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The Great Northern War
Sunday, 30 July 2017
Vellingk, Oxenstierna and Maydell
Topic: Battles

The large autograph collection in the Ericsberg archive (preserved in Riksarkivet) contains a tremendous amount of valuable material concerning the GNW. The basis for the collection is in this regard the personal records of the Chancery President Bengt Oxenstierna (1623-1702) and his son-in-law Magnus Stenbock. The autograph collection consists of more than 300 large volumes and is divided into four parts. The Swedish royal autographs part naturally contains a large collection of letters from Charles XII, but these are rather well known. More rarely used are letters from Swedish officers and officials, particularly those who were not in the King's immediate circle.

One example is an undated letter from Otto Vellingk, apparently written in May 1700 and addressed to Bengt Oxenstierna. It deals with both political and military matters. It was originally accompanied by a letter to Vellingk from Major General Georg Johan Maydell, who together with Major General Johan Ribbing commanded the advance guard of the relief army sent towards Riga. Vellingk acknowledges the receipt of a letter from Oxenstierna, dated 24 April, in which the Chancery President apparently had written about "secret" and "reliable" warnings about more enemies than the Saxons and the Danes. Oxenstierna appears to have suggested that King Augustus would be discouraged from further expanding his war against Sweden because the Emperor had ordered several regiments in Bohemia and Moravia to march towards the Saxon border. Vellingk believed, he wrote, that this was very likely as their was no signs of any Russian support for the Saxons. The Swedish representative in Moscow Thomas Kniper had, Vellingk continued, also received written assurances from Golovin that the Czar was about to send an envoy to Sweden and then a large embassy. Golovin had stated that he would be a member of this embassy and had asked Kniper to inform the Swedish authorities of this so that a ship could be ready at Narva. This, Vellingk concluded, indicated that the Czar did not have any hostile intentions. There was also a shortage of money in Russia, forcing the Czar to mint copper coins worth a lot less than the existing ones. The Czar was still in Voronezh, where he was most upset with his Dutch Admiral Cruys because the latter had not been able to put to sea. 

Vellingk had started to raise two new regiments in Ingria. One consisting of 600 dragoons and another of 1,000 foot. He had also ordered the nobility to make preparations for mobilization. 

There was no indication of the Polish Republic being inclined to join King Augustus and reports from Riga were encouraging. The Saxons had been driven off and forced to back to the other side of the Düna.

Vellingk enclosed a report from Maydell, dated 7 May, which nowadays is in another volume: Colonel Klingspor had been sent ahead with 600 men and orders to stop the Saxon marauders. On 26 April Klingspor had encountered 200 Saxons at Wenden. Maydell had on 4 May driven off more Saxons. Later he had come upon 300 Saxon dragoons and 500 Cossacks. He had ordered Klingspor to move around the enemy force and strike it from behind, but as soon as the latter appeared they fled. Many of them were caught by the Finns and killed. After these three defeats the enemy had been struck with such fear that he had abandoned a fortification at Neuermühlen,thrown 36 guns into the river, retreated back across the Düna and burnt the bridge. The mood in Riga was ecstatic, Maydell wrote. 


Riksarkivet, Ericsbergsarkivets autografsamling, Vol. 39 and 232

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:34 PM MEST
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Saturday, 16 September 2017 - 11:41 PM MEST

Name: "Gromoboy"

Kniper was apoor invistigator. In April of 1700 he wrote that Czar did not have any hostile investigations. Meanwhile Czar had launched a creation of 18 new regiments in Moscow for forthcoming war with Sweden in February of 1700. In April of 1700 the training of recruits were done every day in Moscow suburbs 

Sunday, 17 September 2017 - 4:08 AM MEST

Name: "Bengt Nilsson "

Not the first nor the last diplomat in history who mistakenly believed written and verbal assurances by a foreign government.

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