and intensify my unbounded passion for freedom and a military life. She wouldn't let me walk in the garden. She wouldn't let me be away from her for even half an hour: I had to sit in her bedroom and make lace. She herself taught me to sew, to knit, and seeing that I had neither the desire nor the ability for this sort of work, that in my hands everything tore or broke, she became angry, lost control of herself, and beat me very painfully on the hands.
    • Translated by Mary Fleming Zirin (1989). The Cavalry Maiden: Journals of a Russian Officer in the Napoleonic Wars. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253205492.
Wikipedia has an article about: