22 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1656   route of a body of about 10,000 Poles

22 DIARY OF PATRICK GORDON. [1656 route of a body of about 10,000 Poles



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


route of a body of about 10,000 Poles, who occupied certain heights from which they annoyed
the Swedish foragers. The pursuit was entrusted to Colonel Konigsmark, who, finding that
400 of the fugitiyes had taken refuge in a fortress, summoned them to surrender at discretion.
They complied, and were hanged to a man. In this engagement, which cost the Swedes
1600 men, Gordon had his horse killed under him, and received a shot in the leg.
»r 17. Cracow having capitulated on what are called ' good terms,' although a contribution of not
less than 300,000 rix-dollars was exacted, Gordon succeeded in obtaining his discharge from
Rittmeister Gardin, in whose company he had hitherto served. He continued free until the
army was about to leave Cracow, and to retire into winter quarters, when he engaged to serve
as a volunteer under his countryman, Rittmeister Duncan, in the regiment of the Swedish
Count Pontus de la Gardie.

A.D. 1656.

Having one day been sent out to reconnoitre, Gordon found, on his return, that his regiment
had left its quarters. As he was riding after it, he was captured by the Poles, and taken to the
house of one of their nobles, into whose hands he was persuaded to commit his money and
valuables, worth in all 150 ducats. The noble promised, from this store, to supply the young
captive's wants, but failed to keep the promise. Gordon, meanwhile, was carried to Sandets,
where he was kept in close arrest for seventeen weeks. At length the intercession of a country-
man, ' P. Innes, Provincial of the Franciscans,' procured his liberty, but only on the condition
that he should take service with the Poles. So much choice being left him, he entered as a
dragoon in the company of Constantine Lubomirski, the Starost of Sandets, the most dis-
tinguished of three distinguished brothers. So ended Gordon's first brief service with the

His first and not more lengthened service with the Poles began with a march, the day after
he joined their banner, from Sandets towards Warsaw. That capital, then in possession of the
Swedes, had already been beleaguered for three weeks, by the Lithuanian army, which had opened
trenches and made approaches towards the walls, before the arrival of the force in which
July. Gordon served. The appearance of these troops decided the fate of the city, which was so
feebly fortified, that, after a brief siege, and several partial assaults, the Swedish garrison capi-
tulated. During these operations, Gordon was placed as guard over a village, a few miles from
the city, belonging to the brother of his commanding officer. Here he found an excellent op-
portunity of learning the Polish language. The wife of the Podstarost, Arcziferski, in whose
house he seems to have had his quarters, treated him with great kindness. She herself was
elderly, but she had a daughter who sang Polish love songs to the young Scot, puzzled him with
Polish riddles, and was indefatigable in teaching him the right Polish pronunciation. Mean-

liam Archibald, and Richard, all of whom Three years afterwards he was lieutenant-
died in the Swedish service, Robert Douglas general. He obtained a birth-bnef, under the
had risen to the rank of major-general in 1645, great seal of Scotland, on the 1st of November,
when he captured the baggage of the Empe- 1648. He appears as general m 1655, and as
ror Ferdinand II. after the battle of Jankowitz. lieutenant field-marshal in 1656.

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


Romanov Empire - Империя Романовых

Copyright info

No known copyright restrictions

Explore more

russian empire
russian empire