The negotiations were carried on in Holland, and the Swedes were extremely angry, when they found that they were baulked of their expected vengeance on their troublesome neighbours. The peace, however, left Charles the Twelfth at liberty to turn his attention to his other foes, and to hurry to the assistance of Riga, which was beleaguered by the Saxons and Poles; and of Narva, against which city the Russians had made several unsuccessful assaults.
Without losing an hour, the king crossed to Malmoe. The troops there were ordered to embark, immediately, in the vessels in the harbour. They then sailed to Revel, where the Swedish commander, Welling, had retired from the neighbourhood of Riga, his force being too small to meet the enemy in the open field.
No sooner had the troops landed than the king reviewed them, and General Welling was ordered, at once, to march so as to place himself between the enemy and Wesenberg, where a large amount of provisions and stores for the use of the army had been collected.
The two lieutenants, in the company of Captain Jervoise, were young Scotchmen of good family, who had three months before come over and obtained commissions, and both had, at the colonel’s request, been transferred to his regiment, and promoted to the rank of lieutenants. Captain Jervoise and his four officers messed together, and were a very cheerful party; indeed, their commander, to the surprise both of his son and Charlie, had quite shaken off his quiet and somewhat gloomy manner, and seemed to have become quite another man, in the active and bracing life in which he was now embarked. Cunningham and Forbes were both active young men, full of life and energy, while the boys thoroughly enjoyed roughing it, and the excitement and animation of their daily work.
Sometimes they slept in the open air, sometimes on the floor of a cottage. Their meals were rough but plentiful. The king’s orders against plundering were very severe, and, even when in Denmark, the country people, having nothing to complain of, had brought in supplies regularly. Here in Linovia they were in Swedish dominions, but there was little to be purchased, for the peasantry had been brought to ruin by the foraging parties of the Russians and Poles.
There was some disappointment, that the enemy had fallen back at the approach of Welling’s force, but all felt sure that it would not be long before they met them, for the king would assuredly lose no time in advancing against them, as soon as his army could be brought over. They were not, however, to wait for the arrival of the main force, although the cavalry only took part in the first affair. General Welling heard that a force of three thousand Circassians had taken up their quarters in a village, some fifteen miles away, and sent six hundred horse, under Majors Patkul and Tisenbausen, to surprise them. They were, at first, successful and, attacking the Circassians, set fire to the village, and were engaged in slaughtering the defenders, when twenty-one squadrons of Russian cavalry came up and fell upon them, attacking them on all sides, and posting themselves so as to cut off their retreat. The Swedes, however, gathered in a body, and charged the Russians so furiously that they cut a way through their ranks, losing, however, many of their men, while Major Patkul and another officer were made prisoners.