Translation Powstanie Styczniowe

January Uprising

Dreams of independence were still vivid among the Poles. Therefore, having triggered a series of events, they eventually led to the January Uprising, which broke out in 1863 and lasted for two years. The uprising spread to Congress Poland, Lithuania and Ruthenia, also involving Galicia, a province in the Austrian Empire, and Greater Poland (Polish: Wielkopolska) incorporated into Prussia. In Lublin voivodeship insurgents fought 145 battles, 17 of which took place in Biłgoraj county, whose geographical location and dense forestation were particularly favourable for insurgent activity.

Routes leading from Galicia to Congress Poland through Biłgoraj were used for transportation of volunteers, weaponry, ammunition, equipment and medicine. Troops marched across the territory of the county, and even though they did not involve in any military conflict, their presence was quite a nuisance to the army and tsar’s officials.

Attacks targeting border stations and Russian army stationing in Janów, Biłgoraj and Szczebrzeszyn had been planned. On the night of January 22nd, 1863, conspiring units from Biłgoraj, Frampol, Tarnogród and Józefów gathered next to Franciscan monastery in Solska Forest ready to attack Russian troops in Biłgoraj. Eventually, since they were outnumbered and lacked adequate equipment, the operation was called off. Ludwik Trębicki took the lead and directed the unit to a forest settlement of Maziarze.

First minor military clashes took place in January and February, and were followed by regular fights in the next consecutive months. Col. Leon Czechowski and his 750 well-equipped and well-armed insurgents battled in  Potok and Suszka. Having been defeated in Ciosmy and Gozd Huciański, the unit re-grouped and crossed the border, where the men were disarmed by the Austrians. In April, 350 insurgents led by Col. Marcin Borelowski, nickname ‘Lelewel,’ fought in the battles of Borowe Młyny and Józefów. Among 27 dead were Gustaw Wasilewski, representative of the Polish National Government in Lublin voivodeship, Fr. Michał Żółtowski, the unit’s chaplain, and a poet Mieczysław Romanowski. Borelowski’s troops joined the units led by general Antoni Jeziorański, whose 700 men opposed the enemy in two day-long battles in Kobylanka Forest. Defeated in Huta Krzeszowska, the unit split into smaller groups and crossed the border. Lelewel’s units were backed up by major Kajetan Cieszkowski’s troops and defeated the Russians in the day-long battle of Panasówka on the 3rd of September, 1863. Borelowski’s unit scattered after his death in the battle of Batorz. Final operations took place in the autumn of 1863 and April of 1864.

Accumulation of insurgent units under the lead of Wierzbicki, Kozłowski, Szydłowski, Ejtminowicz, Krysiński and Leniecki triggered a military conflict in Goraj. Lutyński’s, Kozłowski’s and Krysiński’s men were still stationing in the region in November However, having taken part in a battle of Momoty, they were defeated in Huta Krzeszowska in early December.

January Uprising was also a significant factor contributing to the abolition of serfdom in Poland in 1864.

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