On June 4, 1462, Sultan Mehmed II began crossing the Danube at Nikopolis and entered Wallachia with an army of approximately 60,000 to 70,000 men, intending to remove Vlad III Dracula from the throne.
According to the Serbian janissary, Konstantin Mihailović, who participated in this campaign, when the Sultan reached Nikopolis, “on the far side of the Danube, Voivode Dracula was encamped with his army so that he guarded against a crossing… And when it was already night, we boarded the boats and shoved off downstream in the river so that oars and men would not be heard. And we reached the other side some furlongs below where the Voivode’s army lay, and there we dug in … [Dracula’s army] killed two hundred and fifty Janissaries with cannon fire… Then, seeing that so many of us were dying, he [the Sultan] quickly prepared, and having one hundred and twenty cannon, immediately began to fire them heavily and thus we drove all the army from the battlefield and established and fortified ourselves… And Dracula, seeing that he could not prevent the crossing, moved away from us.”
Vlad, who had gathered an army of almost 10,000 men, realized that he could not engage the more experienced and numerically superior Ottoman forces in open field combat. In addition, he had to divide his force when he received news that the Moldavian army under Stephen the Great was advancing on the important port city of Chilia in the northeastern part of the principality. Under these circumstances, he retreated before his enemy, employing a scorched earth policy and using guerilla warfare tactics as the Ottomans advanced toward his capital city of Târgoviște.
For more on the Islamic assault on Wallachia in the summer of 1462 see the latest release from Histria Books, Dracula: Essays on the Life and Times of Vlad the Impaler, edited by Kurt W. Treptow. Preorder now on Amazon or directly at HistriaBooks.com.
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