The battle of Sävar

August 19 1809, R=Nikolai Michailovitsch Kamenskij S=Gustaf Wachtmeister

After occupying Finland the russian troops marched into Sweden itself. In a joint army-navy operation the last functional army of Sweden was landed in the back of the Russian troops that were camping at Umeå. Wachtmeister, who was very careful, waited too long for the supporting troops under Wrede who were supposed to come in against Umeå from the south though. Kamenskij, being a rash and aggressive opponent, immediately threw his army at the Swedes. Wachtmeister used much of his reserves during the battle at Sävar, without achieving a breakthrough. He retreated back north, to Ratan, where his troops were protected by the strong artillery of the Swedish navy, as well as landbatteries.

At about 7:30 in the morning the fighting started as the Swedish avantegardes came under fire by the attacking Russian troops. The fighting was concentrated to "Krutbrånet", a hill, over which the battle was waged time after time. The Swedish troops stood fast, although untried soldiers were thrown in. The Russians on their side, although suffering from hunger and being fatigued, fought very well. As the Russian 23rd jaegerregiment was on the offensive in the wooded terrain just north east of the battlefield and Kamenskij found that they were moving too slowly, he let his own guns shoot away two shots in the back of them. This was how Russian commanders ruthlessly could use their powers.

General Anselme de Gibory had crossed the small river with nine companies Russian troops and was at this point threatening the Swedish flanks. Against these troops Wachtmeister committed the jaegerbatallion of the second brigade, Drottningens Livregemente as well as Svea Livgarde. Although the Swedish units were put in one by one, and could not develop the full strength of a collective attack, they finally beat the Russians off.

Back at Sävar village the Russian troops were at this moment winning and the Swedish were retreating over the river. The Russians now found a splendid chance to beat the Swedish in the back and under Schreider, six Russian companies passed over the river and attacked the Swedish troops, that were fighting Anselm de Gibory, in the back. This all made Wachtmeister somewhat uncertain and he now gave the order of all-out retreat. Although the Swedish army still had five companies in reserves, the retreat was started under complaints from the troops. The Russians were too tired to follow, but Wachtmeister had thrown away a perfectly good victory. The battle ended about 3.00 in the afternoon.

Swedish losses were about 758 dead and wounded, while the Russians lost about 1.312 dead and wounded. A hard defeat for the Swedish army, since the beaten forces had been Sweden's last effective operational regiments. Sävar indeed concluded the entire war.

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