The battle of Copenhagen (2nd April 1801) had been fought to dislodge Denmark from the so-called "Armed Neutrality" of the Baltic States led by Russia (see notes to lot 226 in this catalogue for further information). That done, Nelson had wanted to make for Reval, where the Russian fleet lay ice-bound, immediately but was held back by protracted negotiations with the Danes. When he was eventually able to sail, news reached him that the militant Czar Paul I had died and had been succeeded by the more moderate Alexander I. An attack on Reval therefore ceased to be a priority although this letter to Lord St. Vincent reveals that Nelson was more than ready in the event of future hostilities with Russia.
The Colonel Stewart referred to is Lieut. Col. (Later Lieutenant-General) the Hon. William Stewart.