The Military and Society in Russia: 1450-1917

By Eric Lohr; Marshall Poe | Go to book overview

THE SECOND CHIGIRIN CAMPAIGN (1678):
LATE MUSCOVITE MILITARY POWER IN TRANSITION
Brian Davies

In April 1678 Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa assembled an army of 70,000 men in Dobrudzha for an invasion of Right Bank Ukraine. His objective was to unite with the Crimean Khan and achieve what Ibrahim Shaitan Pasha had failed to accomplish the previous summer: to capture the Right Bank fortress of Chigirin—former headquarters of the Sultan's vassal, Hetman Petr Doroshenko, now occupied by the Muscovite troops and the cossacks of Left Bank Hetman Ivan Samoilovich—install there the Sultan's new puppet Iurii Khmel'nitskii, erect bridges across the Dnieper, and then march against Kiev and the towns of the Left Bank.1

Moscow entrusted the relief of Chigirin to Grigorii Grigor'evich Romodanovskii (senior voevoda of the Belgorod polk since 1658) and Hetman Ivan Samoilovich. They followed essentially the same strategy that had led them to victory over Ibrahim Pasha the previous year. But this time, for reasons unclear, they delayed and halted their armies on the far side of the Tias'min River, just two miles from Chigirin, making no serious effort to attack the Ottoman camp. On 11 August Romodanovskii ordered the Chigirin garrison evacuated across the river and its citadel burned to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. This decision was greeted with outrage by a number of Ukrainian political and military figures; the annalist Samuil Velichko subsequently judged that Chigirin and the entire Right Bank

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1
Colonel Patrick Gordon, commandant of the Chigirin garrison, estimated from prisoner testimonies that Kara Mustafa's army consisted of 15,000 janissaries; 3,000 sipahis of the Porte; 25,000 provincial infantry and timariot cavalry; 2,000 gunners; a special engineering battalion of 800 men, responsible solely for digging assault galleries and placing mines; several thousand Moldavians and Wallachians; 59 great siege guns, 130 field guns, and 15 mortars; and a train of 8,000 wagons, 5,000 camels, and 8,000 shepherds. He thought the Crimean Tatars under Khan MuradGirei I numbered about 50,000, although it is more likely they were fewer than 30,000. M. A. Obolenskii and M. E. Possel't, eds. “Dnevnik generala Patrika Gordona. Chast' vtoraia (1661–1684 gg.), ” Chteniia v Obshchestve istorii i drevnostei rossiiskikh pri Moskovskom universitete, vol. 162, no. 3 (1892), pt. 3, 145.

-97-

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