Sebouh Nersesian
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Sebouh Nersesian
Sebouh (Arshag) Nersesian
Sebouh Nersesian.png

Tomna, near Bayburt, Ottoman Empire
Died1940 (aged 67–68)
OccupationFreedom fighter Commander
Years active1890s-1920
SuccessorYervand, Kevork, Anahid, Murad, Serob
Political partyArmenian Revolutionary Federation

Sebouh (Arshag) Nersesian (1872-1940) was an Armenian general who was the right-hand man of General Andranik Ozanian.

Early life

Born on 1872 in Tomna (a village north of Bayburt, which is modern-day Turkey), Arshag Nersesian, later given the pseudonym Sebouh, became involved in the revolution while still very young.[1] He received his education in Trebizond (prior to World War I, the vibrant Armenian community of Trebizond numbered 30,000) and showed early aptitude as a craftsman.[2]

Revolutionary activities

In 1889, he left for Constantinople. In 1894, General Sebouh left the Hunchaks and joined the Dashnaktsutyun.[2] He later became the leader of the Dashnaktsutyun. As a member of ARF (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) he became a commander under General Ozanyan. In 1907, Sebouh participated in the Dashnak party congress at Vienna.

As the leader of the ARF and the head of the Dashnaktsakan formation, he took part in the decisive battle of Sardarabad and later went on to help the Armenians besieged in Baku. In 1919, General Sebouh was elected to the Parliament.

General Sebouh was also known for assassinating traitors, driving the Bolsheviks out (May, 1920), and crushing the Alexandropol Soviet. In 1894, he took part in the uprisings in Sasson as well. Sebouh took part in battles at Tabek, Shenik and Semal; where he was later wounded. He also took part in battles in Tadvan, Aghtamar Island and Van.

Armenian-Turkish War

General Sebouh and General Antranik Ozanyan took battles in Khoy, Dilman, and Salmas (West Azerbaijan, Iran) in 1914-1915. On December 20, 1920 General Sebouh took refuge in Tiflis (Georgia) where he was soon joined by the majority of the members of the Dashnak bureau, who set up a liberation committee there.

In Tiflis, General Sebouh assumed leadership of a force of 500 volunteers which was sent to Salmas, Persia (Iran).

Comrade Garo sent General Sebouh in 1921 to Boston, Mass. where he joined Aharon Sachaklian.

General Sebouh became the first Armenian officer to come to the United States and obtain a United States loan to rehabilitate the Armenian army. In Boston, General Sebouh was financing Soghomon Tehlirian and Operation Nemesis, which led to the assassination of Talat Pasha.

In the United States

Sebouh continued his tour of the United States as a field worker of the ARF (Armenian Revolutionary Federation), which was trying to keep the dream of independence alive. He helped spread the roots of the ARF throughout the United States. He was the head of the "secret special" mission in the United States, having taken over its direction at the request of Armen Garo (Psadermadjian).


Sebouh eventually settled permanently in Detroit, where he maintained a grocery business. In 1936 he and his family moved to New York.[3] At the age of 66, he died on July 31, 1940, a venerated member of the community. General Sebouh's sons joined Gen. Nzhdeh's (Njteh) Tseghakrons.

On November 20, 2014, the remains of General Sebouh were ceremonially buried in Yerevan's military cemetery at Yerablur.

General Sebouh's memorial at Yerevan's military cemetery at Yerablur.


Most of the information was taken from the following books:

  1. (Resistance and Revenge: The Armenian Assassination of the Turkish Leaders responsible for 1915 by Jacques Derogy)
  2. (Like One Family: The Armenians of Syracuse by Arpena S. Mesrobian)
  3. ("Armenia: The Survival of a Nation", revised second edition © 1990 Christopher J. Walker)
  4. (New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer)


  • "All the commanders, Njdeh, Sebouh, Dro, brought their armies. They dug trenches. The women were baking and cooking. The girls carried water to the fighters with jars. The wives of the rich, kerchiefs on their heads, were treating the wounded. The main fighters were the refugees from Taron, Moosh, Van, who were the officer staff. The idea of independence was a great joy and it was a reality. It is true, we were almost hungry, but our souls were satisfied, and we didn't feel hunger. The Turkish armed forces were attacking all the time, and we were short of arms. We, the pupils, wanted to become soldiers. They took us to the front of Sardarapat, but we had to wait till someone was killed, in order to take his gun. Aram pasha transmitted a message: "You will either remain in the field of battle or return victorious: 'Either under the shield or on the shield'." The Armenian people fought fiercely." -MANVEL MAROUTIAN'S TESTIMONY (Born in 1901, Van, Berdashen village)
  • "A Marmarian, in his biography of Antranik, states that when Sebouh was wounded, Hrair wanted to carried him. Sebouh refused to be carried by Hrair for the fear of Hrair's safety. Just at the moment, a bullet hit Hrair and he died instantly." -A Trip Through Historic Armenia By Stephen G. Svajian
  • Soghomon Tehlirian (Kemakh 1896 - San Francisco 1960) Attended the Armenian Protestant school of Erzindjan, then the Yeznikian and Kedronakan schools. To Serbia in 1913 whither his father had emigrated to escape the Turks. Joined the Dashnak party. Fought in the volunteer army of Gen. Sebouh, 1914-17, enlisting without his parents' knowledge.
  • The role of the Armenian volunteers in this operation is described in considerable detail by Sebouh [Arshak Nersesian], "Edjer im housheren" [Pages from My Memoirs], I (Boston, 1925), 188-253.
  • He would write an autobiography, Echer Im Housheren (Pages From My Memories), and would remain an active Dashnak until his death.
  • Every member of Dashnaktsutiun was ordered to 'put himself completely at the disposal of the party'.125 The army was mobilised, and a special division created, under the command of General Sebouh, to recapture Alexandropol.
  • Among the revolutionary leaders were the well-known Dashnaktustiun activists of Mus and Sasun, Murat of Sivas, Sebouh, Keork Chavush, Mko, Gorun and Sempad of Mus, who was a new rebel leader. Sebouh, Antranik, Keork Chavush, Murat and Sempad remained at their posts. The enemy met with fierce opposition. Two of Sempad's friends were killed. Towards night the enemy retreated from the battlefield with 70 dead.
  • Sebouh was severely wounded and Keork ofAkca was killed. Hrair, who was unwilling to abandon the wounded Sebouh to the enemy and tried to take him along, was shot dead. Hrair was buried next to Serop


  1. ^ Kaligian, Dikran Mesrob. Armenian organization and ideology under Ottoman rule, 1908-1914 (Rev. ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412842457.
  2. ^ a b ? - ? (in Russian). Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ Karentz, Varoujan (2004). Mitchnapert = Citadel : a history of Armenians in Rhode Island. New York: IUniverse, Inc. ISBN 9780595306626.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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