11 February 1462, Giurgiu

Vlad Dracula, prince of Wallachia, to Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary

Your Royal Highness and our most gracious Lord. In another letter, I wrote to Your Majesty how the Turks, the cruelest enemies of the Cross of Christ, have sent their highest-ranking messengers to convince us not to keep the peace and the agreements that we made with Your Majesty, and not to celebrate the wedding [Vlad had agreed to marry a relative of Matthias Corvinus], and to join with them alone and to go to the Porte of the Turkish Sultan, that is to say to his Court. And if we fail to give up the peace, the agreements, and the wedding with Your Majesty, the Turks will not keep the peace with us either. They also sent an important advisor of the Turkish Sultan, named Hamza-beg of Nicopolis, to settle border questions at the Danube, but with the intent that, if that Hamza-beg could bring us, by using tricks or promises, or some other means, to the Porte, fine, but if he could not, he was to capture us and bring us there. But, by the grace of God, while we were going to that border, we found out about their deceit, and trickery, and it was us who captured that Hamza-beg, in the Land and in the Turkish Country, near the fortress that is called Giurgiu; the Turks opened the gates of the fortress at the shouts of our men, thinking that only their men would get inside, but ours, mixing together with them, entered and conquered the fortress, which we burned down immediately. And we killed the men and women, old and young, who lived in the area of Oblucița and Novoselo, where the Danube flows into the sea, to Rahova, which is near Chilia, down to the villages of Samovit and Ghigen [the Bulgarian Ghighiul], 23,884 Turks and Bulgarians in all, not including those who were burned in their houses and whose heads were not presented to our officials. Your Majesty should know that we have done all we could, for the time being, to harm those who kept urging us to leave the Christians and to take their side. Therefore, Your Majesty should know that we have broken our peace with them, not for our own benefit, but for the honor of Your Majesty and the Holy Crown of Your Majesty, and for the preservation of Christianity and the strengthening of the Catholic faith. Seeing what we did to them, they left the quarrels and fights they had up to now in other places, including the country and Holy Crown of Your Majesty, as well as all other places, and they threw all of their strength against us. When the weather permits, that is to say in the spring, they will come with evil intentions and with all their power. But they have no crossing points, because we burned all of them, except for Vidin, and destroyed them, and made them barren. Because they cannot harm us too much at the crossing point at Vidin, they should want to bring their ships from Constantinople and Galipoli, across the sea, to the Danube. Therefore, Your Majesty, gracious lord, if it is Your Majesty’s desire to fight against them, then gather all of your country and all of the fighting men, both cavalry and infantry, and bring them to our Wallachia, and be so kind as to fight against them [the Turks] here. But Your Majesty, if you don’t want to come yourself, then please send your whole army to Your Majesty’s Transylvanian lands, beginning with St. George’s Day [23 April]. If Your Majesty does not want to give your whole army, then send only what you desire, at least from Transylvania and the Saxons. But, if Your Majesty wants to give us assistance, then please do not delay, but tell us truly the thoughts of Your Majesty. Our man, who brings you this letter, this time do not detain him, please, Your Majesty, but send him back to me soon and quickly. Because by no means do we want to leave unfinished what we began, but to follow this through to the end. Because we will not flee before their savagery, but by all of the Christians, and if he will kindly lend his ear to the prayers of his poor subjects and grants us victory over the Infidels, the enemies of the Cross of Christ, it will be the greatest honor, benefit, and spiritual help for Your Majesty, the Holy Crown of Your Majesty, and for all true Christians. Because we will not flee before their savagery, but by all means we will fight with them. And if, God forbid, it ends badly for us, and our little country is lost, Your Majesty will not benefit from this either, because it will be a loss for all Christianity. And so, you must believe what our man, Radu Farma, will tell you, just as if we were speaking directly to Your Majesty. From the fortress of Giurgiu, 11 February 1462.

[There follows a list of the places and number of people killed in Dracula’s attack against the Turks during the winter of 1461-1462]

First, in the places called Oblucița and Novoselo there were killed 1,350; and 6,840 at Dârstor, Cartal, and Dridopotrom (?); likewise, 343 at Orșova, and 840 were killed at Vectrem (?); 630 were killed at Turtucaia; likewise, 210 were killed at Marotin; 6,414 were killed at Giurgiu on both sides of the river, and the fortress on the Danube was conquered and taken. The commander of the fortress [the subasha] was killed, and Hamza-beg was captured there, and the commander of Nicopolis, the son of Firuz-beg, was also captured and beheaded; and of the Turks stationed at Nicopolis, all of the most important were killed with him. Likewise, 384 were killed at Turnu, Batin, and Novigrad; at Siștov and in two other villages near it 410 were killed; likewise, the crossing point at Nicopolis was burned and completely destroyed, the same at Samnovit; and at Ghighen 1,138 were killed; at Rahova 1,460 were killed, and, likewise, the crossing point was completely burned, and Neagoe was appointed captain there by Prince Vlad. Likewise, at the above places where there were crossing points, they were burned and destroyed, the people, men, women, children, and babies were all killed, and in all these places nothing remained. And in the above are included only those whose heads or signs were brought to our officials who were everywhere; but those who were not presented to them, or who were burned in their houses, could not be counted, because there were so many.

Source: Nicolae Iorga, Scrisori de boieri, scrisori de domni, 2nd ed. (Vălenii-de-Munte, 1925), pp. 166-170; and Ioan Bogdan, Vlad Țepeș și narațiunile germane și rusești asupra lui (București, 1896), pp. 76-82.

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