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Wojciech Chrzanowski

Wojciech Chrzanowski born January 14, 1793 in Biskupice (Cracow region), died February 26, 1861 in Paris; Polish general, military top ographer. In 1810 he began military service as a gunner in the army of the Duchy of Warsaw; in 1811 entered a school of artillery and engineering; four months later joined a regiment of artillery as first lieutenant; took part in the 1812 campaign; proved himself in the battle at Smolensk; in January 1815 joined the quartermaster general staff of the Polish Kingdom's army; promoted 1817 to the rank of lieutenant. In 1822 worked on the preparation of a map of the Polish Kingdom. Participant in the Russian-Turkish war of 1828; January 1830 promoted to lieutenant colonel. During the November Uprising 1830-31, chief of the general staff of the Modlin fortress; one of the most gifted staff officers; author of numerous military operational plans. After general Skrzynecki's assumption of the general command of the Polish army,Wojciech Chrzanowski was nominated colonel and chief of the main staff; contributed to the victory in the battles at Wawer and DabWielki; led operations at Kock, Lubartow and Zamosc; consequently, nominated general of division. At military councils Chrzanowski decisively stood against taking the offensive against Russian troops and advocated negotiations; consequently he was attacked by the members of the Patriotic Society [Towarzystwo Patriotyczne]. During general J.Krukowiecki's presidency Chrzanowski was nominated governor of Warsaw; delayed the preparations for Warsaw's defense; after its capitulation he remained there and swore an oath of fidelity to tsar Nicholas, as former lieutenant colonel; at the end of 1831 he left for Galicia, and from there emigrated to France; supported by Prince Adam Czartoryski and H&oocirc;tel Lambert; unsuccessfully attempted to enter the Belgian and then Egyptian armies; 1836-1841 in Turkey where, as adviser of the British government, he undertook efforts to modernize the Turkish army. Back in Paris, Chrzannowski continued work on a map of Poland in its prepartition borders, on a scale of 1:300,000, publishing sev eral sections of it each year; the whole map, consisting of 48 sections, was finally published in Paris in 1859. In August, 1848, he was invited to assume command of the Piedmontese army, with the task of reorganizing it so as to eliminate the defects revealed in the unsuccessful war with Austria. He accepted the offer, though agreeing that King Charles Albert should retain nominal command for reasons of dynastic prestige, and came to Piedmont in September 1848. He set about reforming the army with energy and intelligence, but lacked time to complete the task before the resumption of war in March 1849; moreover, he was hampered by a certain resentment on the part of the king and the Piedmontese generals, and, as a foreigner, he never won the full trust of the army. His conduct of the brief campaign leading up to the defeat at Novara in March, 1849 was later severely criticized; but, given the low morale and persistent defects of the Piedmontese army his task was molst difficult. Nonetheless, he resigned his command, went into exile and returned to Paris. At the beginning of March 1854 Chrzanowski received a commission from the British minister of war to prepare plans for a war with Russia; in May 1855 a member of the Polish delegation attempting to negotiate the Polish cause with Napoleon III. Died in Paris, buried in Montmartre. Chrzanowski published numerous military pamphlets in Paris,including: O wojnie partyzanckiej [On guerilla warfare] (1835); Sluzba wojsko wa w polu [Military service in the field] (1836); Quelques considérations sur la campagne de 1812 (1857); Opisanie bitwy grochowskiej [Description of the Grochow battle] (Biblioteka Warszawska," 1909); his political writings were published in Przeglad Polski (Cracow, 1866) and in Pisma wojskowo-polityczne (Cracow,1871).
Alan J. Reinerman and Jolanta T. Pekacz


L. Gadon, Wielka emigracja w pierwszych latach po powstaniu listopadowym. Paris, 1960.

H. Graniewski, "The Mission of General Chrzanowski to Turkey 1836-1840)," Antermurale XII (1968), 115-264.

Piero Pieri, L'escercito piemontese e la campagna del 1849 (Turin, 1949).

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