Michael Andreas Barclay De Tolly, called by the Russians Michael, Prince Bogdanovich (1761-1818), Russian field marshal, was born in Livonia in 1761. He was a descendant of a Scottish family which had settled in Russia in the 17th century. He entered the Russian army at an early age. In 1788-1789 he served against the Turks, in 1790 and 1794 against the Swedes and Poles. He became colonel in 1798 and major-general in 1799. In the war of 1806 against Napoleon, Barclay took a distinguished part in the battle of Pultusk and was wounded at Eylau, where his conduct won him promotion to the rank of lieut.-general. In 1808 he commanded against the Swedes in Finland, and in 1809 by a rapid and daring march over the frozen Gulf of Bothnia he surprised and seized Umeo. In 1810 he was made minister of war, and he retained the post until 1813. In 1812 Barclay was given command of one of the armies operating against Napoleon. There was very keen opposition to the appointment of a foreigner as commander-in-chief, and after he was defeated at Smolensk the outcry was so great that he resigned his command and took a subordinate place under the veteran Kutusov. Barclay was present at Borodino, but left the army soon afterwards.
In 1813 he was re-employed in the field and took part in the campaign in Germany. After the battle of Bautzen he was reinstated as commander-in-chief of the Russian forces, and in this capacity he served at Dresden, Kulm and Leipzig. After the last battle he was made a count. He took part in the invasion of France in 1814 and at Paris received the baton of a field marshal. In 1815 he was again commander-in-chief of the Russian army which invaded France, and he was made a prince at the close of the war. He died at Insterburg in Prussia on the 14th (16th) of May 1818.