Kanuunatie (cannon road)

Kittholma forest


At the western edge of the Kittholma forest, which has been protected since the early 1700s, there is a jogging path that partly follows a route formed during the Crimean War. Along this route, cannons were brought from Oravainen to defend the town in summer 1855. One big cannon was placed on the defensive earth wall at Kittholma and another was brought a little further north, to Alholma. A few smaller cannons were also brought to the defensive walls.


English troops had previously burned ships and storehouses at the harbours of Raahe and Oulu. In Kokkola the English attack had been repelled with cunning and hard firepower. In Pietarsaari, too, people feared for the worst. Spar buoys and other sea marks in front of Pietarsaari had been removed in good time, which is why the English did not make it as far as the harbour bay. The daymark of Mässkär island had also been pulled down.


The city had also prepared for the attacks of English troops by transporting tar and timber away from the harbour and hiding them. Half-finished vessels of the Carlholma shipyard had been hidden and even sunk to prevent the enemy from getting them. The sunken vessels were later lifted from the water. Despite the sea blockade of the English, it was possible to bring vessels in the autumn dark to Sweden for sale or winter storage. Pietarsaari had no garrison of its own, but the hundreds of armed soldiers brought from elsewhere were ready to defend the town.


English warships besieged the coastal areas of Pietarsaari and their marines scouted the archipelago in smaller boats. Negotiations were also conducted under the white flag, but the people of Pietarsaari refused to surrender their ships to the English even when threatened with bombings. The English small boats managed to reach Ristikari (Korsgundet) but returned to their mother vessels after spotting the cannons and soldiers along the defensive walls. They may have remembered the battle at Halkokari in Kokkola, where they faced a bitter defeat.


In November 1855, the English fired their cannons, but the cannonballs flew past the harbour area and did no significant harm. The English managed to steal and burn a couple of small vessels. As a whole, the direct material damage of the Crimean War was not significant in Pietarsaari. Indirect damage instead was considerable because ship owners lost some of their merchant ships with their cargo due to forced sales and hijackings on the seas of the world. Important trade relationships with England were also lost for a long time. Especially the ship owner and tradesman Peter Malm (1800–1868), who had been granted the Finnish honorary title of kauppaneuvos, had reason to be angry because he lost a considerable property in the war.