Wolmar Anton von Schlippenbach became commanding officer for the forces in the Baltic provinces Estonia and Livonia in 1701, after Karl XII and the main army had crossed into Lithuania and Poland in search of August II and his saxon army. He had been given the unenviable task of defending Livonia, with its stores of supplies and the two towns of Dorpat and Marienburg as well as the entire border with Russia from the marauding cossacks and possible attacks from this direction. At his disposal was around 6000 men, including his own regiment of Dragoons, which had been recruited at his own expense in 1700. Riga was under the command of the venerable, but aged, Erik Dahlberg.
When Karl XII made his intentions finally clear and marched south, into Lithuania, the guessing game was over for the russians and they began plans for the invasion of the Baltic provinces with the main effort into Livonia. In August of 1701, 10.000 men had been gathered around Petshory under command of Boris Sheremetjev with another 16.000 around Pskov. Of the latter, 3000 dragoons and an unknown number of irregulars, were detached under the command of Boris' son Michail Sheremetjev, probably 5000 men. His task was to follow the western egde of the Peipus lake and threaten Rauge on the road to Dorpat.
On the 27th of August, H H von Liewen crossed the border on a reconnaisance in force with 300 men, attacked an outpost, but ran into the main army of around 8000 men. He immediately withdrew, but a strong russian detachment caught up to him at the village of Muischa, 20km from Rappin. He sent a rider to request assistance from A L von Rosen in Rappin and kept the russian force occupied while he waited. When v Rosen arrived with 100 dragoons and charged, the russians fled the field. A L von Rosen was later on Sept 5th taken prisoner and his detachment lost at Rappin.
On Sept 5th, another battle was fought at Rauge,
where Schlippenbach with 2000 men defeated the main body of russian troops
under B Sheremetjev. This battle landed Shlippenbach the rank of Major
General. He also received sorely needed reinforcements and made preparations
for the impending renewal of hostilities. Kossacks and irregulars crossed
the border in several places and kept the defending detachments busy. The
main effort of the russian amry was directed toward Schlippenbach's headquarters
around Erestfer, 50km west of Dorpat.
Boris Scheremetjev had been harassing Livonia for several years and
practically destroyed the defending forces there under Wolmar Anton von
Schlippenbach. After capturing several towns, including Dorpat and Narva,
The main russian army had been transfered to eastern Lithuania in order
to coordinate with the beleagured saxon troops. Only together, could they
successfully attack the main swedish army under the King's own command.
But in order to do this, Lewenhaupt's army had to be eliminated, or it
would be a threat in the rear of russian operations.
Ordre de Bataille
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