A country in despair

End of 1792
Eastern Götaland and Svealand, September and October 1792

King Gustav visited Östergötland to inspect the newly reformed first- and second life grenadier regiments autumn exercise. The life grenadier regiments together with the life grenadier artillery company formed the life grenadier brigade. Though formerly cavalry units, Gustav could not see that they were any less of infantrymen than the other infantry units he had seen. He asked is always trusted advisor general Armfelt if these grenadiers was as good of infantry as he thought. The general confirmed the king’s thoughts, they were indeed good infantrymen. Having served as cavalry they were still soldiers and the reform had gone along smoothly.

Gustav visited the towns of Nyköping, Norrköping and was currently in Linköping, preparing to travel south to Jönköping by Mjölby. They traveled through Nässjö and Växsjö before stopping in the fields outside of Nybro in Kalmar County. On the western side of the field Östgöta brigade had lined up, on the opposing side Smålands brigade faced them. The exercise played along for an entire day and the king realized just how inadequate of a field officer he was. He knew full well that he was not officer enough to replicate the movements, taking up of positions, withdrawal and offenses played out before his eyes. He asked general Armfelt if this was more experienced troops than they inspected in Östergötland to what the general replied that they were indeed, this was units of old lineage who had fought in all wars since Gustav II Adolf spread fear and death in Germany.

A loud thundering noise roared over the fields, ever increasing in loudness. Over a small hill Gustav saw cavalry galloping in. They charged the southern flank of Smålands brigade and fired their carbines and short muskets as they rode by. Retreated at full speed before they spread out, dismounted, formed lines and advanced, this time at foot. Artillery drawn by horses advanced past the advancing cavalrymen and unlimbered their guns, who started to fire as fast as the infantry brigades own cannons. The cavalrymen marched until they came in range of Smålands brigade and started to release volleys. Smålands brigade retreated and withdrew from the battlefield.

At dinner the commanding officers ate a field meal with the king and the king´s entourage. They discussed the day´s exercise and explained to their king what had happened. Smålands brigade played the part of an invading force, first met by Östgöta brigade who conducted a form of delay battle, always slowly retreating and taking measures to not be outmaneuvered. The arrival of Götalands mounted brigade, who was a complete surprise to the king, aimed to reflect reinforcements from the rest of the kingdom. And in a real war the mounted brigades was the ones who could reinforce different part in the shortest time. Gustav was amazed by the exercise and the officers explaining it. Once again it was clear to him that he did indeed have a lot more to learn of warfare. And once again he felt a dedication to learn and in the future master the art of warfare.

The trip back to Stockholm took the king through Kalmar, Mönsterås, Oskarshamn and Västervik before returning to Norrköping. After that they arrived to Örebro where he inspected the autumn exercise of Värmlands brigade, Dala brigade and Upplands brigade. Värmlands brigade did its best to conduct delay warfare against the attacking Dala and Upplands brigades. An art that the king thought they did well in the wooded landscape. General Armfelt explained to his king that the main assignment for Värmlands brigade was to delay and if possible, hold an invading force from Norway, and offensive warfare in the roadless terrain in Norway if Sweden took to the offensive in such a possible war. So, it was no surprise that the men from Värmland and Närke excelled in this type of warfare. After the exercise they visited Västerås and Enköping before finally returning to Stockhom. Gustav´s Finnish started to come along, and he asked if they could partake in exercises in Finland and visit the eastern fortifications for next years field exercises, as he by that time probably could speak with his subjects in the eastern parts of the kingdom.



Stockholm, November 1792

Krigskollegium and the general staff held a meeting with the government. The war on the continent continued and it was not in the favor of “their” side. Prussia had some success, invading French territory and taking some fortresses, but had by now started to retreat away from French territory. Nice and Savoy along several towns in the Rhineland’s was occupied by France. There was no preparation to go to war by the Russians, but Sweden still held territory in Germany and had to take some measures, without provoking either side.

Krigskollegium had asked commanders of fortifications, navy, archipelago navy and army on what could improve their ability to conduct war and could be fixed in short time. The short answer was weapons. Both navies wanted to rearm ships to larger guns, they wanted more and newer small arms. The fortifications wanted more and newer guns, more and newer small arms. And the army wanted more and newer guns and small arms. The reserve armament for the army had reduced when the army raised and recruited more units, who needed to be armed.

With the wish for a population-based levy or militia that would mean that a levy or militia had to be armed the same way Denmark-Norway armed the people of Iceland when they needed arms to protect against pirates, arm them with pikes, halberds and clubs. To have enough small arms to replace those which broke in active service, arm replacement soldiers and a militia all units needed to have the number of arms they needed and the arms reserve needed to increase to at least 100,000 muskets, short muskets, carbines and rifled muskets.

The Krigskollegium suggested that arms production should increase to the maximum capacity until all arms needed was in place. The arms production manufactories in Finland should be able to start production early next year. The canon manufactory in Finland should focus on 36-pdr long guns for the archipelago navy, rearming and strengthening of the archipelago frigates for the heavier guns taking place at Sveaborg and opening the possibility to transfer the former armament on the frigates directly to the fortress. HMS Dygden had already been rearmed to 36-pdr long guns and its 26 24-pdr´s had been sent to Sveaborg.

The general staff agreed with Krigskollegium that armament production needed to increase to the highest capacity. The government felt a consensus that producing more arms for domestic use would most likely not be seen as a provocation. And if another power protested it could easily be explained as they were producing new arms to replace the old once, which was true. The government agreed and was to send orders to the manufactories. Somewhere around 17,000 small arms and almost 500 guns was estimated to be manufactured yearly.

The different military units was to receive newly made weapons successively and the older weapons was to be transferred to the national arms reserve, for replacement, rearmament and the possible militia. A militia who was still just a theory. Changes in the law needed to be approved by the Riksdag before such a force could be raised. And before that was possible the committee of population development, Risksrådet, Kammarkollegiet and Krigskollegium had to come to an agreement on how such a system could be formed.



Stockholm, December 1792

The regency was informed on how far the ongoing changed had gone. Of the army units all former cavalry units that was to reform to infantry had been reformed. All units that was to be recruited had been recruited. The army continued with raising of the new units within the allotment system. Taxational reform had started, but that would take a couple years until it was properly implemented and started to increase the tax revenue. Sveaborg had completed all connections between the different forts formerly decided upon. With the new guns produced for the fortress and the replacement guns from HMS Dygden it now had a total of 812 guns, still a long way to the more than 1,600 it should have but the armament situation was improving.

The 14-year-old king felt he was almost fluent in Swedish, French and Russian. He could make himself understandable in Finnish but could barely speak Latin. Languages was fun to learn. As was the art of war, now winter was upon the kingdom and Armfelt and Cronstedt could spend more time tutoring him. He was a little disappointed that he could not participate in a naval exercise this summer. But he had to skip something now when he was the new king. Part of his Eriksgata was possible to combine with army exercises, and he was lucky to inspect 3 exercises. He had an idea on how to compensate Cronstedt when the king could not follow him out on the sea and to reward him for his loyalty and good lessons. He took up the idea with his uncle, regent duke Karl, who thought it was a good idea of Gustav to reward his loyal subjects when such was justified. The week before Christmas colonel Carl Olof Cronstedt was promoted to rear admiral by the regent in a ceremony held by the young king.
 
Last edited:
1793
Stockholm, January 1793

The head of treasury held is briefing of the economy for the state for the past year for the regency and government. The total income for the state for the year of 1792 was about 6,800,000 Riksdaler with a surplus of about 500,000 Riksdaler. When asked of funds for the increasement of arms production the head of treasury could not see that it would be a problem, money to pay for more guns and small arms did exist. The assessment of future finances was that the income would continue to slowly increase for some years. The government allocated an additional 100,000 Riksdaler yearly for the completement of the bastions and armament at Sveaborg and Svartholm.



Stockholm, April 1793

There was an eerie silence among the assembled Swedish government. King Louise XVI of France had been executed. Europe seemed to have banded together to crush the French revolution, threatening France with war. In February France declared war on Great Britain, the Netherlands and Spain and in response the Holy Roman Empire, Portugal, Tuscany and Naples declared war on France in March and early April. The Holy Roman Empire, Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, Sardinia, Naples, Tuscany, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal formed a coalition against France. When the silence finally broke several members of the government stated that now was the time for Sweden to join the coalition. The European powers did not crush the French revolution in its cradle and now they paid the price.

The minister of war opted for an immediate declaration of war against France and sending forces to Swedish Pomerania and Wismar to aid Prussia in the northern theater, surely Prussia would welcome 30,000 Swedish troops with open arms. But it slowly became clear that the loud ones that wanted war was a minority in the government, and surely the Riksdag would not vote for a declaration of war. The reason was Russia, who seemed reluctant to go to war, and if Sweden declared war against France, Russia would not join. The alliance was one-way in terms of offensive war against France and Sweden needed Russia’s support in such a war. The governmental meeting ended with the decisions to speed up the reform of the army and rearmament of the ships.



King Gustav was a wreck, the news about the French king’s execution opened the wounds of the death of his father. Once again, he feared for his life, feared that he would be murdered like his father or executed like the French king. His advisor did their best to calm the king. The always calm and wise general Armfelt was the one who managed to calm the king.

“-My king, there is no threat upon your life from the nobility of the same reason as there is no threat to your life from the people. You are well liked by the people. The situation in France is not applicable here” he said with a fatherly voice.

The king who had been greeted with full honors and cheered upon during his Eriksgata realized that the generals’ words held some truth. The people seemed to like him and from all the military exercises he had participated in he know he had the support of the armed forces. “-Yes, Armfelt was probably right, my people did not want me dead.” The young king thought for himself.



Sweden, Summer 1793

King Gustav inspected and commanded several exercises of the army. The largest one was held in Scania were the king commanded Scanias mounted brigade conducting delay battle against Östgöta, Smålands and the grenadier brigades. The infantry on Gustav´s side was Scanias brigade, consisting of the newly raised Northern and Southern Scanias regiments. The green troops in Scanias brigade was no match for the 3 other brigades to “defeat”. Gustav had according to the generals performed well commanding the mounted brigade.

The king commanded a small squadron of frigates in the navy´s summer exercise in the waters south of Karlskrona, at which he did not excel. And back in Stockholm boarded a ship and sailed east to command the entire western squadron of the archipelago navy conduction archipelago battle against the eastern squadron. The exercise took place in the archipelago between Åland and Åbo. The “battle” was a draw and Gustav felt proud as it was a testimony that his ability to command naval vessels had improved. Tough his subordinates had contributed the most, he reluctantly admitted.

After the naval exercises Gustav and his entourage disembarked in Åbo and started the eastern part of his Eriksgata. He inspected the western half of the Finnish army conduction exercises. Visited both Sveaborg and Svartholm before trying to command a light brigade in an exercise for the first time. Commanding Nylands brigade in woodland warfare against Savolax brigade in the eastern parts of Finland. Soldiers and officers alike seemed pleased that their king spoke to them in their native tongue as the king felt confident enough to actually speak Finnish in these parts of his kingdom. Savolax brigade consisted of an entire regiment more than Nylands brigade and the king discussed this with the commanding officers in the Finnish army. As both Savolax and Nylands brigade had similar missions during war it would be a good idea to strengthen Nylands brigade to the same size as Savolax brigade.

Fortunately, regent duke Karl among with half the government arrived in Åbo in official errant just days before the king returned to the city. With both the king and his advisors and the officers in the Finnish army wanting the same thing duke Karl and the government agreed to order the change. The increase of farms since the allotment system came in place was enough to increase the number of soldiers the allotment system in Finland could support. Disbanding Åbo and Björneborgs independent jäger battalions and shifting of what areas supported what troops made it possible to raise 2 new infantry regiment. Åbo & Österbottens regiment and Björneborg & Tavastehus regiment was to be raised and together with an artillery company form Österbottens & Tavastehus brigade. The increasing tax revenue was more than enough to pay for more troops and a jäger regiment of the same type as Savolax jäger regiment was to be recruited in Nyland to increase the size of Nylands brigade and give that brigade the same composition as Savolax brigade with one infantry regiment, one jäger regiment, one independent jäger battalion, one dragon corps and one artillery company. The Finnish army would next year be capable of fielding 5 instead of 4 brigades. The army was to look over the possibility for similar increasement in the western part of the kingdom but stated that since the ongoing reform had not yet been fully implemented the next step of the reformation could not start until at least 1795.



Saint Petersburg, autumn and early winter 1793

The Russian capital held festivities. Grand duke Alexander Pavlovich wed Princess Louise of Baden and the entire capital celebrated. During the festivities count Stenbock congratulated the new spouses on behalf of the Swedish court. He stayed in Saint Petersburg after the wedding ceremony and started to officially talk about a marriage between the young Swedish king and grand duchess Alexandra Pavlovna. Catherine II had already decided that her grand daughter was to be the future queen of Sweden and the Russian court showed great interest in count Stenbock´s suggestion from the Swedish court.

Grand duchess Alexandra was just 10 years of age when her grandmother informed her of the negotiations of a marriages between her and the 15-year-old Swedish king. Count Stenbock had brought a newly made painting depicting the Swedish king and given it to the grand duchess, Alexandra thought that the young Swedish king looked really handsome. She began to think of herself as queen in the old kingdom in the north. She felt rejoiced when she learned that king Gustav of Sweden could speak Russian and she took that information as a statement that he really wanted to make her his wife. To reciprocate the kindness and good intentions she started to learn Swedish. If her future husband could speak with her in her native tongue, she should be able to do the same to him. And to be able to speak the language of her future realm would indeed not be a bad thing at all.



Stockholm, December 1793

The Swedish court was informed on how the Russian court received the suggested marriage and negotiations started from both parties. The Russian court repaid king Gustav´s sent painting with sending a painting depicting grand duchess Alexandra, so freshly made that the paint had almost not had time to dry. King Gustav thought his future wife looked really young, almost like a child. But she looked cute and pretty. His advisors praised her beauty and stated that this Russian princess would grow into a truly beautiful young woman in the closest years. Gustav felt that his father had been correct, the Russian princess would look beautiful and fair when she grew up to a woman, and he would indeed manage.



The armed forces held their briefing on how the forces had developed during the year. The two infantry regiments that was to be raised in Scania had been raised but was not a well-trained force yet. The army had received 14,000 new small arms and 300 guns. The reorganization started in 1792 would be completed next year, as would the new reorganization in Finland started this year.

The navy had rearmed 3 ships of the line to 36-pdr long guns, HMS Dristigheten, HMS Manligheten and HMS Försiktigheten sending their 78 replaced 24-pdr guns to Sveaborg. The navy received 1,000 small arms beyond the new guns. While the archipelago navy had not yet rearmed their frigates, who was to be rearmed. Strengthening of the hulls and rearmament of 2 frigates would be conducted during this winter and estimated to be completed when summer came. The archipelago navy also received 1,000 small arms.

Sveaborg had completed half of the new bastions, received 78 guns from the navy and 86 new produced guns, bringing the fortress to 976 guns in total. Svartholm still awaited the completion of Sveaborg before constructions and increasement of arms started on that fortress. Sveaborg received 400 small arms and 100 was sent to Svartholm.
 
Last edited:
Good chapte. It’s nice that Gustav and Alexandra is showing interest in each other.
For potential names for their children.
Boy: Gustav, Karl, Erik, Magnus, Olof
Girls: Katarina, Sofia, Alexandra, Maria, Amalia
 
Good chapte. It’s nice that Gustav and Alexandra is showing interest in each other.
For potential names for their children.
Boy: Gustav, Karl, Erik, Magnus, Olof
Girls: Katarina, Sofia, Alexandra, Maria, Amalia
Yeah, here's to hoping they have a nice and loving marriage.
 
Yeah, here's to hoping they have a nice and loving marriage.
So far I have only changed the parts with the painting on this one. And that Gustav learned Russian.
Have not found sources that they sent pictures of themselfs, but other rulers did during talks of marriage so in my opinion it was highly likely that they did.

OTL Alexandra is said to have fallen head over heels in love with Gustav and he really broke her hearth when he refused to attend the engagement ceremoni and locked himself in his room instead.
So I figured that they were probably physically attracted to each other.
 
So far I have only changed the parts with the painting on this one. And that Gustav learned Russian.
Have not found sources that they sent pictures of themselfs, but other rulers did during talks of marriage so in my opinion it was highly likely that they did.

OTL Alexandra is said to have fallen head over heels in love with Gustav and he really broke her hearth when he refused to attend the engagement ceremoni and locked himself in his room instead.
So I figured that they were probably physically attracted to each other.
Yeah, that's a sad outcome no matter how you slice it.
 
Yeah, that's a sad outcome no matter how you slice it.
It is. History might have been very different had they married.
Maybe a Russian queen in Sweden could have made Gustav IV think twice before risking a war with his brother in law, and perhaps Alexander I would have been a little more reluctant to wage war against his sisters kingdom? Maybe Gustav could have been persuaded to join the continental system?

So far my changes have been domestic, focused on economy, military and social changes. I have tried to keep it within reason. Now I am closing in on changes that will butterfly things outside of Sweden. It will be harder to "guess" and "predict" the story line but for me it feels more exiting now when the butterflies start to flap.
 
1794 and 1795
Stockholm, January 1794

Even tough his kingdom was at peace Gustav attended a war council, that was not the name this meeting had been given, but it was nevertheless a council of war. The war against France raged on. Some good things had happened in the former year, like some areas in France rebelling against the revolutionary rule of the country and Austria winning a battle early in the year. However, that did not stop the victorious French forces. Austria, Great Britain and German countries lost several battles against France, to add worse news, the French queen had been executed.

The situation did not look good for the “Swedish” side. Especially since France had started to levy huge number of its citizens to the army with their levée en masse-decree. Duke Karl wanted to copy the levée en masse as it would be a good way to levy troops in Sweden. They would give instructions for the committees concerned to investigate the possibility to implement the same, or a similar system in Sweden.

Gustav felt sad for the French royal family who met their fate at the hands of French executioners. He was terrified that the revolution would spread and become an all-out extinction of the noble families of Europe. His own kingdom showed no signs for revolutionary tendencies but that could change. Finally, he broke his silence in this council when he asked what had started the French revolution. It was a high number of reasons it seemed, but lack of food seemed to be of importance.

The council shifted from discussing the France against the rest of Europe war and started talking about how to prepare the kingdom for the possibility of famine and how to deal should such a thing occur. With a large reserve of funds food could be bought from other lands but depots with food that lasted a long time could both be used in a potential war and to ease the burden upon the people should a famine come. The army and the navy were given the orders to see to that those storages would be built, maintained and rotated. A sum of 150,000 Riksdaler to build it up was allocated for this year with a following 50,000 Riksdaler yearly to maintain and rotate the supplies.



Just days after the war council Gustav along with the regency was called to an assembly of the government, the economy for the past year was to be presented. “-Meetings replacing meetings, to be a king surely has its boring sides” Gustav said with a whisper to his uncle. The head of treasury looked prouder and more pompous than ever when he started his briefing. The taxational reform of 1792 had finally been fully implemented and the head of treasury seemed to believe him alone was the reason for the good finances of the kingdom.

The income for the state for the year of 1793 had risen to 7,250,000 Riksdaler. Continued building on forts, purchase of weapons and paying for new forces had increased the expenses to 6,650,000 given the state a surplus of 600,000 Riksdaler increasing the “reserve” as the head of treasury called it to 1,300,000 Riksdaler. As all in the government was just waiting for Russia to call the kingdom to war a large reserve of economical means was needed. War on the European continent was expensive, but Sweden would most likely need subsidies from the other richer participants in the war if Sweden was to contribute.



Norrland, spring 1794

Gustav continued to inspect and command troops in exercises. He knew all to well that once he came of age and became the ruler there would not be time for such things, at least during peace. And if he was to lead the Swedish arms in war like his father and ancestors had done before him, he needed to be a competent commander. To achieve that he needed to train, study and lead in exercises. This spring he participated in the exercises in Norrland, harsh and almost brutal men made up the core in the northern forces. Long winters with almost complete darkness and short summers with little crop from the fields must have made these men of a different breed, Gustav thought. The huge lands between Gävle and Umeå almost completely lacked a standing force, besides the newly raised light battalion from Medelpad and Ångermanland. Gustav asked the during Gustav´s exercises in the army always present general Armfelt about the subject. To which the general replied that it was a passing obstacle. If the government had not lost all their wisdom the landscapes with vast forests, deep canyons, huge rivers and mountainous terrain that was Västernorrland would field a regiment of their own in just a few years, that was at least what the army would suggest to the government.

The exercise took place in the fields and forests south of Umeå. What was now Norrlands brigade, consisting of 3 infantry regiments, 1 light and 1 jäger battalion, 1 dragoon corps and 2 artillery companies conducted exercise for warfare in farmlands, woodlands, mountains and a steep archipelago islands. For almost a month the exercise took place and Gustav was amazed when he heard and saw cannons who had been dragged high up give fire from mountain tops. An invading force would surely have a hard time fighting these Northlanders in this terrain.



Sweden, summer 1794

Gustav attended military exercises in western Götaland before turning south to attend a small naval exercise outside of Göteborg. His command in the exercises started to become that of a general, moving figures representing units on a map and overlooking the exercise from a nearby hill. It was not as fun as commanding directly in the fields, but he realized that as king, he could not lead regiments in battle. The overall strategic situation was a king’s mission during war and not to command battalions, regiments, brigades or whole armies.

When inspecting the archipelago navy at port in Stockholm Gustav received a letter. It was written in badly spelled Swedish, but it was readable. It was sent from grand duchess Alexandra Pavlovna. Gustav felt his hearth beating faster just by the knowledge of whom had sent the letter. King Gustav was not bothered by the poor spelling, as the grand duchess hardly could have spoken or written in Swedish for a long time. Alexandra stated that she looked forward to meeting him in person and that she wanted to learn more about Sweden. Maybe he could be so kind to give her some books about Sweden, preferably written in Swedish and maybe some recipes for Swedish food she could try. She had written that she had, as he could see for himself started to learn Swedish, it was difficult, but she truly tried.

Back at Drottningholm castle he made the staff know his intentions before writing a letter of his own in response. He wrote the letter in Russian, silently thanking Vasilii for teaching him the Russian language. He wrote that he too longed to meet her, about things he had done recently and stating that not only would he send her books, but he would arrange for a Swedish chef to visit Saint Petersburg if the Russian court allowed it so that she could taste traditional Swedish food made by a traditional Swedish chef. He ended the letter with a wish that he someday would have the honor to dance with her. As a sidenote he explained to the Russian princess that if she did not speak French already, it might be a good idea to learn that language too, as it was the official language spoken at the Swedish court.



Stockholm, autumn 1794

Duke Karl was not happy, the Swedish law dictated that a queen of Sweden had to confess to the evangelic faith. And now his Russian counterpart proclaimed that if a marriage was to happen between the Swedish king and the Russian grand duchess, she must be allowed to keep her Russian orthodox faith. When he spoke to the king about the subject the king did not seem to think that the faith his wife mattered that much. “-The Russians still worship the true god, do they not?” he asked. The Swedish court, government, Riksdag and entire kingdom appeared to want this marriage to realize, formalizing the alliance and tie the bonds between the kingdom of Sweden and the Russian empire tighter. That settled the question, the Riksdag would have to vote for a change in the law when it assembled next spring.

Lacking a father of his own since Gustav III´s tragic and early death duke Karl felt he had become more of a father figure than an uncle to the king. Duke Karl did not have any children of his own and he almost saw the king as an adoptive son. Writing a proclamation to the Riksdag for the vote to change the law he could not help himself from smiling. He had found the king in an awkward situation; he could not prove anything but he to had been a young man and had his suspicions. Entering the king’s chambers, stupidly without knocking, he saw the king throw his blankets over himself. His face red and breathing fast as he looked shamingly on the floor. The small painting of Alexandra Pavlovna on the bedside table instead of on the wall by the king´s mirror as its usually hung. Duke Karl smiled and closed the door without speaking a word. He kept this secret for himself and never spoke to the king about it. And the regent of the kingdom of Sweden felt certain that the king would, if the negotiations were successful, not hesitate to wed the Russian princess.



Stockholm, winter 1795

The king, regency and entire government assembled for summarizations of the past year. France had extended the war to the West Indies, occupied Belgium and the Rhineland as well as entering northern Spain. Prussia appeared to have ceased fighting the French. This was not good news at all, if Prussia changed sides, it was a high possibility that they looked on Swedish Pomerania and Wismar for expansion. Measures had to be taken.

During 1794 the last parts of the army reformation started in 1791 was completed, as was the reforms in the allotment system in Finland, giving Finland two additional infantry regiments. Now was the time to take the next step in the reformation. Copying the relocations of what areas supported what troops to different units in the allotment system from Finland to the western part of the realm was to be done.

Farmlands in Västernorrland south of the vast Skule forest should raise a new infantry regiment, Västernorrlands regiment.

Farmlands in Ångermanland north of Skule forest together with farmlands in southeastern Västerbotten should support the existing Västerbottens light battalion.

Those 2 units together with Västerbottens regiment was to form Norrlands brigade. Hälsinge regiment no longer part of Norrlands brigade would form a brigade with Upplands regiment.

Jämtlands regiment, Jämtlands footjäger battalion and Jämtlands dragoon corps was to form Jämtlands brigade, a brigade of the same composition as the existing Värmlands brigade. A type of brigade now called western border brigade.

Närke-Värmlands regiment was to split and increase to two regiments, Värmlands regiment and Närke regiment. Värmlands regiment was to stay in Värmlands brigade and Närke regiment together with Södermanlands regiment form a brigade.

Västgöta-Dals regiment was to split and increase to two regiments, Västergötlands and Dalslands regiments and form a brigade.

A dragoon corps was to be raised and a footjäger battalion recruited in Bohuslän, who together with Bohusläns regiment would form Bohus brigade, a western border brigade.

In southern Sweden a new brigade would be formed by raising regiments in Halland and Blekinge.

As per the earlier decision, all brigades was to have an artillery company consisting of 12 3-pdr cannons to increase their firepower.

The army was to implement these new reforms before the century ended.



As usual during January the head of treasury held his summarization for last year. With an income for the state of 7,400,000 Riksdaler, expenses of 6,800,000 Riksdaler the surplus was 600,000 Riksdaler which increased the monetary reserve to 1,900,000 Riksdaler. The head of treasury stated that he truly looked forward to the times the military build up would end, so that the surplus for the state could increase instead of staying roughly the same when the kingdom seemed to take on new project every time the income increased. With the taxational reform completed, a huge increase of the state’s income as the two last years was no longer possible and the state should act accordingly when deciding upon new expenses.

The armed forces presented what they have accomplished last year. With 3 more ships of the line refitted with 36-pdr long guns, HMS Äran, HMS Tapperheten and HMS Fädernäslandet they now had refitted 7 ships of the line. The 24-pdr guns, 78 in number from the 3 previously mentioned ships had been sent to Sveaborg. HMS Dygden had been badly damaged by a fire in the powder storage but would be repaired and was expected to once again enter active service next autumn. The navy received 500 small arms during last year.

The archipelago navy had rebuilt and refitted 2 archipelago frigates, HMS Styrbjörn and HMS Starkotter, sending their 32 12-pdr guns to Sveaborg and 8 3-pdr guns to the army. Apart from the new guns the archipelago navy received 1,000 small arms.

The army had finished the first part of the reorganization and could now field 18 infantry brigades and 3 mounted brigades, to compare with 5 mounted brigades and 11 infantry brigades during the Russo-Swedish war of 1788-1790. The army received about 250 guns and 14,000 small arms.

At Svartholm some preparations to complete its bastions were made, it received 500 small arms. Sveaborg was nearly finished, it received 110 guns from the navies and 88 newly casted guns bringing the fortress up to 1,174 guns. It also received 1,000 small arms.



Stockholm, spring 1795

The Riksdag gathered in Stockholm. The usual subjects was debated, and some minor changes was voted in, among anchoring the new army reforms with the Riksdag. When the vote for changing the law, making it possible for the king to be married to a queen who belonged to a different faith than the evangelic, the change was that the queen had to be Christian, not a single member voted against the change. Duke Karl felt tremendously relieved, and he could see the excitement in king Gustav´s eyes, the young man appeared to stay true to what he had promised his father on the former king´s deathbed, that he would marry a Russian princess.

Tough it was unusual and highly unorthodox the king himself wrote a letter to grand duchess Alexandra, informing her on the good news. The Swedish court also sent an official letter to the Russian court informing them on the result of the vote. The court thought that their Russian counterpart would not oppose the Swedish king´s enthusiasm and made a statement in the official letter that the king would write to the grand duchess as he wanted her to know the good news from him directly. The king´s letter was to be sent two weeks after the courts official letter.



Sweden, summer and autumn 1795

Gustav would come of age in the autumn next year and he only had this year and the next summer to be able to participate in military exercises, well maybe just this year if he was a married man next year, with new obligations. So, he wanted to command as much as possible.

Armfelt took him to command in exercises in eastern Götaland, Scania, western Götaland, western Svealand, eastern Svealand and western Finland. They inspected Sveaborg where the finishing touches were made on the virtually completed fortress. In northern Finland Gustav commanded both Savolax and Nylands brigade in woodland warfare against the rest of the Finnsh army. His army exercises ended in Norrland with the king training as an artillery commander in Västerbottens artillery company.

Cronstedt arrived in Umeå and the king boarded a ship and sailed south to command all 3 squadrons of the archipelago navy in maneuver warfare. Next stop was in Vaxholm where the king changed to a ship of the line and trained maneuvers in line battle.

He did not know if he would be able to partake in any exercises next year and seeing as he would come of age and most likely wed a Russian princess next year, he gathered both of his military tutors at Drottningholm castle to officially celebrate his 17th birthday. In front of the entire Swedish court and regency he thanked the two officers for all their service, advise and tutelage. Rewarding them both handsomely. For four years they had been his tutors, become his friends and trusted advisors. He did not feel like a great commander and he had not invented a new naval maneuver named after him. But he knew he had learned much and if he combined his practical knowledge with studying books of the art of war, he felt certain he could contribute at least some should his kingdom be forced to go to war.
 
Last edited:
Entering the king’s chambers, stupidly without knocking, he saw the king throw his blankets over himself. His face red and breathing fast as he looked shamingly on the floor. The small painting of Alexandra Pavlovna on the bedside table instead of on the wall by the king´s mirror as its usually hung.
Is this what they call a Swedish wank?
 
Good update
So the marriage will take place next year. Unfortunately Catherine died the same year in OTL because of a stroke. So if everything goes well maybe she will live a little longer because she is less stressed.
 
1796
Sweden, winter 1796

At the governmental assembly the events of last year were presented and discussed. Starting with foreign affairs the present war was a grim affair. Early in the year Tuscany surrendered to France, during spring last year Prussia had signed a peace with France and recognizing the French occupation left of the Rhine and in the summer, Spain signed for peace. The coalition against France appeared to have broken. France had invaded and installed a French controlled government in the low countries, establishing what was called the Batavian Republic. British attempts to support French royalist failed, as did an attempt to overthrow the French government. If Sweden was attacked in its German provinces either by a treacherous Prussia or a joint attack from France and the Batavian republic Sweden needed to be prepared.

The small and few vessels that with imagination could be called the Prussian navy was not a threat since that naval force could easily be defeated by a small part of the Swedish navy. A joint French and Batavian attack from the North Sea was an entirely different thing. Big parts of the Swedish navy was old, and to counter a possible naval invasion it needed to be modernized to some extent. Krigskollegium were given the job to evaluate which older ships that could be sold as well as evaluate the possibility to order new ships. Both new ships of the line and frigates would be a valuable addition.

The economic situation for the state continued to show good revenue, with an income of 7,450,000 Riksdaler, expenses at 6,700,000 Riksdaler it gave a surplus of 750,000 Riksdaler. The additional surplus for 1795 increased the monetary reserve to 2,650,000 and it was a full consensus in the government that the kingdom could afford to strengthen its navy, especially if some of the older ships could be sold instead of being scrapped. The good years might come to an end the head of treasury warned, so the state should be careful not to start spending all the surplus, after all a large reserve was needed if Sweden was forced to go to war.

Concerning the possible marriage between king Gustav and grand duchess Alexandra the court was happy to announce that the negotiations between the Swedish and Russian courts had come to an agreement. When the Baltic Sea was released from its icy grip and ships once again started to sail the Baltic the king received an invitation from empress Catherine to visit Saint Petersburg.



Saint Petersburg, spring and summer 1796

King Gustav with his entourage and his uncle duke Karl arrived at Saint Petersburg in May. They were greeted by the empress and the Russian court. Gustav saw a young woman standing behind the empress and he instantly knew who she was when their eyes met. Grand duchess Alexandra wore a beautiful blue dress with yellow decorations, the Swedish colors, on her head she wore a tiara made to resemble summer flowers. The not yet 13-year-old princess was in Gustav´s mind the most beautiful girl he had ever laid eyes on. He noticed that the people around him had stopped talking and the room was silent for a short moment before he broke the silence.

“-Grand Duchess Alexandra, if I am not mistaking?” he asked in Russian.

“-Gustav King, believe I?” she answered in Swedish, struggling a little with how to construct the sentence correctly.

“-Your majesty, might I just say that no paintings, words or rumors can ever explain the beauty you possess. Even the stars on a clear night sky would fade in brightness should you go for an evening walk” Gustav said in French.

The gathered delegations silently looked as the two young royalties spoke softly to each other. After Gustav had praised her beauty, they could see Alexandra blush as she shortly looked away. The king´s words had made quite an impression on the young Russian princess.

Several brilliant parties were held to honor the Swedish sovereigns. At each party the Swedish king never danced with anyone else than the grand duchess. They could be seen having passionate and intimate conversations. The Swedish king never laid his eyes on another girl or woman and his passion for the grand duchess was evident. Alexandra who first looked a little shy and confused talked freely with Gustav, and each new time she saw him the happiness in her eyes could be seen for all present.

Opportunities for the young royalties to spend time during the daytime was arranged. They walked closely besides each other, always talking, smiling and laughing. It was clear beyond doubt that they both felt attraction and warm feelings for each other. To make sure nothing that might bring dishonor to either part happened they were closely watched. One evening in July at the palace gardens as they prepared to wish each other a good night’s sleep Gustav leaned forward and gave Alexandra her first kiss, a kiss who immediately was interrupted by the ones placed to keep such a ting from happening. It was a brief kiss but that was all Alexandra needed, she now knew with all her hearth what Gustav felt for her.

At the end of July Gustav attended some military maneuvers with Alexandra’s father, grand duke Pavel. Gustav asked his possible father-in-law if he might have the honor to lead a regiment in an exercise, perhaps against another force, to what the grand duke responded that he thought it was an excellent idea. Gustav commanded a regiment and managed to outmaneuver his opponent when pretending to withdraw only to encircle his opponent with extended flanks in a pincer movement, giving fire in three ranks from three sides. Grand duke Pavel could not hide his surprise as he did not believe the Swedish king to be a competent field commander. For a week the grand duke and together with Russian officers tested Gustav´s skills as a commander in three more exercises. Returning to Saint Petersburg duke Pavel stated that he would be honored to have his daughter not only wed a king, but a competent commander as well. Gustav humbly said that he might be somewhat capable commander on land, but that he was no military genius and if they participated in a naval exercise the Russian naval officers would have no problem defeating him.

On the 9th of August the Russian court celebrated grand duchess Alexandra’s 13th birthday. A celebration Gustav attended. He did not want to interrupt the celebrations by spending all time with Alexandra, this was her party, and she should be free to do as she pleased. It did not go as Gustav planned, Alexandra asked him to sit beside her as soon as it was possible. Intimately speaking to him and holding his hands. The participants in the celebrations showed no signs that they thought Alexandra’s apparent affection was inappropriate, on the contrary all claimed that they looked like a beautiful couple and that their true affection and love could be seen.

The day after her birthday Alexandra confessed to her sisters, mother and grand mother that she had fallen in love with king Gustav and wanted to marry him. Two days after Alexandra´s birthday king Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden asked empress Catherine II of Russia for permission to marry grand duchess Alexandra, to which the empress gave him her permission. On the August 22 the Swedish embassy formally requested the hand of the grand duchess to the Russian court.

September 1 the official engagement between the king of Sweden and grand duchess Alexandra Pavlovna took place in the throne room of the Winter palace in Saint Petersburg. Gustav was dressed in a royal uniform while Alexandra was dressed as a traditional Russian bride. When the engagement was declared Gustav felt courageous enough to give his bride a short but passionate kiss. The couple received countless well wishes and congratulations. Gustav took his brides hands and said he would build a ship named after her in her honor. Alexandra seemed somewhat confused by those words and Gustav explained it was a Swedish naval tradition to name large ships of war after members of the royal family. Alexandra smiled as it could only mean that her new kingdom would see her as a member of the royal family. “-Well of course they would when she became the Swedish queen” she thought smiling as she realized she would most likely give birth to yet another new member of the Swedish royal family in the closest years to come.



Stockholm, autumn 1796

October 25 at Sankt Nicolai church in Stockholm Gustav IV Adolf married grand duchess Alexandra. The wedding celebration was held at Stockholm castle. The bride’s father and mother attended the wedding and following celebrations. Grand duke Pavel congratulated his daughter and new son-in-law and wished them a long and happy marriage. He congratulated them on behalf of the empress and said “-On behalf of wishes of grand duchess, pardon, queen Alexandra. Russia wish to bestow a gift upon our former Russian princess new kingdom. It has come to our knowledge that the Swedish navy build and name ships in honor of its royalty. Russia grant Sweden oak timber enough to build a ship of the line of the same type and size as the ship your majesty intend to build in honor of my daughter. May the ships sail closely in unison the same way your majesties shall walk through life in unison for as long as you both shall live.” Gustav could hardly find his words to thank the grand duke for his gift. “May the ships Queen Alexandra and King Gustav act as the western shield on the Baltic Sea for the Russian empire for as long as they shall float.”

The entire kingdom of Sweden celebrated the marriage and their new queen. The papers wrote that around Europe and through history, few were the rulers who married out of love instead of by politics. But no one could deny the fact that their own king not only found a wife of high political value, but also a woman he loved. For all those who had seen the king together with his queen testified that the truest of love existed between the royal couple.



Krigskollegium had found older ships that could be sold, and ordered constructions of two ships of the line, of an improved and upgraded version of the Kronprins Gustaf Adolf-class as well as four frigates of the Bellona-class. The ships they found for selling was the 70-gun ship of the line HMS Prins Carl Fredrik and the frigate HMS Svarta Örn with 42 guns,. The Swedish East India Company wanted to purchase the ship of the line and the frigate, keeping 30 guns on the former ships of the line and 20 on the former frigate. The 50 guns from the ships was sold to the Royal Navy. In all the deals made up a sum of almost 300,000 Riksdaler, enough to pay for one and a half new frigates.



In December a grievous massage reached the Swedish court. Written by the Swedish queen’s father. The queen’s grandmother empress Catherine II had died in November, the empress hearth had failed her. Queen Alexandra felt heartbroken by the news of her beloved grandmother’s death and her husband gave his best efforts to comfort her. Her father would become emperor and she found some comfort that her former land would have a just and fair ruler.
 
Last edited:
Good update
So the marriage will take place next year. Unfortunately Catherine died the same year in OTL because of a stroke. So if everything goes well maybe she will live a little longer because she is less stressed.
It took place.
Unfortunately I did not see your post before I wrote the update and I had already written that empress Catherine died.
She experienced her granddaughter marrying a man of political value that she loved. So she might have been a little more happy before she died.
 
1797
Sweden, winter 1797

King Gustav came of age the first of November 1796 and was now the head of state in Sweden. One of his first official businesses to undertake had sadly been to send his condolences to the Russian court on account of Catherine II´s death. Alexandra told him that she felt homesick just one month after their marriage and with the passing of her grandmother her homesickness had not eased. As a sidenote he asked the Russian court if they could recommend some Russian chef, who were familiar with the food they usually ate at the Russian court and knew Alexandra´s favorite dishes.

As he had been in Russia a large part of last year and had been preoccupied by account on being a newlywed for the remainder of the year, he asked to be briefed on what had occurred the two last years. With the selling of the ships to the East India Company the income for the year 1796 had increased to a staggering 7,700,000 Rd, total expenses reached 6,700,000 Rd giving a surplus of 1,000,000 Rd and increasing the reserve to 3,650,000 Rd.

The army had completed the recruitment of a footjäger battalion and raising of a dragoon corps in Bohuslän, as well as splitting Närke-Värlmands regiment in two and increased the size to two full regiments. The army had received a total of almost 400 guns and almost 30,000 small arms, increasing the reserve in small arms to over 50,000 small arms. Sveaborg had been completed and now had over 1,500 guns, lacking barely 100 guns to be fully armed and the replacement of older guns could start next year. Constructions to complete all bastions on Svartholm was to start this year.

The archipelago navy had rebuilt and rearmed the frigates HMS Hjalmar and HMS Oden. While the navy had repaired HMS Dygden. Rebuild and rearmed the 60-gun ship of the line HMS Wasa and the 62-gun ship of the line HMS Prins Fredrik Adolf to 68-gun ships of the line, carrying 36-pdr long guns on the lower gundecks. The two 68-gun ships of the line HMS Konung Gustaf III and HMS Konung Adolf Fredrik had been rebuilt and rearmed to 74-gun ships of the line, also with 36-pdr long guns on the lower gundecks. Both navies had sent the residual guns to Sveaborg. Both navies also received around 1,500 small arms each.

The navy, together with Krigskollegium, the Admiralty and the committee for naval equipment had estimated the needed number of ships to 15 ships of the line and 15 frigates. An order for a third new ship of the line of the same model as the previously ordered two new ships had been placed. With three new ships of the line and four new frigates the three oldest frigates and the three oldest, not rearmed or rebuilt ships of the line was to be mothballed and act as reserve or replacement ships should the need arise. With that the navy could possibly be increased to 18 of each of the two main types of ships. The newer Swedish ships of the line and frigates had a higher firepower than ships of comparable size in other navies, and as long as Sweden’s potential enemies did not develop stronger ships or increased the size of their navies 15 ships of the line and 15 frigates was enough. The frigates of Bellona-class was built and armed strong enough to provide the ships of the line some aid in the line of battle. As was HMS Gripen, a 44-gun frigate chopped down from a 52-gun ship of the line. It was possible to sell the six warships, but for now no potential buyer that was not also a potential enemy existed which explained the decision to mothball the ships.

The French war continued to develop against Swedish interests. Austria had managed to repel a French incursion to Bavaria but lost several battles in Italy. Piedemont-Sardinia was forced to sign peace with France after it had been defeated in battle. The rebellion in France led by royalists had been crushed.

Sweden, summer 1797

Early in the spring two Russian chefs, formerly employed at the Russian court arrived in Sweden. At the Swedish court it was virtually only the king and queen who spoke Russian, but the two chefs could make themselves understood in French so there was no real issue with communicating with them. Gustav had not told Alexandra that he asked her father for some Russian chefs, and he made them prepare her favorite meal from when she grew up to surprise her. This small surprise made Alexandra really happy, and she threw herself upon her husband showering him with kisses and declarations of her love for him when the meal was brought in, and she saw what it was.

Gustav had during his time as a student-officer eaten simple and basic meals, refusing to eat luxury food unavailable to the soldiers and sailors when he was in the field and at sea with them. He had appreciated the Russian cuisine when he visited Saint Petersburg last year and he did not feel that it would be a big deal eating the food of the Russian court once or twice a week. Alexandra was pleased with the additional choices in what was possible to be served and that was all that mattered.

Both her French and Swedish had improved greatly during the half a year she had stayed in Sweden. She had made a lot of new friends at the Swedish court, something Gustav was delighted about since he wanted her to enjoy living in Sweden. He knew she enjoyed his company and to be his wife, there was no question about that, but he also wanted her to enjoy all other things which was required by a queen. So far it was only her homesickness that she was not pleased about, a homesickness that was understandable since she became a queen in a foreign land at a young age.

Gustav had a full time conducting all royal obligations that came with the crown. He barely had time to inspect his armed forces. To join them in exercise as their commander was not possible but he managed to inspect several regiments during his first year as the head of state. To keep himself as somewhat of a capable field commander he exercises with the lifeguard. A force who now followed him in strong numbers when he left the royal castles. Exercising with his lifeguard was much easier than taking command of a randomly selected regiment. How Armfelt managed to organize all exercises he had participated in he could not possibly understand, and he offered him his silent thanks.

The Swedish court arranged a grand ceremony to celebrate the queen’s 14th birthday, the court wanted queen Alexandra to feel that they appreciated her company. For Alexandra it was a testimony of what she had already suspected, she was a popular queen in this foreign land. The Swedish Academy gave her a book about the history of Sweden, written in both Swedish and Russian page for page. She had started to befriend some of the members of The Swedish Academy and happily accepted their gift. From her husband she received a beautifully made necklace with the inscription “To my loving and beautiful wife”. Alexandra decided then and there that she would always support and give guidance to her husband as he had given it to her.

Sweden, autumn 1797

In September Gustav had the chance to inspect parts of the navy. Four newly made frigates was delivered to the navy from af Chapman’s shipyard. 40-gun frigates carrying 26x24-pdr and 14x6-pdr guns. Gustav named the ships; HMS Hera, HMS Gaia, HMS Athena and HMS Afrodite. The navy took all ships out to sea, testing their sailing qualities and Gustav followed on HMS Gaia. Back in port the king was informed that the frigates HMS Sprengtporten, HMS Jarrammas and HMS Illerim would all be mothballed, awaiting the need to use them or a possibility the sell them, whichever came first and was deemed as the best solution.

When Gustav returned to Drottningholm castle he was greeted by his wife, who absolutely shined of happiness. Taking his hand and leading him to their bedroom. When they arrived, she looked him in his eyes, her own glowing in excitement. Alexandra and Gustav sat next to each other on the bed when she told him that she had suspected something since about a week before her birthday, and now she was certain; she was with child and would give birth sometime next spring. Gustav felt warm inside his body and could hardly understand the joyful words coming from his lovely wife. This was not what he first thought would happen when Alexandra led him to their bedroom, but it was a blessed new information non the less. A huge smile came over his face, he was to be a father. They decided to wait until after childbirth to inform her relatives in the Russian court, the Baltic would freeze before the first months of the pregnancy had passed and it was possible the child would come before the ice melted anyway. Alexandra felt certain that her father would be happy to be not only emperor, but a grandfather to.
 
Last edited:
Great chapter.
It’s nice that Alexandra is liking her new home and that she is already pregnant. Hopefully the pregnancy will go well now when she both can eat food and have competent doctors.
 
Last edited:
Great chapter.
It’s nice that Alexandra is liking her new home and that she is already pregnant. Hopefully the pregnancy will go well now when she both can eat food and have competent doctors.
The competent doctor parts i would love to find out more about if it is correct.
Myself have not found anything that shows that people of medical knowledge was more competent in Sweden than in Austria.

Sources on Alexandra Pavlovna claimed that she did not eat nearly enough. And that might very well be the whole reason her daughter died and she did not recover from childbirth.
Her own mother gave birth to ten children, sister Elena two, sister Maria five, sister Catherine four and sister Anna five. That is a rather fertile family.
 
The competent doctor parts i would love to find out more about if it is correct.
Myself have not found anything that shows that people of medical knowledge was more competent in Sweden than in Austria.

Sources on Alexandra Pavlovna claimed that she did not eat nearly enough. And that might very well be the whole reason her daughter died and she did not recover from childbirth.
Her own mother gave birth to ten children, sister Elena two, sister Maria five, sister Catherine four and sister Anna five. That is a rather fertile family.
When I read the English Wikipedia article on Alexandra it seemed like the doctors were more concerned with following the orders from Empress Maria Theresa then what were best for Alexandra.
 
Last edited:
Top