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Sunday, 22 November 2015
Lewenhaupt and Charles XII
Topic: Archives

Among the documents in the archive of the Livonian Governor General there is a fragment of Lewenhaupt's letter book for the autumn of 1707. Among the copies of letters is a fairly long one to the King, which (as far I know) isn't preserved elsewhere. It's dated Mitau 13 September 1707 and starts by describing the military situation in Courland and Lithuania. Prince Wisniowiecki is positioned near Birsen and the enemy has advanced as if the intention was to the Prince's forces. Lewenhaupt had sent some cavalry in support, which the enemy (according to Lewenhaupt) believed were the first units from the approaching Royal army (which of course was far away in Poland). The enemy had as a result of this hastily retreated. Bauer was advancing from Kaunas with orders to fall back if the King's army approached. Repnin and a considerable force of infantry remained at Vilnius. His plan was to attack Courland if the Swedish main army stopped in Silesia. Lewenhaupt intended to stay close to Riga until the main army approached. The supply problems were considerable, so if he could not get assistance from Stockholm the King himself would have to intervene. Lewenhaupt also informed Charles that the was working on clearing up the remaining differences between Wisniowiecki and Sapieha. Both had visited Lewenhaupt both on the 11th and the 12th. Good progress had been made, but the most difficult item remained - the transfer of Wisniiwcki's forces to the Hetman. Wisniowiecki claimed (and Lewenhaupt agreed) that most of his units would desert if this was forced upon them. Lewenhaupt emphasized that he had always found Wisniowiecki to be an honest and truthful supporter of King Stanislaw.

This letter preceeds the discussion Lewenhaupt in his memoirs claims he had with the King during his visit to the latters headquarters in the spring of 1708, during which Charles supposedly got upset when Lewenhaupt suggested that Wisniowiecki had shown himself to be much more reliable and useful than Hetman Sapieha ever had been (a pretty bold statement as Lewenhaupt well knew the King's strong and long support for the Sapieha family).

Source: LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 331 



Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:52 PM CET
Updated: Sunday, 22 November 2015 10:53 PM CET
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink

Monday, 23 November 2015 - 3:40 PM CET

Name: "Gromoboy"

I have a table of Repnin forces in the end of 1707 in Samogitia. He had 4446 of infantry (Preobrazenski, Repnin & Hassenius Foot), 1931 Dragoons (Fastman & Pushkin) & 5901 irregulars (Ukranian & Don Cossacks, Poles, Wallachians, etc.). 

Wisniowecki was absolutely right, than told that his troops would desert as soon as get news about a peace with Sapieha. About 160 men from his choragwies joined Russians only in one week from 10/10/1708 

Monday, 23 November 2015 - 5:33 PM CET

Name: "Bengt Nilsson"

The issue in September 1707 was not so much Wisniowiecki changing sides per se (this was more or less clear since several months back although it was kept secret), but rather that he was supposed to hand over the command of all his units to Sapieha. Whether his unwillingness to do so was caused by fear of desertions or by something else (such as pride) or by a combination of both - hard to say. Wisniowiecki enjoyed the support of King Stanislaw as well, but Charles (quite naturally) wanted to reward the Sapieha's for their long support for him. 

As for the military side of things I think it's fairly clear that there was a general feeling on the Swedish side that the Polish and the Lithuanian forces were of dubious quality, i.e. they were useful for scouting and skirmishing but nearly useless in battles. So I don't think the King cared much about desertions among Wisniowioecki's forces.Indeed at one point he told Lewenhaupt to say to Wisniowiecki that Charles cared very little for him. If he wanted to remain an enemy- fine. But if he was sincere about switching side time was running out.

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