|Battle of Korsun|
|Part of the Khmelnytsky Uprising|
Juliusz Kossak, Meeting of Tuhaj Bej and Khmelnytsky near Korsun
Zaporozhian Cossacks |
|Commanders and leaders|
Bohdan Khmelnytsky |
Mikołaj Potocki |
|Casualties and losses|
Battle of Korsun (Ukrainian language: Корсунь , Polish language: Korsuń ), (May 26, 1648) was the second significant battle of the Khmelnytsky Uprising. Near the site of the present-day city of Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi in central Ukraine, a numerically superior force of Cossacks and Crimean Tatars under the command of Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Tugay Bey attacked and defeated Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces under the command of Hetmans Mikołaj Potocki and Marcin Kalinowski. As in the previous battle at Zhovti Vody, the outmanned Commonwealth forces took a defensive position, retreated, and were thoroughly routed by the opposing force.
Before the battle
On May 16, 1648, Bohdan Khmelnytsky's forces overwhelmed and defeated Commonwealth forces under the command of Stefan Potocki at the Battle of Zhovti Vody. Stefan's father, Grand Crown Hetman Mikołaj Potocki, was unable to send reinforcements in time to relieve him; however, with the number of defections from the force that was sent to fight Khmelnytsky (over 5,000 Registered Cossacks switched their allegiance), it is doubtful that the reinforcements could have helped defeat the combined Cossack and Tatar army of 15,000. With reinforcements only 100 km away when that battle ended, Mikołaj Potocki signaled a retreat to a fortified camp near the present-day city of Korsun-Shevchenkivskyi. There the combined forces (about 6,000 men) of both Field Crown Hetman Marcin Kalinowski and Great Crown Hetman Mikołaj Potocki awaited to repulse the enemy.
Khmelnytsky left the Battle of Zhovti Vody and moved to his base at Chyhyryn with his new recruits. After stopping there, he continued on towards the Commonwealth's encampment.
The Commonwealth forces repulsed the first assault, but upon seeing the numerical advantage of their enemies, and possibly hearing the Cossack rumors that an entire Crimean army was following behind Khmelnytsky, Hetman Potocki ordered the retreat. This proved to be disastrous, as Khmelnytsky had ordered his First Polkovnyk (colonel) Maxym Kryvonis (aka "Crooked-nose" or Perebyinis) to prepare disguised traps and trenches ahead of the retreating forces. The resulting chaos as the Commonwealth's forces entered an impenetrable valley allowed Khmelnytsky's Cossack forces to flank them from both sides, quickly slaughtering whole divisions. Only about 1,000-1,500 of the Commonwealth forces (under a Colonel Korycki) managed to escape. Both Hetmans were taken prisoner of war by the Tatars, and the rest of the army was either captured or killed.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was left without a military commander, and Khmelnytsky continued his uprising, marshaling his forces westward.
- (Polish) Bitwa pod Żółtymi Wodami -sprostowanie do filmu Jerzego Hoffmana. Last accessed on December 23, 2006.
- Chirovsky, Nicholas: "The Lithuanian-Rus' commonwealth, the Polish domination, and the Cossack-Hetman State", page 177. Philosophical Library, 1984.
- (Ukrainian) Terletskyi, Omelian: "History of the Ukrainian Nation, Volume II: The Cossack Cause", page 76. 1924.
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