an attempt by the Polish-Lithuanian troops of the Second False Dmitrii to capture the St. Sergius Trinity Monastery (Troitse-Sergieva Lavra), which served as a fortress guarding the road from Moscow to the Upper and Lower Volga regions. The siege lasted from Sept. 23, 1608, until Jan. 12, 1610, but the attempt to take the monastery was frustrated by the heroic resistance of the Russian garrison.
The Polish-Lithuanian forces consisted of approximately 15,000 men under the leadership of J. Sapieha and A. Lysowcky. The Russian garrison, numbering approximately 2,200–2,400 men under the voevody (military commanders) G. B. Dolgoru-kov-Roshcha and A. I. Golokhvastov, was composed of dvoriane (nobles), streltsy (semiprofessional musketeers), monastery servants, monks, and peasants.
In early October 1608, the besieged garrison commenced an intensive bombardment of the enemy and began digging tunnels under the enemy’s positions. In defending the monastery against attempts to take it by storm in October and November, the Russians inflicted heavy casualties on the aggressors. The defenders made frequent sallies, during one of which, on November 9, the peasants Shipov and Sloba at the cost of their lives blew up a tunnel under one of the monastery’s towers and destroyed the batteries on Krasnaia Hill. Although no fighting took place between late November 1608 and May 1609, more than two-thirds of the Russian garrison died of scurvy. From May to July 1609, the aggressors launched a series of unsuccessful attempts to take the monastery by storm.
On Oct. 19, 1609, and Jan. 4, 1610, the auxiliary detachments of D. Zherebtsov (900 men) and G. Valuev (500 men) broke through to the fortress. Under the threat of the approaching army of M. V. Skopin-Shuiskii, the aggressors hurriedly lifted their siege and fled to Dmitrov.
REFERENCESSakzanie Avraamiia Palitsyna. Moscow-Leningrad, 1955.
Nikolaeva, T. V. Narodnaia zashchita kreposti Troitse-Sergieva mo-nastyria v 1608–1610. Moscow, 1954.