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Örjan Martinsson

Swedish Uniforms in
the Battle of Lesnaya

The following information on the battle of Lesnaya comes from the books by Lars-Eric Höglund (uniforms) and Einar Lyth/Pavel Konovalchuk (order of battle). A problem for those who want to illustrate the battle of Lesnaya is that uniform information for Lewenhaupt's Swedish army (especially the cavalry) is scarce. Because of this I have been forced to make qualified guesses when Höglund's book does not mention specific uniform details. But I have strong suspicions that my guesses are closer to the truth than those cases where I have used known facts from the book. The reason to this is that many of these facts are not close in time with the battle and may actually be obsolete information for Lesnaya. I have however on this website consistently used older information for each regiment to fill in the blank spots rather than using information from other regiments. But if you only consider uniform data that is close in time with the battle of Lesnaya, then it would appear as if the soldiers of all regiments in Lewenhaupt's army wore practically identical uniforms.

In fact all regiments seem to have had blue coats with yellow facings and brass buttons. The headgear was either a blue karpus or a hat with yellow trim. One cavalry regiment (Karelska) and one infantry regiment (Åbo, Björneborg & Nyland 3-männing) are reported to have had both karpus and hat. This could indicate that all regiments had both karpus and hat. In the infantry most regiments are reported to have had blue breeches. One regiment (Småland 3-männing) are reported to have had both leather breeches and blue cloth breeches. If it was standard practise to have two pairs of different coloured breeches in Lewenhaupt's army then that would almost completely eliminate all noticeable differences between the regimental uniforms.

Three infantry regiments on this page have been depicted with yellow trims on their hats. But Höglund's book only mentions this colour for two regiments. I have in the third case made a qualified guess that Åbo, Björneborg & Nyland 3-männings had the same colour as the other two regiments. I have also made the same type of guess for several cavalry regiments. Because uniform information for the cavalry regiments in general is very fragmentary, a more detailed description is necessary and this can be found further down on this page.

Lewenhaupt's Army at Lesnaya in the beginning of the battle

Freijbourg's Rear Guard
(Attacked by the Russians 10.30 AM)

de la Gardie's Regiment
(2 battalions)

3-männing Reg.
(1 battalion)

Artillery Regiment
(16 three-pounder cannons)
Stackelberg's Force
(The first to aid the rear guard)

Hälsinge Regiment
(2 battalions)

Uppland 3-männing Regiment
(2 battalions)

Åbo Regiment
(1 battalion)

The Rest of the Infantry at Lesnaya
(Later reinforced Stackelberg's force)

Småland 3-männing Regiment
(2 battalions)

Åbo, Björneborg & Nyland
3-männing Regiment
(2 battalions)

Ösel battalion
(1 battalion)

Österbotten Regiment
(1 battalion)




Karelska Cavalry Regiment

Livonian Adelsfana Schlippenbach's
Dragoon Regiment


Land-dragoon squadron

Reinforcements Arriving to Lesnaya During the Battle

First Reinforcement
(Arrived 1.00 PM)


Second Reinforcement
(Arrived 5.00 PM)


Third Reinforcement
(Arrived 6.00 PM)

Åbo & Björneborg
Cavalry Regiment
Skogh's Dragoon Squadron  Nyland Regiment
(1 battalion)
  Björneborg Regiment
(2 battalions) 
  Karelska Dragoon Squadron Schreiterfeldt,s Dragoon Regiment

Lewenhaupt had earlier won victories at Saladen 1703, Jakobstadt 1704 and Gemäuerthof 1705. The battle of Lesnaya actually ended in a stalemate but Lewenhaupt's retreat from the battle field during the night practically destroyed his army and only remnants of it would join the main army led by Charles XII. The remains of Lewenhaupt's army were used to fill the gaps in the other regiments. It was only the main part of the cavalry that continued to exist as independent units. The men from the other regiments were transferred to the following regiments:

Uppland 3-männings
Småland 3-männings
Närke-Värmland 3-männings
=> Livgardet
424 Hälsinge Regiment => Dal-regiment
336 Österbotten Regiment => Jönköping Regiment
Åbo Regiment
Björneborg Regiment
=> Västmanland Regiment
Nyland Regiment
Åbo, Björneborgs & Nyland 3-männings
=> Närke-Värmland Regiment
Ösel battalion
de la Gardie's Regiment
=> Västerbotten Regiment
181 Karelska Dragoon Squadron => Nyland Cavalry Regiment
Skogh's Dragoon Squadron
Ösel Land-dragoon Squadron
=> Schlippenbach's Dragoon Regiment

The strength information comes from Ensign Petre's diary and applies to 30 September 1708. The distribution of the manpower to the main army regiments, on the other hand, comes from Lieutenant von Weihe's diary. Ensign Petre has divergent information (see below), but it seems that Weihe's information has been given more credibility in this case, although I do not know the reason for this.

Nyland => Västmanland
Åbo 3-män => Västerbotten
Österbotten => Närke-Värmland

Read also about the Russian Uniforms in the battle of Lesnaya.

Cavalry Uniforms

Because the uniform information for the cavalry regiments in Höglund's book is very fragmentary a more thorough presentation of the known facts for them is needed in order for the reader to understand what are facts and what is just my guesses. With the exception of Schlippenbach's blue waistcoats, all waistcoats and breeches are of leather if they are mentioned in Höglund's book. Most likely these uniform details were generally of leather and they are therefore not included in the following presentation. The Livonian Adelsfana is also not included. Its uniform is described in great detail in Höglund's book but it does not mention when this uniforms was issued, which make it very possible that it had been replaced at the time of the battle of Lesnaya.

The year when the uniform items were mentioned in the sources is noted in parentheses.

Hat with yellow trim = Schlippenbach's Dragoon Regiment (1703/07)
Hat with silver trim = Uppland Stånds-dragoons (1704)
Hat with unknown trim = Ösel Land-dragoon Squadron (trumpeters had yellow trim 1703-04/08), Skogh's Dragoon Squadron (1708), Schreiterfeldt's Dragoon Regiment (1703/08), Åbo & Björneborg Cavalry Regiment (1708)
Hat and karpus (unknown colours) = Karelska Cavalry Regiment (1708)
Unknown headgear = Karelska Dragoon Squadron (hat with yellow trim 1712)

Brass buttons = Ösel Land-dragoon Squadron (1703-04/08), Schlippenbach's Dragoon Regiment (1703/07), Uppland Stånds-dragoons (1704)
Pewter buttons = Skogh's Dragoon Squadron (1701)
Unknown buttons = Schreiterfeldt's Dragoon Regiment, Karelska Cavalry Regiment, Karelska Dragoon Squadron, Åbo & Björneborg Cavalry Regiment

Blue coat with yellow facings =  Ösel Land-dragoon Squadron (1703-04/08), Upplands Priest Dagoons (1704)
Blue coat with unknown facings = Skogh's Dragoon Squadron (1708, orange facings 1701), Schlippenbach's Dragoon Regiment (1703/07), Schreiterfeldt's Dragoon Regiment (1703/08), Karelska Cavalry Regiment (1708), Karelska Dragoon Squadron (issued in the period 1704-08), Åbo & Björneborg Cavalry Regiment (1708)

The conclusion you can draw from this is that the men in one regiment and the trumpeters in another regiment had yellow trims on their hats. The only other colour mentioned here is silver for Uppland Stånds-dragoons but that piece of information is from 1704 and it may not have been correct for 1708. Because two infantry regiments are also reported to have had yellow hat trims, it is very tempting to assume that all hats in Lewenhaupt's army had yellow trims.

The only cavalry unit reported to have had pewter buttons is Skogh's Dragoon squadron, but that was in 1701 and the buttons had most certainly been replaced since then. It would therefore appear as if all regiments had brass buttons.

It was common in the Swedish cavalry to have blue coats with blue facings. But no regiment in Lewenhaupt's army is explicitly mentioned as having that colour combination. Whenever a colour on the facings is mentioned it is in fact yellow, which leads to the conclusion that all regiments may have had yellow facings.