The Plevna Hero (B. 1832, Tokat – D. 1900, Istanbul). His real name was Osman Nuri. Born as the member of Yazıcıoğulları family, he was the son of Mehmed Efendi. While he was a small kid, his family moved from Trabzon to Istanbul. He studied in Askerî Rüştiye (Military Middle School) in Beşiktaş, Istanbul and Kuleli Askerî İdadî (Military High School) in Istanbul. He graduated from the high school at the second rank and registered to Harb Akademisi (T.N. Military Academy). While he was a student there, upon the outbreak of the Crimean War, he was sent to Danube Front. Staying there for four years, he was promoted to the grade of lieutenant, and then to the grade of captain at the end of the war. In 1856, after completing his education at the Military Academy, he became a staff officer.
While working on the Erkân-ı Harb Dairesi (the Office of Commander in Chief); he was tasked with mapping the Anatolia and was sent to Bursa. He was commissioned in Teselya, Yenişehir and Lebanon. Upon the start of revolts in Crete; he was appreciated by the Serdar-ı Ekrem Ömer Pasha in virtue of his successes in Crete in 1866. He was sent to Yemen as a colonel. Later, he was appointed as the Commander to the Rumelia Monastery Fifth Army (1875). Thanks to his successes there, he was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general. As the Serbian revolts began; he conquered the hills around İzver and Zayçar town, defeated the Serbians and became a Marshall (l876).
Whole world heard about him after his defense during the 1877-78 Ottoman-Russian War, which is known as the “93 War”. In this war, with the defense of the Plevna Front, he brought new tactics of battle in the history. As the war started, Gazi Osman Pasha was in charge of the defense of Rahova and Vidin regions. By passing Danube River, he forced to fight in hostile territory of war, but it was not allowed. When the Russian troops passed the Berkofça Mountains, he was ordered to start the operations. He arrived in Plevna, conquered the city and took necessary measures for the defense. He overcame the first attack of the Russian troops in Plevna with a counter-attack and pushed them to the other side of the Osma River (July 20th, 1877). Although the Russians attacked after three days; they had to retreat after the bloody clashes. After that defeat, the Russian Tsar asked for the help of the Roman army against the Ottoman troops. Upon this request, Romanian army sent a troop consisting of fifty thousand soldiers to help the Russians. The Russian-Romanian joint army attacked the Ottoman army in front of Plevna on September 11st. Osman Pasha pushed the great Russian assault which lasted for twelve hours back. After winning the third Battle of Plevna (September 11st, 1878) he was given the title of “Ghazi”. The Russians continued the siege with bigger troops and asked for the surrender of the city, Gazi Osman Pasha refused and defeated them again.
However, the shortage of food, fuel and medicine in Plevna started, since there was no help given. Faced with this situation, Gazi Osman Pasha performed a break-out operation to get out of Plevna. When the people of Plevna heard about the decision of Osman Pasha; they sent the Turkish notables of the city to see Gazi Osman Pasha to tell their request to leave the city with him due to the fear of the Bulgarian forces. Although Gazi Osman Pasha didn't want to; he had to accept this request. During the planned sortie operation; the Turkish people of Plevna blocked the road with carts, oxcarts and animals, before the Ottoman troops arrived. Simultaneously, the Russian artillery began to fire. Haste of the Plevna people deciphered the secrecy of the operation. Thereupon, the Ottoman army attacked the Russian forces, in spite of the fact that Russian forces were outnumbered. However, the Russians constantly obtained reinforcements from the army of the Romania. During this sortie, Gazi Osman Pasha's horse was wounded and later it died and Osman Pasha was seriously wounded in the leg. Due to hunger, disease and the lack of reinforcing forces, Gazi Osman Pasha had to surrender in order to avoid further damage to the soldier.
When he was taken care of in a house near Vit River where his injury was bandaged, he was captured as a war prisoner by Grand Duke Nicholas. Although it was against the rules of war; the Czar returned Osman’s sword as a mark of esteem. During the military ceremony, Grand Duke Nicholas appreciated Osman Pasha for his success in defending Plevna. Afterwards, thanks to the attempts of Abdülhamid 2nd, he was sent back to Istanbul (1878). As he returned to the city, he was welcomed with love. Then, he served the Ottoman army as seraskier for seven years and Sultan Abdülhamid 2nd appointed him as the Marshall of the Palace (Mâbeyn Müşiri). He continued this duty till his death. During the ceremonies, he shared the imperial brougham with the Sultan. He bequeathed to be buried in the courtyard of Fatih Mosque. Abdülhamid 2nd built a commemorative mausoleum to honor Gazi Osman Pasha whom he deeply respected.
He has always been remembered with his morality, heroism, sincerity and modest commitment to the religion and to the state till today. The “Gazi Osman Pasha March”, written after him, is still being sung today. The Gaziosmanpaşa district in Istanbul was named after Osman Pasha and a statue of him was built by the Istanbul Mayor Municipality. Again, a hospital in Istanbul, a primary school in Ankara and a high school and university in Tokat where he was born were named after him. The Plevna March (Gazi Osman Pasha March) composed for his achievements during the Russo-Turkish War is still sung today.
REFERENCE: Ali Fuad Erden / Osmanlı Rus Seferi Şıpka ve Plevne Muhârebâtı (1948), Büyük Larousse (c. 7, s. 4436, 1986), Ana Britannica (c. 17, s. 205-206, 1987), Mehmet Metin Hülâgü / Gazi Osman Paşa (1993) - Gazi Osman Paşa: Yaralı Mareşal (2006) - “Gazi Osman Paşa” (TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi, c. 13, s. 464-465, 1996), Niyazi Hüseyin Bahtiyar / Balkanlar’da Türk Ünlüleri (s. 177-178, 1999), Yüzbaşı Von Herbert / Plevne Meydan Muharebesi (2004), Mahmut Talat Bey / Plevne Müdafaası (Haz. Eyüp Kul, 2008), İsmail Hakkı Danişment / İzahlı Osmanlı Tarihi Kronolojisi (c. 4, 2011), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Devlet Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 1, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013), Payitaht Abdülhamid (diziler.com, 16.03.2018)