Swedish wars 1600-1609
In the middle of April 1600, in preparation for a
conflict over Inflanty, the Sejm earmarked funds for a Polish-Lithuanian
expedition comprising some 2,400 mercenaries assisted by local forces
of around 2,000. The forces were to be led by the chief of the Weden
province, Jerzy (George) Farensbach.
Before further Commonwealth forces could arrive the
Swedes began offensive operations. Aware of the weak Polish- Lithuanian
forces, Duke Charles decided to move quickly. With the main army
of some 10,000 he left Rewel for Parnawa (Parna) and sent Pera Stolpeg's
force of 4,000 at Narwa in the direction of Dopart to Lais (Laiuse).
Charles felt the major port of Parnawa would be an excellent base
of operations in Livonia and its capture would open roads to Felin
(Viljandi), Salis and then Riga.
In the middle of September Farensbach garrisoned
various forts and castles and with 750 infantry and 2,000 cavalry
he placed himself at Rancen.
Parnawa was besieged on 17th September and eleven
days after the heavy artillery began the port surrendered (on the
17th October). Then on the 25th October the Swedish army moved for
Felin, shielded from the south by a force of 1,500. In the night
of 29th/30th October the shielding force was caught near Karkus
by the traveling Farensbach, with 1,200 horse, and destroyed.
was captured on 3rd November and though Farensbach garrisoned Dopart
(Tartu) with 1,100 men because of the extent his army's poor morale
he retreated to Riga.
With the onset of winter the rivers and marshes froze
solid and Duke Charles recommenced his operations. At the end of
December with 7,000 men and 80 cannon he attacked Dorpat. While
on 5th Jan 1601 3,000 men under Bengtsson moved for Wolmar (Valmiera)
- Kies (Cesis). On 7th January 700 horse under Maciej Dembinski
defeated the Swedes near Kies, checking their advance. Soon however
the unpaid Polish-Lithuanian forces trickled home.
Dopart besieged on 2nd January capitulated four days
later. On the 10th February Wolmar was taken and seven days later
Charles felt too weak to directly besiege the newly
fortified town of Riga so he decided decided to capture Kokenhauzen
which guarded the shortest route through Wilkomierz to Kowno and
Wilno. It was also the most likely route of any retaliatory Polish-Lithuanian
On 10th March Karl Karlsson, son of Duke Charles,
blockaded the town. The siege proper did not begin until 28th March
with the arrival of Charles and the siege artillery train. The Swedes
managed to take the town but the castle withstood four attacks,
being well prepared for defence.
Discouraged by the initial failure Duke Charles
prepared for a blockade of the castle in order to starve it into
surrender. He placed 2,600 men within the town and with his main
forces he moved to Erlaa some 30 km to the north. In mid April Charles
entrusted command to Gyllenhjelm and returned to Rewel (Talinn).