"whether he would be promoted to a captaincy or would receive the Order of St Anne"
The Order of St Anne (First Class)
Public DomainThe Order of St Anne (First Class)

 The Order of St Anne started out in 1735 as a military honour bestowed by the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. His wife was Anna Petrovna, Peter the Great of Russia's daughter, which led to the Order being adopted in Russia as well. The award comes in three classes: the first class awards a hereditary peerage, whereas the second and third bestows non-hereditary peerages. Anton Chekhov wrote a story concerning this honour, Anna on the Neck.

Read Chekhov's story online here.