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Alexander Leslie (1590-1663) of Auchintoul was the son of William Leslie, third laird of Crichie, a branch of the Balquhain Leslies. This is the Colonel Alexander Leslie who was in Russia in the 1630s during the Smolensk War. He was Russia's first General and reformer of the Muscovite army. In 1618 he was an officer in Polish employ, captured by the Russians, but released. In 1629 he was a colonel in Sweden, sent by King Gustav II Adolf on a mission to Moscow and entered the Tsar's service. Leslie returned to Sweden in April 1631 to inform Gustav Adolf that war between Russia and Poland was imminent. In 1631 he recruited thousands of soldiers in western countries including Scotland and England. Leslie supervised the first regiments of "foreign order" organised and armed along western lines. In 1632-4 he was one of the Russian commanders in the Smolensk War (being granted the rank of Major General by Charles I in a letter to the Tsar, but he is apparently recorded only in Russia as "senior colonel"). Leslie went abroad after the unhappy outcome of the campaign. King Charles I wrote to Mikhail Fyodorovich on behalf of Leslie in March 1637 saying that he was returning to Britain on private business.

Auchintoul fought for the Montrosians in the British Civil War. He was captured at Philiphaugh and, by the direct intervention of Lieutenant General David Leslie, was dealt with leniently compared to other prisoners (most of whom were executed after the battle). With David Leslie vouching for him directly, Auchintoul avoided execution. When D. Leslie's petition was read, by Argyll among others, Auchintoul was spared (along with Lord Gray), but was banished from Scotland for life.

So sentenced, Auchintoul returned to Russia at some point after that, an exiled Royalist with a recommendation from King Charles I and finally settled in Muscovy in 1647. In 1649 he apparently received 1000 riksdaler from the Swedes and was certainly known to the Swedish resident in Moscow, Karl Pommerenning. That man observed that Leslie had been sent for to come from his estate to Moscow in January 1649. The Swede observed that Leslie had arrived in Moscow by mid February but did not know what the purpose of his visit was. By March, Pommerenning could report that General Leslie was to command 10,000 horse but as they had not been assembled yet Leslie had been given leave to return to his estate. In 1652 he embraced Orthodoxy with his family, was richly rewarded and was, according to Fedosov, made a general. The Swedish ambassadors reports from 1649 make it clear he aready had that rank by that year. Leslie met with the Swedish resident in Muscovy in March 1653 and passed on information regarding troops in Livonia. In 1654 he wrested Smolensk from the Poles and became the Tsar's governor there. Some sources give his death at 1661 and others at 1663. He had sons including Alexander [SSNE 3975], John (probably [SSNE 3984]) and Theodore [SSNE 3976]



The National Archives, London 22/60/66 Charles I to Mikhail Fyodorovich, 7 March 1636/7; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1629/11,14,16; For the capture of ‘Sir Alexander Leslie’ at Philiphaugh see George Wishart, The Memoirs of James Marquis of Montrose, Translated from the Latin by Rev. Alexander Murdoch and H F Morland Simpson (London, 1892), liv-lv. William Thompson to Edmund Prideaux, 15 September 1645. For his subsequent exile see NAS, PA7/23/48. 'The Humble Desire of Lieutenant General David Leslie (with sentence noted on the reverse)'; Swedish Riksarkiv, Diplomatica, Muscovitica 39. Dispatches from the Swedish Resident, Karl Anders Pommerenning to Queen Christina. Dispatches, 26 January 1649, 21 February 1649, 23 March 1649; Swedish Riksarkiv, Riksarkivets Ämbetsarkiv, Huvudarkivet FV a:31-32 Ang. Skottar i svensk tjänst, notes compiled by Hammerskjöld; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series, VI, p.204; W. Barnhill and P. Dukes, 'North-east Scots in Muscovy in the seventeenth century' in Northern Scotland, vol. 1, no. 1, 1972, pp.49-63; G.P. Herd, 'General Patrick Gordon of Auchluchries - A Scot in Seventeenth Century Russian Service', Ph.D. thesis, Aberdeen, 1994; D. Fedosov, The Caledonian Connection (Aberdeen, 1996); S. I. Olofsson, Efter Westfaliska Freden, Sveriges Yttre Politik 1650-1654 (Stockholm, 1957), p.408; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.92-93.

Permission to raise 2000 English for Russian service is found here -Gloucester Borough Records, GBR/H/2/2 Order and letter book, pp. 182-183 1632 Sir Alexander Lesley has licence to levy 2,000 soldiers for service with the [Emperor] of all Russia and the Great Duke of Muscovy, and Capt. Hen. Crew has a warrant to raise 200 volunteers for this purpose & pp. 184-186 1631/2 Letters of Emperor of Russia to Sir Alexander Lesley re raising troops


From the Earl of Stirling's Register of Royal Letters, Vol II, pp.579-580:

Charles, be the Grace of God, King, &c., To the Most high, mightie, and right noble Prince, The Great
Lord Emperour and Great Duik Michaell Pheodor, M'rch of All Russia, sole Commander of Volodomer, Moskoe, Novogarod, King of Cazan, king of Astroean, King of Siberia, Lord of Vobskey, and great Duik of Smoleskey, Tueskey, Vgorskey, Pannskey, Vatskey, Bolgaskey, and of the other ountreyis ; Lord and Great Duik of Xovogored in the Lower Cuntreyis, of Cheringo, Rezan, Polotzkey, Eostone, Yares, Lanskey, Belozeisky, Leuslandskey, Yondeskey, Obdoiskey, Condinskey, And of all the northerne parts Lord and
Commander ...

Greeting.—Most Excellent Prince, and dear brother and freind. We have sene and pervsed your
iniperiaU Letters of Commission and credance that your Ma. our dear brother, hath gevin to your Maj. Genera Major Sir Alex. Leslie, one of our faythfull subjects of our kingdome of Scotland, of noble and illustrous descent ;

Which letteris thrughout all our dominions, according to our imperiall requeist, shalbe in
all brotherlie requeist observed and performed ; And that so much the more becaus your Emperial affection hath bene most enclyned to have our faythfull subjects' armes and valoris imployed in your Ma. warres,

And in consideration thairof hath made our said subject Sir Alexander Leslie Major-Generall of your
Mjesteis warlyk forces, which preferment is by ws most kyndlie accepted and greatlie esteamed, in preferring one of our Scotts subjects to such high diguitie, assureing your Ma''^ (our dear brother) from ws that ther is no subject in our dominions, who ar willing to serve your Maj. in the qualitie of commander or souldier, bot we will give them our frie leave, consent, and libertie to serve your Maj, which we have [thought] good to certifie vnto your highnes by these our letteris, not doubting bot your Maj. will at our requeist continew towards your Maj. servants our subjects all perfection and promotion ; Whom we desire your Ma'j. will continew as yow have begun to advance him, as lykwyse to performe vnto him, and all others our subjects vnder your Maj. Command, as ar mentionat in your Maj.  imperiall Commission and letteris of Credence gevin vnto him :

Moreover, we have, in regard of your Emperial Commission gevin to your Maj General, Sir Alexander Leslie, granted libertie vnto our faytlit'ull subject Captan David Leslie for to retume him selff vnto your Maj. emperiall court ther, to attend your Maj service, of whois wisdome, valour, and faythfulnes we have thoght good to certifie your Maj, as descendit from noble, illustruous, and marschall parentage, and quho in his owin persone hath gained to him selff great honour, and hath gevin sufficient proolf thairof for many yeires that he hath caryed charge in the qualitie of a Commander in the VVarres of France,Germanie, Sweden, and the Low Countreyes :

Therfor [having] thoght good to recommend him with these our saids letteris of recommendation vnto your Maj, that he may be employed according to his qualitie, worth, and merite. Our part shalbe to doe the lyk. And to answer your Maj, our dear brother, gratious inclination and disposition by all princelie offices of love and respects, to manteane and preserve the amitie and mutuall correspondencie [of] long and happie continuance between our Crounes and Kingdomes : And
so we leave your Maj. to the protection of Almightie God.—

From our Palace of Westminster, the 26 of Feb., in the 7 yeir of our regne of Great Britane, France, and Irland.
Subscribitur, Charles R."


English Civil War; British Civil Wars

Service record

Arrived 1618-01-01, as OFFICER
Departed 1618-12-31, as OFFICER
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1629-01-01, as LT. COLONEL
Departed 1629-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1630-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1637-12-31, as MAJOR GENERAL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1644-02-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1646-12-31
Arrived 1647-01-01, as COLONEL
Departed 1661-12-31, as GENERAL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1654-01-01, as GENERAL
Departed 1654-12-31, as GENERAL
Capacity GOVERNOR, purpose MILITARY