In 1999 a large collection of old photographs taken on the Poltava battlefield
were found in the War Archives in Stockholm (Krigsarkivet). Later it was learned that
these photos were taken by two Swedish officers, Karl Bennedich and
Frey Rydeberg, who visited Poltava in the summer of 1911 by order of the
General Staff of the
Their objective was to locate the main burial places of the
Swedish warriors that were killed in the Battle of Poltava and mark their
location on a map.
They were also ordered to do a topographical survey of the battlefield.
It was well known that all the Swedes killed had been buried hurriedly
in some of numerous
marshy depressions in the area, and that some of the captured Swedish
priests performed a requiem mass for their comrades.
The total losses of the Swedish
army in the Battle of Poltava numbered about 9,000 men. In the very
beginning of the 20th century these burial places still had not been
located. Permission to
take photos and do a topographical survey of the battlefield was
quickly granted by the government of the Russian Empire.
All necessary documents were
issued by Sergei Bibikov, Vice-Governor of Poltava Province.
The Swedish officers succeeded in finding the main burial
places of the Swedish warriors with the
help and support of Doctor Alexander Maltsev, the
director of the local mental hospital, who was an
amateur historian and very fond of military history.
Maltsev provided the Swedish officers with workers
to assist in the excavations. Within a short period
of time, they discovered human bones, including
skulls, that had been damaged by swords and bullets.
These human remains were found near the village of
Maly Budischi at a depth of about 1.5 meters.
Further investigation proved that the site near Maly
Budischi was the main burial place of the warriors of the
Västmanland Regiment, Närke-Värmland Regiment, Uppland Regiments, Kalmar Regiments, and several other units of the Swedish Army. Another burial place was
discovered near the village of Maly Pavlenki. Some of the bones
and skulls were delivered to Sweden for more complete scientific examination.
These remains were later buried in a churchyard in Vadstena, Sweden.
In 1927 Carl Bennedich published his book about the Battle of Poltava
in four volumes. The Swedish officers believed that it was their
generationís duty to erect a grave mound and cross on the last resting place of the
brave warriors of Charles XII.