First name
Social status
Catholic (?)

Text source

John Gunn was born in Scotland in October 1608. He was the son of William Gunn in Dirlot (in Caithness) and subsequently Kirkton by Golspie (in Sutherland). John Gunn first served in the Danish-Norwegian army as an ensign in Donald Mackay's [SSNE 94] regiment in 1627. He later joined the Swedish army, certainly by 1636, and was a captain with David Drummond's [SSNE 2396] recruited infantry regiment from 1635-38. He was captain with Johan Lilliehook's recruited squadron in 1639. He was also captain of the Nyland regiment 1638-9. A Governor John Gunn is listed in the town of Ohlau in Silesia between 1638 and 1649. This is probably the same man since no service record for another John Gunn has been located. His governorship might explain his absence from the muster-rolls. He refortified the town after its destruction by the Imperialists and had a wall and moat built around it. Fischer notes that that Gunn remained the governor until after the peace of 1648. He died on 9 April 1649 and was buried on 14 July in the evangelical church in the town by his wife whose maiden name was von Arnim. His armour was hung in the church, although his coffin was moved in 1825 and is now located in the Izba Muzealna Ziemi O?awskiej.


Sources: Stockholm Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1635/33-35; 1636/18-2; 1637/13-17; 1638/21, 25-27; 1639/13-17; Swedish Riksarkiv, P. Sondén, Militärachefer I svenska arméen och deras skrivelser; T. Riis, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot (Odense, 1988), II, p. 130; J. Mackay, 'Mackay's Regiment' in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, VIII, 1879, p. 188; T. Fischer, The Scots in Germany (Edinburgh, 1902), p. 316; A. Grosjean, ‘A century of Scottish governorship in the Swedish empire, 1574-1690’, in S. Murdoch and A. Mackillop (eds.), Military Governors and Imperial Frontiers c. 1600-1800, a study of Scotland and empires (Leiden, 2003), p. 61; M. R. Gunn, History of the Clan Gunn (Glasgow, 1969), pp. 123, 129-30; A. Lenczewska, ‘Johann Gunn – Szkot w s?u?bie Szwecji’,in J. Harasimowicz et al. (eds.), Po obu stronach Ba?tyku: Wzajemne relacje mi?dzy Skandynawi? a Europ? ?rodkow?,2 vols.(Wroc?aw, 2006), i, pp. 109-113; The Gunn Herald, vol. 1, no. 47 (March 2000), pp. 13-18.

This entry was kindly updated by Dr Thomas Brochard

The following letter was transcribed and translated by Dr Kathrin Zickermann


KRA/ 0035:0418:0 (Karl Viggo Keysamlingen) 1644. Unfoliated letter, Colonel John Gunn to General Major Wrangel

Most high and noble Herr General Major,

I received your short letter dated Wismar 3 December on the 12th of this month, from which I have learned that you have heard, that the Executors who were sent from here, have been arrested and that I have thereby weakened and reduced this fortress. Therefore I report to you that I have never during my eighteen* year-long service for the Swedish Crown lost or gambled away a single man. Instead, I am telling Your Honour about the nature of the party that was sent out.

One Cornet with 12 cavalry men of Colonel Görtz’ and 5 dragoons of Colonel Waneken’s regiment who were used as a ‘safeguard’ and were delayed in going with the army as well as the local Rentmeister with his servant and my own servants and horses, as well as my and Major Blancken’s servants went with (the party). We have thus also suffered damage. There was thus not a single man from the local garrison (in the party) and thus the garrison was not weakened. The person who has reported to Your Honour was very economical with the truth. I would like to know who that person was. The Cornet had not followed my orders to go to Neuhaus where they were to receive provisions according to Colonel Wrangel’s order and where they were meant to stay until I was to give them a new order, otherwise he would not have suffered this misfortune.

Instead, the Cornet followed the cavalry captain’s order, to round up several hundred cattle. He was thus late and went with him to Lehmkuhlen. There they met with the Danes through the betrayal of the people of Preetz, although 6 were able to escape. Thus I cannot be blamed. I have not given the order myself but this has happened according to the order of Colonel Wrangel whose letter I have here with me. The same is responsible as it was his order that the cavalry men and the officers’ servants followed whenever the cavalry captain desired them.  What has been reported to Your Honour in regard to the ( )land that they are not be burdened with new weekly contributions: this is not my imposition or wish, but this disposition has been made by Colonel Wrangel himself as commandant of Holstein. He has written  to me in this matter, and (asked) that I should demand 700 (or 200?) Imperial dollars from them weekly. I have nothing to do with this, and if I address the Colonel in regard to this matter, I do not get a reply. However, everyone would like to blame me for this. I did not want to hide this response from Your Honour. I assure Your Honour, that this is the truth. If Your Honour was to send order in regard to these places which could be sent by a short letter, this will be met with due respect and will be followed.


E. Gn. der Obhut Gottes getreulich empfehlen.

Verbleibend, ...

Signat. Christianprieß, den 14. Decembr 1644

John Gunn

P.S. I have reported to Your Honour that some new events have happened here, that the Bishop of Bremen and his troops had arrived on the 9th of this month at Rendsburg and that he had joined the troops that were lying in the ( )ländern. The same day he departed in haste. He has about 3500 men and has taken his march towards Bütland, as it seems in order to meet H. Gen. Major Baner’s troops. As I have long learned about the bishop’s arrival  and that he would join with the troops I have reported this to Colonel Wrangel, who responded that he would treat carefully and that they would not be able to harm him thanks to God’s help. The other Danish troops consist of 6 companies. 4 of these have marched to Glückstadt and 2 to Krempe. Rendsburg is occupied with 300 dragoons and 100 cavalry men.

In other matters Your Honour told me in his last letters that a lieutenant… [incomplete]


*NB in this letter he states 18 year service for Sweden which would have had him in Swedish service from 1626. This complicates his service with Mackay from 1627. With no Danish muster-roll this is hard to verify. It is possibly a mis-calculation by the author who probably meant "in my 18 years of service".

Service record

Arrived 1627-01-01, as OFFICER
Departed 1627-12-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1635-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1638-12-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1638-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1649-04-09, as COLONEL
Capacity GOVERNOR, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1639-01-01, as CAPTAIN
Departed 1639-12-31, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY