Czarniecki, Or Czarnecki, Stefan, a Polish general, born at Czaruca, in the palatinate of Sandomierz, in 1599, died at Sokolowka, Vol-hynia, in 1665. Of a noble but poor family, he studied at the university of Cracow, entered the army, and met with little advancement before the Cossack rebellion in 1648. He was made captive in the battle at the Yellow Waters (May 25,1648), but was set free after the pacification of Zborow, in the following year. He fought in the long and bloody battle at Beresteczko, June, 1651, in which the Cossacks and Tartars were defeated. In 1655 he defended the castle of Cracow with the utmost bravery against the king of Sweden, but was compelled by want of food to surrender. After the repulse of the Swedes from Czenstochowa he collected the scattered remains of the Polish troops, formed the confederation of Tyszowce with John Sobieski and others, and commenced a brilliant and successful course of partisan warfare against the Swedes, who had conquered the greatest part of the country, and before whom the patriotic but feeble king, John Casimir, had fled to Silesia. In the early part of 1656, with the assistance of 5,000 Tartars, he defeated them in four battles, brought back the king in triumph, and turned his arms with similar success against Rakoczy, prince of Transylvania, who had invaded Poland shortly after the Swedes, and whom he drove back into his country and compelled to sign the treaty of peace he had himself prescribed (July, 1657). The dignity of palatine of Red Russia, and the title of "Liberator of Poland," were his reward.
In 1658 he marched to the assistance of Frederick III. of Denmark, who had invaded the German possessions of Sweden; he conquered the island of Alsen, took the command against the Russians, hastened to Lithuania, and won two great victories at Polonka, near Slonim, and on the banks of the Dnieper. Being sent against the Cossacks, he rapidly crossed the Dnieper, and took several places on that river. On June 7,1661, he made a triumphal entry into Warsaw, where the king had convened a diet, and presented to him 150 flags taken from the enemy. The diet by a unanimous vote gave him in perpetuity the county of Tykocin. He then undertook to chastise the Cossacks, who, incited and supported by the Russians, had again commenced their devastations (1663); and in order to procure the assistance of the Tartar khan he set out with only 13 horsemen, following the course of the Dniester, hastened through Bessarabia and the Ukraine to the Crimea, and defeated the Cossacks at Czehryn (1664) and Stawiszcze (1665). But these exertions exhausted him; returning, he could not be carried beyond the village of Sokolowka, where he died in a peasant's hut, having received a few days before the staff of hetman of the crown.