Peter the Great: Emperor of All Russia

By Ian Grey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXII
Conquest of Ingria 1702-1703

FROM Nyukhcha, Peter with his suite and five battalions of guards travelled south to Lake Onega, down this lake in boats, and along the river Svir. He was eager now to take advantage of Kronhjort's withdrawal which had left the Neva delta without defences, except for two small garrisons. From mid-stream in the Svir, he sent orders to Sheremctev in Pskov to make all haste to join him with his army. "The time is very ripe and should not be missed, and without you it will not be with us as we would wish," he wrote.1 Harried by orders from his Tsar, Sheremetev made haste, and by the end of September his troops together with those of Apraxin, and a great array of artillery were concentrated against Noteburg.

This was a small fortress town on an island in the Neva River near Lake Ladoga. The citizens of Novgorod had built it at the beginning of the fourteenth century to defend their main trade route to the Baltic Sea, and had given it the name of Oreshka or Orekhova which, like the Swedish name of Noteburg, referred to the island's hazelnut shape. The Swedes had taken it once, but the people of Novgorod had quickly recaptured it. Thenceforward it had remained in Russian hands until 1611, when the Swedes had again seized the town, and the Treaty of Stolbovo had confirmed their possession. But it was a national Russian aspiration to recover it and the whole of Ingria.

The small garrison could not now withstand the great force that Peter had ranged against it, and on 11 October the Swedes surrendered on the generous terms offered them.2 Peter, Sheremetev,

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