The Battle of Lesnaya (Russian: Битва при Лесной, romanized: Bitva pri Lesnoy; Swedish: Slaget vid Lesna; Polish: Bitwa pod Leśną) was one of the major battles of the Great Northern War. It took place on October 9 [O.S. September 28] 1708 between a Russian army of between 26,500 and 29,000 men commanded by Peter I of Russia, Mikhail Mikhailovich Golitsyn, Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov, Christian Felix Bauer and Nikolai Grigorovitj von Werden and a Swedish army of about 12,500 men commanded by Adam Ludwig Lewenhaupt and Berndt Otto Stackelberg, at the village of Lesnaya, located close to the border between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia (now the village of Lyasnaya, south-east of Mogilev in Belarus). The Swedes were escorting a supply column of more than 4,500 wagons for their main army in Ukraine.
Peter I intercepted Lewenhaupt's column before it reached the safety of Charles XII, the Swedish king, with the intention of destroying it. After eight hours of fighting, with heavy casualties, neither side stood as winner. As the night approached the Russians decided to withdraw to the nearest forest where they would stay until next morning to continue the fight. The Swedes however stayed in their battle formations for hours during the night, in case of a renewed attack. With no sign of further combat and intelligence saying further Russian reinforcements had arrived, the Swedes in turn withdrew from the place of battle, in order to continue the march towards the main army. Fearing a full-scale Russian pursuit, Lewenhaupt decided to burn or abandon most of the wagons and cannons in order to increase speed. While doing this many of the Swedish soldiers decided to loot the abandoned wagons and get drunk, thousands got lost in the woods, many of whom fell victim to Russian irregular cavalry. Lewenhaupt soon crossed the river of Sozh with the rest of his army, to find himself relatively safe. After some days he met up with Charles XII at Rukova with very few wagons left and only half of his initial army. The two soon continued their march towards Ukraine, eventually finding themselves at the Battle of Poltava and the surrender at Perevolochna which severely crippled the Swedish army and is known for being the turning point of the war.