Wilno Uprising (1794)

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Jakub Jasiński

The Wilno Uprising of 1794 began on April 22, 1794, during which Polish and Lithuanian[1] forces led by Jakub Jasiński fought with Russian forces occupying the city during the Kościuszko Uprising. The Russians were expelled from Wilno, and thanks to Jasiński's skill, no casualties were sustained during the bloodless uprising.[2]

A Russian garrison of some 2,000 was stationed in the spring of 1794 in the city of Vilnius, while Commonwealth forces had only 400 soldiers. In the night of April 11 / 12, upon order of Russian General Nikolai Arseniev, several rebels were arrested. On April 21, Lithuanian Hetman Szymon Kossakowski came to Vilnius, urging the Russians to capture yet more rebels, and attack rebel forces concentrated around the city. Under the circumstances, Jakub Jasinski decided to initiate the insurrection. It began in the night of April 22 / 23, and after a short fight, the city was under rebel control.

On April 24 the “Act of Rebellion of the Lithuanian Nation” was announced. The rebels declared their unity with the Kosciuszko Uprising, which had begun in Lesser Poland. On the same day, April 24, the so-called High Temporary Council was created, headed by the Mayor of Vilnius, Antoni Tyzenhauz, and Voivode of Nowogrodek, Jozef Niesiolowski. It had 31 members, and formed separate offices to manage the military forces, the administration and the treasury. Jakub Jasinski was named commandant of rebel forces in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. On April 25, Hetman Kossakowski was hanged as a traitor of the Commonwealth.

On June 4 Tadeusz Kosciuszko dissolved the Council, as he regarded it too radical, and replaced it with Central Office of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Also, Kosciuszko dismissed Colonel Jasinski, naming General Michal Wielhorski commandant of the rebel army in Lithuania.

On July 19, the Russians attacked Vilnius. The city was defended by 500 soldiers and 1,500 armed members of the municipal militia. Russian army, commanded by General Gotthard Johann von Knorring, had some 8,000 soldiers, with several cannons. After two days of heavy fighting, Vilnius remained in the hands of the rebels.

On August 11, General von Knorring, whose forces had grown to 12,000 soldiers, initiated another assault on Vilnius. The city, whose defence was commanded by General Antoni Chlewinski, capitulated after one day.

The Wilno Uprising is commemorated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, with the inscription "WILNO 22 IV – 13 VIII 1794”.

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Andrzej Grabski, Jan Wimmer i inni, Zarys dziejów wojskowości polskiej do roku 1864. Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej. Warszawa 1966.
  • Marian Kukiel: Zarys historii wojskowości w Polsce. London: Puls, 1993. ISBN 0907587992.
  • Andrzej Zahorski, Wypisy źródłowe do historii polskiej sztuki wojennej. Polska sztuka wojenna w okresie powstania kościuszkowskiego, Zeszyt dziesiąty, Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej, Warszawa 1960.
  • Bolesław Twardowski: Wojsko Polskie Kościuszki w roku 1794. Poznań: Księgarnia Katolicka, 1894.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kiaupa, Zigmantas[Ed.:Ursula Vent] (2002). The history of the Baltic countries (3., rev. ed.). Tallinn: Avita. p. 90. ISBN 9789985206058. 
  2. ^ Henry Smith Williams, The Historians' History of the World, The Outlook Company, 1904, Google Print, p.418