вторник, 18 ноября 2014 г.

Action at Dersunisjki on 14/24 March 1702

On 13/23 of March 1702 a Swedish detachment under colonel of Adelsfanan i Sverige och Finland Alexander Hummerhielm (link) marched from Kowno to Jezno (modern Lithuanian Jieznas) to gather supplies & take artillery & ammunition from Jezno’s castle. It composed of 130 reitars of Ostgota Ryttare in 3 coys under Rittmeisters Otto Heinrich Schulman, Anders Blumenschold & Erik Gyllenbreider. Hummerhielm was also backed by a detachment under Captain of Livgardet till fot Gustaf Henrik Siegroth with 80 foot (30 from Livgardet till fot & 50 from Upplands). On 23rd’s evening Hummerhielm came at Dersunisjki. Where he was informed that a strong Lithuanian detachment under Michal Wisniowecki was somewhere close to him, but decided to stay there for a night.

Lithuanians attacked early in the morning. Michal Wisniowecki had 12 choragwies of Pancerni & Wallachians & 10 cannons, totaled about 1,000-1,500 (not 8,000 as in a Swedish relation). Hummerhielm decided to meet the enemy in a field with 100 reiters, the rest stayed at Dersunisjki as a reserve. Brave Swedish attack was repelled, & superior Lithuanians easily surrounded them. After a severe fight Lithuanians captured Hummerhielm himself, one leutnant & about 40 other ranks. About 90 Swedes (incl. Major Hans Fredrik Siegroth & 3 Rittmeisters) were killed. Only 7 Swedes could escaped from the village. Captain Siegroth with 20 foot tried to help Swedish cavalry & cover its retreat, but was surrounded on a mill near Dersunisjki. He agreed to capitulate on a terms of free passage. He lost 6 soldiers killed & 9 wounded, plus 3 servants.
Hummerhielm was sent to Wisniowecki’s Zaber castle, where was imprisoned till 1704, when Swedes took it.  
  • En kort och utförlig relation, om det som emellan översten Hummerhielm och den litauiska arméen den 24 mars 1702 förlupit och passerat. (link)
  • Вицько Д. Шведскае наступленне 1702 у Вялiкiм княстве Лiтоускiм. // ARCHE. # 6. 2011. С. 19-21.

12 комментариев:

  1. Adlerfeld claims there was 4 regiments of Saxons accompanying the Poles (who in total numbered some 6,000 men). Further more he gives the Swedish strength to 130 horse and 110 foot and that only 20 men survived the cavalry action at Dersunisjki. There's also a difference in the overall description of the battle as the 20 foot of did not have the ending fight near some mill but actually managed to retreat back to the Swedish boats where the rest of the infantry was and there the ending fight took place.

    Some days later Mörner and Stenbock revenged this action by returning to the site chasing the Polish troops away, here Wiśniowiecki was almost captured. The initial Swedish mission was to bring 6 cannons back by boats, after an earlier battle near Jesna where they had beat 12 companies of Wiśniowiecki's troops who lost a total of 10 cannons. However, the Swedes could only bring 4 of them back at first. The 6 remaining were to be brought back later which is when this fight seemingly occurred.

    Pancerni & Wallachians are both cavalry inspired units if I'm not mistaken, 10 cannons (the same as at Jesna) are a lot for 1,500 cavalrymen of 12 companies (the same as at Jesna). I think there's a possibility something has been mixed up here between the battle of Jesna and Dersunisjki, as if I'm not mistaken the battle of Dersunisjki happened in 26 March, not 24, which is perhaps the date of the action at Jesna.


    Here's a description by Adlerfeld which is available on Google books. (I had some problems replying here which is why I removed the first post)

    1. Well, Adlerfeld sometimes is not a 100% accurate source.

      First of all, there were no any Saxon troops in Lithuania in winter of 1701-02. All of them had winter-quarters in Poland. Swedes were opposed by two Lithuanian "divisions", one under G. Oginski's command (20 choragwies), the other under M. Wisniowecki (55).

      The chronology of actions around Kowno in the March 1702 was the following:
      - begging of March, Wisniowecki sent to Kowno region a detachment of 12 choragwies Ksyikowski
      - on 9 of March Hummerhielm sent a detachment of 50 foot under lieutant Polus to Jezno's castle to take cannons. They were attacked by Lithuanians & returned to Kowno on 14th
      - Next day Hummerhielm marched from Kowno with 230 horse, but didn't find Lithuanians & entered to Jezno on 18th. He took 4 light cannons (out of 10) & returned to Kowno on 20th
      - Meanwhile 6 Lithuanian choragwies under Mosalski crossed Neman & destroyed a small Swedish foraging party of 40 horses under Ritmeister Roksman near Oshmiany on 21th
      - On 22th Swedes sent a detachment of 200 horse & 70 foot under major Gyllenkruk from Livgardet till fot to punish Lithuanians. They moved to Oshmiany by the left bank of the Neman
      - the same day Hummerhielm again marched to Jezno to gather the rest 6 cannons. He had 130 horses & was backed by 80 foot under Gustaf Henrik Siegroth. An other small party of 30 foot under captain Bure was sent to gather supplies. They operated on the right bank of the Neman river.
      - the same day Wisniowecki with 12 choragwies visited Jezno & took 6 cannons
      - On 23rd Gyllenkruk got news about Wisniowecki & sent a courier to Hummerhielm. The courier crossed Neman by swimming. But Hummerhielm decided to stay on a night at Dersunisjki
      The rest you can find in my post. Adlerfeld is wrong with a date, the action took place on 24th, see the official relation.

      Mörner and Stenbock is an absolutely different story. Since mid of March they acted in Wilkomierż region. It was Oginski's operating area. On 31st of March they marched from Wilkomierż to Wilno.

    2. Ups, I mistook. Wisnioweck's division was of 35 choragwies (55 in total)

  2. Adlerfelt doesn't say there were Saxons in Wisniowiecki's corps. He states that there were "4 regiments of Germans, horse and foot" which something entirely different.

    Secondly: Adlerfelt (that is the genuine Adlerfelt, published in 1919 from tbe rediscovered original manuscript, and not "Histoire Militaire" which was edited by his son long after the death of Gustaf Adlerfelt) states that the fight took place on the 24th.

    The "genuine" Adlerfelt ("Karl XII:s krigsföretag 1700-1706)" is in my opinion extremely reliable as far as it goes, i.e. as close as an official Swedish account as one gets. Gustaf Adlerfelt was very conscientious and corresponded with commanders in Courland, Livonia and Ingria in order to get as accurate information as he could (obviously from the Swedish point of view).

    1. Very interesting info about Adlerfeld, thank you very much!

    2. Yes, that's right. I jumped to the conclusion of them being Saxons, my mistake. Now with that cleared up, what could those four German regiments be, mercenaries perhaps? And could they have been with the Lithuanians or is it a false claim by the source Adlerfelt used?

      Thank you for the summary of the events and for clearing up it all for me, Gromoboy. What about the ending fight, did it took place by the boats which were meant to bring up the cannons, or at the mill near Dersunisjki?

    3. Wisniowecki had some Reitar choragwies, but I don't know their exact number.

      As far as I understood, Gyllenkruk tried to help Hummerhielm & to cross Neman on boats, but was late. Wisniowecki troops were superior in 10 times. The fight was very short. Captain Gustaf Henrik Siegroth decided to march to Dersunisjki in any way because his brother Major Hans Fredrik Siegroth was in Hummerhielm's detachment. And, by the way, Hummerhielm was Siegroth's farther-in-law.

    4. See Gustaf Henrik Siegroth's relation in the 12th volume of Karolinska Krigares Dagbocker for additional details

  3. Hummerhielm was likely moved about quite a bit during the time his was a prisoner. in RA, M 545 there are two letters from him written from Pinsk in December 1702. In early June of the same year Olof Hermelin wrote from Warsaw, stating that Hummerhielm was in the care of Wisniowiecki's wife who brought him along on her travels. If he was a bit younger, Hermelin wrote, he could seduce Wisniowiecki's wife and get his revenge that way.

    I don't know the exact circumstances surrounding Hummerhielm's realease, but it was not because the castle was taken by the Swedes. They did not reach the Pinsk area until 1706.

    1. If I am not mistaken, the castle, were Hummerhielm was finally held, was in Lublin-Chelm area.

    2. The castle Zabierz is (or rather was) near Pinsk.

      Hummerhielm was released in early late 1703/1704 and joined the King at Heilsberg in March or early April of 1704.