"I would rather die than see all this." How the Poles burned Moscow
In March, the 1611 of the year along the last winter route, the militiamen began to push from all sides to Moscow. Prince Pozharsky at the head of his squad made from Zaraysk in early March. Approaching the capital, his warriors entered the Moscow settlements in small groups and one by one. The same thing was done by the warriors from other units, the first to approach the outskirts of the city. Sneaked into the capital and the governor: Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, Ivan Buturlin and Ivan Koltovsky.
A few days later, Muscovites were waiting for the approach of the main forces of the Zemstvo militia, but it was not possible to wait for them. March 19 began the Moscow uprising. In the streets of Moscow, fierce battles with the interventionists took place. Thus, for a long time, the townspeople who patiently endured the oppression of the enemy could not stand it and acted spontaneously. Voltage in Moscow has grown since the beginning of 1611. The overwhelming majority of the population of Moscow hated the Poles. Under the hetman Zolkiewski, the Poles in Moscow observed at least some discipline, while under Gonosevsky they completely let themselves go. Wives and daughters of Muscovites were abused in broad daylight. At night, the Poles attacked passersby, robbed and beat them. By the matins, not only lay people, but also priests were not allowed.
The commander of the Polish garrison, Gonosevsky and the Russian traitors, knew that the Zemstvo militia was gathering on the southern approaches to Moscow. Therefore, they have taken certain precautions. From Muscovites demanded an hour in 24 on pain of death to pass weapon. It was forbidden to wear even knives, which was then the most common thing. A curfew was introduced, patrols drove through the streets at night, hacking at the site. Polish soldiers rushed into the "suspicious" houses. On the outskirts of the gates put up - who found the weapon, dragged to the hole and drowned. Merchants were forbidden to sell axes, knives and other melee weapons. Axes were taken from the carpenters who went with them to work. The Poles were afraid that, in the absence of weapons, the people could arm themselves with sticks and clubs, and forbade the peasants to carry firewood for sale. Even the Russian custom of girdling shirts and caftans seemed suspicious: they feared that Muscovites could hide weapons in their bosoms. Therefore, the patrols detained everyone and made them leap. The interventionists carefully searched every wagon arriving in the city.
“... We ... stood guard all day and night,” wrote Pole Maskevich, “and examined all the carts in the city gates, whether there were any weapons in them: there was an order in the capital that none of the residents threatened with the death penalty hid weapons in his house and that everyone refused him to the royal treasury. Thus, it happened to find whole carts with long rifles, covered with some rubbish from above; they represented all this to Gonsevsky along with the cab drivers, whom he ordered to immediately put under the ice. ” But even under the penalty of execution in the courtyards and courtyards of Moscow forging and preparing weapons.
In Moscow itself, forces were gradually accumulating for action against the invaders. The leaders of the First Militia conceived a double blow - from the outside and inside the capital. Long before the uprising, people met in Moscow near small towns and villages under the pretext of seeking protection, secretly bringing weapons with them, and Lyapunov's militia came in, having changed into city dress, nobody recognized them as they mixed with the Moscow population. The traitor boyar Saltykov advised the Polish command to provoke a premature appearance of the Moscow population in order to deal with the internal threat before the approach of the Zemstvo militia. 17 March after the traditional procession of the patriarch to the Kremlin during a church holiday on Palm Sunday Saltykov told the Polish pans that they missed an opportunity to crack down on Muscovites: "Today was the case, and you Moscow did not beat, well, so they will be you on Tuesday beat".
It is clear that the Poles were seriously concerned about the internal and external threats and planned their countermeasures against the Zemstvo militia. Thus, the Polish captain Maskevich noted: “We were careful; they had spies everywhere ... Spies informed us that numerous troops were coming from three sides to the capital. It was in the great post, in the very thaw. Not the guards are awake in our country, but the whole army, without straddling their horses day or night ... Many advised us, not expecting the enemy in Moscow, to attack him before he had yet managed to unite and break into pieces. The Council was adopted, and we have already decided to speak a few miles from the capital to prevent enemy plans. ”
However, the enemy failed to carry out such a plan and attack the militia units near Moscow: the interventionists stationed in Moscow did not have enough troops. The Polish garrison in Moscow numbered 7 thousand soldiers under the command of hetman Gonsevsky, 2 thousand of them were German mercenaries. These forces were not enough to control the Russian capital - a huge city at the time and at the same time attack the main forces of the militia. It was a pity to leave the capital: the old plan of conquest of the Russian state was crumbling, the hope for further personal enrichment was lost, and many of the loot would have to be thrown. Getman Gonsevsky decided to remain under siege, hoping that reinforcements from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where the messengers were sent for help, would soon approach him.
The Polish command was very concerned about the fact that there were numerous cannons on the walls of White City and Derevyanny (or Earthen) city that Muscovites could turn against the Polish forces in the event of an uprising. Gonsevskiy ordered the entire artillery to be pulled from the walls and transported to the location of its troops. The guns were ordered by the hetman to be installed on the walls of the Kremlin and China-town, in order to keep Moscow itself under fire. As a result, the guns mounted on the Kremlin and Kitaygorod walls kept the entire vast Moscow Posad under fire. All stocks of gunpowder seized from the shops and saltpetre yards were brought there.
And yet, despite all the precautions, the invaders were afraid. “It was impossible to sleep peacefully among enemies, so strong and cruel,” admitted Maskevich. “We all tired of the frequent anxieties, which were four and five times a day, and the incessant duty to stand in guard in winter: the guards were to be increased, but the army was few in number. However, the partnership demolished works without complaint: it was not about the belt, but about the whole skin. ”
Moscow was a huge city at that time. Foreign contemporaries pointed out that it is "much more than London with its suburbs," "more than Rome and Florence." The exact population is unknown. It is estimated that the population was 200-300 thousand people, but some cited the figure 700 thousand people. Moscow consisted of five parts. In the center was located the powerful stone fortress of the Kremlin. Located on a triangular square, it was washed from two sides by the Moskva River and its tributary Neglinka, and from the third side along Red Square from Neglinka to the Moscow River a deep ditch filled with water stretched. The Kremlin was the royal palaces, orders, and other government agencies.
The rest of the city was divided into four separate parts. Each of them had its own fortifications, was surrounded by defensive walls. Adjacent to the Kremlin was China Town (from the word "whale", meaning a fence, a wattle fence), whose walls made up a single chain. Initially, the Great Posad - the streets outside the Kremlin - was surrounded by an earthen ramp, topped with knitted poles, a kind of barrage. Then they put stone walls, which from two sides approached the Kremlin. If the Kremlin walls enclosed only about 30 hectares, then the walls of Kitay-gorod covered an area of about two thousand hectares. Together with the Kremlin, China-town was a single fortress. It was the largest military structure in the Russian kingdom, as well as in Eastern Europe. Here was located the commercial part of the capital, marked the trading rows and residential houses of the boyars, nobles and wealthy merchants. The Kremlin and China Town from the north surrounded the White City in a semicircle. He was also surrounded by stone walls, which at the Moscow River merged with the Kremlin and Kitaygorodskimi fortifications. Moscow settlements, surrounded by wooden walls and an earthen wall, were widely located around the Kremlin, China Town and the White City. Hence the name of this fourth part of the capital - Wooden, or Earthen city. Fortified monasteries located around Moscow served as an additional belt of defense for the capital: Andronyev, Simonov, Nikolo-Ugreshsky, Devichy.
Moscow in the XVII century
17 March 1611, on Palm Sunday, Patriarch Hermogenes was temporarily released from custody for a donkey march. But the people did not go after the willow, because a rumor spread around Moscow that the boyar Saltykov and the Poles want to attack the patriarch and unarmed Muscovites. On all the streets and squares stood Polish horse and foot companies. This was the last exit of Hermogenes to the people. And for Moscow, the Passion Week has become literally so.
The uprising began spontaneously on March 19. It was rumored in the city that hetman Gonsevsky was going to come out with his army from Moscow to meet the militia in order to attack his scattered detachments and destroy them one by one, before they had time to unite into a single army. In the morning, hundreds of drivers were piled up on the streets of the White City and China Town with the clear intention to block the passage of the Polish regiments with their sleighs and carts. The excitement began at the bargaining, where the Poles tried to force the drivers to help them carry guns from the wall of China Town. The gunners refused, resisted. The Poles began to beat the drivers. They began to fight back, they rushed to their aid. A riot broke out, a noise arose. A detachment of German mercenaries rode to the aid of the Polish infantry, then the Polish dragoons, who were on alert in Red Square. In the equestrian ranks, they crashed into the crowd, trampled on people, chopped them with sabers and made a terrible slaughter over an unarmed crowd. As the Pole Stadnitsky wrote, “they dissected, chopped, stabbed everyone without distinction of gender and age” - and they themselves were bleeding from head to toe, “like butchers”. It is believed that only in China-town, about 7 thousand Muscovites were slaughtered. At the same time Prince Andrei Vasilyevich Golitsyn, who was in custody, was killed. The beating of the townspeople was accompanied by wholesale robbery. Poles and German mercenaries smashed shops, broke into houses, dragged everything that came to hand.
Fleeing from the beating, the crowd rushed into the White City. There the alarm was heard everywhere, calling for all to revolt. In the White City, the people began to build barricades, to arm, with anything. Having defeated Kitai-Gorod, the Poles moved into the White City, but met with serious resistance here. Here the Russians were ready to defend. When the enemy cavalry attempted to break into the White City, it ran into barricades. People carried tables, benches, boards, logs out of their homes and dumped it all across the streets, blocking the way. The invaders were shot from behind shelters, from windows, from roofs and fences, struck them with cold weapons, and those who did not have it, were beating with stakes, dubjem and stones. Above Moscow buzzed alarm.
The captain Maskevich, a participant in battles with Muscovites, most fully reports about the actions of the rebels. “The Russians,” he writes, “brought field implements from the towers and, placing them in the streets, showered us with fire. We rush at them with spears, and they immediately bar the street with tables, benches, firewood; we will retreat to lure them out of the fence - they chase us, carrying tables and benches in their hands, and just notice that we intend to turn to battle, immediately flood the street and, under the protection of their fences, shoot at us from rifles, while others, being in readiness, from roofs and fences, beat us out of windows from samopal, throw stones, drekolem ... ".
Particularly stubborn were the battles on Nikitskaya Street and Sretenka. At noon, in the midst of the battle, Pozharsky warriors appeared here. Zaraisk of the voivode, who was among the first to approach the capital and who managed to disguise his warriors in settlements, secretly from the Poles, closely followed the developments in Moscow. Prince Dmitry kept the warriors in constant readiness for a fight with the enemies. Hearing the alarm in the city, he hurried to the aid of the fighting citizens with a small cavalry unit. His squad was the first of the militia to enter the White City. Immediately assessing the situation, the Russian voivode went to the settlement of the Streltsy, which stood nearby. Having collected archers and townspeople, Pozharsky gave battle to mercenaries who appeared on Sretenka near the Church of the Virgin Mary. After that, he sent his people to the Pipe (Pushkarsky yard). The gunners immediately came to the rescue and brought with them several light guns. With their help, Prince Dmitry fought off the attack of mercenaries and "trampled" them back to China Town. The high military skill of the soldiers of the Zaraisk garrison had an effect. However, it was not possible to get into the Kremlin - there was little strength.
The warriors of Pozharsky, who fought in the first rows with a saber in their hands, returned to the White City, to Sretenka. Everywhere at different ends of the Moscow Posad, the main points of resistance were Streletsky settlements. Against the Ilinsky gates, the archers under the commander of the governor Ivan Buturlin did not allow Gonsevsky to break into the eastern quarters of the White City and did not let the enemy to the Yauza gates. On Tverskaya Street, mercenary companies were driven back from the Tver Gate. In Zamoskvorechye resistance led by voivod Ivan Koltovsky. Here, the rebels, erecting high barricades near the floating bridge, fired upon the Water Gate of the Kremlin.
Pozharsky ordered to build an Ostrozhek near the Church of the Virgin of Vvedensk and to put guns in it. Militiamen and Muscovites quickly dug a ditch and piled a shaft. From the logs and boards knocked down the fortress walls, set up a palisade. Polish hetman brought the cavalry infantry from the Kremlin to help. Part of the Polish cavalry was dismounted. The Poles again attacked the rebels. A detachment of Zaraisk voevoda fought all day with a numerically superior enemy. About how the warriors acted in the same Maskevich: “We were hit hard by cannons from all sides. By the crowded streets, we were divided into four or six groups; each of us was hot; we could not and did not know how to think up how to help ourselves in such a trouble, when suddenly someone shouted: “Fire, fire, burn the house!” Our pakholites set fire to one house - it did not catch fire; they set fire to another time - there is no success, for the third time, for the fourth, for the tenth - all is in vain: only what was set on fire, and the house is intact. I am sure the fire was bewitched. We got tar, spinning, a pit of mine, and managed to set the house on fire, and they did the same to others where anyone could. Finally, the fire started: the wind, blowing from our side, drove the flames to the Russians and forced them to flee from ambushes, and we followed the spreading flame until the night made us sick of the enemy. All of our retreated to the Kremlin and China-city ".
Further Maskevich wrote: “On this day, apart from the battle behind the wooden wall, none of us could fight with the enemy: the flames engulfed houses and, fanned by a fierce wind, drove the Russians, and we slowly moved after them, constantly strengthening the fire, and only in the evening returned to the fortress (Kremlin). Already the whole capital was ablaze; the fire was so fierce that at night the Kremlin was as bright as the clearest day, and the burning houses had such a terrible appearance and smelled such that Moscow could be likened only to hell, as it is described. We were safe then - we were guarded by fire. In the Quartet, we again began to burn the city, which the third part remained inviolable - the fire did not have time to destroy everything so soon. We acted in this case on the advice of the benevolent boyars who recognized the need to burn Moscow to the ground in order to rob the enemy of all means to strengthen. "
History gave us the name of the person who betrayed the Motherland and set an example to the Poles - it turned out to be Russian traitor Mikhail Saltykov. Retreating from his compound, the boyar ordered slaves to burn the mansions so that nobody could get the wealth they acquired. The fire forced the rebels to retreat. His "success" was appreciated. “Seeing that the outcome of the battle is uncertain,” Gonsevsky informed the king, “I ordered that Zamoskvorechye and the White City be lit in several places.” The executors of this terrible, but surest decision (in the conditions of a mainly wooden city) were German mercenaries, who took upon themselves the duties of torchbearers. The wind drove fire on the rebels, they retreated. Following the fire were the enemy soldiers. In wooden Moscow, in the setting of street battles, the fire took on enormous dimensions and drove out of the ambushes and barricades of the city’s defenders. This helped Gonsevsky to break down the resistance of the townspeople on Kulishki and near the Tver Gate. Thus, the Polish garrison, losing the battle for Moscow, called for help from the fire, the Poles and the Germans set fire to a huge city.
In the crampedness of Moscow’s streets, but the words of Hetman Zolkiewski, “there was a great murder; the crying, the cry of women and children represented something like the Day of Judgment; many of them, with their wives and children, threw themselves into the fire, and many were killed and lost ... " In the burning Moscow, the Russians could not defend for a long time and many fled the city towards the Zemstvo militia approaching Moscow.
To the end, only the detachments headed by Dmitry Pozharsky, which successfully fought off attempts by the Poles to light up that part of the city near Sretenka, where they were defending, were holding out. In a fierce battle, warriors fought off one by one attacks of the Polish cavalry and hired German infantry. March 20 in battle in a fortification near his yard on Lubyanka Dmitry Mikhailovich was wounded three times. Falling to the ground, he groaned: "It would be better for me to die than to see it all." The surviving combat comrades of Pozharsky took the seriously wounded governor, first to the Trinity-Sergius Monastery, then to his fiefdom Mugreevo in Suzdal district.
On the first day of the battle for Moscow, a small part of Moscow burnt out. However, the occupiers decided to burn the entire city so that the besiegers could not take advantage of its homes and resources. The Polish command issued an order "to ignite the whole city, wherever possible." To carry out this order, two thousand Germans, a detachment of Polish foot hussars and two banners (detachment) of Polish cavalry were allocated. Arsonists emerged from the Kremlin two hours before dawn. The flames, which contributed to a strong wind, covered houses and streets. Now the whole capital was burning. The fire was so hard that at night it was as bright in the Kremlin as on the clearest day. 21 March invaders continued to burn the city. The fire and street battle went down in history as the “Moscow ruin”.
During the fire, the rebels sent for help to Kolomna and Serpukhov. Zemsky voivods Ivan Pleshcheev and Fyodor Smerdov-Plescheev immediately moved their troops and arrived in Zamoskvorechye. The regiment that had come to the aid of Gonsevsky from Mozhaisk at that time, Strusia could not make it to the capital: Muscovites slammed the gates of the Wooden City right in front of his hussars. Then came to the rescue torchbearers who set fire to the wall. With the arrival of the fresh regiment, the Polish garrison grew stronger and now could wait outside the fortress walls for reinforcements from Poland.
Muscovites, after the suppression of the last centers of resistance, began to leave the burnt-out capital. Only a few March 21s came to Gonsevsky to ask for pardon. He ordered them to swear again to Vladislav and gave the order to the Poles to stop the killing, and to obey Muscovites to have a special sign - to gird themselves with a towel.
The huge, rich and populous Moscow in three days was turned by the invaders in the ashes. Getman Zolkiewski testified: “The capital of Moscow burned down with great bloodshed and a loss that cannot be estimated. This city, rich in space, was abundant and rich; those who were in foreign lands say that neither Rome, nor Paris, nor Lisbon, with the greatness of its circumference, can be equal to this city. The Kremlin has remained completely intact, but China-city during such confusion rascals ... was looted and plundered; not even the temples were spared; church of sv. The Trinity, which was among the Muscovites in the greatest veneration, (St. Basil’s Cathedral - A.S.), was also stripped and robbed by villains. ” Thus, the Polish hetman responded to the actions of his recent soldiers and mercenaries.
The burning of Moscow was accompanied by terrible robberies. Peeled off in temples precious salaries of icons, broke crayfish of miracle workers, even in China-city which remained at the enemy merchants' shops were crushed. German mercenary Konrad Busse boasted that the soldiers captured "a huge and excellent mining of gold, silver, precious stones." He noted that within a few days “it was not clear that the Muscovites would return, the military people only did what they were looking for prey. Clothes, linen, tin, brass, copper, utensils, which were dug out of the cellars and pits and could be sold for a lot of money, they did not put in anything. They left it, and took only velvet, silk, brocade, gold, silver, precious stones and pearls. In the churches, they removed from the saints gilded silver robe, necklaces and collars, magnificently decorated with precious stones and pearls. Many Polish soldiers got 10, 15, 25 pounds of silver stripped from their idols, and the one who left in the bloody, dirty dress was returning to the Kremlin in expensive clothes. ” Perepivalsya, pearls loaded guns and firing for passers-by for fun. As a result, the Russian people suffered enormous damage: many cultural and historical values, priceless monuments of Russian civilization were plundered or died in the fire.
The burning of ancient Moscow shook the Russian people. From the mouths of thousands of refugees, people learned the details of an unheard of tragedy, and heard the name of the brave commander Prince Dmitry Pozharsky. The news of the death of the capital spread throughout the country, instilling in the hearts of the Russian people hatred of foreign invaders, calling to fight with them. The terrible news reached Nizhny Novgorod, before its militiamen, who, at the call of Procopius Lyapunov, hurried to Moscow in order to unite into one Zemstvo army.
The advanced detachments of the Zemsky Militia who arrived at the capital of March 21 opened a terrible picture. At the site of Moscow there was still a smoke burning, only chimneys were left from the houses. The Kremlin, Kitaygorodskie walls and the walls of the White City stood smoky. Only in some places among the snow-covered fields did the surviving settlements darken. Archbishop Arseny Yelassonsky, appointed by Gonsevsky instead of Hermogen, recalled: “And when houses and churches were burning, some soldiers killed people, and others robbed houses and churches ... The people of all Moscow, rich and poor, men and women, boys and old men, boys and the girls fled not only from the fear of the soldiers, but most of all from the fiery flame; some, because of their haste, ran naked, others barefoot, and especially in cold weather, ran in crowds, like sheep running from wolves. A great nation, numerous as the sand of the sea, died countless from the cold, from hunger on the streets, in the groves and fields, without any contempt, unburied ... ” The death toll Arseny estimates in 300 thousand people, Stadnitsky in 150 thousand people. Apparently, these figures are too high, but it is obvious that Moscow suffered huge human losses. Many people died at the hands of the interventionists, others burned, suffocated in the smoke, and still others died after fleeing from the city, from cold and hunger.
Meanwhile, a detachment of Cossacks Prosovetsky approached Moscow. Gonsevsky tried to implement a plan to defeat the enemy in parts, and the Polish cavalry Zborowski and Strusia attacked the Cossacks. The Cossack detachment walked with the "walk-city", which was a movable fence of huge sleds, on which stood shields with holes for firing from the samopalov. At each sleigh there were a dozen people: they ran the sledge on the battlefield, and, stopping, fired from the squeals. Surrounding the army from all sides - from the front, from the rear, from the sides, this fence prevented select Polish cavalry from reaching the Russians. Horsemen Strus had to dismount. Only in this way was the enemy able to break through one of the faces of the “walk-city”, and the Cossacks were forced to retreat, without showing particular persistence in the battle. However, the main forces of the militia were approaching, and the Poles returned to the fortress.
To be continued ...
- Alexander Samsonov
Folk hero Kuzma Minin and Smoot
How the False Dmitry I was killed
How suppressed the uprising Bolotnikov
How the False Dmitry II tried to take Moscow
The ruin of the Russian land. Heroic defense of the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius
Skopin-Shuisky's hike: the battles of Torzkom, Tver and Kalyazino
How did the Polish invasion begin? Completion of the liberation of Moscow by the army of Skopin-Shuisky: the battle on the Karinsky field and near Dmitrov
The heroic defense of Smolensk
How the Polish army stormed Smolensk
Klushinskaya catastrophe of the Russian army
How Russia almost became a colony of Poland, Sweden and England
“The time has come for the feat!” How the First Militia was created
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