106 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1678   He notes that, on the eleventh of July

106 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1678 He notes that, on the eleventh of July



Passages from the diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries : A.D. 1635-A.D. 1699"


He notes that, on the eleventh of July, there were eighteen men killed, and twenty-five
wounded, in the citadel ; and that 468 round shot, and 246 shells, were cast into thfc citadel and
town. On the next day, the number of killed was fifteen ; of wounded, twenty-four; and 542
balls and 183 shells were fired into the town. On the twenty-eighth, 844 balls and 225 shells
were thrown, and thirty-seven men were killed, and thirty-five wounded. On the second of
August, 1008 balls and 387 shells were shot into the place, killing thirty-four persons, and
wounding forty- two.

Neither among the officers nor among the men of the garrison did Gordon find much alacrity
in making sallies upon the besiegers ; and it was chiefly by assiduous repair of the works over
night, and by making retrenchments behind breaches, that the defence was made good so

The governor was killed by the bursting of a bomb, on the eighth of August, when the
colonels and other officers came to Gordon and entreated him to take the command. On
the eleventh, after a furious cannonade, the enemy assaulted both the town and the citadel
on all sides. They had gained partial possession of the former, and the garrison was beginning
to run away, when Gordon, hastening fi'om the citadel, with a strong guard, occupied the gate
of the bridge which led from the town to the camp of the Muscovite army of relief. He thus
stopped the tide of flight, and was even able to turn back some of the troops to dispute the
narrow streets with the advancing enemy. But so great was the panic, that, if the Turks had
pressed onwards, they must have taken the gate, and so cut off all means of retreat. Fortunately
for the besieged, the town had been set on fire, and now the flames hindered the enemy from
making their way in any numbers in that direction. The sight of Turkish cavalry on the other
side of the river, between the town and the Russian camp, as it warned the garrison of the
danger of flight, encouraged them to a more resolute defence.

Again and again, Gordon sent urgent messages to the Boyar in command of the Russian
army. If six thousand men were sent him, he would even yet beat back the Turks ; and if no
help were given him, he could scarcely hope to hold the citadel itself. No answer was returned
to these representations. Nothing daunted, he at once resolved on the construction of a re-
trenchment which should secure the communication between the fortress and the gate of the
bridge. He was urging on this work, when one of the colonels told him that the Boyar in com-
mand of the camp had sent an adjutant with an order that the fortress should be evacuated.
Gordon refused to listen to such a message. He had been told, he said, rather to die than to
desert his post, or to allow others to do so, without a written order. He therefore commanded
each man to do his dutj'. But seeing how many of all ranks were making their escape, he
despatched a letter to the Boyar in the camp, describing the state of matters in the fortress,
and asking instructions as to what should be done. Meanwhile, he ordered supper, and in
order that it might be seen how far flight was from his thoughts, he desired that his silver
service should be used.

Late at night an answer arrived from the camp, having been brought to the gate by an
adjutant, who, refusing to proceed further, handed the despatch to a drummer, by whom it was

Gordon was brought up and remained a lifelong Roman Catholic, at a time when the Church was being persecuted in Scotland. At age of fifteen, he entered the Jesuit college at Braunsberg, East Prussia, then part of Poland. In 1661, after many years experiences as a soldier of fortune, he joined the Russian army under Tsar Aleksei I, and in 1665 was sent on a special mission to England. After his return, he distinguished himself in several wars against the Turks and Tatars in southern Russia. In recognition of his service he was promoted to major-general in 1678, was appointed to the high command at Kiev in 1679, and in 1683 was made lieutenant-general. In 1687 and 1689 he took part in expeditions against the Tatars in the Crimea, being made a full general. Later in 1689, a revolution broke out in Moscow, and with the troops under his command, Gordon virtually decided events in favor of Peter the Great against the Regent, Tsarevna Sophia Alekseyevna. Consequently, he was for the remainder of his life in high favor with the Tsar, who confided to him the command of his capital during his absence from Russia. In 1696, Gordon's design of a "moveable rampart" played a key role in helping the Russians take Azov. One of Gordon's convinced the Tsars to establish the first Roman Catholic church and school in Muscovy, of which he remained the main benefactor and headed the Catholic community in Russia until his death. For his services his second son James, brigadier of the Russian army, was created Count of the Holy Roman Empire in 1701. At the end of his life the Tsar, who had visited Gordon frequently during his illness, was with him when he died, and with his own hands closed his eyes. General Gordon left behind him a uniquely detailed diary of his life and times, written in English. This is preserved in manuscript in the Russian State Military Archive in Moscow. Passages from the Diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries (1635–1699) was printed, under the editorship of Joseph Robertson, for the Spalding Club, at Aberdeen, Scotland, 1859.



1635 - 1699


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