Puslapio vaizdai

recruits in a number less than was incumbent | visions and forage, and Quarter-masterupon them, he wrote, sharply: "That you General Gyllenkrok urged the King to go have done nothing to those Voievodes who into winter quarters there. But this did have not brought men as was ordered, that not enter into his plans, and leaving beyou throw the blame of this on the depart- hind General Krassow, with eight thousand ments of Moscow, which is not to your men, to support the tottering throne of Stancredit, is due only to one of two causes- islas, he set out for Lithuania. Instead of either to laziness, or that you did not wish taking the usual road through Pultusk, to quarrel with them." Apráxin felt deeply Ostrolenka, and Lomza, along the Bug and hurt, and Peter hastened to retract his bitter the Nareva, even though it was occupied by words, and wrote: "You feel aggrieved at Russians, he chose the seldom-traveled route what I wrote to you about the Voievodes. farther to the north, along the Prussian But, for God's sake, have no grief about boundaries, through the forests and swamps it, for really I bear no malice to you; but of Masuria, as many thought, simply to since I have been here the slightest thing have the pleasure of marching where no which thwarts me puts me into a passion." army had been before. The King and all were obliged to bivouac in the snow without tents, and in spite of the blazing fires and the military music which Charles kept up all night to inspirit the men, many lives were lost from the cold and fatigue. Horses died in such numbers that a great part of the baggage had to be abandoned. Worse than all for the Swedes was the hostility of the population-a wild race, habituated by their contests with bears and wolves to the use of fire-arms, and scarcely acknowledging the authority of their own king. They hid behind trees and bushes, and shot down the Swedish soldiers. Charles himself narrowly escaped a bullet. To stop this partisan warfare, the angry King gave orders to hang the peasants as fast as they were caught, and burn their houses. On one day General Creutz captured a band of fifty men, and compelled them to hang one another, the last man being butchered by the soldiers. Even women and children were not spared. At last a large band collected, and offered the Swedes free passage on the condition of the payment of ten thalers for every horse. Otherwise, they said, no man should depart alive. The King himself came to the conference, and the leader of the peasants, standing behind the barricade, said: "These lands belong to the peasants, and they are not willing to let any one through unless the money be paid down, and some officers left as surety." "When the peasant leader," says Hultmann, the King's butler, in his diary, "had spoken thus audaciously, the King had his old bodyservant, Mans Lenk, slyly put a ball through him, so that he sank down on the spot."

There was reason enough for this, for while the Swedes were threatening invasion, rebellions broke out among the Bashkirs and among the Cossacks of the Don-rebellions that were so threatening that Peter had resolved to go to the Don in person. Fortunately, the Tsar received news of the quelling of these insurrections in time to bend all his energies to the war with Sweden. We will go on with the history of the campaign, leaving for the present the account of these disturbances, to understand which it is necessary to set forth with some detail the internal situation of the empire since the battle of Narva.

Another Swedish account confirms this with the words: "In this way his majesty taught the peasants something else than to presume to treat with a king."

Peter had passed the summer in Poland,

Although Charles left Silesia in September, he did not continue his march, but remained encamped for four months at Slupce, on the banks of the Vistula. The cause of this delay is unknown. As on previous occasions, Charles may have preferred a winter campaign simply on account of its difficulties, or he may have feared the bad roads of the Russian autumn. Some delay, at least, was caused by waiting for the river to freeze. Bridges could not be built on account of the rapid current and the ice, and finally, his impatience was such that he made roads over the thin ice with straw and snow, and passed in comparative safety on the 9th of January. This long stay was very hard for the unfortunate Poles. Stanislas complained bitterly, and said the Swedes were as unmerciful to his poor subjects as were the Russians; but his complaints were heeded. "The Swedes," wrote the French minister, "hold the Poles in contempt, and do not consider them worthy of attention, and even the king is so angry over their weak and wretched behavior that he has no compassion for them individually or collectively." On the other side of the Vistula there seemed to be plenty of pro


suffering from fever the whole of the two months he was in Warsaw, and coming up slowly through Lithuania, inspecting the military positions as he passed, arrived in St. Petersburg at the beginning of November. It is in such hasty visits as this that the all-embracing energy of Peter seems most apparent. He inspected the fortifications at St. Petersburg, Schlüsselburg, and Cronstadt; was constant in attendance at the Admiralty, and besides the numerous orders he gave for recruiting, for supplying and clothing his troops, for the defense of the frontier, he found time to send a word of condolence to the father of Prince Iván Troekúrof; to write to the Princess Menshikóf a friendly note, in which he begged her to take better care of her husband, and "feed him up so that he should not look as thin as when at Meretch"; to send two Latin books to Apráxin to be translated into Russian; and to give orders for training the pups of his favorite dog. More than all this, he accomplished an act about which he had long been troubled in mind:-he was privately married to his beloved Catherine, in the Church of the Holy Trinity, some time in the month of November. The Feast of St. Alexander Nefsky he celebrated in the house of Menshikóf, and wrote to him: "On your name's-day we were merrier than I have ever been since the death of Lefort." A week later there was a similar feast on St. Andrew's Day, and in sending the account of it to Menshikóf, Peter added a new cheese made from the milk of his Dutch cows. The same day he set out for Moscow, to pass the Christmas holidays. There he found work for his hands in providing for the sufferers by a recent conflagration; in enlarging and supplying his new apothecary's establishment, and in sending medicines throughout the country, especially to the field hospitals; in studying the question of regulating the proof of silver; in supplying his printing-office with the newfashioned type of his invention which had just arrived from Holland; in regulating the salaries of his embassadors and providing for their regular payment; in arranging to send ten young Russians abroad; in providing for the education of the sons of the clergy; and, to insure the proper style, in ordering all clothes and hats to be made after the German pattern and to be stamped at Moscow.

On hearing of the approach of the Swedes, Peter hastened to the army, and arrived in Grodno on the 1st of February. Four days

afterward he wrote to Apráxin to hasten to Wilna, but, "if you have already come to Wilna, go no farther, for the enemy is already with us." The enemy turned out to be Charles, who, hearing that Peter was in Grodno, and wishing to celebrate his name'sday, rode hastily forward with nine hundred cavalry, drove back Mühlenfeld, who, with two thousand cavalry, was guarding the bridge, and entered the town only two hours after Peter had left. When the Tsar the next day discovered that the whole Swedish army had not advanced, and to what a small number of men his troops had yielded, he sent three thousand men back to Grodno to surprise the Swedes. They reached the town at midnight, overpowered the small guard, and came within an ace of capturing Charles, who, together with Renskjöld and the Prince of Würtemberg, had rushed into the street, and had got involved in the throng. With the help of the inhabitants, who took their part, the Swedes after a long struggle drove the Russians out of the town. Mühlenfeld was arrested on a charge of treason, but escaped to the Swedes, to whom he communicated all he knew about the Russians. He was subsequently taken prisoner at Poltáva, tried, and shot.

From Meretch, Peter ordered Menshikóf to cut and barricade the roads in every direction, and intrust the rear-guard to faithful and capable officers. On the 8th of February he was at Wilna, still uncertain which way Charles intended to march, though he had before felt sure that the purpose of the King was to occupy Livonia, and thence advance upon Pskof and Nóvgorod. Charles at first moved from Grodno north-eastward to Smorgone, famous for its dancing bears, and, it seemed, intended to march directly to Pskof, but, after waiting there a time, he turned southeastward to Radóshkovitchi (Radoszkowicze), where he staid until June. In order to protect the northern frontier, Peter, while still at Grodno, had written to Cyril Naryshkin, the commander of Pskof, ordering him to provide for the active defense of Pskof and Dorpat, by strengthening the fortifications, and digging mines, though not putting powder in them; and further commanded him to send to Vologda all the inhabitants of Dorpat, allowing them to take their money with them, but registering and taking possession of their other property. The object of the Tsar was to render the country easier to defend, by removing those inhabitants who might sympathize with the Swedes,

and, at the same time, in case Livonia were re-occupied, to provide Russia with colonies of useful and hard-working artisans. What the inhabitants of Livonia were again called upon to suffer, we can see from what took place at Dorpat:

"On the 19th of February, the pastors were obliged to give out from their pulpits the order that the inhabitants should sell their houses within a week, and be ready to go to the interior of Russia, with all their property laden on one, or at most two, sledges. On the reading of this command, the poor citizens became so confounded that their weeping and groaning had no end. All prayers for mercy were vain. People were obliged to comply with the orders, and make their sad and hasty preparations. Every one, indeed, was allowed to turn his

property into money. But who could buy the houses that were offered for sale, when everybody had to emigrate? Russian soldiers, and people from the country, now could get furniture for the tenth, or even for the hundredth, part of its value, and were soon unwilling to offer anything, as they hoped to get everything for nothing as soon as the inhabitants had gone. On the 16th of February, the greater part of the citizens went to the Lord's Supper. It was a heart-rending separation from one another, from the city and church of their fathers, and perhaps, also, from their faith, for the poor people went as if into a Babylonian imprisonment. They would be separated from each other, scattered over a far land, and settled among strange people, of other manners, other speech, and other faith. The day of departure was set for the 29th of February. The cold was terrible, but all had to goyoung and old, well and sick, even the dying; every one with the best of his goods packed on carts and sledges, the poorest on wretched sledges fastened to the train, and all this amidst weeping, wailing, and moaning. The departure took place after a summons and in a certain order. The start was early in the morning, and only at ten o'clock in the forenoon did the last sledge leave the town, whereupon the Russians fired off the cannon on the walls, as though they had gained a victory. The following day, the church bells, the great chandeliers, and the copper roofs, were taken for the account of the Tsar, and what remained besides was sold at a nominal price. Finally, the fortifications were blown up, and the houses of the whole town burnt to ashes."

Other towns were treated in a similar way, and from Narva and Ingria alone seventyone families were sent to Vologda and seventy-seven to Kazan. These harsh proceedings, however, were useless, for Charles had made up his mind to turn to the Ukraine, but none knew it except his most intimate advisers, much less the Russians.

While the Swedes were at Radóshkovitchi, Peter, who was ill with fever and excitement, took advantage of the lull in the campaign to go back to St. Petersburg, where he arrived on the last day of March. A fortnight later, he writes to Golófkin: "People say that where God has built a church the devil has put an altar. Although

hitherto I have always been as well here as in Paradise, now I do not know how I brought my fever with me from Poland, although I took good care of myself in the sledge, and was well clad, for I have been tormented with it during the whole of Passion week, and even at Easter I could hear nothing except the beginning of the Vespers and the Gospel, on account of illness. Now, thank God! I am getting better, but still do not go out of the house. The holidays have not been celebrated at all as they should be; for, as far as my memory serves me, we were always in red, whereas now we are forced to stay in gray. The fever was accompanied by pains in my throat and chest, and ended in a cough, which is now very severe." Two days afterward he wrote again: "I beg you to do everything that can possibly be done without me. When I was well I let nothing pass, but now God sees what I am after this illness, which this place and Poland have caused me, and if in these next weeks I have no time for taking medicine and for resting, God knows what will happen." On receiving news from Menshikóf that the Swedes were preparing two or three bridges over the rivers, Peter answered on the 25th of April, begging him not to summon him to the army any sooner than was absolutely necessary, as he greatly needed rest and further treatment. "You yourself know that I am not accustomed to write in this way, but God sees how little strength I have, and without health and strength it is impossible to be of service. But if for five or six weeks from this time I can stay here and take medicine, I then hope, with God's aid, to come to you well. If it is absolutely necessary for me to come, be good enough to have relays placed, for you can judge of the proper time better than I can here."

In the midst of his weakness from fever and medicine, in the midst of his anxieties about the conduct of the war and the suppression of the revolt on the Don, Peter was cheered by the presence of his family. His sister Natalia, his half-sisters Mary and Theodosia, his sister-in-law, the widowed Tsaritsa Prascovia, for whom he had always a sincere affection, with her three daughters, all came to visit him at St. Petersburg. He was able to meet them at Schlüsselburg in April, and had the pleasure of showing them his new town, his fleet, and his conquests, for they remained for more than two months in St. Petersburg; they went to Cronstadt and were entertained on board

ship, and they accompanied him to Koporie, | tief, was unable to reach them in time, and Yamburg, and Narva, where they celebrated the whole army retreated to the Dnieper, his name's-day. That feast was clouded by and took positions at Mohiléf, Sklof, and the death of his little daughter Catherine; Kopos. The Swedish loss amounted to but a great object had been attained-his two hundred and sixty dead (including sisters had made the official acquaintance General von Wrangel), and one thousand of Catherine as his wife. Their visit at this two hundred and twenty wounded; the time showed the confidence of the Tsar in Russian to one hundred and nineteen killed, the safety of St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, and six hundred and seventeen wounded. the Tsarévitch Alexis was at Moscow, in charge of the fortifications, and, by his indifference and his lack of energy, was causing anxiety to his father. To his confessor he had even expressed doubts as to the utility of these fortifications, and had said that "if the Tsar's army could not hold back the Swedes, Moscow would not stop them." The intercession of Catherine was necessary to avert Peter's anger, which the secret interviews of Alexis with his mother had greatly increased.

It was a Swedish victory, but, although the Russians had retired, they had gained one of their ends-that of weakening the Swedish forces, and when Peter, who was already on his way to the army, received the first news of the battle, and believed that a third of his troops had supported for some time the Swedish onset and had retired in good order, he was well satisfied. When he came to learn the details, he was angry over the bad conduct of some of Répnin's troops, especially of a new regiment, and, in spite of Répnin's protest, ordered a strict investigation, and the punishment of all offenders against good discipline. The Swedes, on the contrary, spoke well of the behavior of Répnin's men, and the greatest fault of the Russians lay in the bad disposition of their troops. Charles considered this battle one of the best of his exploits, but it was the last. Here his star began to pale.

On the 17th of June, Charles finally broke up his quarters at Radóshkovitchi, and on the 29th was on the banks of the river Berezína. A part of the Russian army was drawn up at Borísof; but Charles, leaving a few regiments under Colonel Sparre to make a feint, marched through the woods and morasses, and crossed with safety considerably lower down. Sheremétief and Menshikóf resolved to dispute the passage of the Swedes over the little river of Bibitch (Wabis), at the little town of Golóftchin (Holowczyn), known in old Russian history for the victory of Prince Yaropolk over Prince Vselav of Polotsk, where marshes and ponds gave them a strong position. Unfortunately, they posted their left wing, commanded by Prince Répnin, at a considerable distance from the rest of the army, in such a way that their own communications were exceedingly difficult, on account of the marshes. Charles, having placed his cannon in a commanding position the night before, on the morning of the 15th, covered by the artillery fire and a fog, crossed the river and the swamp in the face of the enemy, attacked the wing commanded by Prince Répnin, and after a severe contest of several hours, in which the Swedes used chiefly their bayonets, as their powder was wet, compelled the Russians gradually to retire into the forests. The cavalry under Goltz, which supported Répnin, had also a sharp fight with the King's Brabants and bodyguard; but the main body, under Sheremé

* Where Napoleon crossed, on November 17, 1812.

Four days after the battle of Golóftchin, it was decided at a council of war not to attempt to defend Mohiléf, but to abandon it to the enemy, and to concentrate at Gorki, north-east of Mohiléf, on the other side of the Dnieper, thus protecting the road to Smolensk and Moscow. Charles occupied Mohiléf, and found there a sufficient amount of provisions to keep his troops for some time, while waiting the arrival of Lewenhaupt with eleven thousand troops and a train of necessary stores, provisions, and artillery. He also waited for the breaking out of the insurrection in the Ukraine. He was, however, too impatient to wait long, and crossed the Dnieper on the 16th of August and marched toward Tchirikof, on the river Sozh. The light Russian cavalry hovered about the Swedish advance, capturing and killing stragglers and destroying the roads and bridges. The summer was unusually rainy, and the Swedes suffered much from the want of tents, and the provisions ran short, so that the soldiers were obliged to collect the grain from the fields and bruise it between stones. Disease was the consequence of the bad food and the bad weather, and there were no medicines. The Swedish soldiers said: "We have only

three physicians-Doctor Brandy, Doctor Garlic, and Doctor Death." Peter and the Peter and the main body of the Russian troops moved from Gorki to Mstislavl, and Charles, getting tired of skirmishes, turned northward toward Mstislavl, and met the Russians at Dobry on the 9th of September."

This time the Russians, under Prince Michael Galitsyn and General Pflug, began the attack, and, after a two hours' hard fight,. when the Swedes were reënforced, they retired in good order, having captured six Swedish standards. The Swedish loss in this sharply contested fight was two hundred and sixty-one killed and seven hundred and fifty wounded. The Russians lost two hundred and ten killed and about twelve hundred wounded.* Galítsyn received the Order of St. Andrew for his bravery, and Peter wrote to Apráxin: "I solemnly assure you that since I began to serve I have never seen such fire or such orderly conduct on the part of our soldiers (God grant it so in future as well!), and the Swedish king himself has not seen such an action in the course of this war. O God, do not take away thy mercy from us for the future!


After the affair of Dobry, the Russians retreated northward, burning, as they passed, the town of Mstislavl. Charles followed them as far as the Russian frontier at Tatarsk, but did not cross it, though he marched along it for some distance. On one occasion he ran great danger, in a sharp skirmish with the Russian cavalry. Charles had not believed that the same system of defense by devastating the country would be pursued in the Russian provinces, and had thought that, however he might treat Poland, the Tsar would not be indifferent to the sufferings and loss of his own subjects. But the Swedes now saw nothing but the flames and smoke of burning Russian villages, and news came that a whole forest had been hewn down, to obstruct the roads leading to Smolensk. Charles did what for him was unusual, and asked for advice. In a council of war, Piper urged the imperative necessity of the junction with Lewenhaupt, who might be attacked and beaten by the Russians and lose his provisions. But considerations of prudence yielded to the hopes Charles had of his being joined by twenty thousand Cossacks under Ma

*This battle is also called that of Malaitcha (Malatycza) or Tchérnaya Napa, from a little stream flowing through the moor where it was fought.

| zeppa; and, refusing to go back or to wait, he burned his superfluous baggage, and, on the 26th of September, began his march southward, thus sacrificing Lewenhaupt, who was then on the Dnieper, near Sklof, only sixty miles away in a direct line, and who could have been met by a march of three days.

The idea of marching into the Ukraine had long been in the mind of Charles. He had let the proper time for a favorable peace go by. He had refused, from arrogance, to take the northern road to Livonia; he now found the eastern one to Smolensk and Moscow difficult, if not impracticable; the southern road remained. He felt the need of allies, and he counted on rebellions and insurrections. He expected, too, a strong diversion to be made on the northern frontier by General Lybecker.

When Lewenhaupt left the King's headquarters, early in May, he had instructions to get ready all the men he could muster, - about eleven thousand,- a train of artillery and ammunition, stores and provisions enough to last them for twelve weeks, and the whole army for six weeks. The further order of the King, that he should start at the beginning of June and march to the Berezína, reached him so late that with all his diligence it was impossible for him to set out before July. The constant rains made the roads bad, the great train of wagons impeded him, and he arrived at Sklof on the 28th of September, just in time to receive a courier who had left the King's army only twenty-four hours before, with orders (which, however, had been kept back for two days before being sent) to cross the Dnieper and the Sozh and march to Starodûb in the Ukraine. Lewenhaupt felt as though these orders were his death-blow, for between the Dnieper and the Sozh stood the whole Russian army. He would have preferred to keep on the western bank of the Dnieper, thus protected against the Russians, until a favorable opportunity came for joining the main army. He suspected ill-will or treachery at head-quarters in the delay attending his orders. Crossing the Dnieper at Sklof, keeping as far as he could from the Russians, and disseminating false reports of his whereabouts, after a march of seven days, impeded by bad roads and broken bridges, he arrived at Liesna, a few miles from Propoisk, and in one day more would have crossed the Sozh and have been comparatively safe. But on the 9th of October he was attacked by the Russians, who had fol

« AnkstesnisTęsti »