1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Skrzynecki, Jan Zygmunt

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SKRZYNECKI, JAN ZYGMUNT (1787-1860), Polish general, was born in Galicia in 1787. After completing his education at the university of Lemberg, he entered the Polish Legion formed in the grand duchy of Warsaw, as a common soldier and won his lieutenancy at the battle of Raszyn in 1809. At the battle of Leipzig he greatly distinguished himself and at Arcis-sur-Aube, in 1814, saved Napoleon from the sudden onslaught of the enemy by sheltering him in the midst of his battalion. On the formation of the kingdom of Poland in 1815 Skrzynecki was put in command of five infantry regiments of the line, and on joining the insurrection of 1830 was entrusted with the organization of the Polish army. After the battle of Grochow, he superseded Prince Radziwill as commander in chief; but avoided all decisive operations as he hoped for the pacific intervention of the powers in favour of Poland. In the beginning of March 1831 he even entered into correspondence with the Russian Field-marshal Diebitsch, who was taken very ill both at Paris and London. When at last Skrzynecki did take the offensive his opportunity was gone, and he committed more than one tactical blunder. At Ostrolenka (26th of May 1831) he showed his usual valour and considerable ability, but after a bloody contest Diebitsch prevailed and Skrzynecki fell back upon Warsaw, where he demanded a reconstruction of the government and his own appointment as dictator. To this the diet would not consent, though it gave Skrzynecki a vote of confidence. But public opinion was now running strongly against him and he was forced on the 10th of August, in his camp at Bolimow, to place his resignation in the hands of his successor, Dembinski. Skrzynecki thereupon joined a guerilla corps and on the 22nd of September took refuge in Austrian territory. Subsequently he resided at Prague, but migrated to Brussels where he was made commander in chief of the Belgian army, an appointment he was forced to resign by the combined and emphatic protest of Russia, Austria and Prussia, in 1839. With the permission of the Austrian government he finally settled at Cracow, where he died in 1860. Skrzynecki was remarkable for his personal courage and made an excellent general of division, but he was unequal to the heavier responsibility of supreme command, and did much harm in that capacity by his irresolution. He wrote Two Victorious Days (Pol.) (Warsaw, 1831); and Mes Erreurs (Paris, 1835).

See S. J. N. Montalembert et sa correspondance inédite avec le généralissime Skrzynecki (Montligcon, 1903); Ignacy Pradzynski, The last four Polish Commanders (Pol.) (Posen, 1865). (R. N. B.)