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Sunday, 21 April 2019
Albedyhl's dragoons
Topic: Livonia

On 18 June 1700 General Otto Vellingk wrote to Charles XII, informing him that Col. Gustaf Ernst Albedyhl had agreed to raise a regiment of dragoons (600 men). During the first months of the war the Saxon dragoons had clearly showed the value of such units, so Vellingk wanted to make Albedyhl's unit a permanent one. Charles agreed.

On 1 March 1701 Major General Spens inspected the regiment at Ronnenburg (Rauna). It consisted of 570 corporals and privates and was divided in 12 companies (Colonel's, Lt. Col's, Major's, Capt. Bellingshausen's, Captain Patkul's, Capt. Taube's, Capt. Trautvetter's, Capt. Schreiterfeldt's, Capt. Hammelstierna's, Capt. Vitinghoff's, Capt. Freijmann's and Capt. Albedyhl's).

The regiment was later taken over by Gustaf Carl Schreiterfeldt and it subsequently carried his name. 

Source: LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 298, p. 97


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 6:48 PM MEST
Updated: Sunday, 21 April 2019 7:03 PM MEST
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Sunday, 24 March 2019
Livonian garrisons in August 1696
Topic: Livonia

Riga with Kobron and Kokenhusen:

Two companies of Rembert von Funcken's Åbo Infantry Regiment (Lt. Col. Posse's and Captain von Schmitten's). 205 men.

Eight companies of Johan von Campenhausen's Österbotten Infantry Regiment (Campenhausen's, Lt. Col. Silfversparre's, Major Stålhammar's, Captain Witting's, Captain Gyldenhoff's, Captain Borg's, Captain Meijerfeldt's and Captain Weidenhielm's). 1043 men.

23 soldiers from Col. Hans Isak Ridderhielm's regiment.

Eight companies of Erik Dahlberg's regiment (Dahlbergh's, Lt. Col. Helmersen's, Major Ranck's, Captain Brandt's, Capt. Lilliiestierna's, Captain Beckern's, Captain Helmersen's and Captain Hägerflycht's).1089 men.

Eight companies of Erik Soop's regiment (Soop's, Lt. Col. Roos', Major Wrangel's, Captain Schlippenbach's, Captain Rosencron's, Captain Sperling's, Captain Ribbing's and Captain Engelhardt's). 1079 men.



Four companies of Gotthard Wilhelm von Budberg's Nyland Infantry Regiment (Budberg's, Major Rehausen's, Captain Lode's and Captain Staël von Holstein's). 468 men.



Four companies of Erik Pistolekors' regiment (Pistolekors',  Major Schwengeln's, Captain M. G. Pistolekors' and Capt. Löwenburg's). 672 men.



Four companies of Tiesenhausen's regiment (Tiesenhausen's, Major Berg's, Captain Meijercrantz' and Captain Brömsen's). 572 men. 

Source: EAA. 278.1.XXI-62, Rahvusarhiiv Tartu




Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:48 PM MEST
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Sunday, 12 November 2017
Captain Matthias Feder
Topic: Livonia

In May 1705 a large shipment arrived at Neumünde. The fortress commander Colonel Albedyhl on the 19th informed Governor Frölich of the arrival of the vessel Elisabeth under the command of captain Matthias Feder. Albedyhl had suggested that some of the equipment should be handed over to his regiment, but Feder had refused to comply without direct orders from Frölich. Frölich sent his decision to Feder the very same day: everything listed on the specification sent by the College of War must be delivered to Riga. Only if the ship carried an additional cargo earmarked for Albedyhl's regiment would the colonel be permitted to unload anything.

The list of items sent on Feder's ship is quite impressive:

100 pistols for Schreiterfelt's dragoons 

90,000 pistol balls for the armoury at Riga 

45,000 carbine balls for the armoury at Riga 

110,000 musket balls, ditto

120,000 buckshot pellets (rännkulor), ditto

600 shovels, ditto

300 picks, ditto

200 scythes of the old fashion, ditto

2 double jacks, ditto

2 simple jacks, ditto 

100 drums, ditto

30,000 firestones, ditto

100,000 flintstones, ditto 

plus large amounts of horseshoes, horseshoe nails and other nails of various dimensions.



LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 56
Rahvusarhiiv, EAA.278.1.XX-25c
Rahvusarhiiv, EAA. 278.001.XXV-99

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:40 PM CET
Updated: Sunday, 12 November 2017 8:40 PM CET
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Sunday, 14 May 2017
Topic: Livonia

On 23 August 1705, head of the Swedish postal system, signed an instruction for Mattias Bruggeman, master of the post yacht Lotsman.

Bruggeman was ordered to set sail for Riga, but exercise great caution when approaching the coast. If no enemy was present he should proceed to the fortress Dünamünde. If the enemy remained in Courland he should not risk going up to Riga, but only take on board letters to the Royal army or to Prussia or Germany. He should then proceed directly to Königsberg and hand over the letters to the postmaster. After doing this Bruggeman should take letters to Riga. If they were not ready he should proceed to Pillau and wait for them there. Once everything was ready he should hasten to Riga and then to Memel or Pillau.

Bruggeman should be careful with other ships and not allow more than one to approch his vessel. His crew should always be ready to defend the ship. The Governor in Riga and the commander of the garrison at Dünamünde would assist him in every way.




Posted by bengt_nilsson at 6:57 PM MEST
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Sunday, 16 April 2017
Patkul almost goes to Finland
Topic: Livonia

On 14 january 1693 Charles XI ordered the transfer of Captain Johan Reinhold Patkul to Finland, where he was to take charge of a company in the Åbo infantry regiment. The order was delivered to Governor General Hastfer the following day. According to Alvin Isberg Patkul reacted on 2 February by asking to be discharged. 

This is quite impossible. As Anton Buchholtz pointed out already in 1893 the information did not reach Riga until 23 February. Soop immediately informed Patkul, who was ill, and acknowledged the order in a message to Hastfer. Soop ordered Patkul to hand over his company on 1 March. On 14 March Hastfer again wrote to Soop, explaining the situation: Patkul had in late 1692 been ordered to Kokenhusen, but had lodged a protest with Hastfer, explaining that it would be very difficult for him to go there. Patkul had explained that he would rather choose to resign. The King had subsequently decided to solve the problem by ordering Patkul to Finland. This, the Governor General stated, meant that the Patkul problem was out of his hands - the troublesome captain no longer served in his regiment and was no longer the responsibility of the Governor General of Livonia. If Patkul wanted to resign his commission he should go to Åbo and do it there. 

Patkul seems at first have been intent on going (or at least to give the impression he was). At the beginning of April he wrote Soop, asking to receive his outstanding wages for the period he had served in Riga.

So did Patkul actually go? The evidence is less than clear. The pay records for the regiment lists him as being in charge of company n:o 8 as late as in the autumn of 1694. A note has been added stating that since Patkul had been sentenced to death in December 1694 he would not get paid. However, based on a number of preserved Patkul letters from 1693 it would seem that he never went. So how did he get away with that? Probably either by claiming to be too ill to travel or (more likely) by saying that there was a lot of unfinished business he needed to take care of before leaving. 

It should of course be noted that Patkul in July 1693 went to Courland and refused to return unless he received guarantees. These were not given until March 1694 and in May he came to Stockholm.  


Krigsarkivet, Krigskollegium, Militiekontoret G IV b: 47

LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 44 

LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 47 

LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 142 

LVVA, fond 7349, op. 2, vol. 202

LVVA, fond 7349, op. 2, vol.  217

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 12:04 PM MEST
Updated: Monday, 17 April 2017 6:55 PM MEST
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Sunday, 9 April 2017
Wenden 1692
Topic: Livonia

On 29 December 1691 Johann Reinhold Patkul returned to Riga from his mission to Sweden. Shortly after that the Livonian nobility asked Governor Soop for permission to meet on 28 February 1692. When Alvin Isberg in 1953 published his study Karl XI och den livländska adeln 1684-1695 he did not have access to the archive of the Livonian Governor General, so he could not fully examine how Governor Soop handled this issue and what sort of instructions he received from Governor General Hastfer, who for health reasons was in Germany.  Anton Buchholtz, who in 1893 published a biography of Patkul, had access but choose to focus on the aftermath rather than on the prelude. 

As far as I can tell from primarily the letterbooks (outgoing correspondence of Governor Soop) the request by the nobility was not made until mid-January 1692. The first mention of it is in a letter from Soop to Hastfer, dated 21 January. In this Soop states that the nobility has sent a letter to him asking for permission to meet at Dorpat. Soop had replied that it was most unusual to hold a Landtag at Dorpat and that the regulations clearly stated that it should be held at Riga or Wenden. There was, Soop had stated, no need to hurry. If many of the leading nobles found it difficult to meet outside Dorpat as they were members of the Court of Appeals, it was entirely possible to wait until the court's sessions had ended. Soop had also pointed out that he would find it difficult to come to Dorpat, so if the issues really were pressing the meeting should at least be held in Wenden.

The nobility had however been unwilling to accept Soop's decision, so he had eventually accepted their choice of Dorpat. In his letter he reminded Hastfer that the Governor General had earlier indicated that it would for certain reasons be better to keep such meetings away from Riga, so Soop hoped that Dorpat would be acceptable.

I have not found Hastfer's reply, but the content of it can be deduced from a subsequent letter from Soop, dated 18 February. Apparently the Governor General had refused to accept the reasons given by the nobility and on 3 February written to Soop explicitly forbidding them to meet at Dorpat. In the letter Soop states that the nobility had received the news with astonishment and suggested that it meant a complete ban. Soop had however replied that it did not: both Hastfer and Charles XI had approved their request, so they only needed to find a more acceptable place. The Governor had indicated that they should perhaps delay the matter somewhat and then meet at Riga, but after some deliberations the representatives of the nobility had asked permission to hold the meeting as soon as possible and at Wenden. Soop had after careful consideration of the instructions given to him by the King and by Hastfer decided to grant their wish. The meeting would begin in Wenden on 11 March with Soop present to keep an eye on things. 

On 11 March Soop his first report from Wenden. He had arrived the previous day. His intention had been to present the nobility with proposals more or less immediately, but as very few of the nobles had arrived he was forced to wait. On 23 March Soop sent a more extensive report to Hastfer. It deals however almost exclusively with the resignation of Landrat Vietinghoff and does not all mention any remarkable developments. As Isberg noted in his dissertation - the key discussions at Wenden seems to have gone unnoticed by Soop despite the fact that he was present from 10 March to 17 March.

Some time later Hastfer independently found out what had really taken place at Wenden and immediately informed Charles XI. The King was not pleased - as Soop soon found out.

An odd detail is that according to Isberg the first report from Hastfer dated 19 May 1692 reached the King at the beginning of June. The King then replied on 14 June. However, in LVVA there is preserved a letter from Charles XI to Hastfer dated as early as 14 May, which refers to a letter by the Governor General from the 19th preceding (!).

Isberg built his version on Hastfer's letter to the King and a copy of the King's reply (in Riksregistraturet). The letter in LVVA is however an original, signed by Charles and countersigned by Carl Piper. According to a note it was received by Hastfer in The Hague on 12 July 1692. Could it really have been on the road for two months? It seems unlikely, but Hastfer apparently left Frankfurt am Main in April and continued to Ems and The Hague. Could this explain the delay or is the original incorrectly dated? A peculiar mistake to make as late as the 14th.

According to Isberg Hastfer had an informant in Wenden and this would seem to indicate that the King's original is in fact correctly dated: the informant writes to Hastfer already in mid-March, Hastfer gets this letter some weeks later in Frankfurt am Main (where he had stayed for several months) and then proceeds to inform the King on 19 April. Neither the informant nor Hastfer would likely have hesitated before acting on such a matter, so 19 May and 14 June would from that perspective seem unlikely. But it is perhaps best to leave the issue open for the time being.



LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 44
LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 46
LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 142

Isberg, A., Karl XI och den livländska adeln 1684-1695. - Lund, 1953

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 12:01 AM MEST
Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2017 10:04 AM MEST
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Sunday, 19 February 2017
Topic: Livonia

in mid August 1705 Lieutenant Colonel Liphardt in Neumünde wrote to Governor Frölich in Riga. Frölich had decided, Liphardt wrote, that if a soldier in Liphardt's battalion died the planks for the coffin would be taken from the stores in the fortress. The garrison commander Colonel Albedyhl had however refused to follow this order, saying that every plank was needed for fortification purposes. Liphardt also pointed out another problem: the only priest available for the Latvian soldiers in his unit was the one in Mangelsholm (Magnushof?) and he was busy with his own parish. It was a great pity that the soldiers in his unit coould not hear the word of God in their native language.  

On 15 August 1705 Governor Frölich replied to Colonel Albedyhl and Lieutenant Colonel Liphardt. Due to the need to carefully manage the stores of wood at Neumünde it would not be advisable to build a new coffin for each dead soldier. Instead Albedyhl should build just one plank coffin and reuse it. In time of war it was only important to bury the soldiers deep enough.

As for the priests the Latvian soldiers in Liphardt's unit would have to be satisfied with the ones available at the fortress. Liphardt should use suitable officers as translators. He should tell these officers to thoughtfully and patiently explain to the Latvians what the priests said. 


LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 56

LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 310

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:34 PM CET
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Sunday, 22 January 2017
News from the border post Neuhausen
Topic: Livonia

On 9 September 1700 Florian Thilo von Thilau sent a worrying report to governor General Dahlbergh in Riga. The Swedish trade representative Thomas Herbers in Pskov had been arrested and the nobility in the Pskov area was being mobilized. All russian lodias on their way to trade at Narva had been recalled to Pskov on 23 August. Thilo's spies had not yet been able to confirm that they had been reloaded with war materials, but many vessels of various sizes were waiting at Pskov. In regard to the previously persistent rumours about the sending of a Russian corps to support the Saxons there were at present no more news. According to a spy a considerable number of Saxon officers had recently arrived in Pskov and they were thought to be on their way to Moscow. 

Everything remained quiet at Neuhausen and the peasants had been relieved to hear about the peace with Denmark. The arrival of Charles XII with an army was eagerly anticipated. Reports from Marienburg suggested that the Duke of Croy would command the Russian corps which would be sent to support the Saxons. 

Thilo's next report apparently wasn't sent until 29 September. The previous letter hade been sent with a peasant, but recent news of the Saxon withdrawal indicated that the road was now open. The latest reports, Thilo wrote, were saying that the Russians had invaded Ingria and burnt a few churches. The peasants in the Pskov area were very worried about a Swedish counterattack since the only regular force present was the town's garrison.

News from Rappin spoke of Russian vessels having been observed near Ismene. Thilau noted that he had two weeks previously informed General Vellingk about this area being a key passage for any ships going to Narva. 


LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 290

LVVA, fond 7349, op. 2, vol. 221


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 6:39 PM CET
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Sunday, 11 September 2016
The Swedish calendar
Topic: Livonia

1700-1712 Sweden had its own calendar, which was one day ahead of the Julian calendar and ten days behind the Gregorian calendar. Why? Well, that's an issue which surprisingly hasn't been investigated in detail. The standard work on the issue (Den svenska tidräkningen 1700-1712 by Emil Hildebrand) came as early as in 1882 and it's very brief. I will not attempt go beyond what Hildebrand has to say, except on a couple of details. 

The background was of course the problems with the Julian calendar and the fact that the difference between it and the Gregorian increased by time. During the 17th century it was ten days, but would be eleven by the next century. A German mathematician by the name of Erhard Weigel took a great deal of interest in the matter and in late 1696 he arrived in Stockholm. Sweden was of course at that time one of the most important Protestant countries in Europe, so the position taken by the Swedish authorities could be expected to influence other countries. Upon arriving in Stockholm Weigel presented Charles XI with a number of proposals, including calendar reform. Unfortunately he soon ran into problems. Swedish experts, most notably Johan Bilberg (1646-1717) and Anders Spole (1630-1699), were not enthusiastic. The Gregorian calendar was invented by a pope, a change would bring disorder and Weigel had not been able to prove that he enjoyed the support of other German mathematicians or princes. Weigel should start at home and return when he had convinced everyone else.

Weigel did just that and managed to get quite far at the Diet in Regensburg. The Swedish minister Snoilsky in 1698 informed Charles XII of the developments and so did Weigel himself. In 1699 the discussions continued in Sweden and various proposals were debated. During this period a letter from the Diet arrived: it was in favour of Weigel's proposal and asked for the Swedish opinion. Bengt Oxenstierna, the Chancery President, concluded that the Swedish provinces in Germany had to follow suit, but that this did not mean that Sweden itself would have to make the change. 

Further debate brought forth the idea to change gradually. Johan Bilberg suggested to remove eighth days in 1700 (one in February and the rest in November) and the leap days in 1704, 1708 and 1712. This became the Swedish position and the Diet in Regensburg was informed of it. However, the decision was to go ahead anyway and remove eleven days in February 1700. So how would Sweden respond?

Well, here things get a bit unclear, but apparently Bilberg came forward with a new idea: remove one day in February 1700 in order to keep the difference from growing and use the time for further discussions. On 11 November this was decided in the Chancery.

Then nothing happened for several years. In 1711 Charles XII decided that the "experiment" had gone on for too long and decreed that Sweden in 1712 would go back to the Julian calendar. Thus far Emil Hildebrand's description. 

To this I can add a rather peculiar detail. The decision was apparently not conveyed to the Governors of Livonia and Estonia until well past February 1700. On 20 March 1700 Charles XII wrote to Dahlbergh and de la Gardie, ordering them to make the correction.The letter reached Dahlbergh on 4 April and two days later he sent instructions to both the clergy and the Court of Appeal in Dorpat. 


LVVA, Fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 52, German letterbook for 1700

LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 149, Royal letters for 1701

Hildebrand, E., Den svenska tidräkningen 1700-1712. - Stockholm, 1882

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 7:07 PM MEST
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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
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