US Η Turchin, Nadine A.

Nadine A. Lvova Turchin
"Madame Turchin"


Born: November 26, 1826

Birthplace: Russian Empire

Birthname: Princess Nedezhda Dmitrievna L'vova

Father: Colonel in the Russian Army

Husband: Brigadier General John Basil Turchin
(Buried: Mound City National Cemetery, Mound City, Illinois)​

Married: May 10, 1856, in Krakow, Poland

Antebellum History:

Nadine grew up in Russian army camps, following her father. Much of her early history is a mystery, but she received an excellent education, she was well read, and learned four languages as a youth.​
1856: In May, at the age of 30, Nadine is married in Poland, the groom is Ivan Vasilyevich Turchaninov, an officer on her father’s staff in the Russian Guards. He will be known as "John Basil Turchin" in the United States.​
Her married name becomes Nedezhda Lovov Turchaninov​
1856: Viewed as holding incompatible liberal views in Russia, the couple leaves Europe and immigrates to the United States.​
John and Nadine settle on Long Island, New York, and take up farming, but fail to make any money​
Soon, the Turchaninov's move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. John studies engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Nadine attends classes at the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia.​
Not long after, John and Nadine move again, and settle in Mattoon, Illinois. It's believed at this point they anglicized their names from "Ivan" and "Nadezhda", to "John" and "Nadine", and John is hired by the Illinois Central Railroad.​

Civil War History:

1861: In July, despite orders against wives travelling with their husbands, when the 19th Illinois Infantry Regiment went into training at Quincy, Nadine went with John.​
1861: In August, when the 19th left for the Western Theater, she rode right along with them, with a revolver and dagger on her belt.​
1862: In the spring, while marching through Tennessee, John had become severely ill, and for several days was forced to ride in an ambulance wagon, she took over some of his duties commanding the 19th Illinois Volunteer Regiment. In the actions that she was involved in, there was no argument or disobedience, the men accepted her as their regiment's commander. Nadine was constantly under fire, encouraging, nursing, and rescuing the men. By her actions, Nadine Turchin may have been the first woman to unofficially command a U.S. military regiment.​
1862: John is court-martialed on three charges: neglect of duty, conduct unbecoming of an officer, and disobedience of orders. Turchin pleads guilty to only the third charge: Nadine’s presence in his camp had defied orders.​
1862: In August, after John had been discharged after his court martial, while he travelled back to Illinois, Nadine went to Washington, DC, to lobby and petition the Secretary of War over the treatment of her husband, and perhaps Lincoln himself on her husband's behalf. Lincoln reinstated John Turchin into the army and promoted him to brigadier general.​
1863: Nadine began to keep a diary, and used it as a way to practice her French language writing. In August, she commented in her diary that she chose to follow the army because it would have been expensive to maintain a home without John around and difficult for a foreign woman such as herself to find an occupation. She wrote: "I think that it is an excellent idea to write a diary in the present situation. These pages, in which I speak frankly as I think, are a true safety valve for anyone who is neither patient nor discreet."​
Nadine petitioned the Army for recognition as a nurse, which was approved by General James A. Garfield​
1863: Accompanied her husband on the new Tullahoma military campaign in Tennessee in June​
1863: Present at the Battle of Chickamauga, searching for a time for her lost husband, who returned safely​
1863: After the successful Chattanooga Campaign, John delivered several captured Rebel flags to her as a gift​
1863: Present at the Battle of Missionary Ridge​

Postbellum History:

After the war, the Turchin's settled in Radom, Illinois​
After her husband's death in 1901, Nadine applied for a pension and was denied.​
Nadine’s legal guardian Michael Pawlowski helped her, and following testimony from Senator Foraker who served in the Turchin Brigade, an appeal and Special Act of Congress allowed her to receive a pension of $30 a month as a military widow instead of as a nurse or soldier​

A special permit was granted for Nadine to be buried with her husband at Mound City National Cemetery​

After Nadine's death, Pawlowski inherited her possessions, including her diary. The diary remained in the Pawlowski family for 75 years, and then it was donated by the family to the library of Northern Illinois University.​

Died: July 17, 1904

Age at Death: 77 Years Old

Place of Death: Radom, Illinois

Burial Place: Mound City National Cemetery, Mound City, Illinois
Last edited:
Sep 15, 2018
South Texas
It was with Gen Buell that her and her husbands "locked horns". She allegedly commanded the regiment in a minor action in 1862 in Tennessee while her husband was ill. It was a violation of his orders that she even be there. Buell finally relieved Turchin on July 2, 1862 and had him court-martialed. That is when she journeyed to Washington to persuade Lincoln to restore Turchin to duty.