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James Butler was a nobleman from Ireland who was in Polish service against Russia in 1617-18, heading a troop of 500 men. In 1619 he obtained a travel permit to go to Britain in order to recruit and he brought a small number of troops back to Poland with him. He came to Livonia in February 1622 to fight under Duke Krzysztof Radziwill against Swedish forces where he led 300 men, probably mostly English and Irish. He was highly praised by Radziwill for leading his infantry unit during the siege of Mitau in the summer of that year. He also command his troops as escort for Lithuanian envoys in negotiations with Swedes in autumn same year. On 23 October 1623 he had been commended to King James VI and I by King Sigismund III Vasa. He had his noble status confirmed in Poland-Lithuania in 1627. In 1625 he commanded a 400-men strong regiment of dragoons in the 'Polish Quarter Army' (‘wojsko kwarciane’) with whom he fought against Cossacks during the summer of that year. He also under the command of Duke Stanislaw Koniecpolski during the 1626-1629 campaigns against Swedes in Prussia. Butler took part in almost every battle of the campaign. During March 1627 he participated in the successful siege of Putzig (Puck), after which his troops were part of the Polish army in the battle of Hammerstein (Czarne) in same year. This is probably the same James Butler who defeated the Swedes at Danziger Haupt on 25 June 1627 and at Mewe on 3 July that year. He led his dragoons in the battle of Dirschau (Tczew) on the 7th-8th August 1627. He was commissioned to raise a regiment at his own expense in December 1628. Chancellor Oxenstierna referred to a "Butlar's" regiment in February 1629, which is probably his. Butler's regiment was highly active throughout the 1628 campaign, especially during autumn’s struggle in area of Grudenz (Grudziadz) and Strassburg (Brodnica). In same year his regiment reformed into an infantry unit (but with one or two companies of dragoons). It took part in the battle of Gorzno (12 February 1629) where the Polish army was defeated by Swedes. In summer/autumn the same year he led his infantry regiment in campaigns against Swedish positions near Marienburg (Malbork). This officer was highly valued by Koniecpolski, who praised him in many letters written to Sigismund III (Zygmunt III). The Swedish Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna was certainly aware that in April 1630 Butler was recruiting troops for Imperial service, and that in June he was en route with his men toward Schlesien. However, at Thorn some of his men mutinied and Swedish officers were making the most of enlisting the mutineers for Gustav II Adolf's service. This is possibly the same man that Oxenstierna called "old Butler" who was engaged in recruiting 2000 Cossacks (of which 800 were in place) on behalf of the Imperial army in Silesia in September 1631. He returned from Imperial service in 1633 and led a 1000-man strong regiment of infantry as part of Wladyslaw IV army that marched to the relief of Smolensk, then besieged by Muscovites. He was highly praised for his valour in the 1633-1634 campaign, and was honoured by Wladyslaw who appointed him to be one of the commissars who were negotiating with the Muscovites. The following year he served as a colonel forces preparing to attack Sweden from Royal Prussia. He may be the same as James Butler [SSNE 1684] of Swedish service who served with Samuel Cockburn [SSNE 4219] from 1614-16.

B. Treliska, ed. Album armorum nobilium regni Poloniae XV-XVIII saec. (Lublin, 2001)p.705; C.H. Talbot, ed. Res Polonicae Iacobo I Angliae Regnanted Conscriptae Ex Archivis Publicis Londoniarum, (Roma, 1962),no.242; Miros aw Nagielski, "Spo eczny i narodowy sk ad gwardii królewskiej za dwóch ostatnich Wazów" (1632-1668)", Studia i Materia y do Histoii Wojskowo ci 30 (1988), 61-102.Thanks to Professor Waldemar Kowalski for this information. See also R. Frost, "Scottish soldiers, Poland-Lithuania and the Thirty Years' War" in S. Murdoch ed. Scotland and the Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648 (Brill, 2001), pp.200-1, p.204, p.209-10; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series, IV, pp.372 and 716; ibid, V, pp.213, 374, 375, 400; ibid, VI, p.451.

The following sources were kindly provided by Michal Paradowski who also updated the biography: Bieganska Anna, Zolnierze szkoccy w dawnej Rzeczypospolitej [in:] Studia i Materia?y do Historii Wojskowosci, t. XXVII, Warszawa 1984 ; Borowy Wac?aw, Anglicy, Szkoci i Irlandczycy w wojsku polskim za Zygmunta III [in:] Studia z dziejow kultury polskiej, Warszawa 1949 ; Diarjusz kommissji albo expedicji przeciwko wojsku Zaporoskiemu. 1625. ; Kontynuacja Diariusza o dalszych post?pach wojennych ze Szwedami a die 1 Julii (1629) [in:] Przyczynki do dzia?an hetmana polnego koronnego Stanis?awa Koniecpolskiego w Prusach Wschodnich i na Pomorzu przeciwko Gustawowi Adolfowi, Otto Laskowski (oprac.), Przegl?d Historyczno-Wojskowy, t. IX, z.3, 1937 ; Pamietniki o Koniecpolskich, w opracowaniu Stanislawa Przyleckiego, Lwww 1842 ; Relacja IMP. Wojewody Sendomirskiego, Hetmana Polnego Koronnego, o wojnie przesz?ego roku w Warszawie, dnia 4 Februari 1629, uczyniona [in:] Przyczynki do dzia?an hetmana polnego koronnego Stanis?awa Koniecpolskiego w Prusach Wschodnich i na Pomorzu przeciwko Gustawowi Adolfowi, Otto Laskowski (oprac.), Przeglad Historyczno-Wojskowy, t. IX, z.3, 1937 ; Teodorczyk Jerzy, Wyprawa szwedzka z Meklemburgii do Prus Królewskich 1627 r. [in:] Studia i Materia?y do Historii Wojskowsci, t.VI, z.2, Warszawa 1960

Service record

Arrived 1617-01-01
Departed 1619-12-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Arrived 1622-01-01
Departed 1627-12-31
Capacity MISC, purpose MISC
Arrived 1631-01-01
Departed 1633-03-01
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY