There will be no regular update today, but I am (probably) back online next week.
There will be no regular update today, but I am (probably) back online next week.
In 1905 the French musicologist André Pirro wrote to Krigsarkivet in Stockholm, asking for information about Johann Jacob Bach's service in the Swedish army. According to Pirro the brother of Johann Sebastian had joined the Life Guards as a musician in about 1704, followed the army to Poltava where he was captured and then kept as a prisoner in Bender until he went to Stockholm in 1713. The staff at Krigsarkivet looked for Bach in the existing records of the Life Guards, but to no avail. Some of Pirro's information was obviously incorrect (a Swedish soldier captured at Poltava would not have ended up in Bender), but the main points may well be true. A note, until fairly recently overlooked by musicologists, in the journal of the clergyman Sven Agrell places Bach in Constantinople in the spring of 1710. Agrell writes that the gave communion on the 13 April and that among those present was a certain "Jacob Bach, an apprentice musician from Erfurt" who was staying with Lt. Col. Funck.
Another version of the Bach story appears in the Neue deutsche Biographie, where it is claimed that Bach joined the Life Guards in 1707. So what is the truth in all this. Well, perhaps Pirro and others after him have been looking in the wrong place. What if Bach served in another Swedish regiment? The year 1704, which goes back to a Bach manuscript often called "die Genealogie", seems entirely logical if it's only put in the proper context...
In August 1705 David Krieg, a doctor in the Riga garrison, suggested a few rules for those who preparing food for the sick soldiers:
1. Make sure that the soldiers received food of good quality.
2. Boil the porridge for a long time so the sick can drink it if necessary.
3. The pork should be tempered with spices such as caraway, pepper or ginger.
4. No schnapps should be kept in the barracks or be sold to the sick.
5. The food should always be warm when given to the sick, except in cases of internal maladies or fevers.
6. Salted or dried food should not been given to those with internal maladies
7. The sick shold not be given any sour food.
8. The beer should always be of good quality and well-boiled.
Krieg also gave a few suggestions for those who guarded the sick:
1. The sick should have comfortable beds.
2. The sick should be instructed to always keep themselves well covered and keep their caps on at all time
3. The sick should be served the prepared beverages warm several times a day.
4. As long as it was warm and quiet weather the windows should be open from 9 am to 3 or 4 pm.
5. The barracks should be kept clean.
6. All attempts to bring the sick cheese, schnapps or sour milk should be stopped.
Source: EAA (Tartu), EAA.278.1.XI-4
In my previous entry I touched upon the relationship between Lewenhaupt and Michał Wiśniowiecki. In his memoirs the General frequently underlines his high regard for the Lithuaninan magnate. Lewenhaupt's secretary Klinthen gives a few more details about the relationship in his letters to Olof Hermelin, an official in the Field Chancery. On 5 June 1707 Klinthen writes that there cannot be any doubt about Wiśniowiecki's sincerety, but the Prince is reluctant to transfer his troops to Hetman Sapieha. They are, Klinthen writes, more disciplined than Sapieha's. A month later, after the fall of Bychow, Klinthen states that Wiśniowiecki keeps on assuring the Swedes of his fidelity, but it's prudent to remain skeptical. On 8 Augusti Klinthen writes that the Prince and Oginski seem more interested in fighting with pens than swords, publishing various manifestos against each other.
Source: Riksarkivet (Stockholm), Kanslitjänstemäns koncept och mottagna skrivelser, vol. 80
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
Among the many miscellaneous volumes in archive of the Livonian Governor General quite a few from the 1640's stand out. In one of them is preserved a letter from Carl Gustaf Wrangel (1613-1676), written shortly after the naval battle of Femarn on 13 October 1644. Wrangel's letter book from this period is available online (subscription needed), but this report is not included.
In the letter Wrangel describes how he after leaving Kalmar searched for the Danish fleet first near Bornholm and then near Mön, but without success. He then sailed to Wismar, where the fleet anchored on 8 October. In the evening of the 9th some of Wrangel's scout ships returned with the news that the Danish fleet was stationed between Langeland and Laaland. Due to unfavorable winds Wrangel was unable to sail until the 11th. He soon discovered the Danish fleet near Femern. It consisted, Wrangel writes, of 18 ships. As the hour was late he anchored. The following day there was a storm, so Wrangel was unable to attack. On the 13th the weather cleared up. Wrangel set sail and went away from shore, trying to gain the advantage. He then attacked the Danish Admiral (Pros Mund on Patientia). The battle was fierce, Wrangel writes, and lasted from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patientia and Oldenburg were captured by the Swedes and the rest of the Danish fleet fled and were pursued by the Dutch. They soon captured four ships. The Danes lost about 1,000 men, Wrangel writes, and the Swedes only 60. The Dutch had lost one ship.
Source: LVVA, fond 7349, op. 2, vol. 155
Among the papers of Mikael von Strokirch, Economy Governor in the Latvian district of Livonia, there is a specification of a suitable model of uniform for the militia. It is undated, but appears to be from June 1702:
A grey vadmal coat with yellow lining, grey karpus with yellow lining, leather breeches (if possible, otherwise one pair of vadmal and one pair of linen), woolen socks and gloves, leather shoes, a pair of shirts, a pair of linen neckcloths, a short fur coat for the winter, cartridge box in two parts (of black leather) and a leather belt.
In a following letter to a captain in the militia Strokirch states that the recently departed Governor General Dahlbergh had not made any decision regarding how the militia was to be dressed, he had simply approved the suggestions made by various captains. The result had been something like the enclosed specification.
Source: EAA (Tartu), EAA 278.1.IV-52, p. 50 ff
On 23 February 1700 Mikael von Strokirch, Economy Governor of the Latvian district of Livonia, wrote to Governor General de la Gardie in Reval about recent events. Strokirch informed de la Gardie that a lot of rumours had been circulating for about eighth weeks, but most of them had been proved wrong. This had made Strokirch and many others convinced that nothing would happen, but others had brought there furniture to Riga for safekeeping. Many peasants had also run away and this had caused Governor General Dahlbergh to discuss the matter with Strokirch. What could be done to prevent the damage caused by this? Strokirch had left Riga on 9 February and gone to his estate Ronneburg, but after spending just one night there he heard of the Saxon attack. This made Strokirch very uneasy. Could he get back to Riga? He wrote a letter to Dahlbergh, who on the 16th replied that he wished to have Strokirch join him in Riga. Perhaps the expected reinforcements from Estonia (Tiesenhausen's cavalry) could act as Strokirch's escort?
On the 19th the Economy Governor left Ronneburg with his family as it had become clear that Saxon raiding parties had crossed the Düna. On the 22nd Strokirch reached Pernau, where he the following day received news from Ronneburg. A Saxon force of 200 dragoons under the command of a certain Minckwitz had arrived at Ronneburg in the early hours of the 21st. They had immediately asked for Strokirch, but upon being told that he had left they instead requested fodder for their horses. The dragoons also took beer, oxen and 30 loaves of bread.
Source: EAA (Tartu), EAA 1.2.284
The sudden Saxon attack on Riga on 11 February 1700 seems to have resulted in widespread panic among those outside the walls. There is a small testimony of this in an account book kept by Johan Furubohm, an official of the Admiralty who was stationed in Riga. He writes (rough translation):
"Through the sudden outbreak of hostilities and the invasion of Saxon troops on 11 February 1700 there was such a terror and anxiety when the guns fired the alarm shots, drums began to sound and bells started ringing that everyone who was outside the walls dropped everything and in panic ran towards the town. This resulted in the following items being lost at the shipyard..."
7 shovels of iron
1 pair of handcuffs
3 iron collars
Source: EAA (Tartu), EAA.278.1.XXV-52
In Swedish history books it's often stated that the news about the Saxon attack on Riga reached Charles XII through a courier sent by Governor General Dahlbergh. This was long ago proven to be wrong (see my blog entry for 6 December 2012). Because of some incoming letters in the archive of the Estonian Governor General it is possible to follow the "winner", Captain Otto Magnus Wolffelt a bit further.
On 7 March 1700 Charles XII sent out his first orders for the mobilization of the army. The daring Wolffelt was given the task of bringing the orders to Finland. On 19 March Johan Ribbing, commander of the Nyland and Tavastehus cavalry regiment, wrote to Governor General de la Gardie that he had just received the King's orders through Captain Wolffelt. Captain Brask seems to have been far behind - on 24 April 1700 Otto Vellingk informed Charles XII that Brask had arrived in Reval on the 19th with the King's letter dated 29 March.
EAA (Tartu), EAA 1.2.284
Riksarkivet (Stockholm), Livonica II, vol. 192