Talk:Battle of Selburg

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de la Gardie[edit]

I think it was Jacob de la Gardie as Magnus Gabriel would've been only four years old. Volunteer Marek  03:31, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Confirmed Imonoz (talk) 11:45, 7 November 2012 (UTC)


A Swedish source [1] page 70. Suggests it was Jan Stanisław Sapieha they encountered at Zelbork (Seelburg) and not Aleksander Gosiewski. And that Gonsiewsky got promoted to take Sapieha's place after the battle. Is there any chance Sapieha was the highest ranked commander during the battle and Gonsiewsky the second? Also, I found something interesting according to strenght reports. De la Gardie and Horn commanded (all in all together) around 4,000 Swedish troops during this operation. If Horn had 2,500 at Wenden it would mean De la Gardie only had about 1,500? Is there a slight chance those numbers of Horn's (2,500) force at Wenden is actually 'paper strenght'? It seems this number of 4,000 is not. Imonoz (talk) 11:45, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Hmm, you'll have to translate the source as I can't read Swedish. However, I think what that source may be referring to is the overall commander, not the commander at the battle. There were two main commanders... well, three, in the war on the Polish side: Krzysztof Radziwill and Lew Sapieha. Technically I think Radziwill was supposed to be the senior general but because of a personal/family conflict between the Radziwills and Sapieha that didn't play out in practice. Lew Sapieha, who was pretty old at the time, in turn delegated his command to his son Jan Stanislaw. Stanislaw then created Gosiewski's unit out of his division. So Gosiewski's force was originally part of Sapieha's force but I think it was Gosiewski himself, not Sapieha that fought at Zelbork. I'm pretty sure that if it had been Sapieha that info would be found in lots of sources.
What source do you have for the numbers?

 Volunteer Marek  13:20, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, the translation is just that; "De la Gardie and Horn went out in field in July with about 4,000 men, and marched against Zelbork where Sapieha (it doesn't say which Sapieha his referring to) camped with his equally sized army. The Swedes forced him after intial engagements to retreat towards Bauske whereof the Swedish generals marched against Dunaburg and captured then destroyed the fort. During the Swedish generals absence, Polish field marshal Gosiewski succeeded Sapieha and crossed the duna river to ravage Livonia. The Swedish generals then marched to Riga." I suppose Horn immediately marched to Zelbork after his engagement near Wenden against Pac. So in general, it's also strange Swedish sources doesn't mention Gosiewski even taking part in the battle as he's claimed to been the commander. Anyway, I think it might be worth mentioning Sapieha in the article as well. Imonoz (talk) 14:28, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Jan Stanisław Sapieha he could not be under Zelbork, in June 1626 the main command took Aleksander Gosiewski and Jan Stanisław Sapieha moved to Prussia to King Sigismund. Lew Sapieha also did not participate in this battle.Kcdlp (talk) 15:51, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Ok, good. Now we got that sorted out. What about the numbers then? 4,000 Swedes (Including both Horn and De la Gardie) and the statement "the Polish army was equally sized"?. Is there any information on total troops near Zelbork or are those only orders of battle (around 2,000) and the Horn of strenght at Wenden, was it 'paperstrenght'? Imonoz (talk) 16:36, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
I've found text of letters initally written by Gabriel De la Gardie in Riga, some time after the battle of Zelbork (20 October). There's some interesting text; first of all, it confirms it was actually 'Gosiewski' they were fighting. And that the Polish field marshal came with reinforcements of 7,000 men during or after the siege which then numbered a total of 9 to 10,000 men. He gives some more detailed description of the battle and mentions that the Polish army numbered some 4,000 (mainly horse) and that he met Polish deserters or captured prisoners who confirms a 300 man loss for 'Gosiewskis' army in the battle. Gosiewski also had his horse shot dead under him during the engagements [2] around phase 413 (it doesn't work so well with translator since it's a text written sometimes 1860's). Imonoz (talk) 14:36, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Imonoz from what source is information on size of Polish army (around 2,000) under Zelbork?Kcdlp (talk) 17:09, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Might be this one [3] or this one [4] not sure. Volunteer Marek gave me those numbers on talk:Battle of Wenden (1626)
At Zelbork/Selbork (around Sept 30) it says that the Swedes attacked Gosiewski's camp. Part of the Polish-Lithuanian units are identified but there's no concrete number as to overall strength of both forces - most of the discussion on that page is exactly about that.
However, the identified units, based on Henryk Wisner's book "Wojna inflancka 1625-1629" are:
  • A squadron of Gosiewski's hussars - 200 horse
  • A squadron of Radziwill's hussars under Adam Blinstrub - 143 horse
  • A squadron of Radziwill's hussars under Piotr Gorajski - 150 horse
  • A squadron of Tyszkiewicz's hussars - 200 horse
  • A rota of rajtars under Korff - 130 horse
  • A rota of rajtars under Unger - unknown
  • Four squadrons of cossack cavalry - around 500 horse
  • A rota of Polish infantry under Murawicki - 30 men (down from 200)
  • Mercenary infantry - 300 men (down from 700, but ost were sick).
  • Rotas led by Abramowicz, Donoway, Szandron Zelderbach and one rota of dragoons. - unknown
In all 1653 identified, I rounded this number to 2,000, since the data is a '+' number. After the battle, De la Gardie stated their overall number of the battle to about 4,000 which was equally to his force around 4,000 (probably numbers initally taken from captured or deserters). Have you found any other numbers anywhere? Imonoz (talk) 17:50, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
The author of this post gives the exact number of infantry. However, as he himself writes the number of cavalry is inaccurate because these are the initial states of these units from the time of recruitment.

Unfortunately, I found nothing about the number of troops and losses.Kcdlp (talk) 18:43, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

The exact number for the "identified units" yes, however, I thought he stated not every unit 'was' identified (missing regiments etc). The field army consisted of 7,000 men of initally Sapieha's force arriving after the siege I believe (with the ones initally sieging they were 9,000 at least - according to De la Gardie), and this was before the battle he got this numbers. Even a drop from 9,000 (total troops after the siege) to just 4,000 (present at the battlefield) in less than a month is much, well sure, some went in for garnison troops others probably died of sickness, starvation and etc. But as this is actually the only total numbers we know of (the reinforce army by Sapieha and the total troops at Zelbork at the battle) I find these more reliable than a list which hasn't indentified all the regiments in the battle.
Also, the battle of Wenden the same day seems a little bit uncertain. As De la Gardie says Horn was present in the defeat of Gosiewski's troops at Zelbork. I mean, would it even be possible for him to make a march from the battle of Wenden and arrive to Zelbork the same day with 2,500 men? If not, it would either be the location of the battle (Wenden) which is wrong or that Horn wasn't actually present in that battle but instead 'Frans Bernhard von thurn' who also was a commander of the Livonian war. I feel like we maybe want to remove the information about the battle of Wenden (or at least that Horn was present in it) until we are sure on this.
So, shall we add an equally to Swedish total strenght of about 4,000 Polish troops present at the battle of Zelbork or look more closely for newer numbers? I think the number of 300 losses for the Poles is accurate however, as it was taken from deserters and captured. Imonoz (talk) 19:20, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
It seems to me that the 9000 of Polish troops is the number very exaggerated, because the Lithuanian army was divided into armies Radziwiłł and Sapieha (a separate squad of the Sapieha troops was commanded by Alexander Gosiewski) which operated separately. I'll try to find some Polish sources on the number of Lithuanian troops.
In Wenden was skimrishes not battle. Gosiewski wrote in a letter dated October 2, 1626 "seeing a large numerical superiority of the enemy, as it goes with Horn twelve cavalry cornette and eighteen infantry, coming up (Pac with the Lithuanian troops)to me." Gosiewski wrote nothing about the fact that there was a battle in Wenden. Horn also did not write in his letter about this, wrote only that the Lithuanians withdrew before came the main Swedish army. So it's quite possible that the Horn arrived at Zelbork. From what I know Thurn autumn he went to Prussia. I do not know whether he was still in Livonia when the battle took place.
About the size of the army and its losses. I will try to find out as soon as possibleKcdlp (talk) 20:44, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
The number of the 7,000 Poles was under the command of Sapieha and arrived just after the siege. I don't know who was commander before he arrived at the scene but according to De la Gardie they numbered somewhere between 2000 and 3000. I actually don't know why the Swedes would want to exaggerate the numbers, De la Gabriel wrote this in his field journeral before the operation probably based on scouting and captured prisoners (so it's not a romanticied twist to somehow gloryfy the victory), but I'm not saying it's accurate either. But remember, a lot of them disapeard before the battle so Sapieha probably took heavy portions of the army and marched elsewhere and left 4,000 to the camp. I don't know the reason for the camp (maybe protecting Zelbork or work as a base for Livonian attacks) it is possible this seperated squad of Gosiewski got reinforced by some of Sapieha's soldiers as he passed by. But yes, sources from the Polish-Lithuanian side and not just Swedish would be good here.
Did Horn write he was present at the skirmishes of Wenden (did he actually wrote it was wenden)? If so that would confirm this. You eariler said you had sources for the numbers of troops present at the skirmish "around 300 for each side" I think. Are those reliable? Maybe you should put them into the article. Radoslaw Sikora probably knows something about this? As he's active on forums you can maybe contact him and ask? Imonoz (talk) 22:48, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
De la Gardie write which of Sapieha arrived after the siege? Number of troops given by De la Gardie it seems to me overstated because I know what the problems were with the size of the Lithuanian army in Livonia and 9000 troops is very much. Or maybe De la Gardie also counted the camp servants? (consisting of peasants) They had their banners.
Yes Horn was present at the skirmishes but only at the beginning, because the rest of his army left Wenden (contrary to his orders) and marched towards him. Then he went to her and set a army in defensive formation (because he did not want to Lithuanians attacked him on the march) and only later returned to the fighting vanguard and then see that they fought with a small contingent of Lithuanian troops. Gave the order to attack the rest of the troops but marching too slowly and Lithuanians have time to retreat and break off bridges.[5] on this website post # 34 Radosław Sikora writes about this letter Horn which was translated to him by Daniel Staberg (Swedish historian, It also calculates the Swedish troops fighting in Wenden at around 250) and Radosław Sikora are calculated Lithuanian troops to about 300 that could be in Wenden and only part of them participated in the fight (because Horn he did not want to be attacked during march so he did not know how many there could be Lithuanians). As for the battle of Zelbork I wrote to him and I am waiting for a response.Kcdlp (talk) 00:17, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Well yes, it could include numbers of campfollowers as well. De la Gardie just stated "9,000-10,000 men", you're right on that.
Okey, great hope Radoslaw would help us with this as it's a little confusing (well everything). I took a closer look into the archive and found a possible list of troops around the camp near Zelbork days before the battle (it's not a detailed one!) in phase 437. Imonoz (talk) 03:18, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Sperryttare 2,000 = Hussars and reiters.
  • Dunowaijs compag 150 = Dunaways company, maybe infantry?
  • Solderbackz 150 = I guess infantry.
  • Häyducker 500 = Hajduks.
  • Kosaker 1000 = Cossacks.
I'll see if I can maybe contact Daniel Staberg as well then. Imonoz (talk) 03:18, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Based on that post, it does seem like Zelbork was the "main" part of the fighting while Wenden was just some advance Swedish units running into Lithuanian camp guards, and that once Horn pulled up the rest of his troops the Lithuanians just withdrew, destroying the bridges behind them. Volunteer Marek  03:27, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Gosiewski troops in battle of Selbork – 30th September 1626 (paper strength in husaria and reiters, rest as real manpower):
  • Gosiewski husaria – 200 horses
  • Blinstrub husaria – 143 horses
  • Gorajski husaria – 150 horses
  • Tyszkewicz husaria – 200 horses
  • Ernest Korff reiters – 130 horses
  • Godschalk von Unger’s reiters (cornet from Mikołaj Korff regiment) – paper strength of 100
  • four banners of cossack style cavalry – approx 500 men
  • Murawicki Polish infantry – only 30 (sic!) able to fight
  • all foreign infantry units and dragons – only 300 able to fight
the actual condition of the cavalry (hussars and reiters) was at least 30% lower as shown here. Gosiewski could have at the most 1500 troops under Zelbork. Unfortunately, I do not know the losses and how many troops had Swedes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kcdlp (talkcontribs) 18:03, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Are those Sikora's numbers? Imonoz (talk) 18:54, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
No Sikora is now very busy and did not have time to search for sources but he told me to contact with the person who wrote on this forum [6]. These are all the troops he had Gosiewski under Zelbork. Previously, we had no information about Godschalk von Unger’s reiters, now we know that there were 100 horses (paper strength). Hussars and reiters was 923 (paper strength). Number of troops with army recruitment was always lower by 10-20% from paper strength (commanders salary) and it should also be added to the losses (desertion, sick, wounded, killed and the lack of horses). Looking at paper strength foreign infantry units and dragons (700) and it was only 300 able to fight, Polish infantry (paper strength 200) able to fight 30(sic!). Doubtless cavalry also had low numbers of troops.Kcdlp (talk) 21:13, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Okey. Did you contact that guy who wrote on the forums? So there isn't any "undentified units" then (I think undentified units in this case points out regiments etc which wasn't mentioned on the list or couldn't be indentified to be mentioned in the list, and not actually what numbers of soldiers each regiment folded, as I understood it from Wisner's book)? This is all the regiments, rosters and banners there were? I didn't answer an earlier question you asked me, I think it was Lew Sapieha De la Gardie stated came with reinforcements after the siege. However, we should watch out for WP:OR as we dont exactly know where or when the troops actually were recruited (it could be that Sapieha recruited some men to Gosiewski when he passes by) which would be of great use to estimate casualties from sickness etc. But yes, the Swedish army had a field army of about 4,300 men in July (rest in garnisons), they went out in field with about 4,000 in July, so casualties most likely accured there as well. Imonoz (talk) 21:45, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I wrote to this forum member. "All foreign infantry units and dragons" these were rota Mikołaj Abramowicz, Johan Donoway, Szandron, Zelderbach and one rota dragons (Unknown commander) together 700 paper strength, only 300 able to fight. Yes, this is based on the book Henryk Wisner.
  • Gosiewski husaria – 200 horses
  • Blinstrub husaria – 143 horses
  • Gorajski husaria – 150 horses
  • Tyszkewicz husaria – 200 horses
  • Ernest Korff reiters – 130 horses
  • Godschalk von Unger’s reiters (cornet from Mikołaj Korff regiment) – paper strength of 100
  • four banners of cossack style cavalry – approx 500 men
  • Murawicki Polish infantry – only 30 (sic!) able to fight
  • all foreign infantry units and dragons (rota Mikołaj Abramowicz, Johan Donoway, Szandron, Zelderbach and one rota dragons) – only 300 able to fight
These are all units participate in this battle. Gosiewski get command from Lew Sapieha already in July. I'm not sure what Sapieha doing later, it seems to me that would give new recruits to Gosiewski there would be a infantry but the infantry had a very low numbers.Kcdlp (talk) 22:44, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Alright, well I'm not saying I don't trust those numbers, only if those numbers are the 'complete' army I'm slightly confused of what Volunteer Marek wrote in the Battle of Wenden 1626 talkpage, this is copy edited - "At Zelbork/Selbork (around Sept 30) it says that the Swedes attacked Gosiewski's camp. Part of the Polish-Lithuanian units are identified but there's no concrete number as to overall strength of both forces." and it was based on Wisner's book with the rotas. Reading from this, it seemed like the army and every singel regiment wasn't actually identified, but the rotas were only a part of it. That's why my confusion, since you now state that those actually are every regiment and every one of them are indentified, but I may have misunderstood Volunteer Marek. But yeah, as I don't read Polish better than you, you're probably right here. Imonoz (talk) 23:54, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Error was probably based on post # 24 [7]
  • "piechota cudzoziemska - ok. 300 (stany etatowe to ok. 700 ludzi, ale wielu żołnierzy było chorych i nie wzięło udziału w bitwie) - roty Mikołaja Abramowicza, Johan Donowaya, Szandrona, Zelderbacha, jedna rota dragońska)". That is "foreign infantry- about 300 men, paper strength is about 700 men, but many soldiers were sick and did not participate in the battle) - rota Mikołaj Abramowicz, Johan Donoway, Szandron, Zelderbach and one rota dragons). These rotas are included in the foreign infantry.Kcdlp (talk) 00:29, 10 November 2012 (UTC)