Monday, May 22, 2017

Russian Account of Poltava

Peter the Great at Poltava, Artist Unknown
The following is an account the Battle of Poltava, which an English nobleman received from Russian colleagues present at the battle. I have standardized the spelling to be internally consistent, but not otherwise modified the text.

Mons 13/24 July 1709
Right Honble:
                On this day & night I had the honour to give you an account of the great victory obtained by his Tsarish Majesty on the 27th past near Pultawa. Counts Golopkin  and Scharproff have sent the following relation, which differs in some particulars from what I then mentioned.
                On the 20th June all the Muscovite Army past the River Worskla, and encamped a small German mile from the Swedes: On the 24th they advanced further within a quarter of a mile and intrenched themselves to prevent all surprises, posting their horse on the Right under cover of some thick Bushes and two or three redoubts which were well furnish'd with men and Cannon, designing in this posture to prepare all things for a Battle.  But they were prevented by the King of Sweden who on the 27th in the morning very early posted the defiles with his whole army and attacked the horse with such fury that he obliged them to retire from their redoubts towards the trenches, after brave resistance, where drawing up again they returned to the charge and routed the Swedes right wing, taking Major General Schlippenbach prisoner.
In the meantime, Prince Menschikoff and General Renkel had been sent with a Detachment of horse and foot towards Pultawa , to intercept any new succor, and to attack such of the enemy as might be lelft in the Trenches:  On the way they met with reserve of about three thousand men, most whereof, after a short fight were either killed or taken Prisoners;  on which the Prince returned to the Main Army, but General Renkel continuing his march obliged Maj. General Roos who was left in the Trenches with three Regiments to surrender on discretion after a small resistance. While this past, the Enemy's horse had retreated to their foot, and ranged themselves in order of Battle about a quarter of a mile from the Muscovite Camp, on which his Tsarish Majesty drew out two lines of his foot, leaving the third to guard the trenches, and posted his horse on both wings. General Rönke having been wounded in the first action, General Bauer commanded the Right, Prince Menschikoff the left (where the chief action was expected) and his Tsarish Majesty the Main Body. About nine the fight began on both sides and in half an hour the Swedes both horse and foot were entirely routed; nor could the foot ever come to rally again, the muscovites driving them with sword in hand to a wood, where first Major general Shulenberg and soon after General Hamilton, Field Marshall Rheinschild, the Prince of Wirtemberg, several colonels and their other officers, and some thousand common soldiers were taken prisoners. Three miles round Pultawa was all covered with dead Bodys, so that they reckon to have killed eight or ten thousand Swedes with very little loss on their side. His Tsarish Majesty gave all possible proofs of a brave general and wise prince, his hat was shot through with a musket ball and prince Menshikoff had three horses wounded under him.

                The first line of muscovite host (or foot), about ten thousand strong won the Victory the second never coming to charges; the King of Sweden 's litter was found shot to pieces, and general Gallirin and Bauer were sent after the Enemy with the Guards and two other Regiments of foot and ten of dragoons; On the 28th they were followed by Prince Menshickoff with more foot and they had news that their troops were almost got up with the enemy who continued his flight with all possible diligence  and had already abandoned about three thousand of his Baggage wagons.  Count Piper, Mons. Cederholm, and Secretary Daben finding as means of escaping went into Pultawa of their own accord. 

Thanks for Reading,

Alex Burns 

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