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The Great Northern War
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
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Topic: Communications

During the time of the Great Northern War communications were understandably slow, a factor which is important to bear in mind when it comes to judging responses to events. Here are some examples:

The attack on Riga 11 February 1700: the news reaches Stockholm around 6 March. The King, who was in Kungsör, issued his first orders on 7 March.

Letters from the commander of the relief army in Livonia Governor Vellingk: A letter dated 4 July 1700 reached the King at Humlebaek on the 31st. Such letters were often sent by more than one route - on 1 August Vellingk wrote that he had sent two couriers with his previous letter dated 25 July. One copy was carried by Lt. Colonel Hans Henrik von Liewen, who was to sail from Pernau and the other went from Reval through Stockholm with Captain von Essen. In a letter dated Rujen 11 September Vellingk could inform Charles that Essen had returned with the King's letter dated 13 August. This news reached Charles in Karlshamn on 19 September. On 19 September Vellingk had just been informed of the Russian invasion of Ingria.

The fall of Nöteborg on 13 October 1702: the news reached Vyborg on the 17th and Stockholm on the 30th. Charles XII, who was near Kraków, seems to have received the first reports in early December. 

Letters from the Swedish Governor in Pomerania (Stettin) to his colleague in Livonia (Riga): About 10-14 days. 

Letters from the Swedish representative in Danzig to the Governor General of Livonia: About 5 days.

Letters from the Swedish representative in Moscow to the Governor General of Livonia:  About 10 days-3 weeks.

Letters from the Swedish representative in Novgorod to the Governor General of Livonia: About 1 week.

News from London to reach Stockholm: About 3 weeks.

News from London to reach Göteborg: About 2 weeks.

Letters from Stockholm to the Governor General of Livonia: About 2 weeks when the mail could go directly by boat, otherwise close to a month.

Letters from Estonia/Livonia to reach Charles XII in Poland: Of course very much depending on his whereabouts. A letter written by W. A Schlippenbach on 6 April 1704 was answered by the King in Heilsberg (Lidzbark Warmiński) on the 22d, while a letter dated Reval 15 August reached him in Lemberg (Lviv) on 8 September.

News of the defeat at Poltava: Firm confirmation reached Riga through the arrival of Josias Cederhielm, who had been sent by the Czar with peace terms. Cederhielm reached Riga in the evening of 16 August 1709 (Swedish calendar). He arrived in Stockholm on 1 September. 

 

 


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:57 PM MEST
Updated: Wednesday, 19 June 2013 11:07 PM MEST
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