“Largely because of the element of surprise, Iudenich achieved major successes. He sent an army directly eastward which captured Luga and threatened to cut the Moscow-Petrograd railroad line, while the main forces moved against the old capital. On October 11 the Whites took Iamburg and on October 16 Gatchina, a town only thirty miles from Petrograd. The Bolsheviks faced a cruel dilemma. Abandoning Petrograd, the “birthplace of the revolution”, would have been a psychological blow with incalculable consequences. On the other hand, weakening the southern front seemed much too dangerous. Lenin was inclined to retreat from Petrograd in order to concentrate all available forces against the greater danger, Denikin, but Trotskii disagreed and in this occasion prevailed. The Commissar for War went to Petrograd to direct the defense of the city. His resolute acts created confidence. He sent new working-class recruits to the front, he organized partisan detachments to fight in the city if necessary, and ordered the workers to raise barricades. In the battles of October 21-23 at the outskirts of Petrograd, Iudenich was stopped. The Whites did not have the strength to organize a protracted siege and fell back quickly. On November 3 they evacuated Gatchina and ten days later retreated into Estonia, where they were interned. Now Estonia was ready to conclude peace with the Soviet government. The Red Army had won decisive victories in the east and in the west, but it was clear that the most difficult would have to be fought in the south. In September and October the Bolshevik leaders organized feverishly for the battles which they expected to be decisive. The party was able to mobilize new soldiers to meet the crisis, for, unlike their enemies, the Reds were capable of an extra exertion when it was most necessary”  [Peter Kenez, ‘Civil War in South Russia, 1919-1920. The Defeat of the Whites’, Berkeley, 1977] [Lenin-Bibliographical-Materials] [LBM*]