Petar Topalovic, was born on September 14, 1840 in Kragujevac. He was son of Anka and Milosav, assistant to the head of the Smederevo county. He died on August 20, 1891 in Belgrade. He married Lenka, daughter of Djordje Pantelic, salesman from Sremska Mitrovica.He had a son named Milosav and two daughters - Draginja and Anka. His daughter Draginja was married to lieutenant Ljubomir Pokorni.
He had private tutors instead of going to the elementary school. He finished four grades of the high school in Belgrade. He joined the army as the cadet of the 3rd class of the Artillery School, on October 29, 1855. He finished his education on August 19, 1860, and was ranked third out of eleven cadets. As the state cadet, in 1861 he was sent to Prussia, where he served in the Guard units. In 1863, out of his own desire he left the army. In the period between 1864 and 1866 he was the cadet of the French General Staff Academy. During his education he underwent practical training within the french units. He also gained practical experience while working in Topographic Division of the Military ministry in 1867 in Paris.
Promotions: corporal, December 22, 1856. sub-sergeant, November 16, 1857. sergeant November 5, 1859. sub-lieutenant, August 19, 1860. lieutenant, June 30, 1862. captain, 2nd class, January 1, 1870. captain, 1st class, April 27, 1873. major, January 19, 1875. lieutenant colonel, October 10, 1876. colonel, May 21, 1881. general, February 22, 1887.
Upon graduating from the Artillery School he was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the Standing Army where he served as the sergeant until December 1861. He was inactive for some time and than he was reactivated as lieutenant, on January 13, 1867 and assigned to the 1st Battalion of the Standing Army as a sergeant. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 4th Field Battery of the Standing Army on October 19, 1867. At the beginning of 1868, on January 15 he was assigned to the General Military Division within Ministry of War and he also was appointed as adjutant to Prince Mihailo Obrenovic.
On May 4, 1868 he was appointed as staff officer of Sabac county army. He performed that duty until April 19, 1873, when he was reassigned to General Division of the Ministry of War. Then, on May 12 1874 he was once again reassigned to the military unit, where he performed the duty of the Artillery Brigade chief of staff. In September 1874, together with Tihomir Nikolic, he was sent as observer to maneuvers in Vlaska. Shortly before the war against Turkey, on May 10, 1876 he was appointed as the Timok Division chief of staff. During the war, on August 10 he was assigned to the staff of the Russian general Chernayev, and then on October 14 he was appointed as chief of staff of the 4th Banjski Corps command, whereas on November 10 he was appointed as acting chief of staff in Timocko-Moravska Army Command and at the end of that year he was appointed as chief of staff of Timok Corps Command. He performed duties in the Timok Corps until March 12, 1877, when he was transferred to the Main General Staff. In the same year, during the war events, as of August 19 he was appointed as the commander of the Dunavska Division, whereas from January 3 to October 9, 1878 he was commander of the Ibarska Division.
He served in General Staff Division of the Main General Staff from October 9, 1878 until April 2, 1880, when he was appointed as the chief of the General Staff Division of the Main General Staff. On March 24, 1882 he assumed the duty of Commander of the Timok Division, but he simultaneously performed the duty of acting Commander of the Timok Corps.
From February 15, 1883 he was military attache to Constantinople, whereas on October 12 he was reappointed as Chief of the General Staff Division of the Main General Staff. In 1884 he left abroad in order to observe maneuvers of the French army, as an envoy. And then again, for a short period of time, he was reassigned to the military unit as of September 1,1885, when he was appointed as Commander of the Morava Division. In Serbian-Bulgarian War, after defeat on Slivnica, on November 20, 1885, he replaced Jovan Petrovic as the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command. After the conflict, as of March 23, 1886, he was Minister of Engineering in the Cabinet of Milutin Garasanin, and as of February 5, 1887, he replaced Djura Horvatovic as Minister of War of the same Government and he stayed on that duty until June 1, 1887.
He was appointed as Commander of the Morava Division Area on October 26, 1887. He was appointed as Ministry of War Infantry Inspector on April 30, 1888. Shortly afterwards, in June that year, he replaced Kosta Protic as acting Minister of War. Last few years of his life, he was a member of High Military Commissions - As of January 1889, he was a member of the Commission for new army formation, whereas two years later, in September, he became member of the Commission for education and organization of the army. In addition to command duties Topalovic was, on several occasions, professor in the Military Academy: from October 31, 1873 to October 1, 1875, from August 25, 1878 to August 31, 1880, school year 1886-1887 and 1889-1890 when he teached strategy and history of art of war. From March 1 until March 23, 1886 and from March 27, 1889 until August 20, 1891 he was director of that school. He died while peforming that duty. He also peformed some other duties, apart from the abovementioned. He was a judge of Military Discipline Court and Military Cassation Court, as well as the chairman and member of the inquiry commissions for high and low ranking officers.
Decorations: domestic: Order of the Cross of Takovo with Swords First and Second Class, Order of the Cross of Takovo with Swords Third Class, Gold Medal of Bravery, Commemorative Medal of the War for Liberation and Independence 1876-1878, Commemorative Medal of the War 1885-1886. Foreign: French - Order of the Officer's Cross of the Legion of Honour, Austrian - Order of the Iron Crown 2nd Class.