Thursday, November 1, 2018

Prussian Raid Into Poland - February 1759

I found this interesting little nugget of information in a book called, "History of the Late War in Germany" by Lloyd - Volume 3, which covers the years 1758 and 1759. I was particularly drawn to the year 1759 as I am doing some research on the battle of Kunersdorf, fought in 1759. The short piece describes a Prussian raid into Poland to disrupt various Russian outposts and supply depots. (the long run on sentences and the poor grammar are a product of the times, noting that the book was published in 1790).


All these troops (the Russians) had been in quarters behind the Vistula river, and extended throughout the kingdom of Prussia; the light troops, even in the winter, often advanced to the frontiers of Pommerania, with a view to plunder and rise [sic] contributions, in which they generally succeeded, more or less, notwithstanding the vigilence of the Prussians cantoned in that country, who were commanded by General Schlabendorf. 

In the end of February, General Platen took command, and had his headquarters at Stolpe; it was resolved by the King of Prussia to send a corps into Poland, to detroy the enemy's magazines, which lay scattered over the country, before the front of the Russians, in small defenseless towns and villages, guarded only by paraties of 20 to 30 men, contrary to all rules of prudence, which require, that no depot whatever should be placed before the front, or in defenseless towns, and well defended, for an army cannot like a traveller, find inns on the road, or refresh or nourish it.

To put the project into execution, Major General Wobersnow was ordered to assemble a corps, near Gross Glogiau in Silesia, which consisted of six battalions, and twenty-five squadrons, and on the 24th he marched towards Poland.

In their way the Prussians took Prince Salkowski in his palace, and carried him and his guard (about 200 men) into Silesia on the pretence that he was connected with the Russians. From Lissa in Poland the Prussians marched to Posen, where they found a magazine, which they destroyed; at the same time General Platen sent a detachment of cavalry under Colonel Platen, along the Wartha towards Meseritz, where they destroyed a considerable magazine; after which the Prussians who began to want provisions, on the fourth of March quitted Poland, and having accomplished in a great measure their object, returned to Silesia.

The Russian account of this transaction says, that Colonel Dalcke who had been sent, with a detachment on the road towards Posen was informed, the Prussians had entered Poland in several columns, one under the King in person, another under Count Dohna, and were advancing towards the Vistula, all which, however false, was believed, upon which Colonel Dalcke was reinforced, and ordered to follow and observe the enemy in his retreat, but nothing happened worth mentioning.

This alarm obliged the Russians to take precautions, in case the enemy did really approach the Vistula, and the better to observe the enemy, a considerable corps under Kramachokow who commanded the Cossacks, was sent towards New Stettin in Pomerania, where a very sharp encounter happened, in which Captain Hohendorff, who had three hundred men infantry and (illegible) cannon, and captain Wussow with one hundred dragoons, had the advantage, having forced the Russians to retire with loss. Wossow was killed, and much regretted. The disposition made by these two captains would do honor to any general officers, one does not find many such captains. I mention this affair, in itself of no great consequences, to show there are men of genius in the lower rank of officers, whom a general should know, protect and employ.



  1. Interesting indeed,thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. Nice piece of real history! Thank you for finding it and sharing it with us!

  3. Very nice! Back in 2014, I made a "what if" Battle of Polnisch Lissa scenario based on the Kronoskaf account of this ( I made it a Cowpens-like scenario, moved to the SYW. Now I can replace a couple of the leaders I made up with some real names - General Schlabendorf for the Prussians and General Kramachokow for the Russian cavalry.

  4. Thanks for posting a invaluable piece of history.