Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
« January 2016 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Artillery personnel
Great Embassy
Prisoners of war
Source criticism
The Great Northern War
Sunday, 31 January 2016
Fond 7349, op. 2 and 3
Topic: Archives
After several years of more or less intense work I am finally in the process of finishing those parts of the "Swedish archive" which have been added post-1908. Generally speaking they consist of a mixture of items, i.e. parts of various collections (most notably Carl Schirren's and manuscripts which once belonged to the Gesellschaft für Geschichte und Altertumskunde in Riga). So while Schirren, the Gesellschaft and others in the 19th century took advantage of the lack of interest in the archive of the Swedish Livonian Governor General by removing interesting volumes and documents subsequent generations have been doing the opposite. However, an old catalogue made in the 1810's (op. 3, vol. 86) suggest that some volumes have either been lost altogether or are yet to be returned. Whether this practice of "reconstruction" is advisable is another matter - it makes it rather difficult to check footnotes in older litterature.

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:38 PM CET
Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink
Sunday, 24 January 2016
Czar Peter's visit to Riga in 1697
In 1892 Alexander Bergengrün published a study called Die grosse moskowitische Ambassade von 1697. It was primarily based on material preserved in Riga and on printed works, i.e. Bergengrün's access to Dahlbergh's letters to Stockholm was limited to the copies in the letterbooks. This meant that he never saw the attachments to the letters as those are never included. In 1962 Alvin Isberg published a study called Erik Dahlbergh och tsar Peters västeuropeiska resa. Isberg had the opposite problem - he used the material in Riksarkivet but not the material in Riga which formed the basis for Bergengrün's study. This resulted in some pecularities. Bergengrün used Dahlbergh's account in a printed French version (without the attachments), while Isberg used Dahlbergh's account with attachments in the version sent to Stockholm. Both of them missed one version, Bergengrün because it had been removed from the so called "Swedish archive" in Riga by Carl Schirren and Isberg apparently because he overlooked that it was preserved among the documents in Schirren's collection in Riksarkivet. This version is an edited draft, which gives the reader a chance to see how the original draft was changed before being sent to Charles XII.

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:43 PM CET
Updated: Tuesday, 1 March 2016 12:57 PM CET
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 20 December 2015
Christmas holidays

There will be no regular update today, but I am (probably) back online next week.

Merry Christmas! 


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 12:01 AM CET
Updated: Saturday, 19 December 2015 2:00 PM CET
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 13 December 2015
Johann Jacob Bach in the Swedish army : part 1
Topic: Musicians

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...

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:25 PM CET
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 6 December 2015
Doctor's orders

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



Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:49 PM CET
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 29 November 2015
Lewenhaupt and Wisniowiecki
Topic: Generals

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 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:44 PM CET
Post Comment | Permalink
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
Sunday, 15 November 2015
Carl Gustaf Wrangel and the battle of Femern 1644
Topic: Navy

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 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:59 PM CET
Updated: Sunday, 15 November 2015 9:00 PM CET
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 8 November 2015
Clothes for the militia
Topic: Regiments

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



Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:15 PM CET
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Sunday, 1 November 2015
More about the Saxon invasion in 1700
Topic: Livonia

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

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:40 PM CET
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older