Siege of Stralsund (1807)

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Battle of Stralsund
Part of Napoleonic Wars
Swedish Pomerania 1812.png
Swedish Pomerania in 1812
Date30 January to 24 August 1807
Result French victory
Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden

Flag of France.svg France

 Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg  Spanish Empire 
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Kingdom of Holland
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Sweden.svg King Gustav IV Adolf
Flag of Sweden.svg Hans von Essen
Flag of France.svg Édouard Mortier
Flag of France.svg Guillaume Brune
15,000, 500 guns 40,000
Casualties and losses
unknown 998

The Siege of Stralsund lasted from 30 January to 24 August 1807 and saw troops from the First French Empire twice attempt to capture the port city from Lieutenant General Hans Henric von Essen's 15,000-man Swedish garrison. On the first try, Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier blockaded the city for two months before he was called elsewhere. In his absence, the Swedes drove back the inferior blockading force. After Mortier returned and pushed Essen's troops back in turn, the two sides quickly concluded an armistice. The truce was later repudiated by King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, whereupon Marshal Guillaume Marie Anne Brune led 40,000 French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch soldiers against the fortress. Fearfully outnumbered, the Swedes abandoned the Baltic Sea port of Stralsund to the Franco-Allies in this action during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. As a consequence, Sweden also lost the nearby island of Rügen.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden King of Sweden between 1792-1809

Gustav IV Adolf or Gustav IV Adolph was King of Sweden from 1792 until his abdication in 1809. He was also the last Swedish ruler of Finland.

Baltic Sea A sea in Northern Europe bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands

The Baltic Sea is a mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain.



Sweden was established in Stralsund since the Battle of Stralsund (1628), [1] and in the rest of the Duchy of Pomerania since the Treaty of Stettin (1630). [2] By the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the Treaty of Stettin (1653), the duchy was partitioned into a Swedish part, including Stralsund, and a Brandenburg-Prussian part. [3] After minor losses in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1679), [4] Swedish Pomerania was reduced to the area north of the Peene river with Greifswald, Stralsund and Rügen in the Treaty of Stockholm in 1720. [5]

Stralsund Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Stralsund, is a Hanseatic town in the Pomeranian part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is located at the Southern coast of the Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea separating the island of Rügen from the mainland.

Duchy of Pomerania a Middle Ages territory, whose land is now part of Germany and Poland

The Duchy of Pomerania was a duchy in Pomerania on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, ruled by dukes of the House of Pomerania (Griffins).

Treaty of Stettin (1630)

The Treaty of Stettin or Alliance of Stettin was the legal framework for the occupation of the Duchy of Pomerania by the Swedish Empire during the Thirty Years' War. Concluded on 25 August (O.S.) or 4 September 1630 (N.S.), it was predated to 10 July (O.S.) or 20 July 1630 (N.S.), the date of the Swedish Landing. Sweden assumed military control, and used the Pomeranian bridgehead for campaigns into Central and Southern Germany. After the death of the last Pomeranian duke in 1637, forces of the Holy Roman Empire invaded Pomerania to enforce Brandenburg's claims on succession, but they were defeated by Sweden in the ensuing battles. Some of the Pomeranian nobility had changed sides and supported Brandenburg. By the end of the war, the treaty was superseded by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the subsequent Treaty of Stettin (1653), when Pomerania was partitioned into a western, Swedish part, and an eastern, Brandenburgian part.

When Napoleon Bonaparte started to expand eastwards in the Napoleonic Wars, the Swedish Empire initially maintained a neutral stance. In 1805, Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden entered the War of the Third Coalition on the anti-French side, primarily to strip Napoleon's ally Denmark of Norway. His Norwegian ambitions were thwarted by several military and diplomatic setbacks. [6]

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Swedish Empire the years 1611–1721 in the history of Sweden

The Swedish Empire was a European great power that exercised territorial control over much of the Baltic region during the 17th and early 18th centuries. The beginning of the Empire is usually taken as the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, who ascended the throne in 1611, and its end as the loss of territories in 1721 following the Great Northern War.

War of the Third Coalition war

The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war, France and its client states under Napoleon I defeated an alliance, the Third Coalition, made up of the Holy Roman Empire, Russia, Britain and others. Prussia remained neutral during the war.

First siege

Stralsund, a port in Swedish Pomerania, was defended by the Swedish governor Hans von Essen. [7] On 28 January, [8] French forces commanded by Marshal Mortier crossed the Peene River in an attempt to impose a blockade on Stralsund. To the east, General of Division Charles Louis Dieudonné Grandjean's division crossed the Peene at Anklam, driving back the Swedish outposts. To the west, General of Division Pierre Louis Dupas' division crossed the stream unopposed near Demmin. On the 29th, Mortier's two divisions appeared before the port and on 30 January began the blockade. [9]

Swedish Pomerania historical domain of Sweden

Swedish Pomerania was a Dominion under the Swedish Crown from 1630 to 1815, situated on what is now the Baltic coast of Germany and Poland. Following the Polish War and the Thirty Years' War, Sweden held extensive control over the lands on the southern Baltic coast, including Pomerania and parts of Livonia and Prussia.

Peene river in Germany

The Peene is a river in Germany.

Charles Louis Dieudonné Grandjean French politician

Charles Louis Dieudonné Grandjean became a French division commander and saw extensive service during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1792 he gave up his legal career to enlist in the infantry and served in the Army of the Rhine. In March 1799 he earned promotion to general of brigade by distinguished actions at Verona. That year he led an Army of Italy brigade at Magnano, the Trebbia, Novi and Genola. In 1800 he fought at Stockach and Hohenlinden.

For the next two months, the two sides fought a number of skirmishes as the French strengthened their lines of investment. Without control of the island of Rügen, the French were unable to interrupt Stralsund's sea communications and were harassed by Swedish gunboats. During the blockade, one French cavalry and three infantry regiments were taken from Mortier to fight against the Russians in Poland and replaced by troops from the Kingdom of Holland. [9]

Rügen island in the Baltic Sea off the Pomeranian coast of Germany

Rügen is Germany's largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Kingdom of Holland former country

The Kingdom of Holland was set up by Napoléon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom for his third brother, Louis Bonaparte, in order to better control the Netherlands. The name of the leading province, Holland, was now taken for the whole country. In 1807, East Frisia and Jever were added to the kingdom.

On 29 March, Mortier received orders to leave Grandjean's division to maintain the blockade and march to assist in the Siege of Kolberg in Brandenburg-Prussian Pomerania. [7] After Mortier left, Essen drove Grandjean's outnumbered troops from their lines. Grandjean fell back to Anklam where he was attacked again on 3 April and forced to retreat southeast to the fortress of Stettin on the Oder, arriving there on the 7th. Mortier retraced his steps and by 13 April had assembled 12,000 to 13,000 men at Stettin, about the same number as Essen. In very wet weather, Mortier began pressing Essen back to Anklam. [10] On 16 April, Mortier defeated the Swedes in the Battle of Belling. [11] The next day, Essen retreated to the north bank of the Peene. [10]

Siege of Kolberg (1807) 1807 incident during the War of the Fourth Coalition

The Siege of Kolberg ( } took place from March to 2 July 1807 during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. An army of the First French Empire and several foreign auxiliaries of France besieged the Prussian fortified town of Kolberg, the only remaining Prussian-held fortress in the Prussian province of Pomerania. The siege was not successful and was lifted upon the announcement of the peace of Tilsit.

Oder River in Central Europe

The Oder is a river in Central Europe and Poland's third-longest river after the Vistula and Warta. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows 742 kilometres (461 mi) through western Poland, later forming 187 kilometres (116 mi) of the border between Poland and Germany as part of the Oder–Neisse line. The river ultimately flows into the Szczecin Lagoon north of Szczecin and then into three branches that empty into the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea.

Beginning on 18 April, the French and Swedish forces arranged the truce of Schlatkow. [8] Anxious to employ Mortier's men against the Russians and Prussians, Napoleon had authorized the marshal to make a truce with the Swedes. For their part, the Swedes were upset that England had given them very little support. By the 29th, the terms were worked out. The Swedes were to stay on the north side of the Peene. They handed over the islands of Usedom and Wolin at the mouth of the Oder and promised not to help the Prussians at the sieges of Kolberg (Kolobrzeg) or Danzig. [12]

Second siege

Guillaume Brune Brune c.jpg
Guillaume Brune

King Gustav IV Adolf landed in Stralsund on 12 May, and denounced the truce on 3 July. [8] By this time, the Treaties of Tilsit had just deprived Sweden of all her allies but Great Britain. [6] Autocrat Gustav IV Adolf however viewed Napoleon as the "monster of the apocalypse" and was unwilling to compromise on his anti-French policies. [13]

On 24 July, French Marshal Guillaume Brune attacked the Swedish positions on the Peene river [8] and reoccupied the investing lines around Stralsund. Reinforced by troops from the failed Siege of Kolberg, Brune massed a total of 40,000 men. His French troops included General of Division Jean Boudet's 7-battalion French infantry division of 7,773 infantry and 200 artillerymen and General of Division Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor's 8-battalion French infantry division of 8,712 infantry and 205 gunners. The Dutch contingent had General of Division Jean-Baptiste Dumonceau's 11-battalion infantry division of 9,924 foot soldiers and 570 gunners, General of Division Henri Gatien Bertrand's 6-battalion infantry division of 3,932 infantry and 159 artillerymen, and General of Division Carteret's 5-squadron cavalry brigade of 1,112 troopers. [14]

Hans Henric von Essen HansHenrikEssen.jpg
Hans Henric von Essen

Brune's Spanish allies included General Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana's 14 infantry battalions and 12 cavalry squadrons. This corps totalled 9,763 infantry, 2,340 cavalry, 324 gunners, and 104 sappers. General of Division Domenico Pino led a Kingdom of Italy division consisting of eight battalions, eight squadrons, two foot artillery batteries, and one horse artillery battery. The Grand Duchy of Baden contributed six battalions, one squadron, and one foot artillery battery. The small German states were represented by the Grand Duchy of Würzburg, two battalions, Duchy of Berg, two battalions, and Duchy of Nassau, three battalions. [14]

The 15,000 Swedish defenders included three Finnish battalions, Pommeranian Landwehr garrison troops, one battalion of the King's Leib Infantry Regiment and one battalion of the Engelbrechten Infantry Regiment. There were 500 cannons in the fortress. Subordinate to Essen were Lieutenant General Armfelt, General-Major Vegesack, and General-Major Peyron. [14] Gustav IV Adolf left the town on 20 August. [8] Deciding that resistance was useless, the Swedes spiked the cannon and burned the gun carriages. They evacuated the port and transported the power and shot to Rügen. During the second siege, the Franco-Allies lost 38 officers and 960 soldiers killed, wounded, missing, or died of illness. Swedish losses are unknown. [14] Stralsund and Rügen were surrendered to France in the course of an armistice. [7] Stralsund was handed over to the French on 24 August and Rügen on 7 September 1807. [8]

On 25 August, General of Brigade François Nicolas Fririon and naval Captain Peytes de Montcabrié attacked the fortified island of Dänholm near Rügen. The 1,200-man and two-gun force comprised one battalion of the 30th Line Infantry Regiment, artillery, sappers, pontonniers, miners, and sailors of the Imperial Guard. The successful operation cost the French 15 killed and 26 wounded. The 800 Swedish defenders lost 50 killed, 75 wounded, and 517 captured. Eight fortress guns and six field pieces also fell into French hands. [15]


After Sweden was driven out of northern Germany in 1807, she became subject to attacks from Denmark-Norway and the Russian Empire in 1808. Military mismanagement and lack of support led to Gustav IV Adolf being arrested on 13 March 1809 in the course of an insurrection. He was deposed in May and he and his family were expelled in December after Sweden lost a third of its realm in the Treaty of Fredrikshamn. [6]

French occupation of Stralsund was temporarily interrupted when a Prussian freikorps under Ferdinand von Schill seized the city in May 1809, but after a few days it was recaptured in the Battle of Stralsund. [7] When the Napoleonic Wars were concluded by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Stralsund along with all of Swedish Pomerania became part of the Prussian Pomerania Province.

See also


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  1. Langer (2003), p.402
  2. Sturdy (2002), p.59
  3. Shennan (1995), p.19
  4. Heitz (1995), p.241
  5. Heitz (1995), p.244
  6. 1 2 3 Barton (2008), p.118
  7. 1 2 3 4 Jacques (2006), p.973
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 von Daniels (1863), p.214
  9. 1 2 Petre, p.264
  10. 1 2 Petre, p.265
  11. Manso (1835), p.293
  12. Petre, pp.265-266
  13. Porter (1988), p.174
  14. 1 2 3 4 Smith, p.253
  15. Smith, pp 253-254


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